It's been so long since the best series on television was airing (17 months!) that this new version of The Film Experience has never seen an episode of "Mad Men at the Movies". Last night the miserable sexy funny smart complex men and women of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce returned to take us all back to the sixties once again. In this series we document the show's love affair with the cinema. Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is a movie buff and references tend to be sprinkled in for vintage flavor, character detailing and thematic resonance. Unfortunately this two hour premiere had no movie references. Damn!
5.1 "A Little Kiss, Part 1"
5.2 "A Little Kiss, Part 2"
The episode opened oddly with none of the familiar characters and a confrontation between African American picketers and immature men at an ad agency (not SCDP). By the time the episode ended, a small plot detail in the middle brought it all full circle with the unfamiliar site of the SCDP lobby filled with black applicants applying for jobs.Between the sobering bookends we were treated to a very strong premiere full of humor and potential for the season ahead. The talking point beyond the closing scene was surely the "zou bisou bisou" scene where Don's new wife Megan sang to him seductively in front of all his friends at a surprise birthday party. But the single most brilliant scene involved Joan (the great Christina Hendricks) bringing her baby to the office for a visit. We're talking perfect character farce The choreography of the scene was so brilliant they should teach it film school... er television school... since it practically defines what this particular medium can do. Very little of what was going on emotionally and inside the character's head was actually spoken but if you've been following all the characters for years all their child-rearing issues and past romances and conflicts just made the scene hilarious and nimbly so. Perfection. A
Megan performing "Zou Bisou Bisou".
The hit song was originally sung by Gillian Hills who was also an actress. In 1966, the year this new season takes place, Gillian was on screens as "The Brunette" in Michelangelo Antonioni's classic Blow-Up (highly recommended) which is about a fashion photographer who believes he's accidentally photographed a murder. Blow-Up wasn't the only classic to feature her. She also has a role in A Clockwork Orange.
Flavorwire a pop culture guide to 1966 when the season takes place
AMC Janie Bryant on the costume designs for Season 5
Technabob Mad Men as an 8 bit game
IndieWire beginnings: each season's opening scene
Pajiba 10 of January Jones' bitch faces to celebrate the show's return
NPR Eleanor Clift remembers what it was like to be in secretarial shoes as a typist in the 60s