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'Mad Men': Live from Times Square!

July 26, 2010 |  2:56 pm

After a week of sweltering weather, the heat wave broke just in time for Sunday night's premiere screening of "Mad Men" in Times Square. No doubt the several thousand fans in attendance -- many of them decked out in suits, hats, petticoats and gloves -- were especially grateful for the cooperation from Mother Nature.

Hosted by birthday girl Elisabeth Moss -- who was serenaded by the crowd and presented with a giant sparkler-bedecked cake -- the event was attended by an estimated 7,000 spectators (adding to the show's estimated 2.9 million at-home viewers). Throughout the pre-show, a constant nervous murmur emanated from the bleachers on 47th Street and Broadway. Anticipation over the main event had everyone a little distracted from the opening act -- a vintage fashion show judged by, among others, "Project Runway" alum Chris March.

A few minutes after 9 p.m., the familiar string chords of the "Mad Men" theme began, and silence instantly descended on Times Square. The flashing lights and constant stream of double-decker buses barely distracted the rapt audience. A few tourists waved and zoomed in to get pictures of January Jones; others just looked confused. The audience burst into applause at the sight of the new Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce offices. The biggest laugh of the night came when Pete Campbell gently mocked New York's "Hometown Paper" ("It's the Daily News, it's one big section"), though just about everything Roger said came in a close second.  

One of the most striking changes so far in Season 4 is Peggy's bubbly new personality. Dressed in a sequined champagne dress from Topshop, Moss reflected on Peggy's bubbly new personality. "When she started at the agency, she was 20. I was very different at 20 than I was at 25." The new company helps, too. "The hierarchy of the agency is smaller. It allows for her to have more power and have more to say and be listened to."

And what about Mark, the loyal boyfriend who followed Peggy to Don's apartment on Thanksgiving? Maybe Peggy's fallen in love and that's why she's suddenly so perky? Don't count on it, Moss said. "I think she's looking for something a little bit easy, and that's what she sees in Mark. He's not a lot of pressure."

Unlike Peggy, Betty hasn't grown much in the past year. "She's emotionally immature," explained Jones, wearing a beaded white flapper dress and chunky beige heels. "She doesn't want to know herself as a woman, so you see her constantly on the show struggling with being unsatisfied but it's really her own making."

Jones also confirmed that Sally and Betty, whom she called "a bad mother," would continue to clash through the coming season. "Yes, a lot," she said, giggling nervously before being whisked away by her publicist.   

For the most part, the fans who trekked to Times Square thought the season premiere lived up the hype. NYU student Angela Marzan had just one complaint. "I wish Don would have had some better dates. Let's be real, he's living at Sixth and Waverly, that's some premium real estate."

Spoken like a true New Yorker.

-- Meredith Blake


'Mad Men': Who is Don Draper?

'Mad Men': Top 10 unsolved mysteries

'The shocking moments' of Sally Draper

Television review: 'Mad Men'

'Mad Men': Sterling Cooper Draper and Pryce

Photo credit: Frank Ockenfels 3 / AMC

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