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series highlight or jumping the shark?
May 29, 2012 11:33 AM   Subscribe

Linda Holmes, NPR: "It probably speaks to the complexity of Mad Men that the same episode can be a highlight of the series for some and a lowlight for others. Sunday night's episode, "The Other Woman," instantly became a favorite of a lot of observers and writers, but for me, it was a rarity on Mad Men: a serious and profound misstep." (spoilers in links)

*AMC Behind the Scenes (Episode 511) Mad Men: The Other Woman
*Mad Men Unbuttoned: vintage Jaguar ads

Tom & Lorenzo: "...we’re having a near-impossible time believing that she would do this... What surprises us is Roger’s reaction. Actually, strike that. We flat out don’t buy it and consider it a rare instance of the writing team dropping the ball."

Vulture: "It was the best all-around installment of Mad Men since "The Suitcase," and while its subject and structure were different, deep down it was great for the same reason that "The Suitcase" was great: because its situations and resolutions summed up and expanded on everything we've seen since the start of Mad Men."

AV Club: "“The Other Woman” shouldn’t work. It’s so obviously constructed to be a “message” episode, and the message is far from subtle... In most every way, “The Other Woman” is a stronger episode than “Employee,” however, because it pitches its story less as a parable and more as a rolling catastrophe."

Ad Age: "It's not unusual for ad types to describe their professional activity as, pardon the phrase, whoring themselves out. Usually, however, the metaphor remains just that..."

Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly: "We just don’t expect characters we’ve known for the length of a series to behave in ways that permanently alter their relationship to the show, and to us... Mad Men does this a lot — parallel plotting, one scene echoing another, weaving a theme through various subplots so that we Get The Message. Indeed, I’d say it’s usually the habit, the stylistic tic, that is most irritating about the series, and sometimes leaves you wondering just how stupid Matthew Weiner thinks his audience is..."

Maureen Ryan, Huffington Post: "Here's my big admission: I'm going to be fine with it when the current season of "Mad Men" ends. Let me be clear: That is not me saying that I dislike "Mad Men"... But this season, the show has gone around in sad, resigned circles a fair amount of the time. I'm not sure what the point is, and I'm not sure the characters think there is a point."

Mediaite: "The episode left me upset enough to wonder if I’ve let Weiner off too easy regarding his treatment of women, even as it affirmed his ability to make tremendously thought-provoking television."

Grantland - Mad Men Power Rankings: Episode 511: 'The Other Woman'

recaps and more discussion: Salon - Slate - LA Times - Television Without Pity
(previously: Jaguar's real ad agency punks Don Draper and season 5 begins)
posted by flex (665 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite

 
T&L's Mad Style on this episode is not up yet, but my guess for their "OMG" clothing moment is Joan's dress when she presents her terms to Pete (the scarf on it looks like a noose to me).
posted by flex at 11:34 AM on May 29, 2012


YOU COULDN'T PUT SOMEBODY ELSE AT THE TOP?

I kid, I kid.

[lays head on desk]
posted by Linda_Holmes at 11:35 AM on May 29, 2012 [33 favorites]


T&L's Mad Style on this episode is not up yet, but my guess for their "OMG" clothing moment is Joan's dress.

It's the coat.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:38 AM on May 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


I wondered, but since a bunch of other places mentioned the fur coat I thought maybe it was too obvious.
posted by flex at 11:39 AM on May 29, 2012


the end credit music was *perfect*.
posted by The Whelk at 11:39 AM on May 29, 2012 [20 favorites]


I think the outrageousness of the situation was meant to illustrate just how desperate the Big Boys at SCDP really are.

I found myself not _wanting_ to believe that Roger, Bert and Lane (Lane for crissakes!) could be so blase about the whole matter but when I thought about it ...

... that Joan would actually go through with it? I still don't know. Part of me thinks it may be a way for her to regain control in some crazy way. She's played by the rules long enough, and now has a real way to break through the glass ceiling so she takes it.

But man. I still don't know.
posted by Tevin at 11:43 AM on May 29, 2012


Haven't seen the episode yet, but someone on ATC points out the major references in the plot to The Homecoming.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:44 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


4. A Crippling Sense of Loss and a Deep Sadness

You felt it. Don't try to pretend you didn't.

Shut up. You're just a TV show.

posted by The Whelk at 11:45 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sepinwall*, to make the list complete: "This season of "Mad Men" has been far more overt about each episode's theme than previous years, but has generally been so expert at how it weaves its plot and character in with those themes that it hasn't mattered. If you buy that the partners would be willing to sell Joan, and that Joan would feel the same way, then this is an all-time great episode of the series. But if you don't, then it's Weiner and company making the characters act against their natures to fit the theme. "

*Sepinwall, I think, is the best TV writer out there. Just MHO.
posted by General Malaise at 11:50 AM on May 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


" You're just a TV show."

And AIR is 'just a mixture of gas.'

_spits_
posted by Tevin at 11:50 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Something I've always wanted to ask about the nuts and bolts of the high-end advertising industry...

The guys from SCDP go into the pitch meeting having already done lots of work for Jaguar. There are visuals, there's a tagline, etc. They're expending these resources as a risk against not being given the business. They get paid by billing the client a percentage of the actual media purchased to run those ads, plus (I presume) some kind of a base retainer for the firm's day-to-day expenses.

What happens if they don't get the business?

* Can SCDP turn around and use this exact same pitch for another, similar brand of luxury car? After swapping out some new visuals (not terribly difficult to create new beauty shots of another car), the pitch ("Finally, something beautiful you can truly own") is sufficiently generic to be used for, say Cadillac or Lincoln or Corvette or whatever was in luxury showrooms at the time.

* Can Jaguar use this pitch, but give it to another agency to execute? "Thanks, SCDP. Here's some dough for your expenses. We'll take it from here."

What contractual language is protecting SCDP here from watching its work walk away, or protecting SCDP from having to create a series of one-off ideas?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:55 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


sometimes leaves you wondering just how stupid Matthew Weiner thinks his audience is..."

I stopped watching MM after ep 3 of this season for precisely this reason. I've felt it since mid-season 3 but had finally had enough.

Having read the above-the-fold article and finding out what happened in this episode, my immediate response is "Oh, fuck off." Referring to Weiner, not the blog's author. Weiner's strings have been showing for years now and he's simply not a good enough writer to consistently pull off a show like Mad Men. They're "Weiner's characters", which is to say his puppets.

In a recent GQ article where they interviewed Weiner and David Milch, the interviewer says something like, "What happens when an actor says 'my character wouldn't say this' to a line you've written?" I immediately heard Weiner say, "They're not their characters. They're my characters." (He didn't say that, I just heard it.) Milch, of course, says something like, "As soon as someone says, 'my character' then they're wrong," because Milch believes in the characters in and of themselves. The characters he created are *not* his characters or his puppets (as proven by the many instances in which he introduced characters who he expected to kill and who came to life for him and then ended up being major players).

I think Mad Men was captivating at first because it showed a world that was just outside of most of its viewers' real experience, time-wise. Once that novelty wore off... well, I, for one, am tired of watching his puppet show.

To suggest that Joan would whore herself out for any reason whatsoever is laughable.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:59 AM on May 29, 2012


Thanks, flex. Because reading 18 (so far) pages of commentary on T&L wasn't enough today, thank you for this (sincerely) - I've never been so disturbed and moved by an episode.
posted by peagood at 12:03 PM on May 29, 2012


To suggest that Joan would whore herself out for any reason whatsoever is laughable.

I would have thought the same, except that she's just been served with divorce papers and is faced with raising a child alone in the 1960s. Mothers do all sorts of crazy shit for their children. She's just ensured a life of security - assuming SCDP survives, which given what we know about their finances isn't a given, but Joan doesn't know what Layne is up to behind the scenes.

With Pete manipulating her into believing all the partners were on board, I think she finally just thought to herself, "well, if all these assholes already think I'm a whore, I might as well use what I have to take care of myself."
posted by something something at 12:05 PM on May 29, 2012 [14 favorites]


Yeah, thanks, flex--this is a nice post.
posted by box at 12:05 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


To suggest that Joan would whore herself out for any reason whatsoever is laughable.

You'd be surprised at how motherhood changes a person.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:06 PM on May 29, 2012 [13 favorites]


*Sepinwall, I think, is the best TV writer out there. Just MHO.

I think that as shown in that quote, he's certainly among the very best at retaining a balance -- an ability to see shows from multiple angles and from multiple points of view.

It's been a really interesting thing, because I'm so sharply divided from so many people I often agree with. It's not at all unusual for the little pod of people I sort of know to disagree up to a point, but the 180-degree difference between, say, my view of the episode and Todd's, or mine and Matt Seitz's, doesn't happen every day. I sort of watched to see whether I could pick out patterns of who reacted in what way, but I couldn't. (Only how good the Peggy story was seems to be widely agreed upon.)

It just seems to be one that hit different people in profoundly, hugely different ways. In a way, it's always actually comforting to me when that happens, because I do get concerned that a lot of critics in a field knowing each other leads to a hive mind, but then you realize that you pretty easily depart from it when necessary. I'm always unnerved when everybody agrees too much.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 12:08 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


"They're "Weiner's characters", which is to say his puppets."

Oh come on, now. Let's not pretend like every writer doesn't do this, Weiner no more than any other.
posted by Tevin at 12:08 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, though, through interviews Matthew Weiner has seemed a little like an ass, to say "a character wouldn't do that" after a character has done that, is just... not getting something pretty essential about creating a long form narrative. And if it seems out-of-character and not-quite-right, and if you feel let down that the character made this choice... well, that's the point.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:10 PM on May 29, 2012


You Should See the Other Guy, I felt the same way, in the middle of the last season. After the first two seasons, the show seemed to be spinning in circles. As the show dragged on, I felt the show was becoming increasingly less convincing, and I felt less invested in the characters' shenanigans. (And I was so obsessed by MM in season 1 I even named my cat Peggy.) Now it seems it has... dare I say it... jumped the shark?

Peggy's still cute, though.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 12:11 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


as proven by the many instances in which he introduced characters who he expected to kill and who came to life for him and then ended up being major players

But the same thing has happened to Weiner. For example, Harry was supposed to kill himself in the first season.
posted by drezdn at 12:11 PM on May 29, 2012


I think it's odd that anyone would find the partners' behavior unusual. Pete's behavior is true to his character. Roger only cares about Joan in relation to himself. Don's emotionally ruined at best. Layne is weak and worried about his money issues. Bert is elsewhere. And in general, who has been watching this show and not noticed the current of casual sociopathic behavior that runs through it all?
posted by MillMan at 12:11 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


"well, if all these assholes already think I'm a whore, I might as well use what I have to take care of myself."

Plus, although it's been shown more subtly, she feels as taken for granted as Peggy does. I think that's why they made it a point for Joan to look at her at the end.

She was never going to win. Even when she tries to do the "right" thing it goes wrong.

I think, in a way, she's the unhappiest character on the show (and I know that's saying something).
posted by girlmightlive at 12:11 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Someone mentioned this in passing to me earlier, so I thought I'd query the hive mind on it ... in the scene with Lane, Joan remarks that "$50 000" is 4x her annual salary, or something along those lines. According the dollartimes.com inflation calculator, a salary of $12.5/year in 1963 works out to roughly $93 000 today. At that salary, why is Joan living with her mother? Why is she so worried about her future? Is this just an error in dialogue or estimation of what someone in her position would have earned?

It's one thing to say she was backed into a corner raising a child alone facing poverty, but would that actually have been the case given the stated dialogue?
posted by modernnomad at 12:14 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


She doesn't live with her mom. Her mom is helping take care of Kevin while she's at work.
posted by The Whelk at 12:16 PM on May 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


I guess I'm in the minority on this one, since none of this episode struck me as terribly wrong. A bit off or disturbing for some of the characters, perhaps, but not fundamentally unbelievable.

The four 'other women' of the episode were each needed to reflect on the others -- Joan and Peggy, Megan and the Jaguar. The Peggy line, which was absolutely spot-on and the important one of the episode (if not the series), needed a contrast, which is where Joan's plot line came in, the woman who makes the exact opposite choice for advancement. They all are other women, only Joan's act wasn't as subtle as the others, and so socially unacceptable.

The use of the coat, especially, is an indicator that Joan hasn't always been the smart and confident Joan we came to know. She put her favours out there for advancement. And now, in this much more difficult time for her -- older, a touch obsolete, single mother with either a divorce or a death on the way -- it may not have been out of character at all for her to prostitute herself for a lifetime setup. It may have been simply a return to something she knew would work.

In her conversation with Pete, she was the one who opened herself up for it, saying that 'you couldn't afford it', thus indirectly saying that there was a price. And then the Pryce was right, by suggesting partnership.

As for Roger's reaction, he's been such an irresponsible, childish lout this season that his failure to come through for Joan didn't surprise me much.

In short, I think it all worked, even if things were a bit obvious with the parallels and symbolism and all. It all had to support that final scene with Don and Peggy -- the Suitcase episode distilled -- and in that I think it clicked.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:17 PM on May 29, 2012 [13 favorites]


I thought the $50K was the first offer and the 5% partnership was the counter-offer.
posted by girlmightlive at 12:17 PM on May 29, 2012


I actually found it harder to believe that they'd offer her a partnership. The "indecent proposal" itself didn't sound too far-fetched, and sadly it probably did happen and no doubt still happens in some places.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:20 PM on May 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't know, Joan's actions didn't seem that extreme to me -- this is the same character who, in season one, says to her roommate, "Let's find some bachelors and empty their wallets." They then pick up two not-very-desirable guys, go partying, and bring them back to their apartment for sex.
posted by JanetLand at 12:20 PM on May 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


girlmightlive - A lot of the supposed reasoning for Joan doing what she did is that she's concerned about her and her child's financial future. But when she actually referenced her salary - 1/4 of the $50k first offer, it turns out she's already making close to $100k a year in 2012 dollars, which seems like good enough money to raise a child on your own with.
posted by thecjm at 12:20 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why is she so worried about her future?

It's Manhattan and she's divorced and getting older and has nothing but secretarial / office management skill. Sure, she's smokin' hot and knows it, but her odds of getting remarried are slimmer than you might think and getting slimmer each day. And her original plan -- be hot, marry a doctor, become Betty Draper -- didn't pan out.

That's setting aside Roger's promise to take care of the kid, of course. But you can't put faith in Roger doing the right thing.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:21 PM on May 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Janetland, you forgot fending off an advance by her roommate by suggesting she just get the lesbian fucked out of her via drunk businessman.
posted by The Whelk at 12:21 PM on May 29, 2012


I felt that the Joan plot was implausible, over the top, and an unnecessary exaggeration of the theme of the social hardships for working women in the 1960s. Women were treated more as helpers, furniture and sex objects, sure, but does it mean that advertising agencies would have pimped out the secretary?

