Betty Draper

Devotee though I am of Mad Men, I haven't had a chance to catch up with the first two episodes of its new season, so I'm hearing second-hand that Henry Francis, the aide to New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller who earlier rescued Betty from her marriage to Don (and now kind of regrets it because Betty's such a head case) last night--which is to say, in 1966, when this new season is set--called Michigan Gov. George Romney "a clown." Francis is shown saying into a telephone, "Well, tell Jim his honor's not going to Michigan.

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When, armed with an infant, you descend into the nether world of urban playgrounds and playdates and long, searching conversations about upper-middle-class parental obsessions (gluten allergies, Mandarin classes), you’re likely to find yourself wondering whether you’ve joined a genial but nutty sect. Rumor runs rampant; information is so copious and conflicting there might as well be none at all; skepticism and standards of scientific evidence shimmer and vanish at the hint of something to worry about.

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This is the new column in TNR’s weekly series of"Mad Men" episode recaps. Caution: It contains spoilers. Click here for last week's review. Great films and TV series tend to distill in the memory to a particular type of camera shot.

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This is the first in TNR’s weekly series of "Mad Men" episode recaps. Caution: It contains spoilers. “The world is so dark right now,” says Don Draper’s soon-to-be latest conquest in “Public Relations,” the first episode in Season Four of “Mad Men,” which premiered Sunday night. She’s talking about the change in the country’s mood, which was triggered by John F. Kennedy’s assassination (covered in Season Three’s penultimate episode, “The Grown Ups”). But she may as well be talking about the show itself.

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