'Mad Men': Times Change, but Sadness Stays the Same

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AMC


The fourth season of Mad Men is in full swing, exploring the aftermath of the creation of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and the dissolution of the Draper marriage.Richard Drew, Danielle Robinson, Leigh Davenport, and Catie Cambria—to provide their takes on all the sex, the clothes, and of course, the drama.

They weigh in on this week's episode, which has Joan dealing with office high-jinx and Don clearing his head at the pool.


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Richard Drew (TV producer and creator of the blog Remote Patrolled): It's the new Don Draper...

Scribbling in his journal, taking exercise, turning down alcohol, and even postponing sex—this was Don Draper attempting to turn his life around after hitting rock bottom in last week's superlative "suitcase" episode.

It's good to see Don getting his act back together—and even taking an active interest in his children's lives—though I have a feeling it won't be long before the old Draper is back. As soon as Don regains his footing he'll only end up sabotaging himself again ...

Meanwhile, happiness was proving just as elusive for three of the women in Don's life. Betty, Joan, and Peggy all seemingly have what they want but the reality of their lives is more complicated. Actions have consequences and the seeds all three have sown are now bearing some bitter fruit.

Betty can keep telling herself that she has "everything" and Don has "nothing," but her jealous pouting over her ex-husband's dinner date suggests otherwise. I loved seeing Betty's sulking face on the journey home and the cracks already starting to show in her "perfect" new marriage.

Meanwhile Joan, for years the office sex bomb, now struggles to be taken seriously and is little more than a smutty joke for the office "boys club." And then there's Peggy, unsure of the limits of her power and desperate to be looked up to (and liked). Joan's withering put-down of Peggy in the office elevator was the best scene of the night and another example of Mad Men's constant power to surprise.

The times may be changing but in Mad Men unhappiness remains a constant.

Catie Cambria (fashion publicist at Donna Karan New York): It would only be proper that during New York Fashion Week, we only talk clothes.

The opening scene features with Don in a crisp white shirt and a pair of aviators, stepping out to the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction." It was one of my favorite scenes this season, as we really get a sense of how the times are a changing (to quote Bob Dylan). The camera roves the city street as Don sees it, and we get a chance to see the very different vibe of the clothes and the people in New York in the mid-'60s.

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