Halfway In on ‘Mad Men’

Drunk off victory and strong, dark liquor, midway into episode six of AMC’s Mad Men (which is in its fourth season), Don Draper (John Hamm) manages to once again save the day and win over another client into the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce fold.

Matt Wiener, who created the series, must be having similar feelings to his complicated protagonist as the series once again took home Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Writing for a Drama at the 2010 Emmy Awards.

Not only has the show taken the Outstanding Drama Series award over the past few years, but it has also received accolades from other prestigious academies and guilds of television such as the American Film Institute, the Art Directors Guild, British Academy Television Awards, Casting Society of America, Cinema Audio Society, Costume Designers Guild Awards and the Directors Guild of America.

Justly deserved praise.

Even in its fourth season, the show has excellent writing that draw millions of viewers in; not only with its dead-on recreation of the complicated fearful, quaint, carefree and naïve world of the sixties and its inhabitants. But more so with the darkest of human clichés, that simultaneously cripples and empowers its characters.

Don Draper, the series protagonist, continues to be the best at what he does at his advertising firm. He commands everything around him; is spoiled and has sex with as many women as he desires (the drunker he is, the more likely he is to do this). From the series’ inception, his character has been framed as a carefree bachelor and all that entails, and in season six he lives like one; in an apartment alone, separated from his remarried wife Betty (the alluring January Jones) and his two young children.

One of the most intriguing characters that surround Draper is Peggy Olson (Elizabeth Moss), the young female secretary who transformed into a copy editor (a feat for the times) still vies for Draper’s professional attention, while attempting to ward off all attempts (male and female) to belittle her ability as an “ad man.”

Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) once framed as the young upstart, is now a partner and continues to bring in big business to the fledgling firm. This season, his wife is pregnant with their first child together and thus he is conducting business with great fervor. Determined to succeed, Campbell is ever the negotiator, mediator and forward-thinking maverick of the lot.

This season has also seen a few old faces return to the show, such as Freddy (Joel Murray) who got “too” drunk at work (and was subsequently fired after a urinating incident) and Kenny (Aaron Staton), another young and energetic account man, who was Pete Campbell’s direct competition. Also supplying much comic relief to this season is Draper’s new secretary, Mrs. Blankenship, a raucous older woman who announces his visitors two minutes after they have entered the room.

The sixth season of Mad Men is set to once again be a big winner at award shows next year. Its intriguing story set in the curious world of the inhabitants of 1960s advertising is on display for all to see Sundays at 10pm.

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