Only a show as painfully, blindingly good as Mad Men could just completely disappear from television for a cool two years, only to come back with everyone clamoring at its zipper to give it a thank you BJ. Here, a few things we’ve been doing to pass the time.
1. Painfully trying to integrate fedoras into outfits. You’d think we’d have learned by now that fedoras died with Sinatra, and should only be worn by nerds at prom and Dick Tracy cosplayers. They just aren’t cool. Even in a hip hop video, when paired with a wifebeater, diamond necklace, and tightly choreographed dance moves, a fedora still screams desperate and uncomfortable. But thanks to Mad Men (and a desperate Banana Republic line), men have tried to “bring back” hallowed accessory — without “bringing back” the bespoke suit, pack of cigarettes, incredibly suave persona, and 8-figure Swiss bank account.
2. Thinking about Christina Hendricks’s breasts. Every time a curvaceous woman like Sofia Vergara, Salma Hayek, or Xtina comes onto the scene, the world seems to spend the next few years stammering through an introduction while trying to maintain eye contact. When we saw Christina as Joan for the first time, her chest like the glorious mountain range that would lead us to the Promised Land, I think we went temporarily blind. It was as though we had forgotten that breasts exist, and come in sizes other than “modest” and “puffy-cheeked goldfish fake.” But now, now we’ll never go back. We know what glory looks like, and we refuse to turn away from the light. Lights. Headlights. Boobs.
3. Considering extramarital affairs. Hats off to this magical show for making it seem charming, even endearing, to sneak around and fuck anything that made eye contact in an elevator. Cheating is just something that happens. It’s sexy, it’s dangerous, it’s gratifying in the immediate. But could we go through with it? Assuming, for a minute, that we weren’t constantly chained to our significant others with Facebook and text messaging, would we have the balls to go through it? Would it be worth it? Only a show as sexy as this one could make us ask such questions and overlook the rape, puke and heart attacks.
4. Trying to break into advertising. What is advertising, as an industry? It seems the same as most internet-based jobs now, paid entirely in Monopoly money and run from a Facebook page and a back table at Starbucks. Everyone’s a “graphic designer,” how much harder could it be to be an art director? They’re essentially the same thing, right? And given that Don got his job by getting drunk with a partner and essentially breaking and entering into the building, doing it in real life must only require the answering of a Craigslist ad at most. You probably just need to “buy” Photoshop.
5. Thinking 60s party food is charming and kitsch, when in reality, that shit is just disgusting. We have now all been to at least one party entirely themed around Johnson-administration chic. But aside from the bourbon with a side of bourbon, how much of this stuff is actually edible? Ham loaf stuffed with olives and topped with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries. Ambrosia salad punch, with marshmallows and miracle whip garnish. Vienna sausages shaped like a turkey on a cheese-loaf base, filled with French dressing. Essentially, this was the era of cuisine where people just realized that, hey, fuck cooking, we can just buy everything pre-made and put it together in fun shapes ten minutes before the party starts — thus leaving more time for smoking. Precious, precious smoking. Why should we bring this back? What was good about this? Leave 60s food where it belongs, on tabletop doilies at retirement community Christmas parties.
6. Lapping up every morsel of Jon Hamm we can get like starving alley cats. Pretty much any time Jon Hamm coughs, America’s collective panties fall to the ground and smolder into ashes. Whether he’s being hilarious on SNL, having awkward sex in Bridesmaids, or walking down a run-of-the-mill red carpet, it was the closest we were going to get to having Don Draper back in our homes and our saucier dreams. It was refreshing, and even a bit unsettling, to realize how naturally funny, charming, and seemingly nice the man is when he isn’t being paid to pretend-go through women like Kleenex. And though, at first, seeing him do anything besides scowl sexily was like watching a dog playing the piano, we got to love him for the teddy bear he seems to really be. But now he’s back in his definitive role, and I think I speak for us all when I say, we’re all ready to forget that Jon Hamm is an actual human being again, and not a character on a TV show. Welcome back, Don. We missed you.