October 16, 2010 |
A boy, dressed up as a cowboy, sits under a dining room table, clutching the rods of a chair like bars on a prison cell. "Let me outta here! Let me outta here!" he screams. It's a scene from fictional adman Don Draper's most acclaimed commercial, and though it may just be a spot for a floor wax, viewers of "Mad Men" know that it symbolizes much more. The show, which ends its fourth season Sunday, has repeatedly used enclosed spaces ? elevators, closets, back seats ? to reinforce the themes of secrecy, repression and isolation that are central to the show.
January 8, 2012
It's been a while since we visited with these old friends. Where did we leave off things? Mad Men The winds of change are blowing cigarette smoke in Don Draper's face. When we left in 1965, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce was struggling. Joan had decided not to abort Roger's baby. Torn between two lovers, Don chose sweet, young secretary Megan rather than smart, modern Dr. Faye. Betty snapped (a little more than usual) and fired beloved housekeeper Carla, nailing her spot in the "nastiest TV moms of 2011" pantheon.
March 22, 2012 |
After 17 months, "Mad Men" returns to AMC, television and the universe Sunday night. I have seen the fifth season's two-hour opening episode. There is a party in it. I can say no more. Well, I could say more. But you may have read of a memo that "Mad Men" creator and caretaker Matthew Weiner sent out to critics everywhere asking that, in order not to spoil any viewer's fun, we keep secret "key storylines" as developed in the season premiere. Specifically, he would prefer we not mention: the year it takes place; Don Draper's relationship status; whether Joan had her baby (I'd forgotten that she was pregnant, it's been so long)
June 16, 2011 |
Sitting poolside with Elisabeth Moss, who's wearing a white summer dress, her brown hair wet and combed back and looking "cute as hell" (as Don Draper memorably described her character, Peggy Olson, on "Mad Men"), it's pretty easy to picture the day Moss walked into show creator Matt Weiner's office five years ago to read for the show. "It was the very first day of auditions," Weiner remembers, "and she was the second person to read. Not just for Peggy, but for the show, period. Someone came in to read for Don. I did not like him. And then she came in, and she was so young, wearing this ingénue dress, with her hair long and straight.
April 6, 2013 |
Here's how I am afraid "Mad Men" will end next year: With Jon Hamm's Don Draper in a white suit, heading to Studio 54. Here's how I hope it will end: The whole series is revealed to be a story told by Roger Sterling (John Slattery) in a Ventura County sweat lodge. It may seem morbid to contemplate the demise of a show that has so inarguably changed the nature of television for the better. Just when we seemed doomed to death by reality programming, AMC's "Mad Men" proved that smart, stylish television could drive the cultural conversation as effectively as any Kardashian.
March 23, 2012 |
"Does she or doesn't she?" - the innuendo-filled catchphrase for Clairol from 1956 easily could have been conceived by "Mad Men's" Don Draper. It was not, of course, but rather was penned by one of the few female copywriters of her day. Jane Maas, also a pioneer in the nearly all-male world of advertising decades ago, pays homage to the hair color campaign by Shirley Polykoff in her new book, "Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue...