From the New York Times ArtsBeat (emphasis mine):
AMC…announced that “Mad Men” will return for its sixth season — and what is planned as its second to last — on April 7. That premiere episode will be two hours long, the network said, and written by the “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner and directed by Scott Hornbacher, an executive producer. The following week’s installment, written by Mr. Weiner and Matthew Igla, is directed by Jon Hamm, who plays Don Draper on the series.
But as is his frustrating custom, Mr. Weiner was offering few other concrete details about the new season in a phone interview on Tuesday, not even to specify what year it will be set in. (Still, it seems safe to assume the first two digits will be 1 and 9.)
“It will advance in time, as it does,” Mr. Weiner said cryptically. “I can’t say how much or how little. We’re coming off a period in Don’s life where he’s trying to normalize, and trying to have this relationship – a real relationship with this woman that he fell in love with. She expressed her desires and that was a surprise for him. On this show, it’s a very rich, full orchestra, and we like to follow what is the next stage in these people’s lives.”
“As is his frustrating custom” indeed. Weiner never reveals anything about what's coming in “Mad Men,” and the teasers left at the end of the episodes are almost a parody of the concept of “preview.” (A typical one goes like this… Open with Peggy: “What?” Cut to Don: “Stay!” Cut to Roger pouring a Bloody Mary. Cut to silent Betty staring into distance and eating ice cream. Cut to Don again: “Stay!”)
But whatever. We have a pretty good sense of what's coming on April 7, thanks to a revealing finale to season five, and general trends the show must go on.
- Don is back off the wagon. The final scene of “The Phantom” revealed Don sitting alone at a bar, a beautiful woman approaching to hit on him, and he responding with a smirk. 100% chance he took her to New York's finest hourly-room hotel shortly thereafter. Season six has to feature more of the same behavior, especially with Megan embarking on an acting career that will leave the two separate for long periods of time, and his serious issues already present with that whole “faithful marriage” thing. “Mad Men” was always more interesting with Don sneaking around and dealing with those demons—now we'll see if his second marriage (with a much more compatible woman than Betty, too) can survive his affairs.
- Speaking of Megan… This is the one scene that has been confirmed to be in the new season. It's Jessica Pare on a beach and wearing a ridiculously skimpy bikini. Getting good vibes from this.
- As for the office culture itself… The show has tackled it for the last two seasons, but with more time advancing (the show has always placed at least a year between seasons), season six will probably feature the most conflict yet between the stodgy, stuck-in-the past methods of Don, Roger, and Bert Cooper and the hippie revolution taking place across the country. Will the old guard adapt? Or will the young guys—like copywriter Michael Ginsberg or the turtleneck-wearers at Peggy's new office—take the bulk of new business to be had? With accounts genius Lane Pryce buried with his Union Jack, the firm already was destined start the season in some sort of financial trouble. Dealing with these generational changes will just complicate the problems.
Whatever the case, as soon as I stepped outside into 20-degree weather today, I wanted to hibernate like a bear for the rest of the winter. Now I really want to flash-forward to April.