As for the rest of the episode, I have gotten tired of Peggy's tedious minor plotlines this season and if they write her out, I'm fine with it.
posted by knoyers at 12:22 PM on May 29, 2012


I'm not sure Mad Men numbers ever really completely add up - they tend to bounce a little between period appropriate and something closer to present day so, presumably, we'll know what they mean.
posted by Artw at 12:23 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


And her original plan -- be hot, marry a doctor, become Betty Draper -- didn't pan out.

A good rule for Joan's character I've noticed, and I have yet to see this go wrong, is that Joan Always Gets What She Wants But In The Worst Possible Form.
posted by The Whelk at 12:23 PM on May 29, 2012 [38 favorites]


I have gotten tired of Peggy's tedious minor plotlines this season and if they write her out, I'm fine with it.

TEAM PEGASUS DISAGREES
posted by Artw at 12:23 PM on May 29, 2012 [24 favorites]


thecjm, I understand that, but, I imagine Joan's thinking was, if she was going to do this she might as well milk it for all it's worth.
posted by girlmightlive at 12:23 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is it laughable? Peggy has talent and even she cant' get respect/money that is deserved based on pure talent. Sometimes using what you've got from top to bottom helps bring what you need. And from the little I saw, Joan needed money and so it won't be a one time guilt fling, she got 5% and full partnership. She worked it. For her it was a one time guilt thing that disgusted her but the future payoff is what mattered.

Happens every day in some form or another. Nothing laughable about it.
posted by stormpooper at 12:24 PM on May 29, 2012


Oh god, I just realized something, with no Stan around, Peggy is going to CONTINUE DATING ABE.
posted by The Whelk at 12:24 PM on May 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Joan isn't a secretary anymore (and hasn't been for a while). She's Director of Agency Operations.
posted by drezdn at 12:27 PM on May 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Oh god, I just realized something, with no Stan around, Peggy is going to CONTINUE DATING ABE."

Hell to the no.

I predict THIS move makes Peggy think 'the fuck? ABE?' and her NEXT move will be throwing his ass to the street.

_fingers crossed_
posted by Tevin at 12:28 PM on May 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


I actually found it harder to believe that they'd offer her a partnership.

Lane says to Joan that if the firm actually did give her $50,000, it would cripple them even if they managed to sign Jaguar. SCDP is so poor right now, a partnership was the only asset they had to give her. I agree, though, if the cash had been on hand, they never would have given her the partnership. (Of course, if they weren't in such a dire situation, pimping an employee might not have been given serious consideration.)
posted by gladly at 12:28 PM on May 29, 2012


According the dollartimes.com inflation calculator, a salary of $12.5/year in 1963 works out to roughly $93 000 today. At that salary, why is Joan living with her mother? Why is she so worried about her future? Is this just an error in dialogue or estimation of what someone in her position would have earned?

$93,000 in today's dollars is not a princely sum if you live in Manhattan. Of course Cost-of-Living calculators are back-of-the-envelope at best, but most of them show that my comfortable, UMC salary is equivalent to about $150k in Manhattan.
posted by muddgirl at 12:28 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Roger's reaction, though odious, is more complicated than people have been giving him credit for, because you'll notice that he initially objects but demurs after Pete tells him that Joan "was amenable [to the offer]." Alan Sepinwall attributed his backing down to a businessman's cynicism in believing that everyone has a price, but I think there's something else there, which is that one of Roger's defense mechanisms is always being prepared to be disappointed in somebody, especially here, where being disappointed in Joan allows him to dispatch of some of the guilt he feels about getting her pregnant.
posted by invitapriore at 12:28 PM on May 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


Peggy is going to CONTINUE DATING ABE.

Hey, it's better than Duck coming back into the picture.
posted by rewil at 12:28 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Presumably bullshit stock options that never come to anything hadn't been invented at the time.
posted by Artw at 12:29 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Now might be a good time for them to bring back Sal, the guy Don fired for refusing to do exactly what Joan did. Don is no hero just because he was trying to protect Joan's virtue. I wonder if Pete would have been willing to take one for the team if a potential male client had asked for a night with him.

I can buy that there might arise an occasion where Joan might make such a decision but we haven't seen her portrayed as being that desperate--yet. All we've seen is that her mother is a tiresome bitch who is probably going to be bad influence on her child, and that her husband Dr. Rapist filed for divorce before she could.

In her conversation with Pete, she was the one who opened herself up for it, saying that 'you couldn't afford it', thus indirectly saying that there was a price. And then the Pryce was right, by suggesting partnership.

I don't think she meant she was open to negotiation; I think she meant that there wasn't enough money in the world. Lane is the one who gave her the negotiation angle, and he did it behind Pete's back. Up until that point I believe it was a closed issue with Joan, only Pete disingenuously made it seem like she was in play.

If Mad Men has jumped the shark this season I think it's more because of the obsession with Megan, who adds nothing to the show and has pretty much dragged Don down. If anyone is going to step into the open elevator shaft, I'm hoping it's her.
posted by fuse theorem at 12:30 PM on May 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


$93,000 in today's dollars is not a princely sum if you live in Manhattan. Of course Cost-of-Living calculators are back-of-the-envelope at best, but most of them show that my comfortable, UMC salary is equivalent to about $150k in Manhattan.

Not a princely sum but surely enough to make prostitution an unnecessary option, no?
posted by modernnomad at 12:30 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Even back in Season 1 she was Office Manager, no?

Anyway, I mentioned it before but I like how we've spent enough time with the creative team that we can predict what form their ideas will take. Peggy's problem is that she over thinks things, her best ideas come when she's tired, bullshitting, stoned, etc. It will be interesting if she ends up in a company that encourages that, which was part of the pitch given to her "I don't like people who treat it like a math problem" etc.
posted by The Whelk at 12:30 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey, it's better than Duck coming back into the picture.

I like to think Peggy let a drunk Duck out the front of her apartment building and he had to go and fend for himself.
posted by drezdn at 12:30 PM on May 29, 2012 [13 favorites]


Themed plotlines are the gimmicks writers use well after a show has jumped. Does Weiner even watch the show once filmed, or does he live totally within his scripts? I ask because he does not seem to view his characters the same way as his audience does. This may explain why this season's episodes feel so manipulative.
posted by Ardiril at 12:31 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, it's better than Duck coming back into the picture.

Actually ...wait people have been trying to get Peggy to jump ship for seasons and seasons now, this is long overdue.
posted by The Whelk at 12:31 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Something I've always wanted to ask about the nuts and bolts of the high-end advertising industry...

Well I'm far from the high end, but I think I can answer your questions.

Yes, pitching is a big expense for ad agencies. Depending on how desirable the account is (how big, how prestigious, how many other agencies want it), this can be a major expense. Obviously, if they get the work, it becomes a worthwhile investment. On the other hand, if an agency loses a bunch of big pitches it can make for a very hard year financially, so it's important to keep an eye on how many person-hours are being used to win a piece of business. There have been a few points in the show where Lane complains about the expense of pitching some potential client.

To answer your specific questions,...SCDP could turn around and pitch the same work to another client. But obviously, it would need to be a client very similar to Jaguar, and there aren't all that many. They'd have a hard time reusing it for Cadillac, for example. In my experience, they might re-use bits and pieces of the pitch in other work.

And Jaguar could pay SCDP for the work so far and then give it to another agency. It happens (in my experience) sometimes, but not often. Why would you buy the work but not use the people who created it? Some clients might buy the pitch work and give it to their own in-house writers and designers, thinking they'd be saving money. (It rarely works out that way.) In the past few years, a handful of big clients have put out requests for proposals that made it clear that anything pitched to them would become their property to use as they wish. Agencies are pushing back HARD on this, for obvious reasons.

All that is in my limited experience. I'd be happy to be corrected by someone travelling in higher circles of the ad business.
posted by PlusDistance at 12:32 PM on May 29, 2012 [13 favorites]


Lane can't be trusted on the financial situation. He knew he couldn't ask to extend the credit line, because he already had done that for the money he stole (and that was given out as bonuses).

The financial position of the agency was precarious but not terminal, but jaguar will probably be a huge windfall.
posted by drezdn at 12:34 PM on May 29, 2012


Not a princely sum but surely enough to make prostitution an unnecessary option, no?

No. It's a common misconception that people have to hit rock bottom before considering sex work as a viable option.
posted by muddgirl at 12:35 PM on May 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think people are forgetting the threat of what would happen if Joan didn't do this. She wouldn't have had $50,000 or $12,500.
posted by girlmightlive at 12:35 PM on May 29, 2012 [14 favorites]


I'm with Tom and Lorenzo. It's not the "prostitution" that's hard to buy, it's the loss of face. In every single partner's meeting from now on, the men aren't going to see "Joan", they're going to see a whore who fucked that guy to get the Jaguar account. And she's going to see "those creeps who pimped me out."

The financial situation of the agency is far from settled with Jaguar. Sometimes the worst thing that can happen to you is to make a big sale; now you have to pay your bills. SCDP has a lot of very expensive work to pay for coming up, and they're going to ask for that credit extension again, and that's when Lane's going out the window (or down the elevator shaft).
posted by Fnarf at 12:38 PM on May 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


"I think people are forgetting the threat of what would happen if Joan didn't do this. She wouldn't have had $50,000 or $12,500."

THANK YOU!

Let's not forget: Joan knows how dire things are. What with Lane mucking up the books with his extra 50K, it could be possible that Joan knows that, no, Don there really WON'T be any other accounts. I sort of think that this is what drove her to do what she did more than anything else. There's no starting over somewhere else for Joan, I don't think. She has to play the hand she's been dealt.
posted by Tevin at 12:39 PM on May 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's a common misconception that people have to hit rock bottom before considering sex work as a viable option.

I hear this. But I think Joan -- Joan specifically -- would, in fact, have to be in more dire straits.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 12:39 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, I'm willing to bet good American money that Meghan will cheat on Don by the end of the season.

They've been hinting at it all through season 5, and her casting couch "turn around" moment sealed the deal for me. Its placement in this episode was an elaborate bit of misdirection; the writers knew that moment would be lost amid all the Joan fireworks, but it's going to be pivotal to the characters' development.

My hopes? Meghan's infidelity will cause Don to drop the whole Good Boy act and go back to being the suave, philandering, slightly-detestable character we knew and loved from the first few seasons.

The real question in my mind is Peggy. Is she really gone for good? Part of me doubts it. Either they'll string her along Betty-style and we'll see her come up in subplots, or she'll find some way back to SCDP just like Joan did after she left Sterling Cooper. If they lost Peggy entirely, who would they turn to for the heavy-handed feminist messaging? Would they just drop that angle altogether? I kinda doubt it, because I always saw the show as a delicate balance between the Forces of Peggy and the Forces of Don. If they really did get rid of Peggy, that would mean that the show really was all about Don all along, which I have kind of a hard time accepting.

Nonetheless, I don't understand how anyone could think of this episode as a shark jump. Well-written, well-acted, well-done on the whole. Just because the characters don't do what *you* want them to do doesn't make it a crap show.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:40 PM on May 29, 2012 [19 favorites]


That's modern fandom for you.
posted by Artw at 12:41 PM on May 29, 2012


I DVRed the episode and watched the first 5-10 minutes this morning. When I saw the quote about "how could anyone believe she would do that," I couldn't help but think "Did Peggy finally pick up a chair and break down the glass wall to the conference room to get to that lobster?" Kidding, but it would have been funny.

However, I did catch the dinner scene with Pete so I think I know what's coming when I watch the rest tonight.
posted by Currer Belfry at 12:41 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Every agency on Madison Avenue is defined by the moment they got their car."
posted by box at 12:42 PM on May 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wonder how Peggy leaving will effect Pete?
posted by drezdn at 12:43 PM on May 29, 2012


$93,000 in today's dollars is not a princely sum if you live in Manhattan.

And never ride the subway.

I disagree, I think she was painted into the corner, read her options, and made the best decision she could with the tools and information available to her. She's been headed this way a long time; following the path she was raised and is available to her at this time and place. She's headed to the point where she realises only she can look out for herself and she's got go her her hooks in (sweat (heh) equity partnership) and make it happen.

- Going back to being "just a secretary" at SC after Harry hired on some guy to start reading scripts.
- Not being able to get a job but shop girl (which was a bit more than a secretary's pay, but not much, and likely commission-dependent) after she left SC.
- Marrying Dr Rapist anyway.
- Getting knocked up by Roger Sterling who doesn't want to be more than a "family friend" and sometime cash machine.
- Promotion without a raise (Director of Operations)
- Divorcing Dr Rapist (a work in progress) by his initiation (gut punch of power at her power center, the office).
- Not getting younger/flowers anymore.
- Everything falling to pieces even with her mother's help/"help".
- Divorced single mother back in the 60s.
- Having suggested that it might be the only way she can help keep the company together.
- Being told/intimated to that it had been decided that it was in the interests of the company, what was her price.
- Being told/intimated that Lane cared for her and was looking out for his interests.

I see it as completely pragmatic on her part, even to the point of wearing Roger's mink to her encounter.

I'm starting to think that if someone's going to pull out that gun in Campbell's office and shoot someone this season, it will be Joan. I just can't decide who she will shoot: Roger, Pete, Lane, or all three? Maybe just Lane once she gets her hands on the books for a good scrutiny.

She didn't look, at the end of the episode, as if she'd lost face. I don't see her crumbling, just stronger and with a thicker layer of self-insulation at the office.
posted by tilde at 12:43 PM on May 29, 2012 [16 favorites]


Perhaps someone who knows more about Manhattan than I do will chime in, but I've always been under the impression that before the 80s it wasn't so unaffordable a place to live.
posted by Daddy-O at 12:43 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


So SCDP is Jaguar, glossy, fancy, but barely runs, eats money, needs constant fixing, and frequently compared to a prostitute.
posted by The Whelk at 12:43 PM on May 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


Oh and Joan doesn't live in Manhattan, she lives in Jersey City.
posted by The Whelk at 12:44 PM on May 29, 2012


And I do think that her mother still helping out is a bit of frugality after mom's comment about hiring a (colored? not sure what period descriptor used) nanny - sure, perhaps just Bitter, Party of Mom talking, but might be economizing on Joan's part. And the realisation she'd have to pay for that fridge (supposed to be the building's responsibility till her mom effed that up?), too, that the hits simply wouldn't stop coming.
posted by tilde at 12:46 PM on May 29, 2012


I like how Joan's interactions with her mom, while brief, tell you everything you need to know about how she grew up.
posted by The Whelk at 12:47 PM on May 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


- Being told/intimated that Lane cared for her and was looking out for her interests (as opposed to his).
posted by tilde at 12:48 PM on May 29, 2012


Joan knows that, no, Don there really WON'T be any other accounts.

