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Mad Men Review: Spring Cleaning the Carpet

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The times they are a changin'. Although it was only seven or eight months since Don went to California with Megan in the Mad Men season four finale, everything felt different in "A Little Kiss."

Don and Megan couldn't keep their hands off of each other, even as they walked into work together, Pete and Roger were nearly at each other's throats attempting to gain the advantage within SCDP, Joan was at home taking care of her new born, and Peggy was working day and night, managing very little success.

Okay, so maybe that last one was exactly what we've seen from Peggy for a few years now, but there was definitely a different vibe to start the season. The period we were watching only moved from October of 1965 to Memorial Day of 1966, but the 1950s feeling of previous seasons was almost entirely gone, which was no more evident than at Don's surprise party.

The lighting, the decor, the attitudes, and a certain performance by a former secretary made the event seem like a portrayal of the changing times.

Mad Men Season 5 Premiere Pic

Honestly, the first 45 minutes or so were basically just setting the scene for the new season, so it was a smart move to make this premiere two hours long.

After that, though, everything began to pick up, starting with Don's surprise 40th birthday party! The party was just great moment after great moment. I knew it was going to be a gathering to remember by Don's reaction to seeing Roger outside of his door. No...no... He didn't say anything else. Don just walked right in the door like hadn't just said that.

From the strange array of guests that were at the party, to Peggy's blunt comment about work to Don and Megan, it was great to be a fly on the wall at that event. Nothing, and I mean nothing, could be compared to Megan's performance, though.

Zou Bisou Bisou indeed. I was captivated throughout that song, and during the entire episode for that matter, both with how interesting Megan was as a character, and how wonderful Jessica Pare was at playing her.

Her infatuation with Don, her want for excitement, the fact that she called out Peggy for being a jerk, her wondering what the heck is wrong with all of the people at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, and her twisted underwear cleaning bit, made for one hell of a coming out party for Megan Draper and Jessica Pare.

The most interesting thing about Megan's piece of this puzzle will be how it affects Don. Will her personality rub off on him? Or will he revert back to his old ways?

The best inclination of Megan being able to help Don was when he first wanted to go to bed after the party. He just wanted to hide from the embarrassment, but Megan was able to get him to roll over and talk about it. That's not something we probably would have seen from him with any other woman. I have faith that she is good for him, and if not, I know that she's good for me as a viewer.

I also really enjoyed the rapidly increasing level of competition between Pete and Roger. It is so extremely clear that Pete is the one bringing in all of the clients for SCDP - and he's working nearly every hour of the day to make that happen - but Roger's is still doing his best to poach off of the junior partner.

You had to give it up to Petey for continuing to go for the throat, even after he worked his way into a bigger office. Making that fake meeting at 6 a.m. with Coca Cola was great, and watching Roger slowly wake himself up before dawn to attempt to steal the client was hilarious!

Joan and Lane were also highlighted throughout the two hours, but I was far less interested in their stories. Unlike everyone else in the world, I've never enjoyed Joan all that much, and that didn't change here as she struggled with her life transition.

Lane, on the other hand, I have always liked, but his plot dealing with the lost wallet didn't really seem to have a point. He acted like a little school boy with a crush for a while, but when she didn't show up, the whole thing kind of lost its footing. If the lovely Delores makes a valiant return, maybe this was a nice starting off point.

Whether it was a new wife, a new office, a new baby, or the potential of fling, things were changing for our friends on Madison Avenue in "A Little Kiss." Maybe most shocking of all... Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce basically backed themselves into a corner and started taking resumes from some African-American ladies, who wanted jobs as secretaries.

What did you think of the Mad Men season five premiere? Was it worth the long hiatus? What change were you most surprised by? Which has you the most excited? And maybe most importantly, how many times are you going to watch Megan's performance before next week's episode?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (209 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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By the way, I could swear Don's son is the same kid from Desperate Housewives. I'm not sure though, I'm gonna have to check.

