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Byline: > DAVID KRONKE

Mad for this AMC show

We interrupt this week's regularly scheduled valentine to "Mad Men" with some actual news: AMC has renewed the series for a second season, and the Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of TV and Radio) will be honoring the show on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. with a program titled "Smoke and Sympathy: A Toast to 'Mad Men.'" Creator Matthew Weiner and most of the cast will be there to accept your accolades. Tickets $25 at (310) 786-1091.

And now, back to our regular fawning.

This week, Don (Jon Hamm) proves not to be so bullet-proof after all: He loses the Dr. Scholl's contract to rival firm Leo Burnett, as Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) 7/8 who really needs to tone down the schadenfreude or Don's gonna clock him 7/8 almost giddily informs him.

"The day you sign a client is the day you start losing them," Roger (John Slattery) tells Don philosophically. Then, to cheer him up: "Let's go fire someone."

And because Joan (Christina Hendricks) turned down his offer of a weekend in Cuba, Roger takes Don out to drown his sorrows. Which, if you know Roger, you understand what that will entail. "When God closes a door, he opens a dress," Roger, clearly hoping to gain entry into Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, thoughtfully muses.

So Roger picks a pair of twin models out of a casting call for an aluminum-

siding ad and is angling for a threesome; suffice it to say, things don't go as planned. The episode, as usual, ends with a wickedly dark and funny moment as Roger proves once again he's the manliest pathetic guy on all of television.

Elsewhere, Joan's getting busy her own self.

You sort of have to wonder what HBO was thinking when they let this show get away: The pilot script was what got Weiner hired by David Chase to work on "The Sopranos," so executives there had it just sitting around for six years and did nothing with it. Instead, they went with (among other things) the naughtier and whinier "Tell Me You Love Me, which, for all its nudity and graphically staged sex, hasn't gotten the audience or the acclaim that "Mad Men" has. "Mad Men" even manages to examine dysfunctional relationships as acutely as "TMYLM" does, but it has fun while doing so instead of going so morose about it. "Mad Men" also manages to do so much more with so much more verve, whereas "TMYLM" pretty much just pushes that one mopey button over and over.

Were it on HBO, it would be a much bigger hit, but kudos to AMC for realizing what a gem it has on its hands.

-- "Mad Men:" 10 tonight, AMC.
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Title Annotation:LA.COM
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 27, 2007
Words:461
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