Mad Men: Season 4, Episode 1

Public Relations (25 Jul. 2010)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 681 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 5 critic

The new firm is struggling for business, so Peter and Peggy resort to a cheap publicity stunt to lure a client. Meanwhile, Don's personal problems and an unflattering newspaper interview puts his and the firm's image in jeopardy.



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Title: Public Relations (25 Jul 2010)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Cosgrove (credit only)
Bethany Van Nuys


The new Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has been in business for one year, and it as a business is still floundering. They still have Lucky Strike as their big account, but all other clients account for a small proportion of total revenue. For every new innovative campaign they do, such as the recent television commercial for Glo-Coat, they have problems with another client. For example, Peggy, Pete and Joey are working on a campaign for Sugarberry Ham, and they feel they need to come up with a publicity stunt to replace the non-existent media budget, the stunt which they don't clear with Don and which goes slightly awry. And Don refuses to compromise his creative stance to kowtow to potential new clients. The company is housed in a small office that is not well furnished - it doesn't even have a conference table, the circle of chairs acting as the conference area they tell their clients is to foster dialogue. Don is being interviewed for Ad-Age Magazine, which the other partners trust ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




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Release Date:

25 July 2010 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Don's date, Bethany, mentions the death of Andrew Goodman. This is a reference to the real-life murder of three civil rights workers, James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Henry Schwerner in Philadelphia, Mississippi on June 21, 1964. Chaney (from Mississippi) and Schwerner and Goodman (from New York) had been working to register voters in Neshoba County, Mississippi when they were arrested on trumped-up charges, released and then shot to death soon after and buried in hopes their bodies would not be found. After the state would not try the case, there was a federal prosecution that resulted (in 1967) in no prison sentence over 6 years for any of the conspirators to murder the three men (the presiding judge told a reporter, "they killed one nigger, one Jew, and a white man [though in fact, both Goodman and Schwerner were Jewish]. I gave them all what I thought they deserved.") On June 21, 2005 (the 41st anniversary of the murders), the Klansman who was widely believed to have been the ringleader of the crimes, Edgar Ray "Preacher" Killen, was convicted of three counts of manslaughter and sentenced to 60 years in prison. See also the trivia page for Mississippi Burning (1988) (which was loosely based on the Goodman-Chaney-Schwerner murders). See more »


Roger is shown from both front and back in an early scene in which he is trying to convince Don to go on a date with one of his wife's friends. When filmed from the front, Roger's right hand is buried in his pants pocket. When filmed from the rear, Roger's right hand is down by his side. See more »


Roger Sterling: [as a reporter with a wooden leg is exiting] They're so cheap they can't even afford a whole reporter.
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Tobacco Road
Written by John D. Loudermilk
Performed by The Nashville Teens
Played during closing credits
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User Reviews

First time watching ... mixture of well-crafted and unsettling
4 January 2011 | by (Rural Illinois, USA) – See all my reviews

When I decided to watch Mad Men for the first time, this episode (season 4, #1) was the only one I had access to.

While I am not quite old enough to remember 1965, I have a pretty good memory of the period directly after, and I lived in a town that trailed in these sorts of things. Moreover, our family had plenty of stuff from the era.

I was looking to determine how faithful the historical rendering would be.

Some of the artifacts (Don's television, the Jai-Alai promotional literature) looked old, probably because they were authentic originals. The Griffin shoe shine kit was the same type we had, and a fixture in many homes at the time, an excellent touch.

The older execs, and the folks from Jantzen swimwear, looked and responded to Don's behaviour exactly as they should have.

I am suspicious of the IBM Selectric, it looks like a later model, but I could be wrong.

Costuming is fine, but I think Don was wearing his tie a little longer than was done at the time. The Dick Van Dyke show would be an excellent frame of reference for that kind of stuff.

I am a bit surprised that Don would be drinking Canadian Club ... that's pretty cheap stuff for someone like Draper. Of course, not everyone was a snob about booze, especially then.

There was one phrase that the writers got VERY wrong. At one point, Peggy tells Don "It was going well, until it didn't" or something like that. That turn of phrase only came in common usage recently. At that time she would have said, "Well it started out fine, but (fill in bad event)" I saw a similar blunder in a trailer where the female speaker states "That is SOOOO 1964," a common way of saying things now, but unlikely then.

I am doubtful that even a hard-drinking and smoking street smart room of male execs would use some of the coarse language, similes and metaphors employed in the show (e.g. "stuff her like a turkey"), I am SURE that it would not have happened with a lady in the room.

I appreciate the fact that the characters have varying degrees of awareness of where the advertising world, and the world at large is going, without preaching particularly in one direction of another.

I did NOT appreciate the bedroom scenes that were too explicit for a DSLV14 rating, and add nothing to the show. I know that the writers and directors are trying to present a juxtaposition of the tidy, well-coiffed office world, and the untidyness of the personal lives of the characters. However, the way it is done is so jarring that it ruins the presentation.

I found John Hamm's Don Draper to be charismatic, though sometimes wooden (that could be by design, as he is always thinking about how he comes across to other people, even when he is trying to come across as someone who doesn't care how he comes across.) I didn't see enough of Betty to get a read on her. The two ladies hired by Peggy were pitch perfect. I used to deliver the morning paper to them on my paper route.

A show like this requires the same kind of commitment that a soap opera requires. I wanted Mad Men to be the chronicling of the end of an old era, and in some ways it succeeds. The show is too unsettling, and not in a profound way but merely unsettling, for me to make that kind of commitment.

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