Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mad Men 4.1: Chicken Kiev, Lethal Interview, Ham Fight

Mad Men returned in fine form for its 4th season on AMC tonight.  The time is Thanksgiving 1964 - about a year after last season ended.  We know this because Don's date (see below) spoke about how grieved she was about Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney's deaths - three civil rights workers from the North murdered in the South in June 1964.   Don's date takes place as he and the main characters prepare in various ways for the upcoming November holiday.

Among the highlights -
  • Roger talks Don into the above-mentioned date with a hot blonde friend of Jane's, extolling the Chicken Kiev in the restaurant Don takes her to, which they do order.   One of Roger's typically good lines tonight, to Don:  "They have Chicken Kiev - butter squirts everywhere."   Don doesn't get quite that far, though.
  • Elsewhere, Don incurs his colleague's disapproval (with the exception of Peggy) when he is interviewed by a reporter from Advertising Age about who he really is, and tells the reporter nothing.  (Reminds me of the complaining title of an interview I read years ago with Don McLean of "American Pie": "The Day the Interview Died".)   A client irritated at not being mentioned in the published interview - I don't blame the client one bit - leaves Don's new firm, thus igniting just about everyone's ire.   Don learns his lesson, however, and we see him conducting a responsive (and responsible) interview with the Wall Street Journal at the end of the episode.   Don of all people should have known better the first time - but Don of all people has an understandable resistance to telling the press who Don Draper is...
  • Peggy gets Don annoyed at her nonetheless, by staging a stunt involving two women fighting over a client's sweet ham.  The media attention makes the client happy, but aggravates Don, who, as we know, can be strangely strait-laced at times.
  • But Don is justifiably tough with Betty, who is spending Thanksgiving with the two kids, Henry, and Henry's mother.   The old battle-axe - that is, Henry's mother - gets off a good line to Henry about Betty and her situation, asking her son why he would be "living in that man's [Don's] dirt".
In other words, a good, seething, simmering, spicy 4th season premier, which, if the coming attractions are any indication, point to a lot more to come.

5-min podcast review of Mad Men

PS - And here's a taste of the Nashville Teens' 1964 Tobacco Road, which ended out the episode.  It describes Don's life to a tee, doesn't it ....

See also: Mad Men Back for 3 and 3.2: Carvel, Penn Station, and Diet Soda and 3.3: Gibbon, Blackface, and Eliot and 3.4: Caned Seats and a Multiple Choice about Sal's Patio Furniture and 3.5: Admiral TV, MLK, and a Baby Boy and 3.6: A Saving John Deere and 3.7: Brutal Edges ... August Flights in 3.8 ... Unlucky Strikes and To the Moon Don in 3.9 ... 3.10: The Faintest Ink, The Strongest Television ... Don's Day of Reckoning in Mad Men 3.11 ... Mad Men 3.12: The End of the World in Mad Men ... Mad Men Season 3 Finale: The End of the World

And from Season Two: Mad Men Returns with a Xerox and a Call Girl ... 2.2: The Advertising Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ... 2.3 Double-Barreled Power ... 2.4: Betty and Don's Son ... 2.5: Best Montage Since Hitchcock ... 2.6: Jackie, Marilyn, and Liberty Valance ... 2.7: Double Dons ... 2.8: Did Don Get What He Deserved? ... 2.9: Don and Roger ... 2.10: Between Ray Bradbury and Telstar ... 2.11: Welcome to the Hotel California ... 2.12 The Day the Earth Stood Still on Mad Men ... 2.13 Saving the Best for Last on Mad Men

And from Season One: Mad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarette Companies and Nixon ... Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men ... Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ... Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 12: Admirable Don ... Mad 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes

20-minute interview with Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) at Light On Light Through

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The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

And  check out Natasha Vargas-Cooper's new book ....

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