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Time Waits For No Mad Men - Mad Men in the 21st Century

Abe Fried-Tanzer - August 13, 2009


Mad Men kicks off its third season this Sunday at 10pm on AMC. The show picks up a year or two after the Season 2 finale, continuing the show's focus on advertising in the 1960s. Here's a thought – what if Mad Men wasn't set in the '60s but in the present day instead? How might the characters be different?


Don Draper

First, Don's signature hairstyle would change -- less Brylcreem, more layers. He wouldn't need to jet off to mysterious, week-long getaways to find his mistresses since he could just use Craigslist's Casual Encounters instead. The former Dick Whitman and presumable Gulf War vet would also have a harder time stealing his namesake's identity -- just exchanging dog tags wouldn't do the trick; he'd probably resort to credit card and ATM fraud.


Peggy Olson

The plucky ingénue would have had a meteoric rise through the ranks of Sterling Cooper. She would have slapped chauvinistic Pete with a sexual harassment lawsuit, and she'd be in the running for partner by Season 3. She would've known about her pregnancy sooner, and, since she's more career-driven than Catholic, she would have been pro-choice instead of giving her baby away.


Pete Campbell

To promote his clients' brands, Pete would use Facebook and Twitter and become a spam god. His family connections would still keep him employed at the firm, but in today's economy he'd have a harder time keeping his job. His wife's infertility would be less of an issue since he would adopt a baby from China or Africa -- but only because Brangelina and Madonna are doing it.


Joan Holloway

She wouldn't take the emotional and physical abuse anymore, and she'd finally be recognized for her talents beyond office management. With her early success in the TV department at Sterling Cooper, she surpassed boss Harry Crane. She's currently working with Tina Fey on an ad campaign for 30 Rock-branded microwaves.


Betty Draper

Unfulfilled and neglected, this stay-at-home mom wouldn't just sit around the house being bored, yearning for something more. She'd dump Don and sober up at The Betty Ford Center. After being discharged, she'd restart her life modeling for the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency and running a website for parents without partners.


Salvatore Romano

The in-the-closet ad man would be out and proud -- no more lies and no more loveless marriage. His co-workers would accept him as one of their own, and he'd have more influence how Sterling Cooper selects clients. He's currently designing a new ad campaign for The Ellen Degeneres Show, and he's actively courting the hopeful host cities for the Gay Games IX in 2014.


How do you envision Mad Men in the 21st century?


Abe Fried-Tanzer is a student at New York University majoring in cinema studies and journalism. He makes it his priority each year to see every Oscar-nominated film and watch every new television pilot, and writes reviews and awards predictions on his personal movie and TV blogs.