Mad Men’s Summer Blues

AMC does a good job of spreading out its popular shows throughout the TV viewing seasons. That means that right now is a great time for those Breaking Bad lovers out there as the fifth season rolls along, but it’s the summer blues for Mad Men viewers and Dish subscribers. Recently though, there was some good news from the notoriously tight-lipped helmsman of the Mad Men experience, as Matthew Weiner admitted that Elisabeth Moss’s ‘Peggy Olson’ will still be a regular character on the show.

Weiner was quoted in that recent interview as saying:

“When people leave Sterling Cooper, sometimes it is the end for [the character],” Weiner allows. “But I will spoil that one tiny piece of anticipation and tell people that Elisabeth will be showing up to work.”

This is certainly great news for fans of the show, as Peggy has consistently been one of the most interesting characters on Mad Men from the word go. It really comes as no big surprise however, probably why Weiner was OK spilling the news, and having Peggy work for one of SCDP’s biggest rivals should only add to the intrigue of the storylines.

Speaking of storylines and Mad Men‘s love of the nostalgic reference, I went onto Wikipedia 1967 to see what interesting historical tidbits might make it into season six’s episodes. The Civil Rights Movement has already been embedded into season 5, but in 1967 there were numerous race riots across the country so we should expect a lot more of this topic along with a nod to Thurgood Marshall; the first African-American elected to the Supreme Court. The Vietnam War and protests at home were still a big news item so it will be interesting to see whether or nor we see a reappearance of Dr. Greg, or hopefully Dr. Greg’s corpse. The worst of the Vietnam years is still to come so I don’t think it will be a major presence, but if there is any major nod this season I would guess it to be Muhammad Ali’s refusal to serve in the Military after being drafted.

Richard Speck, who was the guy who killed the nurses and was featured in the “Mystery Date” episode, was sentenced to the electric chair in 1967 so that would be a nice opportunity to put a bow on that storyline, and possibly comment on the moral dilemmas of corporal punishment. The very first Superbowl was in 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs, but Mad Men doesn’t make a lot of sports references so it would be a long shot for show material. The space race is still somewhat prevalent in the 1960’s so you might see the mention of the ‘Apollo 1’ disaster that killed three American astronauts. There are some other long-shots for episode material including the capture of Che Guevera, jokes about Allen Ginsberg and character Michael Ginsberg, but my favorite if I could put money on it is when John McCain was shot down and captured by the Viet Cong.

Mad Men as a cultural reference machine has always done a great job of incorporating and referencing relevant music and 1967 provides a lot of great candidates. The Beatles of course start to explode and diversify their sound, and the other side of the rock and roll coin – The Rolling Stones make their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show to be the next big thing. Dark Horse candidates include the debuts of Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd, but you would probably be safer betting on references to The Doors and Ed Sullivan as well as Monterey Pop, the first famous major outdoor music festival.

Any way you shake it out there is plenty of material out there for the Mad Men writing staff to flesh out some more interesting plot lines, and after stepping up the actual drama last season I expect nothing but a more exciting season 6. For those of you who still haven’t gotten into Mad Men, or who are still catching up, there’s nothing like 7-8 straight hours of the show to get you hooked and take a break from snarky American swimmers. Any chance Ryan Lochte can make an appearance next season so he can get punched in the face like Pete Campbell?

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2 thoughts on “Mad Men’s Summer Blues”

  1. 1) Glad to hear that Peggy isn’t leaving the show!

    2) I also hope they return Dr. Greg’s corpse.

    3) “…possibly comment on the moral dilemmas of corporal punishment.”
    Corporal punishment (physical discipline, spanking) or did you mean capital punishment (death penalty)?

    Like

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