‘Mad Men’ Cast Reflects on Humble Beginnings and Mysterious Endings at PaleyFest

Think back to the 2007, when AMC was a cable channel known for playing old movies. And then along came “Mad Men,” the 1960s era drama series that ushered in a whole new age of original programming for the basic cabler–and became a show that was quickly embraced by critics and viewers and lauded with dozens of awards.

Memories of that time were front and center as the cast of “Mad Men” took the stage at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood Friday night as part of the 31st PaleyFest. They were introduced by creator Matt Weiner for a panel moderated by TV Guide’s Michael Schneider, who brought out Jon Hamm, Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks, Jessica Paré, Kiernan Shipka and Robert Morse.

After a screening of the season six finale that ended with Don Draper getting booted from his ad agency and showing his children the whorehouse where he grew up, cast members revealed their feelings about the upcoming final season which will air in two parts, with seven episodes premiering April 13 and the final seven airing in the spring of 2015.

“We’re in some stage of grief. The end is coming and there’s no way to prepare for it but we will have as much fun as we’ve had. Saying goodbye is part of life,” said Hamm.

“It’s terrible,” added Paré, the newest cast member of the group, who plays Don Draper’s wife, Megan. “Horrible. I don’t want it to ever be over. I think I cry every day about the show’s end.”

“I probably started being emotional earlier than everyone,” admitted Hendricks. “I’m already grieving. I’m just bracing myself — we’re all just savoring every second and appreciating every moment.”

“I’ve been on the show longer than I haven’t,” said 14-year-old Shipka, who was just seven years old when the show premiered, “which is weird to think about but it’s true.”

As for what will happen to the characters, even if they know, they’re not saying. Their fate lies in Weiner’s hands and he’s always been known to insist on secrecy.

Hamm, who is also a producer, said Weiner may have figured out the ending between seasons four and five, after it was very clear that “Mad Men” had made it through all the uncertainty to get renewed up until that point. He noted that after shooting the pilot, everyone had major doubts about whether the show would even get picked up.

Now, fans analyze every scene and even promos to try to figure out what’s coming up for Draper and the coworkers he left behind at Sterling Cooper & Partners on Madison Avenue.

“The way the show tells the story and doles out information is very oblique,” Hamm admitted. “People tend to start trying to fill in the blanks in an attempt to get ahead of the story.”

With Draper’s drinking apparently out of control and his marriage on the line, the one constant in his life has been his successful career as an ad man. “He could always go to work. Now work is not there,” said Hamm. “That’s going to be a big hurdle for him to have to get over somehow. If there’s one overriding principle about Don, he’s a survivor and generally rises to the challenges.”

The show has fomented other mysteries recently such as the character of Bob Benson (James Wolk), who became a close friend of Joan’s– to Roger’s displeasure– and a noteworthy rival to Pete Campbell, sparking an Internet obsession and some wild theories.

“Who is this guy (besides) two coffees and a lot of words?” Hamm said of Benson’s early appearances. “It’s a tremendous compliment that people want to know.” He then shouted out a YouTube video using “Mad Men” characters set to the opening theme of the 1980s ABC sitcom “Benson” starring Robert Guillaume. “It’s 45 seconds of your life but you’ll watch it ten times. It is amazing.”

Moss came in for some ribbing from the panel– and much applause from the audience – when Schneider displayed the March 10 cover of New York Magazine with the headline “Elisabeth Moss Has Been the Star of Mad Men All Along.”

Moss reflected on one of her noteworthy lines, “It must be nice to have choices,” said in response to her married lover and boss, Ted Chaough, telling her character he’s not going to leave his wife and that the family will be decamping to California, because he loves her so much he can’t be around her.

“I think her story is one of finding out who she is. Her battle all along is trying to figure out, should she be Don? Should she be Joan? She’s finally asking the right question: Who am I?,” she said of Peggy Olson. “She’s optimistic and believes in love. Ted didn’t intend to mislead her.”

As for Joan, she too is “gauging where her strengths are,” said Hendricks, balancing her career and family and the role that her son’s father Roger Sterling (John Slattery) will play. Because of her “deep feelings and a lot of history” with Roger, Joan is “keeping an open mind to the possibilities” of a “more modern situation.”

We last saw Megan grappling with Don’s about-face regarding moving to Los Angeles. “Feminism is bubbling up and she feels that she can have everything,” Paré said. “Don wants it too but it’s not as easy for him to flip the switch.”

