- Mad Men
Genre Period drama Created by Matthew Weiner Written by Matthew Weiner
Starring Jon Hamm
Opening theme "A Beautiful Mine" (Instrumental)
Composer(s) David Carbonara Country of origin United States Language(s) English No. of seasons 4 No. of episodes 52 (List of episodes) Production Executive producer(s) Matthew Weiner
Location(s) Los Angeles Running time 47 minutes Production company(s) Weiner Bros. Distributor Lionsgate Television Broadcast Original channel AMC Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Original run July 19, 2007 – present External links Website
Mad Men is an American dramatic television series created and produced by Matthew Weiner. The episodes are premiered on Sunday evenings on the American cable network AMC and are produced by Lionsgate Television. It premiered on July 19, 2007, and completed its fourth season on October 17, 2010. Each season has consisted of 13 episodes. The fifth season is scheduled to premiere in March 2012.
Mad Men is set in the 1960s, initially at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City, and later at the newly created firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. The focal point of the series is Don Draper (Jon Hamm), creative director at Sterling Cooper and a founding partner at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, and the people in his life, both in and out of the office. As such, it regularly depicts the changing moods and social mores of 1960s America.
Mad Men has received critical acclaim, particularly for its historical authenticity and visual style, and has won multiple awards, including fifteen Emmys and four Golden Globes. It is the first basic cable series to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, winning it in each of its first four seasons in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.
- 1 Production
- 2 Characters
- 3 Episodes
- 4 Themes
- 5 Reception
- 6 Accolades
- 7 Parodies
- 8 Marketing
- 9 Product placement
- 10 Influence
- 11 International broadcast
- 12 References
- 13 External links
In 2000, while working as a staff writer for Becker, Matthew Weiner wrote the first draft for the pilot of what would later be called Mad Men as a spec script. Television producer David Chase recruited Weiner to work as a writer on his HBO series The Sopranos after reading the pilot script in 2002. "It was lively, and it had something new to say," Chase said. "Here was someone [Weiner] who had written a story about advertising in the 1960s, and was looking at recent American history through that prism." Weiner set the pilot script aside for the next seven years — during which time neither HBO nor Showtime expressed interest in the project—until The Sopranos was completing its final season and cable network AMC happened to be in the market for new programming. "The network was looking for distinction in launching its first original series," according to AMC Networks president Ed Carroll "and we took a bet that quality would win out over formulaic mass appeal."
Tim Hunter, the director of a half-dozen episodes from the show's first two seasons, called Mad Men a "very well-run show".
“ They have a lot of production meetings during pre-production. The day the script comes in we all meet for a first page turn, and Matt starts telling us how he envisions it. Then there's a "tone" meeting a few days later where Matt tells us how he envisions it. And then there's a final full crew production meeting... ”
Filming and production design
The pilot episode was shot at Silvercup Studios and various locations around New York City; subsequent episodes have been filmed at Los Angeles Center Studios. It is available in high definition for showing on AMC-HD and on video-on-demand services available from various cable affiliates. The writers, including Weiner, amassed volumes of research on the period in which Mad Men takes place so as to make most aspects of the series—including detailed set designs, costume design, and props—historically accurate, producing an authentic visual style that garnered critical praise. Each episode has a budget between $2–2.5 million, though the pilot episode's budget was over $3 million. On the scenes featuring smoking, Weiner stated: "Doing this show without smoking would've been a joke. It would've been sanitary and it would've been phony." Since the actors cannot, by California law, smoke tobacco cigarettes in their workplace, they instead smoke herbal cigarettes. Robert Morse was cast in the role of senior partner Bertram Cooper; Morse starred in two 1967 films about amoral businessmen, A Guide for the Married Man (1967), a source of inspiration for Weiner, and How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying (1967), in which Morse recreated his role from the 1961 Broadway play of the same name, (and which was itself based on a satiric novel by a former executive at the now-defunct New York ad agency, Benton & Bowles, Inc.).
Weiner collaborated with cinematographer Phil Abraham and production designers Robert Shaw (who worked on the pilot only) and Dan Bishop to develop a visual style that was "influenced more by cinema than television." Alan Taylor, a veteran director of The Sopranos, directed the pilot and also helped establish the series' visual tone. To convey an "air of mystery" around Don Draper, Taylor tended to shoot from behind him or would frame him partially obscured. Many scenes set at Sterling Cooper were shot lower-than-eyeline to incorporate the ceilings into the composition of frame; this reflects the photography, graphic design and architecture of the period. Alan felt that neither steadicam nor handheld camera work would be appropriate to the "visual grammar of that time, and that aesthetic didn’t mesh with [their] classic approach"—accordingly, the sets were designed to be practical for dolly work.
According to a 2011 Miller Tabak + Company estimate published in Barrons, Lions Gate Entertainment receives an estimated $2.71 million from AMC for each episode, a little less than the $2.84 million each episode costs to produce.
In March 2011, after negotiations between the network and the series' creator, AMC picked up Mad Men for a fifth season, which will premiere in early 2012. Weiner reportedly signed a $30 million contract which will keep him at the helm of the show for three more seasons. A couple of weeks later, a Marie Claire interview with January Jones was published, noting the limits to that financial success when it comes to the actors: "We don’t get paid very much on the show and that’s well-documented. On the other hand, when you do television you have a steady paycheck each week, so that’s nice."
Sales from home video and iTunes could amount to $100 million in revenue during the show's expected seven-year run, with international syndication sales bringing in an additional estimated $700,000 per episode. That does not include the $71 to $100 million estimated to come from a Netflix streaming video deal announced in April 2011.
Episode credit and title sequences
The opening title sequence features credits superimposed over a graphic animation of a businessman falling from a height, surrounded by skyscrapers with reflections of period advertising posters and billboards, accompanied by a short edit of the instrumental "A Beautiful Mine" by RJD2. The businessman appears as a black-and-white silhouette. The titles pay homage to graphic designer Saul Bass's skyscraper-filled opening titles for Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959) and falling man movie poster for Vertigo (1958); Weiner has listed Hitchcock as a major influence on the visual style of the series. David Carbonara composes the original score for the series. Mad Men — Original Score Vol. 1 was released on January 13, 2009.
