Tag Archives: Season 5

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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Mad Med Episode 513: “The Phantom” Finale

Considering that in the past two weeks the notoriously slow-paced Mad Men had one of its oldest and most popular characters leave the firm followed by one of the partners killing themselves I was expecting, as probably was the fan base at large, some sort of momentous season finale cliff hanger. That clearly was not in the cards. While the season finale, by regular episode standards, did have a couple of surprises, as a season-ender it fell a bit short as far as drama goes.

The episode was titled “The Phantom” and we are treated with phantoms both literally and figuratively. Don, feeling the stress and guilt of Lane’s suicide, is habitually visited throughout the episode by his brother, whom was also a suicide victim and receiver of Don’s tough love. We also get a Peggy Olson appearance this week, and hopefully this will quell the rumors that Elisabeth Moss is done with Mad Men, and she is more than a Phantom. Peggy has her own storyline in fact as she is handed a new account for women’s cigarettes that will, as we know, eventually become Virginia Slims and a major marketing success in its own time. We are witness to a nice conciliatory meeting between Don and Peggy at the movie theater, sans handy I would assume, and the puzzling image of dogs humping outside of Peggy’s Virginia hotel room. It looks like Peggy is here to stay and thank goodness for that.

The other major phantom of the episode comes in the form of Pete’s on-again off-again affair partner whom we learn is the frequent victim/consumer of electroshock therapy. After an uncomfortable encounter on the train, Pete gets a booty call from Beth Dawes and skips out on the Partners meeting for the liaison. Here he learns about her treatment and her desire to have one last fling before her memory is erased and all memories of Pete Campbell are gone. I’m sure there are some people out there who would jump at the chance to have all memories of Pete Campbell erased from their mind, but he does such a good job of being a dick you just shouldn’t do that to yourself. As an added bonus we also get to see Pete punched in the face two more times this episode! He really is a despicable character when as soon as you start to feel for the guy after he opens his heart to the post trauma Beth and confronts her scumbag husband, he acts like a total prick to the good-natured train cop and you are once again cheering as Pete takes another shot to the kisser. Whomever came up with this gem will have to update it with the new footage.

The cliff-hanger for the season finale hinges upon Don and Megan’s relationship. Megan’s acting career has continued to flounder and in this episode she gets desperate and stabs her friend in the back by asking Don to consider her for a commercial that SCDP will be producing instead of her considering her friend who had asked the favor. Megan’s mother is in town, rekindling her romance with Roger Sterling, and Megan’s depressive ways lead to a confrontation between her and Don which may have been the key to changing Don and Megan’s relationship as a whole. Megan’s mom describes her as someone with an artist’s sensibility without the artists talent. Don, after watching Megan’s test reel, acquiesces to her desires and gets her the commercial gig. The big question though, the one we are left with as the woman down the bar hits on Don asking “if he is alone”, is whether or not Don has lost respect for Megan. Did he give in and get her the gig because he really thinks she deserves it and just hasn’t gotten her break, or is he secretly disgusted at her lack of gumption and willingness to work hard at her art and gave her the job because it’s proof to her callous need to be spoiled. Fortunately the wait for season 6 will be significantly shorter than the wait for season 5 was, but still is too long if you ask me.

Two other things from the finale. SCDP is apparently making money hand over fist and will be moving into a larger space and Roger Sterling is doing LSD again… see gratuitous man ass.

Review AMC’s Mad Men: Episode 503 “Tea Leaves”

For all the Mad Men fans who thought they were getting an extra hour of their favorite show this season I’m sorry to report that last weeks season 5 premiere counted as two episodes and so accordingly this weeks review will be of episode three.

We quickly learn that, as promised at the end of last weeks episode, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has indeed followed through on their pledge of diversifying the office by hiring a black secretary who is ironically named Dawn and is assigned to handle desk duties for Don, rounds of mistaken identity jokes ensue. The larger portion of the office action this week surrounds another new hire. Mohawk Airlines has been confirmed as returning to SCDP and Peggy must search for a new copywriter to handle the extra responsibilities.

