Season Four on the Horizon! - July 25th

They say April comes in like a lamb, a lamb carrying a full plate of morsels about the upcoming season four premiere of Mad Men. According to TVGuide.com’s Michael Ausiello, an expert on upcoming television news and spoilers, AMC has titled the first episode of Season Four “Public Relations," and the cameras started rolling on April 12, 2010. Ausiello’s other tidbit was particularly juicy, an announcement that the show plans on bringing three new characters of varied size and importance to the series. Weiner described the newcomers as “… a handsome and creative male; a voluptuous, curvy, and cute brunette who is friendly but professional; and an affable guy who is a bit lacking in personality.”

Of the three, the most intriguing may be the third description provided by Weiner, if only because ‘an affable guy lacking in personality’ seems the most boring on the surface. If we’ve learned anything from serialized television over the years, it’s that a nice, quiet character ALWAYS has a big secret to hide. A handsome and creative male? Could easily be competition for Don, who has never seemed to meet anyone close to his equal in terms of creative prowess in his department. The voluptuous but professional brunette? Perhaps the honeymoon’s over already for Roger and Jane, and he’s ready for even fresher meat. On the other end of the spectrum, perhaps we’re overemphasizing the “voluptuous” when we should be the “professional," and we have here a Peggy 2.0 to further emphasize the feminization of executive spots as the sixties progresses.

Still, many of the burning questions about season four have yet to be answered. Of course, we don’t really want any of season three’s specific cliffhangers spoiled before the premiere, but many are anticipating hearing if there will again be a fast-forward in years between seasons. The biggest question of all might be the one decided not by the writers and directors of our favorite show, but by the executives of AMC: When in the summer can we expect to have our Mad Men back? All we can say is stay tuned for July 25th!

Link referenced: The Ausiello Files


In an interview, Matthew Weiner acknowledged that Don Draper was partly inspired by the real Draper Daniels, the creative head of Leo Burnett in Chicago, in the 1950's. Recently, Daniels’ wife Myra Janco wrote an article about being married to a "Mad Man" for ChicagoMag.com. So what do Don Draper and Draper Daniels have in common? And what don’t they?

They definitely look alike don’t they?

They also both lead a decadent lifestyle and are pretty damn good at what they do. But sadly, the similarities end there.

According to Myra, Draper was a romantic. The article is full of adorable moments that would make Don cringe. Draper seems to genuinely adore his wife, and he became a one-woman man after he got married. He also quit drinking when his wife told him to.

In an excerpt from the article:

“I was cleaning out his old highboy chest and I found two rolls of nickels in a drawer…I thought
immediately of Vivian Hill [who] would often…say things like, 'I’ll bet you two rolls of nickels that Procter & Gamble is going to move from this agency to that agency'…I rang her up and said, 'Vivian, the strangest thing happened. I opened up the drawer to Dan’s old highboy and I found two rolls of nickels, like the kind I would sometimes win from you.' And she started laughing.

I said, 'Why are you laughing?'

'Didn’t he ever tell you?'

'Tell me what?'

So Vivian told me…The morning after I had met Dan in 1965—the night we talked for five hours, then went out for hamburgers at the Wrigley Building—he had gone to visit Vivian and said that he wanted to buy the company. I knew that part, but I didn’t know the rest of it. He also told her, 'Vivian, just for your information, within two years that woman is going to be Mrs. Daniels.' She bet him two rolls of nickels that he was wrong. The day after we were married, in 1967, she paid off the bet.

Dan kept the nickels.”

It’s interesting to note that Don’s ‘secret drawer’ is full of lies while Draper’s contained a token of his love for his wife.

And Draper worked for the Kennedy administration…go figure.

Links referenced: Chicagomag.com and Styles I Love.


Don Draper is an island. He has always isolated himself ever since he was a little boy. Like any true escapist, he leaves when he lands in hot water. In episode twelve of season one we find that Pete’s been snooping around to find the perfect angle to receive the promotion he has been looking for. When he reveals that he knows Don’s true identity, Don begins to jump ship.

Don’s flashbacks are always in great clarity. Natural light illuminates the space. This often happens when Don saves another client presentation with his great last minute ideas. It almost makes it seem as if he is divine, unscathed by flaws or failure. The opposite is true when he wants to escape his life and his thoughts are muddled.

The scene between Rachel and Don, when he is trying to convince her to leave with him is a particularly low-lit scene. The dark shadow that almost always dominates Don is ever present. Rachel tends to weave in and out of the rays that burst through the window. When they are seeing eye to eye, they stand in Isolation, but when she is refusing his offer she stands apart.

The light creates the mis-en-scene by physically depicting hostility. This is the end of his second escape. The lights give an air of ambivalence that characterizes Don’s hasty plan.

There is a need for the writers and directors to single out Don. This is not just because his tragic heroism drives the story but also to reveal his complexity.

It is also interesting that there is never more than three-quarters of their bodies shown at all times. Each shot often cuts to them in their own frame. The back and forth is conveyed by a shot reverse shot technique. This type of focus formulates the importance of their words as the space becomes smaller. They have limited space the more they grow apart as if the space mimics the relationship’s movement and lighting changes.

This is not the first time Rachel is put in a similar point of view as she often leads and commands every conversation she has. Her words are what are always important even more so as their relationship fights its previous mold.

It is no surprise however, that in this scene the effervescent relationship begins to fizzle out. She is not an escapist, but like Midge she sees the need for change, as any modern women should. She stands firmly in the bright warm light that Midge often stood in too. There is a shallow focus on the two subjects as Rachel pulls farther away. She realizes that Don is not the man she thought he would be. She is the most knowledgeable about Don’s past, but this does not salvage the relationship.