At the end of almost all episodes, the show either fades to black or smash cut to black as period music or a theme by series composer, David Carbonara, plays during the ending credits; at least one episode ends with silence or ambient sounds. A few episodes have ended with more recent popular music, or with a diegetic song dissolving into the credits music.
In addition to having created the series, Matthew Weiner is the show runner, head writer, and an executive producer; he contributes to each episode—writing or co-writing the scripts, casting various roles, and approving costume and set designs. He is notorious for being selective about all aspects of the series, and promotes a high level of secrecy around production details. Tom Palmer served as a co-executive producer and writer on the first season. Scott Hornbacher (who later became an executive producer), Todd London, Lisa Albert, Andre Jacquemetton, and Maria Jacquemetton were producers on the first season. Palmer, Albert, Andre Jacquemetton, and Maria Jacquemetton were also writers on the first season. Bridget Bedard, Chris Provenzano, and writer's assistant Robin Veith complete the first season writing team.
Albert, Andre Jacquemetton, and Maria Jacquemetton returned as supervising producers for the second season. Veith also returned and was promoted to staff writer. Hornbacher replaced Palmer as co-executive producer for the second season. Consulting producers David Isaacs, Marti Noxon, Rick Cleveland, and Jane Anderson joined the crew for the second season. Weiner, Albert, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Veith, Noxon, Cleveland and Anderson were all writers for the second season. New writer's assistant Kater Gordon was the season's other writer. Isaacs, Cleveland and Anderson left the crew at the end of the second season.
Albert remained a supervising producer for the third season but Andre Jacquemetton and Maria Jacquemetton became consulting producers. Hornbacher was promoted again, this time to executive producer. Veith returned as a story editor and Gordon became a staff writer. Noxon remained a consulting producer and was joined by new consulting producer Frank Pierson. Dahvi Waller joined the crew as a co-producer. Weiner, Albert, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Veith, Noxon and Waller were all writers for the third season. New writer's assistant Erin Levy, executive story editor Cathryn Humphris, script co-ordinator Brett Johnson and freelance writer Andrew Colville complete the third season writing staff.
As of the third season, seven of the nine writers for the show are women, in contrast to Writers Guild of America 2006 statistics that show male writers outnumber female writers by 2 to 1. As Maria Jacquemetton notes:
- We have a predominately female writing staff—women from their early 20s to their 50s—and plenty of female department heads and directors. [Show creator] Matt Weiner and [executive producer] Scott Hornbacher hire people they believe in, based on their talent and their experience. 'Can you capture this world? Can you bring great storytelling?'
Mad Men focuses mostly on Don Draper, although it features an ensemble cast representing several segments of society in 1960s New York. Mad Men places emphasis on recollective progression as a means of revealing the characters' past.
- Don Draper (Jon Hamm): Creative director and junior partner of Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency and, as of the fourth season, a partner of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, he is the series' main character. He is a hard-drinking, chain-smoking executive with a shadowy past who has achieved success in advertising. He was married to Elizabeth "Betty" Draper and has three children with her, but his history of infidelity, along with his revelations to her about his past led to their separation at the end of Season 3 and eventual divorce. Draper's real name is Richard (Dick) Whitman; he assumed the identity of Don Draper during the Korean War after the death of his lieutenant, who was due to return from the war, thereby avoiding further combat.
- Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss): Olson rises from being Draper's secretary to a copywriter with her own office. She becomes pregnant with Pete Campbell's child, a pregnancy that neither she nor her family or coworkers seem to notice, until she goes into labor alone and goes to the emergency room. Campbell is unaware of her pregnancy until the end of Season 2, when Peggy tells him that she gave the baby up for adoption. In Season 3, Peggy is approached by Duck Phillips to leave Sterling Cooper, but turns him down, despite the fact that his persistence leads to a romantic relationship. While he rarely acknowledges it, Don's appreciation of Peggy's abilities leads him to choose her to go with him to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. She is given more freedom to come up with her own creative advertising ideas, though Don continues to push her to be better.
- Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser): A young, ambitious account executive from an old New York family with connections and a privileged background. Campbell tries to blackmail Don Draper with information from Draper's past. However, he and Don develop a grudging respect for each other, culminating in Don's approaching Pete over Ken Cosgrove when forming a new agency. Campbell and his wife, Trudy, had been unable to conceive a child earlier in their marriage, and he remained unaware of his child with Olson until the Season 2 finale. At the end of Season 3, dissatisfied with his treatment at Sterling Cooper regarding a promotion, he secretly plans to leave the firm. Unaware of this, Don Draper approaches Campbell with an offer to join his new firm as long as Pete brings accounts worth $8 million of cash flow. Campbell decides to join Draper, with the condition that he be made a partner, though his surname does not appear in the new firm's name (Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce). Campbell is one of the few characters in the show who does not smoke.
- Betty Francis (née Hofstadt, formerly Draper) (January Jones): Don Draper's ex-wife and mother of their three children, Sally, Bobby, and Eugene Scott. Raised in the tiny Philadelphia suburb of Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, she met Don when she was a model in Manhattan and married him soon thereafter. At the start of the series, they have been married for seven years (1953–1960) and live in Ossining, New York. Over the course of the first two seasons, Betty gradually becomes aware of her husband's womanizing. After a brief separation, Betty allows Don to return home when she learns she is pregnant with their third child, but first has a one-night stand of her own. She leaves for Reno at the end of Season 3, in December 1963, with the intention of divorcing Don. At the start of Season 4, in November 1964, she has divorced Don and married Henry Francis. She, the children, and her new husband continue to live in the Drapers' old house, but by the end of the season decide to move to another house in Rye. Betty's relationship with her children is often strained, in particular with Sally.
- Joan Harris (née Holloway) (Christina Hendricks): Office manager and head of the secretarial pool at Sterling Cooper. She had a long-term affair with Roger Sterling until his two heart attacks cause him to end the relationship. In Season 2, she becomes engaged to Dr. Greg Harris. By Season 3, they are married and at Greg's request Joan quits her job at Sterling Cooper. Their marriage becomes tested when Greg's difficulties securing work as a surgeon force Joan to return to work at a department store, prompting her to call Roger Sterling to ask for his help in finding an office job. Because of her invaluable managerial skills, she is later hired for the new agency formed by Don, Roger, Bert and Lane. Meanwhile, Greg's desire to assure his career as a surgeon leads him to obtain a commission in the Army, and early in Season 4 he is sent to basic training and then to Vietnam. While her husband is deployed, Joan and Roger have a brief sexual encounter, which results in her becoming pregnant. Joan initially decides to terminate the pregnancy, but at the end of Season 4 she is seen discussing her pregnancy with Greg, who is unaware that the child is not his.
