After a seventeen-month hiatus, Mad Men returned three weeks ago and I, along with 3.54 million other viewers, could not have been happier. For those of you who have been living under a rock, Mad Men is the television phenomenon following the life of Don Draper and his colleagues in the world of 1960’s advertising. While I do not claim to have the credentials of a well-known television critic, I do have the wherewithal and analytical skills (shout out to all my Television/Radio/Film major bffls) to see that Mad Men is a smart show. It is smart because it explores subjects universally relevant in a retro era.
I could offer here a Sparknotes guide to Mad Men to catch you up on all that you’ve missed. Chances are, however, that I will forget something significant. Mad Men is to story as Venice is to water (i.e. ubiquitous, fluid, saturated). So instead I will present to you my predictions and thoughts on Season 5. First, I think Don and Megan will slide into a comfortably contemptible relationship. Their personalities will clash (especially if Megan engages in anymore impromptu vocal performances) but they will satisfy each other with sex and bisoux (watch Megan sing, you’ll get it). And that does a happy marriage make! Betty, on the other hand, will probably do something crazy because her life is boring. A 1960’s housewife feeling a little fed up? Never heard of such a thing. But seriously, the Mad Men crew would never let us watch Betty sulk for an entire season (a few episodes normally cut it). I sense a full time job or lesbian affair in Betty’s not so distant future.
If there is a God, Pete Campbell will have to reckon with Satan at some point this season. Last episode, he flirted with and fantasized about a teenaged girl in Driver’s Ed. and solicited some sexual healing from a prostitute. (Just a note, the brothel on last Sunday’s episode was really quite classy, oil paintings included. Before you go thinking that chic prostitution exists, it turns out that one of the prostitutes left her chewing gum in a very unfavorable location. Long story short, class was dead in 1966). Pete Campbell should go to jail just for being a jerk. The only problem is then there would not be anyone to really hate so much. Lane could punch him again, that would be good. Except Lane kissed Joan, which was a real low move, so Lane is kind of an idiot too. The writers should just scare Lane and Pete by tying them into some storyline about the Mafia or Manson murders.
I’m not sure how the stars will align for Joan. She’s kind of a lonely person right now. Maybe she’ll fall for the elevator attendant or reveal the true identity of her baby’s father. She’s an enigma, as is much of Mad Men. It often takes a while to piece together the puzzle and figure out what is actually going on (aka Mad Men dream sequence take 465). Mad Men requires a strict investment of time and thinking (kind of like school) but the return on that investment is the highest quality of entertainment. In your free time, you will find yourselves drawing hypotheses on the futures of the well-developed characters and I implore you to share them with me.