Mad Men won the Emmy on Sunday night for Outstanding Drama. Matthew Weiner, its creator, took The Daily Beast on a tour of the winning season, with its damaged ad men and stifled housewives.
Mad Men, created by Matthew Weiner, presents a gorgeously nuanced and authentic portrait of life in 1960s Manhattan as though it were frozen in amber. In its second season, the AMC series delved deeper into the mysterious past of enigmatic central character Don Draper (Jon Hamm), a man with so many layers and identities that it’s hard not to think of him as a Scotch-swilling matryoshka doll. The show is now two for two in its Best Drama victories. (Season 3 began last month.)
Click Image to View Our Gallery and Read the Interview
In Season 2, Don sought to find himself—at the bottom of his glass, in the arms of another woman, on a business trip to California—and his marriage to the fragile Betty (January Jones) began to crack under the pressure of one affair too many, a discovery that had the girlish Betty attempt to enact a secret revenge against her philandering husband. Elsewhere, changes were afoot at Sterling Cooper as a foreign merger loomed and a newly promoted Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) adjusted to her new role as a copywriter, even as she attempted to keep some very dark secrets buried. But as Don and protégé Peggy know, nothing stays hidden. Their shared love for compartmentalization forced the duo to commit some terrible acts of self-preservation, bonding them together in shared lies.
These might be the days of wine and roses, but there are also a slew of social issues, including racism, sexism, war, and sexuality, being played out amid a stylish and painstakingly recreated period backdrop. As we see America changing one day at a time, so too do the richly human characters of Mad Men, taking a step forward—booze in one hand, cigarette in the other.
Jace Lacob is the writer/editor of Televisionary, a Web site devoted to television news, criticism, and interviews. Jace resides in Los Angeles. He is a contributor to several entertainment Web sites and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.