Entertainment Weekly has devoted its new issue to the long-awaited return of the quadruple Emmy award winning AMC drama Mad Men which, given all this hype and longing after a 17-month absence, I'm afraid won't be able to live up to fans' expectations (mine included). Nonetheless, as I cross my fingers, knock on wood and hope that Matthew Weiner & Co. have created another insightful, surprising and smart set of 13 episodes, I'm eagerly gobbling up all things Mad Men.
Like that new issue of Entertainment Weekly which devoted nine pages to the returning series that premieres on March 25. What did I learn from the magazine, amid artsy photos of Jon Hamm in his role as the troubled Don Draper?
- There will be some time jump from the end of season four to the premiere of season five but there's no word on how far forward they will leap. Says Weiner, the series creator and head honcho: "I want people to feel like they're going to visit their best friend, and they open the door and everything's been going on without them. The story is on page 30 when they open the door, so they'll have to catch up.
- Elisabeth Moss (Peggy) said she's "completely, completely surprised by season five. For a few of the characters that have big things happen to them this year -- big surprises and changes -- the audience is going to go back and go 'He said that in episode one!'"
- Talking about the sudden and stunning marriage proposal Don gave to his young secretary Megan in the closing moments of season four, Weiner said: "A lot of the decisions that Don makes may seem strange to the audience, but they're going to seem strange to people around him, too. He is coming into middle age, which is closer to old age back then. Existentialism is a young man's game, and you can say what you want about how death nullifies things. But when you get closer to death, it starts to become more serious, and it's harder to laugh it off and say, 'I'm living for the moment.'"
- Betty will be back but won't be seen as often as Betty fans (like me) might like because January Jones gave birth to a baby while Mad Men was in production. "It was interesting to work around that [the pregnancy] but [Matt] works best with a challenge," Jones told EW. "That turned into an amazing storyline for me and for Betty. You'll definitely see a different side of her."
Meanwhile, New York Magazine published seven pages worth of Mad Men material, from summarizing each of the show's 39 episodes in pithy fashion and delving into Don and Peggy's "special relationship" (it drives Moss nuts when people constantly ask her whether Peggy and Don will hook up) to a creepy editorial feature where the magazine asked an actuary to estimate when Don, who was born in 1926, will die and aged a photo of Hamm/Draper (see above). The actuary estimated that Draper will pass away in 1985 at age 59.
One last thing I found today while marinating in Mad Men pre-season excitement: Draping is apparently the new Tebow-ing. You take a photo from the back of someone and that person is draping his or her arm over a person or object like the silhouette of Don Draper does in the show's opening credits. Then post the image on Tumblr and/or Twitter. Fun for Mad Men fans of all ages.
Image credits: Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine and Tumblr.