Mad Men Live Blog: Season 4, Episode 1 – “Public Relations”

10:54pm: FINAL SCORE: Don Draper +5 slaps; Henry Francis +15 years on his mother; and Harry Crane -6 diopter nearsightedness. The light, open office space belies Don's new darkness. He's beyond the antihero. Now, he's just outright mean. This season will not redeem him, and SCDP will die a slow death because of that D.

What is missing from SCDP is the stylistic warmth of Sterling Cooper. The SCDP office is thrown together, much like Don is after his divorce from Betty. It's discordant and improvised and relying almost solely on one advertiser. Don was never bigger than Sterling Cooper, and he can't carry SCDP on his back. He's the LeBron James of 60s-era advertising.

10:51pm: I know BMW bought shorter commercial breaks, but I feel robbed by the premiere not going all the way to 11pm. Will this now be a 9-minute local commercial break? I'm willing to buy some advertising if it'll give Don money to upgrade his apartment.

10:49pm: "Comfortable and dead, or risky and rich." Is it possible to be comfortable and rich, given that Don spends every night watching TV?

10:48pm: Henry Francis is miserable and looks substantially older than the woman playing his mother (sister? hand maiden?).

10:46pm: Don kicks Peggy out of the bikini/two-piece presentation after Peggy accuses Don of being self-absorbed. 

10:43pm: Don's watching a lot of sports this season, for a man who said in earlier seasons that he wasn't a huge sports fan. 

10:42pm: Don's apartment is unreasonably shabby, especially for the most renowned creative director in New York. Not realistic for a man of his stature.

10:40pm: Don's picked up his kids for Thanksgiving #2, or something. Does Don really want to see his kids, or is it more out of obligation? Watching TV and thinking about work sounds a lot more fun (the getting slapped part, not so much).

10:37pm: So, Henry Francis is not enjoying four new children, apparently. Yes, four. His mother looks like she's the same age as he is.  

And while we're on the subject of Mad Men Season 3 On Demand, why did AMC insert spoilers (previews of Season 4) within the Season 3 episodes? For those of us playing catch-up, avoiding the spoilers became a competitive sport. 

10:33pm: Does Don really need the services he's paying for here? I think any number of women in New York would hit him for free.

10:30pm: There's a lot more interaction with media in the early stages of this season. Shouldn't Newsday be here, given that we're on AMC?

10:24pm: Harry Crane, looking tan and fit with his thin glasses. I purchased thin glasses when I was in California, and to date, it has not improved my fitness.

10:20pm: And almost a year after splitting up with Betty, Don re-learns that his old-school charm does not work on Mount Holyoke gymnasts. Could this be the end of pre-modern Don? Could he want an opera extra for more than just one night? 

10:18pm: Don's date can't believe she showed off her dress to him. I can't believe she wore it in the first place. Anyway, to reiterate the darkness point, she says "the world is so dark now," and goes into the killings, etc. But she's an actress!

10:17pm: So Don's life goes like this: work all day, watch TV every night and weekend, and hum in and out, thinking about work, while sitting alone. Productive.

10:15pm: Does Mount Holyoke have a gymnastics team? Oh well, Don's apartment is wonderfully rundown, even if his maid's name is my mom's name. He looks miserable.

10:08pm: Don isn't a start-up guy.

10:06pm: A beautiful new office for SCDP!  The office looks like it cost more than all the inbound clients brought in. But is it professional? 

10:05pm: A bikini is not a two-piece bathing suit, per SCDP's new clients. 

10:01pm: No Bryan Batt in the opening credits.

10:00pm: BMW, thank you for the limited interruption.  I thought Jon Hamm was the Mercedes Benz spokesman, though. 

9:59pm: It's a beautiful Sunday night on AMC, watching Tilda Swinton and the actor playing Michael Clayton warm up for Mad Men and the Hammettes. The fourth season of Mad Men is allegedly the darkest season to come, which is something for a show which featured a guy getting kicked in the head by a horse. I can't wait. The dawn of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce awaits.

Predictions: 

1. Don Draper will fail in business throughout the first 57 minutes of tonight's show before miraculously pulling off a miracle.

2. Betty Draper/Francis will have bored Henry within 3 days of their time in Reno. She might even bore him more than Reno would.

3. Pete Campbell remains bulletproof.

4. One of the Sterling/Cooper/Price triumvirate doesn't last the season. It doesn't necessarily need to be a death; Pryce could easily bolt for another gig. 

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