Matthew Weiner said the extended premiere was intended to gin up enthusiasm — or maybe just awareness, at this point — for a show that’s been gone a year and a half. Good marketing, I guess, except that two boring hours is worse than one boring hour. That’s no way to thank loyal viewers. By now, with all the time between seasons, we should be hearing the Doobie Brothers on the soundtrack. But the lecherous lads at SterlingCooperDraperPrice still seem stuck in some alternate universe where 1964 just goes on and on.
Anyway, Don and Megan are married now. Their apartment looks like the principle set for every Doris Day movie ever made. Megan has the gang over for a surprise birthday party. Don is not amused, and I wouldn’t be either. But after that performance of “Zou Bisou Bisou,” I think I could find it in my heart to forgive. If there’s a highlight to the new season, Megan (Jessica Pare) is it. Rowrr. But I predict the marriage will be a rocky one. Peggy laments that Don is now kind and decent, but he seems like the same jerk he was in Season 4. The problem is, that’s not as interesting as it used to be.
Joan has put on some weight. That’s what having an imaginary baby off-screen will do for you. It was kind of pathetic to see her wheeling the pram into the office, and then weeping like a schoolgirl in front of Layne Price, of all people. How the mighty buxom have fallen. Speaking of Layne, is there a less interesting person at SCDP to maneuver into an illicit affair? Finding the snapshot of the sexy Delores (remember that Seinfeld episode?) and then flirting with her over the phone — fine, but does he have to do his face like that? All that mugging and grimacing is distracting.
I did like the bit with Pete extorting his way to a bigger office, and Harry Crane running afoul of the new Mrs. Draper. I always like any scene with Roger Sterling (John Slattery) in it. As usual, he had all the best lines last night.
But I hope Weiner and company are planning on going someplace this season. The premiere, as watchable as it was with the great cast and period detail, felt like standing around kicking the tires of a ’64 Caddy. Finally, somebody needs to get behind the wheel. Let’s get this party started.