Watching this I began to wonder why this program was such a success. My initial reaction to the show was that it was awful. It was filled with despicable characters, was overtly racist and sexist and really had no discernible story. Then about episode eight everything began to click. It was still sexist and racist but characters began to develop and stories began to be fleshed out. I was won over and became another fan. It truly is like nothing else on television. Completely stylized and marching to its own beat, Mad Men is obsessively authentic and features some rather surprising and nuanced performances from within its rather large cast. Give it a chance and you will certainly fall under its spell.
Episode 1: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: In the year 1960 Manhattan was one of the most glamourous and exciting places to live in the world. Especially so if you worked in the advertising as it was its “golden age”.
Episode 2: Ladies Room: Roger (played by John Slatterly) offers an ear to Don (played by Jon Hamm) but he ignores the offer. Peggy (played by Elizabeth Moss) misses Pete (played by Vincent Kartheiser), who is away on his honeymoon.
Episode 3: Marriage of Figaro: Pete is back from his honeymoon at Niagara Falls and is very excited about being married. There is, however, some tension between him and Peggy.
Episode 4: New Amsterdam: Pete’s wife is pressuring him to buy a new apartment that he cannot afford on his salary. This pressure causes him to create some friction between him and Don at work.
Episode 5: 5G: Winning an advertising award and having his picture in the paper, Don’s past comes back to haunt him. Peggy hears something Don says on a private conversation and relays the information to Joan (played by Christina Hendricks).
Episode 6: Babylon: A forbidden office romance is uncovered. During a brainstorming session for lipstick Peggy demonstrates that she can be more than a secretary.
Episode 7: Red in the Face: Roger comes home with Don for dinner and gets drunk then makes a pass at Betty (played by January Jones). Pete is still having trouble at home.
Episode 8: The Hobo Code: Don’s past still begins to prove to be a problem for him. The new Peggy seems to irritate people at the office.
Episode 9: Shoot: Don is offered a job by a rival and bigger company. The presidential campaigns of Kennedy and Nixon are on people at Sterling Cooper’s minds.
Episode 10: Long Weekend: Don loses an account. Roger is stuck in town for the long weekend while his family is away.
Episode 11: Indian Summer: Betty is becoming more and more unhappy. Roger’s situation at work leads to opportunities for Don.
Episode 12: Nixon vs. Kennedy: It is election night and a lot of the Sterling Cooper staff stays for an all-night party. Pete challenges Don about his past.
Episode 13: The Wheel: Peggy’s has an unexpected arrival on Thanksgiving. Betty learns the truth or some of it about Don.
Special Features: Establishing Mad Men, The Desire of the American Dream, Pictures of Elegance, Scoring Mad Men, Mad Men Music Sampler