Don Draper

Fuck California, You Made Me Boring: How Don Draper Avoided an American Cliché

California. It has always lingered in the background of Mad Men, the ultimate symbol of rebirth, a place where Don Draper could go when he needed another chance — where he could shed his identity and become another, better man. In this first half of the show’s final season (thank you for forcing that awkward wording, AMC), which concluded on Sunday night, Don tangoed with Los Angeles as a permanent possibility. It glittered in the distance, a city on a hill. He had his chance to take it. But it didn’t quite happen. Why was that, and what does it mean? … Read More

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Peggy Olson Has Finally Come Into Her Own — And So Has Don Draper

Mad Men episode can never be reduced to a single takeaway, but that didn’t stop fans from forming a consensus after the season six finale: Don Draper goes down, Peggy Olson comes up. The implosion of her affair with Ted aside, Peggy entered Mad Men‘s final round of episodes with the Shot Seen ‘Round the Blogosphere, a literal replacement of Don and an echo of the Draper-centric opening credits. The boss she couldn’t seem to escape, on the other hand, was finally out of her hair, leaving Peggy his heir apparent. If you can’t beat ‘em, become him. … Read More

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How Don Draper Would Sell Philip Roth’s ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’

A while ago I made an educated guess that this season of Mad Men would feature one or two books that came out in 1969. The Godfather, Kurt Vonnegut, and Margaret Atwood could all still show up in this two-part final season of our favorite show about horrible men in nice suits. Yet those other titles would just be an extra-nice surprise, as last night’s episode featured Don on his couch, reading the book I most expected to see: Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth. … Read More

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‘Mad Men’ Season 7 Episode 2 Recap: “A Day’s Work”

It may be an episode taking place mostly on or around Valentine’s Day, but forget about love, people of and related to Sterling Cooper & Partners: nobody’s in very good shape here. Don is waking up at noon, hungover and messy in a dark apartment, with only the TV for company. He’s besuited by eight… Read More

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‘Mad Men’ Season 7 Premiere Recap: “Time Zones”

It’s a classic Mad Men advertising pitch. We open in extreme closeup on a pudgy face telling a story about how the Accutron Watch changes a man, with hear several slogans: “This watch makes you interesting.” “Accutron. It’s not a timepiece. It’s a conversation piece.” … Read More

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‘Mad Men’ Season 7 Review: Slouching Towards California

When we last left Mad Men in the heady days of Season 6’s finale, “In Care Of,” things were in flux in the lives of Don Draper and Sterling Cooper & Partners. Peggy lost Ted Chaough to his family and possible redemption in California, gaining power in the process, a victory that came with restrictions. Pete lost his mother and his wife and gained the opportunity of freedom in California. And Don lost SC&P in a flameout for the ages, telling the Hershey account about how he used to buy a Hershey’s bar with the money he got from one of the prostitutes in the whorehouse that he grew up in; and in that loss, he found a freedom, finally taking his children to that house and showing them the truth about his past. Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” played them out, as Sally gave her father a look that said, yes, I understand some things now. … Read More

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Overanalyzing the Promos for ‘Mad Men’ Season 7

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: … Read More

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10 Surprising Similarities Between AMC’s ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Mad Men’

It feels like the end of an era. Two groundbreaking series that challenged the traditional television model with cinematic visuals, stellar writing, and an unforgettable cast are coming to an end. The Breaking Bad finale airs tomorrow, while the seventh and final season of Mad Men debuts early next year. The ambitious shows about a chemistry teacher turned meth king pin and a 1960’s New York City ad exec with a dark past seem wildly different, but the AMC dramas have more in common than first meets the eye. We take a brief look at a few of their surprising similarities past the break. … Read More

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‘Mad Men’ Characters and Their Comic Book Counterparts

Today is Free Comic Book Day, which promises exactly what it advertises: you get a free comic book just for showing up at your local shop. The offerings have been specially selected, but nothing is preventing you from browsing while you’re there and spending a few dollars to support an oft-overlooked art form that has brought joy to many. To celebrate the occasion, and with a new Mad Men episode approaching, we wanted to combine two of our favorite things: 1960’s ad execs crippled by existential angst, and awesome comic book heroes and villains. The resemblance is greater than you think. See our pairings, and leave your own suggestions, below. … Read More

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Quiz: Which Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Employee Are You at the Office?

Mad Men hasn’t quite inspired the same level of character identification as Sex and the City (I’m a Miranda), but most viewers do have favorites within the sprawling ensemble cast. Are you a public playboy and secret striver, like our hero Don Draper? Or are you an ambitious young upstart swimming against the current, like Peggy? To help you find out, we compiled a handy quiz to figure out which Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce employee whose work habits most closely resemble your own. Even if you’re pretty sure who your ideal coworker is, this’ll help bring you up to speed with the key players at the world’s most darkly dramatic advertising agency. … Read More

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