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Monday, July 26, 2010

Mad Men: Season 4, Episode 1: "Public Relations"

If you haven't been watching Mad Men (and I pray there are only a few of you wanderin
g souls out there) NOW is the time. If you don't have the 39 hours to play catch up, my best recommendation is to speed through the Mad Men Wikipedia page (or you can check the AMC Mad Men Site also). Button your suit coat, get your beehive high and tight, pour yourself a glass of the finest bourbon in the house and let's talk business.

Who is Don Draper?

Matthew Weiner and the cast of Mad Men came out swinging! The hit AMC show has been on the minds of many in the recent weeks, boiling up to last night's premiere of the fourth season. Riding high on a reputation of fashion, sex, and the "Golden Era" of advertising, the expectations were high, and the team at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce delivered in spades.

In a new, much smaller and conference-table-free rented office space, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is experiencing all the expected problems of an advertising start-up despite their "big hitter" Don Draper, who's brooding facade is coming apart at the seams. Recently divorced from Betty Draper (now married to Henry Francis) Don has been downgraded to a small, cluttered apartment while Betty remains in the house with the kids on Don's dollar (Sally Draper is acting out against Betty). But Don will be Don, and his philandering reveals deeply rooted issues. But at the office, Don remains the atop the throne, with everyone working to please him with their work, despite him beginning to show the wear and tear he's experiencing outside the office.

Roger Sterling is in rare form, with razor sharp degradations and a thirst for the bottle (even more so than before.) This could be due to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce's diminishing clientele or it could be due to marital whoas with his young wife Jane. Meanwhile, Harry Crane runs into his own problems when his Jaihli special goes South. Lucky Brand now makes up 70% of the company's total billing.

Peter Campbell and Peggy Olsen, assigned to the Sugarberry Ham account, resort to guerilla advertising by staging a fight over a ham. They succeed in enticing Sugarberry to expand its' marketing budget, but shortly after Peggy must deal with the consequences of their untraditional methods, straight from the mouth of Don Draper - a lesson Peggy is sure not to forget.

When the Jansen swimsuit account doesn't fold the way Don drapes it (including attempts to convince them they need to change their image) the top boils off the pot. Don charges out of the office, only to return and demand the Jansen representatives leave his office, accented by loud finger snaps. Is this new, angry, aggressive Don Draper here to stay?

The episode ends with this new Don Draper being interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. No longer reserved, Don chalantly smokes a cigarette while affirming his keystone position in the company and unveiling the scheme that spawned Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

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