Speculating on What We Can Expect in ‘Mad Men: Season Five’

The notoriously tight-lipped Matt Weiner has been giving many interviews, as have members of the cast, but everyone continues to play things close to the vest. In some relatively serious web-digging, I managed to find precious little concrete information about what to expect in Mad Men: Season 5, airing Sunday, 25 March.

In the process, I became fascinated at the hilarious ways in which Weiner-and-co. manage to converse about the new season without actually saying anything. From the eight or so short videos posted on AMCTV.com, the main thing I learned was about the various new menu items offered at Pizza Hut, whose ads (bizarrely, right?) ran before the video clips (also, gross!).

Perhaps the most hilarious video posted there is titled “A Look at Season Five: Inside Mad Men.” Unlike the other videos, which focus on individual characters and feature primarily ruminations on what they are like and what they might be lie in the future, this one – at least in the title – promises at least a glimpse of what season five will serve up.

The irony of this video is that it’s almost exclusively filled of clips from earlier seasons, mixed with interview footage with Weiner and the cast. Weiner drops the great quote, “We will see what the next stage in their life is and the next stage in the American life is.” Jon Hamm clears things up when he explains, “A lot of things were up in the air, and we move to address those things in the fifth season.” My favorite is with Jared Harris, “They can expect everything they’ve come to love about the show… plus surprises!”

In a recent interview with TV Guide, Weiner gave a bravura demonstration of how to say a lot without saying anything. When asked whether Don will go through with marrying Megan, he responds, “We will see… I think everyone only likes the beginnings of things. [But] maybe Don’s going to have a shot at happiness.” The fact that “maybe” is not describing happiness, but merely a shot at happiness, is what makes the quote genius.

When asked about Betty’s future, Weiner similarly gives a dual answer: “You should look for somebody who is going to try to come to terms with the fact that she’s in a bad marriage. But Betty may always think that what is out there is better than what she has.” My favorite response – primarily because it is a confirmation of something– is Weiner’s answer to the direct question of whether Joan’s husband will die in Vietnam: “You will hear the word Vietnam. That’s all I can tell you.”

So, what can we expect in the fifth season of Mad Men? We’ll speculate in further installments of PopMatters: Channel Surfing. At some point this week, I might say something about something that might happen at some point in this upcoming season. I can promise you that there will be characters, who may do things, and will probably at least consider speaking to each other. Or not.