In that case, a partnership and 5% is worthless. 5% of nuthin' is nuthin'. If she knew about Lane, she would have demanded cash. The whole point of sleeping with the creep is to preserve and expand the agency, which is her paycheck. If she knew about Lane, she'd know that even Jaguar wouldn't save them.
posted by Fnarf at 12:48 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fine, if I lived in Jersey City I'd make about what Joan made (and I don't have a kid, which I've heard are very expensive), and if I was offered either $360,000 or a pink slip to fuck someone...

...well, I'd sue their asses off. Thanks, woman's lib!
posted by muddgirl at 12:49 PM on May 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


Joan is going to uncover Lane's book cooking and embezzlement ( which I still don't completely follow?) and then kill him.
posted by The Whelk at 12:50 PM on May 29, 2012


before the 80s it wasn't so unaffordable a place to live

Quite so. CPIs are extremely imprecise for long-term cost of living estimations. Comparing today to 1966, Manhattan real estate is massively, inconceivably more expensive, but clothing and food are practically free. A big console TV cost as much as a car then.
posted by Fnarf at 12:51 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


At first I had a hard time believing that Joan would even consider doing it. But in the end, it didn't seem that implausible to me. (Horrifying yes, but not implausible.) Mostly because the episode made it clear how well Pete played his hand. I especially had a hard time with Roger accepting it, but I figured he's still worried about Joan paying for the kid and she's made it clear she doesn't want Roger in her life, so this is a way to help her (again, this only works because Pete leaked out half-truths and oozed shit generally).

What's truly tragic about the story is how easily all the men sold Joan out. Lane's advice to ask for a partnership was because a)he needed to get the business to cover up his embezzlement and b) he couldn't pay out a huge wad of cash, for the same reason. Even Don, "one of the good ones" seemed to be more concerned that it would cast a shadow over the perceived quality of his creative.

The question nobody at SCDP asked is what happens in a year or so when Mr. "Let's see 'em" gets bored and wants to "see 'em" again? Will they walk away from the business? Give Joan another 5%? What if he wants Trudy or Megan or Don or someone else SCDP should love and respect? How could they ever say no at that point?
posted by PlusDistance at 12:52 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


"In that case, a partnership and 5% is worthless. 5% of nuthin' is nuthin'. "

Whathat I mean is that Joan knows that Jaguar IS their last chance because it will keep them afloat and maybe even provide them with some solid footing for a while. But she knows that if she says "no" and SCDP doesn't get Jaguar then there really will be nothing.
posted by Tevin at 12:52 PM on May 29, 2012


When a show like Mad Men becomes a hit and a great critical success as well, a character like Joan takes on a life of her own; many people identify with her and admire her, and that makes her intractable in the hands of the writers.

I think writers come to resent such characters, and have a tendency to punish them and lash out at their fans by arranging for something bad and degrading to happen to them which will put them in their place and make it harder for fans to identify with them-- and then the writers justify it by invoking creative freedom and intoning maxims like 'no part is bigger than the show.'

In the case of Joan, the formal structure is almost like a rape, where the men gang up on her and choose one of their number to have sex with her. I guess we'll see whether they complete the trope over time by making her have sex with each of them in turn according to their place in the hierarchy.
posted by jamjam at 12:53 PM on May 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


Or Lane will "kill himself", and the insurance policy Pete mentions will cover SCDC's financial loss.
posted by drezdn at 12:53 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


As far as prostituting employees... Isn't that part of the reason Sal was fired (WE MISS YOU SAL!).
posted by drezdn at 12:54 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just want somebody to kill Pete. Please, God, somebody kill Pete.
posted by something something at 12:54 PM on May 29, 2012 [17 favorites]


"What if he wants Trudy or Megan or Don or someone else SCDP should love and respect? How could they ever say no at that point?"

Well, we'd get to see what would have happened if Lee Garner, JR had come on to Don instead of Sal.


"Or Lane will "kill himself", and the insurance policy Pete mentions will cover SCDC's financial loss."

Damn. That seems most likely. I've had Pete on suicide watch, but Lane makes more sense.
posted by Tevin at 12:56 PM on May 29, 2012


It's coming up on 48 hours since it aired, and I still don't know what I feel/think. I believe that "what X character did was right/wrong/out of character" are facile answers that come from gut reactions to shocking/extreme actions and situations, and an honest response will require more than a day or two (or three) to sort out. I've been working on parsing my multiple and conflicting reactions to this episode harder than I've worked on some of the papers I wrote in grad school.

(Not that that's saying much. But STILL!)
posted by tzikeh at 1:00 PM on May 29, 2012


Lane's book cooking and embezzlement ( which I still don't completely follow?)

Lane needed $7500 (£1500, at the then-fixed rate of $5 per £) in a hurry to pay his tax obligation in the UK. To get it, he went to their banker and asked for a $50,000 increase in their line of credit. His plan was to then dispense partner bonuses that would cover his debt. To do so, he lied and said he had "found a surplus". When that got shot down, he sank even further and forged a company check to himself for the amount, signed by two principals, Don (a forgery) and himself, as would be normal for a company check of that amount.

He's now got three problems out there hanging: a non-existent $50,000 surplus, which Joan could probably see if she looked; a mysterious $50,000 increase in their line of credit which no one asked for; and worst of all that piece of paper with Don's signature forged on it. That's going to come back, and Lane's going to have to be suspiciously sharp about getting to the incoming mail first -- that's the sort of thing a secretary, or maybe Joan, would normally get to first. A secretary might not think anything of it, but Joan would blow up on it immediately if she saw it.

About the only hope for Lane's continued survival is for a REAL request for a line of credit increase to come through, and then him making an effort to see that they only use $42,500 of it before he can put the money back. Money that's going to come from...where? There's not going to be any bonuses, I don't think, and we already know that his pay rate isn't enough.

Lane is fucked, in other words.
posted by Fnarf at 1:00 PM on May 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yeah, Pete is probably off the deathwatch, that fucker.
posted by Artw at 1:08 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think a lot of people are giving these characters (both sides) way too much credit.

Joan, remember, is the one who was happy to marry the man who raped her, because he was a doctor and would carry her up the social/financial ladder.

And the partners have never had true respect for her. They treat her like a pet, not a valued team member. The partnership is like a joke to them, even a step below Pete, who none of them treat like a "real" partner. They all have individual reasons to disrespect her, too. Lane because he's embezzling and because she already does most of his job. Roger because she's spurned his advances and "sincere" offers of money for the baby. Bert is checked out. Pete is just evil. None of them can see a woman as being anywhere close to on the same plane as them (hence why Peggy has to leave).

I feel like anyone who thinks these actions are out of character has been romanticizing this show to an extreme degree. Almost every person on this show is a horrible, horrible person.

My main concern after watching this episode was, "Will Peggy take Ken with her?" followed by, "And can I watch THAT show instead?"
posted by rikschell at 1:09 PM on May 29, 2012 [11 favorites]


Maybe some characters from another series can storm the meta fictional bridge and kill Pete for us.
posted by The Whelk at 1:10 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Personally, I'm wondering how long it will take one of the characters to mirror the iconic opening credits and throw themselves from the 22nd floor of SCDP's office's: that big wall of glass on the east side has been a nexus of violence all this season. Don's not the type - he'd run, fake his death and reinvent himself later. My bet is on Lane or Roger. Maybe one of them will take Pete with them.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 1:12 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Or Lane will "kill himself", and the insurance policy Pete mentions will cover SCDC's financial loss."

Lane also got a pretty serious Death Foreshadow in this ep, with a lingering camera shot of him staring deeply into the painting in Roger's office that's been described as "the void," and that Roger's joked about falling into.
posted by COBRA! at 1:12 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Maybe some characters from another series can storm the meta fictional bridge and kill Pete for us.

Well, Allan Quatermain, Mina Harker, and Orlando have a few years to kill before they're needed in London for that big affair with the Purple Orchestra.
posted by COBRA! at 1:13 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I feel like anyone who thinks these actions are out of character has been romanticizing this show to an extreme degree.

I'm reading that. People seem to think Joan is much more confident and self-sufficient than she actually is.
posted by girlmightlive at 1:13 PM on May 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


"Or Lane will "kill himself", and the insurance policy Pete mentions will cover SCDC's financial loss."

I thought insurance policies didn't pay out for suicides. Is that not the case in corporate insurance?
posted by tzikeh at 1:14 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do think that once Joan believed that all of the partners had agreed to selling her out, she had nothing but incentive to do it. That's why she said she didn't even want the partners to know that she'd been asked. Once people think of you as prostitute, you might as well be one. That's just how it works.

Don was the only one who refused to consider it, but sadly, Joan didn't realize this until it was too late. It was obvious that she found his affection and respect for her very moving, though.

And yes, Pete played this situation perfectly. Layne was dead-on earlier that season. "Grimy little pimp," indeed!

And even though Ginsburg came through with the perfect pitch, SCDP will never know if that's really what sealed the deal. I imagine this is going to haunt Don for some time to come, and poison all of his work for Jaguar.

So, I didn't hate the episode, but it doesn't hold a candle to "The Suitcase," even though I loved Peggy's plot and her farewell scene with Don.
posted by duvatney at 1:14 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Which accounts would they lose without Ken? Heinz. The cologne...?
posted by drezdn at 1:14 PM on May 29, 2012


strangely, my wife and I had a much more in-depth discussion on whether you could literally cut a man in half with a broadsword... But that might have been after the Game Of Thrones episode.
posted by sharkitect at 1:15 PM on May 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


I thought insurance policies didn't pay out for suicides. Is that not the case in corporate insurance?

a few episodes ago, Pete specifically mentioned that they did pay out for suicide. Hence the death-watch (although Pete's far too obvious and it will be Lane for sure)
posted by gaspode at 1:16 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Maybe some characters from another series can storm the meta fictional bridge and kill Pete for us."

I can see the promo:

Omar Little.

Chris Moltisanti.

Sayid Jarrah.

Those Creepy as Fuck Twins from Breaking Bad.

Your favorite killers have come together to take down America's favorite little shit.


That'll be one hell of a season finale.
posted by Tevin at 1:16 PM on May 29, 2012 [17 favorites]


I thought insurance policies didn't pay out for suicides.

Pete specifically said that his company policy did, but (if he wasn't lying) later found out it would pay out to the company.
posted by drezdn at 1:16 PM on May 29, 2012


If you're going to get Omar, you should get Brother Mouzone too.
posted by drezdn at 1:16 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


If Omar Little walked into SCDP, the universe would explode.
posted by tzikeh at 1:19 PM on May 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


Pete specifically said that his company policy did, but (if he wasn't lying) later found out it would pay out to the company.

My money's on lying -- he wanted to see "Dark Betty" again, even with her husband there.

But the suicide clause wasn't mentioned for only that reason, I expect.
posted by tilde at 1:19 PM on May 29, 2012


If this season is partially about the decay taking place in New York City at the time, Joan's situation reflects that as well.
posted by drezdn at 1:19 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


And the other creepy-as-fuck 'Twins'.
posted by muddgirl at 1:19 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fnarf, Lane already has the real line of credit request (to hire all the folks they'll need to service Jaguar).
posted by rikschell at 1:20 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


THE ELEVATOR GOES TO BOTH THE ABYSS AND HEAVEN.

(Within the last few episodes, Don got the abyss. Peggy got heaven. Also maybe it was purgatory when Don was stuck in there with Ginsburg.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:22 PM on May 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


Ginsberg isn't locked up, they're all locked in with him.
posted by The Whelk at 1:24 PM on May 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


- Not being able to get a job but shop girl (which was a bit more than a secretary's pay, but not much, and likely commission-dependent) after she left SC.

I just realized, no one knew she was working as a shop girl post-SC except Pete.
posted by tilde at 1:25 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


"...so be kind to your mother,
though she may seem an awful bother,
and the next time she tries to feed you collard greens,
remember what she does when you're asleep."
posted by oneironaut at 1:26 PM on May 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Your favorite killers have come together to take down America's favorite little shit.

That'll be one hell of a season finale.


Maybe we could get Arya Stark to give up her third wish and bring Jaqen H'ghar in on the task.
posted by fuse theorem at 1:29 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Joan is going to uncover Lane's book cooking and embezzlement... and then kill him.

You know, before the scene where Lane kissed Joan (and Joan calmly and deliberately showed that she didn't take offense at what he'd done, but that it *would not be happening again*), I had a little bit of hope that Lane would divorce his wife and eventually he and Joan would pair up. They're very well-suited to one another, and would have been good for one another, but then he went and fucked it up (in several ways). Total bummer.
posted by tzikeh at 1:33 PM on May 29, 2012


I'm thinking Joffrey Baratheon and Pete Campbell deathmatch: Two jackholes enter; only one leaves. Joffrey's more sadistic, but Pete could whine him to death.
posted by Dr. Zira at 1:34 PM on May 29, 2012 [13 favorites]


I don't watch this show but I can speak to the salary numbers. In the sixties a typical executive salary would be around 30 thousand. A fourth of 50 thou was about what my dad made when I was a kid. We bought our first house in the early seventies at 13 thousand. Before that we lived in a trailer. So that salary was not all that.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:34 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Though people keep bringing up Sal, I don't think that's the right comparison for the equivalent scenario for the guys. I don't think any one of them except maybe Bertram wouldn't agree to please an otherwise unappealing woman in bed to keep their partnership or save their business. I think the handwringing over Joan is actually almost a tribute to the patriarchy of the times, where Joan's worth is based largely on her virtue. I mean, I get that women shouldn't have to have sex to keep their jobs, but to me it just seems like she's just sort of acting more like a man, here, and putting money and her kid first over her own personal preferences. And in return she gets the key to the men's club: partnership.
posted by onlyconnect at 1:35 PM on May 29, 2012 [11 favorites]


I don't know, Joan's actions didn't seem that extreme to me -- this is the same character who, in season one, says to her roommate, "Let's find some bachelors and empty their wallets." They then pick up two not-very-desirable guys, go partying, and bring them back to their apartment for sex.

Another suggestive moment in that episode was that Joan and Carol are talking about money and Carol indicates that she's having a hard time getting by, and then says to Joan, "You always seem to manage." Joan looks at her and says nothing. Which made me wonder if Joan had.... other sources of income than her salary. I wondered this all the more when she and Carol brought home those two sad, schlubby pick-ups. What on earth would Joan be getting out of getting it on with men like that, if not money? If she just wanted to get laid, I am sure she could easily find more attractive men. And surely she isn't so desperate for validation that any man will do.

On the other hand, Joan has been refusing to take money from the very wealthy Roger for the support of his child. If there's a legitimate time to take money from a lover, that would be it.

I've been looking for clues to explain these things since they occurred.

Not being able to get a job but shop girl (which was a bit more than a secretary's pay, but not much, and likely commission-dependent) after she left SC.