- Roger Sterling (John Slattery): One of the two senior partners of Sterling Cooper, and one-time mentor to Don Draper. His father founded the firm with Bertram Cooper, hence his name comes before Cooper's in the firm's title. A picture in Cooper's office shows Roger as a child alongside Cooper depicted as a young adult. In Season 2, Bertram Cooper mentions that "the late Mrs. Cooper" introduced Sterling to his wife, Mona, whom Sterling is in the process of divorcing in favor of Don's former secretary, 22-year-old Jane. Sterling served in the Navy during World War II and was a notorious womanizer (living like he was "on shore leave") until two heart attacks changed his perspective, although they did not affect his drinking or smoking habits, which remained excessive. Prior to his marriage to Jane, Roger had a longstanding affair with Joan Holloway. In Season 4, he and Joan have a brief romantic encounter, and Joan becomes pregnant. It was revealed in Season 3 that it was Roger who had hired Don Draper sometime in the mid- to late-1950s, when Don was a salesman at a furrier, and eager to break into advertising. Season 4 also has Roger less involved with the day-to-day activities at SCDP than he was at Sterling Cooper. His primary function is to manage the Lucky Strike account which is responsible for over half of SCDP's billings. However, in the "Chinese Wall" episode, it is revealed that Lucky Strike is moving its account to a rival agency, forcing a dramatic downsizing of the firm.
- Lane Pryce (Jared Harris); recurring season three, regular season four to present: The English financial officer installed by Sterling Cooper's new British parent company. He first appears in the first episode of Season 3. His role so far has been that of a strict taskmaster who brings spending under control, especially by cutting out frivolous expenses. His efforts are so successful he was to be sent to India to enact cost-cutting measures, a move which Pryce was not looking forward to making after having settled in with his wife and child. An unfortunate accident at work debilitated his replacement, thus allowing Pryce to keep his current position. Pryce is warming to American culture, and foresees some form of cultural and societal changes in his observations on American race relations. When Putnam, Powell, and Lowe is sold, he realizes he has become expendable, and negotiates to become a founding partner in the new agency alongside Don Draper, Bert Cooper, and Roger Sterling, Jr., with his firing the three of them, then getting fired himself, thus voiding the non-compete clauses in their contracts and freeing all of them to build a new firm. Beginning with Season 4, Pryce serves as a partner and de facto Chief Financial Officer of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.
- Paul Kinsey (Michael Gladis); regular seasons one through three: A creative copywriter and Princeton University alumnus, the bearded, pipe-smoking Paul prides himself on his politically liberal views. At some indeterminate time, he had a relationship with Joan Holloway which ended badly, largely because Paul talked about it too much. Paul tried, unsuccessfully, to date Peggy soon after she was hired by Sterling Cooper. Through most of the second season, Paul dated Sheila White, an African-American woman from South Orange, New Jersey. They broke up while in Oxford, Mississippi, where they had gone as Freedom Riders to oppose segregation in the South. It is a source of pride for Kinsey to live in the low-income, southern section of Montclair, New Jersey. He is highly competitive, an attribute revealed to have soured a few friendships while he was in college, and which causes some friction with Peggy Olson, culminating in his becoming angry when Don chooses Peggy for the new agency over him. He has not been seen since the third season finale.
- Kenneth "Ken" Cosgrove (Aaron Staton): A young account executive originally from Vermont. Outside the office, Ken is an aspiring author who had a short story published in The Atlantic, which is a source of some envy by his co-workers, particularly the competitive Paul Kinsey and jealous Pete Campbell. Pete uses his wife Trudy's ex-boyfriend to have his short story published. According to his bio in The Atlantic, Ken attended Columbia University. He has one admirer, art director Salvatore, who secretly has a crush on him. Ken was promoted in the beginning of Season 3 to Account Director, a role he shared with Pete Campbell. Later on, the more easy-going Ken is promoted over the more ambitious Campbell to Senior Vice President of Account Services. However, at the end of Season 3, Draper and Sterling choose Pete over Ken for their new agency. During Season 4, Ken joins SCDP after working for McCann Erickson (which bought Sterling Cooper) and BBDO. When Pete learns of Ken's return, he is initially upset with Lane Pryce for not telling him, since Pryce had authorized Ken's previous promotion over Pete. However, when Ken agrees to serve under Pete as accounts manager at SCDP, the two reconcile over lunch and Pete comes to realize that Ken is a practical choice to help bring new business to the firm.
- Harold "Harry" Crane (Rich Sommer): A bespectacled media buyer and head of Sterling Cooper's television department, which is created at Harry's initiative. Unlike his mostly Ivy League fellows, went to the University of Wisconsin. Harry joins his colleagues in drinking and flirtations, though he is a dedicated husband and father. However, he does have a drunken one-night stand with Pete's secretary in Season 1, which leads to his being briefly kicked out of his home by his wife, Jennifer. He is ultimately coerced by Draper and Cooper into joining the new agency, although he realizes it is the right move. When Sterling Cooper was in the process of being sold, Harry mistakenly thinks they are considering opening a West Coast office and believes that he would be the person to move to California. Harry later becomes a bit of a braggart, who is overly fond of discussing his Hollywood connections.
