'Mad Men': Five Things to Watch for This Season
Mad Men" has aired a new episode. In that time, acclaimed dramas like "Breaking Bad," "Game of Thrones," and "Boardwalk Empire" have submitted stellar seasons, so it's understandable if you've forgotten about the good people over at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. But make no mistake: "Mad Men" is TV's best show, and proves it with a densely packed two-hour premiere so finely crafted, it makes every minute of the wait worth it.
Alas, we've been sworn to secrecy by "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner, so we can't divulge too many details about this week's long-awaited Season 5 premiere. (Oh, how we wish we could!) But there's still plenty to talk about regarding the new season -- and seasons to come. Last week, we took part in a roundtable discussion with Weiner and the cast of "Mad Men," and came away with five things to watch for this season.
They want to say 'Thanks for waiting'
Weiner sees the supersized premiere as a sort of thank-you gift to patient viewers: "It was like, 'We've been away a long time. Here's something extra… I hope you'll get back into it by getting all of it at once.'" Star Jon Hamm thinks the long layoff actually had its benefits: "People came back with a renewed sense of excitement… In many ways, it felt like Season 1." And even the tight-lipped Weiner allows that the premiere contains "quite a bit of showmanship… There's some stuff we haven't done before." We can vouch for that, but it's mostly business as usual at SCDP: One employee fears they're going to be fired after an off-color comment, another considers an infidelity (shocker, we know), and two partners almost come to blows. That's not saying too much, is it, Matt?
The times, they are a-changin'
If Season 4 marked the beginning of the '60s as we know them, Season 5 takes us even further into the tumultuous era. For the first time on the show, the civil rights struggle comes to the forefront -- and (literally) into the SCDP lobby. A lavish party hints at the growing divide between the generations, and Don Draper knows which side he stands on. "He's getting old," Hamm says of his character, "in a culture where that's not necessarily a good thing… The younger generation is rapidly taking the reins." And Roger Sterling is in the same boat, according to co-star John Slattery, now that Lucky Strike has left the agency. "That power position he had there, holding the golden goose, has changed… He's in a precarious position." Bad news for geezers like Don and Roger… but good news for whippersnappers like Pete and Peggy.
Yes, Megan is still around
Don shocked everyone (us included) by impulsively popping the question to his beautiful secretary, Megan, in last season's finale. And since Jessica Paré is listed in the Season 5 cast credits, it's safe to say that Don didn't just abandon her on the streets of Manhattan like Duck's poor dog, Chauncey. Hamm confirms that Megan is still a part of Don's life, saying this season they experience some "residual growing pains, figuring each other out… They don't know each other very well." We don't know Megan that well, either: Look for her to show off a talent in the premiere we never knew she had. (Here's a hint: You do remember she speaks French, don't you?)