Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mad Men Returns with "A Little Kiss"

I know I am behind the times on this, but I was not able to watch the first episode of Mad Men until today.   Mad Men has been off the air since October 17th 2010.  After one year and a half off the air Mad Men finally returned last week, and with a great publicity campaign that leaked little information about the shows return, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for this show to return.

Mad Men has represents a nostalgic look back culture within the 1960s.  The shows uses an advertising agency, its workers, and their familial experiences to highlight different lifestyles within this era.  The show represents an interesting look at gender, race, politics, and the influences of popular culture.  From working on the film Bye Bye Birdie with Ann Margaret to intertwining the JFK assassination into a wedding this show looks at this era with an imperfect lens.

The 60s were a turning point in American history, as many started the decade with sheer hopefulness the tides began to change.  In the post JFK assassination days things the Civil Rights Movement grew stronger, Vietnam became a reality, women started going into the workforce not just as secretaries, and  cultural norms started to evolve.  The history of this show has shown just how brilliantly this decade propelled the evolution of these characters within this show.

This season of Mad Men starts within the late 1960s and with the central character Don Draper turning 40.  The firm Sterling Cooper Draper Price is struggling financially and hoping to stay above water land clients, and make sure that they can maintain the business they built on their own.  Don and Meghan are now married, and working together which has created an interesting dynamic for the firm.  Joan has had her baby, and is struggling to balance motherhood, and missing her work as the office manager at the firm.

The episode entitled "A Little Kiss" represent an excellent use of the shows ensemble, from Pete being the one who works his ass off, as head of accounts to Roger being the office clown and mocking Don's new wife for her birthday dance.  The shows pacing allows the viewer to take less fast paced world.  The creator and main scribe Matthew Weiner has created a world based in reality.  Weiner has constructed deep characters that have grown throughout the years.  As this episode ends we see each character working through their own internal struggle in a way that will propel them toward their future at work, and within their personal lives.  As show ends the Civil Rights movement is in full swing, a joke advertisement forces the agency to interview and hire their first black receptionist, thus pushing this show further into the future.

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