- Bertram "Bert" Cooper (Robert Morse): The somewhat eccentric senior partner at Sterling Cooper. He leaves the day-to-day running of the firm to Sterling and Draper, but is keenly aware of the firm's operations. Like many of his executives, Bertram is a Republican. He is fascinated by Japanese culture, requiring everybody, including clients, to remove their shoes before walking into his office (which is decorated with Japanese art). He is a fan of the writings of Ayn Rand and implies he knows her personally. Among his eccentricities, Bert frequently walks through the offices in his socks and intensely dislikes gum-chewing and smoking (an oddity for the time, especially considering Lucky Strike cigarettes is a major client). He owns a ranch in Montana and is a widower with no children. Don approaches him about buying back the agency at the end of the third season, which evolves into their forming the new Sterling Cooper firm. In Season 4, Don and Peggy stumble upon an audio tape recording of Roger Sterling's memoirs that reveals that Bert received a war injury to his groin (possibly explaining him having no children). Later in Season 4, in the episode "Blowing Smoke", when the agency is forced to radically downsize its staff following the loss of the Lucky Strike account, Bert tells the others that he is quitting the business, he isn't seen for the rest of the season.
- Salvatore "Sal" Romano (Bryan Batt); seasons one through three: The Italian-American former art director at Sterling Cooper. Sal is a closeted homosexual. Reluctant to act upon his homosexuality, he twice avoided sexual encounters with different men. By 1962,[episode needed] Sal had married Kitty, who seems unaware of Sal's sexual orientation, yet begins to realize that something is amiss in their relationship. The issue of being closeted for Sal is shown in brief but stark contrast against the newly evolving social attitudes toward homosexuality. Sal's secret crush on Ken Cosgrove comes uncomfortably and awkwardly close to being revealed during a dinner in Sal's apartment. Later, when a recently hired young advertising exec, Kurt, casually announces his homosexuality, Sal remains painfully silent while his fellow co-workers speak disparagingly about Kurt. In the premiere of Season 3, Sal has a brief interrupted homosexual encounter with a hotel employee while in Baltimore, the end of which Don accidentally witnesses. Don, who was in the midst of a heterosexual encounter of his own at the same hotel, finesses this uncomfortable situation through a coded conversation about their current client, London Fog. He suggests the tagline "Limit your exposure." Later in Season 3, Sal rebuffs the sexual advances of Lee Garner Jr., the drunken playboy son of Lucky Strike's founder and a key client. Angered by the rejection, the client demands Sal be removed from the campaign and Roger fires Sal in order to appease the client and his $25 million account. In a conversation right after the firing, Don shakes his head at Sal, saying "you people," implying that Don is not sympathetic to homosexuality and Sal is at fault for not keeping his proclivities out of sight and mind. At the end of the episode, Sal is seen calling his wife Kitty from a phone booth (presumably in Central Park), in an area frequented by gay men cruising for sex. On the phone, Sal was explaining to Kitty he would be home late that night. Sal did not appear again during the rest of the third season, and does not appear in the fourth season.
- Dr. Greg Harris (Samuel Page): Introduced during Season 2, Greg begins dating Joan Holloway, and they eventually become engaged. Handsome and embarking on a successful medical career, Greg sweeps Joan off her feet, and she is excited at the prospect of resigning from her job and marrying a physician. It soon becomes apparent that their relationship is not a healthy one. Greg, unhappy with Joan's sexual self confidence, rapes her on the floor of Draper's office one evening shortly before their marriage. Despite this, Joan goes ahead with the marriage. However, Greg's medical career does not come together the way he'd hoped it would when he fails to obtain a residency position at a major New York City hospital. He later receives a commission in the Army to pursue his desire to become a surgeon, and is deployed in Vietnam by the conclusion of Season 4.
- Henry Francis (Christopher Stanley): Introduced during Season 3, Francis is the Director of Public Relations and Research for New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. He is called upon by Betty Draper and some of her friends to get involved in a civic project, but develops a personal connection with Betty, which she reciprocates because she feels no such connection with Don. In Season 4, he and Betty are married and living in the house that she formerly shared with Don. They eventually sell the house and in the season finale are preparing to move to a new house in Rye.
- Herman "Duck" Phillips (Mark Moses): Former Director of Account Services at Sterling Cooper. He previously worked at the London office of Young & Rubicam, but an undisclosed fiasco caused him to leave. A tough, driven executive, he often clashes with Don Draper. Duck is a recently divorced father of two children. Duck engineered the sale of Sterling Cooper to a British agency that was seeking a foothold in America. An alcoholic who had been sober for several years, the stress of engineering his take-over of Sterling Cooper caused him to begin drinking openly. As a reward for his role in the sale, Duck was to have been promoted to company president under the new Sterling Cooper, but Don's opposition and Duck's intemperate display in a high-level meeting between the two agencies left promotion in doubt as season two concluded. After being absent in the first four episodes of Season 3, it is revealed that Duck now works at Grey, another New York agency. After trying unsuccessfully to poach Pete and Peggy at the start of the third season, he develops a sexual relationship with Peggy which continues through that season. By Season 4, Duck has returned to heavy drinking and has been fired from Grey. Later in season four, in a drunken stupor he shows his hatred for Draper by attempting to defecate on a chair in Don's office, or so he believes. Peggy stops him, as he is actually in Roger's office.
- Gertrude "Trudy" Campbell (Alison Brie): Pete Campbell's upscale East Side wife. She is unaware of her husband's liaison with Olson prior to their marriage. Trudy wants to be a mother but in the early years of her marriage was unable to conceive despite seeking fertility counseling. Her attempts to adopt a child were refused by Pete, whose own upper class family frowns on someone other than a blood relative as heir to the family name. Trudy's father is the manager of one of Sterling Cooper's accounts, Clearasil, an account Pete lost when he refused Trudy's wish to adopt. She and Pete become closer in the third season (in the aftermath of the JFK assassination) and she encourages his move to the new Sterling Cooper firm. In Season 4, she is pregnant and gives birth to a daughter, Tammy Campbell.
- Jane Sterling (née Siegel) (Peyton List) is a secretary at Sterling Cooper. She is assigned to Don in the second season. Jane clashes frequently with Joan and is about to be fired when Roger intervenes on her behalf. Shortly afterward, she begins an affair with Roger and he leaves his family for her, further straining his already tenuous relationship with his wife and daughter. He quickly proposes out of the blue one morning in the episode "The Jet Set", and as she accepts his offer of marriage, they become engaged towards the end of Season 2. By the start of Season 3 she and Roger are married. Roger's daughter, Margaret, openly resented Jane, who is only two years Margaret's senior.
