July 25, 2010 by Post Team
Mad Men, Advertisers offer a choice of love. More brands! More flavors! More ways to be the best you can be! It is the promise of America in the form of consumption, not only wealth, but the individuality, self-determination, liberation.
However, the side effect of unlimited choice, is paralysis. At the beginning of Season 4 Mad Men (AMC, Sunday, 10 pm ET), Don Draper (Jon Hamm) has made a break with the past, after his marriage ended and started her own business listing. The success and at its best, can remake however he likes. But when they first see it, he is struggling to answer a simple question from a reporter for Advertising Age, “Who is Don Draper? He stares across the lunch table, blank, as a buyer of 93 hallucinating varieties of chips.
In the first three seasons of Mad Men – the Emmy-winning drama, which Cheeveresque swellegant writing style and has earned a passionate following – we heard it was Don Draper. Born Dick Whitman, a poor country boy from a family without love, he enlisted and sent to Korea, where he took advantage of a freak accident to assume the identity of a dead comrade. He began a new life as a publisher of Madison Avenue and a family man in suburban Ossining, NY, hiding the identity of their co-workers and even his wife Betty (January Jones).
But when Betty learned the truth last season, lies – along with Don chasing skirt series – ended their marriage. Meanwhile, Don left his old advertising agency to start his own shop with several colleagues.
In a way, Don has achieved what I wanted Dick Whitman: his freedom. He works for himself. It’s romantic without ties. He is free – indeed, expected – to relaunch its brand. But how? Like who? Don himself free of the reporter’s question by resorting to his first identity: “I’m from the Midwest,” he says. “We were taught that it is not polite to talk about yourself.”
Hamm has a face that could be engraved on a coin, but it shows the voltage ringing in the stoicism of Don. The reporter, excusing himself from the table, he meets with an artificial leg. He lost the leg in Korea, the war Don / Dick desert unscathed.
The past is always present
The idea that there is no escaping the past is appropriate for a show that their data was so acutely. Creator Matthew Weiner likes (ahem) strongly suggest that the critics remain silent about the date on which the action of the season begins. (If you want to remain completely unspoiled, stop reading here.) Let’s say that since we left at the end of 1963, a certain amount of time – is that you say? – More than five minutes, less than a decade, enough to see the beginning of the change in character and culture.
As usual, Weiner and company are these subtle changes, avoiding the hackneyed term signals of 60 other dramas. The color palette seems to have changed – in advertising campaigns in the new offices of Don – the brightness of fresh saturated Kodachrome modernist principles. No references to the Beatles, but at the end of the first episode begins with the strains of “Tobacco Road”, the British Invasion band Nashville teens – a clear signal, but not obvious that we have entered the year rock. (Lyrics of the song are about the life story of orphans Dick Whitman: “Mama died and my dad got drunk … I’ll go get a job / With the help and grace from above.”)
In preferred means of Mad Men, the other major change was in race relations, is evident only at the edges (a reference in an expensive dinner with the murder of civil rights workers in Mississippi). Gender equality is seeping into the office, but little by little. Sexual liberation is more prominent, but it is a party. Somehow, Don’s life as a free man sex is even more sad and guilty – to the point of self-punishment – was that his womanizing.
Meanwhile, Betty – a model-turned-housewife always torn between independence and security – has found freedom as well, only to immediately land a new husband, Henry (Christopher Stanley). The new agreement is a burden for the families of both spouses, as crystallized by a terrible confrontation with Betty’s daughter Sally (Kiernan Shipka) during a holiday meal. Sometimes it seems the whole series is a long setup for therapy visits Sally inevitable.
Which is not to say that the premiere is all anxiety. The screenplay, written by Weiner, crackles with dark wit, when the partner Roger Sterling (John Slattery) is shaking badly Don’s interview with journalist with one leg, which the crackk, “They are so cheap that even can afford to set a reporter. ” And there is a buoyancy in the new offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce as the company rushes to settle among the larger competitors. As a customer says Don reluctant to try a bold advertising campaign, “You can be comfortable and the dead or at risk and possibly rich.” The changes that have come to Mad Men can be uncomfortable to watch. But it is rich in possibilities.
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