We interrupt this dispatch about the much-awaited two-hour season six premiere of “Mad Men” (April 7 on AMC) to bring you the latest news on Jon Hamm’s penis.
Sorry for the vulgarity. This is not a subject I’d normally cover. But certainly, Matt Weiner’s penchant for extreme secrecy plays into the problem.
Earlier this week, showrunner Weiner released a “preview video” in which NOT ONE IMAGE WAS NEW! Every cut was from previous seasons. Oh, Weiner, do you think you can so easily toy with your legion of rabid fans?
Aside from the release of some portraits of the cast (which I will get to later) there’s been nary a tantalizing hint or spoiler. Plus, Weiner seems to have all of his actors on lockdown. And we all know that nature abhors a vacuum. For that matter, as the great thinker Augustine of Hippo put it: “God provides the wind, Man must raise the sail. ” So, in place of any other teasers released from godfather Weiner, Hamm’s sail has become the thing.
A little background: the actor who famously plays the starched hearthrob Don Draper has often been photographed in his private life going commando in his chinos. The outline of what has been referred to as his Dick Whitman is so unmistakable that the jury is out on whether these paparazzi shots are Photoshopped or not.
But last week someone on the set “leaked” to the New York Daily News that He Who Cannot be Contained became so apparent in the tight pants that Hamm sports on the set that AMC finally told him to wear underwear. A star was born: the Hammaconda now has five Tumblr accounts devoted to him (one is called “Jon Hamm’s Wang,") not to mention being the subject of hundreds of interweb photos, posts and late-night talk-show jokes.
The situation got so bad that Hamm himself spoke out about it, in an interview with Rolling Stone, he said the attention was “rude” and a form of “prurience.” "They're called 'privates' for a reason,” he said. "I'm wearing pants, for f***'s sake. Lay off.... When people feel the freedom to create Tumblr accounts about my c***, I feel like that wasn't part of the deal."
Well, really, Jon -- you’re the one who chose to forgo the Jockeys. And when you’re a well-paid public figure and you travel around unpacked, that to me smacks of prurience.
But let’s discuss what little info we do have on what’s coming up on “Mad Men”: the portfolio of striking black-and-white portraits of this season’s characters.
Don looks conservative and pensive, Peggy (who would seem to be back in a big way, yay!) looks like a mid-life Judy Garland. Full-to-bursting Joan is increasingly looking like Miss Kitty on “Gunsmoke.” Pete poses with his nose up in the air, so I guess he hasn’t killed himself yet. He has apparently shaved his hairline slightly to look older and more balding. The biggest change is January Jones, who has bounced back to skinny, hot, fashionable Betty. I’ve been itching for more Betty all along, although Fat Betty was a tad more sympathetic as a character. There’s also a portrait of Henry, her long-suffering second husband, so apparently they are still together.
Don’s impulsively chosen second wife -- the hot, young, groovily dressed Megan -- is back as well, looking super-skinny. And so are her teeth. We can’t tell how together she and Don are, but there is another shot of all the characters in formal attire in a ballroom scene. Don’s son Bobby (yet another child actor? ) is the spitting image of him. Sally is beautiful and wise beyond her years. And the youngest one, Gene, has grown into a blonde preschooler who looks possessed.
Sadly, the only pre-show advance I can provide is to follow what Weiner, in a January interview, told viewers to do."I would love for people to just watch the last 10 minutes of Season 5 right before Season 6 starts,” he said.
So, here, as a public service, is the official MadBlog recap:
Don and Peggy meet cute in a movie theater. The connection seems electric.
After visiting with his mistress in a mental hospital, Pete gets so beaten up on the train going home that his wife Trudy agrees to let him get an apartment in NYC.
Don gets his “hot” tooth removed and sees visions of his suicidal half brother.
Cut to the SDCP partners‘ walk onto the new floor of their office: the men (with Joan in the middle) stand with their backs to us, each sillhouetted in front of a window. The shot is so gloriously framed that it looks like a piece of fine art or a still photo.
We watch Don watch Megan’s black-and-white audition film. In a superb moment of wordless acting, it seems to dawn on him that this union is sputtering, like the projector.
Cut to a hyper Technicolor set for a shoe commercial that Megan wormed her way into. She’s wearing a ridiculous outfit and relishing her role surrounded by courtiers.
And then we get a spectacular tracking shot, showing Don leaving the set, ending up in the bar he frequented in the pilot. Then we see, in quick succession, Pete shutting out the world in his headphones, Roger standing on a chair in front of a window, naked as a tripping jaybird, and Peggy on a business trip, happily ensconced on the bed in her hotel room with her Scotch and her work.
Back in his old haunt, ordering an old-fashioned, Don gets approached by a friendly blonde woman. “Are you alone?” she asks.
From the portfolio photos, it would seem that he is with Megan. But who knows? The opener is probably set in 1967-68.
And maybe Don will decide to let his freak flag fly.
See you for the Mad Blog: "Mad Men" edition opener week after next!