Mad Men

Season 4 Episode 1

Public Relations

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Jul 25, 2010 on AMC
out of 10
User Rating
292 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Don deals with a trade-paper interview but doesn't want to talk about himself. A manufacturer of a "wholesome" two-piece bathing suit wants to hire the firm but doesn't want anything too risque. Pete and Peggy try to secure more money for the firm and when their plan goes awry, Don has to pick up the pieces.moreless

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  • Appearances and other conceits

    Reviewing "Mad Men" is, in some respects, an exercise in futility. The writers have become so practiced at layering historical social commentary, subtle character study, and dry wit that it's sometimes like staring down the rabbit hole. Every time you think you have a grasp on the entirety of the scope, Matthew Weiner manages to slip in something else.

    The fourth season is something of a minor reboot, picking up a year after the series-altering events of the third season finale. Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is the maverick upstart of the Madison Avenue set, and there are the inevitable growing pains. The first three seasons made it very clear that Don was the star employee, the man with his finger on the pulse of the public consciousness. But what happens when the star of the show begins to struggle with his own sense of identity?

    It's a question with double meaning on "Mad Men", because longtime fans know that Don Draper is not who he seems to be. His sense of self was always firmly rooted in the image he had built around himself. The man so comfortable with artifice, deception, and guile in his professional world had constructed his own life out of the same whole cloth. Now that the person construct has fallen apart, Don struggles with the professional one.

    This episode starts the season off at a low point, and chronicles the moment when Don came to realize that he had lost his touch. By the end of the episode, by focusing on rebuilding the image of "who is Don Draper", we see the beginning of his effort to pull out of the spiral and re-establish his sense of self. Whether this is the beginning of a turnaround or a fool's rally is the key question.

    I make the assumption that the continued focus on Sally is quite calculated. It can go a few ways, and perhaps it will touch on both and much more before all is said and done. On one level, Don's interaction with Sally continues to reveal the weaknesses of his character; it breaks the illusion that he works so hard to project. But it may also represent the reward at the end of Don's long journey. As long as Sally is still in the picture, there's hope for a return to what was lost.

    Peggy, Pete, and the rest of the impressive cast continue to be a perfect reflection of the various aspects of the Don Draper myth. As they emulate Don and his success, they fall into familiar patterns. It is the eternal struggle of self-identity vs. societal expectation, the truth behind the façade.

    By the end of the episode, it's clear that Don is embarking on the task of redefining his own legend. His partners and his livelihood demand it. Who is Don Draper? Right now, whoever the clients need him to be.moreless
  • A great start to the new series... Favourite Quote: "This is a missed opportunity, you turned all the sizzle from 'Glo-Coat' in to a wet fart!"

    The question I ask myself after I watch any episode of any show - is: 'What strikes me the most about this particular episode'. After all, every episode is unique in its own way. In the case of Mad Men, 'Public Relations', what struck me hard as much as it struck Drapers character is the new sexual fantasies that Donald Draper has developed. During the episode, Isabel, a young, petite sex interest of his slaps Donald sadistically on his request. Although this is an interesting concept, I wonder where the writers got it from? It seems very mid-80s and too liberal for the 50s/60s. Regardless, out of the entire episode, the scene stuck out the most!


    Now, as for the new ad-agency, taking on the surnames of all the major partners - called 'Sterling Cooper Draper and Pryce' and only has just one-floor by the way. Firstly, I should point out, Holloway does not get a title in the company name, I suppose this has something to do with the portrayal of women in the 50s, as you will see in the episode, that there is also no stigma attached referring to the disabled reporter as 'half'. Donald Draper is finding it difficult to manage the mortgage on his home, the taxes and bills - even though he doesn't live there, Betty does. Betty Draper has become more 'excited' with her new love interest, Henry (who we pick off from last season). There is a battle between her romance with Henry and her children, both of whom are very attached to their fathers character. The character of Betty is becoming careless, and refuses to move out of the house.

    Pete and Peggy are on good terms, and work together on pulling off a publicity stunt to sell more Hams. Problem being the people involved in the publicity stunt (two women fight over hams) want money for bail, and even more for their discretion, which could stain the newly founded reputation. Donald punishes Peggy for the stunt after finding out, by excluding her from a potential client meeting.

    In the beginning, Donald Draper is sitting at a restaurant, discussing himself to a reporter. After being asked 'Who is Donald Draper', he replies 'I grew up in the Mid-West, there it was impolite to talk about yourself'. Giving the crippled reporter - the freedom to write openly about Draper proves a mistake on Drapers part. He is portrayed negatively in the press. Sterling and the others are disappointed. Following on from this, a client who make Bikinis wants to be more 'modest' by naming their products '2pc Bathing Suits', and being more 'family' oriented. After the client refuses to take on Donald's idea on a provocative ad for their bathing suits, Donald becomes angry and kicks his clients out of his office for not taking the risks to beat the competition.