To be strictly accurate, Joan was not a "shop girl". She seemed to be the manager of the dress department.
posted by orange swan at 1:37 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Whelk: "Ginsberg isn't locked up, they're all locked in with him."

The whole Ginsberg-Draper dynamic is my favorite thing about this season. That line about "she comes and goes as she pleases" was sublime.
posted by Dr. Zira at 1:37 PM on May 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Grant land is reading all kinds of daddy worship possible crush on Ginsberg's part into that dynamic but I don't see it.
posted by The Whelk at 1:39 PM on May 29, 2012


drezdn: "Which accounts would they lose without Ken? Heinz. The cologne...?"

Didn't Ken bring in John Deere? But John Deere hasn't been mentioned this season, so maybe John Deere didn't follow him to SCDP?
posted by Dr. Zira at 1:41 PM on May 29, 2012


I'm thinking Joffrey Baratheon and Pete Campbell deathmatch

"I call this Heart-eater."
"Heart-eater? You know, I signed this account after that little fiasco with Stannis. You disappeared, but I've grown it from cocktails to $4 million."
"I could have you killed for this."
"You know what? I have good ideas. In fact, I used to carry around a notebook and a pen, just to keep track. Kill Ned Stark? I thought of that. It turned out he was already dead, but I arrived at it independently."
"I'll see your head on a pike!"
"It'll beat going home to Cos Cob every night. If I’m going to die, I want to die in Manhattan."
"You grace, Ser Campbell could be useful with the Tyrells."
"Indeed. See to it."
"Why does it have to be like this? Why can’t I get anything good all at once?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:42 PM on May 29, 2012 [22 favorites]


OK, here's what I'd like to see happen.

Peggy leaves for new agency. Peggy's new agency becomes a hot creative shop, largely because of Peggy's influence.

Meanwhile, back at SCDP, Things start to slide because of Layne's shenanigans. Jaguar doesn't save them, the hole gets deeper. SCDP looks around for a white knight to save the company. It arrives in the form of Peggy's new agency, which absorbs SCDP, being careful to pay due attention to non-compete agreements this time. Peggy is back, and this time she's a clear, direct rival to Don.

CPB:
The guys from SCDP go into the pitch meeting having already done lots of work for Jaguar. There are visuals, there's a tagline, etc. They're expending these resources as a risk against not being given the business. They get paid by billing the client a percentage of the actual media purchased to run those ads, plus (I presume) some kind of a base retainer for the firm's day-to-day expenses.

What happens if they don't get the business?


Depends. As far as the agency is concerned, the pitch is pretty cheap given the potential gain. My experience is that pitches are put together by salaried employees (non-overtime) working late into the night, so there's not really much cost other than materials. I don't know if it was common then, but now there is a pitch budget with some clients. You're right about the income source for the agency, as well as adding a percentage to outside purchased creative (Photography, Illustration, Audio and Video)

* Can SCDP turn around and use this exact same pitch for another, similar brand of luxury car?

Yes, but it's hard to do in practice, because each client has their own branding message you would have to support.

* Can Jaguar use this pitch, but give it to another agency to execute?

If they pay for it, perhaps. Depends on the contract. The big issue would be why? It won't necessarily be cheaper or more efficent.

What contractual language is protecting SCDP here from watching its work walk away?

I have a copyright notice on all presentations that this is my work ©2012 and a clause in my contract that transfers ownership of rights on payment. Doesn't mean someone won't try it, but it scares away the amateur scammers and gives me room to stand on.
posted by Mcable at 1:43 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


While the bit about her refrigerator being on the fritz just as she was entertaining this offer was perhaps a bit too on the nose, I didn't find anything about Joan's decision that felt incompatible with what we've come to know about the character. From the very first episode (if memory serves) it was revealed that she was fucking her (married) boss.

The NPR article tries to brush this off by saying, "But she does that out of genuine affection that runs both ways between the two of them", which may be true to some extent. But I don't think it's that controversial to suggest that when an administrative-type is sleeping with the head cheese that there might be some level of job-security/self-preservation as a motivator as well (and that viewpoint is no less explicitly stated in the storyline than the "they only slept together out of affection, nothing more" view).

Obviously there is a drastic difference between consensually sleeping with a superior and straight out prostituting yourself to help the firm land a deal/gain an ownership stake in the company, but the idea that this is totally out of character for Joan doesn't ring true either.

If anything felt a little unrealistic about this episode, it was Don's white-knighting for Joan. I understand that he has unique reasons for feeling iffy about prostitution, but he's never exactly been the moral center of SCDP either.
posted by The Gooch at 1:44 PM on May 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


To be strictly accurate, Joan was not a "shop girl". She seemed to be the manager of the dress department.

Good point, but even then, either before or after (maybe even the same episode) she and Roger talked, and she asked him to ask around for office manager work for her. Shortly after that was the "Raid the files and run!" episode. To me that sounded like not enough money, still, at the new manager job when she married and moved in with Dr Rapist.

Sounds like Joanie has never lived alone; Roger back in the day had also offered to set her up with an apartment of her own. I know her roommate followed her from college but I never got the impression she lived alone until her hubby shipped off with the army.
posted by tilde at 1:51 PM on May 29, 2012


I think one thing that hasn't been addressed in all the "harrumph-I-love-Joan-the-Goddess-who-is-above-whoring" bullshit I've seen thus far on the internets (not to be confused with the similar but not identical "harrump-if-I-can't-buy-Joan-why-can-he types) is the consideration that Joan has slept with many men in her life, but never has the promise of power come with the act.

To be an owner and have a say in the office, instead of just being the office bitch who no one appreciates? Is something she never even imagined she would have access to. Her best bet was signing up for a lifetime of fucking some gross dude for money. Or, she could do it the one time and become a decision maker. And have a significant wealth to pass on to her son. There are many women who debase themselves much more in the name of regular day-in-day-out hetero life, without the grand opportunity of rocketing through the glass ceiling into the stratosphere of being a part-owner of a Madison avenue ad agency.

Much like how having an accidental pregnancy doesn't have to mean this enormous tragedy to women (unlike how it's portrayed in almost all media forms, including Mad Men itself), having transactional sex isn't like doing heroin - for many women, sex with men is always, or mostly, transactional, even if the terms aren't laid out so straightforwardly.
posted by SassHat at 1:52 PM on May 29, 2012 [31 favorites]


I cannot imagine SCDP lasting beyond this season. It is all collapsing, and since this show absolutely adores ring structures, my official bet is that by the last episode Don will be Peggy's employee. But before that, one season finale level action is required: Don bails from his own ship.

The clues are out there already. Peggy explained that this is what he would do. There is no disclaimer (e.g. "if you were in my position"). Don has no argument for why she should stay, only for why she should stay with him. Then there are the villainous-duo Pryce the antagonistic and Pete the shark, and we know how Don reacts to betrayal. Then there is prostitution, and we know how Don feels about his mother. Then there is his relation to his own company. Here the parallels between his management and parenting styles are all too obvious. Avoid problems, leave the room during arguments, always be the good guy, never assume the mantle of authority, avoid, avoid, avoid. Finally, there is his thoroughly established character motif of his, his solution to everything: run. So, I think we can expect an episode in which we hear again his motto and universal justification, "People do it all the time."

Then we see a nice circular structure this season end. While SCDP was an escape from big business firms, we now see him escape to one. And by the show's end, we'll see Don being interviewed by Peggy. This is the problem with ring structured plots.
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:55 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Could it affect Joan financially if it's found out that her husband is not the father of her child?
posted by girlmightlive at 1:57 PM on May 29, 2012


The Whelk: "Grant land is reading all kinds of daddy worship possible crush on Ginsberg's part into that dynamic but I don't see it."

It's there, I think. Maybe not the crush thing, more the daddy thing. I've always seen Ginsberg as Peggy v. 1.0 in that regard. Ginsberg is totally driven by the desire to please Don, but the difference here is that he's already realized that he can surpass Don. It took Peggy so long to come to that realization because Don had already thrown so much trust her way and shared secrets with her - largely because she's female and Don doesn't trust other dudes. Ginsberg is in a different situation here; because of Megan, Don isn't going to be sharing secrets with Ginsberg, so Ginsberg will never have the same level of intimacy that Peggy and Don had - Ginsberg's never going to be holding Don's hand while he barfs into the toilet, and Don's never going to be at Ginsberg's side consoling him after he gives birth. Ginsberg may not realize it yet, but that's why he's jealous of Megan - she has total and complete access to Don and his approval, kind of like Peggy used to have - whereas Ginsberg has to wait behind the velvet rope for Don's approval because he's a dude.
posted by Dr. Zira at 1:58 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dr. Zira: According to this, Ken has Fillmore Auto Parts, Bird's Eye, Mountain Dew, and Topaz Pantyhose. So, a fairly substantial portfolio, though whether that's enough is another question.
posted by Cash4Lead at 1:59 PM on May 29, 2012


Don's never going to be at Ginsberg's side consoling him after he gives birth

Well except for some very strange fanfics yes.
posted by The Whelk at 2:00 PM on May 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


I feel like anyone who thinks these actions are out of character has been romanticizing this show to an extreme degree. Almost every person on this show is a horrible, horrible person.

That seems to be a theme with AMC's programming in particular these days. Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead are similarly full of characters large segments of the audience seem to identify with and root for while glossing over a lot of awful behavior.
posted by Pryde at 2:00 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Could it affect Joan financially if it's found out that her husband is not the father of her child?

Yes. For one thing, Doctor Rape wouldn't be on the hook for child support. Moreover, if he could prove infidelity, it could affect an alimony claim.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:01 PM on May 29, 2012


I feel like anyone who thinks these actions are out of character has been romanticizing this show to an extreme degree. Almost every person on this show is a horrible, horrible person.

That seems to be a theme with AMC's programming in particular these days.


In my household we refer to both Mad Men and The Walking Dead as "Terrible Things Happening to Terrible People."
posted by rhiannonstone at 2:05 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was actually surprised Joan went through with it. There's no promise it would have worked. And let's say they win the business. SCDP's fortunes depend on Jaguar being happy and remaining happy. Jaguar Herb is still out there. How long before Pete Campbell starts getting more inquiries about Joan from Jaguar Herb? Or his buddies? Or other clients?

Congrats, you got 5 percent. But guess what? You'll be a whore tomorrow, too. In fact, you're the firm's designated, go-to whore.

I thought Joan might see this coming.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:08 PM on May 29, 2012


In my household we refer to both Mad Men and The Walking Dead as "Terrible Things Happening to Terrible People."

We re-title every episode of Breaking Bad as "This Won't End Well."
posted by tzikeh at 2:09 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man, all these decades waiting for a cool TV character with the same name as me, and now it appears this Lane/Layne's characterization is disconcertingly spot-on.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:17 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell: "SCDP's fortunes depend on Jaguar being happy and remaining happy. Jaguar Herb is still out there."

Yes, but remember, Jaguar Herb is with the dealers' association, not Jaguar itself; his power was limited to veto power in hiring a new firm, not affirmative approval power in ongoing marketing at the corporate level. Now that they've landed the account, I would think Jaguar Herb's power will be very limited, if any.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:18 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


"that makes her intractable in the hands of the writers"

Every character remains tractable in the hands of the writers because the writers are so removed from the process of production. The bulk of these scripts are generally written before a season even begins filming, and only the final few episodes have any real chance for a rewrite based on audience reaction, and even that is severely limited. (Thus my earlier query whether Weiner had any opportunity to watch any actual episodes.)

A writer has no contract with the audience whatsoever, only with the producers and maybe the director. For an actor to say, "My character would not do that," is simply absurd--let alone the audience questioning motivations. By that point, the script has been bought and paid off. The character *will* do that. Period.
posted by Ardiril at 2:20 PM on May 29, 2012


I think one of the things that absolutely threw me about this episode is that I couldn't get beyond wondering whether Joan's plot was just a cheap move on Weiner's part; it didn't help that the whole episode felt ham-fisted and the parallels too pat (Don throwing money right in Peggy's face & Megan's friend crawling on the writer's table, for instance). Basically what I'm saying is that I'm willing to read a deeper level of practical leverage in a sexist time - a clear-eyed choice; but I am too wary to assume a show's intention is to present (or even that it could convey) a nuanced view, because it's all too easy to see this as a eyerolling, predictable, titillating cliché (Joan is a classic bombshell, advertising is whoring, oh-well-those-were-the-times) and feel disappointed to have it go there. My initial reaction was very much really? was that necessary?
posted by flex at 2:20 PM on May 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ted Chaough found out that Duck could get Peggy to jump ship. She didn't jump ship for him, but he knew if he recommended CG&C, she'd take it seriously. He knew what she wanted. I wonder what Duck got for doing this. And BTW, what did Peggy ever see in Duck anyway?
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:20 PM on May 29, 2012


I wonder what Duck got for doing this.

Duck wasn't in this episode and had nothing to do with Peggy going over to CG&C.
posted by tzikeh at 2:22 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The clues are out there already. Peggy explained that this is what he would do. There is no disclaimer (e.g. "if you were in my position"). Don has no argument for why she should stay, only for why she should stay with him. Then there are the villainous-duo Pryce the antagonistic and Pete the shark, and we know how Don reacts to betrayal. Then there is prostitution, and we know how Don feels about his mother. Then there is his relation to his own company. Here the parallels between his management and parenting styles are all too obvious. Avoid problems, leave the room during arguments, always be the good guy, never assume the mantle of authority, avoid, avoid, avoid. Finally, there is his thoroughly established character motif of his, his solution to everything: run. So, I think we can expect an episode in which we hear again his motto and universal justification, "People do it all the time."
But for what. He's already stated that if he leaves SC, it would be for something else. That something else was starting SCDP.

He left Pennsylvania for the Army.

He left the Army as Don Draper, and selling cars, for selling furs.

He left his wife, Anna Draper, who was a friend, for Betty, who was a dream.

He left the fur company for advertising.

He left his women for different kinds of women. He's never gone back to the same type that we've seen.

He left/was left by Betty to move back to the city and marry his young secretary. (Earlier, he tried to run away to Paris with a girlfriend, and to LA with Rachel Menken.)

He left SC to start SCDP, after thinking the new owners might move him to London rather than sell the firm off to a larger company.

He turned down offers at other agencies who wanted a contract and who were simply "more of the same" (Which is where the first bit of "something different" came from).

What's the something different he'd leave SCDP for?

He's always reinventing himself while not forgetting (though burying (eek!)) the past.




There was another comment about Ginsberg being gay. I think he just is too busy trying to figure out this alien culture to venture into the realm of relationships and sex, no matter who's asking. He has assimilated into being a fish out of water and doesn't seem to want or be able to get past that. It might be a safety for him, just staying the hell out of all of it.