When it was time for the PaleyFest audience to ask questions, one commented on the role that silence played, which resulted in a tense stare-down between Hamm and Schneider, with monitors showing close-ups of their faces as the laughter escalated. For the record, Schneider claimed victory when Hamm finally cracked a smile.

Another audience member asked about the possible return of Sal Romano, the former art director who last appeared in season three. Hamm responded with a laugh, “Well, he’s not dead, as far as I know. I certainly wouldn’t rule it out, but it isn’t up to me. But these characters live in New York and can run into each other.”

Kartheiser was asked about the physical changes of Campbell, particularly his receding hairline. “My hair and makeup went from 15 minutes to an hour and 45 minutes,” he said. “Balding plays into his psyche and the aging process. I once had a dream that Pete Campbell was looking at me through a window and it was scary.”

Each of the actors was questioned about their favorite “Mad Men” moments.

“It was the first day of shooting, after the rehearsing and meeting all the people and seeing the set. I was terrified and exhilarated,” said Hamm.

“In season one, Pete had been cocky and chased Don down a hallway. That aspect of his character stuck out and was the first of many layers I’ve tried to portray,” Kartheiser said.

“After we shot the pilot and we were all looking out at the New York skyline on the rooftop of Silvercup Studios I thought ‘Wow, that was wonderful.’ It was a simple, honest moment that I look back on with fondness. It was very special,” said Moss.

“This script with my storyline revealing things about Joan was so much fun. I started to get to know her and I remember that feeling,” Hendricks said.

“My favorite was when Pete ran in said ‘Don is a fraud.’ I looked right in his face and said, ‘Who cares?,’” Morse recalled.

“The finale of season four when they said they needed to measure my ring finger. I was like, yes, yes, yes,” said Paré, with great gusto.

“It was when my grandfather said that she [Sally] could do anything, and then when he passes away, that was a standout,” Shipka remarked.

When asked if the cast talked to people who worked on Madison Avenue during the 1960s, Hamm replied, “Half of them say none of that happened. The other half say yep, all that happened. Maybe the other half didn’t get invited to the parties.”

And so the “Mad Men” party rolls on, much to the delight of everyone involved.

–Hillary Atkin

 

A Hamm-y Host it Will Be as Former Letterman and Leading Man Jon Hamm Emcees the ESPYs

Many just know him as the enigmatic Don Draper on “Mad Men.” But those who have followed Jon Hamm’s career closely over the past few years will realize that in addition to the tall, dark, handsome, brilliant, broody and deceptive Draper character that he plays so convincingly, Hamm has a light, goofy and quick-witted side as well.

 

Those qualities will come to the fore as Hamm takes on a new gig, hosting the 2013 ESPY Awards on ESPN Wednesday night – his first time emceeing an awards show.

 

Yes, he’s hosted “Saturday Night Live” three times and appeared on multiple occasions in episodes which have highlighted his comedy chops in skits like “Jon Hamm’s John Ham” and of course, spoofs on his lead role in “Mad Men.” He’s also been Emmy-nominated three times for outstanding guest actor in a comedy series for his appearances on “30 Rock.” And then there was the uncredited bad boyfriend role in 2011′s smash comedy hit “Bridesmaids.”

 

But Hamm says none of that experience was real prep for the 21st edition of the ESPYs. “It’s a challenge. It’s not like hosting ‘SNL.’ It’s a whole different skill set. But I’ve never had a problem standing up and making a fool of myself,” says the actor, who counts himself as a huge sports fan, starting with his well-known support of his hometown baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals.

 

Hamm says his connection with sports goes back to when he was a high school athlete in St. Louis, lettering in football, baseball and swimming, but claims that there was no danger of him progressing as a professional in any of those endeavors.

 

“I have a lot of good memories and am still friends with a lot of the guys from then,” he says, noting that his school’s curriculum encouraged students to be active. “I think it’s important for young kids to get out and move around. I loved it.”

 

One of the things Hamm says he appreciates about the ESPY Awards is that it recognizes many sports and not just the big four. While he’s been in production in Atlanta on a baseball-themed film called “Million Dollar Arm,” in which he co-stars with Bill Paxton, he’s been working with writers on material for his role as host.

 

“Jon is a perfect fit,” says the award show’s executive producer Maura Mandt. “He is a die-hard, authentic sports fan who appreciates the achievements in sports. And he’s proved his comic chops. It’s a tough job for anyone to fill.”

 

ESPYs, which are voted on by fans, will be awarded in 35 categories including best male and female athlete, best championship performance, best upset, best game, best comeback, best team, best manager/coach and sports-specific awards for hockey, baseball, basketball, football, golf, tennis and auto racing.

