‘Mad Men’ fans count down to tonight’s fifth season premier
Will ‘Mad Men’ protagonist Don Draper’s dark secret come to light? Will Peggy Olson keep breaking sexist barriers? Can Roger Sterling keep ‘living like he’s on shore leave?’ And will Pete and Trudy ever dance the Charleston again?
The long wait is over, “Mad Men” fans.Skip to next paragraph
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In a matter of hours, the fifth season of AMC’s award-winning series begins as we pick up again on the lives of the men and women of a Madison Avenue advertising firm.
There are so many things to learn.
When (if ever) will protagonist Don Draper’s deep, dark secret be revealed, and to whom? Just how far can creative director Draper push young copywriter Peggy Olson before she goes off to seek fame and fortune (and maybe true romance) elsewhere? How long can Roger Sterling, a World War II Navy vet and senior partner, keep “living like he was on shore leave?” What happens between Sterling and office manager Joan Harris when her doctor husband gets shipped to Vietnam?
So many characters, so many relationships to keep track of. And so many evolutions in style as the series moves from the late 50’s into the early and mid 60s. Was there really that much smoking, drinking, and illicit sex?
“Yes and yes,” Jane Maas told the Los Angeles Times. Ms. Maas was a real-life Peggy Olson back then, the author now of “Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the '60s and Beyond,” which the New York Times calls “breezy and salty.”
Just like the staff at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, the LA Times reports, Maas as an advertising copywriter had her share of difficult-to-please clients, such as "the Queen of Mean," real estate entrepreneur Leona Helmsley, "the most miserable, abject, cravenly seven months I've had in my whole life."
Naturally, the Wall Street Journal examines “What Real Executives Can Learn From ‘Mad Men’ ”
Their expert in this case is Rich Sommer, who plays media head Harry Crane.
The main lesson for today’s Mad Men? “Definitely about how not to act,” Sommer says. For one thing, he points out in his Wall Street Journal interview, “Crane fails to recognize the talents of the women around him, losing out on the opportunity to tap valuable human capital.”
Well-known political reporter and TV pundit Eleanor Clift remembers what things were like when she (like Peggy Olson) started out as a secretary, in Ms. Clift’s case at Newsweek magazine.
“Women weren’t supposed to be openly ambitious in the ’60s,” she writes on Newsweek’s Daily Beast web site. “When I started at Newsweek As a secretary, I was thrilled to be where what I typed was interesting…. It didn’t occur to me that I could be a reporter or a writer, but the frustrations that within the decade would produce a women’s movement were taking root at Newsweek.”
Other commentators are having fun with “Mad Men,” examining what we know about the characters so far, fantasizing about the story line and personalities, and critiquing preview showings (without revealing anything that happens in the first two-hour special).
“Few television characters have the ability to inspire such universal disdain as Mad Men's Betty Francis [Don Draper’s wife],” writes Jen Kalaidis in The Atlantic online. “From her questionable approach to parenting to her vindictive, childish attitude, it's no surprise Betty is the character fans most love to hate.”