Ah season five of Mad Men: Zoo Be Zoo, Betty gets fat, Don murders someone, Roger drops acid, Megan eats sherbet, Rory Gilmore gets naked, the triumphant return of Paul Kinsey, Sally becomes a woman, Joan becomes less of one, Peggy watched dogs having sex, and Lane punches Pete Campbell in the face. With the long hiatus, speculation abounds as to how the fifth season of the show would start off, but who would have guessed the show would return on a happy note? Don was basking in marital bliss while Sterling Cooper Draper Price continued to thrive.
Of course Matthew Weiner lulled us into a false sense of security because as the season drug on, the shine wore off and it because pretty clear to me that the theme of season five was getting old sucks. Don could no longer keep up with his young bride which he may or may not have realized while listening to The Beatles, Peggy had to leave her mentor, Pete was exiled to the suburbs as his hairline went further back, Betty got fat, Sally got bloody, Joan had to give up herself, and Lane could not start his Jaguar. Really the only person that got out untouched was Rodger and he needed a new drug to get by. Although, depended on how you took the look Don made in the final frame, he may have made it through to the other side.
And then there was the most shocking moment of the year: Don managed to stay with one woman the whole season. Yes, Dawn was his only secretary this season despite the weirdness of sharing the same name. But we will have to wait until next season to see if he finally gets around to bedding her, because as Allison taught us, if you stick around long enough, you get to have sex with Don Draper as a Christmas bonus. I will not go much further on the individual episodes, if you want to read my thought you can hit the Mad Men tag to see my thoughts.
Of course all thirteen season five episodes are included in the three disks Blu-Ray (surprising Megan and Joan are pictured along with Don) though the two hour premiere is presented here as one episode. Like previous Mad Men seasons, there are bonus features aplenty (this is a review of the Blu-Ray, but the press release say these are also on the DVD release with four disks but I have to wonder who gets a picture on the fourth disk: Peggy? Pete? Roger?). There is Mad Men Say the Darndest Things where the writers on the show talk about some of their favorite one-liners. The take a deeper look at artist Giorgio de Century whose work inspired the Blu-Ray cover with What Shall I Love If Not the Enigma? None of the Mad Men got invited to Truman Capote’s Black and White Masquerade Ball (who knows what Roger would have done in the back room) but it is talked about in The Party of the Century. We also get to go into the studio with Scoring Mad Men: Inside a Session where composer David Carbonarra, orchestrator Geoff Stadling, and sound engineer explain the sound of the show. There is also a pictorial time line about The Uniform Time Act of 1966 which is not as boring as it sounds. I knew Daylight Saving Time was instituted during World War II, but did not know that it got revoked afterwards until 1966. Hopefully it gets abolished again. There is also Newsweek Magazine Digital Gallery that looks at some of the top stories of 1996.
The Blu-Ray also features twenty-four audio commentaries. Yes, each episode gets not one, but two separate audio commentaries. Usually one commentary is Matt Weiner and other behind the scenes people like writers, directors, costume designers, while the actors are resigned to the other but sometimes they mix it up. So if you wonder what Megan Draper thought about her dance sequence or what Lane Price thought about the penultimate episode, give the commentaries a listen. And it is not just castmembers, commentaries also feature guest stars Rory Gilmore, Julia Ormond (but not for the episode where Sally learns that grown up life is dirty), and Paul Kinsey who gets to watch his episode with Harry Crane who nails his onscreen girlfriend and explains why he had to shave his head twice for the show. The is so much content here that there should be plenty extras to hold you over until season six air even if the show goes on another eighteen month hiatus.
Full Disclosure Notice: This Blu-Ray set was given to me by Lionsgate for the purpose of review.