April 13 is the premiere of the seventh and final season of Mad Men, the show that has brought television to a new and unprecedented level of brilliance.
Immediately following the US broadcast, it will be available on HOT VOD and also on iTunes and Amazon.
The final season will be broken up into two halves. One half will be shown over the next seven weeks, and the second half will be broadcast in 2015.
So to get yourself into the mood to see ad man Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and company again, mix yourself an Old Fashioned, put your feet up, review some of the show’s best quotes and read about what’s in store for Season 7 and why Mad Men matters.
Don’t worry, there will be no spoilers.
1. When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him. Advertising genius Don Draper’s arc has been fascinating to watch over the past seven years. He’s a man of mystery and deception and a tragic figure struggling to overcome his weaknesses. In the finale of Season 6, he took a big step toward redemption when he had a breakdown of sorts and revealed his true, sordid background (he was raised in a bordello) to clients, then brought his children to the dilapidated house where he grew up.
2.What you call love was invented by guys like me to sell nylons. Mad Men and its characters are so cynical and true to life, the moments of emotion are particularly genuine and moving. In the Season 7 opener, most of the characters are heading West, and Don goes to L.A.
to repair his relationship with his second wife, Megan (Jessica Pare), an actress.
3. People tell you who they are, but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be. Series creator Matthew Weiner has said that Season 7 will be about “the consequences in life, and if change is possible.”
4. If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation. Season 7 opens in early 1969, during a time of very dramatic change. Richard Nixon is just being inaugurated, war is raging in Vietnam, the drug culture is becoming more pervasive, and we know all kinds of events – such as the Manson Family killings – are just on the horizon.
5. When God closes a door, he opens a dress. It’s certainly been fun watching the dress styles change on the show, as well as the men’s outfits. The series’ fashion has been half the fun – a trip down memory lane for some, and a journey to a strange land for younger viewers.
6. Sterling Cooper has more failed artists and intellectuals than the Third Reich. Has any television show ever had such sophisticated writing? 7. Why does everybody need to talk about everything? The show is a running commentary on how American values changed fundamentally over the decade of 1960-70. Today, there is nothing that is not discussed in public; back then, some questions were “personal” and not to be asked.
8. He may act like he wants a secretary, but most of the time they’re looking for something between a mother and a waitress. Women’s rights were transformed during these years, and the complexity and reality of that struggle are portrayed with more nuance on Mad Men than in any contemporary novel.
9. You want some respect? Go out and get it for yourself.
Matthew Weiner wrote for The Sopranos and spent years shopping the pilot for Mad Men around to networks, until AMC picked it up.
The rest, as they say, is history.
10. Change is neither good nor bad, it simply is. The Sopranos was about gangsters, Breaking Bad was about meth dealers, and The Wire was about street crime and cops. Mad Men is the only one of the greatest shows of television’s new Golden Age to actually deal with life as it is actually lived by most of us. Let’s savor this last season because it’s hard to imagine this achievement ever being matched, let alone bested.