‘Mad Men’ Season 6 premiere: what goes around comes around?

The entire post is full of SPOILERS for last night’s premiere of Mad Men.

Season 6 of Mad Men premiered last night, and I ended up having Mad Men dreams all last night because that’s just the way Mad Men works. I kind of like the 2-hour premiere episodes because Matthew Weiner really gets to stretch out the pacing and create the story in these odd little moments. This is a different kind of 1960s story – every character is not constantly referencing the Rolling Stones or Vietnam or the civil rights movement, but all of those cultural touchstones are used to make up the fabric of Mad Men, and you can really start to feel the weight of it.

So, as for Vietnam – I guess we’re at the end of 1967, entering 1968 in the premiere episode. There were a few LBJ references, as well a horrific reference to soldiers killing the Viet Cong and cutting off their ears. But that was only a problem because Peggy had to change her “Lend Me Your Ears” headphone campaign. That was her story line, Peggy working through the holidays to figure out something to replace a campaign that now referenced a Vietnam War crime. I kind of loved Peggy’s story, her quarter of the premiere triad. I loved that she’s a bitchy boss who yells at her staff and orders them to work through the holidays. I love that she still uses the tools Don Draper gave her (writing a letter to a friend to describe the product). I love that her creativity gets inspired by little things, like her boyfriend Abe listening to music. Abe looks good with that beard, right? I love that they’re still together and that he brings her dinner when she’s working late. And I like that she’s working for a man who understands her value and compliments her work on a regular basis.

The second part of the quartet of stories – Roger, Death, Therapy and the Women Roger Loves. This was one of the few parts of the story that didn’t involve Vietnam, right? But even then, Roger referenced Pearl Harbor and WWII. I got a little bit bored by Roger in therapy, but I guess it’s appropriate for the time and Roger has always been a little Woody Allen-ish (if Woody was a WASP with a heart problem). I loved Roger’s immaturity (yelling “It’s MY funeral!” and then flopping face-down on the bed with the coats). I also loved his breakdown with the shoe-shine kit. OMG. It was just… perfect Roger. Roger and his mortality, Roger being Roger, etc. Is it just me or were they trying to make his daughter look like crap?

As for Don Draper’s quarter of the story… well, I wish they had dedicated some time to telling part of Joan’s story, but whatever. Don Draper in Hawaii, barely saying a word. Don Draper meeting a young PFC about to ship off to ‘Nam. Don carrying around the PFC’s Zippo, almost coming to tears when he discovered it, trying to throw it away when he was drunk, and having it come back to him. I guess the point of the Hawaii campaign is that Don is suicidal and he doesn’t even know it, right? He’s just gone completely back to his old habits, cheating on his wife with someone she knows, being rather morbid and he’s still drinking WAY too much. As the PFC said, what goes around comes around.

And for Betty Draper-Francis… I like that she’s still Fat Betty. I thought her storyline was blah, though. So… whatever. But Betty dyed her hair! I guess that’s news.

Some of my favorite parts: I love how everybody is so beardy these days! I loved that Don’s still got Dawn the African-American secretary (and she seems like a good secretary too). I loved that Peggy still keeps in touch with Rizzo and they like to gossip over the phone late at night (how cute was that?). I love everything involving Roger and his first ex-wife, played by his real wife Talia Balsam. I loved that the episode wasn’t full-on Megan, thank God. And I love how Sally is so moody and a typical teenager. What did you love/hate?

Here are some photos of Jon Hamm, Jennifer Westfeldt and their dog going for a walk yesterday in LA. Jon contained the Hamm Dong!

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.

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109 Responses to “‘Mad Men’ Season 6 premiere: what goes around comes around?”

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  1. GiGi says:

    I had Mad Men dreams, too! So crazy 😉

    I am obsessed with this opener. It’s so Lost-y. I feel like I have to watch it about 20 times just to make sure I caught everything. It’s primed the pump for a great season.

    I was wishing for more Joan, too. And I thought the Betty parts were interesting… especially the rape part – that was… weird, right?

    And, of course, I love that Don is cheating on Megan, lol!

    • BW says:

      I thought Betty making the rape comments was very weird and disturbing.

      I love how Stan and Peggy are still tight. It seemed like they really bonded back on Nude Work Night a few seasons back.

      I’m not sure where they are going with New Brown Nose Guy (can’t remember his name). He was weird.

      Henry really is a politician, isn’t he? Very diplomatic. “Elizabeth Taylor, what have you done with my wife?” Bobby was right. Her hair looked ugly.

      • Kaiser says:

        OMG, Fat Betty’s rape “jokes” were the worst.

      • Apsutter says:

        I don’t like the new brown nose guy either. I think he spells trouble and I really wished they had shown more Joan!! Their new office is freakin awesome too.

      • GiGi says:

        I know – Betty’s rape jokes were so bizarre and specific… is that going somewhere?

        Also – I bet Don & Betty do it this season.

    • Sachi says:

      Betty’s rape joke was bizarre and very uncomfortable to watch. I read some comments theorizing about possible sexual abuse in Betty’s past.

      But I think it signals the more relaxed, free Betty.

      I don’t mean that as a compliment, but as a comparison to how she was as Betty Draper. Her character is changing.

