Archived Story

‘Mad Men’ resumes March 25

Published 9:20pm Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A year and a half ago, when “Mad Men” season four ended, Don Draper, the former Dick Whitman (Jon Hamm), impulsively gave an engagement ring to Megan (Jessica Pare), a secretary he barely knows, after going to, of all places, Disneyland, for “Tomorrowland.”
It was pretty starry-eyed behavior for a slick salesman who peddles the American Dream more like a likeable con man than someone who believes in the product.
“Mad Men” is set in the turbulent Sixties, when the times they were a changin’ more than we realized while living it.
Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in its own flux embodies that evolving era where people cuddled babies with lit cigarettes dangling from their lips and knocked back cocktails at work.
I don’t know about Mad-at-Us Avenue, but I remember when my dad was an attorney and he and lawyer friends would gather in the kitchen after work for a Manhattan with the red cherry or a martini with the green olive.
I made a lot of them as a “barpretender” at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, but have still never tried either. When the real Mad Men were plying their trade, I was probably riding my bike — without a safety helmet, mind you — knowing not to come home until the streetlights came on unless I was bleeding.
Happy to hear “Mad Men” will start season five Sunday on AMC, I was surprised at the number of news releases pouring into my in box with mixed drink recipes. Are people having “Mad Men” parties? Is the spirits industry counting on this show like Doritos and beer count on the Super Bowl?
Maybe fedoras will make a comeback, too.
Pondering new episodes makes me wonder how the time passage will be reflected. How much further into the Sixties might we emerge?
When last we saw the advertising agency, office manager Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks) decided to keep her baby with Roger Sterling (John Slattery).
Draper is adrift after divorcing wife, Betty (January Jones).
October 2010, when Osama bin Laden was still around, seems light years ago. Ironically, two shows “Mad Men” inspired, “Pan Am” and “Playboy Club,” have come and gone in the meantime while AMC completed contentious contract negotiations with creator Matthew Weiner, late of “The Sopranos.”
Maybe “Mad Men” resonates with us because we’re living through another watershed era when we’re too busy coping with change to appreciate its volume.

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