Pages Navigation Menu

Television Review: MAD MEN Season 6

_1376945707MAD MEN is not for everyone. It is a slow burn of a program that allows its characters and story lines to breathe until they come to full maturity before even thinking about pouring them into a glass. If MAD MEN isn’t for you, you have my condolences. You’re missing what has consistently proven to be one of the most poetic and insightful dramas currently on television today. The sixth season was once again nominated for a plethora of Emmys and Golden Globes and it is easy to see why the love for this series hasn’t faded over the years. In fact, you are instantly reminded of why this is within the first minutes of the sixth season and it only gets better and better from there.

When we last left everyone’s favourite antihero, Don Draper (Jon Hamm), he was casually having a drink, as he does at all hours of the day, and contemplating silently to himself about how he genuinely has it all and how of course he is not actually happy with this. This is what I inferred from Hamm’s furrowed brow and faraway stare anyway. There was much speculation after the close of the fifth season as to whether Don would finally just let go and enjoy the fruits of his own labour, including his partnership in the successful Madison Avenue advertising company, Sterling Cooper Draper Price, and a marriage to a young, gorgeous bride (Jessica Pare) that makes him the envy of all his male colleagues, or whether he would resort back to the philandering and destructive ways he’s known his whole adult life. I ask you, how much intrigue would MAD MEN still have if Don Draper just enjoyed life for a while? None is the answer. He might as well quit drinking and smoking while he’s at it. So, naturally, and I don’t think I’m spoiling anything here, it isn’t long before Don’s eyes begin to wander. His hands follow suit shortly thereafter.


The sixth season of MAD MEN opens with an epic offering that runs over an hour and a half. In the opening scenes, we see that Don and his lovely wife, Megan (Pare), are on vacation in Hawaii. His advertising firm is working on a campaign for this particular resort and their vacation is meant to inspire him creatively. While there, Megan is invited on stage to learn a little hula and, as she is coached along by the resort’s activities host, it becomes clear to Don that everything is a commodity, including his wife, who is now being sold five days a week to homes across America in her new soap opera. And of course, what is the only reason a soap opera, or most any other show on television, exists? To direct our attention to the commercials that Don and his team have created for us. Even his wife is now part of the cycle of consumerism, not that she wasn’t already part of his patriarchal system already. And with that, even Hawaii cannot take away Don’s anxiety, which only gets worse when he gets back to the busy streets of Manhattan, which reeks of death by comparison.


MAD MEN follows up its lavish holiday themed debut with another fine directorial effort by Hamm himself. The episode entitled, “The Collaborators”, helps to further launch the season into its more predominant plot points, including the breakdown of the marriage of Peter and Trudy (Vincent Kartheiser and Alison Brie) and the complicated relationship between Don and Megan and their downstairs neighbours (including Emmy nominee, Linda Cardellini). Meanwhile, with Peggy (Elizabeth Moss) turning into her own version of Don at her new job, Joan (Christina Hendricks) still grappling with what she did to make partner and Roger (John Slattery) facing the futility of life, MAD MEN continues to demonstrate that it is not afraid to go to dark places or to find beauty in places that no one would ever expect.

Share Your Thoughts