      She couldn’t even say the word “sex” to Don before. But she’s become very comfortable with sex with Henry.

      And the scenes she had last night, especially the ones with Sally and the rundown building…all of them were a break from how she used to be as uptight, cold Betty Draper.

      Betty Francis is doing all the things Betty Draper would never even think of doing/saying. 😉

      Look at her body. She’s still not back to a size 2 but she doesn’t feel burdened by it anymore. She’s not obsessing about her looks as much as she was in the prior seasons.

      I think (and hope) she’ll finally find her purpose. Maybe she’ll be a social worker?

      Although I wish Weiner would stop trying to make Betty seem like an awful person. Mad Men is steep in imagery and subtle messages. Some people might take Betty’s dialogue and automatically decide she’s still the horrid person she’s always been.

      • Mira says:

        ITA, Sachi. I love Betty’s storyline and I missed her a lot last season. I’m glad the premier had her storyline as one of the main arcs. I don’t understand the Betty hate. I mean, I get it that she used to be mean but she has often showed she can be sympathetic too. She lived with a man like Don for god’s sake. Anyone who lives with Don can end up frustrated. He a man who’s primarily unhappy with himself and such people can never be happy about anything or anyone. Despite all her meanness, she has been the one to look after their children. Don hardly spent any time with Sally and Bobby even when he was married to Betty.

        The rape jokes however were very uncomfortable.

        The best scene was when Roger broke down in the shoe polish scene.

        And yeah, need more Joan and Pete.

  2. Dawn says:

    Loved it! It was really so good and I felt so bad for Roger even though he is such a rake. Sally is growing into a Betty Jr. and I don’t think Betty likes it much. Still all in all it was a great opening series and I can’t wait to see more! Yep the Betty rape stuff was totally weird and what’s with the black hair? Again, loved it!

  3. HoustonGrl says:

    I loved the Peggy story line! Is something going to happen between her and Teddy?? Abe looked like D’artagnan, sexy!

    I just couldn’t get into the whole Don/Megan story line. He seems lethargic, and she’s still so…mouthy. And childish.

    I loved that shoe polish scene too, my friends and I commented on how well it conveyed grief and the random ways in which it hits you.

    Best scene: The funeral.

    Yeah, more Joan!

    • Ally8 says:

      Well it sounded like Ted and his wife were off in marriage counselling with his priest in some cabin somewhere, so he may be coming onto the market. (The scene with Peggy being religiously interrogated on the phone was fantastic, btw.)

  4. Tiffany27 says:

    I don’t like Megan, but I’m sad he’s cheating on her. It feels like he’s waiting to die or something.
    Also, WHY are they bringing back The Killing?

    • Shelly says:

      LOL about The Killing….I guess I am one of the few who stuck with the show, and I absolutely love it! I LOVE Mireille Enos in it. To quote weird Betty, she “makes me feel so much”.

      • Faye says:

        @Shelly — I’m also one of those wierdos! Not only did I stick with The Killing and like it, I was thrilled to hear it was coming back. The actors are great, the writers are (IMO) talented, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with a new case.

      • ZigZagZoey says:

        Well, I watched all of the Killing.
        Sorry, but I have to disagree about Enos.
        It just doesn’t seem too damn hard to scowl at the rain and barely talk. I hated all of her scenes with the girl’s mother.
        I think she is highly overrated, but that’s just me.

      • Esmom says:

        I find The Killing weirdly compelling. I also find Megan Draper weirdly compelling.

  5. It'sJustBlanche says:

    I guess he would prefer it if we didn’t mention his wiener? Well then I won’t.

  6. Apsutter says:

    I CANNOT BELIEVE that he was cheating with that neighbor woman!!!! My jaw hit the floor and I was soooo mad at him! And I know you guys hate Megan but it was nice to see her being so self assured and confident in herself. I think that Dons secret is going to be found out and I think it will link back to his missing lighter. That would make sense what with the poster being two Don’s and all. That man is so totally miserable with himself and actually quite pathetic. The way he vomited at the funeral…yuck.

    • Kaiser says:

      You know what shocked me? The neighbor woman is Linda Cardellini!!!!!!

      • lucy2 says:

        What!?!? Really? I had no idea.

      • Apsutter says:

        I know!!!!! How beautiful did she look in that dress with her hair up?! I liked her right away and then I was mad that they were having an affair. Also she mentioned that they have a kid who’s a freshman in college….no f***ing way

      • HoustonGrl says:

        Me too…they made her look so old!

      • Chicagogurl says:

        Yes! Where has she been since freaks? Her helmet hair was not her look but she looks fabulous in general.

      • JC says:

        She had a small but memorable part in Brokeback Mountain.

      • Poink517 says:

        What??!! Linda cardellini??! Totally did not recognize her!!

      • Esmom says:

        I know! It took me a minute to register it was her but she was great. She looks fantastic in period styling.

      • Becky1 says:

        I thought that was her!! It’s odd that they have her playing so much older, though-her character mentioned at the NYE party that her son was in college. I think Linda Cardellini is maybe in her her mid 30’s? Oh well, people tended to have kids earlier back then-her character could have had her son in her late teens/early twenties.

  7. Aqua says:

    I thought MM sucked! Found it boring!

