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Old 07-24-2010, 02:22 PM   #1
KneeCo
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Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

The best show on TV is back.


I have not seen or read any previews or any spoilers or anything for season 4, so this is a spoiler free discussion in advance of tomorrow's premiere.

In the season 1-3 thread, I attempted to introduce 2+2 to the series at some length. If you are interested in the show but havenít seen any of it yet, the first part of that thread is what you want to read.

So this thread isnít about winning you over ("I'm not here to tell you about Jesus. You already know about Jesus, either he lives in your heart or he doesn't."). Instead this is for fans to discuss the new season, which I believe puts three relationships front and center:

Don and Betty

Quote:
You don't kiss boys. Boys kiss you.
Quote:
Because there are people out there who buy things, people like you and me. And something happened. Something terrible. And the way that they saw themselves is gone.
Quote:
What would you do if you were me? Would you love you?
I was surprised that you ever loved me.
The opening credits of Mad Men are iconic, one of the many ways the show has permeated popular cultural disproportionatly to its viewership. (To wit: the credits have been parodied on the Simpsons and Sesame Street)

Yet, from a story perspective, I almost feel like you could change the opening at this point. The brilliant part of the credits sequence was that it perfectly captured the dramatic driving force of the series, namely Donís all-consuming fear that his world is falling apart around him. We recognize that fear in ourselves. Even if you arenít using a dead manís name, fears of being exposed as a fraud and of losing everything in your professional/personal life are universal. (This is one of the ways Mad Men is similar in storytelling to the Sopranos)

Don was consumed with it. Probably spent time every single day fearing the moment since his return to America from the Korean War. Among other things, it caused what is likely his greatest regret: his rejection of his long-lost little half-brother. He becomes self-destructive. After he almost lost Betty due to his cheating, he returns to his cheating ways, closer to home than ever, with his kidís teacher. He keeps a box of evidence in the house, and finally leaves the key where Betty will surely find it. As she says, part of him must have wanted to be caught.

He is exposed.

Funny thing about an all consuming fear that you will lose everything: you think about it all the time, it eats at you, you imagine every possible scenario of it coming to fruition, yet you never picture the day after. I would wager, for all the countless hours Don has worried about Betty uttering the name Dick Whitman, he never considered what happens after she does. Thatís where we are now. The title sequence has come to pass: the world has collapsed, the walls fallen off, Don has come stumbling down. Yet life goes on, which is genuinely surprising.

Sterling Cooper Draper Price presents new challenges. The man who never wanted his name on a contract now put it on the building. The company should offer Don opportunities he has never had before, but also obligations. I think there will be a lot about this new role that Don will hate.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Draper is gone off with Henry Francis. This, I believe, is doomed to fail.

Henry Francis, recall, is a public face of Nelson Rockefeller, who runs for the Republican nomination as a front runner and blows it in 1964. This is one of the many reasons I believe the new season stars soon after the last in 1964 (other reasons: the establishment of the new company and the fallout of last season is too good to skip, casting the three children years in the future would be a problem, as a show you do not want to be done with the sixties before you are done with the series).

If it is 1964 and Rockefeller is embroiled in a presidential nomination campaign, Henry Francis will basically be working in advertising. I wonder how Peggy will feel when he proves himself less than Don-like when faced with a greater challenge than the local parks board?

Not convinced the election and Bettyís reaction to it is rife with storyline potential? Hereís what Wikipedia has to say about Rockefellerís failed 1964 bid: ďIn 1963, a year after Rockefeller's divorce from his first wife, he married Margaretta "Happy" Murphy, a divorcee with four children This turned many in the party off, especially women.Ē

Seems pertinent.

Does failure with Francis mean reconciliation with Don? I'm not convinced. We shall see.

