Thursday, 9 August 2012

A New Dawn on Mad Men?

The last season of Mad Men, which ended this past June, broke new ground in many ways. One was to introduce a new, and more prominent, character in Don Draper's new secretary: and African American woman named Dawn Chambers played by the stunning actress Teyonah Parris.

She appeared briefly in most of season five's episodes, but her shining moment was in the scene with Peggy Olson (Elizabeth Moss) in the very tense and disturbing episode called "Mystery Date". The scene, which illustrated the often awkward dynamics between black Americans and liberal-minded white Americans, was very well executed and seemed like the start of some major storylines featuring Dawn. Unfortunately, there was not much focus on her for the duration of the season.

The writers of the series have begun to meet to create season six and the actors are having their contracts renewed; I think that this would be an excellent opportunity to work in an episode or two featuring Dawn as a major character, or even give her a season long story arc. I do not agree with the various opinions out there that her character is a token. How can any series that professes to be an accurate portrayal of America in the 1960s not deal with the Civil Rights movement and its impacts on the workplaces and social life? Gender issues are covered. And 1967, and beyond, where the new season is likely to pick up from was hardly early for any of the movements in the country, and the world, at the time.

And besides, Teyonah Parris needs more room to shine on the series. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

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