Mad Men (and Women)
I watched with eager anticipation the premiere of the fourth season of “Mad Men” last evening.
Me, along with everybody else in the advertising and marketing world, to be sure.
What strikes me about that show, however, is how much it’s not really about the world of advertising. That includes the premiere show that aired last evening.
We’ve flashed forward a year or so since last season’s end, this time with Sterling Cooper having hung out their own shingle and having their own office space, instead of the single hotel room we saw last episode.
Don’s personal shortcomings pervaded the first episode of the new season.
First, he blew an interview with a peg-legged reporter (“Korea,” he explains) from AdAge, failing to realize the interview wasn’t so much about his own personal vanity than it was to draw attention (and business) to the fledgling firm.
Hard to believe Draper’s character (particularly at this juncture) was either that modest or naive, but okay, I went along for the ride.
When he told the clients of bikini-wear maker Jantzen to get the hell out of his office, despite losing the potential ad placements, you could see Draper drawing a line between the clashing mores of the 50s and the 60s.
He was going to work for forward-thinking, progressive businesses, or he was going to find another line of work.
Of course, his family life continues to be a mess…also the point…and Draper has become almost downright vindictive by now when it comes to ex-wife Betty, informing her she’s already overstayed her welcome in the house. Her new husband, the politico, doesn’t make any brownie points with Betty when he suggests Don’s right.
At the end of the episode, you see Draper doing another interview, this time with a Wall Street Journal reporter. This time, the show is on. Draper’s as cocky and confident and ever, and the reporter’s soon eating out of Draper’s hands.
I’ve no doubt Sterling Cooper is about to find themselves very well positioned to take advantage of the dramatic changes taking place in the latter half of the 1960s.
I just hope Don Draper doesn’t entirely lose his soul along the way.