  8. dannyexplosion says:

    So did Don lose his Dick Whitman lighter when he ended up with the wrong zippo thus losing another connection to who he used to be?

    • Apsutter says:

      I think the other army guy has it which is why I think people will find out about Don. If that guy tries to track him down then people will realize that he has the lighter of a dead man and things could get hairy for him.

      • Launicaangelina says:

        Oooohhhhh good theory!

      • BW says:

        But everybody already knows Don is Dick Whitman. Pete tried to make a big stink about it a couple of seasons back and Burt and Roger didn’t care. Betty knows. Even Megan knows, because he was upfront with her about it. Besides, Dick could have taken Don’s lighter along with his dog tags.

      • apsutter says:

        Everybody in his inner circle knows and they’re not telling but if the army found out that would be a BIG DEAL. Remember when SCDP almost took that government contract and they were digging into everyone’s pasts and they would have found out about Don’s desertion from the Army? He had Pete kill a HUGE contract because he knew that it had serious consequences. Desertion from the armed forces is considered treason and he would do some serious jailtime if convicted. Not to mention it would totally ruin his life and career.

      • Ally8 says:

        Dick Whitman sort of goofed there when he told the guy that Don Draper wasn’t married in Korea… he was, to Anna. Dick Whitman wasn’t married, though.

        However, his angst with the lighter could just have been about the phrase engraved on the lighter, or the sense that the lighter would end up on another dead guy in a war zone in Asia. Or the fact that the guy did go back to Vietnam, whereas Don connived his way out of Korea, so guilt?

      • Twez says:

        He switched dog tags with the real Don Draper. As far as the Army is concerned, Dick Whitman died in Korea, and Don Draper was discharged after being wounded. A cigarette lighter isn’t going to open an investigation.

  9. lucy2 says:

    Don and Megan seem like they’re in such different places, but then again they probably always have been. He definitely seems suicidal, which makes sense if you think about how much he tries to drown himself out with alcohol.
    I really enjoyed the Peggy part too. The last few seasons it’s been fun and kind of inspiring to watch her make her own way in the world.

    Betty, what the hell was with those comments? She’s so messed up. I think she was trying to push him into fighting with her, and he wouldn’t bite. Not physically, but she’s aged a lot over the course of the show – she was once the perfect on the outside, in style wife, and now she seems very old fashioned and left behind. I loved the kids being disgusted by her hair color – let’s face it, she’s often mean and awful to them, so it was one of their few chances to throw it back at her.

    • Apsutter says:

      Don seemed completely OFF the entire episode. He didnt talk for the first ten minutes and the way he was interacting with people was so weird! The way he stared at the blond neighbor during New Year’s and his entire demeanor during the funeral. I think Megan is wrapped up in becoming successful so she’s missing all the signs with him. I think this show has to end with him dying or showing his death because he treats his body like a human garbage disposal.

      • Poink517 says:

        Oooh Ap, I think you might be right about it ending with his death – he DOES seen really off.

      • Ally8 says:

        Well, it should be death by jumping off a skyscraper on Madison Avenue, since that has been foreshadowed in the opening credits since the beginning.

        However, not a poetic film image at all post-September 11. Just tragic and gruesome.

        I always thought that episode when he contemplated moving to California and becoming a mechanic was very powerful and evocative (the path not taken and all); I was sorry they didn’t pursue that for a while.

        Maybe Don Draper will die, as Dick Whitman ‘sheds his skin’ (as per this episode’s imagery) and continues the vagabond ways of his youth.

      • Bijlee says:

        @ally8 I think youre right. That is what the opening credits have been alluding to since the beginning of the series. One the white mans reaction the the changing social landscape of the sixties, but his own demise. I think people are right. The lighter will probably play a bigger part in the end IMO. It might be finally the minute don feels his identity is up and he might be sent to jail, he’ll jump and committ suicide. I think that’s how it’s going to play out. Don seems to be depressed and seems to have been depressed for most of his adult life. He’s been on the destructive path for a long time. Also I don’t think he was referring to the affair when he said I want to end this. I mean I think there were two meanings, one the affair, and the second his life. He really doesn’t see the pint to continue living. At this pint he wants to experience death.

  10. Shelly says:

    I loved the episode. Yes, the pacing was slow, but it seems like all of the season openers are paced that way, and then the action starts picking up as the season goes on. You end up finding out how valuable that first slow episode was and what it all meant. I also adore Roger’s first wife. I wish they were still married, because they have great chemistry together. I also found it interesting that Don has a friend that he actually introduces as his friend (I don’t think Don has ever called anyone a friend). Which made the ending where he was sleeping with the friend’s wife that much more sad. I was also hoping to see more Joan…but I’m sure we will be soon enough. And Peggy as a boss was pretty bad-ass. She was hardcore, and I would expect nothing less from her.

    • Cam S says:

      Pretty sure Roger and his first wife are married in real life. Maybe that chemistry translates on screen as well.

      • Faye says:

        Yes, they are — Talia Balsam is John Slattery’s real-life wife. It’s funny to see them playing exes.

      • magpie says:

        and she was married to Clooney!

      • boredsuburbanhousewife says:

        May we digress a moment to discuss the magical sex appeal of Talia Balsam? I mean, ladies, she must have IT in a major way since she is the only woman in history to date who has gotten George Clooney to say “I Do”! God would I love to hear what she says about him and Keibler et al in private!!

        And her “it” continued by snagging John Slattery who is extremely attractive even if not classically handsome.

        Love to hear your input on this! Go Talia!

      • boredsuburbanhousewife says:

        I was amazed at how convincing JJ looks fat. Even her face looks fat.

        I love Mona.

        Other than that, the show is very dull and repetitious. There is very little character development, especially with the men.

        Having watched faithfully for all previous years, I’m disappointed Breaking Bad is a far superior show.

  11. Shelly says:

    OH! But can we talk about Betty’s weird (and inappropriate!!) rape joke that she made to her husband about Sally’s friend, Sandy?! I mean, WTF? She is such a weirdo!! Sometimes I like her, and then she says something all f-ed up and loony, and I remember what a freak she is.

  12. Original A says:

    I totally think Betty is going to completely change this season. The whole East Village thing and the hair and dealing with Sally….

    • ZigZagZoey says:

      Me too. I think it will be cool, too.
      January gets so much crap, but I think she does a really good job as Betty.

      • Esmom says:

        I agree. I think her performances are always really nuanced. Betty is fascinating to me and JJ’s skill in the role is so under appreciated, I think.

    • lucy2 says:

      I think so too. The way she went overboard with Sally’s friend was odd too. I think she’s kind of jealous of the girls, with everything in front of them. I’d imagine she feels stuck in a rut and is going to do odd and maybe even dangerous things to try to break out of that.

    • Poink517 says:

      I think Betty might try to relive that time in her life, ie pretend that she is back in her twenties and try to escape to the east village. I don’t think she ever really grew up, so she’ll go through that ‘coming of age’, so to speak.

      • Becky1 says:

        I thought it was interesting that after the kid in the Village made the comment about Betty’s hair color being “bottled” (while he was looking at her driver’s license) she went and dyed her hair dark brown. Maybe she’s trying to be more “authentic”?

  13. Cam S says:

    I can not begin to express how disappointed I am. This episode had me thinking “I waiting over a year for THIS?” What did Don say he wanted for the new year? I missed that part.

    It was a disjointed, uninformative mess IMO

    • Poink517 says:

      Cam, he said he wanted to ‘stop doing this’ when he was sleeping with his friend’s wife. Maybe he’s a sex addict? Or maybe he doesn’t mean cheating all together, maybe he just means cheating with that woman.

  14. Faye says:

    To me Mad Men is the same as it always was. A bunch of awful, incomprehensible people screwing everything up, never appreciating what they have, and being all angst-y. And yet still I keep on watching :).

    I have to admit I cackled out loud when we saw Don was cheating again. After last season’s pimping out of Megan, and the constant interviews with Jessica Pare talking about how Don finally found a life partner who was his equal and who could make him happy, I took a special schaudenfraude-ish joy in seeing her being treated the way Don always treats women.

    It was funny to see Linda Cardellini in Mad Men dress. She actually isn’t too old to be playing that part — she’s 37, and back then women had kids fairly early, so she could easily have had a college age child.

    I am so sick of Fat Betty. It just doesn’t add anything to the story to see her like this, and why make January Jones put on all that gear? And of course, the writers have to come up with the most horrible things for her to say. Did JJ do something to tick off Matthew Weiner, I wonder?

    Love Peggy – more of her, please!

    • Ally8 says:

      I know! Weiner totally has a love-hate thing with Betty. He made the part much bigger once he cast J.Jones, which is an endorsement. On the other hand, Betty is always Bad Mommy.

      On the other hand, he is completely smitten with Jessica Paré… Good Mommy!

  15. Merritt says:

    This episode was a mixed bag.

    The Good:

    1. Roger and Mona

    2. The awkward moment with Don, Dawn and Dr. Rosen.

    3. Peggy

    4. Linda Cardellini

    5. Henry Francis’ mother

    The bad

    1. The scenes at the hippie house were just odd and forced.

    2. Sally is really just turning into a jerk. Not unexpected given who the parents are. But it was over the top.

    3. Very little Joan. There should have been more Joan.

    4. I have hard time believing that an agency that sometimes has very conservative clients would have been okay with some of the staff getting high in the office. Joan mentions it briefly but no one seems to react at all.

    The ugly

    1. Betty’s rape “joke”. I just cringed during the whole thing. Really awful. WTF?

    2. Don and his infidelity. This is getting so old.

    • anonymous fan says:

      ITA to everything you said Merritt.The worst part were Betty’s scenes in that hippie house.Why did she seem so comfortable there with those dangerous looking men? Wouldn’t she have been terrified? And the dialogue between her and those guys was just ridicoulous.What the heck were they talking about.And when Betty dyed her hair black all I could think is she is trying to look like Megan.I believe she wants Don back and they are finally going to deal with that this season.

    • Sassy says:

      -Another ugly: Don vomiting at the funeral. Not even realistic that he was vomit drunk in the middle of the day. When did he start drinking, 6 am?

      The Betty character – The fat suit – what is going on? They must be trying to get some use out of the fat suit that was used by Peggy during her pregnancy.