 

“The main thing is to celebrate these incredible things they’ve done,” says Hamm of the people who will be taking home the statuettes. “I look at other hosts, and the best ones keep it moving, and keep it light. It’s not going to be the Jon Hamm show, nor should it be. Those are my marching orders.”

 

Obviously Hamm is no stranger to award shows–from a seat in the audience. He’s been a bridesmaid many times at the Emmys since 2008, while taking home hardware at the Golden Globes, the Critics’ Choice Awards, TCA and SAG for playing Don Draper on AMC’s acclaimed drama, recently named as one of the top ten television shows of all time by the Writers Guild of America and Entertainment Weekly.

 

Having been around that block many times, Hamm has honed his strategy, and philosophy. “If you’re nominated, you want to get past your category, then you can relax. If you don’t win, you want it to go fast because there are usually fun parties afterward. You don’t want to forget you are there to celebrate achievements of peers and their good job. It’s nice to see people celebrated.”

 

The ESPYs take place at L.A.’s Nokia Theatre and air on ESPN July 17 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

–Hillary Atkin

 

 

 

 

So Much Acting Talent, So Few Emmy Statuettes

With nominations announced by a pajama-clad Emmy host-to-be Jimmy Kimmel, this is shaping up to be one of the most competitive and fascinating competitions in years, especially when it comes to the big acting categories.

 

The Emmy Awards are known for serial recognition of actors at the height of their game, nominating them year in and year out. Whether those people end up taking home the statuette, they are taking up valuable room on the ballot, meaning that it is very difficult for other faces to get a seat at the table.

 

This year, there is a large dollop of new blood up against old established favorites. While this does not necessarily signify a changing of the guard, it definitely adds excitement to the competition.   

 

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series

Boardwalk Empire • HBO • Leverage, Closest to the Hole Productions, Sikelia Productions and Cold Front Productions in association with HBO Entertainment

Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson

 

Breaking Bad • AMC • Sony Pictures Television

Bryan Cranston as Walter White

 

Dexter • Showtime • Showtime Presents, John Goldwyn Productions, The Colleton Company, Devilina Productions

Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan

 

Downton Abbey • PBS • A Carnival / Masterpiece Co-Production

Hugh Bonneville as Robert, Earl of Grantham

 

Homeland • Showtime • Showtime Presents, Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet, Fox 21

Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody

 

Mad Men • AMC • Lionsgate Television

Jon Hamm as Don Draper

 

He is Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham of “Downton Abbey.”  Hugh Bonneville may be the only titled gentleman of the bunch and he and “Homeland’s” Damian Lewis are the newbies up against the reigning multi-crowned champ, Bryan Cranston. Yet many feel this was Jon Hamm’s best year as Don Draper on “Mad Men,” and Michael C. Hall and Steve Buscemi can never be completely counted out. Could a new face upset what many feel is a Walt vs. Don competition?

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series

Damages • DirecTV • Sony Pictures Television, FX Productions and KZK

Productions

Glenn Close as Patty Hewes

 

Downton Abbey • PBS • A Carnival / Masterpiece Co-Production

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley

 

 

The Good Wife • CBS • CBS Television Studios in association with Scott Free Productions and King Size Productions

Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick

 

Harry’s Law • NBC • Bonanza Productions in association with David E. Kelley Productions and Warner Bros. Television

Kathy Bates as Harriet Korn

 

Homeland • Showtime • Showtime Presents, Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet, Fox 21

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison

 

Mad Men • AMC • Lionsgate Television

Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson

Claire Danes. Claire Danes. Claire Danes. Aside from being the front-runner for her portrayal of the brilliant but manic CIA operative in Showtime’s “Homeland,” she’s part of the trend in this category–three of the six nominees are big screen actresses taking their talents to TV, although in the case of Close, she’s been plying her trade on “Damages” to much acclaim and this is the last season. Elisabeth Moss still seems like a supporting character and Michelle Dockery is to be applauded for breaking in from the Abbey.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory • CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television

Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper

 

Curb Your Enthusiasm • HBO • HBO Entertainment

Larry David as Himself

 

House Of Lies • Showtime • Showtime Presents, Crescendo Productions, Totally Commercial Films, Refugee Productions, Matthew Carnahan Circus Products

Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan

 

Louie • FX Networks • Pig Newton, Inc. in association with FX Productions

Louis C.K. as Louie

 

30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal Television

Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy

 

Two And A Half Men • CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions Inc., The Tannenbaum Company in association with Warner Bros. Television

Jon Cryer as Alan Harper

Don Cheadle, funny? ATAS voters think so but the big screen star has a tough road to hoe against critics’ darling Louis C.K. and recent favorite Jim Parsons. And no one could ever dismiss the sentiment for the hugely popular and mutiple past Emmy winners Baldwin and David.  

