Television: Going ‘Mad’

By Annie Wilmer

Television: Going ‘Mad’

After almost a year and a half of waiting, Don Draper fans across the country finally get a fix of television’s favorite corporate mogul. Season five of AMC’s Mad Men opens March 25 with a special two-hour-long premiere event, which creator and executive producer Matthew Weiner describes as a “Mad Men movie.”

The show follows the tumultuous lives of 1960s-era Madison Avenue advertising men and their wives, mistresses, secretaries — well, you get the idea. The program’s businessmen drink during the workday, engage in extramarital relationships, and create scores of shallow advertisements, while the show’s female characters struggle to forge new paths for women during a time of social upheaval.

Promotional trailers for Season 5 proclaimed, “Style is back. Confidence is back. Debauchery is back. Lust is back. Action is back. Don is back.” Needless to say, the Ad Men of Madison Avenue will return. At the end of Season 4, Don, played by Jon Hamm, had just proposed to his cute young secretary; Joan was pregnant with Roger’s baby; and Roger was conspiring to keep Joan’s pregnancy a secret.

For better or worse, the show’s creators have remained remarkably tight-lipped about the new storylines. Weiner is well known for protecting even the smallest plot tidbits from the spoiler-minded press, but he has indicated this season will be full of change and character development, as the glamorous men and women struggle to find stability in the midst of turmoil.

A recent promotional video teases viewers with the eventual return of Betty Draper (January Jones), Don’s icy yet glamorous ex-wife. Not to mention, lead actor Hamm directs a few of the episodes for the new season, so audiences can likely expect a more intimate portrayal of Don than we’ve seen in the past.

Unfortunately, fans enter this upcoming season knowing the show’s next season finale might also be one of its last. In 2011, Weiner talked about the ending of the show, but has recently indicated the program will end after it finishes its seventh season.

Weiner wants to close out the show with a modern-day Don Draper, 84 years old, looking back on his time in the 1960s and the decisions he has made in his life.

“I want to leave the show in a place where you have an idea of what it meant and how it’s related to you,” Weiner said. Although this decision will likely tie everything together all too neatly, the seasons so far have demonstrated nothing but artistic genius. If you feel the need to spend time with Don and the rest of the Mad Men clan before the March premier, all four seasons of the stellar show are available for streaming on Netflix.

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