Mad Men: Looking Forward to Season 3!

By Laurie Sanchez

Well, Season 3 of Mad Men premiers Aug. 16, and my husband and I – with swarms of other fans – are eagerly looking forward to it.

The period show – which is set in early 1960s America, when the country was on the brink of massive change – features main character Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) who is an “ad man” on NYC’s Madison Avenue (nicknamed “Mad men”).

The first time my husband and I saw the show was when the very first episode aired. We were on vacation in Lake Tahoe. For a television show to momentarily pull our attention from the beauty of Lake Tahoe … well, that should tell you everything. The show was gorgeous. It was gripping. And the time period was completely engaging.

The gorgeousness comes from the beautiful period sets and costumes. Creator Matthew Weiner has received well-deserved accolades for accurately portraying the late 1950s and early 1960s surrounds: from the fabulous clothes (the narrow lapels, narrow ties, curvaceous dresses, styled hair and cardigans) to the detailed furniture and décor (the foiled high-ball glasses, ball cigarette dispensers, pop-up address books and dinettes). Anyone who lived near that time period (or had parents who did) probably will recognize some little detail that instantly whisks you back to the past (for me, it was that pop-up address book on Don Draper’s desk!).

The gripping nature of the show comes from its involved storylines. The show centers around the “Mad men” themselves, at work, as well as the secretaries who work for them, but also goes into each character’s home life and shows how work crosses over to home.

And the time period is fascinating. We had never seen a television show or movie in the mid-century time period that wasn’t a comedy or simply trying to glorify the postwar era. While many movies, books and shows idealize that time – postwar confidence; the rise of suburbia; the era where everyone owned his own car, telephone, garage, refrigerator and even a television set for the first time – not many shows portray that era’s underbelly: racism, sexism, rampant affairs, and painful lives kept hidden behind closed doors for society. In a period where everyone finally had everything they ever wanted, it was cause for guilt if you weren’t happy. As Don Draper wonders about his wife Betty (played by January Jones), how can she be unhappy if he’s given her every material thing she wants?

But happiness is the elusive goal of all the characters, and it’s fascinating to watch them each pursue it in such an interesting era of change.

The creators are being strangely tight-lipped about any details about Season 3, including what year exactly it's set. (The first season is set in 1960, the second in 1962, so some are speculating that this one will be 1964, but no one is sure.) The blogs and forums are all a-twitter now, though, speculating on what this season will bring: Did Betty really take Don back? What will happen with Pete and Trudy? Is Peggy coming into her own? And check out the viewers' fun predictions for Season 3!

We can’t wait for the new season to begin. Are you a Mad Men fan? What’s your favorite part of the show? And what are you most looking forward to finding out in Season 3?


  1. I love Mad Men! But I have not been following along in season 2 - have to catch up. But I think because it's set in the past - the shifting years work - if you take the show as a whole in terms of what it has to say about a volatile time period. Fun post! And isn't Jon Hamm one of the most handsome actors around? He did a guest stint on 30 Rock that was terrific. His character dated Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) and at one point she describes him as looking like a cartoon pilot. Love that!

  2. I LOVE this show. That being said I have to say that I was not happy with them skipping 2 years from '60-'62. I do hope they tackle the Kennedy assassination because I feel that that was truly the beginning of the "loss of innocence" for America. or maybe I should aaythe false shell of innocence cracked. It would be great to see how they tackle this what with all the superb writing/acting/directing, etc...
    My wife can attest to the fact that I have been stuck in that period my whole life, so my joy knows no bounds when it comes to this show.
    I could go on forever about this fabulous show but I am off to buy my pomade to get ready for the season premier!

  3. I LOVE MAD MEN and I'm totally checking out some of those blog links! I wrote an article on it last year on this blog and I'm still just as enthusiastic. Remember when the Drapers went for a picnic? They left ALL their garbage behind, on the ground...Betty simply shook out the picnic blanket. Classic moment!

