8:00pm PT by Michael O'Connell
'Mad Men' in L.A.: 4 Angeleno Moments From SC&P's West Coast Move
Mad Men has had its dalliances with the Golden State, but not like this. The seventh season premiere of AMC's outgoing drama finds a bronzed Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) living it up in Los Angeles as the accounts man of Sterling Cooper & Partners' (admittedly small) west coast office.
And he's not alone. A relocated Megan Draper (Jessica Pare), still in the picture, is trying to get work as an actress, and Ted Chaough (Kevin Rahm) made the move too. A plot twist accommodated by the fact that he remains persona non grata at his Madison Avenue office, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) also spends the bulk of the episode in L.A.
Its entirely unclear how much time the quintessentially vintage New York series plans to spend in California during its final episodes, so let us savor it while we can. Here are four decidedly L.A. developments from the Mad Men season premiere.
Coyotes and Canyons
Mad Men conspiracy theorists are no doubt having a field day with Megan's new digs. Many a devout fan spent the bulk of the series' sixth season questioning if Don's wife was about to be murdered, in the same fashion as Sharon Tate, because she wore the same t-shirt once donned by the slain starlet for an Esquire cover shoot. Well, now Megan is living in the Hollywood Hills, the same place Tate and four others were killed by the Manson Family in 1971. Nothing remotely dark happened during the episode, but Don was visibly shaken by the remote locale and coyote cries. When asked later in the episode which side of the Hill he's staying on, Draper gives the Mad Men equivalent of a Liz Lemon eyeroll.
Pete, single, orphaned and liberated, seems to be taking to L.A. nicely. Despite the persistently receding hairline, the sun has rejuvenated him and he's dressed like a teenager spending his summer vacation at the country club pool. What he has not grown accustomed to is the food. He enlists Ted to fetch him two dozen bagels from his trip to New York, and takes Don to Canter's Deli for lunch. The diner, already 38 years old by 1969, is apparently the East Coaster's refuge for corned beef. He also makes a point of noting that he drives to lunch -- even though he doesn't have to.
Poor Megan. She was a big-time soap star in New York, and now she's just another aspiring actress subject to Hollywood machinations. Megan and Don took a dinner with her charmingly flamboyant manager who quickly labeled them his "new favorite couple." Unfortunately, he doesn't instill the most confidence, and she's yet to book a job. On the bright side: she got a callback for a pilot, so she might not have to get braces to fix the gap in her teeth, after all.
Don Draper is not exactly TV's top candidate for a long-distance relationship, but he and Megan appear to be making a go of it. The pair, which ended the sixth season on ambiguous terms, had a somewhat chilly reunion in L.A. after a scantily clad Megan picked up her visiting husband from the airport. Showrunner Matthew Weiner told The Hollywood Reporter not to read too much into this season's flight-friendly promotional campaign, but the cast has been filmed at Los Angeles and Ontario International Airports -- so expect at least a few return flights for Mr. Draper. (Don also made a new friend on his red-eye back to New York in guest star Neve Campbell, though it's not clear how much we'll see from that.)