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Mad Men Season 5 Premiere: It’s a Plaid Plaid World

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Mad Men Season 5 Premiere

The gang's back together!

Like every other Mad Men fan, I was glued to the TV last night for the season five premiere. “A Little Kiss, Part 1″ jumped us slightly ahead in the series, to late May 1966. Let’s review:

Joan has a baby now, and her mom is visiting to help out. Except rather than helping, her mom’s presence seems to be making more work for Joan. It’s a little sad to see the once confident office manager fall to pieces over lack of sleep and direction. She even visits the office with babe in tow and breaks down in Lane Pryce’s office. The old Joan never would have done that! I’m still half-way hoping she and Roger will end up together.

Mad Men Season 5 Premiere

"Are you sure this isn't my baby?"

Peggy Olson’s career seems to be soaring, as she puts together an ad campaign for Heinz beans. “Ballet beans” are a little too out there for Heinz, though, and Don is no help at convincing the client it’s the best way to go. Peggy goes back to the drawing board, muttering that the  “old Don” would have pushed it through but he’s gotten soft.

And about Don … at first, it seems like marriage to Megan might be turning him into a new man. A more relaxed, peaceful Don. But when his new wife throws him a surprise 40th birthday party, complete with lots of plaid jackets (and why do all the guys back then seem ten years older than their years?), Don is  ticked and embarrassed, especially when she does a seductive song and dance number with the hip band at the party. I’m guessing her recording of “Zou Bisou Bisou” has already sold a few copies.

Mad Men Season 5 Premiere

It's a Plaid, Plaid World.

No sign of Betty, but the three kids spent Memorial Weekend at Don’s place — a stylish new pad with his new wife, who, by the way, is still working at the firm hammering out coupons for clients under the supervision of Peggy. Don basically just wants Megan there so he can see her during the day and maybe have sex in his office now and then. Yeah, he really hasn’t changed all that much.

Mad Men Season 5 Premiere

"I'm happy! But not really."

On the social issues front, the episode begins with racial tensions mounting as blacks picket in the streets with signs demanding fair wages. It ends with a room full of blacks at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce because of an ad that Roger ran in the Times to make them look good to their competition. Let’s face it – that Casper-white company could use some diversity.

Pete was being his usual annoying self, all whiny over the fact that his office wasn’t big enough, and clashing with Roger who kept showing up at Pete’s appointments by pretending to flirt with Pete’s secretary when in reality he was just checking out Pete’s calendar.

I really don’t know how Roger is still standing. Remember when he had all those health issues and was at death’s door? He continues to drink like a fish but appears to be in amazingly good health. Ah, the magic of television.

All in all, though, season five is off to a great start. I can’t help but think Don and Megan’s marriage will implode at some point and he’ll find his way back to Betty. As I recall, her marriage to Henry wasn’t going all that well last season.

What did you think of the Mad Men season five premiere? Happy to have it back on the air after its way-too-long absence (nearly 18 months!)?

Jane Boursaw is the founder and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Her credits include hundreds of print and online publications, including The New York Times, People Magazine, Variety, Moviefone, TV Squad and more. Follow her on Twitter at @reellifejane.

Jane Boursaw has written posts on Reel Life With Jane.


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  1. Loved watching it again and it did not disappoint! Even love reading about it over and over. Great Pix! Thanks for sharing, Jane~

  2. Melanie Ray McMinn

    It will be a while before I see it, but I’m looking forward to it!

  3. Alexandra

    We missed it last night, but will be watching the rerun tonight. Also, heard the writer discussing the “whys” etc on Fresh Air this afternoon. What happened to Joan’s soldier/doc hubby? I hate to say it but I was hoping he would get killed in VietNam, but sounds like he’s the father of the baby????
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  4. I think he’s stationed somewhere and that’s why he wasn’t in the ep. I’m like you, though, and sort of hope he goes away — so she can reunite with Roger Sterling. I think the kid’s his anyway!

  5. I know a lot of people adore this show. I have it in my queue, but I haven’t watched a single episode yet. Looks darling and kitschy!
    Roxanne recently posted…Lilly’s Brain Injury and Exaggerated Agility StyleMy Profile

  6. The cast of characters of this Mad Men Season 5 is really fantastic! They are all jam-packed and a lot of people I heard are really addicted with this…

  7. Poor Lane Pryce. His conversation with Joan was my favorite part of the episode – that and the stunning tableau of Don and Megan’s apartment, of course. Can I get one of those sunken living rooms?
    Casey recently posted…Ten Meals Under Ten DollarsMy Profile

  8. I haven’t tried watching Mad Men since the first few episodes. Like Modern Family, I really WANTED to like it, but just could not get into it. Maybe I need to give it another shot.
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  9. I’m thrilled it’s back. I’m convinced there’s more quality work on TV, thanks to AMC, HBO and Showtime, than in movies. Also, even PBS made a showing this year with Downton Abbey.
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  10. Dare I say I have not seen this! But. But…I am going to start from season one and catch up. Excited to begin!
    The Writer’s [Inner] Journey recently posted…stuck/unstuck: MEN UNDRESSED contributors talk internal conflict and writingMy Profile

  11. Just caught the episode last night, and I have to agree with some it the critics — it was pretty slow for a two-hour special. I think the single-hour format suits the show a whole lot better.
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  12. MyKidsEatSquid

    I haven’t gotten into it either. Right now I’m working my way through Psych.

  13. I am an avid fan of this show too, and I’m still hoping that Joan and Roger would end up together. They were invincible during their relationship. Thanks for the share!
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  14. It’s certainly been a long wait for the new season. My only disappointment is not seeing January Jones in the season premier.

  15. Have fallen asleep — twice — trying to get thru first episode of first season. But friends who are fans tell me to persevere because it’s brilliant. True?
    Any redeeming characters? Love the look of the series at least.
    sarah henry recently posted…A Tale of Two Totally Different PBS Programs: America Revealed’s Food Machine and Food ForwardMy Profile

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