  16. Redheadwriter says:

    My face hurts just looking at Jennifer Westfeldt’s face. It’s so pinched!

  17. ZigZagZoey says:

    It sure was weird. I liked most of it.
    My biggest complaint would probably be the lack of JOAN!
    Megan is so happy that she cannot even see that Don is suicidal. Or sleeping with the neighbor. Damn, that was a bummer! I was mad at Don…Not for cheating, since he has done it a million times, but it’s his friend’s wife! In the same building….Does he want to get caught and get kicked out by Megan?

    I absolutely agree that it was very confusing to me the way the first few minutes were. I really thought it was a flash forward of Don having a heart attack that would happen at the end of the ep. And I still don’t really know who the hell Sandy is/was.

    Betty’s husband is quite a weirdo. He barely balks when she suggests he rape her daughter’s friend, and doesn’t seem to mind her “doing errands” well into the night……WTF. Doesn’t he remember that she cheated on Don to be with him?

    • Sachi says:

      But that’s why, IMO, Henry is good for Betty. Not the part where he wasn’t saying anything about her rape joke (he actually said “WTH?” to her joke), but the rest of their interaction as a married couple.

      Don would never have allowed Betty to do whatever she wanted the way Henry is with her now. Don called Betty desperate for trying on a bikini while he was OK with Megan doing it. I don’t see Henry doing that to Betty to ruin her confidence.

      Henry loves Betty even when she’s not thin and perfect-looking. He encourages Betty to be more comfortable with herself.

      Betty doesn’t have to be at home by 5PM cooking dinner like she used to for Don…like most housewives were expected to do in the ’50s-60s.

      Betty changed her hair colour Henry didn’t mock her but looked happy for her. Betty has the choices and freedom as Mrs. Francis that she never had with Don.

      • ZigZagZoey says:

        Excellent points there! Thanks.
        I still think he’s creepy.
        But you are totally right!

      • apsutter says:

        I also love Henry and Betty together. At first I just thought that she had rushed into another marriage but I really think they’re a good match. He treats her with respect and loves her no matter what and Betty needs that to grow as a person. I could see Betty really going for it and taking on some real life adventures like a job or college and Henry being behind her 100%.

        I’m also sad that Don is cheating with his friend’s wife. They all got along so well and of course he’s schtupping the wife! I think that Don is so depressed looking now because he really tried to be a faithful husband and he’s blowing it. And he seems miserable about the mistakes he’s making.

      • Bijlee says:

        I love Henry!!, he’s so sweet and gorgeous. Hopefully Betty finds stability and happiness with him.

  18. LurkeeLee says:

    I kept thinking who is this Sandy character that Betty is so worried about and why is this storyline being introduced? I’m wondering if she is not the daughter of Betty’s friend who was dying of cancer last season. I guess this is to show Betty broadening her horizons and showing a deeper and maybe darker personality to come. Still, I couldn’t stop thinking, I just don’t care about this storyline, but I agree at least the ep wasn’t all Megan. I confess to being glad Don cheated on Megan, but for some reason I wish the writers had picked up from the S5 finale scene when Don was sitting alone in the bar and the beautiful woman was hitting on him. I kind of hate it when this show jumps far into the future and you just have to assume things. I do like Peggy’s storyline and agree there should have been more Joan. Was glad to see part of the ep dedicated to Roger and his exes as he brings the humour to the show. Otherwise it was kind of boring and morbid. I hope the whole season does not have that tone to it. I watched the last ep of S5 before the show and found out for the first time that Julia Ormond (Legends of the Fall) played Megan’s mom. I didn’t even know that. She plays that part so well. I hope Marie is featured in some eps for s6 too. She is the only thing good about the Megan character.

  19. Happy21 says:

    I was soo excited to watch it but must admit I felt a little let down by it but I think that was purely the hype in my own mind.

    A few things:
    * I was pretty put off by Betty’s rape comments and felt really weird she was saying them. BUT I was thrilled to see more of Betty. In the first couple seasons she was for sure one of my favorite characters. I hope to get that back.

    * Don was off the entire show. I feel like he is feeling his own mortality. He’s getting older, the world is changing around him and he isn’t the hip young exec he once was. I also agree with the suicidal comments. I feel like he’s also not use to having a woman who is independent. Betty needed everything from him and Megan doesn’t need anything because she is making her own mark. I can’t stand her though. Not the actress, the character!!

    * I wish there was more Joan

    * I love Peggy and wonder if this is how we’ll see her – in her element at another ad firm or whether somehow she’ll make it back.

    * The set design in this episode blew my mind. I love it. All of it!

    • Faye says:

      @Happy21: The season opener of Mad Men usually kind of lags, so take heart — it will probably pick up the pace.

      You raised some interesting points about Betty versus Megan. On the surface, the narrative supports what you’re saying here — Betty was the dependent housewife cast in the old model, Megan represents the new, young independence. But is that really the case? Even while Betty was married to Don, she was mostly responsible for the children, especially when Don went jaunting off on one of his existential crises (Sally’s birthday party the first season, his California trip in Season 3). And now Betty’s taking steps toward outside interests (ex: running into the city after Sandy).

