Editor’s Note: Season 7 of Mad Men premieres tonight at 9pm EST.
“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” It was the title of Mad Men’s pilot episode, and a perfectly apt description of what it can feel like to try to understand its characters fully, to view them not as they portray themselves to the world, but authentically. Everyone on Mad Men is wearing a mask. Everyone is hiding behind perfectly constructed walls they have built and fortified to keep the real world from getting in, and to keep their true selves from getting out. Everyone is playing a part they are writing themselves, the part of their ideal self, the part they hope will get them through another day intact. Leading into the first part of the show’s final season, it seems only right to try to clear away some of the smoke and figure out if we can see these people for who they truly are going into this final run of episodes.
But seeing these people as they really are is tough stuff, and if we try to look at them head on, we are bound to miss the truth for their most captivating fiction. So below, we will take a look at each of the major Mad Men players through the lens of what drink best represents them and their place in the world.