- Frederick C. "Freddy" Rumsen (Joel Murray) is a former copywriter at Sterling Cooper. He was the first in the office to notice Peggy Olson's talent for copywriting while working on an ad campaign for Belle Jolie Cosmetics. After that, he was supportive of Olson's copywriting efforts. Freddy was shown to be a heavy drinker which got progressively worse, to the point where it caused Freddy to lose control of his bladder and pass out immediately prior to an important client pitch. Roger Sterling then asked Freddy to take a paid six month leave of absence, with the implicit understanding Freddy would not be returning to Sterling Cooper; he is referenced in "The Fog" when Duck Phillips notes the apparent connection between Pete and Peggy. He returned in the Season 4 episode "Christmas Comes But Once A Year" bringing a new account to the firm as a freelance copywriter, which Peggy pushes for. He is, by that time, clean and sober, and it is strongly implied that he is an active participant in Alcoholics Anonymous. His male chauvinistic comments lead to clashes with Peggy, although their tensions are later mended and Freddy offers her some personal advice.
- Dr. Faye Miller (Cara Buono): First seen in Season 4, she is a market research consultant who is retained by several agencies, including Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. After some initial reluctance, Don takes an interest in her and the two begin a secret romantic relationship. Their relationship becomes tested on a few occasions, one in which Sally shows up unexpectedly at the office and Don imposes on Faye to keep her occupied, and another when Don asks Faye to divulge confidential information about clients of rival advertising agencies. In the episode "Hands and Knees", Don has a panic attack while with Faye and tells her about his real identity. However, by the end of the season, Don's personal and professional relationship with her has ended.
- Francine Hanson (Anne Dudek): One of Betty Draper’s closest friends and neighbors. She spends much time with Betty, gossiping about other neighbors. She becomes furious upon discovering her husband Carlton's infidelity, but she and her husband remain together. She is one of more supportive people of Betty, throughout her separation from Don in the second season, her pregnancy and helping with the children in the early part of the third season, and supporting her in approaching Henry Francis throughout the third season.
- Sally Beth Draper (Kiernan Shipka) is the eldest child of Don and Betty Draper (age 8 in 1962). Although Sally was a fairly minor character through the first two seasons, she started playing a larger role during the third season as she approached adolescence. Her relationship with her mother is often strained. She formed a very strong bond with her Grandpa Gene when he came to live with the Drapers, but was devastated by his sudden death. She also was distraught when Don and Betty broke the news that they were getting a divorce, reproaching her father for breaking his promise to always be there, and accusing her mother of making him leave.
- Bobby Draper (Maxwell Huckabee, Aaron Hart, and Jared Gilmore) is Don and Betty's son, a few years younger than Sally.
- Anna Draper (Melinda Page Hamilton) is the widow of the real Don Draper, the soldier killed during an accident at the isolated post he and the young Dick Whitman manned during the Korean War, and first person with whom Don/Dick has shared the darkest secret of his original identity, the sole person who has accepted his duality, and perhaps the only woman that Don/Dick really loved. Anna lived in California during the years after the war, and dies of cancer in May 1965 as revealed in the Season 4 episode "The Suitcase". Don referred to her, upon learning of and mourning her passing, as "the only person who really knew me."
- Megan Calvet (Jessica Paré) is Don Draper's secretary during the latter part of Season 4 and becomes his fiance during the final episode "Tomorrowland". Megan is an intelligent, quietly ambitious young French-Canadian woman, the daughter of a McGill University professor. Megan manages to get close to Don without being too inquisitive or possessive; she seems surprised by his sudden proposal but readily says "yes." She is unique among Don's paramours because of her immediate rapport with his children and because he tells her that he loves her.
- Midge Daniels (Rosemarie DeWitt) is Don Draper's extramarital lover in season 1. A bohemian artist, she exposes Don to the then-emerging 1960s counterculture. She makes a brief appearance in season 4, where it is revealed she became involved with a heroin addict and later became one herself.
Season Episodes Season Premiere Season Finale 1 13 July 19, 2007 October 18, 2007 2 13 July 27, 2008 October 26, 2008 3 13 August 16, 2009 November 8, 2009 4 13 July 25, 2010 October 17, 2010 5 March 2012
Mad Men depicts parts of American society and culture of the 1960s, highlighting cigarette smoking, drinking, sexism, feminism, adultery, homophobia, and racism. Smoking, far more common in the United States of the 1960s than it is now, is featured throughout the series; many characters can be seen smoking several times in the course of an episode. In the pilot, representatives of Lucky Strike cigarettes come to Sterling Cooper looking for a new advertising campaign in the wake of a Reader's Digest report that smoking will lead to various health issues including lung cancer.
The show presents a subculture in which men who are engaged or married frequently enter sexual relationships with other women. It also observes advertising as a corporate outlet for creativity for mainstream, middle-class, young, white men. Along with each of these examples, however, there are hints of the future and the radical changes of the 1960s: Betty's anxiety, early stirrings of the feminist movement (as seen through Peggy), the Beats (that Draper discovers through Midge), drug use, and talk of smoking being harmful to health and physical appearance, which is usually dismissed or ignored. Characters also see stirrings of change in the ad industry itself, with the Volkswagen Beetle's "Think Small" ad campaign mentioned and dismissed by many at Sterling Cooper, although Don Draper spots the nostalgic value and market potential of renaming the Kodak 'wheel' slide projector as the Kodak Carousel.
Themes of alienation, social mobility and ruthlessness also underpin the tone of the show. Draper in particular walks a tight rope when contemplating his rather humble beginnings and the deceitful life he has led as against the power and affluence he wields as a captain of industry, and frequently relieves that pressure by way of excessive and sometimes uncontrolled drinking. At times, Draper is utterly oblivious to the pain he dishes out in condescending confrontations with Betty, Peggy, care providers, in-laws and a rotating crew of secretaries, including those with whom he has had sex; yet at others, particularly when involving Anna Draper and her family, he is wholly solicitous of others' feelings to a fault. In season 4, the Vietnam War becomes much more prominent, especially when Joan's husband, Greg, accepts a commission in the U.S. Army and is to ship to Vietnam after basic training.
