It’s rare that critics impact a television show the week before it even airs, but writers who got their hands on screeners for the season five premiere of Mad Men noticed something off about the critically acclaimed series’ return: Even though the episode takes place in the spring of 1966, it features Dusty Springfield’s “The Look of Love,” a song that wasn’t released until January 1967, in its closing credits. For whatever reason, critics latched onto this anachronism, to the point where Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner pledged to replace “The Look of Love” with a more time period-accurate track in its place, the New York Times writes.
“The Look of Love” was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, who then gave it to Springfield to record for the spoof James Bond film Casino Royale. That movie wasn’t released until in 1967, so it obviously predates that Mad Men episode it which it was to appear. “Because of this we have replaced this song with one more suited to the time period and you, along with our audience, will hear it for the first time during our March 25 broadcast,” Weiner wrote in an e-mail to the Times. “Although we take license for artistic purposes with the end-title music, we never want the source music to break from the time period we are trying to recreate.”
Throughout Mad Men, producers have done an magnificent job of creating a world that mirrors 1960s Manhattan, from the costume design to the parlance in the dialogue to the then-current events that permeate in the show’s background, but the reaction to this tiny lapse in the timeline, and the outcry it received from critics, is a little much. Anachronisms often plague films and TV shows, but usually it’s something ridiculous, like when an extra in an ancient Rome gladiatorial movie can be seen wearing a wristwatch. To complain about a song that appears on the show six months ahead of schedule, and compromising the original artistic decision of the production team to handpick that song is a bit drastic. If we were Weiner, we’d replace Dusty Springfield’s 1967 “The Look of Love” with ABC’s 1981 synthpop hit “The Look of Love” just as a “screw you” to critics, but that’s sadly probably not going to happen.