Sure, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner says, “Don’t read into our promos,” but is that really the way to go? The ever-cagey Mad Men team has been teasing us with trippy hints of what’s to come in the imminent Season 7 debut (Sunday, April 13, AMC), including that wonderful, Bob Dylan-in-1966-echoing high-as-a-kite promo poster by legendary graphic designer Milton Glaser:
Where we left off when Mad Men Season 6 was ending in Thanksgiving 1968: Don Draper showed Sally and Bobby the brothel that he grew up in; Sally’s future possibly involved an all-girls’ boarding school; Peggy was the boss, in profile; Ted and Pete were on their way to LA; Joan got the Avon account; and Betty remains a politician’s wife in Westchester.
Preview 1: Don Draper disembarks a plane:
Don Draper disembarks a plane handsomely and puts on a fedora in slow motion. If the season is in the ’70s, as anticipated, Don’s choice of a fedora is out of touch, fashion-wise. The “It’s all up in the air” tagline: it means airports, like we saw (and peep that vintage flying glamor, which is nonexistent today), and perhaps a reference to the George Clooney film Up in the Air, based on the Walter Kirn book, which is all about a workaholic trying to make a significant connection in life and not necessarily succeeding?
When will the season take place? Frankly, we can’t imagine a straight jump into the ’70s, as 1969 is way too rich of a year for the Mad Men world: Nixon is elected, Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick scandal, Woodstock, the Manson family, Vietnam, Apollo 12, the release of films as rich as Midnight Cowboy, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. Whatever Weiner decides on, there will be about a ten-month difference between Season 7: Part 1 and Season 7: Part 2.
What is Robert Towne doing on staff? The legendary screenwriter of Chinatown is listed as a “consulting producer” for this final season. Robert Towne was crushing it in California for much of the early ’70s: is he there to share some real-life tales, to bring that California-writer authenticity to a show always flirting with that West Coast feeling? Or is he just there for some Noir Realness, and to pen something as iconic as “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown”?
Promo 2: Good-looking people at the airport:
A neo-Amy Winehouse soul-thing plays as we see Megan, Betty, Pete, Roger leering after a flight attendant, Peggy getting her daisy luggage off the carousel, wearing a daisy pin, Don’s handsome descent, and, again, “it’s all up in the air.” Megan is working some Pucci-clad Twiggy realness with fake eyelashes up the wazoo; Betty is more staid and conservative but still a babe; and Peggy is Daisy-themed. Maybe daisies mean flower power, but maybe the daisy also refers to the classic counterculture film Daisies (1966), by the late Vera Chytilova. Banned for “depicting the wanton,” it is a film about a pair of teen girls pulling strange pranks, and being “dunked in the water like witches,” among other judgements. Perhaps Peggy will meet a butterfly collector. Maybe she should avoid chandeliers.
What we know for sure: Joan will wear hot pink, jewelry that befits a partner, and will still be a magnificent colossus of feminine beauty, grace, and smarts.