Don And The Gang Return! But First: The Story So Far

Welcome back, my Mad Blog peeps!

So ecstatic and beside herself is Dorothy at the prospect of the third season starting next week that she's speaking in tongues (and the third person) while salivating and running her run-on sentence backwards!

Plus, Doro's missed her commenters something fierce! So, group, let's just catch up on a few points before the debut on Sunday, Aug. 16th. (Really, how did we survive until now?)

As with most things Mad and Men, AMC's beautifully executed poster promoting the new season is genius. It shows Don Draper, all perfectly shaved, coiffed, starched and buttoned up, sitting in his office smoking as murky water floods around him.

Okay, the obvious response is that he can barely keep his head above water. (Time and tide wait for no man!) And it's a wonderful visual representation of otherwise invisible inner turmoil.

Water also symbolizes the elemental: birth, life, death. As with Don's character, water has a paradoxical nature -- the source of life itself, it can also bring raging chaos, powerlessness, and destruction. Or as with a murky swamp, it suggests a return to a primordial, oozy (not boozy) state.

And right now, Don's life is quite a bog. For his cheating, Betty had ordered him out of the house last season, but when she discovered she was pregnant from desperate, middle-of-the-night, clueless-man-on-angry-woman sex in her old bedroom at her demented dad's house, she seemed to make peace with her marriage and let her badly behaved husband come back home.

And indeed, one of the few visual clues for what's ahead was leaked when a photo was released showing Don on the set in period dress, (with a messy production assistant in shorts behind him), apparently taking Betty home from the hospital. She's beautifully groomed, in a perfect outfit, carrying the baby, looking like a Kennedy wife.

Speaking of water -- beautiful blond Betty actually looks just like Joan Kennedy did in the 1960s. Joan, of course, was married to Ted then. While many comparisons have been made about Don and JFK, here the royal pair are more like Teddy and the Missus -- aka Mr. and Mrs. Pre-Chappaquiddick, who don't know what's about to hit them.

How will Don, a cruelly abused orphan child in need of a mother, react to the new baby? Birth is an act that raises never-ending, soul-crushing questions about authenticity and reality versus lies and illusions, about actual flesh and blood living people versus ghosts who still have power over us from the grave. Don is already split in two -- he's capable of being aggressor and victim, liar and truth teller, pitiful whore child and family man.

Which Don will emerge this season? For that matter, in the larger context, with the Brits taking over, the Sterling Cooper agency is also a battleground, a place divided. Who will stay and who will go? Will Sal come out? Will Pete continue to be his more sympathetic self? Will Peggy make it after all? And where can I get Joan's pen pendant?

Open the floodgates, Matthew Weiner! We're so 99 3/4 percent pure, we float!

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24 comments about "Don And The Gang Return! But First: The Story So Far".
  1. Shaun Hussey from Tribune-Star Publishing Co. , August 11, 2009 at 4:07 p.m.

    I'm not sure which I'm actually looking forward to more... the new season or your insightful analysis on the new season. Welcome back!

  2. Scott Curtis from Studeo , August 11, 2009 at 4:13 p.m.

    Welcome back, been watching S2 all over again and realized how much I was thinking about these updates as I watched.

  3. Ray George from HawkPartners , August 11, 2009 at 4:18 p.m.

    Wonderful to have you back - the only blog I read. Thanks for priming us for the upcoming season!

  4. Jonas Halpren from Federated Media , August 11, 2009 at 4:24 p.m.

    So excited for a new season we created a DIY Mad Men Premier cocktail party.

    Cheers
    http://www.drinkoftheweek.com/blog/mad-men-season-3-premiere-cocktail-party/

  5. Sylvia Trevino from Anderson Marketing Group , August 11, 2009 at 4:32 p.m.

    I can't wait to see Don & the Gang! I, like Ray George, only read this one blog and I have missed it.

  6. Jonathan McEwan from MediaPost , August 11, 2009 at 5:08 p.m.

    It seems each season takes on a great moment in media. Remember last season when Jackie gave the famous White House tour, or the reaction throughout the office to Marilyn's death. For those of you keeping track, your Kennedy comparisons seem rather prescient. When last we left the Drapers, she had a probable due date that seemed timed to coincide with a fateful day in Dallas... Remember Don saying (in reference to the American Airlines bid) it's about the future: What does 1963 look like. I know what November 22, 1963 looked like. Who can forget? This should be a whammy of a season. Fasten your seat belts...

  7. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , August 11, 2009 at 5:45 p.m.

    Dorothy,

    I can't remember where I saw it, maybe from a catalog, but Joan's necklace pen was being sold. Although I have not tried it, you may find it on an online search.