Dr Rapist being found not to be the father of Roger Sterling: all I have are guesses. It's a card they can play, but I don't think they will. Everything I've found shows that blood typing wasn't used in establishing paternity for legal reasons until the early 1970s, but he is a doctor. They keep talking about him getting blown up in Vietnam, too, but he might just come back crazy/er.

(Aside: I found this that shows how Peggy could have given the baby up for adoption without involving the grimy pimp.)
posted by tilde at 2:23 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Gooch: "I understand that he has unique reasons for feeling iffy about prostitution, but he's never exactly been the moral center of SCDP either."

Given that he was born in a whorehouse, I think that regardless of the location of his moral center is, it makes sense that he would draw a firm line at the buying and selling of other humans. Someone jump in and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think he's ever purchased a prostitute throughout the series. That's why when he visited Joy for the last time after she's fallen down the heroin spiral and wrote her that check, it was so jarring.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:24 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


flex: "My initial reaction was very much really? was that necessary?"

I think it was essential to the story to contrast Joan's rise in the firm with Peggy's; part of the power of that last scene of Peggy leaving the office headed toward the elevator, having just learned that Joan was made a partner - is that we know that Joan had to whore herself out to get there, whereas Peggy didn't do that, and chose to better her situation on her own terms. We're screaming "IT'S OKAY PEGGY, YOU STILL WIN!"
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:30 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think he's ever purchased a prostitute throughout the series.

I seem to recall that he hired a prostitute to hit him during sex? Or was that not a prostitute.
posted by tzikeh at 2:31 PM on May 29, 2012


Someone jump in and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think he's ever purchased a prostitute throughout the series.

Several times in Season 4 (the one who would slap him at his request), he and Lane got a couple of hookers (Don's may have been the same woman, don't recall offhand) when they had their boys night on the town around New Years last season.

I thought about the "prostitution is the one thing that is over the line in Don's universe" angle until I remembered his previous procurement of prostitutes for personal use.
posted by The Gooch at 2:32 PM on May 29, 2012


Yep, she was a prostitute, not a domme.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:34 PM on May 29, 2012


To suggest that Joan would whore herself out for any reason whatsoever is laughable.

Joan has always been presented as something of an odd duck. She reacts to things in a way that on the surface--or at least at first-- seems unlikely or even perverse. Her decision to continue with her wedding plans after her fiancé raped her, for example, or her about-face on the abortion. In a way, I think Joan as a character is devised in the same way Don is; i.e., we are presented with contradiction after contradiction, and it is up to us to try to reconcile these apparently disparate traits. We see something of this "series of contradictions" pattern in the presentation of other characters on the show, e.g., Peggy and Roger, but I think Don and Joan are notable for the extremely wide range of possible behaviors.

Now, it's not immediately clear what Weiner is about here. It may be argued that he is simply writing melodrama, throwing lurid events in the path of his most popular characters, but I think it's something more complicated than that. It's possible, I think, that what he is doing in the case of Don and Joan (and the others to their varying lesser extents) is positing an idea that human beings are so complicated that they are essentially unknowable. In other words, if Joan does something that seems "out of character" for Joan, what that really means is that you really don't know Joan at all; you only have a sort of rough approximation of her based on what you've been privileged to see, and you've filled in the rest from your own imagination and (perhaps) prejudices. So when Joan decides to take up Lane's "offer," the point is not "this isn't something Joan would do" but rather "this is something Joan has done; now understand that you will never know Joan."

I think this idea of keeping the audience off base about the character is the basis of the dual-emphasis playing of the scene between Don and Joan: we are led to believe that Joan is thinking A because Weiner has deliberately withheld n important piece of information from us. Once that detail is revealed, then the meaning of the scene is changed completely -- even though the scene itself is identical to what we've seen before.

There are thematic reasons for this action, too, I think: Joan and Peggy are acting out two possible means for a woman to gain traction in a man's world. Joan does so in the "traditional" feminine way, i.e., wielding sexuality as power; Peggy's approach represents a new and different approach, which is to do a man's job better than any man. The episode ends symmetrically, with Joan allying herself with the old regime and Peggy breaking out.
posted by La Cieca at 2:57 PM on May 29, 2012 [18 favorites]


What's the something different he'd leave SCDP for?
There is always California. Which will probably be seen again in Season Six, as it prominent in Season Four. And since Season Five is the Echo to Season Three (Opens with Don's Birthday Uncelebrated/Opens with Don's Birthday Celebrated, Troubles of SC/Troubles of SCDP, Trip to Rome/Plattsburgh, Betty flight to Reno/Megan flight to Boston, Escape from SC/Escape from SCDP), so it is not unlikely to expect more California.

By the way, as there are only going to be seven seasons, the middle of the entire show was Season 4. The center episode, I suspect, was Episode 46: The Suitcase.

Depending on how they will draw the parallels, we'll see either the first or last episode of Season Seven enjoying the centerpiece of April 1st, 1970, when the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act was passed.
posted by TwelveTwo at 3:08 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


At that salary, why is Joan living with her mother? Why is she so worried about her future?

That salary is based on the cost of living in 1967 vs. 2012. A single mother living in a safe, convenient neighborhood in Manhattan and paying for child care in 2012 will find that $93K is hardly lavish. Meanwhile, she's thinking ahead to moving to a larger apartment with another bedroom, maybe a private school, saving for the kid's college and putting some money aside for her own retirement, plus and she's figuring all this from a mindset in which it's an societal anomaly for a woman to have a career.

No, that $12.5K, even though it's a lot of money, could very easily seem like not enough money.
posted by La Cieca at 3:08 PM on May 29, 2012


Joan didn't do it for Mr. Sterling, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Draper or Mr. Pryce. She did it for Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce. She loves the company more than she loves her husband or (probably) her kid. That's why it was believable to me. Heartbreaking, but believable.
posted by ColdChef at 3:20 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


a safe, convenient neighborhood in Manhattan

All right, Jersey City, rather. But the point is that even living in Jersey City, money is rather tight for Joan for whatever reason.
posted by La Cieca at 3:20 PM on May 29, 2012


Duck wasn't in this episode and had nothing to do with Peggy going over to CG&C.

Oh sorry, I guess that was Freddy Rumsen in the scene. It's getting hard to keep track of all the ex players. Yeah what was that about with Freddy?
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:24 PM on May 29, 2012


"The hot lobsters and creamed spinach fogged up the window as Meggy Plissken stood outside, tracing her tongue in the air, knowing she'd never be allowed into the star officers' barometric dining isochamber."

posted by The Whelk at 3:25 PM on May 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


The Aperture Science Barometric Dining Isochamber. . .
posted by TwelveTwo at 3:26 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Was she the only one that was nice to him after he peed himself?

She still took his office...
posted by Artw at 3:31 PM on May 29, 2012


One of the comments on the NPR article was pretty insightful, I thought:
"But then I realized that the plotlines of Joan, Peggy, and Megan had nothing to do with those particular women. They were merely props and/or foils so we could see Don's reaction. This was not an episode about empowerment/exploitation of these women. The writers are working on Don's evolution and needed the women to move that forward. Their stories all culminated in Don's reaction. It was not enough to allow the women to explore and evolve; everything had to go through the Don Draper filter. I found the use of the women in this episode highly lazy and unsatisfying."
What really resonated with me from the first piece was the detailed analysis of the (un-)believability of so many different cards in the house that is holding up the episode's plots: there's too many holes, too many stretches of character and motivation, too much "work-with-me-here" the show is asking you to accept in order to - to what? The simplest explanation to me is that the show clumsily manipulated these well-established characters to the service of Don's story and/or to Hammer Home A Big Message. Yet, clearly, interpretations of this episode - and feelings about it, reactions to it - are really all over the map; which I found interesting, and thought MeFi would as well.
posted by flex at 3:32 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


In my household we refer to both Mad Men and The Walking Dead as "Terrible Things Happening to Terrible People."
posted by rhiannonstone at 4:05 PM on May 29 [+] [!]

Change "The Walking Dead" to "Breaking Bad" and we call them both "Assholes Doing Bad Things."
posted by fiercecupcake at 3:42 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Maybe some characters from another series can storm the meta fictional bridge and kill Pete for us."

Close-up on Joan, who lies on Roger Sterling's couch, asleep. As she tosses and turns, her elaborate hairdo begins to come undone, and tendrils stick to her sweaty face. Whimpers and grunts make it clear that she is having a really rough dream.

Cut to Joan's dream-scape-- a soupy, churning gray and yellow fog. Through this, a dim, dark figure is perceptible, leaning in:

"Remember," whispers deep but gravelly male voice.

"Remember," commands a female voice, and an impossibly long arm reaches out through the fog. Joan squirms away.

Then a clear, crisp New Jersey accent cuts through: "Wake the fuck up already, ugats. I ain't got time for this!"

And suddenly, Joan is conscious and sitting up. On the couch beside her are Mike and Grayza. Christopher stands behind the couch, and has a hand on her shoulder. Tears are welling in his eyes. ". . . The hell?" Joan says, patting at her hairpiece. Christopher leans down and presses his cheek to hers. "We thought we'd lost you," he says. Half a dozen other famous, prime-time villains press in around them.

Joan reaches up to hug Christopher. "I thought I'd lost me too," she says, "But screw that." She stands.

Mike extends a hand to Joan, as she works her feet into her red, alligator pumps. "Alright, peaches. It’s time to roll out of here." Joan looks up.

Through the milky, frosted glass of the office door, the scarecrow-like silhouette of Pete Campbell can be seen. As Joan watches, the shape props itself on one arm as it bends over a secretary’s desk, taking on a cocky posture Joan knows far too well.

"Oh, we're not rolling out of here," says Joan. "We're blasting our way out. Did any of you assholes bring a piece for me?"

"Indeed," says Omar, stepping into the frame. From his trenchcoat, he pulls a pair of gleamingly heavy Sig sauers. Flashing a gap-toothed smile, he tosses them to Joan. She catches both easily.

"You know," says Snoop, coming up behind Joan as she tucks a pistol into her cleavage, "We really been needing you back at headquarters. Ain't no one over there knows how to get a re-up on Post-Its, paper clips. . . ."

Joan looks up, eyes wide, mouth gaping. She whirls to face Snoop, her hand hesitating on the handle of the gun. The room falls silent as Snoop and Joan's eyes lock. "'Sup?" says Snoop, raising her arms. Joan's nostrils flair. Then both of them crack up laughing.

"Bitch," Joan says, eyes dancing, "When we get back to base, I'm going to make you eat this fucking girdle.”

"Always promising," says Snoop, with a shrug and a grin. Then the door opens, and an irate Pete Campbell strides into the office, waving a manilla file. He has a second to look surprised before Joan puts a single bullet between his eyes. He falls backward. Then there is a symphony of metallic ka-chunks as a dozen firearms are locked and loaded, and the group saunters out into the office, to lay waste to the remains of the claustrophobic little world that tried to steal Joan's Saffron's life and soul away.

Cut to a distant conference room, where the carnage plays out on a wide video screen. Seated between two blue-gloved, suit-wearing men is Matthew Weiner.

"Shit," he says.

"Told you so," says Joss Whedon," who sits in a plush, swivel chair in the corner. He does not look up from his comic book.

[END SCENE]

Hell yes, I used my sock account to post this.
posted by Harrogatha Christie at 3:46 PM on May 29, 2012 [13 favorites]


I feel like anyone who thinks these actions are out of character has been romanticizing this show to an extreme degree.

I'm reading that. People seem to think Joan is much more confident and self-sufficient than she actually is.


Well, Joan did rise to the level of office manager, and she did divorce her rapist husband, and she did turn down Roger's money. I thought this was part of an arc for her, and so I felt it was surprising she would sell herself for 5% of SCDP. I thought at least there would be a scene between Joan and Roger -- maybe he wouldn't stand up for in the partners meeting, but I thought there would be at least some interesting conversation between the two.

I'll still watch next week, I don't think it's a huge departure, but I am a bit confused as to the direction of the show.


The one moment of levity was when Joan brought up the fact that they can't call the previous repairman for the fridge because of her mom's dalliance -- callback!
posted by bluefly at 3:51 PM on May 29, 2012


I felt it was surprising she would sell herself for 5% of SCDP.

I'm a lot cheaper. I thought it was a great plotline.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:53 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tim Goodman's Bastard Machine (at the Hollywood Reporter). And this is not something I say every day, but I am interested to read Jezebel's take on it.
posted by box at 4:01 PM on May 29, 2012


T&L's Mad Style on this episode is not up yet, but my guess for their "OMG" clothing moment is Joan's dress when she presents her terms to Pete (the scarf on it looks like a noose to me).

To me, from the back, it looked a lot like the sash of a geisha's kimono.

I still don't know how I felt about that episode, but holy crap do I have a lot of links to read now.
posted by palomar at 4:30 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


If they really did get rid of Peggy, that would mean that the show really was all about Don all along, which I have kind of a hard time accepting.

SCDP is forced to merge with whatever agency it was Peggy went to. Peggy then returns as either Don's boss or as an executive equal.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:37 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am not unsold on Joan doing what she did. I don't, however, believe for a second that Roger would have said okay without even talking to Joan. I am not sure whether Joan was more upset over Roger or Don thinking it was acceptable -- Don couldn't have really thought that when he walked out while the other four were more or less okay with the idea, that this would have any effect, so he was, like Roger, trying to say it was acceptable while avoiding the responsibility for it. (Which he later regretted, unlike the others. Well, Joan might have regretted it.) Pete doesn't surprise me, and Lane doesn't either -- though I still don't understand why he didn't get the money from Roger, who has been spending like water, or Don, who wrote a cheque for $6000 without thinking (one which wasn't cashed, but still).

I do like that Peggy left, as it's been obvious she should have done it for ages, and also she just doesn't really do anything for me as a character anymore -- she's been stagnant for way too long. Since I also don't think she's off the show for good, I am interested to see how she will be brought back in. I hope it's more effectively than Betty, who has been treated cruelly by the show for being no worse than anyone else.
posted by jeather at 4:40 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Betty, who has been treated cruelly by the show for being no worse than anyone else.

That's not what I heard.
posted by Cosine at 4:52 PM on May 29, 2012


Yeah, I didn't buy the Joan arc at all. There is nothing in her character or previous actions that predicts this. To my mind, it's a huge departure. The thing with Roger is awful and squalid but it's PRIVATE. Marrying the rapist doctor? Also private. The deal where she and her roommate would fleece guys and take them home with them? Private and away from the office.

Not so many weeks ago she was weeping in Lane's office because she was so longing to come back to work. I just do not buy that she would jeopardize her standing at SCDP for cash. (Especially since she's turning down Roger's cash anyway? If she were going to take cash for sex, why not his?)

I don't think it's an impossible turn for her character to take eventually, but there was insufficient build-up to make any kind of even irrational motivation clear. I think it could have been really interesting to see her come to a point where that would be tempting to her, but that didn't happen--it was all one episode and it went: No! Gross! Never! Oh, OK.

