Mad Men: Season Four

Besides being the perfect (looking and in regards to tone) time capsule of the time frame it portrays, the late 1950s and early 1960s, it also ably deals with the societal, cultural and political issues affecting those residing in the United States. Show creator/producer/director/writer Matthew Weiner (producer on the television shows The Sopranos and Andy Richter Controls the Universe) really has an ear for dialogue and an eye for what will come across as real.

Of particular interest to those not just interested in the interpersonal dynamics on the show, but the whole era will eat up with a spoon the special features included. You get a lot of perspective about what was going on during that time. Builds a background for the show and the mindset of the characters.

Season four starts off where season three left us with all the principle players at Sterling Cooper breaking out on their own to form a new ad company. Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) and Pete (played by Vincent Karthheiser) are now partners along with Roger (played by John Slattery), Cooper (played by Robert Morse) and Lane Pryce (played by Jared Harris). As with any new company there are some bumps in the road in regards to gaining clients, building a reputation and making money.

On a personal level several characters are going through things: Pete is going to become a father, Don is dealing with being a divorced man, Joan’s (played by Christina Hendricks) husband is going off to Vietnam, and Betty (played by January Jones) is worried about her daughter’s (played by Kiernan Shipka) behaviour.

The writers have really hit their stride by season four. Don Draper’s life post divorce is a mess. More one night stands and drinking. It is a dark time. The episode The Suitcase is real gold. Don and Peggy (played by Elizabeth Moss) spend a night together (platonic) at work and it turns into a rather cathartic one for Don plus is really shows the closeness between the two. Both of the actors really get a lot to sink their teeth into and show just how good they are.

Plenty happens this season. We get the opportunity to revisit the whole Roger and Joan thing again. We begin to understand why Lane is the way he is when we meet his father. The layers of the onion of many of the characters are unpeeled revealing more and more about those whom we are already quite invested in.

Special Features:

-Commentary with Matthew Weiner

-Divorces, Circa 1960s

-How to Succeed in Business, Draper Style

-Marketing the Mustang

-1964 Presidential Campaign

 

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