August 6, 2008

‘Mad Men’ new season takes flight

Mad Men

Season 2, Episode 2: “Flight 1”

AMC, Sundays, 10 p.m., aired Aug. 3. Starring Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Elisabeth Moss and Michael Gladis.

Synopsis: The ad men at Sterling Cooper find themselves doing damage control after a plane crashes, killing Pete’s father. Meanwhile, Don and Betty Draper’s marriage shows cracks in the foundation.


BY SARA HAVENS & MAT HERRON


Mat: I don’t think I ever missed smoking until I saw this AMC original, created by “Sopranos” alum Matthew Weiner. The coolness cannot be understated. “Mad Men” shows the repressed, buttoned-up side of the ’60s. The built-in sexism, not-so-subtle racism and pent-up frustrations over the human condition. Each character appears to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. 

Sara: Yeah, can you imagine working in such a smoky office? I did like the fact that all the men with offices had their own bar, and they drank throughout the day. That would definitely make time fly. I’m not sure how much would get done around here, but it sure would be fun. Think we’re allowed to try it out? I’ve got some SoCo in my top drawer. 

Mat: I heard that after 2 p.m. on a workday, drinking is technically OK. 

Sara: I’ll see you at 1:59 then, bucko! Back restrooms?

Mat: The party scene was vicious. Paul Kinsey (Gladis) chatting with his ex Joan, who is white, and his new foil Sheila, who is black, at the same party = awkward. Joan cements her icy rep with this dart: “The last thing I would’ve taken him for was open-minded.” Ouch.

Sara: Bitch was ruthless! And her red purse was atrocious. How rude was it that she suggested as Sheila climbed the ranks at the grocery store, she could one day be a customer? 

Mat: Pete Campbell (Kartheiser) is a preppy, unrepentant bastard, but maybe he’s got some previously unseen complexity. Last season he was a go-getter, ready to cut Draper’s (Hamm) throat every chance he got. When his father dies and he passes on the American Airlines proposal, he shows some genuine grace. Bastard with feelings.

Sara: Yep, bastards with feelings don’t get too far, do they? Here’s a tissue, Mat, and pull up your skirt. Loved when his partner said that to Draper when he was hesitant to pony up with American Airlines. 

I must say Draper was my favorite character … as this was my first time viewing. He seems to be the only one who recognizes the social hypocrisy that was so prevalent in the ’60s. And he taught his kids how to make a decent Manhattan, right down to the muddling. And a Tom Collins gets a cherry, remember that.

Mat: The sick airline jokes were hard to listen to. In Manhattan, no less.

Sara: I was a bit confused — did the big-wigs at Sterling Cooper want Pete on the American Airlines project because he is a good ad rep, or because his father died in the plane crash? That’s pretty low if it was the latter. 

Mat: If it was the latter, I wouldn’t be surprised. 


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