Mad Men is known for being all buttoned down, black and white, class and sass. But in Sunday night’s Season 6 premiere we rang in the year 1968, which means we are smack dab in the heart of the The Sixties. You know: The colors, the drugs, the free love, the awesome music…and the unfortunate facial hair. So in honor of Don Draper’s arrival into this new era, we’ve decided to recap the show based on three critera: Sex, Drugs and Rock ’n’ Roll!
As we know, drugs and alcohol play a large role on Mad Men, mostly because every one of the characters seems to be miserable and hate their lives. Don is reading Dante’s Inferno at the beach, for godsakes. So with that in mind, it kind of makes sense that most people on the show spend a decent amount of time getting f’ed up. Barely two minutes into the show, newly minted soap star Megan Draper reveals two joints stuffed in her bikini bottoms, thus making every retro-brained stoner’s dreams come true. The times they are a changin’
Because Don and Megan are on a Hawaiian getaway, Mai Tai’s seem to flow pretty freely. But it’s later than night that that Don meets uber drunk groom/service man (and his completely passed out companion) and sees the true meaning of trashed.
Roger Sterling actually seems to be taking some steps to restore his inner health by seeing a psychotherapist. Apparently he’s still feeling the effects from the mind-blowing acid trip from last season. All this work seems to get negated when his secretary informs him that his mother has died, and then he starts double fisting the vodka to numb himself.
Mrs. Sterling’s funeral throws Don even further into his despair that has started in Hawaii (well, on second thought, it probably started the day he was born). Obsessed with death, wondering about the welfare of his new serviceman friend, thinking about his own military past and conflicted present, Don hits the sauce pretty hard beforehand and winds up vomiting into an umbrella stand during the eulogy. Not exactly his finest hour.
The workplace culture has shifted from the martini lunch to Stan and the creative team smoking doobies in the break-room. New Year’s Eve 1967 is soon upon us, and Megan throws a swanky party in her apartment for the neighbors and their new friends Dr. Rosen and his wife. Everyone knows that NYE is a avalanche of booze and debauchery, which leads us nicely into…
DRUG SCORE CARD
OFFENDERS: Don (1 joint), Megan (1 joint w/intent to distribute), Stan (1 joint)
OFFENDERS: Don (1 Mai-Tai, 3 bourbons, 1 Champagne ), Megan (1 weird blue drink, 1 Mai Tai, 2 Champagne), Roger (4 vodkas)
The episode opens with Don basically ignoring an affectionate, bikini-clad Megan on a Hawaiian beach. They have mechanical sexy time at the hotel, spiced up with some marijuana (see above). In fact, he doesn’t even utter a word. He spends most of his nights down at the resort bar, unable to sleep. Seven year itch much?
Roger and Joan’s relationship wasn’t really discussed much in this episode (tragically) but one line lets us know that they are alive and well. As he sees her posing on the stairwell in full bombshell regalia, Roger cracks that he’d like to get his company portrait taken next, but he didn’t want to follow Joan’s “act.” The knowing look she shoots him says it all. Bow-chicka-bow-wow.
Rog had a close call in the aft-chambers at his mother’s funeral with his ex-wife, but she shoots him down…in the most gracious way considering he just buried his mom and all. “I looked out at the crowd and just saw a bunch of women I’ve disappointed,” he wails. Hopefully not in that way.
Probably one of the most disturbing moments in the entire episode (if not the entire history of television) came when Betty (Draper) Francis jokingly (?) accused her husband Henry about crushing on Sally’s 15-year-old violinist friend, Sandy. “No one would blame me for leaving you for a teenage musician,” he fired back with a grin. “She’s just in the next room. Why don’t you go in there and rape her? I’ll hold her arms down,” says Betty. Henry’s flabbergasted “Betty, what the hell?!” went for us, too.
*SPOILER ALERT* Abe and Peggy are still shacking up together, but the coupling that we’re all left talking about is obviously Don and Dr. Rosen’s wife. As she asks if he borrowed her copy of Dante’s Inferno, we realize that this has been going on for a while. Old Don is back. We didn’t like him happy and content anyway!
EPISODE 1 FINAL HOOK UP COUNT:
Don and Megan: 4
Don and Mrs. Rosen: 1 (that we see…)
Roger and Mona Sterling: 0 (Epic fail)
Roger and Joan: Implied
Henry and the Violin-Playing 15-Year Old: No. Just…no. WTF is wrong with you, Betty?
ROCK ’N’ ROLL:
Considering we were about to enter ’68, one of the most kickass years in musical history, we were a little bummed out by the lack of great tunes. Instead of The Beatles, Steppenwolf, Jimi Hendrix, or Cream…we got these luau guys.
Not exactly balls out rock. Maybe they blew their budget on the whole double episode thing and didn’t want to shell out any more for the copyrights. But this episode was equal parts Don Draper and Don Ho for a while there.
Props to Roger Sterling for making that joke.
Sally Draper’s new friend Sandy graced the Francis family with a performance of Tchaikovsky in the living room, bringing the rock ’n’ roll index to an even deeper low. But by the end of the episode, a timely version of Elvis Presley’s “Hawaiian Wedding Song” played us out. Not exactly a great dance floor filler, but he is The King of Rock, after all.
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