The Fifth Coming

"We're going to sit at our desks and keep typing while the walls fall down around us, because we're Creative - the least important, most important thing there is."

courtesy of, unaffiliated with AMC

It has been some time since the stoic genius of Donald Francis Draper has graced the screens of AMC in new episodes of Mad Men, the fourth season broadcasting its finale in October of 2010. I, for one, am greatly anticipating the return of the 'D' in Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, though the fifth season will not air until March of next year. It has been said that Jon Hamm will direct the premiere of Season 5, something I look forward to observing.

As my interest in advertising has grew in the past year, I became an avid watcher of this program, enraptured by the characters of Donald Draper and Roger Sterling, and even moreso by the pitches and presentations. The main source of substance and entertainment in this program is, for me, precisely those. Presenting creative is something I have very little experience with, a crucial portion of the entire process I've yet to acquaint myself with. Above anything else, it is just this, his stunning, silencing presentation that persuades me to believe in The Don.

There is the very first, the Lucky Strike moment of inspiration that presents done in the initial episode of the series. Then, knowing nothing of the man, I was impressed, but not taken aback. As to the line itself, I recognized the wit of simply "changing the conversation", a tactic Don employs in a broad stroke in Season 4, but I didn't think the line 'It's Toasted' expressed the brilliance I would later come to believe he possessed. However, a friend mentioned to me recently that perhaps the line, rather than referring to the toasting portion of the production process, means rather that the product is so good drinks are raised in it's honour. I'd like to believe that's what Don meant.

There is then the Belle Jolie campaign, Peggy Olsen's first stint writing copy. Freddy Rumsen presents the campaign to the client, but it is left to Don to convince them. These scene presents Don at his most formidable, at least for that time in the series. He's more abrasive than seems acceptable, but somehow his confidence transmits to the client. His complete assurance that he is correct in his thinking is more persuasive than the most carefully constructed argument.

The series yields countless instances of Don's incredible aptitude for translating emotions, opinions, or observations into English. Sometimes his statements seem senseless, others presumptive, but they always resound with a firm grounding in reality. Almost too firm. It's as if he tells truths too painful to hear, too horrible to know. He sends men running from the room, weeping. This year will yield my first flirtations with presenting creative, and I cannot wait.

"When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him. He has a million reasons for being anywhere, just ask him. If you listen, he'll tell you how he got there. How he forgot where he was going, and that he woke up. If you listen, he'll tell you about the time he thought he was an angel or dreamt of being perfect. And then he'll smile with wisdom, content that he realized the world isn't perfect. We're flawed, because we want so much more. We're ruined, because we get these things, and wish for what we had."


Kenton Larsen said...

I can't wait for the new season...

Melanie Lee Lockhart said...

I'm curious to see where the new season will take Don - he seemed to be on the road to a very different life when we left him last October.

Chuka Ejeckam said...

I'd agree, what with the new love interest. I'm hoping he makes more of the power moves we saw in his New York Times buy and CGC scheme.

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