      Megan, on other hand – everything she has was given to her by Don. Her beautiful apartment and clothes — paid for by him. Even her acting job was only obtained through his contacts. She may pout and talk back to Don more than Betty did at first, but in the end, it’s always about getting him to agree to something, isn’t it? I may be biased because she seems very vapid and self-absorbed to me, but I do wonder if Weiner really wants us to see her as the exemplar of new female independence they tried to make her out to be last season.

      • Happy21 says:

        Good points 🙂

        I really do think Megan would have nothing if not for Don but I do not believe for a second that Megan actually believes that. I think in her head she earned all of it someway somehow.

        I think it’s only a matter of time before SHE cheats on him (her old man…). She was what 22 or something when they married so she still isn’t even 25…

      • Faye says:

        @Happy21: You’re so right! Megan does come off that way. I used to think Weiner was being clever and writing the character that way, but after hearing Pare’s interviews for last season, I think it’s her tone-deafness that’s driving the character more than anything.

        I think it would be interesting (and realistic) if Megan cheats. Let’s see how Don likes being the injured party for once! (I don’t count Betty’s leaving him for Henry Francis, because she and Don were at the end by then anyway).

  20. celeste says:

    I don’t know if i loved or hated this episode. It was drawn out a bit. I won’t stop watching Mad Men, but I will if there is more of these long boring shows. I like that fact that this show is loosening up. I like all the clues as to what time period it is. Don Draper has no place in the loser 60 and 70s he is so secretive. He can’t keep up. I wonder how the writers will deal with these characters that have no place in this day and age! They want to evolve the characters but it is to much fun to watch them cheat! i don’t know why I hate Megan’s character, maybe I am jealous! and lastly I would still make love to Don Draper after him throwing up! he even made that LOOK SEXY!

  21. Beatrice says:

    I love Mad Men but I thought the opener was boring. The 60’s atmosphere was spot on, but the glacial pace was tedious. I know that this was supposed to bring us up to date and reacquaint us with the characters, but nothing much happened. I still love the rakish Roger and Joan, but Don started out in a very dark place. Hopefully it will get better, but after last season Mad Men is on my “maybe watch” list.

  22. Launicaangelina says:

    I am so happy the show is back. After the episode, I kept thinking about it last night and today. No dreams but it lingers with you. I kept trying to figure out all the little details and nuances. I’m definitely re-watching this episode to see what I missed.

  23. Eleonor says:

    I don’t know why, but I have a feeling that Don will go back to Betty, you know? Just like yes he had this fancy young wife, but he is not happy, she makes him feel old,she is too different, and Betty was simply better for him. That’s my feeling.

    • Bijlee says:

      NO! Don and Betty should never ever get together. I really really really hope Betty doesn’t do something so utterly stupid like that. Please let Betty flourish and become a happy person wiener PLEASE!!!

      • Faye says:

        Bijlee, I don’t want Betty to go back to Don either, but “let her flourish and be a happy person?” You’ve watched this show before, right :)? It is axiomatic in Weiner-world that everyone must always be Deeply, Utterly, and Existentially Miserable.

      • apsutter says:

        He would never do that. Betty and Don were a bad match and a marriage of convenience. Matt Weiner confirms this if you watch the additional videos that AMC puts on their youtube channel or the commentary on the dvd’s.

      • Bijlee says:

        @faye lol yes I’ve seen the show I know, but I’d like to think that after five seasons of being a reviled character by everyone in the fan base wiener would give some sympathy to Betty. Whereas don is wholly beloved by practically everyone despite being a dick and doing well in his professnal life, and yet he still gets to succeed all the freaking time or come off as the “good” guy. I just want Betty to finish the series off in a better place than she started. Or at least ambiguously enough that I can dream, she’s happier at the very end with good ole Henry Francis. Who is IMO from what we’ve seen of him a much kinder, gentler, and better person than don.

      • Faye says:

        @Bijlee, I wish you and I had exchanged ideas online earlier — I’d have felt a lot less lonely! I had to stop reading Mad Men forums because everyone, even self-proclaimed feminists, always gave the character of Don such a tongue-bathing. No matter what he did, it was because the poor dear had a bad childhood, and all his cheating wasn’t because he was a faithless bastard — it was because he had such self-doubt and “couldn’t allow himself to be happy!” Whereas Betty was always a cold, evil bitch who deserved to be cheated on, degraded, and left, and anything wrong she did was because she was evil. Frankly, the double standard is incomprehensible to me.

        I, too, would love to see Betty get a break and have some happiness. But, given that Matthew Weiner is responsible for trying to make her such a hated character, I don’t see that happening.

        I also like the character of Henry Francis. He seems to be a good husband and a good man. I really started liking him when he was so supportive when she gained the weight and felt so badly about herself.

      • Bijlee says:

        @faye lol I know the feeling. Sachi up above and quite a few other commenters here like Betty. We seem to be the small island in an ocean of hate for her. Honestly this seems to one the only place on the Internet where I can find more than two commenters who don’t outright loathe Betty. It’s really annoying. I think part of it is that Betty is cold. She’s not open or warm and January jones is not a very strong actress. But most of what we see of Betty is her nye action with her children. Basically Betty is not happy being a mom and there seems to be a sense of loathing that people seem to catch. But I think it ties in with her gender role and expectations as well. Everyone thinks she should love her children and care for them simply because she is a mother.