Roger and Joan

Quote:
Was I heartbroken? Obviously
Quote:
That's life. One minute, you're on top of the world. The next, some secretary is running over your foot with a lawn motor.
Quote:
Look, I want to tell you something because you're very dear to me and I hope you understand it comes from the bottom of my damaged, damaged heart. You are the finest piece of ass I ever had and I don't care who knows it. I am so glad I got to roam those hillsides.
Stop it.
We learned so much about Roger Sterling in season 3, especially in his phenomenal turn in ďThe Gypsy and the HoboĒ. We find that before he was jaded, heartbroken and sarcastic, Roger Sterling was a romantic idealist in Pairs.

In 1963, Roger lost himself in lust, money and alcohol but he seems motivated anew at the end of the season. He seems to be getting tired of the young trophy wife, and moving toward the woman we know heís loved all along.

I think we are going to see a driven Roger Sterling early in season 4. In season 1, after drunkenly hitting on Betty, he rationalizes that you do dumb things when your name is on the building, but at Sterling Cooper that was really his father's name. Now, he's building his own company. As if he needed more motivation, he brought in Joan to be by his side.

Joan's marriage is equally rocky, however she continues to play the good wife even though she ended up with a whinny, incompetent child. The scene where he laments his bad fortune and condescends to Joan only to have her smash a vase over his head was on of the best of the season.

1964 represents the start of a large American escalation in the Vietnam War. To date on the series it has only been of concern to young people. Has Vietnam escalates however and we move to the latter half of the decade, we will begin to recognize some of the youth culture that is synonymous with the decade.

Meanwhile we know Joan's husband is enlisting. We also know Joan and Roger are moving closer together. Finally, we know that Joan claims she would never cheat on anyone. The three together paint a picture of inevitability. However Mad Men has never been predictable, so we'll see.

Pete and Peggy


Quote:
The thing is, I have a job. I have my own office with my name on the door. And I have a secretary; thatís you. And I am not scared of any of this. But youíre scared. Oh my God, youíre scared. Donít worry about me. I am going to get to do everything you want for me. Iím going to be fine, Olive. I really am.
Quote:
You know what? I have good ideas. In fact, I used to carry around a notebook and a pen, just to keep track. Direct marketing? I thought of that. It turned out it already existed, but I arrived at it independently. And then I come to this place, and you people tell me that Iím good with people, which is strange, because Iíd never heard that before.
Quote:
I could have had you. I could have shamed you into being with me. But I didn't want to.
I don't understand.
You got me pregnant. I had a baby. And I gave it away.
What?
I had your baby. And I gave it away.
Are you serious? You can't be serious.
I wanted other things.
I don't understand.
The late sixties are going to be good to Peggy Olsen. At least, Peggy thinks so. She is strong and confident, but is she ready for what her new job will require? At the very least, it seems like a close proximity with Pete will be unavoidable. I donít think their new position will afford them the luxury of continued cold denial.

Meanwhile, Pete has grown closer to Trudy after the incident with the neighbour. He never dealt with the Peggy issue, but Pete has never been much for difficult confrontation.

Professionally both of them have a lot to prove. Unlike the other members of the Sterling Cooper Draper Price team, Pete and Peggy had counterparts at the old firm and were chosen over Cosgrove and Kinsey respectively.

Speaking of the old firm, now a subsidiary of Puttnam, Powell and Lowe, I believe it will continue to operate and still exist on the show. Cosgrove should be able to maneuver his way well enough to continue to rise, Kinsey I am less sure about. Also, since SCDP took Lucky Strike with them, the door is open for Sal to return to the agency, although his form of drawn advertising may be quickly falling out of fashion.


Links
Mad Men Summer Reading List
Recipe for an Old Fashioned
AskMen's Most Influential Man of 2009: Don Draper
AV Club spoiler-free season 4 interview with Elisabeth Moss
Mad Men Yourself
Mad Men: Season 4 on metacritic
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Old 07-24-2010, 02:39 PM   #2
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Nice post.

I am really looking forward to this now
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Old 07-24-2010, 03:05 PM   #3
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Perfect thread, thank you.

