When Don Draper ditches Dr. Faye Miller for his then-secretary Meaghan Calvet in the fourth season finale of Mad Men, the psychologist manages to choke back her tears and claim the last word: “I hope she knows you only like the beginnings of things,” she says, before slamming down the rotary receiver. But while Draper may be a man of fresh starts—it’s no spoiler at this point to reveal that the tortured ad exec’s personal reinvention forms the dramatic crux of his character—the show itself is deeply committed to a cumulative sense of temporality.
“I wanted the audience to be able to look back at the pilot and feel a sense of: ‘look how young we were then!’” creator Mathew Weiner said during an onstage conversation at the Museum of the Moving Image on Friday. Heading into the second half of the show’s seventh and final season, it’s difficult to avoid a sense of ownership over the characters’ memories and experiences, to look back over the years (1960-1969) and wonder where the time has gone.
Fans of the series will be pleased to find the clock standing still at MoMI’s newly installed exhibition, Mathew Weiner’s Mad Men.