Has it already been a week since the new season of Mad Men began? It has, and in last night's Jon Hamm–directed episode, the diffuse setups of the season premiere are focused on work, love, and war—and sometimes more than one at a time. Read on for our three-person recap of last night's show.
This season, Mad Men set in 1968, a time of powerful and exciting organizing in the U.S. feminist movement—while the fictional Madison Avenue advertising crew scribbles out new taglines for headphones, 1968 was the year feminists took to the streets to protest the Miss America pageant.
It's that time again! Mad Men is back for another stylish, symbol-packed season, and your faithful recappers Kelsey, Andi, and Annalee are here to break it down and hash it out. For those of you new to our Mad Men recaps, be forewarned that these aren't linear summaries, but rather discussions of the key plot points and most compelling questions of each episode—and yes, you can be sure there are some spoilers, so proceed accordingly.
Last night's season premiere was a two-hour mood-setting piece that took us from Oahu at Christmas to the sunken living room of the Draper's New York pad on New Year's Eve. We know that 1968 is a big year, filled with civil-rights protests, the assassinations of both RFK and MLK, and the advent of the Nixon administration. But right now, all our friends in the world of Sterling Cooper Draper Price know is that it's a time when fondue pots are on sale at Bloomingdale's and everything smells like reefer.
We all know Rosa Parks, but she wasn't the first to refuse to give up her seat on the bus. Democracy Now interviews Claudette Colvin, who was just 15 when she was arrested for doing the same. [Democracy Now, NewBlackMan (in Exile)]
In AMC's wildly popular Mad Men, administrative assistants are sexy secretaries in a male-dominated world. Sue in Veep and April in recent seasons of Parks and Recreation portray a slightly more empowering though still-tired trope: the sassy secretary. In real life, the role of administrative assistant is, statistically speaking, woman's work. But at a time when four out of ten recession-era postgrads are working whatever jobs they can, the reality is that assistant work has recently transformed from a job young women approach with ambivalance to a job that feels reliable in an uncertain economy.
The Mad Men fans among us will never forget "The Other Woman." In a season filled with beautiful, heart-wrenching, affecting episodes, "The Other Woman" stands out as one of the best, and we aren't the only ones who think so: The episode is nominated for Emmys in the acting, writing, and directing categories this year. Not only that, the Daily Beast is publishing a two-part oral history on the episode with Christina Hendricks and Matthew Weiner, part one of which went up today.
For those of you who've reading our weekly Mad Men coverage here at Bitch, fear not: we'll recap Sunday's season finale (sniff), but we'll be covering True Blood too! Because a soap-y, action-packed show like TB doesn't really merit a 1,500-word analysis each week, we'll be live tweeting each episode at @BitchMediaLive and posting a quick rehash each Monday. Follow along!