Can I please remind everyone to use spoiler tags as much as possible (this includes the previews for next week), or preferably, don't even bring spoilers into the thread. I've always been of the belief that those who want to read them can go find them easily enough. Thanks.
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Old 07-24-2010, 03:34 PM   #4
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Great OP kneeCo.

There will definitely be some renewed sexual tension between Roger and Joan this season, but I don't see them ever ending up together. I think Joan will really concentrate on her career now that she is in a company where everyone understands how talented she is and the glass ceiling has been somewhat removed for her. In fact, a great source of tension would be if she turned Roger away and he begins to resent her for it.

One relationship that i think will be very interesting this season will be between Joan and Peggy. I think Joan was somewhat resentful of Peggy because she ignored her advice about using her secretarial position to land a husband, and became much more successful at SC than Joan ever dreamed a woman could. Now that both are being recognized for their talents, I can see them becoming much more supportive of each other and fighting for each to be treated as equals to the men in the company.

I'm also curious to see how they develop Peggy this season wrt her life mirroring Don's in many ways. Don will undoubtedly notice this himself eventually and it will be interesting to see if he hates it or likes it. it's probably too much of a stretch to say they become romantically involved, at least not this season, but Peggy is everything Betty is not. strong, smart, independent, and ambitious.Which coincidentally is the type of woman Don has cheated on Betty with more often than not. The fact that she is also currently sleeping with Duck (one of the few people with the balls to try to stand up to Don at SC) will cause a lot of friction between the 2 of them this season as well.

Last edited by Pocket Trips; 07-24-2010 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 07-24-2010, 03:41 PM   #5
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Great OP. I just rewatched the last episode of season three in anticipation of the premiere.

Two things I'm curious to see are 1. how they will balance the amount of Don at work/Don at home screen time and 2. how much we will see Betty in scenes without Don. For selfish reasons I would like to see them in a ratio of a lot : a little : almost none since the scenes of Don at work are clearly my favourite scenes but I suspect that won't be the case and in the end it probably makes for a better TV show anyway.
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Old 07-24-2010, 07:54 PM   #6
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Awesome OP, ldo.

And to address the question of Sal Romano:

Spoiler:
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:37 PM   #7
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Nice OP. I've changed my mind on which show is the best, this or Breaking Bad depending on which is in season for a couple years now. It's gonna be tough to top BB this time though. Still, it should be great.
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Old 07-25-2010, 01:30 AM   #8
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

nice thread! I am so stoked! Can't wait to get drunk on some decent wine and watch MM4.
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Old 07-25-2010, 03:54 AM   #9
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

I can't wait to see this in glorious standard definition
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:56 AM   #10
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Sepinwall has talked a lot on his blog about how Roger is supposed to be a surrogate for Country Club "Rockefeller Republicans". Infer from that what you will.
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Old 07-25-2010, 10:17 AM   #11
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Quote:
Originally Posted by HomerNoonJr View Post
Awesome OP, ldo.

And to address the question of Sal Romano:

Spoiler:
Spoiler:
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Old 07-25-2010, 11:27 AM   #12
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

very very good OP. I'm really looking forward to this season. I loved the direction the show took last season finale cause there is so many good potential storylines that can come from Don and company breaking away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kitaristi0 View Post
Great OP. I just rewatched the last episode of season three in anticipation of the premiere.

Two things I'm curious to see are 1. how they will balance the amount of Don at work/Don at home screen time and 2. how much we will see Betty in scenes without Don. For selfish reasons I would like to see them in a ratio of a lot : a little : almost none since the scenes of Don at work are clearly my favourite scenes but I suspect that won't be the case and in the end it probably makes for a better TV show anyway.
This is my one worry is that Betty gets too much screen time by herself this season. I was never nearly as interested in Don's home life stuff as much as what was going on at SC, but at least it helped flesh out Don's character more. The guy that plays Henry seems like a good actor though so we'll see.
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Old 07-25-2010, 11:30 AM   #13
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Just wanna say thanks OP, the first post in the other big thread made me start watching and it's one of the best tv shows around.

