Mad Men Returns for Season 5 Sunday Night
“It wasn't a lie. It was ineptitude with insufficient cover” – Don Draper
That about sums up this smooth SOB. The creative genius behind the fictional ad agency dubbed Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Pryce is back to lie, cheat, and scheme his way into our psyche once again this Sunday night at 8 CST.Set in the late 50's and early 60's it follows the exploits, trials and triumphs of fictional Madison Avenue ad agency employees. Don Draper is the main character and is supported by a cast of actors who really have embraced the era of smoking and drinking in the office as the norm (it was), the simultaneous worship and degradation of women in the workplace (it happened), and the birth of ads as art.This show has so many levels of appeal, I don't know where to start- If you liked The Sopranos, you'll like it. If you love drama, you'll love it. If you're a fashionista, you can't get enough of it. If you have ever worked in or around the advertising business (and let me tell you radio definitely qualifies), you'll be mesmerized by the inner workings of a group of people truly in love with their career (and for that matter themselves).What I love about it is the professional integrity the characters share, even if their personal and moral integrity are horrifically flawed. When a client thinks they know better, the creative team tries to convince them they're making a mistake, but if the client insists on meddling in or with the campaign SCDP lays out, they just offer condolences on a future failed product or service and shoo the ignorant bastards out the door.On Monday, you might hear a lot of water cooler talk about this year's two-hour Season 5 return. Contrary to what you may think, the start of a new season is actually THE BEST TIME to jump into a show you've been bypassing. The network it's on wants you to watch and they offer up several ways to get up to speed before the show. If you have a little time over the next three days, and because I care, I offer this primer so you won't be left out of the conversation.
Now, for some reason AMC is deviating from it's usual agenda of airing a marathon of it's original series in the preceding days to a season premiere. The only reason why I can think of, is that they want you to buy the DVD's. But, you can catch up on Netflix with their on-demand service. If you prefer a good read, you can indulge in an episode-by-episode synopsis' online as well. If you're already a fan and just need a refresher- watch the video below.
Not only is the original music by David Carbonara to this series great, but the period tunes they throw in are perfectly reflective of the moods and era of the show. On the Original Soundtrack, there are a few dragged out under-toned scene setters, but for the most part, Carbonara's sleek loungy instrumentals put you right in the late 50's-early 60's velvet covered walls of a swanky NYC club. The pop from the era is well represented in the other releases. The tunes range from crooners Vic Damone and Rosemary Clooney on Season One's disc to Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison on Season 3. There are also various discs available that are companions to the series. These are basically songs from the era and culture, and not necessarily from the series. You can look on iTunes for Mad Men playlists as well.
The cast is pretty big, though not as convoluted as creator Matthew Weiner's other hit The Sopranos. The show centers around Don Draper, his messed up home life and virtually perfect ad agency life. He's the perfect juxtapositional character in that he's a master at creating the perfect ad campaign that magically shows a perfect world you can live in with the help of the advertised product, but damned if he can't figure out how to create that perfect life outside of the office. Even though the era was that of the infamous 'Glass Ceiling' for women and the stereo-typical secretarial pool, Peggy Olsen has breached the male stronghold, first as Draper's secretary, then as a full-fledged copy-writer with her own office. You'll find a few supporting characters you really like (for me it's Joan Harris, Roger Sterling and Paul Kinsey) and a couple you'll really, really hate (Pete Campbell, Betty Draper).
Ok, I'll admit, this is only for the truly indulgent. Which is exactly why I'm doing it this Sunday. About four weeks ago, the Mad Men FB page put out a link inviting the fans to throw a genuine Mad Men themed party, complete with prizes and party favors provided by the website House Party.com. Seeing as though I'm all about getting free stuff, I joined the site (free) and 'asked' to be considered for an official party. Two weeks ago, I was informed I was selected to host and they sent out an enormously cool party pack. I've invited a few friends and associates over and if the debauchery isn't too racy, I'll post some pics on the LOON FB page during the party on Sunday night.