Matthew Weiner wrote this pilot back in 2000, and it marinated, fully formed in his head, over seven years before he got to film it. Which is good because, any sooner and he might not have been fortunate enough to cast Jon Hamm as Don Draper. Or, for that matter, Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson. The pilot is chiefly remembered as a typical day in the life of adman Don Draper circa 1960, filled with tobacco smoke, martinis, a brilliantly improvised pitch to a restless client (Lucky Strikes cigarettes), a visit to the mistress, and a return home to the suburban wife and kids that marks the first sign of Draper’s mysterious double life.
But it’s also the first day on the job for Peggy, her first lessons on how to navigate this unabashedly sexist workplace as a woman (from Christina Hendricks’ veteran sexual warrior Joan, of course), her first steps toward sexual independence, and her first fateful encounter with caddish Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser). As much as the pilot whets our appetite for the show’s meticulously recreated styles of the 1960s or for the confident cool of Don’s breezy, boozy existence, it also puts forth notice that this is going to be Peggy’s story, too, one with a decidedly different arc from Don’s.
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