Mad Men‘s Gay Finally Gets Some Lovin’. And Then The Boss Catches Him


You already hear it from your friends, so we needn’t remind you: If you are not watching AMC’s Mad Men, you’re doing yourself a disservice. But if you are not watching Mad Men, you’re also a bad gay. Because things just got interesting! (Warning: spoilers ahead.)


Last night’s third season premiere was excellent in many ways, but you’ll care because we finally got some gay loving from married closet gay Salvatore Romano, played by the openly gay (and very, very pleasant) Bryan Batt. On a business trip with Jon Hamm’s Don Draper, Salvatore encounters a bell hop who wants nothing more than to fix his air conditioning … and other things. They kiss! They grope! They begin to undress!

And then there’s a fire alarm.


On the way out of the hotel via fire escape, Don spots Sal in flagrante delicto through his hotel window. Awkward! This is the 1960s, after all.

And that’s where things got more interesting, in a way only Mad Men can deliver. Flying back to New York, the twosome share some first class conversation, doused in nuance and double entendres. They had been working on an ad campaign for the raincoat company London Fog, and on the plane ride back — having not mentioned one word of the incident to each other yet — Don queries Sal about a possible new slogan: “Limit your exposure.” Perfect branding for their client. And Sal.

We’ll let Batt take it away, from an interview with New York:

Sal’s reaction to the bellboy is pretty different from when he recoiled from the Belle Jolie guy’s proposition last season. What do you think has changed for him since then?

Well, I think some time has passed, and he’s also quite inebriated. And he’s out of New York. So there’s all these other possibilities in play. It is his first foray, shall we say, into that realm. But also, it’s very interesting, everyone hits on Sal. He really doesn’t go about seeking it; it comes to him, which is great because it’s just an innate attraction.

The moment on the plane when Don comes up with the “limit your exposure” idea for London Fog had us holding our breath! It was clearly inspired by the bellboy incident.

Ugh, my God, how great is that line?! I definitely think he’s speaking in a duality; he’s covering a lot of bases, he’s telling Sal exactly what he thinks Sal should do. Whether he knows something happened or just suspects it, since he really didn’t see anything, it’s nothing concrete, and they really don’t discuss it. It was very interesting when we had the premiere in L.A. last week. I was expecting such a reaction from the audience on the kiss, and they were really intensely into it, but the biggest reaction was when Don saw Sal through the window. That elicited audible gasps.

So do you think Don was putting him in his place? Or kind of silently showing some sympathy?

It’s up for interpretation. I think down the line, as the season progresses, it can be interpreted different ways. I took it, as it was directed, that he’s almost telling Sal, watch what you’re doing, but he’s not going to call him on it. But Sal kinda does breathe a sigh of relief after that. “I don’t want to see this” is another aspect of what Don is saying, without really saying it — so much is said in silence on our show! You have to watch it over and over to figure out how to interpret.

(Photos via AfterElton)

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  • dvlaries

    It was outstanding! This is the best drama on network or ad-supported cable right now and not to be missed. It came back so wonderfully strong last night. Orestes Arcuni played the bellhop and there’s three great shots of him at IMBD, much handsomer in those than the 1963-period grooming let come through. 16 standing Emmy nominations for the previous second season as the awards draw near.
    Start watching this show if you’re not already.

  • Lex

    Looks boring.

    Not missing my True Blood for this. Sorry.

    I might DVR an episode I guess…

    Kinda been there done that with the closeted and coming out stories. Where’s the gay man who owns his sexuality and doesn’t give a fuck?

  • garoo

    Gee, thanks for the nice spoilers in the title, I would have hated to find out anything by myself when I get around to watch the episode.


  • Erick

    OK, this is really funny…a spoiler warning at the beggining of the article when you already gave everything away on the headline.

    Having a difficult monday morning, ha.

  • Frank

    Spoiler warning ahead? No, it’s in the fucking headline. Thanks a lot. Every time I come here is a headdesk waiting to happen.

  • GranDiva

    Nowhere in the 1960s, dear…

  • George

    @Lex: God, missing the whole point of the show. True Blood is entertaining HBO fluff. Mad Men is without a doubt the best Drama on TV.

  • jason

    Is Salvatore Romano a closet gay or a bisexual? If he were female, her husband would be saying she’s bisexual and that it’s cool for threesomes.

  • rudy

    From John Hamm in “Madmen” to Thomas Jane in “Hung” to Alexander Skarsgård in “True Blood” – it’s getting awfully hard to sleep after Sunday night television.

  • Old Fart

    There is so much to love about ‘Mad Men.’ To the younger folk out there, Sal is what gay was in 1965. The out gay is from Europe. The attitudes, the sets, everything reminds me of the era.

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