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series

Girls • HBO • Apatow Productions and I am Jenni Konner Productions in association with HBO Entertainment

Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath

 

Mike & Molly • CBS • Bonanza Productions, Inc. in association with Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. and Warner Bros. Television

Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn

 

New Girl • FOX • Chernin Entertainment in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television

Zooey Deschanel as Jess Day

 

Nurse Jackie • Showtime • Showtime Presents, Lionsgate Television, Jackson Group Entertainment, Madison Grain Elevator, Inc. & Delong Lumber, A Caryn Mandabach Production

Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton

 

Parks And Recreation • NBC • Deedle-Dee Productions, Fremulon, 3 Arts and Universal Television

Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope

 

30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal Television

Tina Fey as Liz Lemon

 

Veep • HBO • Dundee Productions in association with HBO Entertainment

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer

 

Wait, there are seven nominees here? That makes room for the “new girls,” Dunham and Deschanel. McCarthy still seems to be riding “Bridesmaids” coattails and JLD is always a heavyweight contender. With Fey’s show ending, and her shelf full of awards, she probably won’t take another statuette for this one.

 

 

Zou Bisou Bisou! Things We Just Learned about Mad Men

The two-hour premiere of the long awaited fifth season of  “Mad Men” was a huge education.

 

First, it answered the big question: did Megan actually get married to Don in the 17 months that have passed since the dapper Mr. Draper unexpectedly proposed to her in the cliffhanger season four finale? Oh, yeah, they did. And from the looks of it, it appears to be a relationship based upon truth– as it is revealed that Megan knows about his real identity as Dick Whitman– and judging by the last scene, kept spicy with kinky sex.

 

At the surprise 40th birthday party she gave for her husband, a centerpiece of the episode, Megan may not have been able to seduce Don, but she blew away partygoers with her daring rendition of the 1960s French schoolgirlish love song called “Zou Bisou Bisou,” which roughly translates to “sweet kiss,” and is already rising up the charts at iTunes.

 

The Sterling Cooper crowd that populated the party weren’t the only ones charmed. AMC says the show attracted a record 3.5 million viewers, 21% more than the number who watched the premiere of season four in 2010.

 

Master “Mad Men” storyteller Matt Weiner has proved that the wait was worth it. He seamlessly incorporated the struggle for civil rights that was blowing up during the mid-1960s, along with referencing the Vietnam War and the viability of a gay lifestyle in New York City while exploring the motivations and machinations of the key characters, with one huge exception. We can only assume that January Jones as Don’s ex-wife Betty was not seen due to a shooting schedule conflicting with her pregnancy.

 

So back to the lessons learned:

 

– Lane is a perv. After he finds a stranger’s wallet in the back seat of a cab and decides to handle the return of it himself  because it has nearly $100 in it, (and apparently because the taxi driver is black) he discovers a picture of a buxom brunette. He later engages in the 1960s version of phone sex with her, and somehow becomes hopelessly enamored of Delores. What’s up with that, Lane? Aside from dealing with your stiff upper lip wife, who seems to be completely consumed by worry about the family’s financial situation, It’s funny that this woman should be the one to rouse your inclination to stray.

 

–Harry is a bit oversexed as well–and he can be easily bought by a big wad of bills. Cases in point: his vulgar depiction of what he’d like to do to Megan in the swanky Draper apartment–which she overheard him foolishly trumpeting in the office canteen, his almost-telling of his sexploits after the party to Roger, who didn’t want to hear about it and his acceptance of $1,100 in cash to give up his office to accommodate the petty, ladder-climbing Pete. Clearly greedy and not that bright, he asked if it was going to be a monthly payment.

 

 

– Pete is as weaselly and as ambitious as ever, but a family man at heart who has moved out to the suburbs with wife Trudy and their new baby. This is proven on almost a daily basis on his train ride into the city with other men who complain about their marriages and kids and plot to come home as late as possible, or not at all. That won’t be Pete. He is more concerned with getting a bigger office to impress all the clients he’s bringing in to the agency and competing with senior partner Roger– even stooping to playing juvenile practical jokes on him to trip him up.

