By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Oct 19, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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I waited a day before offering my take on the just-concluded season of AMC's "Mad Men" for a couple reasons. First, I wanted to give time-shifters out there a chance to watch it (although if you haven't, and don't want to know what happened, click away now).

But more importantly, I wanted to let the show settle in my own mind.

The focus of the season finale was Don (Jon Hamm) Draper's engagement to his latest secretary: the classy, coltish, French-speaking Megan (Jessica Paré).

Honestly, when she was first brought on-camera in a focus group of women in the office, didn't you know she was going to be more than a walk-on?

In many ways, she's the perfect next generation wife for Don. His first was Betty (January Jones), all Grace Kelly in her icy glamor and blondness. She was a 1950s icon as the world moved into the 1960s. And we know how Don's first marriage ended.

Meanwhile, Megan is très Jackie Kennedy, right down to her Frenchness and an apparent passivity. But we're in the mid-1960s, not the the dawning of the New Frontier.

Signs of the '60s social revolution are all around him and Don Draper is still fighting to prevent change. He could have chosen Faye (Cara Buono), a smart, independent 1960s professional woman.

Instead, he looks to the past.

That doesn't mean that Megan is what Don thinks she is. Betty turned out to be more complex and troubled than her own advertising would suggest. Megan's likely just as complicated.

As Peggy (Elisabeth Moss), another of the front-line fighters in that social revolution, comments after hearing about the engagement, "A pretty face comes along and everything goes out the window."

John Slattery's Roger Sterling was typically out of the loop when hearing about the engagement. "Who the hell's that?" he said upon hearing her name, "Megan out there?"

Obviously, there's a cloud hanging over this romance as there is over everything connected to Draper. Megan knows nothing of the elaborate lies that Don has constructed about his past.

As this season played out, we saw Don Draper nearly self-destruct, drinking too much, and watching as the ad agency he helped found at the end of last season teeter on the brink. At season's end, Peggy brought in a new client and Don's tried to remake himself -- again.

Earlier in this episode, Draper's ex, Betty, got shut down by her current husband, as she tried to explain away her impetuous firing of the family's long-time nanny, Carla, as an attempt at a "fresh start."

"There is no fresh start," John (Christopher Stanley) told her. "Lives carry on."

Lives -- and lies.

Here's a video recap of the season finale :

On TV: NBC has picked up three of its new shows for the rest of the season: "The Event," "Law & Order: Los Angeles" and "Outsourced."

  • Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello predicts a full-season pickup for NBC's "Chuck" despite poor ratings.
  • ABC Family had been running "Friday Night Lights" reruns. But low ratings have ended that.
  • Barack Obama will be on the Dec. 8 episode of the Discovery Channel's "Mythbusters." The president will challenge the show's hosts to prove an ancient Greek story that Archimedes used mirrors and the rays of the sun to burn a Roman fleet.
  • The coming Oprah Winfrey Network -- it launches on New Year's Day -- has a new Web site. The new channel's also on Twitter.

Hitting Brett right in the jeans: CNBC confirms that Wrangler has dropped its Brett Favre jean ads from NFL games.

If you're already nostalgic for them, try this:




Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.