Enter the plucky Michael Ginsberg (Ben Feldman) who is clearly a talented young ad man but rubs Peggy the wrong way with his brash antics. Peggy’s ultimate fear is of disappointing Don but after reigning himself in for the second interview Ginsberg passes with flying colors and gets the job.

Ginsberg looks to be an interesting new addition to the show as he seems like he will add some energy to the SCDP office and it his unbridled enthusiasm may well be something Peggy appreciates in contrast to the always cynical Stan Rizzo. The relationship between Peggy and Michael will be an interesting one to see develop as one of the overall themes of this week is to be wary of ones inter-office competitors. This is most blatantly demonstrated as the episode ends and Pete belittles Roger in front of the entire office in regards to the handling of the Mohawk account. Roger has been given control of the account but Pete makes it well know that he landed the account and that he will be monitoring Roger. The warning, as Roger says to Peggy “That’s the last guy I hired”, is that you’ve got to watch your back in the politics of office aspirations.

The biggest shocker of this weeks episode was that Betty Francis (formerly Draper) has gotten a bit fat. Betty’s notable absence from the first two episodes was apparently to illicit the maximum effect of having an episode three “shocker”, ie. January Jones in fat suit makeup. After being convinced by her mother-in-law to see a doctor about diet pills we get a bit of extra drama in that Betty might actually have Lymphatic cancer. The writers decided not too make this a strung out drama, cancer-wise anyhow, as we learn by the end of the episode that Betty’s lump is benign and her weight issues are probably more linked to the depression of being a 60’s housewife and her new found love of sweets and the plague that still haunts us today; Bugles. Betty’s cancer scare does play out some subtle battle lines in the lives of the divorced as we find Betty seeking seeking solace and reassurance from Don, Don’s concern for Betty and the kids and Henry Francis’ smug satisfaction when he learns that Betty hadn’t informed Don when she found out she was OK.

Continue reading Review AMC’s Mad Men: Episode 503 “Tea Leaves”

Mad Men: Season 5 Premiere

It’s been a year and a half since the finale of Mad Men season 4 and about the same amount time has passed in the Mad Men world bringing the show up to sometime in 1967. The episode begins with one of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s competitors throwing bags of ice water from their office building onto the marching civil rights protestors below which in turn sets off a series of plot points which will inevitably lead Mad Men along the course of the Civil Rights movement. But first let’s catch up.

Because a lot of time has passed there are some seemingly major events that were missed including Don Draper’s wedding to his new wife Megan whom he suddenly proposed to at the conclusion of season 4. Based on the reception Don gave to Megan’s surprise 40th birthday party in this episode I’m guessing their wedding was probably of the Vegas style anyhow. Last season we also learned that Joan was pregnant and it was the result of a rekindled affair with Roger Sterling while her husband was overseas in Vietnam. In season 5 we catch up to her post-pregnancy and get further insight into her cattiness as she is tortured by her mothers “help” with the baby. Somehow they managed to get through the episode without any breastfeeding jokes but not without Roger exclaiming ‘There’s my Baby!” after Joan visits the office quickly amending his statement wryly with an added [and some child as well]. Having a baby in the office winds up being a vehicle for multiple uncomfortable moments as it is passed from person to person until Peggy is left alone with the child only to run into Pete in the hallway where they resurrect the family that never was.

Continue reading Mad Men: Season 5 Premiere

‘Mad Men’ Hookup – Jon Hamm Speaks…

 

There has been little news on the upcoming Mad Men season five beyond the release date, and that’s the way the shows creator Matthew Weiner likes it as he continues his reign as the Bill Belichick of TV production. Roger Sterling especially might remember the term “Loose Lips Sink Ships” but in this case I suppose it would be more along the lines of “Slipped Spoilers Mars MadMen” that’s being enforced.

That being said, a lot of extrapolation is coming out of comments made by Jon Hamm about the upcoming season, and the potential for relations between Don Draper and Christina Hendricks’ Joan.

It’s the pairing that fans of the show have most been salivating for as Don and Joan seem to be the two most likely candidates to hook up, but somehow always keep their worlds apart, or at least their bedspreads. Personally I don’t see it happening this season.

Continue reading ‘Mad Men’ Hookup – Jon Hamm Speaks…