        I d think people are overly harsh on Betty because they think she’s unbelievably cruel in that she doesn’t seem to enjoy her children’s company all that much and all she does is seemingly complain about nothing. Betty’s a far more complicated character then people seem to think and part of it is our own expectations that we have on her as a woman, ie she should be a loving decoted mother/wife….lol the ideal 1950s housewife! When in reality she wants the glamorous life in a city away from kids. Remeber when she went to italy with don? That was betty at her happiest in that marriage. I sincerely believe most people hold Betty up to a MUCH higher standard then don. And she doesn’t fulfill it so they hate her. I don’t know, the reaction to Betty is complicated and the character is complex because she’s so withdrawn and outwardly superficial. People see Joan’s earlier “bitchiness” as empowering (hendricks herself was worried ppl might see joan as just the office “bitch”, but surprinsingly no) and Betty as just a boring useless character who has no redeeming qualities, not as a victim of emotional abuse from years of her childhood and her marriage to don.

        But yeah Weiner seems to want us to really hate her too, especially when she’s saying those awful awful awful things to Henry in ordr to “spice up” the bedroom. Holy Hannah bets! Things might have happened to Betty like that and she seemed to be jealous of this girls youth and talent. Then that night in the kitchen she became a little sympathetic for this girl. Betty seemed to see herself or what she could have been with sandy.

        Also I know this is weird, but Sally is just awful. Like hot damn woman, I’m 100% sure behaviour like that from Betty was never tolerated as a child. Remeber when her father use to make her pay money for useless talk? Betty grew uo a far stricter household. Betty’s given up on Sally or having any relationship with her. Good god I hate teenagers. Sally is growing up to a beautiful woman though, and kiernan shipka is such a great actress! I just hopes she (sally) gets put of the nasty phase soon. Im kinda hooping for glen to return too.

        Shoot there is sooooo much to discuss here! so many implications and conclusions we could draw. I like Betty, Joan, Peggy, and roger the most. By far my favorite characters.

      • Eleonor says:

        I don’t think they will be back together, but that Don at least will try.
        I think Betty is a very complex character. At the beginning I didn’t like her that much; but she has grown on me. She has my simpathy: she was raised to be a mum, to be a housewife, at a certain point she has had “everything”. A beautiful house, a rich husband, and two children, but she discovers that’s not enough, she isn’t happy at all. She ends up to the shrink,but she doesn’t know how to talk about her feeling. I remember Don calling her psychologist at night to discover what’s happening, that was awful.
        Betty goes through a lot of stuff, but she doesn’t know how to handle her feeling, because of how she was raised, she doesn’t have friends to talk with, because she can’t talk. The only person with she talks, for a brief moment was Glen’s mother.
        I bet they choose January Jones because of her “ice queen” attitude, Betty is frozen in a life that’s not how she has imagined it, and she knows it.

      • Faye says:

        @Bijlee — Very true, Betty is a complicated charachter, like everyone on Mad Men. And I don’t actually think she is a horrible mother just because she isn’t Susie Sunshine-ing all over the place. Let’s not forget that when she and Don were married, *she* was the one looking after the kids all the time (well, her and Carla). It just bugs me that she gets all the blame and responsibility for them and Don seems incidental to the concept of parental responsibility. I can see people thinking that way in the 60’s, but not now!

        Sally Draper annoys me too. If we were just supposed to see her as the typical bratty teen I wouldn’t mind, but the way Weiner talks I think we’re supposed to see her as this sassy, wonderful kid who’s giving Betty what she deserves. I just see a disrespectful brat. It’s not like she’s ever suffered much except for having a largely absent father (whom she adores, ironically). Having an emotionally cold mother can be rough, but doesn’t justify that behavior.

        I wish celebitchy would have a weekly Mad Men post — I’d love to exchange thoughts with everyone on the week’s episodes!

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        Hey Peeps,

        You think you’ve got unpopular opinions? Here’s one: I don’t hate Betty, save for the Carla thing I’ve usually kind of liked her. I hate Joan and Sally: Now And Forever.


  24. Esmom says:

    Crap. I missed it last night thinking I could find it online to watch today. AMC does not seem to show full episodes. Anyone know of any place to watch it online?

    • Latisse says:

      You can watch the full episode on AMCTV.com! Most channels will put at least the season premier online even the cable HBO/Showtime channels!

      • Esmom says:

        Hmm. I couldn’t find it there, but thanks I’ll look again next time. I ended up watching it on iTunes for $3.99.

    • Faye says:

      @Esmom – if you buy a season pass from Amazon Prime, it’s 5% off. Not that significant amount, but worth it if you want the whole season (don’t know if iTunes offers a similar discount).

