Does the author of the Revolution of Mad Men really know the series on the tips of his fingers?
Film critic and series writer (and collaborator of Première), Damien Leblanc publishes these days The Revolutions of Mad Men , precise and scholarly analysis of the series of Matthew Weiner (2007-2015) telling the alcoholic tribulations of a obsessed pubard Sexuality in the New York of the sixties. To make sure that he knows his subject really well – and, above all, so that this article does not look like cronyism – we decided to pass him the test of the quiz. Ten very sharp questions about Mad Men , one point to every right answer. The whole thing guaranteed without trickery.
First: Are you ready, Damien? Let’s go ! What was Don Draper’s job before it became a commercial?
Damien Leblanc: He was a salesman in a fur store. It’s in season 4 that we learn that, we see a flashback with Roger. But in fact, from the end of season 1, in the episode of the carousel, Don talks about the time when he was selling furs with a Greek.
Perfect. A point. Let’s talk about music now. Tell me the songs that conclude Seasons 1, 3 and 5?
Bob Dylan, “Do not think twice, it’s alright”. Roy Orbison, “Shahdaroba”. Nancy Sinatra, “You Only Live Twice”.
A no fault, bravo. The third question concerns advertising. I give you a mark, you have to answer me with the slogan invented by the mad men. Lucky Strike?
Easy: “It’s toasted”.
“Finally a beauty that you can actually possess”.
“Pass the Heinz”.
No, be careful, not Heinz Ketchup, Heinz Beans!
Ah, sorry, the flageolets! Wait, it’s a thing about young people, about the journey through time … Ah, I know more!
” Some things never change”.
But yes of course ! It’s the pub with the astronauts!
All right, I’ll only give you a half-point. Now, as there is not that Mad Men in life, quote me three sets with Jon Hamm …
30 Rock . Black Mirror . And, uh … I do not know. He has not played in MacGyver ? Santa Barbara ? Hartley, hearts alive ?
Nothing of that.
No more. You could have said, for example, A Young Doctor’s Notebook , the series with Daniel Radcliffe.
Oh yes, I have the DVD in addition.
Only half a point. Question 5: What was Don Draper doing when Kennedy died?
He was in the office. He battled with Lane Pryce that day. And it was on weekend when Lee Harvey Oswald died.
Very good. Now you have a minute to give me five films cited in the series, then five films claimed as influences by Matthew Weiner. Go !
In the series, they talk about La Garçonnière , Psychose , they go to the cinema to see The Planet of the Apes , Rosemary’s Baby , Model Shop . And as influences, there are Les Bonnes Femmes , La Notte , The Conformist … ah … there are plenty … ah …
Attention, you’re missing two, more than fifteen seconds …
A whole life of Claude Lelouch … ah … ah …
Five seconds …
Blue Velvet ! Berlin Alexanderplatz ! The Decalogue !
Phew, you got hot. Question 7. Difficult, that one. In addition to his wives Betty and Megan, with how many women Don Draper has slept in the series? Let’s say, three.
I’d say … something like twelve. Maybe even a little less. Ten or twelve? He sees a prostitute, there’s a three-man plan with Megan’s girlfriend, I do not know if it matters … Come on, eleven!
Wow! Very impressive. That’s the number I had.
Have you seen the show again?
No, but there is a section “Don Draper and the women” on the character Wikipedia. We go on: how many episodes of the series Matthew Weiner realized?
Hmm … He made a lot of final season … Let’s say nine.
Bravo. Very strong. Lifestyle question, now. What is the recipe for the old-fashioned?
The cocktail? I know nothing about it. You put mint, lemon, gin, vodka, an ice cube …
Stop. I’m stopping you, it’s anything. It takes a sugar, angostura, whiskey, ice and a zest of lemon or orange. Don Draper adds a cherry, it was fashion in the sixties. Go, last question: Does Mad Men pass the Bechdel test?
Oh yes. There are a lot of sequences where women talk to each other: Peggy and Joan, the two black secretaries, Betty and her neighbors … After all, it’s true that they often talk about men. But in the last episode, Peggy and Joan talk about creating their business … So, at least for that scene, yes.
You made 8 out of 10, congratulations. A subsidiary question for the road? Is Mad Men the greatest series of all time?
I do not like tops, definitive opinions. Mad Men still has a lot to the Sopranos , it’s a little bit his little sister. Twin Peaks could become the biggest, if it happens to improve and deepen 25 years later. So maybe not the best, no, but let’s say one of the 3 or 4 best.
Well, as long as Les Soprano is in front of me, it suits me. Congratulations, Damien!
“The Revolutions of Mad Men”, by Damien Leblanc, editions Playlist Society. In bookshops, on playlistsociety.fr and at the Séries Mania festival (Forum des Images, Paris)