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‘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?

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But examining Don’s and Betty’s behavior throughout the series – neither is a paragon of rectitude – Ms. Kalaidis wonders why most fans and critics seem to give Don a pass for his errant ways but slam Betty as “the worst mother in TV history," as one critic described her.

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“If the audience evaluated Betty they same way they do Don – as a character whose flaws are a largely explained by the era he came of age – it's likely they would view her in a slightly more sympathetic light,” Kalaidis writes.

As reported in The Atlantic, Elisa Kreisinger, a fellow at the Center for Social Media at American University, has fun remixing “Mad Men” videos, dubbing in dialogue from other parts of the show.

What if the characters and storyline of “Mad Men” were transported ahead a half-century to 2012, wonders Stephanie Newman of the Washington Post?

“Don Draper, master of the ‘Mad Men’ universe, in 2012 might resemble an older, establishment-oriented Mark Zuckerberg: an ambitious entrepreneur who lives in Silicon Valley, wears flip-flops to formal occasions and rides his bicycle to work,” Newman imagines.

Really out there is Heather Murphy’s “Pairing Up the Heroes of Downton Abbey With Their Mad Men Soul Mates,” on Slate.

Who knew, for example, that Downton’s upright and uptight butler Carson and vivacious (to put it mildly) Mad Men office manager Joan play very similar roles, running a tight ship and winning the complete confidence of their employers?

Or that the Dowager Countess of Grantham (played by Maggie Smith) can be paired with the Roger Sterling for their superbly timed zingers. “Each character plays the role of ego-deflator, knocking friends and foes alike off of their pedestals,” Murphy writes.

MTV has gathered together some prominent reviews of tonight’s opener.

One example from Variety:

“Series creator Matthew Weiner resists rushing into anything, easing into a reset of where players currently stand in a manner – especially given the protracted absence – that should leave all but the most ardent fans trying to putty-in the gaps. Each time-lapse introduces more wrinkles in the show's world, but the premiere offers a sketchy road map of what's to come, and won't expand 'Men's' footprint beyond its solid arthouse niche.”

The bottom line for MTV’s John Mitchell: “Consensus opinion seems to be that while it might not rank as one of the series' best, [the first episode] does a good job of catching everyone up and setting the tone for what will surely be a riveting season of highbrow television.”


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