  25. Marie Antoinette Jr. says:

    I tend to have a warped sense of humor so I thought the rape comments Betty made were shockingly funny. She’s like a precocious teen seeing how far she can push her dad. Then, she heads into the city, hangs out at a flop house all day, rips her coat, comes home way late and Henry doesn’t even care? So the next day she shows up with weird, dull brown hair. And he loves it, or acts like he does, just like a nice dad would do. The reckless driving scene added to it as well. Betty is “growing up” or at least metamorphosing. But why didn’t she rescue that poor girl’s violin? It shows that she is still rotten to the core that she didn’t call someone about finding that instrument where she did.
    I’m also a little pleased that Don is cheating on Meghan. She is such a self-involved dimwit–she doesn’t deserve the privileged life she fell ass backwards into. But, at the end of the day, Don is an ass so he deserves her. What a bastard for doing that to his cardiologist “friend”.

    love, Love, LOVE Mad Men!! So glad it’s back on!

    • Ally8 says:

      Except that Don started cheating the second Megan developed an interest other than him. Cro-magnon stuff. Way back when, he probably started cheating on Betty when she developed an interest in the children at his ‘expense’.

      • Marie Antoinette Jr. says:

        I know. There are a thousand things that go into each episode and it is delicious! All I can say is I felt Don slipped a notch this time because the cardiologist seems pretty likeable. Don needs a male friend in his life more than he needs another mistress. Maybe “ass” is the wrong term but the character slipped a bit in my estimation because he did not realize that.
        I want to idolize Don but now I can’t! ;-(

      • Sachi says:

        And this is why I don’t believe that Don has changed and Megan is the anti-Betty.

        Betty WAS how Megan used to be before Don happened. Betty had dreams, aspirations, and independence. Remember what she told Sandy about being a model? Betty knows what it was like to have her own career.

        Don and Megan’s marriage was Don and Betty’s marriage 5-6 years before the show started. Don is never gonna change. He goes through this “honeymoon” phase and then his old demons come up. He’s damaged and I doubt anyone/anything can fix him.

        The only difference this time is, I think, Megan will either leave Don sooner than Betty did or Megan will stay put and just pursue her career and they’d live separate lives…like Megan’s parents’ relationship.

        Marie Antoinette Jr. – Don betraying the doctor who has been nothing but nice to him is classic Don. He has no idea how to forge real relationships. Even his and Roger’s relationship can’t be called a genuine friendship.

      • Marie Antoinette Jr. says:

        I disagree. It seems to me he had a “real” relationship with the wife that lived out in CA. She represented the one place he could be himself. And I also think he has a connection with Joan.

      • Ally8 says:

        Everyone idealizes his relationship with Anna, but he just used her as a sympathetic ear, and never even considered her as a woman because of her disability. He would just call her or breeze in when he was in the mood, like a man leading a double life with a woman out of town. It brought out an interesting side of the character, but not a consistent or entirely admirable one, on the whole.

      • Marie Antoinette Jr. says:

        Exactly. Because he considered her a friend, and she considered him a friend. It wasn’t sexual or formal, it was comfortable and honest. It was a true friendship.

  26. Marybel says:

    H A T E Megan. Love Don, Peggy, Roger, Joan. Want to see Pete keep getting slapped down and coming back for more.

    • Eleonor says:

      I hate Megan too, in the Hawaii scenes Don’s face was like “I can’t believe I’ve married this chick!”

  27. Becky1 says:

    I’m guessing that they’ll focus more on Pete and Joan on the next episode.

    I think that they are setting it up for Peggy to have an affair with her boss. There’s definitely chemistry there…

    • Ally8 says:

      I was surprised way back when, when they dropped the storyline with Peggy’s priest. I thought they were going to do a shocking affair storyline there (emotional or otherwise) because after Pete, he was perfect for her… just her type… higher ranked, unavailable and judgemental!

    • Bijlee says:

      The chemistry between them was pretty hot! I don’t like Peggy cheating though. Gross. But it’s probably what happened back then. My opinion of her will diminish…yup sorry. She likes this guy because he appreciates her for her talent. She feels like a valuable member of the team and someone especially her boss finally treats her with Rahe respect that she always wanted from don and company. I’m sorry but don took Peggy for granted. He really took her for granted and it came back to bite him in the ass.

  28. RdyfrmycloseupmrDvlle says:

    I thought the season opener way amazing as usual.
    I dont get the hate for Don draper merely because of his “cheating”. Its more complicated than that and Im relieved that America FINALLY has a show for grown ups with complicated ADULT topics that go beyond the surface and JUDGEMENT of things. If your going to watch Draper and be all Judgy-wudgy then stop watching. If you want to explore all of the characters in full then this si the show for you. The point of the show is that, yes, everyone, everyone has some sort of form of pain and angst that we deal with that if you go beyond the inital impressions and come to an understanding of someones fullness there is something likeable and rellateable to them.
    having said that……I kind of dislike Megan and am rooting for Betty. And, more Joan would have been awesome but I know thats coming and …..OMG good I loved the Sterling plotline…..funniest line ever: “…..will go on forever, much like this analysis.”

  29. danni says:

    the part which i didn’t understand was that he went to Linda Cardellini bad and than came back to megan….and megan didn’t ask him ‘where was he?’ or didn’t suspect…

  30. Faye says:

    Wish we could have a weekly Mad Men discussion here!

  31. GirlySkwerly (@girlyskwerly) says:

    I love vicious Betty. I think underneath it all, THAT is who she is. The rape comments felt, to me, like she finally doesn’t care to pretend to be something she isn’t, Henry and everyone else can like it or not. It was a rare moment of confidence for Betty.