"Mad Men" is within reach of the beginning of its end. So, naturally, the time for zou bisou bisou of the TV industry-order is necessary before the much-hyped public unveiling of the first leg of its final season.
The '60s-set high-powered drama held its premiere screening at the Arclight in Hollywood on Wednesday night, with Matthew Weiner, the don of the AMC drama, along with the cast and crew, on hand to commemorate the affair. Addressing attendees, the 48-year-old creator acknowledged those who've had a hand in crafting the show before introducing the opening episode of the drama's bisected seventh season, which commences Sunday.
"There is some bittersweetness, obviously .... There's a lot of bittersweetness. Mostly bitterness, actually," Weiner joked. "No, there's no bitterness, there is just the joy of remembering. Honestly, I've had a flash once in a while the last few weeks to typing on a computer the pilot [episode] and imagining it and seeing it as a stack of papers and then thinking about this rocket ship that we've all been on for the last few years. Here we are, Season 7."
"Tonight is a celebration of the reality the people around you have created, and the celebration of all those people in the dark who have welcomed us into their homes," he said. "We're very proud to be a part of your life."
Cut to 9:30 p.m. across town, following the screening, where stiff drinks were being poured as if a new moneyed client was signed at SCDP.
Weiner, a wide grin fixed on his face, fielded handshakes and congratulatory back pats at the after party held at Chateau Marmont. All the while three of his four sons huddled nearby before one, Marten Weiner -- who has appeared on the show as Sally Draper-admirer Glen Bishop -- whispered into his father's ear, momentarily pulling Matt's attention away from the procession of felicitations.
About a hundred feet away, Jessica Pare (Megan) tugged on Christina Hendricks' (Joan) jangle-like metallic skirt, beckoning the redhead to pose alongside her for a photo. Hendricks then slinked into an open spot at the nearby table reserved for Weiner.
Across the way, a scruffy Jay R. Ferguson gave a drive-by fist-bump to Don Draper himself, Jon Hamm, as they crossed paths near the back bar. As Ferguson made his way to the cramped quarters at the center of the area lined with reserved tables, he was met with glee by Aaron Staton (Ken) and Rich Sommer (Harry). The two jokingly caressed Ferguson's hair, finding wonder in his messy shoulder-length locks.
As if to underscore the psychedelic-theme of "Mad Men's" promotional poster, an unusual selection of songs served as a backdrop to the night's affairs -- tunes such as Ace of Base's "All That She Wants," TLC's "No Scrubs" and Outkast's "Ms. Jackson."
But as 11 p.m. approached, even Don Draper needed a breather. With a scarf wrapped around his neck, Hamm lingered outside a side door, enjoying space away from the mad house. And perhaps ready for the beginning of the night's end to get underway.