QuItE eXcItEd for the new season
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Old 07-25-2010, 11:52 AM   #14
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Now that Don and Betty have split up it will be interesting to see how they split the time between the Draper family and the agency.

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Old 07-25-2010, 12:14 PM   #15
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Interesting to see if those left behind are in the show at all anymore.

Also read an article where the guy who wrote the song that ended up being used for the theme, sold it outright to them so AMC would have the rights to it in ancillary markets. Seemed like a win-win.
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Old 07-25-2010, 01:24 PM   #16
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

The guy who wrote the theme song is RJD2.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HobD-757s0k
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Old 07-25-2010, 02:38 PM   #17
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

"Mad Men tonight. I auditioned for Draper once, but they kept feeding me crap like "you're drunk" and "we've filmed two seasons already." - Mickey Rourke
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Old 07-25-2010, 04:47 PM   #18
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Don Draper has Tiger Woods Syndrome or vice versa. He cheats with women way uglier than his wife.
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:09 PM   #19
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Quote:
Originally Posted by goborage View Post
Don Draper has Tiger Woods Syndrome or vice versa. He cheats with women way uglier than his wife.
I think it has to do more with he finds them interesting/mysterious or even independent which Betty is non of it quite honestly and Don is.
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:55 PM   #20
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

I didn't watch Mad Men regularly but caught up on the 1st 3 seasons a few months ago. It took awhile, but I quickly became as hooked on it as everyone else did and got through it fairly quickly. However, I'm honestly considering just waiting 3 months and watching the whole season straight through, like I did the 1st 3. I can only imagine how incredibly frustrating this show would be to watch week-to-week because of its incredible story depth and subtleties. It's seemingly very easy to forget a lot of the little details that come back later in the season, if you're not watching it all together. Then again maybe I should just be taking notes while watching.

I am curious how much of Betty we'll see this season? Her tie to the show was always her home life with Don. Then they get divorced, Betty marries Henry Francis, and Don says in the season finale that he isn't going to fight her on the divorce settlement. I really don't see what her purpose on the show would be if she's not involved with Don anymore. So will Betty be treated as a separate character or is there more to her story with Don that will be the focus of her character?
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:04 PM   #21
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Can't wait.

One of my favorite moments

The Carousel
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:13 PM   #22
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Watched last season's finale 3 episodes today as review... forgot how much I love this show. Excited for tonight.
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:16 PM   #23
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkind0516 View Post
I didn't watch Mad Men regularly but caught up on the 1st 3 seasons a few months ago. It took awhile, but I quickly became as hooked on it as everyone else did and got through it fairly quickly. However, I'm honestly considering just waiting 3 months and watching the whole season straight through, like I did the 1st 3. I can only imagine how incredibly frustrating this show would be to watch week-to-week because of its incredible story depth and subtleties. It's seemingly very easy to forget a lot of the little details that come back later in the season, if you're not watching it all together. Then again maybe I should just be taking notes while watching.

I am curious how much of Betty we'll see this season? Her tie to the show was always her home life with Don. Then they get divorced, Betty marries Henry Francis, and Don says in the season finale that he isn't going to fight her on the divorce settlement. I really don't see what her purpose on the show would be if she's not involved with Don anymore. So will Betty be treated as a separate character or is there more to her story with Don that will be the focus of her character?

I have thought for awhile that we're going to watch Betty go looney tunes, like alot of women in the 60's did, and start downing Valium like candy. Tonight's previews seem to be the beginning of that from what I've read.
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:51 PM   #24
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

Great OP,

I'm making a manhattan (or 3) to go along with the premiere, super excited!
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Old 07-25-2010, 10:00 PM   #25
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Re: Mad Men season 4: "Move Forward."

This is the most exited I have been about a premiere in a while. The is the first non sporting event I am watching not on DVR in years
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