  4. Joanna -- Oh, definitely get caught up on Season 2! I remember S-2 started out pretty slow, but then it really picked up steam. In fact, the creators said that this year they didn't take that approach -- they start off with a bang -- so looking forward to that. And yes, Jon Hamm is Mr. Handsome! Funny, though, because when I see him without his pomade (on an interview, for instance) he looks "wrong" to me! ; )

    Dino -- yes, I recall being disappointed, too, that they skipped any years at all. I wish they would cover each and every year of the early '60s! And I wish they would cover a Christmas season -- I'd love to see those metallic trees with the colored spotlights being beamed from the floor! My husband loves this time period, too -- especially the architecture and decor (and clothes!). Such an era of style. ... Now, back to your pomade! : )

    Lisa -- I'll have to go back and find your post on this!! Yes, I remember that picnic. So many little scenes like that, where they're quietly commenting on how different things are -- the kids playing with the dry cleaning bags, the kids sliding around in the back seat with no seat belts, the doctor smoking as he checks Peggy ... fun stuff.

  5. I love "Mad Men" on so many levels. One of the things I follow keenly is the men will be men aspect of the show. It's hard to fathom that less than 50 years ago their behavior in the office was not only acceptable, it was expected by both upper management, and the women in the office. Every episode of "Mad Men" reminds me of how far we have come as a society.

  6. Are episodes online anywhere? I feel so deprived, not having seen any! Must venture out to the video store now...

  7. Dave -- Yes, I like that aspect, too. Although most movies idealize that time, I like that this one points out the warts of that time, too, to show us that we HAVE come a long way. And no era is "perfect."

    Cate -- Season 1 is on DVD (the purchase pack is sold in this really kind of funny cigarette lighter box!). I'm not sure if Season 2 is avail for purchase yet. We watch them on "On Demand" also. (If anyone else has unique places to catch past episodes, feel free to chime in!) They will also probably play some recaps before Season 3 starts to remind us where we all left off. Join the fun! : )

  8. I finally got Mad Men season 2 on dvd to watch and I am crazy addicted. That Don is a sneaky SOB but so appealing.

    Cannot wait for season 3 in a few weeks!

  9. Hi, Katiebabs! Yes, Don is so addicting, but not in a regular "hero" way. He's got some of it right, but then sometimes he's such a cad. (In fact, he might fit in perfectly with Christine Wells' great post right before mine about the "Anti-Hero.") I'll be watching right along with you! ; )

  10. Oh, you are SO speaking my language. Both hubby and I love this show. The period detail is astonishing. That dry-cleaning bag moment. To add to the realism, the girl was sucking air in and out of the dry-cleaning bag while the little boy was running around with a stick (just ready to 'poke someone's eye out') while the pregnant mom sipped her highball and puffed her cigarette. Classic!

    I also was taken by the little girl making perfect drinks: "You've got quite the little bartender there, Don."

    They don't shy away from the darkness and yet manage to create a world that's pretty darn enticing.

    Then there's Don Draper. While every cast member draws me in, he's definitely the Sun this little galaxy revolves around.

    For those who LOVE Mad Men, you should hop over to NBC and look for the spoof they did on SNL. Jon Hamm hosted and pulled in a couple of guest stars from his show to appear in the bit.

    My fave spoof, of course, is the absolutely spot-on "Don Draper's Guide To Picking Up Women". OMG! Perfect!

    Here's my post where I select Jon Hamm for my made-up-award: The Total Package. Scroll down to the end to check out Don Draper's Guide:

    Thanks SO Very Much for a wonderful post that has me even more pumped for one of my all time favorite shows to return. Pete and Trudy, What about Pete and Peggy? Yikes!!

    --Chiron O'Keefe
    The Write Soul:

  11. Hi, Chiron! Ah, so you're a fellow MM fan, too, huh? You pegged some really great scenes! (And that's right -- I forgot about the child breathing in the dry cleaning plastic!) And I love that everyone is always sitting around in a haze of smoke. The scene where they're shrugging off the notion that people will ever give up cigarettes is great, too.

    Yes, I'm looking forward to Pete and Peggy issues, too. And curious how Don and Betty are going to try to make things work with a new baby when she was about to leave him. ... Fun stuff!

    Thanks for the links.

    I found another one: To create an avatar of yourself in Mad Men clothes and hair, you MUST check out ... Hours of fun trying on all the clothes! : )


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