  8. Randall Hoffner from ABC, Inc. , August 11, 2009 at 6:20 p.m.

    Like you, I can't wait! AMC stripped the entire second season yesterday, from 7am till 8pm. I had the time, and don't you know I sat there and watched the whole thing! I'm caught up and ready to go! I had forgotten how densely-packed this series is -- so much goes on in each episode. And, of course, look out for the foreshadowing at all times! Now I remember all the issues left hanging from last season. Wonder what becomes of Duck, for example? And they scrupulously avoided any new footage in the promos.

  9. Robin Billie from Hearst , August 11, 2009 at 7:05 p.m.

    I have been counting down the days until Aug. 16. The marathon yesterday just about blew out my DVR. I can't wait for S3 and for your blog. I look forward yo Monday mornings as much as the show to read your insights. What is going to happen next? The show makes me want to call you Dot for some reason. No offense. Just a great 60's nickname.

  10. Mickey Lonchar from Quisenberry , August 11, 2009 at 8:19 p.m.

    Dang! Just when I succeeded at giving up single malts & Chesterfields, it's baaaack.

    Mickey
    www.quisenblog.com

  11. Bruce Oren from The AIMGroup , August 11, 2009 at 9:36 p.m.

    "How will Don, a cruelly abused orphan child in need of a mother, react to the new baby? Birth is an act that raises never-ending, soul-crushing questions about authenticity and reality versus lies and illusions, about actual flesh and blood living people versus ghosts who still have power over us from the grave."

    C'mon Dorothy, the guy's already fathered two children with no noticeable effects. Why would a third child make any difference?

  12. Royelen lee Boykie from Mad Men Musings , August 11, 2009 at 9:53 p.m.

    Yippee! Yippee!

  13. Royelen lee Boykie from Mad Men Musings , August 12, 2009 at 10:01 p.m.

    Yippee!

  14. Royelen lee Boykie from Mad Men Musings , August 12, 2009 at 10:04 p.m.

    Very excited to have you back.

  15. Tommy Hollis from GAM.TV , August 13, 2009 at 9:58 a.m.

    Closest thing to Mad Men's evocation of the ad business has been Trueblood, although I keep wavering as to which group in Bon Temps is the agency, the advertiser or the consumer.
    Certainly shape shifting could be useful in a presentation.

  16. Tommy Hollis from GAM.TV , August 14, 2009 at 4:51 p.m.

    by the way, Dotty, have you had a preview of the opening episode

  17. Eric Layland from Confluence Digital , August 14, 2009 at 6:15 p.m.

    Great comment about Don, the future and 1963. While I was still 5 yrs away from being born, here are a few media related events from that year
    March 22 – The Beatles release their first album Please Please Me
    May 1 – The Coca-Cola Company debuts its first diet drink, TaB
    May 8 – Dr. No, the first James Bond film, is shown in U.S. theaters.
    July 1 – ZIP Codes are introduced in the U.S.
    August 28 – Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his I Have A Dream speech
    September – Marvel Comics releases the first ever X-Men comic book
    November 22 – JFK shot +Beatles' second U.K. album, With The Beatles, is released

    It'll be fun to see which of these plus other historical events work their way into the story lines.

  18. Jordan Gold from Freedom Interactive , August 16, 2009 at 3:54 a.m.

    Dorothy!!!!
    The season wouldn't be the same without you! Can't wait for the premiere, then can't wait for the blog and the great comments!!!!

  19. Royelen lee Boykie from Mad Men Musings , August 17, 2009 at 12:32 a.m.

    No doubt we all were watching earlier episodes in preparation. Just LOVE the season 2 conclusion with Peggy and Peter. And saw the resemblance between the Viscount and Don as they met in the Palm Springs one, not sure I had seen that before, like the Viscount was the elder version of Don in a parallel universe. Maybe somebody already noted that.

    Anybody else?

  20. Richard Brayer from Car-X , August 17, 2009 at 4:59 p.m.

    Dorothy breathless awaiting your review- particularity of Sal and the " limit your exposure" campaign

  21. Tom Messner from BONACCOLTA MESSNER , August 17, 2009 at 6:08 p.m.

    Beatle remark very interesting. In the early part of '63 or the end of '62, Jack Paar--having left the tonight show and producing his own kind of programming--had a show in which he was letting people see "what was going on in Europe." A band was shown which Paar dismissed as inane.
    Of course by the end of '63, The Beatles albums were one and two in the U.S., I think and by february of '64, the beatles had arrived in the new world and Jack Paar was begging his bete noire ed sullivan for tickets to his show. Paar was off the air shortly after and it seemed to me at the time and still does today, that the event really marked a change. Although i still don't know what it was

  22. Maddy Mud from McMarketing , August 17, 2009 at 6:11 p.m.

    well? where's our new blog!!!

  23. Sharon Bruner from Bruner+Assoc , August 18, 2009 at 12:29 p.m.

    Looking forward to the blog - it's the only one that i anticipate each week. Hope all is well.

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