Matt, I can assure you, David Plotz is no Roger Sterling . He cooks, he changes diapers, and he’s still married to his first wife. That said, he feels the same way you do. Every time we sit down to watch he yells, “Bring back Roger!” I was thinking of having bumper stickers printed to that effect. (If I do, I’ll send you one.) He’s never articulated why he misses Roger, but I think you put your finger on it: Mad Men is getting too preachy, and Roger is the answer.
I, too, was wary about the drift into the mid-’60s. The whole beauty of Mad Men is that it’s suspended in that moment before the dam breaks. Then the question becomes, can they hold that pose in perpetuity, or for at least five seasons? I think not, because then the show is entirely about style and periodicity and Weiner’s anal accuracy about types of liquor and train schedules, and that’s not ultimately all that interesting.
The new, groovy Mad Men is growing on me. I am curious to see who can make the transition into the new age and who can’t. Don Draper has gone mute and backwards-looking. Betty Draper is clearly frozen in time. The boys in the office-a question mark. Unclear if they will adapt or not. Ditto for Peggy. Roger, God bless him, is definitely moving into the new age of self-fulfillment and free love. As is Sally, who is well on her way to becoming a Goth cutter.