The only way I can sort of swallow it is if I consider that just having been asked ruined the whole place for her. Pete's an asshole, fine. But thinking that Don had agreed, knowing that the others had, talking to Lane... maybe I buy that the lustre of the place had been burned off, but I feel like I'm doing all the work on that--I don't feel like Weiner showed me that at all. I also didn't buy the premise of the dilemma to begin with, even with the foreshadowing-in-retrospect of Sal's dismissal.

I guess the issue for me is when a character does something that seems out of character, there need to be enough hints dropped that, in hindsight, the shocking decision makes total sense. This didn't play that way to me at all. I do appear to be in the minority among my teevee watching friends, however.

Megan bores me to death. She had a promising start to the season (after a last season's finale, which I also didn't buy. Maybe I don't pay close enough attention? The proposal seemed to have no lead in at all) but now... meh.

Peggy's story arc was perfect to me, though.
posted by looli at 5:14 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


According the dollartimes.com inflation calculator, a salary of $12.5/year in 1963 works out to roughly $93 000 today.

That means that Peggy's new salary of $19,000 a year works out to roughly $126,482.83 today.

Five years from n00b secretary to making six figures...dang.
posted by Elly Vortex at 5:21 PM on May 29, 2012


I feel like anyone who thinks these actions are out of character has been romanticizing this show to an extreme degree.

I'm reading that. People seem to think Joan is much more confident and self-sufficient than she actually is.


Yes. This. But what I'm most troubled by is how many people are in denial that the partners would do this. Lane is completely desperate to cover up his tax problems. Pete has previously tried to get his wife to sleep with her ex so he could sell a short story. Bert Cooper is Objectivism personified (someone on the T&L comments called him the show's "moral center." Snort.) Roger is pissed at Joan for rejecting his baby daddy money. And Don's move wasn't noble in the least. He doesn't want to win by pimping Joan out because he wants his pitch to win. Now he's in a position that women often find themselves--unsure of whether he's gotten ahead because of his skills or because of sex.

Oh sorry, I guess that was Freddy Rumsen in the scene. It's getting hard to keep track of all the ex players. Yeah what was that about with Freddy?

It's every man for himself. Freddy even says he's going to call Don about Peggy's job. I don't think he's being entirely noble either.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:22 PM on May 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Re: Betty being "worse" than other characters, there's a decent argument to be made there -- and that's only looking at Betty vs. Don. Pete's recent actions would have to put him pretty high on the list.

I do wonder sometimes how Betty would come across in the hands of someone other than January Jones, who has the brittle ice princess thing down but otherwise I'm not as sure.
posted by rewil at 5:36 PM on May 29, 2012


Roger is pissed at Joan for rejecting his baby daddy money.

Yes, but just on principle Roger would disagree with anything Pete proposed. And although he wants SCDP to succeed, he doesn't need the money from it. It's not that I couldn't imagine Roger washing his hands of this, it's that I couldn't imagine it happening the way it did.

My problem with Lane was the initial theft. Given that theft, his actions in this episode are totally reasonable.

And Don's move wasn't noble in the least. He doesn't want to win by pimping Joan out because he wants his pitch to win.

Though -- and I agree with you that Don wasn't noble, and that his regret was more that now he doesn't know why they won the account, or he does and he doesn't like the answer -- it wasn't Don's pitch.
posted by jeather at 5:58 PM on May 29, 2012


She didn't look, at the end of the episode, as if she'd lost face. I don't see her crumbling, just stronger and with a thicker layer of self-insulation at the office.

In fact, she looked at peace with her decision. A look that said "Don't you dare judge me. I belong here."
posted by inturnaround at 5:59 PM on May 29, 2012


That's technically true, yeah. But he wants to win on the strength of creative. That's what matters to him.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:00 PM on May 29, 2012


jeather: Betty, who has been treated cruelly by the show for being no worse than anyone else.

cosine: That's not what I heard.

Cosine, I think you're confusing Betty with January Jones.
posted by tzikeh at 6:04 PM on May 29, 2012


That's technically true, yeah. But he wants to win on the strength of creative. That's what matters to him.

Yes, but I think he wants it to be his creative, or someone he feels he has control over -- not Ginsburg. Which is perhaps part of why he allowed the partners to decide without him (by walking out), because it wasn't his pitch anyways, so who cares? Then he realised that he cares, still, after the pitch, though he dressed it all up in concern for Joan; I'm not convinced either of them really believed Don spoke to her thinking she hadn't yet slept with Herb.

(How do the partners just give her 5%? Are they each down 5% of their previous share? Is she a junior partner, whatever that means?)
posted by jeather at 6:17 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Betty, who has been treated cruelly by the show for being no worse than anyone else.

I'm not a Betty fan, but I do have a lot of sympathy for her. Look at what the woman's been through in six years. Both her parents died. She had an unplanned pregnancy. Her first marriage sucked, in very large part for reasons that were not her fault. Don cheated on her incessantly for the ten years they were married, and she knew all along, though she had no evidence, and was too proud to tell anyone about it. He was also an asshole to her in a number of other ways: not wanting her to work part-time as a model, yelling at her for letting a salesman in "his" house, accusing her of flirting with Roger, basically calling her a trollop for wearing a two-piece bathing suit. Then she finds out he has been hiding a criminal act in his past, that he's not who he claimed to be. After she left Don she married again immediately, and though her second husband seems to be a pretty decent guy who really loves her, she now has to deal with a very weird mother-in-law who doesn't like her. And then a cancer scare.

Not that I'm entirely ready to let her off the hook, especially when most of her failings lie in her parenting abilities. I don't blame her for being angry at Don, but involving the Sally in her nasty little revenge plot was beyond the pale. She just doesn't seem to be able to relate well to her kids as people at all. If she had more depth and more maturity, she would have been able to recognize that she needed some therapy to help her cope, and she would be a better mother, but she is shallow and immature, and probably always will be.
posted by orange swan at 6:45 PM on May 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm not convinced either of them really believed Don spoke to her thinking she hadn't yet slept with Herb.

Don definitely believed he'd caught her in time; you can see it in his face when she walks into Roger's office with "the Partners." And I think Joanie knows that Don was sincere, because you can see how moved she is when he tells her not to do it, and she says, "You're one of the good ones, aren't you."
posted by tzikeh at 6:46 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


People often see what they want to see in TV characters rather than what's actually there. And this comes up a lot with prostitution. I mean, there are still people who will insist that Gregory House didn't actually have sex with prostitutes or that he did but that's out of character. It's crazy.

I'm still not clear on just what the disconnect is.
posted by Justinian at 6:56 PM on May 29, 2012


box: here is Jezebel's take - thanks for mentioning it.
posted by flex at 7:04 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


(How do the partners just give her 5%? Are they each down 5% of their previous share? Is she a junior partner, whatever that means?)

It depends on how the firm is structured. They could offer her diluted shares or non-diluted or some other way of slicing the pie. Let's assume, though, they're offering 5 percent, straight up, and all five of them have an equal stake (they likely don't -- Pete is a junior partner). That would mean they all now have 1 percent less than they did before. Note that this doesn't cost them any cash.

Joan does say her demand will include a full voting right, so she now controls about 16.6 percent of the executive decision-making power. Again, it's unclear how this structured. Is there a board? Is anyone a C-level exec? Is Pete a full voting member as a junior partner? Or is it really just what we see -- six partners that collectively decide on stuff? That's actually a potential nightmare if there's an intractable disagreement.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:37 PM on May 29, 2012


I guess I should say, 16.6 percent if it's indeed structured as it appears to be -- six people that divided exec power equally, despite having unequal shares. That's actually kinda wacky.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:42 PM on May 29, 2012


I've been on the fence about this episode too, but overall it just felt like a big manipulation on Weiner's part, almost like an old-fashioned ratings ploy. I was disappointed at how it was handled, and it all felt very rushed and disconnected. I find with each episode this season I'm caring less and less. And while I just devoted most of my evening to reading this thread (btw, if anyone questions the power this show holds over its audience, this thread is proof), the only thing I feel the need to respond to is:

I just want somebody to kill Pete. Please, God, somebody kill Pete.

THANK YOU. For me, he's actually becoming a reason not to enjoy the show. Part of it is the character, and part of it is the actor. (Kartheiser annoyed the hell out of me during his character arc on "Angel.") In the case of Pete Campbell, I think both the character and the actor are too two-dimensional -- and for the love of all that is holy, won't some voice coach out there with a heart tell Vince to stop articulating every single letter in every single word? But, having said all that, Pete Campbell will definitely go down as one of the best assholes in TV history. (Best takeaway line: "A thing like that.")

Even my cat hates him.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 7:44 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


there are still people who will insist that Gregory House didn't actually have sex with prostitutes

Whoa, really? I guess there are some people who don't realize all of the characters in Mad Men are designed to deliver various messages explaining how, where, and why the Baby Boomers were right to destroy the culture depicted in the series. ("How's Manhattan?" "It's dirty.") Pete Campbell the Archdouche here is notable for being the "if we didn't do it, then you would've had people like them take over" villain in this myth.
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:10 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Let's assume, though, they're offering 5 percent, straight up, and all five of them have an equal stake (they likely don't -- Pete is a junior partner). That would mean they all now have 1 percent less than they did before. Note that this doesn't cost them any cash.

Lane is also a junior partner. After Don stormed out of the meeting, Peter notes that the remaining 4 partners make up 75% of the firm, which leads me to believe that Roger, Bert Cooper, and Don each have 25%, and Lane and Peter have 12.5% each. I'm not sure where Joan's 5% would come from, though. If it was deducted equally among the partners (1% each), does that mean the others could reduce Don's percentage without his consent?
posted by donajo at 8:39 PM on May 29, 2012


I feel like Joan's choice was personally devastating and yet extremely pragmatic. She is not in a position to work her way to the top and she clearly is not adverse to working. This was a one time rare opportunity for her to claw her way to the top. It was ugly, unfair, and awful, but she was never going to get another chance and, while she seems to be managing right now, Joan is too smart to not know she's just a few minor disasters from being a single mother working two part time minimum wage jobs to just barely get by. This was her chance to make it and she took it. Is her future secure? No, but this is her big chance for real security and likely the only one she will ever get short remarrying. And the last guy she married was a rapist and at least in this situation she had slightly more personal agency even if it was clearly a choice made under great duress.
posted by whoaali at 8:46 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also give Mad Men a lot of credit for highlighting the horrors that result from a culture without equal rights for women, especially since such things happened often behind closed doors and were never spoken of again. Often we gloss over these things in our nostalgia without considering that the divorce rate was lower because many people were not in a position to leave their spouse and instead were trapped in miserable marriages. This is an extreme example, especially that it was so explicit and a straight up business deal, that's probably the least believable part, but was a necessary plot device, but still it demonstrated the kind of choices a woman in Joan's position would have had in the 1960s.
posted by whoaali at 8:53 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I love Mad Men, and I think this may be the best season it's had (it's at least much better than the last two), but for all the emotional subtlety it can muster, it is sometimes a thuddingly unsubtle fucking TV show. I'm talking Don's dream where he learns he was named after his philandering father's penis; the scene where we know we're in London because you can hear Big Ben bonging in the background; the scene where Don hallucinates choking Shelley from Twin Peaks to death because he secretly hates women, I guess, but then in killing Shelley he kills his desire to fuck other women or...something...ye gods.

It also has a tendency to accelerate character arcs to get characters where it wants them to be. It takes its time giving Don and Peggy arcs that are actually, like, dramatized and stuff, but so much of the rest of the cast is dropped in on so infrequently that the show often rushes to compress huge character changes into a 45-minute block shared with half a dozen other storylines. A few seasons back, a story like "The Other Woman" might have been very carefully set up over the course of the entire Jaguar story; we may have seen Joan fighting to make ends meet, seen an exchange or two between her and the lecher, seen more between her and Roger that might -- quite frankly -- have made Roger's ultimate take on the situation seem even kind of in character, which it really doesn't now.

I guess what I'm saying is that "The Other Woman" doesn't work that well as a believable story because too much was shoehorned in and/or skipped over, but it could have worked, and works in spite of itself simply because the cast is so good and every story in it that isn't the Joan story is so good. But it could have been a really great episode if they'd taken the time to build up to it earlier in the season.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:15 PM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yes. This. But what I'm most troubled by is how many people are in denial that the partners would do this. Lane is completely desperate to cover up his tax problems. Pete has previously tried to get his wife to sleep with her ex so he could sell a short story. Bert Cooper is Objectivism personified (someone on the T&L comments called him the show's "moral center." Snort.) Roger is pissed at Joan for rejecting his baby daddy money. And Don's move wasn't noble in the least. He doesn't want to win by pimping Joan out because he wants his pitch to win. Now he's in a position that women often find themselves--unsure of whether he's gotten ahead because of his skills or because of sex.


I agree with this so hard. An interesting theme of this thread is the battle between the people who see some of the characters as virtuous and some as completely corrupt. I think they all battle both all the time, with the exception of maybe Peggy and Ken.

And Megan, though I still can't tell if she's hiding something or badly written.
posted by sweetkid at 9:46 PM on May 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


It is a story about Good versus Evil, but we the audience are the Good.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:51 PM on May 29, 2012


Boy, this was a really complex episode for me. One thing I have tried to keep in mind throughout this show is the characters I love are not people from the 21st century in the 1960s, they are people raised pre-1960s with the expectations of gender and gender roles and advancement opportunities of that time.

Joan is smart and witty and hard-working and we love her. But Joan was raised in a very common mindset of the time: a woman was there to be seen, to be admired, and to be owned. Security was not getting her own job, it was marrying an appropriate man. You used your charm and your beauty to achieve these ends. She is a wonderful character but this is how she has operated throughout the series, not because she is a horrible manipulative bitch or anything but because this is how she thinks she's supposed to operate. The problem is following all of these steps have led to massive disappointment because she is as ill-suited to the gender roles of her time as Peggy, even if she is able to act them much better. She did the sexy mistress thing, but Roger ended up marrying a different secretary. She married Dr. Rapist because she was supposed to get married and there's nobody better to marry than a doctor, but he still turned out to be a royal shit anyway.* She tried to stay home and be a mom and ended up miserable. To me, this season, more than any other season, has been her realization that the game she has played up until this point has been a load of horseshit and gotten her nothing. Despite her playing the sexy, confident, Ur-Woman better than anyone else, she is not happy. She hates her doctor husband, she doesn't want to be a mom, she tried to follow all the rules and the result does not work for her.

The result is she's now floundering around and trying to figure out where to go next. She is smart enough to know the limits of her advancement at the company. She knows that as much as she is desired, she is not a young pretty wife for the picking, and she would not be happy being the young pretty wife anyway. And she can't be Peggy any more than Peggy could be her. So where does that leave her?

