April 8, 2013 at 7:05 AM ET
"Mad Men" launched its highly anticipated sixth season Sunday night with a moody, melancholy two-hour premiere that still managed to deliver some shockers despite its languid tempo.
While some would call the pacing ponderous, most viewers were riveted by the emotional mines threatening to shatter Don, Roger and Betty's cool facades.
Read on to find out what Jon Hamm and the other actors told TODAY.com about their most memorable scenes!
Don's the silent type -- really silent
It's eight minutes into the highly anticipated drama's return before Draper even says a single word! "Number one, I was glad I didn't have a lot of lines," Hamm deadpanned when TODAY.com asked for his first reaction to the script. "I didn't have a lot to memorize. It was interesting for me."
"He is a commanding presence," showrunner Matthew Weiner raved about his star. "I've had to train (new) directors that (even when Don) is not talking, the scene is about him so that they will cover him and understand that the tiniest things that he's doing (are significant).
"This is about how talking is heroic," added Don Draper's creator. "This man doesn't have a gun. He talks his way out of a lot of stuff. But a lot of that is based on the fact that he doesn't talk until he needs to. And to hold your attention and to be intimidating and formidable, you've got to be on camera -- but you've got to be someone like Jon Hamm."
Don's a big fat fatty fat cheater -- again
Mr. Draper's days as devoted husband to Megan are done, and he's back to unfaithful ways with his neighbor's wife! But remember the tagline used to tease the season? "The affair of the year"? Weiner insisted that's not a reference to Don's infidelity. "Please don't even talk about it that way. They suggested that to me and I didn't even see the double entendre," he told us. "To me, 'affair' is like the oldest word for a party that there is -- like 'my parents' catered affair.' "
Could Mrs. Draper, now a rising soap star, really be as naive as she seems about her husband's infidelity? "She's an optimist, and she trusts him," Jessica Paré told us about Megan. "How much of that crosses over into what somebody else might call naiveté, I think, is sort of up to you as an audience member."
Tears of a clown
Roger's cavalier, even cheery, response to his mother's death crumbled with the bequest from his shoe-shine man. " 'Someone sobs' -- that's a scary word to see on a page," John Slattery told us about reading the script. " 'He gets emotional' -- I can do that. 'Sobs'? You have to get it together (for those emotional scenes)."
"With Roger, there's a lot of funny stuff," he added, "but just when you think someone is one thing, it gets heavier or it gets lighter -- or someone is capable of doing something that you didn't expect them to do."
"I think they all suffer these crises and I think they're all on these separate life rafts," Slattery said about the "Mad Men" characters' arcs this season. "They can't really help one another. And sometimes you're up and sometimes you're down, and they're all just kind of existing in the same pond. Or ocean."
Brunettes have more … fun?
Blonde Betty is no more. The suburban housewife startled her family by dying her hair -- after a secret, futile search for Sally's friend (or herself?) in Greenwich Village. What prompted the drastic makeover?
"I think that all of a sudden she felt old and unattractive," January Jones mused to us about Betty's strange encounter with a bunch of beatniks. "And maybe she took for granted that -- when everyone else in your life is being polite around you, Henry is very sweet about it and I think she was accepting of that -- but then to learn that other people see her in a very different way was unsettling and not satisfactory for her."
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