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I hate her teeth. Yeah, I was going to go with something more deep about how fantastic the episode was and all the symbolism like Joan ending the episode going up and down the elevator, reaching the ceiling, but going nowhere. It was great, but I just can't stop thinking about how ugly Jane's teeth are. They're HIDEOUS. Don should put some money together and give Jane a dental plan for HER birthday. That would be fantastic repayment for the party.

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I thought this episode was good, but not great. Unlike the article's author, I did not enjoy Don & Megan. I didnt believe they came in late and he was ready to leave. I hope Megan cracks up and leaves Don. Additionally, I personally love Joan & enjoyed the Joan and Lane scenes. I thought Roger should have acknowledged his son. My biggest complaint with the show, though I continue to be a fan, is the lack of meaning Black actors. I am hopeful there will he a new hire that with a meaningful role. i think Peggy deserves better stuff. Also, I don't care for Don & Roger not really working. Also, I missed Betty.

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I loved the episode! Times are changing and the people/circumstance/etc are also. I like Don & Megan's and I don't think that she's manipulating him...I think she's young, fun, intuitive and spontaneous....exactly what Don Whitman/Draper needs. When was the last time that we actually saw Don having a good time? Can't remember? I'll answer....NEVER. After the party when Megan got Don to turn over and talk, she told him that she loved him...Don Whitman. That freaked Mr. Draper out a bit and he reverted to his old self for a while. I think that she will be very good for Don. Very good indeed. Whether the employees at SCDP wanted to admit it or not, they had a good time at the party....the men want to be Don Drpaer and the women want their men to be like him. Once Megan got a handle on the craziness of the people at work and put Peggy in her place, she went home and opened up the road to reconciliation...on the carpet. I see the agency hiring their first African American secretary in the near future and opening up a whole new can of mixed nuts. I like that the show is trying it' best to stay in tune with the times.

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I really enjoyed this episode. I really liked watching Roger and Pete go back and forth. I have never cared for Pete because he seems more concerned about himself and material things than with the company as a whole. Roger's lines always make me laugh, even if I don't care for how he lives his life, I love the philosophical way he speaks. I cracked up when he introduced himself in French after Megan's song and how he continued the next day at the office. Even though Don is changing a little I like how he still keeps some of his old self. I agree with him about surprise parties. I hope this season will be just as good as the last four. Everyone is going through changes just like the time period.

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I'm holding out with my faith in the writers: I'm assuming Meagan is highly manipulative and is playing Don ... not so much in a shrewd, calculating way, but more like she's a little unstable way. She's seems ripe for messy nervous breakdown of some sort, which I think would be really interesting to watch. Because Betty will start looking better to Don, and I think the absolutely most interesting thing the writers could do is have Don and Betty have an affair. :)

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Much more interested in watching the soap opera play out against the larger background of 1966. Will someone's child be going to Woodstock? There's a train coming down the track, and if you listen closely, you can hear the whistle blowing. But few of them know what it means. Interesting that Pete isn't allowing smoking in his little office. Possibly interesting to watch how self-interest may force the characters into actions they don't want to take (hiring a black secretary perhaps?) and then how those actions may begin to change one or two of them.

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I hope that this was an aberration. The episode lacked the intensity we have come to associate with Mad Men. The whole Megan thing is so not Don Draper.

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The year and a half hiatus, combined with that boring premier, was just a buzz kill. There's no compelling reason to keep this show at the top of the DVR list any more.

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Having worked in advertising in the early 60s, I can attest to the absolute stunning reproduction of the office secretarial pool and the partners' offices. Seeing Roger sitting at a Saarinen table gave my mid-century modern furniture passion a jolt. As for the depiction of the times, please note that women of that era were not as openly sexually aggressive as they have been shown on this series. Plus, and here's the real truth--the undergarments of the era, girdle, bras, garter belts, hose, were things to be reckoned with in those days. Megan's underwear tease was a bit of a stretch, but it did the trick for her. Nevertheless, this series portrays that era as accurately as one could hope. I wish that women would go back to more feminine clothes and seeing men in suits and ties is a big turn on these days when guys show up at elegant restaurants and the theatre dressed in jeans and golf shirts.