 

– Peggy is taking herself way too seriously. Her campaign for Heinz baked beans, an animated ballet of beans called “The Art of Dinner,” was absolutely the worst advertising strategy the show has portrayed. But Peggy didn’t have a backup plan and she didn’t take it well that the client absolutely hated it– and was much more in tune with the marketplace and the image of their product than she was. She mistakenly thought Don would sell the campaign to them anyway. Another bonehead move: Peggy made a major social error by complaining to Don at his birthday party about her workload, leaving him pretty much speechless, only to be whisked away by Megan. She later he admitted she shouldn’t drink at work functions, or perhaps at all, and did apologize, but she really needs to lighten up.

 

– Joan’s new baby and her visiting mother appeared to be getting the best of her–until her competitive juices get revved up by the company’s ad in the New York Times, poking fun at rival Young and Rubicam for their racism—which she misinterprets as a want ad that will leave her out of a job. Joan sure does clean up nicely. That hot pink dress she wore into the office, armed with the unwieldy baby stroller model of the time, almost brought us to tears– just like she broke down in Lane’s office that she was lonely. Guess what, baby? Joan is almost back at work—three more weeks, she said, and we can’t wait.

 

–Speaking of Joan’s son, Roger doesn’t seem to be fazed that it’s actually his bio-child. Roger appears to be almost completely marginalized in this episode, becoming the court jester of the office who even as a senior partner is reduced to peering at Pete’s schedule and trying to undermine him while beefing up his popularity with clients by plying them with even more drinks. His marriage doesn’t seem to be going all that well either. At least on her side. When, after Megan’s party performance, he asked, “Why can’t you sing like that?” she replies, “Why don’t you look like that,” referring of course to the ever-handsome Don.

 

 

–Don is having a midlife crisis at the age of 40, even though his actual birthday as Dick Whitman was six months before then. In the 1960s, 40 was kind of old. Now, 40 is the new 25, maybe 30– and as we’ve noted, the newly married, season five Don Draper is looking exceedingly well. We hope this age storyline is dropped quickly as it didn’t really grab us as anything that substantial. What’s much more interesting are the two divergent takes of Don that are expressed in the show. One, by Megan, who says, “You’re a dirty old man.” The other, expressed by Peggy, is that Don is now patient and kind–and she’s very concerned about that.

 

We patiently await next Sunday’s episode.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mad Men Premiere: Dapper Don Draper & Co. Celebrate Season 5

“Would you like a Manhattan?” That was the question that greeted guests at the afterparty for the much awaited premiere of AMC’ s four-time Emmy award-winning drama “Mad Men,” whose previous season finale aired in October 2010.

 

“Mad Men,” you’ve been dearly missed.

 

Held at Hollywood’s Blvd. 3, the indoor/outdoor space was decorated to evoke the streets of New York City, complete with trees, street signs and streetlamps. Bouquets of red roses were everywhere, some in giant martini glasses flanking the bars– and those whiskey-based drinks were as stiff as those downed in the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce on Madison Avenue in the 1960s.

 

Among those in attendance to celebrate were creator, executive producer and writer Matthew Weiner, AMC honcho Charlie Collier, Lionsgate Television’s Kevin Beggs, series stars Jon Hamm with girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt, January Jones, Jessica  Pare, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser and Rich Sommer.

All of them had been down the street at the ArcLight for the screening of the two-hour episode slated to air on March 25 on AMC. With an introduction by Collier and Weiner, the theater was mainly filled with cast, crew, friends and family.

 

Weiner asked everyone in attendance not to reveal anything specific about the program itself, saying surprise was an important element of the show, and we are hereby acquiescing respectfully to his wishes. (After March 25, we will have at it.)

So back to the party. AMC pulled out all the stops with an attentive staff serving abundant and tasty Asian, Italian and American cuisine at tables set up on the dance floor and upstairs in the nightclub, as well as at indoor and outdoor buffets.

 

Outdoors in the reflecting pool, a graphic image of the show’s title sequence was projected as well as an animated one on the billboard-like display that lit up the patio. Private alcoves were set up for the principals. Banquettess were strewn with branded “Mad Men” pillows in different shapes which many guests tried to take home, but were stopped at the door and asked to give them back. We saw several men and women trying to stuff them into large bags.

 

Pillow fight, anyone? As partygoers left, they were given gift bags with the MM season four DVD and a “Men” branded old-school telephone headset with a jack that plugs into any Android or iPhone.

