******This entire post is full of SPOILERS for last night’s season premiere of Mad Men.
After an epic 16-month haitus, Mad Men returned last night with a two-hour premiere. I was literally counting down the minutes, so you can imagine how happy I am to simply see my Mad Men people, regardless of story. At one point, I was trying to figure out when the season began – yes, it’s Memorial Day weekend, but what year is it? It’s 1966, right? Right. So… the story has skipped along to about a year from when we last saw these people.
What’s happened to them? Don Draper has married his secretary, Megan, and made her a junior copywriter – Peggy is her boss, right? Because Peggy is pretty much Don’s second in command. It doesn’t seem like Megan is an amazing copywriter or anything, but she’s also not actively bad, and it seems like Megan and Peggy are trying to be friends with each other. As for Don and Megan’s marriage – you get several wildly different impressions of the marriage throughout the two-hour premiere. At first, I was like, “Aw, that’s nice – Megan is a great step-mom to Don’s kids, that why he married her.” Then it was, “Ew, they come to work together every day and Don seems really different now and Megan’s not that awesome at her job.” And then after the party, I thought, “Oh, great. He married another woman who is absolutely clueless about what embarrasses him and what he thinks is appropriate.” And finally, in that last sex scene… g-ddamn. Megan KNOWS him. She knows what makes him tick. Don and Megan understand each other in a different way than we’re used to. After that sex scene, I kind of love Megan. Oh, and Don has told her everything, did you notice? She didn’t even blink when she said “Dick Whitman.”
As for the other characters… Roger is still being an a–hole, but Roger gets some of the best lines, right? He’s out of sorts, he’s trying to steal Pete Campbell’s leads, and it’s like… Roger doesn’t know how to do any of this. Oh, and he hates his wife. And she hates him a little bit too. As for Pete… did they put some kind of pillow on his body? In some scenes, he was looking fluffy. Pete and Trudy both looked middle-aged – and they’re not! They’re barely 30 years old, right? I also love that Pete’s storyline was “He misses living in the city.” He hates the suburbs. He loves the noise of the city, and he misses it terribly. He and Don Draper have traded lives in four seasons. Pete’s house even looks like Don and Betty’s old house.
But my absolute favorite part of the premiere was Joan, Joan, Joan. This is 1966 – before “maternity leave.” You find out that Joan did have Roger’s baby (a little boy named Kevin), and that she “promised” to come back to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce after she had the baby. It was nice seeing Joan with the baby, it was great to finally see her mom (who is a piece of work, just like Joanie), but the best part was when Joan brought the baby to work for a visit, and to make sure she still had a job to come back to. I absolutely LOVED her scene with Lane Pryce. It was magic! Lane is such an odd creature, but he said absolutely everything Joan wanted to hear, and he showed her a kindness and gentleness that I was not expecting from him. He made her feel… needed, but in a professional sense. And he even made a fuss over the baby, which was cute. Did you notice that all of the men in particular made a fuss over the baby? Don, Lane and… Roger. Was this the first time Roger saw his son? Is Roger helping Joan pay the bills? So many questions.
There’s a lot of other stuff to talk about, but I don’t want to go on and on. Peggy is still with her journalist boyfriend. VietNam is heating up. The civil rights movement is upon New York. Megan singing and dancing was… interesting. I was embarrassed for her, that she put herself out there like that. It also reminded me as to just how young she is… but she’s going to stick with it, I think. I’m not sure how I feel about the tone of 1966 – only Megan and Peggy feel like the “young people” in the office, everybody else seems prematurely aged, and like they’ve skipped past the summer of love and have just resigned themselves to 1970s ennui. Like, half of the characters are still living in a John O’Hara novel and have of them are living in a Rick Moody novel.
‘Mad Men’ stills courtesy of AMC.
Written by Kaiser
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