Like every other Mad Men fan, I was glued to the TV for the season five premiere. “A Little Kiss, Part 1″ jumped us slightly ahead in the series, to late May 1966. Let’s review:
Joan has a baby now, and her mom is visiting to help out. Except rather than helping, her mom’s presence seems to be making more work for Joan. It’s a little sad to see the once confident office manager fall to pieces over lack of sleep and direction. She even visits the office with babe in tow and breaks down in Lane Pryce’s office. The old Joan never would have done that! I’m still half-way hoping she and Roger will end up together.
Peggy Olson’s career seems to be soaring, as she puts together an ad campaign for Heinz beans. “Ballet beans” are a little too out there for Heinz, though, and Don is no help at convincing the client it’s the best way to go. Peggy goes back to the drawing board, muttering that the ”old Don” would have pushed it through but he’s gotten soft.
And about Don … at first, it seems like marriage to Megan might be turning him into a new man. A more relaxed, peaceful Don. But when his new wife throws him a surprise 40th birthday party, complete with lots of plaid jackets (and why do all the guys back then seem ten years older than their years?), Don is ticked and embarrassed, especially when she does a seductive song and dance number with the hip band at the party. I’m guessing her recording of ”Zou Bisou Bisou” has already sold a few copies.
No sign of Betty, but the three kids spent Memorial Weekend at Don’s place — a stylish new pad with his new wife, who, by the way, is still working at the firm hammering out coupons for clients under the supervision of Peggy. Don basically just wants Megan there so he can see her during the day and maybe have sex in his office now and then. Yeah, he really hasn’t changed all that much.
On the social issues front, the episode begins with racial tensions mounting as blacks picket in the streets with signs demanding fair wages. It ends with a room full of blacks at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce because of an ad that Roger ran in the Times to make them look good to their competition. Let’s face it – that Casper-white company could use some diversity.
Pete was being his usual annoying self, all whiny over the fact that his office wasn’t big enough, and clashing with Roger who kept showing up at Pete’s appointments by pretending to flirt with Pete’s secretary when in reality he was just checking out Pete’s calendar.
I really don’t know how Roger is still standing. Remember when he had all those health issues and was at death’s door? He continues to drink like a fish but appears to be in amazingly good health. Ah, the magic of television.
All in all, though, season five is off to a great start. I can’t help but think Don and Megan’s marriage will implode at some point and he’ll find his way back to Betty. As I recall, her marriage to Henry wasn’t going all that well last season.
What did you think of the Mad Men season five premiere? Happy to have it back on the air after its way-too-long absence (nearly 18 months!)?