    There is a lot going on with Donald Draper and the company. After a client pulls out, and Donald kicking out a potential second, the company has little to fall back on. That said however, he rises to the challenge when Roger Sterling manages to get him a second interview, this time with the Wall Street Journal. The series ends with the classic 'Tobacco Road', possibly signifying Donald's journey thus far.

    Review by See_Everythingmoreless
  • Don Draper the rock star

    For someone who is new to this Emmy hoarding drama, let me tell you something. This show is going to drag so much that one hour will seem like an year. The premiere was just a good opener, but I didn't really see the same excitement with which they left off last October.

    The office setting is new and clearly the crew has put in a lot of thought into representing architecture as a function of time. At the end of season 3, we were expecting a new workplace, a workplace where there are no power struggles, a place where Joan has as much of a say as Don, and one where Peggy is not treated like a piece of trash.

    Well I was wrong, the new workplace seemed more like the old one. We still have the same power structure where Don Draper subjects his people to his whims and fancies. And Joan, well she was pretty much forgotten, again. Betty Draper's character is simply annoying and reminds me of someone who is on the verge of killing themselves. She wasn't happy when she was with Don, and her new life with Henry doesn't seem like walk in paradise either. She will continue to be a troubled soul, and till that time, every minute she comes on screen will be simply dreadful.

    I liked the opener, though there was nothing much to read into and take away from it. I hope this season provided the much need stimulating drama, we rarely find on TV these days.moreless
  • Don Draper feels the heat as an interview puts the new form in a bad light. Peggy and Peter pull a stunt that tunrs ugly while Betty starts her new life with Henry.moreless

    I haven't written a review on this site for ages feeling that it would take a real great piece of TV to get me to start talking about all this again. No surprise then that it was Mad Men that got me writing again.

    I have always been a fan of this show but it never really lived up to the praise until the back end of last season that culminated into the end of Sterling Cooper and the creation of Sterling Cooper Draper Price. Thankfully I can report that this premiere of season 4 lives up to the impressive and open foundations laid at the end of season 3. This week Don sits down for an interview and it acts as an advertisement for Don's scrapping new firm. But things don't go to plan as Don is as illusive as ever with the interview and it puts the company in a bad place leading to Hi-Li jumping ship just as it was beginning to bear some unimaginable fruit. Don is now torn between what he was last year as a pure creative to now where he is also the driving force of the new business.

    Meanwhile, Peggy and Peter create a stunt involving two women fighting over a thanks giving ham as a way to get a compnay to bump up its advertising budget. Things go to plan before the two actors engaged in the fight get heated with one another and one files assault charges on the other. When Don gets wind of it he is not happy.

    In other news, Betty is having the good life with Henry as his family not at all won over by Betty as they question her as a mother as well as a person. Henry ignores his family but thats just half the trouble. Don is upset when he cant see his baby boy and he continues to pay for the house even though he doesn't live there and Betty agreed to move out months ago but has not made any plans to leave.

    This opening ep was smart, funny and very slick. There are many plotlines opening up that I can't wait to explore further. Mad Men is back and is better than ever before. Never has a show 4 seasons in seem so fresh.moreless


    k first of all this is my first full episode of mad men i have watched so dont send me hate mail if i get the myhtology wrong or if i refer to a charactor as the character who looks like colonel sanders:) this show isnt as great as my friends had told me, but dont get me wrong i liked it, i just didnt find it up there with the greats. don is coping with his divorce with betty. he attempts dating, one of them including him being asked to be slapped which i thought was quite funny, but still is miserable. betty is trying a relationship with a new man but feels guilty about it. so its like their destined to be togethor still. don and roger try to get deals for the company togethor but don loses it by setting up a risque poster ad. all in all it seems like a very stylishly crafted show obviously written with brilliant minds, and i feel like this is a show ill watch til they end it after their sixth season. please message me if i got something wrong because alot of this review i went on assumption:)moreless
Erin Cummings

Erin Cummings


Guest Star

Anna Camp

Anna Camp

Bethany Van Nuys

Guest Star

Blake Bashoff

Blake Bashoff

Mark Kerney

Guest Star

Matthew Long

Matthew Long

Joey Baird

Recurring Role

Pamela Dunlap

Pamela Dunlap

Pauline Francis

Recurring Role

Alexa Alemanni

Alexa Alemanni


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions