I have been a non-smoker all of my life with no actual intention ever to light-up a cancer stick. The few times that I have consumed alcohol have always been in a responsible manner and were on the occasion of a military or civilian government co-worker being promoted. However whenever I am viewing AMC’s Mad Men, I often have a strange urge to don a skinny tie, pour a glass of scotch (straight) and inhale and exhale the smoke from a lucky strikes cigarette. While a dispute over finances has prevented the show from making a 2011 appearance, this will surely not deter fans from viewing their beloved character driven story in early 2012. Even in the midst of high quality broadcasting such as The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad (the latter of the two having a special effects driven season finale that rival’s the revealing of Two Face in TDK), Mad Men is AMC’s frontrunner. However, below are two notions that Cinematic Impact would like to see in Mad Men’s fifth season.
1. Have an African American character hired at the firm.
Season 1 featured a scene where Pete Campbell suggests that the advertising agency collaborates with African American companies to gain more numbers. The idea is not entirely ridiculed, but nonetheless the suggestion goes up in smoke along with the rest of the nicotine vapors that rise to the top of the ceiling in Cooper-Pryce’s building. Season 5 will take the viewer into the final and increasingly turbulent years of the Civil Rights Movement. If the firm hires a black executive then the show will have much more than simply a new perspective. This new character can be just a cutthroat if not more than the guys that are obviously going to give him a harder time than those of their same race. This character can be an established professional whom has little sympathy for blacks that are economically and socially deterred due to racism. Perhaps this person is not a democrat and could careless about joining the NAACP or attending a Nation of Islam meeting. This character could also have the charm and wit that is equal to Don Draper. Instead of having a complex relationship with an ex-wife and harboring a Korean War secret, he could have had an ill-fated relationship with a civil rights activist and seen as the typical (but in this case well-written) Uncle Tom character. A character whom has issues with the white and black race is wholly complex and not cliché’.
So far Mad Men has stayed in the norm when it comes to minority characters. They are the butt of financial jokes, are maids/caretakers, and mostly seen and not heard. Of course most of the aforementioned is socially and historically accurate. But there have been black Harvard graduates since the 1880s and even the paranoid J. Edgar hoover hired the first black FBI agents in 1919. Mad Men needs new color (pun intended) added to its palette to keep the Emmy/Golden Globe wins coming.
2. Reveal more on Don Draper’s past.
Audiences are intrigued that Draper is not really Draper. He is actually Richard (Dick) Whitman, a poor farm boy and later enlisted soldier in the Korean War. Whitman steals the identity of the real Lieutenant Donald Draper, and years later inadvertently establishes and keeps contact with the real Draper’s widow. There have been instances of close calls in regards to revealing his true identity. In the first season Pete Campbell finds the truth and brings it to the attention of Bert Cooper, but Cooper simply says he does not care because of Draper’s contributions to the firm. Draper’s ex-wife Betty has covered for him a few occasions when a snooping federal investigator emerges to “ask a few questions”. But very little is explained in regards to how he met Betty and professional life before advertising.
It is revealed in the second season that Draper was a car salesman but the description is about as detailed as this single sentence. Draper did not finish high school, and somehow attended City College for a while. More insight is needed on how he acquired his business savvy. Yes, people can be naturally gifted, but seeing Draper on a learning curve will be warmly welcomed.