This whole prostitution scenario is the ultimate, ugly step in all those games she's been taught to play her whole life. Oh, nobody calls all the crap women were expected to do prostitution, as long as you were getting a husband and house and lifetime security out of it. What Joan did was just a more up-front version of it. Instead of marrying a man to get financial security, she went ahead and directly offered herself up for complete independence. It is odious but I can see how she thought it was the best option at the time.

As for the Don and Sal thing--seriously, it's the 1960s guys. Sal was gay. You think Don thought about Joan and a gay man in the same way? Even today there is a pervasive stereotype gay guys are all indiscriminate sluts. Back then they were literally considered to be filthy perverts. He likely thought Sal's reluctance to sleep with Lee was capriciousness and Sal shouldn't give a shit because he's a filthy pervert. He has demonstrated repeatedly he's not some gallant amazing dude. I don't think it's far-fetched to assume his attitudes about homosexuals fit that of his contemporaries (as evidenced by that "You people" remark).


*Not to mention the number of people in the 1960s who would actually consider what he did rape in is ridiculously small; I believe in many states it was not legally possible to rape your wife.
posted by schroedinger at 10:25 PM on May 29, 2012 [19 favorites]


My mom was in Joan's place, a woman trying to make a career in the late 60's. By the early 70s she was a single mom. Would she have slept with an random guy for 50k or 5% of of a business? I don't even need to ask her, she told me that security for herself and her kids was the most important thing, and she was with men who could offer security.

Watching that episode made me not only love my mom all the more, and the rest of the women that did what they had to do. But hate the men that put them in that position. They, our mothers, were stroger, and better than we will ever be.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:48 PM on May 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


> It is a story about Good versus Evil, but we the audience are the Good.

Really? I thought the opposite; that at a fundamental level the whole Joan story read as an indictment of the audience.

Have you ever had a conversation about Mad Men where the guy you're talking to, grasping for Joan's chararacter's name, says, "you know, the girl with the...you know..." – or some website commenter links to a picture of Christina Hendricks with the text "my two favorite girls on television"?

There's a parallel here, and when sleazy Jaguar guy says "I don't know how much longer I can wait to see 'em," I found the real-life comparison unavoidable. I thought the whole episode could practically have been written by Christina Hendricks herself, to her revolting fans.
posted by churl at 11:50 PM on May 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


An interesting theme of this thread is the battle between the people who see some of the characters as virtuous and some as completely corrupt. I think they all battle both all the time, with the exception of maybe Peggy and Ken.


What are you trying to argue here? That Peggy is a complex character, which she is, or that she's not battling with morality and being virtuous or whatever? If you're arguing the latter, you haven't been paying much attention, or forgot (despite this being a recent thing) about that hand job she gave to some dude she didn't know in a movie theater. This is Peggy we're talking about here.
posted by raysmj at 1:25 AM on May 30, 2012


The deal where she and her roommate would fleece guys and take them home with them? Private and away from the office.

Define fleece? I thought it was a good dinner + drinks = good time later. Maybe "powder room" money ala Holly GoLightly ...
posted by tilde at 4:33 AM on May 30, 2012


This was her chance to make it and she took it.

You know, the more I talk about the episode with people, the more I feel like any one of the things I found to be head-scratchers might have worked for me, including Joan deciding to take the deal. But there were so many DIFFERENT things that all had to happen, none of which really holds up logically, that when you take them all together, it seems like a manipulation.

The reason I raise this in response to what you say here is that while I get what you're saying in principle, I don't understand how five percent of a very shaky company is "making it," or gives her a lot of security. She didn't guarantee they'd get Jaguar. All she did was avoid guaranteeing they would not get Jaguar. Sitting where she was, specifically disavowing that she guaranteed results, she knew perfectly well that they might not get Jaguar, in which case she mostly owns five percent of a lot of debt. Had this truly been a situation where she was offered so much money that she would never have to worry again, or she'd never have to work again, it might have seemed different to me. But she's now got five percent of a business that, as of the time she sleeps with the guy, is HOPING to get a client that they're HOPING will turn things around and she's HOPING that the agency will continue to thrive for many years. If this had truly been a trade for total financial security, maybe I'd have gotten it. Five percent of SCDP is not financial security, to my eye.

I know I said this in like three thousand words (and heard about it all day yesterday), but it was the cumulative effect of all the things that made no sense to me, from Roger not even talking to her before going along with it to Pete being made everyone's go-between, that made me conclude it was cooked up just to get to that result, and none too thoughtfully. If everything else had been inevitable and logical and Joan's decision had been in isolation, it might have felt a lot less forced.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 5:21 AM on May 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


Tom and Lorenzo's style post is up.
posted by gaspode at 6:03 AM on May 30, 2012


But she's now got five percent of a business that, as of the time she sleeps with the guy, is HOPING to get a client that they're HOPING will turn things around and she's HOPING that the agency will continue to thrive for many years. If this had truly been a trade for total financial security, maybe I'd have gotten it. Five percent of SCDP is not financial security, to my eye.
How much did that mean, though, back in the 1960s, for the "next job"?

Scenario one: Assuming that SCDP didn't get the job despite her trading sex for his vote (and 5%, which he doesn't know about).

The company would stumble along for another year or three; she'd look at other options. Maybe finally taking up Roger/marrying Roger. Maybe finding someone else to marry (doubtful, given her spot-on description two weeks ago about dating with a young child at home and as a divorcee). She might take on another ad-agency job.

Picture this - she took the shop-girl/management job because she needed to have something, anything, but it had to be out of the advertising industry so as not to dispel the scenario she'd painted of marrying a soon-to-be very successful surgeon doctor rapist man. (Note, they were not married at the time, but still might have been considered connected enough that it wouldn't be "legally" rape at the time.) Once that was blown with Petey and the Party Dress, she put her feelers out to Roger (pre-baby, post-Roger, married to Greg) for another job in the industry.

So she leaves SCDP that didn't get Jaguar after two or three years (it implodes, or Lane shoots Campbell, and self, but not after accidentally taking out Cooper and winging Draper who was protecting Cooper, not Campbell) but she leaves to the industry, from a position of strength (maybe to wherever Peggy is) as a former Director of Operations and a former partnership stakeholder.

Scenario two: She didn't sleep with the guy, she didn't take the partnership, SCDP still slowly implodes after a year or two or three. Maybe someone pushes Campbell down an elevator shaft. Or he gets hit by a train. Campbell doesn't have to die, but it'd be nice.

She's what? Some former trumped up secretary. Director of Ops title, sure, but so what. She still only made $12,500 a year, not much more than a lead secretary.

In the partnership scenario, she's in a much stronger position for positioning her next job, whether SCDP succeeds or fails. Joanie's got a ton of sweat equity in the company (heh, not including the encounter with Mr Complex Enzymes), it might be 5% of $0 or 5% or a lot more than that, now.
posted by tilde at 6:07 AM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Five percent of SCDP is not financial security, to my eye.

So, you know, I think this is part of the point. Joan thinks that being a partner with an equal vote and five percent of the company is better than doing it for the money. She thinks having a stake in the company is better than just taking a wad of cash. And if the business turns itself around, just like all the male partners think it will if they get Jaguar, then her five percent could well be worth a lot more than fifty grand.

The person who might have convinced her to take the fifty was Lane and he manipulated her into thinking partnership and five percent was the better deal, mostly to save his own skin - because the company doesn't have fifty grand to just drop on Joan, especially if they didn't get Jaguar.

If it was a clear cut thing, I think the drama would have been lessened and it might not feel like the utter tragedy that it feels like to me. If it had just be an indecent proposal scenario that relied on "what's your price", that would have felt cheap to me. She clearly says there is no price - except, of course, there is when it comes to the future of herself and her child. And the fact she gets what she wants (a stake in the company) but in the worst possible way is the recurring tragedy of Joan's life.

And watching all those things fall into place, all those things you think are contrived or convoluted, felt to me more like an accident happening - where you can see that maybe there is a point where you can avoid the collision, but in the end the accident was waiting to happen. And it did.
posted by crossoverman at 6:08 AM on May 30, 2012


Ha, I didn't notice that Ted had crossed out the letterhead.
posted by rewil at 6:11 AM on May 30, 2012


Ha, I didn't notice that Ted had crossed out the letterhead.

I noticed but thought Peggy had. D'oh. I would have assumed it were him if he'd crossed out only Draper's name.

That post reminded me of my other point. Peggy.

She not only asked for more money (I assume she was making about $15,000) and figured she'd settle for $17,500 or even $16,500 but that the title was non-negotiable. She made a point of not only not being subordinate or equal to Ginsberg, but rightfully his supervisor. She knows the power of perception, especially for a woman.

The partnership and the 5% is Joanie's perceptive shift from "taking one for the team and being thanked and back to being swept under the rug" to "contributing, continuing to contribute, and doing this damn thing we will never speak of again."

I really think Lane thought she'd turn it down. Now he can't exclude her from any meetings. His time is nigh.

And one point no one (I think) here or at TLo or anywhere else I've seen has pointed out.

For us, it's been a week. Last week, they met in Cooper's office (men's room hallway, heh), heard about Jaguar, Joanie "got served" and got flowers after a nice night with Don.

This week, it's six to eight subjective weeks after last week. "We're going to work every weekend from now until the pitch. We're going to celebrate Christmas here, we're going to ring in the New Year together."

They've been burning money for this for six/eight weeks. Somehow, Lane has managed to not have his embezzlement discovered. But that was post-Thanksgiving, this is now the first or second week of January, coming up on Valentines Day (how quick are they going to be able to turn around the Chavelie Blanc ad?)

It's not "a week" for them.
posted by tilde at 6:24 AM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now that Joan, who actually runs the damn company, will be officially in the partners' meetings, I'm giving it about three days before everyone realizes that Lane doesn't do anything.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:59 AM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]



An interesting theme of this thread is the battle between the people who see some of the characters as virtuous and some as completely corrupt. I think they all battle both all the time, with the exception of maybe Peggy and Ken.


What are you trying to argue here? That Peggy is a complex character, which she is, or that she's not battling with morality and being virtuous or whatever? If you're arguing the latter, you haven't been paying much attention, or forgot (despite this being a recent thing) about that hand job she gave to some dude she didn't know in a movie theater. This is Peggy we're talking about here.


I'm not arguing anything? Mostly this comment was a response to the idea that people assign purely virtuous motives to characters that have been shown to be self interested most of the time. Mostly I was saying this in reference to the partners meeting about the Joan sex offer.

What I meant by Peggy and Ken as an exception is just that Peggy, while self interested, wears her conscience on her sleeve much more than the other characters. Ken's definitely a better example, but I think Peggy is trying to do the right thing more often than a lot of the other characters.

I'm not sure what bugged you about my comment but hope this helps.
posted by sweetkid at 7:24 AM on May 30, 2012


Lane doesn't do anything

Wields a penis.

Joan, in his position (assuming anyone would take her seriously at that position), wouldn't be able to have a drink with a banker and have a credit line increase. Even if she'd showed up with a bunch of papers and proposal and signatures of the other partners, she'd have a hard sell. As her rep in the industry improves, that may change a bit. Not a lot. I still get crap today from people who suggest that I need to consult my boyfriend/husband/father for something many things. Whether I do or I don't consult them isn't their damn business, I want them to do exactly what this "little lady" is telling them to do, whether it's painting my house or giving me a cash (not trade-in) price on a car.

On the flip side, I have and do use my "Joan voice" when it's needed, usually when I'm telling them what needs to be done and they need to shut up and do it (not in those words ;)). It's not just her (my) tone or her (my) confidence, it's that she (I) actually does know what she's (I'm) doing.
posted by tilde at 7:24 AM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wields a penis.

Well, okay, yes, but I mean he isn't doing as much of his own actual job as the rest of the partners believe he is.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:30 AM on May 30, 2012


I don't, however, believe for a second that Roger would have said okay without even talking to Joan.

In the previous episode, Roger-Joan have the conversation about the baby and it's clear that Uncle Roger knows his place. I thought Roger's reactions were pitch perfect, and this ...

being disappointed in Joan allows him to dispatch of some of the guilt he feels about getting her pregnant.

Yeah. Bad business, indeed, Roger.

What's most interesting to me about this episode is that Don, the you-can-move-on-from-anything guy, is so upset about Joan ... because he knows she may not move-on-from-anything.

If Peggy would have walked into an empty elevator shaft at the end (I swore she was gonna for a second), *that* might have been "jumping the shark" (actually there's probably a better trope for that ... "jumping the McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak?")

With Pete manipulating her into believing all the partners were on board, I think she finally just thought to herself, "well, if all these assholes already think I'm a whore, I might as well use what I have to take care of myself."

Yeah, the biggest ham-handedness of the episode was the instant flashback/repeat scenes to let you know double for sure that Joan definitely wouldn't have done it if she knew Don objected.

I would have preferred that he came over to talk, then she went ahead and did it after anyway. That's what disappointed me most about Joan--not that she prostituted herself (that's what work is mostly anyway), but that she caved to the (perceived) pressure of the men.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:46 AM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would have preferred that he came over to talk, then she went ahead and did it after anyway. That's what disappointed me most about Joan--not that she prostituted herself (that's what work is mostly anyway), but that she caved to the (perceived) pressure of the men.

Me too. That's what bothered me the most. Assuming that sleeping with a client is something that Joan would do, it should have been her decision. Walking into Pete's office with a demand of a partnership was her establishing agency in the transaction. She's doing what she needs to do to protect herself. Implying later that she wouldn't have gone through with it because Don didn't want her to takes away that agency.
posted by donajo at 8:01 AM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


But, donajo, at this point he thinks she did it even after he told her not to, and she's not going to change that perception (that I can see). I can see her never bringing this up again.

I don't know if even he could have stopped her, timing aside.
posted by tilde at 8:13 AM on May 30, 2012


to let you know double for sure that Joan definitely wouldn't have done it if she knew Don objected

I didn't get the double-for-sure vibe at all. I think she was happy that someone objected and thinks better of him for it, and probably feels better about their history and friendship. But the way she put her hand on his cheek in that "aren't you so sweet" way also said "but don't worry about me, I've made my decision and know what I'm doing." Joan was also smart enough not to just tell him it was done right there because she knew it would affect the way he pitched.

So the look on Don's face in the partner's meeting when he realized she did go through with it - as far as he knows, she did do it after he talked to her. Obviously Joan has not sat him down and gave him the proper chronology. He walked out of Joan's apartment thinking "crisis averted".