The first season's premiere attracted 900,000 viewers, a number which more than doubled for the heavily promoted second season premiere. A major drop in viewership for the episode following the second season premiere prompted concern from some television critics. However, "the second season finale [...] posted significantly higher numbers than the series' first season finale, and was up 20% over the season two average. 1.75 million viewers watched Sunday night's season finale, according to fast national data from Nielsen Media Research. The cumulative audience for the three airings of the episode Sunday night (at 9pm, 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.) was 2.9 million viewers."
The third season premiere, which aired August 16, 2009, gained 2.8 million views on its first run, and 0.78 million with the 11 PM and 1 AM repeats.
Season Broadcast dates Premiere viewers
1 July 19 – October 18, 2007 0.90 2 July 27 – October 26, 2008 2.00 3 August 16 – November 8, 2009 2.80 4 July 25 – October 17, 2010 2.92
Mad Men has received highly positive critical response since its premiere. Viewership for the premiere at 10 p.m. on July 19, 2007, was higher than any other AMC original series to date. A New York Times reviewer called the series groundbreaking for "luxuriating in the not-so-distant past." The San Francisco Chronicle called Mad Men "stylized, visually arresting [...] an adult drama of introspection and the inconvenience of modernity in a man's world". A Chicago Sun-Times reviewer described the series as an "unsentimental portrayal of complicated 'whole people' who act with the more decent 1960 manners America has lost, while also playing grab-ass and crassly defaming subordinates." The reaction at Entertainment Weekly was similar, noting how in the period in which Mad Men takes place, "play is part of work, sexual banter isn't yet harassment, and America is free of self-doubt, guilt, and countercultural confusion." The Los Angeles Times said that the show had found "a strange and lovely space between nostalgia and political correctness". The show also received critical praise for its historical accuracy – mainly its depictions of gender and racial bias, sexual dynamics in the workplace, and the high prevalence of smoking and drinking.
However, Mad Men has become the subject of much race and gender based discussion, particularly with the treatment of women characters and characters of color. In Salon, Nelle Engoron explained that while Mad Men seems to illuminate gender issues, its male characters get off "scot-free" for their drinking and adultery, while the female characters are often punished. Amy Benfer, also writing for Salon, used Oprah's fawning segment on the show (which involved Gayle King visiting the Sterling Cooper offices) to explore how nostalgia for 1960s fashion and social norms obscures most discussion of the rampant racism and sexism during the period, asking "But isn’t it a little odd that a show that, among other things, warns about the dangers of seeing the past in too amber a light has spawned an industry devoted to fetishizing nostalgia for that same flawed past?" Anna Kelna writing in Ms. Magazine points out that "Mad Men itself might ascribe to the feminist agenda, but thanks to its pervasive impact on pop culture, the show is crafting a whole new generation of would-be Bettys (Draper’s stylish wife) not Peggys (the show’s ambitious “career girl”)." Also writing for Ms., Aviva Dove-Viebahn argues that "Mad Men straddles the line between a nuanced portrayal of how sexism and patriarchal entitlement shape lives, careers and social interactions in the 1960s (and, by extension, today) and a glorified rendering of the “fast-paced, chauvinistic world of 1960s advertising and all that comes with it.”" Melissa Witkowski, writing for The Guardian, argued that Peggy's ascendancy was marred because the show "strongly implies that no woman had ever been a copywriter at Sterling Cooper prior to Peggy, but the circumstances of her promotion imply that this was merely because no woman had ever happened to sound talented in front of a man before," pointing out that Peggy's career path bore little resemblance to the stories of successful ad women of the time such as Mary Wells Lawrence and Jean Wade Rindlaub, and argued that the show distorts history by erasing the stories of the successful men and women of color of 1960s era Madison Avenue such as Clarence Holte, George Olden, and Caroline Robinson Jones. Latoya Peterson, writing for Slate's Double X, argues that Mad Men isn't confronting racial issues, but glossing over them. The Root's Michael Ross points out that the continued lack of black admen is rapidly becoming ahistorical.
The Washington Post agreed with most other reviews in regard to Mad Men's visual style, but disliked what was referred to as "lethargic" pacing of the storylines. A review of the first season DVD set in the London Review of Books by Mark Greif was much less laudatory. Greif stated that the series was an "unpleasant little entry in the genre of Now We Know Better" as the cast was a series of historical stereotypes that failed to do anything except "congratulate the present." In a February 2011 review of the show's first four seasons, critic Daniel Mendelsohn wrote that in comparison with similarly acclaimed shows such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Battlestar Galactica, and Friday Night Lights, Mad Men "shares virtually no significant qualities except its design. The writing is extremely weak, the plotting haphazard and often preposterous, the characterizations shallow and sometimes incoherent; its attitude toward the past is glib and its self-positioning in the present is unattractively smug; the acting is, almost without exception, bland and sometimes amateurish. Worst of all—in a drama with aspirations to treating social and historical “issues”—the show is melodramatic rather than dramatic. By this I mean that it proceeds, for the most part, like a soap opera, serially (and often unbelievably) generating, and then resolving, successive personal crises (adulteries, abortions, premarital pregnancies, interracial affairs, alcoholism and drug addiction, etc.), rather than exploring, by means of believable conflicts between personality and situation, the contemporary social and cultural phenomena it regards with such fascination: sexism, misogyny, social hypocrisy, racism, the counterculture, and so forth." The American Film Institute selected it as one of the 10 best television series of 2007, 2008 and 2009, and it was named the best television show of that year by the Television Critics Association and several national publications, including the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, TIME Magazine, and TV Guide.
On June 20, 2007, the consumer-rights activist group Commercial Alert filed a complaint with the United States Distilled Spirits Council alleging that Mad Men sponsor Jack Daniel's whiskey was violating liquor advertising standards since the show features "depictions of overt sexual activity" as well as irresponsible intoxication. Jack Daniel's was mentioned by name in the fifth episode.
Among people who worked in advertising during the 1960s, opinions on the realism of Mad Men differ to some extent. Jerry Della Femina, who worked as a copywriter in that era and later founded his own agency, said that the show "accurately reflects what went on. The smoking, the prejudice and the bigotry." Robert Levinson, one of Weiner's advertising consultants, who worked at BBDO from 1960 to 1980, concurred with Della Femina: "What [Matthew Weiner] captured was so real. The drinking was commonplace, the smoking was constant, the relationships between the executives and the secretaries was exactly right." Conversely, Allen Rosenshine, a copywriter who went on to lead BBDO, called the show "a total fabrication," saying, "if anybody talked to women the way these goons do, they’d have been out on their ass."
