Mad Men returns July 23 for its fourth season. When last we left our band of intrepid consumer-desire-shapers, Betty was heading off to get a divorce, Don was staring enigmatically at something, and the gang had set up their own ad agency in a hotel room. AMC won’t say which year this season will handle; I’d hate for them to jump ahead too far, since the period between ’63 and ’68 is fertile terrain for the show’s main premise: how post-war grownups dealt with the unravelling of their culture. Don can roll with any punch, but I still dread the day when everyone’s wearing muttonchop sideburns and mustard-yellow turtlenecks.


This won’t be the last season: two more after this, which means it could stretch long enough to find Don in his dotage at a disco. But I suspect they’ll wrap it up in the 60s, the Age of Hats and the office bottle visible in the rear-view mirror, but gone for good.

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Downfall of the Hitler vids?