"Mad Men"
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It seems obvious to most viewers that Salvatore Romano, or Sal (Bryan Batt) is gay, yet the only one who seems to pick up on this is the one executive from Belle Jolie who is also gay. During the time period in which the character appears (1960-1963), gay culture was a far less prominent part of the culture than it is today. Furthermore, in the early sixties the kind of debonair sophisticate behavior which Sal exhibits had not yet become associated exclusively with homosexual men.

In several interviews, Jon Hamm (who plays Donald Draper) has stated that, on the set of Mad Men, they smoke Ecstacy herbal cigarettes - "green" or organic cigarettes that have no nicotine in them.

Season 1 opens in March 1960 and finishes Thanksgiving Day, 24th November 1960. Season 2 picks up on Valentine's Day, 14th February 1962 and ends in October 1962 with the peaceful resolution of the Cuban missile crisis. Season 3 starts somewhere during Spring 1963 with Betty Draper (January Jones) being approximately six months pregnant and ends on the evening of 16th December 1963. Season 4 begins around Thanksgiving in November 1964 and ends in October 1965. Season 5 begins on Memorial Day weekend in May 1966 and ends in March 1967. Season 6 begins at Christmastime in December 1967 and ends on Thanksgiving Day, 28th November 1968. Season 7 begins in January 1969, around the inauguration of President Richard Nixon and ends mid-season on the morning of 22nd July 1969, two days after the successful moon landing of Apollo 11.


The first season ended on Thanksgiving Day 1960, with Don's marriage in tatters and the soundtrack blaring Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right", a song that didn't come out until 1963. "I didn't know if the show would be picked up," Matthew Weiner explained. "I was saying: 'Here's this song. This is what's coming.'"
Source: The New York Times.


I asked (series creator Matt Weiner) if Peggy's sister is raising Peggy's baby, and he said, no, that is not the case. Peggy's sister was pregnant when Peggy had her baby, and the sister gave birth around the same time. Her youngest child is her own child; the sister is not raising Peggy's offspring.

Again, just to be clear: Peggy's baby is not being raised by her sister. That child was given up for adoption.
Source: The Chicago Tribune


John Cheever's short stories about midcentury suburbia were a major inspiration, but not Richard Yates's 1961 novel, "Revolutionary Road," to which the series is often compared. But don't watch the movie by the same name expecting to see a full length movie version of Mad Men, all it may share is the approximate time period and it's about a couple's relationship.

Mr. Weiner had never heard of Yates when he wrote the "Mad Men" pilot in 2000. "'Revolutionary Road' was given to me three years after I wrote the pilot," he said. He says if he had read the book before, he wouldn't have had the nerve to write the show: "Yates was there. This is what he was writing about."
Source: The New York Times

They share the same father, Archibald Whitman. Dick's mother was a prostitute named Evangeline who died in childbirth; Adam's mother was Archibald's wife, Abigail. Dick's stepfather, Uncle Mack (Morgan Rusler) can be heard saying "You have the same father", when Dick (who later changed identities with Don Draper) says "He is not my brother..." in reaction to his stepmother Abigail Whitman (Brynn Horrocks) showing him her new-born baby named Adam.

Matthew Weiner and the rest of the production staff strive for accuracy in terms of props, language and themes. The issue of whether the "frat boy" atmosphere and the casual racism and sexism of Sterling Cooper is an accurate representation of 1960s advertising is apparently a contentious one. Some people who have worked in advertising at the time have taken issue with the inappropriate conduct depicted on the show (one interviewee mentioning that they had several female copywriters at his agency), while others have claimed that this behavior is accurate. On the show itself it's indicated that different agencies may behave differently (at one point for example Paul Kinsey comments that while Sterling Cooper drinks lots of booze, his friend works at an agency where they smoke more marijuana). It is possible that Sterling Cooper is an accurate portrayal of SOME agencies at the time and an inaccurate portrayal of others.

Some critics also feel that Mad Men misunderstands the racism and sexism of the time and portrays the ad industry as more white and male than it really was. Critics have pointed out that while Peggy is the only female copywriter at Sterling Cooper, Helen Gurley Brown had been one of the highest paid copywriters in the industry in the 1950s. Also noted is a scene where Roger comments, somewhat amazed, that rival ad firm BBDO "hired a colored kid." Critics have noted that at the time the art director for BBDO was African American.

At the start of the show in 1960, Don is head of the creative department of Sterling Cooper. In the season one episode "Indian Summer" he's made a partner with 12% of the company. In 1962, the company is bought by the British firm Putnam Powell and Lowe. At the beginning of season three Don seems to retain his position as head of Creative at Sterling Cooper. By the end of the season, Draper and much of the rest of the Sterling Cooper management have left to start a new agency. Don seems to retain much of the position he had in Sterling Cooper, being a partner (now with his name on a door) and acting as head of Creative. In today's terms he'd be called Chief Creative Officer or CCO.

In the season one episode "Red in the Face", Roger makes a drunken pass at Betty after a dinner party. As revenge, Don arranges to humiliate Roger. Before a meeting with Nixon's people, Don and Roger go to lunch where they down copious amounts of alcohol and eat equally heroic amounts of shellfish. When they get back to the office, the elevator operator, Hollis, says that the elevator is out of order (as per Don's arrangement), forcing them to climb the 23 flights of stairs to the Sterling Cooper offices. The combination of oysters, booze, and vigorous labor make Roger sick and he vomits on the floor in front of the Nixon team.

A lot of viewers seem mystified by the fact that Peggy did not realize she was pregnant in season one. It should be kept in mind that women still sometimes do not realize they are pregnant until late in their pregnancies. In fact enough of these cases exist to make a tv show about it (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1239443/).

In the early 1960s information about sexual and reproductive health was far less available than it is today. Barely a decade before Mad Men is set, Lucille Ball couldn't use the word "pregnant" on TV to describe her condition. Formal sex education for children was rare to nonexistent and as a Catholic Peggy likely got little or no sex education from her parents aside from proscriptive warnings against it.

Bob Benson shows up out of nowhere in season six after Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce expanded the agency. Bob is extremely solicitous of others and has a certain air of mystery about him. As revealed towards the end of the season, Bob is something of a con man. He had worked as a servant, and possibly a sexual companion, for an executive at the accounting firm of Brown Brothers Harriman. When the partner died, Bob took a rolodex and used its list of contacts to con himself into a job. He takes the same elevator as Don early on in the premiere episode when the latter character is returning from Hawaii, holding two cups of coffee, one of which goes to Don. The other is given to Pete, who treats Bob like an underling. It's interesting to note that when we finally see Bob "working" he's sitting out in a reception area and is noticed by Ken who tells him to go back to his office. No one actually remembers hiring Bob, because he had an interview with Ken, and Pete came in and complimented his tie. This is all according to Bob himself, and it is left ambiguous whether or not this interview ever took place. The audience is led to believe he simply conned his way to a job. His life experience, with regards to shedding his old identity and slipping in under the radar at SCDP, is a reflection of Don's own story. Because he handles business well and everyone up top seems to like him, Bob eventually becomes the account man for Chevy in Detroit, and the last time he was mentioned on Season 7, he was preparing to go to a job working for Buick.

In season six, Duck is working as an independent head hunter in the advertising field in NY. He connects people looking for work with firms who have job openings. We see Pete talk to Duck early in the season when he's dissatisfied with SCDP. In the season finale, Duck accompanies his client, Lou Avery, to SC&P to interview for Don's job.

The finale ends with Don meditating at the Esalen Institute in California after having an emotional breakthrough in a therapy session. We then cut to the "Hilltop" ad, an iconic ad for Coca-Cola which featured a diverse group of people singing the song "I'd Like to Teach the World To Sing". The ad was released in 1971 and was made by McCann-Erickson, the firm which Don now works for.

Series creator Matthew Wiener has confirmed in interviews that, in the world of Mad Men, Don created the Hilltop ad (in real life the idea originated with ad man Bill Backer). One piece of evidence which makes this clear in the finale is a scene where Don talks to an employee at Esalen. The woman is wearing a peasant blouse with her hair in long pig tails decorated with red ribbons. In the Coke ad, there is a woman who is dressed virtually identically.

Betty discovers in the final episodes that she has terminal cancer and moves forward stoically with her remaining time.

Peggy settles in to her new role at McCann Erickson and begins a romantic relationship with Stan.

Joan begins her own company producing informational films.

Don comments early in the series on the crucial role that nostalgia plays in his industry, advertising. Meanwhile, the show itself, while pointing out much that is wrong with society in the 60's, glamorizes its era through meticulous production design and costumes. We are drawn into this pristine, stylized version of a past world. ScreenPrism writes that the show has a powerful ability to make even young viewers nostalgic for a time they themselves never lived in.

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