Don & Megan: The Madness Begins

The shock waves are still reverberating from the turn of events in the life of Don Draper that left viewers of “Mad Men” literally gasping during the stunning finale episode of Season 4.

Fans of the highly-awarded show will have months to debate whether Draper’s surprise proposal to his secretary Megan was as crazy as it seemed—or if it will make perfect sense in the world of the mid 1960s that’s spinning out of control of the established order.

(We should have warned you about the spoiler, but if you haven’t heard by now about the startling development, the movements within and outside Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce are clearly not your scotch on the rocks.)

Seeing the show with creator Matthew Weiner and cast members Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks, Elisabeth Moss and Cara Cuomo at New York’s famed 21 Club added a resonance you just don’t get in the living room—not to mention the excitement, laughter and other audible reaction the plot twists drew from the crowd.

In the old-school environment of the 80-year-old 21 Club, with its white-jacketed waiters and red rose centerpieces, you half expected to see a toasted Roger Sterling make a scene before stumbling out into the night.

Buoyed by the free-flowing champagne, scotch on the rocks, and just about any other libation known to man, the mood was one of celebration for a show that pumped new life into drama on cable, immediately captured the attention of critics and a devoted audience and re-branded its network as a place for stellar original programming. Although there was no talk of Season 5 and there is no official pickup yet, it’s going to be a long haul without “Men.”

We’re left to ponder Don’s seemingly spontaneous proposal, coming as it did right after Sally’s spilled milkshake incident that would have sent former wife Betty over the edge, or made current girlfriend Faye even more uncomfortable with the children.

Perhaps Don is becoming more like his real self, Dick Whitman, a character we don’t yet know, but one who’s come briefly to life every time he escapes to California. Don/Dick even used the engagement ring conveniently willed to him by Anna, a woman he could truly be “himself” with, whose death shook him earlier in the season.

The confluence of events—California trip, no nanny, Megan ready, willing and available to help—it all came together as fast as you could say “Tomorrowland,” seemingly just moments after he’d told Faye he’d miss her while he was away.

It was Peggy Olson, on screen, who dramatized the audience reaction to Don’s choosing the previously little-seen Megan as his wife, even as she was helping land an account that would keep the agency afloat—and naturally, not getting enough credit for it. Just a few weeks back it seemed like her relationship with Don was charting into new, romantic territory, in an episode called “The Suitcase” that has Emmy written all over it.

Peggy, a woman who seems to understand and accept Don almost as much as Anna did, could barely control her shock at his actions. Marrying a secretary, typical, she and Joan agreed in a scene that’s already become a girls bonding at the office classic, but one he barely knew in just the few short weeks since Miss Blankenship keeled over at her desk? And when he was enmeshed in what appeared to be a challenging, fulfilling relationship with Faye?

“You only like the beginnings of things,” Faye told him in his break-up phone call. And the beginning of Megan-Don as an official couple was ominous, with her sleeping contentedly at his side and him, sleepless, staring at the wall, as the season finale faded to black.

He may have instinctively and impulsively thought Megan was the woman he should marry—perhaps because of her smoothly moderated mothering skills, her beauty and the fact that she’s been an overall sport, but Faye has a track record of being right. And so does the now-pregnant (with Roger’s child?) Joan.

But the rest of us—we’ll just be kept in delicious suspense until the story unfolds. Waiting, and wondering, how it will all turn out, while this we know: Don Draper has cemented his place as one of the most enigmatic characters in television history.

An Old-School Finale for ‘Mad Men’

Speaking of masculine locations, there couldn’t be a more perfect place to celebrate the finale of “Mad Men”’s fourth season than New York City’s storied 21 Club.  And why is it that Don Draper comes to mind when one thinks of the ultimate bachelor? Well, spoiler alert—his short-lived singlehood is over.

The crowd at the exclusive event marking the end of another award-winning season went absolutely nuts when Don proposed to Megan.

In the old-school environment of the 80-year-old 21 Club, with its white-jacketed waiters, perfectly set silverware at every place setting and red rose centerpieces, you half expected to see a toasted Roger Sterling make a scene before stumbling out into the night.

As it was, a dashing Jon Hamm worked the crowd, as did co-stars Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks. But they don’t know when they’ll be working again. The show doesn’t have an official pick-up date, although there’s no doubt it will be.  Meaning Mad Men fans will be left waiting, and wondering, how it will all turn out, while this we know: Don Draper has cemented his place as one of the most enigmatic characters in television history.

21 Club, 21 West 52nd Street, New York, (212) 582-7200