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'Mad Men' season 4's bewitchingly 'symbolic' poster
In AMC's new 'Mad Men' promos, Don Draper gazes pensively out the window of an unfurnished office. What could it possibly mean, ask media obsessives
The new poster for "Mad Men" is very open to interpretation.
The new poster for "Mad Men" is very open to interpretation.
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eprived Mad Men fans will finally discover how ad-man Don Draper fares without the establishment trappings of old-school firm Sterling Cooper when the fourth season of AMC's Mad Men begins on July 25. Already, the series' new poster — showing Draper (Jon Hamm) gazing moodily out the floor-to-ceiling glass window of an unfurnished office — is exciting commentary (much like Season 3's much-debated promo image of Draper seemingly adrift in water). Here, three theories on the deeper meaning behind AMC's latest promotional effort:

Don's starting over in full view of the world: The message is clear, says Michael Ausiello at Entertainment Weekly. "Don Draper is starting over." Having gone through a "major tectonic shift in both his personal and professional lives" at the end of the last season, he will now contemplate what defines him as a person. Given that he's facing out the window, might that include a "exhibitionist subtext"?

Don's trapped in the spotlight's glare: "The windows don't close," notes James Wolcott at Vanity Fair. Apparently "divesting himself of wife and kids and Sterling Cooper" does not make Don Draper feel any less "trapped." The blinding sunlight flooding through the windows "has an almost oppressive force and clarity." Perhaps in the fourth season, Don will regret leaving the "secretive shadows."

Don is inconsistent, unpredictable, and possibly suicidal: This poster is "loaded with symbolism," says Judy Berman at Flavorpill. Note that Don, "so afraid of putting down roots," has not furnished his office. With a "lit cigarette and no ashtray," he's "liable to burn down the whole damn place (literally or figuratively)." Or perhaps he's "contemplating whether to jump out the window, Wall Street suicide-style." Naturally, we'll be tuning in.

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