Mad Men includes references to real life products, events and places. The filming of an Utz potato chips advertisement formed part of the back story of the Drapers' marital strife. Pete Campbell's father was killed on American Airlines Flight 1 in 1962, on the same day that astronaut John Glenn was given a ticker tape parade on Broadway, events that actually occurred as mentioned. Characters eat in well-known New York restaurants, including the Pen & Pencil and the Palm. Several characters also attended a closed circuit telecast of the Liston vs. Muhammad Ali ("Cassius Clay") boxing match on the day it occurred in real life, May 25, 1965.
Mad Men is the multiple recipient of nominations and awards from various organizations, including the American Film Institute, Emmys and Creative Arts Emmys from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, a Peabody Award from the Peabody Board at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Satellite Awards from the International Press Academy, and British Academy Television Awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
Numerous nominations and award has also been received from guilds and societies such as the Art Directors Guild, the Casting Society of America, the Cinema Audio Society, the Costume Designers Guild, the Directors Guild of America, the Motion Picture Sound Editors, the Producers Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild, the Television Critics Association, and the Writers Guild of America.
Award highlights include winning the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series four times, for each of its first four seasons; its fourth win tied the record for serial dramas set earlier by Hill Street Blues (1981–1984), L.A. Law, and The West Wing (2000–2003).
Jon Hamm was the host of Saturday Night Live on October 26, 2008, during the show's 34th season. Mad Men was parodied on two skits from that episode. In one, "A-Holes: Pitch Meeting", Hamm is joined by two other Mad Men cast members in cameo appearances, Elisabeth Moss (who was called the morning of the show and asked to play Peggy, since Amy Poehler, who was going to do it, went into labor) and John Slattery. In another skit, "Don Draper's Guide to Picking Up Women," Hamm pokes fun at how easily his character seduces women.
The Simpsons' episode "Treehouse of Horror XIX", which first aired in the United States on November 2, 2008, included a segment called "How to Get Ahead in Dead-Vertising" The segment, an adaptation of the Mad Men animated title sequence, was the "inspiration" of executive producer Al Jean; it featured a "rotund, lunchbox-carrying figure, undoubtedly Homer Simpson, enter[ing] a living room and then float[ing] past windows bearing Springfield-centric displays that include a Duff Beer ad," with the Mad Men theme music on the soundtrack.
The children's television show Sesame Street ran a child-friendly parody of Mad Men on November 11, 2009 (episode 4188). Muppet versions of Don Draper and two other advertising professionals are shown going on an "emotional rollercoaster," becoming "mad," "sad" and "happy," as they sort through pictures of an ad campaign featuring a cartoon bear. When Miranda Barry of the Sesame Workshop was asked how such a parody is possible "given the drinking, smoking, and womanizing that's a big part of the AMC show", she compared it to their parody of Desperate Housewives: "You may have seen our parody called 'Desperate Houseplants.' It was about a houseplant not getting its needs met by the gardener. So it always works on two levels."
In late 2010, the TV show Arthur had a parody of Mad Men in the episode "Nicked by a name" using a character named Tom Taper instead of Don Draper.
On 30 Rock, Liz Lemon's mother mentions working for Sterling Cooper after graduating secretarial school. In the episode "The Ones", Kenneth Parcell has an allergic reaction to strawberries and says "My real name... is Dick Whitman."
In the March 2010 episode "Physical Education" of the TV series Community the character Abed, a television and movie connoisseur, does an impression of Don Draper, after his peers encourage him to change his personality. He practices a conversation with Annie (played by Alison Brie, who plays Trudy Campbell on Mad Men). He offers her cigarettes, while putting on a deep voice and a flirtatious charm. As Annie leans in to kiss Abed, he quickly turns away and says, "Don Draper from Mad Men". While many of his friends are impressed, Shirley shouts, "Don't be him! He cheats on his wife!"
Another parody is in the television show House M.D, When the doctor Gregory House insults a high ranking man who works at a well respected advertisement agency, when he goes for a Career day at a school by calling him Don when his name was Dave.
Another parody entitled, "Malt Men" features actors Ryan Ridley and Eric Price as characters who advertise malt liquor beverages. The five-minute parody appears on Channel 101, a monthly short-film festival in Los Angeles.
The comedy website Funny Or Die has a small series of skits entitled MA Men which transplants the show into present-day South Boston and invariably involves creating ad campaigns for various Boston businesses in which certain members of Boston's professional sports rivals are sodomized. Comedian Rob Delaney plays Draper, Joey McIntyre plays Roger, Nate Corddry plays Campbell, Jessica Chafin plays Joan, Jamie Denbo plays Peggy, Nat Faxon plays Salvatore, and Michaela Watkins plays Trudy.
In promotion for the series, AMC aired multiple commercials and a behind the scenes documentary on the making of Mad Men before its premiere. The commercials mostly show the one (usually brief) sex scene from each episode of the season. The commercials, as well as the documentary, featured the song "You Know I'm No Good" by Amy Winehouse. The documentary, in addition to trailers and sneak peeks of upcoming episodes, were released on the official AMC website. Mad Men was also made available at the iTunes Store on July 20, 2007, along with the "making of" documentary.
Inspired by the iconic Zippo brand, the DVD box set of the first season of Mad Men was designed like a flip-open Zippo lighter. Zippo subsequently developed two designs of lighters with "Mad Men" logos to be sold at the company headquarters and online. The DVD box set, as well as a Blu-ray disc set, was released July 1, 2008; it features a total of 23 audio commentaries on the season's 13 episodes from various members of the cast and crew.
For the second season, AMC undertook the largest marketing campaign it had ever launched, intending to reflect the "cinematic quality" of the series. The Grand Central Terminal subway shuttle to Times Square was decorated with life-size posters of Jon Hamm as Don Draper, and quotes from the first season. Inside Grand Central, groups of people dressed in period clothing would hand out "Sterling Cooper" business cards to promote the July 27 season premiere. Window displays were arranged at 14 Bloomingdale's stores for exhibition throughout July, and a 45' by 100' wallscape was posted at the corner of Hollywood and Highland in downtown Hollywood. Television commercials on various cable and local networks, full-page print ads, and a 30-second trailer in Landmark Theaters throughout July were also run in promotion of the series. Television promotions for the second season featured the song "The Truth" by Handsome Boy Modelling School.
