Mad Men, Season 4

Week 1: Is the SCDP Logo in Arial?
Talking television.
July 27 2010 4:14 PM

Mad Men, Season 4

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

Week 1: Is the SCDP Logo in Arial?

Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), Don Draper (Jon Hamm), and Roger Sterling (John Slattery) in Mad Men. Click image to expand.
Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), Don Draper (Jon Hamm), and Roger Sterling (John Slattery) in Mad Men

You can bet your Lucky Strike account that Don's past will be exposed (or at least threatened to be exposed) before Episode 6. Who is Don Draper, indeed. It's simply too tempting a plot point—the gun on the mantel. His past led last season to the exquisite scene in which Bert Cooper asks, "Would you say I know something about you, Don?" Perhaps the greatest checkmate in the show's history. One way to judge Season 4 is whether it can build to a similarly tense moment.

As you note, Julia, the press is having fun with its many cameos in the first show. The Wall Street Journal seems less miffed than Advertising Age: They produced a signature hedcut of Don, complete with cigarette. (One wag at Slate pointed out its resemblance to John Boehner.) But my favorite "controversy" zooming through the Interwebs is the one flagged by commenter "Evan" about the font used in the SCDP logo. At first glance, font nerds identified it as Arial, which—the horror!—is a bastard font that Microsoft designed so that it wouldn't have to pay for Helvetica. But, lo, upon further review, the font was deemed to be Akzidenz-Grotesk, a period-correct choice with a fine pedigree.

Advertisement

I still don't know what to make of that prostitute. Perhaps she will have some advice to offer should Don land the Maidenform account? Or maybe she's an indication that Don's out-of-office life is about to diverge from the mainstream in new, more radical ways. I would love to see him travel through bohemia again, especially since he once challenged its cheap nihilism. One wildcard possibility: 1964 is the year that Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters showed up in New York in search of kicks.

This episode is aging well with me, mostly because of the ending, when Don holsters his guns. I thought the show was perceptive about how creative offices work. They need a star to revolve around, someone who fills the place with meaning and with fear. (Think Tina Brown at The New Yorker.) Don is stepping into that role for SCDP: Can the man without a past create a profitable cult of personality?

Topics still left on the table, if we had a table: Peggy's matronly clothes; will single-Dad Don win with the kids?; Sally Draper, who seems to have inherited Don's sangfroid when it comes to emotional confrontation; and Chicken Kiev.

Modestly,
Agger

Like  Slate on Facebook. Follow us  on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

How Did the Royals Win Despite Bunting So Many Times? Bunting Is a Terrible Strategy.

Catacombs Where You Can Stroll Down Hallways Lined With Corpses

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 6:39 PM Spoiler Special: Transparent
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?