Mad Men Mania: 10 Theories About Mad Men’s Mid-Season Finale

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For Vulture writes: This year’s last Mad Men episode — the finale of season seven, part one — airs Sunday night on AMC. In the days leading up to that momentous Memorial Day weekend event, Mad Men fans will do what they always do on such occasions: spend ludicrous amounts of time speculating about what will happen in that pseudo-finale, even though they know all their theories will be rendered moot come Sunday at 11:10 p.m. Because … eh, what else are you gonna do?

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We at Vulture, will help fuel this absurd plot-prediction process by offering a list of 10 theories about what might happen on Sunday’s Mad Men. In order to compile this list, we’ve used all the tools at our disposal. Those tools include:

  • The official AMC promo for the episode, which is chock full of information. (Just kidding: It’s just a bunch of scenes from previous episodes that tell us nothing!)
  • The summary of the episode, called “Waterloo” (uh-oh). It states: “Don is troubled by a letter; Peggy may seek a new future on a risky venture; Roger receives a phone call; Pete and Cutler butt heads.” So it tells us something, and yet, at the same time, also nothing.
  • Random crackpot ideas from the internet.
  • Random crackpot ideas that percolated in our brain after one too many shots of rum from Lou Avery’s office tiki bar.

Now, in no particular order, here’s the list of theories, some of which are credible and some of which are flat-out cuckoo. But let’s be honest: If anyone had told you before the season-six finale that Pete Campbell’s mother would go on a cruise with Manolo and fall off the ship to her death, would you have believed it?

Theory 1: Don gets a letter that says the Department of Defense is investigating him for posing as Don Draper and deserting his military post.

As the helpful DVR description of “Waterloo” notes, Don will be “troubled by a letter,” a statement that sparked a flashback to the season-four episode “Hands and Knees,” when DOD officials questioned Betty as part of a background check on Don. (“Do you have any reason to believe Mr. Draper isn’t who he says he is?” one of the G-Men asked.)

That background check happened because Pete had finally landed North American Aviation as a client, and also because Megan, then Don’s secretary, unwittingly filled out a government form on Don’s behalf without sufficiently flailing her arms and screaming so Don would know he shouldn’t sign it. Pete took a bullet for Don, squashing the $4 million account in order to eliminate the possibility that Don would be investigated. But somewhere, in some government office, that form peppered with Don Draper red flags is still sitting there. Perhaps its information has even been sucked into a database housed in one of those dreadful computers Harry Crane loves so much. And perhaps it could resurface, especially if Betty gets background-checked as part of Henry’s attempt to become New York’s Attorney General. (Betty mentioned Henry might pursue that job in episode three of this season, “Field Trip.”)

Theory 2: The finale will focus in part on the Stonewall Riots, in which Bob Benson will be involved.

Mad Men Redditors have been speculating in various threads about which 1969 events will be featured in upcoming Mad Men episodes. One possibility for this week: the Stonewall Riots, which kick-started the American gay-rights movement.

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What Mad Men Teaches Us About Money

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For Daily FinanceAnnalisa Kraft-Linder writes: Millions of Americans are addicted to “Mad Men,” the AMC drama chronicling the lives of the people at ad agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Enthralling us over seven seasons are their mostly sordid sex lives, boozy business lunches, snazzy apartments, period clothes and finned Cadillacs.

“They say money can’t buy happiness, but it sure as hell buys everything else.”

— Bob Benson

Although money is rarely addressed, suck-up Bob Benson of season six (James Wolk) sums up their attitudes neatly: “They say money can’t buy happiness, but it sure as hell buys everything else.” Here’s what else you can learn about money from the hit show, which wraps up this year.

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‘Happiness Is the … Freedom from Fear’

Agency creative director Don Draper (Jon Hamm) leads a complicated life. He had been on unscheduled leave after a major meltdown in front of the Hershey (HSY) clients. He conspires with his former secretary to keep his family in the dark about his out-of-work status. His relationship with his work and money is so tied in to the ’60s concept of the masculine breadwinner that on the April 27 episode he finally admits his fear to wife, Megan (Jessica Pare),”If you found out what happened, you wouldn’t look at me in the same way.”

“I’m just acknowledging that life, unlike this analysis, will eventually end, and someone else will get the bill.”

— Roger Sterling

Draper could have taken a job at another agency for less money but submits sheepishly to be part of the SCDP fold under humiliating conditions to keep up his lifestyle and win back Megan. Read the rest of this entry »


Mad Men creator: Don’t hate Don Draper

‘Mad Men’ creator Matthew Weiner says his central character, who is becoming maddening to some fans, is not the devil

By Martin Miller, Los Angeles Times

If nothing else, AMC‘s “Mad Men” has been the deliberate and artful chronicle of the psychological undressing of the secretive Don Draper. In its current season, the drama laid the character even more bare when he was caught with another woman — and with his pants down — by his 14-year-old daughter.

The excruciating moment, a culmination of self-imposed humiliations in a season awash in shame for the Emmy Award-winning show’s central character, prompted a fresh round of howling at the depraved depths of its charismatic antihero. He’s a terrible father. He’s a monster. He’s the devil.

But Don Draper is none of those things, counters the show’s creator Matthew Weiner, who after Sunday’s season finale will only have 13 episodes left to tell the troubled ad executive’s tale. Don, he says, is 1968.

“People expect Don to be out of touch, but given society’s identity crisis in 1968, he’s never been more in touch,” said Weiner, who spent much of this season exploring the tumult of one of the nation’s most painful and divisive years. “It’s like the entire world is in a state that Don is in all the time — the id has overtaken the culture.”

It was a state some critics found wearisome this season, particularly when it came to Draper. While there were new examples of his morally reprehensible behavior, the most common complaint among many of the show’s devoted legions of episode recappers and social media commentators was they’d had enough. The New Yorker’s television critic Emily Nussbaum wrote midseason that “Don, instead of being the show’s engine, has become its anchor — heavy, even in the sixties sense.”

In an interview at his Los Angeles Center Studios office earlier this week, Weiner talked about his penultimate season and the critical reaction to it, as well as elaborating on some of the key narrative developments. The 47-year-old show runner, famously guarded about revealing plot details, also hinted at what might lie ahead for his leading man.

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