For the third season, the clothing store Banana Republic partnered with Mad Men to create window displays at its U.S. stores, showing clothing inspired by the fashion of the show. The store also ran a "casting call" competition, in which participants were asked to mail photos of themselves in period fashion for a chance at a walk-on part in the show; two winners were announced in October 2010.
Another clothing promotion from the series' third season includes a "Mad-Men Edition" suit offered by American clothing retailer Brooks Brothers. The suit is designed by the show's costume designer, Janie Bryant, and is based on an actual style sold by Brooks Brothers in the early 1960s.
The fourth season saw the announcement of a collaboration between Janie Bryant and Californian-based company, Nailtini, to produce a limited-edition line of Mad Men nail polish. The four shades are entitled Bourbon Satin, French 75, Deauville and Stinger and are reported to have been inspired by the fabrics used to make cocktail dresses in the Sixties. The Mad Men nail polish line went on sale in the US in late 2010.
Promotion for Seasons 4 and 5 saw Mad Men and AMC partnering with Banana Republic for the Mad Men Casting Call, in which users submit photos of themselves in Mad Men style and one winner receives the opportunity for a walk-on role in an upcoming season. Promotion for Seasons 3 and 4 included “Mad Men Yourself”, an interactive game in which the user can choose clothing and accessories for an avatar similar to the appearance of Mad Men characters, drawn in the sixties-inspired style of illustrator Dyna Moe. “Mad Men Cocktail Culture” was also featured, an iPhone app that challenges users to create the perfect drink as featured in Mad Men episodes. Another interactive game launched prior to Season 3, the “Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Job Interview”, allowed users to answer questions based on various scenarios and then offered them a position in the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce office. Season 3 also included “Which Mad Man Are You?”, an interactive game in which users could find out which Mad Men character they were most like based on their answers to questions about various work and life situations. Users can take trivia quizzes based on the years in which the Mad Men episodes take place and find recipes for '60s-era drinks on the Mad Men Cocktail Guide. AMC's Mad Men website also features exclusive sneak peek and behind the scenes videos, episodic and behind-the-scenes photo galleries, episode and character guides, a blog, and a community forum.
Mad Men integrates product placement into its narratives. For instance, in a second season episode, the beer manufacturer Heineken is seen as a client seeking to bring its beer to the attention of American consumers. This placement was paid for by Heineken as an additional part of their advertising on the show. Cadillac has a similar deal with Mad Men. Other examples remain less obvious, such as ads worked on by the firm, or companies sought as clients such as Utz potato chips, Maidenform, Gillette, American Airlines, Clearasil and others.
The closing episode of season two was broadcast (for its premiere) in the United States with only one brief commercial interruption: a short ad for Heineken beer.
During the fourth season, Unilever created a series of six retro commercials to be aired during the show in the United States. The ads are set at the fictional Smith Winter Mitchell advertising agency and take place during the same time period as Mad Men. The products used in the ads are Dove, Breyers, Hellman's, Klondike, Suave, and Vaseline.
Mad Men has been credited with setting off a wave of renewed interest in the fashion and culture of the early 1960s. According to The Guardian in 2008, the show was responsible for a revival in men's suits, especially suits resembling those of that time period, with higher waistbands and shorter jackets; as well as "everything from tortoise shell glasses to fedoras".
New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley wrote that the success of Mad Men had turned "the booze-guzzling, chain-smoking, babe-chasing 1960s" into "Broadway’s decade du jour", citing three 1960s-set musicals that had appeared on Broadway in 2010 and 2011: revivals of Promises, Promises and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and a new musical, Catch Me If You Can. Brantley also wrote, "I’m presuming that Mad Men is the reason this Promises, Promises is set not in the late ’60s, as the original was, but in 1962."
The 2009 TNT series Trust Me, which ran for one season, was set at a modern-day advertising agency; television critic Tom Shales called it a cross between Mad Men and another show, Nip/Tuck. Two network television series that premiered in 2011, Pan Am and the short-lived The Playboy Club, both set in 1963, have frequently been referred to as imitations of Mad Men.
Don Draper's rendition of the Frank O'Hara poem 'Mayakovsky' from Meditations in an Emergency, at the end of episode one of season two, led to the poet's work entering the top 50 sales on Amazon.com.
The appearance of actress Christina Hendricks as secretary Joan is said to have sparked a renewed interest in a voluptuous look for women, and to be partly responsible for, among other things, a 10% increase in breast implant surgery in Britain in 2010.
According to the website BabyCenter, the show led to the name "Betty" soaring in popularity for baby girls in the United States in 2010.
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- ^ Smith Winter Mitchell Agency's channel on YouTube
- ^ How Mad Men became a style guide, The Guardian, August 1, 2008
- ^ Scamming as Fast as He Can, Ben Brantley, The New York Times, April 10, 2011
- ^ Back in the ’60s: Let’s Tryst Again, Ben Brantley, The New York Times, April 26, 2010
- ^ That '60s show, Maxine Shen, New York Post, May 19, 2011
- ^ Longing for a time when bad was good, Melissa Maerz, Los Angeles Times, May 22, 2011
- ^ Mad Men star Christina Hendricks sparks rush for breast implants, Adam Lusher, The Daily Telegraph, January 30, 2011
- ^ 'Glee' and 'Mad Men' influence Top Baby Names of 2010, Ann Oldenburg, USA Today, December 3, 2010
- Official website (USA)
- Official website at Movie Network (Australia)
- Mad Men at the Internet Movie Database
- Mad Men at TV.com
- "List of Mad Men episodes". TV Guide. http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/mad-men/289066.
- Seeing History in Mad Men, an interactive timeline as of 2010 by The New York Times
Mad Men Creator Characters EpisodesSeason 1 • Season 2 • Season 3 • Season 4 Related articlesAwards and nominations Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series (2001–present) Complete List · (1951–1975) · (1976–2000) · (2001–2025) Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama (1990–2009)
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