'Mad Men': Who is Don Draper?
July 26th, 2010
02:08 PM ET

'Mad Men': Who is Don Draper?

Editor’s Note: This post contains spoilers for the Sunday, July 25 episode of AMC’s "Mad Men."

The ad men of Madison Avenue are back! The fourth season picked up during Thanksgiving week, 1964, and the firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is new and improved. They’ve got new offices and new secretaries, but (thankfully) still the same old smoldering Don Draper.

As the face of SCDP, Don sat down for an interview with Ad Age, and was as vague and mysterious as ever. Unsurprisingly, the resulting profile painted him as, well, vague and mysterious.

Since SCDP is still drumming up new clients, Roger, Pete and Don met with representatives from swimwear manufacturer Jantzen. The company is looking to market a two-piece bathing suit, not to be confused with a bikini, as they’re all about modesty and maintaining their family-friendly reputation. Don, on the other hand, thinks they're uptight.

Back at the office, Peggy, her assistant Joey and Pete were plotting a publicity stunt to keep client Sugarberry Hams happy. They decided to hire two actresses to fight over a ham at a local grocery store, and the ruse actually works; Sugarberry was thrilled.

Unfortunately, what transpired at the supermarket was an honest-to-goodness brawl, and one of the women decided to press assault charges. Peggy had to turn to Don for a bail/hush money combo, which Don was not happy about. Peggy brought him an “I’m Sorry” ham and they made amends, but not before Peggy worked in a jab about the Ad Age article.

Feeling sorry for him, Roger invited Don to Thanksgiving dinner, but he refused, saying he had plans. Roger did convince him to go out on a date with Jane’s friend Bethany, who turned out to be lovely and charming.

She pressed Don to spend Thanksgiving with Roger and Jane, but he again refused, citing his “plans.” They kissed goodnight and she totally shot him down when he tried to take things further. Don ended up leaving dejected, and yes, it was pretty hilarious.

The Ad Age article came back to haunt the agency, causing them to lose the lucrative Jai Alai account because they weren’t mentioned in the piece. Everyone was upset - Harry stormed out of the still table-less conference room; Don angrily kicked a chair; Bert chastised Don and planned to secure another interview with the Wall Street Journal in an attempt to repair the damage.

Cut to Thanksgiving Day and Betty Francis’ first Thanksgiving with her new in-laws. Dinner was awkward and awesome all at once when our heroine, little Sally Draper, acted up and embarrassed Betty.

Henry’s mother later made it clear she doesn’t like Betty, and, judging by her children’s behavior, she won’t be winning Mother of the Year any time soon. Betty really is just awful, don't you think?

Meanwhile, at Don’s dimly lit bachelor pad, we discover that his much-ballyhooed Thanksgiving plans involved a helping of hooker with a side of “slap-me-around.”

The next day, he spent some quality time with Sally and Bobby. The back-and-forth was heartbreaking, as the kids clearly prefer their father. Upon returning them to Westchester, Don confronted Betty, telling her that she and Henry need to move out or start paying rent.

Back at the agency, the boys were still hard at work trying to secure the Jantzen account but the reps hated the concept Don came up with, saying it was against everything they stand for. They’re thrown out of the office when they refused to listen to Don’s rationale behind the campaign.

Knowing what he has to do to move the agency forward, Don went ahead with the Wall Street Journal interview. He played the game, telling the reporter what he wanted to hear, managing to spin the origin story of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce into something out of an Old West novel.

I don’t know about you, but I’m already counting down the minutes until next week’s episode. What did you think of last night’s premiere?

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Filed under: television • TV recaps

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. law of attraction coach

    Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your weblog posts. After all I will be subscribing in your rss feed and I am hoping you write once more soon!

    April 8, 2012 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Holly Golightly

    @Clete–I felt this way at first....My dad used to watch it, and I would catch bits and pieces. When I started watching it more regularly, I got addicted. I think it's because the characters are so interesting to me. Sometimes the acting can be wooden, but other times it's brilliant.

    August 4, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Clete

    You know, this show has always amazed me. All the critics love it. A lot of it's fans reguard it as the greatest creation in the history of the world. I have never understood why. I could only stand the first four epiisodes. The characters came across as cliches, the acting was, at best, wooden and the stories were un-interesting. The show looked nice, so the research into the period was right on, but it always reminded me of a product I used to buy. Fiddle-faddle had a great package, but inside, it was only popcorn.

    August 4, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. WVLady63

    Mad Men is the best thing to hit the airwaves since boneless ice cream!!! Fabulous plots, scripts and actors! Hopefully it will be on television for many, many years.

    July 29, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Holly Golightly

    This episode was a tad strange, but I am such a fan of Jon Hamm, I would tune in to watch him recite from the phone book!!!

    July 27, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Feeniegal

    I love this show, but this episode ticked me off.
    Hoping for more this coming Sunday.

    July 27, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jim

    So happy this show is back... http://bit.ly/ManMenEpisodes

    July 27, 2010 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |

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