I think Don has got to be feeling about as powerless as ever after this episode: he realizes he can't just issues major commands to his wife; he believes his heartfelt speech to Joan had no effect (a false belief, but he doesn't know that yet), in turn he doesn't know if it was the strength of the pitch that got the account; related, while he felt good about the pitch (until that moment), it was Michael who came up with the concept; finally he cannot stop Peggy, arguably the woman he has the strongest connection to currently (since the loss of Anna Draper), from leaving him (and, only incidentally, the firm).
posted by mikepop at 8:28 AM on May 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah Don's arc in this episode was definitely that of realizing that he has completely lost control of everything (& everyone) around him.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:38 AM on May 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


That was the overriding theme of the episode for me, mikepop. Don, master of many things but especially dealing with (i.e. controlling) the ladies, is now shown to be powerless over any of the women in his life.
I get the feeling that the person he killed in his fever dream was the old Don Draper.
posted by rocket88 at 8:43 AM on May 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


This whole episode made me want to take a shower.

Also, I kept thinking "man, someone really needs to hammer Pete in the face" until I remembered that Lane did exactly that a scant few weeks.ago.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:26 AM on May 30, 2012


What I meant by Peggy and Ken as an exception is just that Peggy, while self interested, wears her conscience on her sleeve much more than the other characters. Ken's definitely a better example, but I think Peggy is trying to do the right thing more often than a lot of the other characters.


From a work standpoint lately, maybe. She's done some awful things from a personal standpoint, however, and has certainly let her ego and desire for approval get the best of her from time to time. She's as human as any other character on the show, although she seems that way in part because we have seen more of her and all of her foibles (and the writers have fleshed out her character so much better than they have with, say, Megan). At times she's been hard to like.
posted by raysmj at 10:40 AM on May 30, 2012


But this is on a show where almost no one is easy to like anymore. That's why this season has been such a hard slog. It feels like the last couple of seasons of "The Sopranos," in this way, minus most of the violence.
posted by raysmj at 10:44 AM on May 30, 2012


Now might be a good time for them to bring back Sal, the guy Don fired for refusing to do exactly what Joan did

I am praying SO HARD that on Joan's first day at the new agency, she's assigned to write copy for a commercial Sal is directing. I know it's been implied that Sal is gone forever but, ugh, Stonewall is coming, this shit is about to get damn interesting...
posted by Sara C. at 10:54 AM on May 30, 2012


I am praying SO HARD that on Joan's Peggy's first day at the new agency,

FTFY and probably me too ... Smitty was at Peggy's new agency, but is he any more?
posted by tilde at 10:58 AM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Gooch: If anything felt a little unrealistic about this episode, it was Don's white-knighting for Joan. I understand that he has unique reasons for feeling iffy about prostitution, but he's never exactly been the moral center of SCDP either.

Agreed. But Don's got gifts and skills that make him unique, because even while he's dumb enough to take Peggy for granted because of their deep almost familial bond (cast in both his and her respective, troubled pasts), he's intuitive enough to know that even if Joan goes through with sleeping with Herb, she's going to need someone at the agency, namely him, that it's not important and it's entirely her decision, and that he understands, indeed would rather she doesn't go through with it. This gives Joan a measure of cover. Not only because it states that her worth is much greater than this one act, or her sexuality. I think, Don may have know she'd already gone through with it (does anyone think Pete wouldn't tell him the minute it was arranged, before he goes all the way out to Jersey City? Again, another huge act of the value he places in Joan as a key member of the agency, the significance of which wouldn't be lost on someone as keen as Joan).

Ultimately, it doesn't matter if Don knew or not that she'd already taken care of business, as it were, and I think the repeat of that scene is supposed to make exactly that the point.

Don's got her back in terms of her honor, and the unspoken understanding is that he'll have it before and after and ongoing in terms of the way she's viewed by the other partners. And of course we see when the call comes from Jaguar and she's called forth as an equal partner, he continues to be surprised at her presence and that is indeed more cover for her. It's a sign of admiration that she's there and she went through with things because he never saw her as a prostitute, and indeed still does not.

In terms of Roger, I think his inner landscape is in sorts of flux and most of the time he's feeling around in the dark, and I've said before, the only time he seems sure of a situation is one it's a cut and dried materialistic exchange of services. He pays people and they do things. And he is okay with this. It's the bedrock to world quickly changing and let's not forget Roger served in WW II, in some ways I feel like he's got that sense that every day is just another lucky day alive for him, but beyond that and in terms of Joan, I think he knows that if he stepped up and absolutely said "NO!" he would pretty much be saying he's going to look out for her and marry her, perhaps because at that point unless he's going to do exactly that, then he has absolutely no business telling her what she can or cannot do. Period. He does love her, maybe even romantically, but he also deeply values her friendship. His scene with her with they regard each other shows no judgement, just understanding love and friendship. So, to add to Don, Roger will always have her back.

As will Layne, becasue Layne is screwed, and the only person who's going to help him unscrew himself (again for the good of the company, and because there is a regard between the two) is Joan. Of course Layne might decide to take a dive out the window...I hope he doesn't as he's really been fleshed out this season as an interesting character study.

In terms of Joan, I'm afraid I think it's the height of projection to think she wouldn't go through with things, under the right circumstances.... I think for a person from this time, or anywhere in the last 40 or 50 years to understand a woman in Joan's situation is a bit much.

It never ceases to amaze me when those characters were born. I mean we see them in the 60s, but someone like Joan was born in the 30s went through her most formative experiences in the 40s and 50s and was a child during WWII. Don was easily born in the early to mid 20s. Think about people you know who were born in those decades...it was really a hugely different world and Joan has always been equal parts vulnerable, delicate at times even, as well as incredibly strong, ambitious and one of the smartest people at SCDP, really only kept back from a greater role there because indeed she is a woman, and indeed, she's great at managing the women at SC/SCDP and built like a B-52.

And I could see it being a huge plus for her to finally use that B-52-ness to get all atomic on that glass ceiling...*

[*This is also a time people are going to Las Vegas, not only to gamble and get sexy, but to stay up all night drinking appropriately named cocktails, and put then put on Ray Bans in the dawn to watch thermonuclear explosions in the distance being tested by the U.S. military.]
posted by Skygazer at 11:18 AM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


In terms of Joan, I'm afraid I think it's the height of projection to think she wouldn't go through with things, under the right circumstances.

I'm going to jump back in one more time, just to say this. I have heard very, very, VERY few people -- some, but very few -- say that Joan would never do this under any circumstances. I have heard far more people, including myself, say that it's believable she might do this under some circumstances, but the ones that the show put in place didn't seem convincing. At least when I wrote about it, I specifically said there might well be a way she would do it, but it would take more pressure than they created. Obviously, it's totally valid to disagree with that; I think my opinion is very much the minority, in fact, among all the smart people I know. But the major disagreement here isn't "she might under the right circumstances" versus "she would never ever ever." It's "Were these the right circumstances?"
posted by Linda_Holmes at 11:35 AM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


GQ interview with Christina Hendricks:
GQ: One of the most powerful moments in the episode was seeing Joan lock eyes with Don at the partner's meeting, both of them knowing what had happened. What was going through Joan's head at that instant?
Christina Hendricks: As I was playing it, it was sort of, "Don't judge me, I'm in this room," "What's done is done," and "Thank you," all at once. It's this sort of, here I am and let's move forward. And just, really owning it, and yet, we're not gonna discuss it.
posted by rewil at 11:37 AM on May 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


does anyone think Pete wouldn't tell him the minute it was arranged, before he goes all the way out to Jersey City?
No. Part of the manipulation, he doesn't tell Joan that he's going to the partners anyway, he doesn't tell the partners she objected (the whole way he did it was a set up to get the money quote, "You can't afford it" , he doesn't "force" a vote.

He knows Don objects - he wouldn't tell him in a way / at a time when Don could jeopardize it.
Don's got her back in terms of her honor, and the unspoken understanding is that he'll have it before and after and ongoing in terms of the way she's viewed by the other partners. And of course we see when the call comes from Jaguar and she's called forth as an equal partner, he continues to be surprised at her presence and that is indeed more cover for her. It's a sign of admiration that she's there and she went through with things because he never saw her as a prostitute, and indeed still does not.
And, moments later, in his office, he's spinning it as she's been with the company 13 years ... though he was told of the possibility only half a day earlier. More cover.
Roger ... He pays people and they do things. [snip] His scene[s] with her with [how] they regard each other shows no judgement, just understanding love and friendship. So, to add to Don, Roger will always have her back.
This. That's what he meant also, I believe, with the "I'm not paying for it" quote. He paid Harry to switch offices with Pete. He paid Peggy for Mohawk work. He paid Ginsberg for Manischewitz. He bought lobster for the guys in that last hard week before Jaguar. Extend the credit, make her a partner (presumably he agreed to that) but he's not financing it directly.
Layne is screwed, and the only person who's going to help him unscrew himself (again for the good of the company, and because there is a regard between the two) is Joan.
In theory, yes, but I dunno. It's still a hard sell for me that she'll bail him out, even if he was the first (and only) person she hugged after the news came down.

As to the bit about "remember when/re they were born ..." Good point. My parents were boomers, too (just a little older than Sally) but their parents and their cohort - my goodness.
posted by tilde at 11:42 AM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


the writers are so removed from the process of production. The bulk of these scripts are generally written before a season even begins filming, and only the final few episodes have any real chance for a rewrite based on audience reaction, and even that is severely limited. (Thus my earlier query whether Weiner had any opportunity to watch any actual episodes.)

This isn't really true at all. It depends what one's status as a writer is, of course, and the nature of the show. But at the end of the day, a writer with a producer credit (e.g. any relatively senior writer up to and including the showrunner and/or creator) has FAR more creative control over the production process and contact with both the producers* and the studio/network than writers for films do. And while this might be a little different in cable series where you're shooting a whole season before any of it airs, the scripts aren't finalized that long before filming. In my experience, revisions are still happening up to the minute any particular page of the script is in the can, and often beyond that due to reshoots as necessary. And, yes, OF COURSE the fucking creator of the show would see the episodes before they air. Duh.

You're right that there's less dialogue with the "audience" during the writing process, though the reality is that any such dialogue would be channelled through production's relationship with the studio. And it would be angled as what the studio thinks the audience wants, or even what the advertisers think the audience wants, not direct hard data from the viewers themselves about what they want to see. But this is how TV works -- it's probably easier for Mad Men than a lot of other shows, because of their particular studio/network situation and their status as a critically acclaimed success story for a relatively new network with a reputation for daring programming.

Also, maybe I say this as someone on the production side of TV, but seriously? Teh Audience can go burn as far as I'm concerned. The viewers get NO creative input. They just don't. That's how art works. Deal with it.

*in TV the writers ARE the producers, except for Line Producers who ultimately answer to the creatives, anyway.
posted by Sara C. at 11:53 AM on May 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


From Tom and Lorenzo's commentary: "we wonder if a lot of women will see what Joan did as … not so much “empowering,” as it was making the system work to her benefit, using both the tools at her disposal and the expectations of the patriarchy to enrich herself far beyond what most women could achieve on their own at the time."

Yes! Exactly this.

I am also with T&L on not buying Roger's lack of reaction. I wonder if that's something Weiner intentionally left out so it could be explored later. I also agree that Roger not wanting to pay for a thing is the strongest way he has of disapproving of it.

As for Peggy's career move, while it was certainly the right decision, but I was completely, totally devastated by it. I was more devastated by the Peggy storyline than by the Joan storyline. The whole time Peggy was resigning, I just kept thinking, "No! Don is going to win her back. He will."

But then he kissed her hand, and what with Peggy and Don and hands, we know that means something huge and monumental. Still, I was wishing as she grabbed her Thermos and walked out that something would make her reconsider. (As a greedy viewer, I want Megan to ditch Don next season and free him up to woo Peggy. But as a storyteller, I'd be very disappointed if the show went in that direction. Still, I could totally see Don and Peggy having fantastic slappy-fight sex.)

I do hope someone is going to fall down that elevator shaft within the next two episodes. Equal odds on Pete and Lane. (Only one 'y' in Lane's full name -- Lane Pryce.)

"Maybe some characters from another series can storm the meta fictional bridge and kill Pete for us."

I don't know why none of you have mentioned David Boreanaz yet. "The father will kill the son," remember? Obviously Angel is going to swoop in and give Pete Campbell a taste of Mr. Pointy.
posted by brina at 12:04 PM on May 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


No one's going to fall down the elevator shaft. The point of that bit was to get Don to stare down a sudden abyss, to get the feeling of predictability dropping away from under him. It's not a Chekov's gun. I would seriously be extremely surprised if the elevator shaft comes back.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:09 PM on May 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


does anyone think Pete wouldn't tell him the minute it was arranged, before he goes all the way out to Jersey City?
No. Part of the manipulation, he doesn't tell Joan that he's going to the partners anyway, he doesn't tell the partners she objected (the whole way he did it was a set up to get the money quote), "You can't afford it" , he doesn't "force" a vote.

He knows Don objects - he wouldn't tell him in a way / at a time when Don could jeopardize it.
Sorry to quote myself there but ... why did Pete tell him? Just to see him run when he knew it was too late? Was Pete f--kng with him, lording Don's impotence over him (especially with the "the conversation doesn't end just because you leave the room."* Wouldn't he worry that it would screw up the presentation (I've heard that cited as one reason Joan might not have told him he was too late, too.)?
not buying Roger's lack of reaction
I re-watched very carefully last night, paying attention to Roger's and Lane's reactions. Lane was pretty predictable in an "oh shit, cover! cover!" way. Roger paused in lighting his cigarette (which he's done a few times this show, it's not earth shattering), looked down, and got to the heart of his issue, "She said that?" which Pete sidestepped with, "She said we couldn't afford it."

I don't think it was lack of reaction. I think it was shock, and then grudging resignation/shut down of what little emotion he has for her (loving, not in love). No one in the room, in the office, maybe even in the world, knows that Kevin is his and Joan's love child. And she's shut him down on support several times (bike, money offer, and I saw him delivering "Ali's" flowers as her continued freezing his closeness.

Heck, maybe he sees the partnership as a way to support her by giving her a hell of a means to support herself. This might get him out of his funk and interested in his job again.
posted by tilde at 12:14 PM on May 30, 2012


Linda H: But she's now got five percent of a business that, as of the time she sleeps with the guy, is HOPING to get a client that they're HOPING will turn things around and she's HOPING that the agency will continue to thrive for many years. If this had truly been a trade for total financial security, maybe I'd have gotten it. Five percent of SCDP is not financial security, to my eye.

A few things to remember here, in that in this time period, I think "Madison Avenue" as we've come to know it, is booming. Every single large to medium sized company (to smaller companies in smaller markets) is deeply desirous, and painfully aware, of needing a TV advertising presence (and the complimentary print ads) least they be left in the dust as unhip and technologically (the space race is in full swing and it's an almost patriotic duty to the memory of JFK to be technologically hip and futuristic and win outer space for America, before those pinko soviets make the moon RED, by golly..).

A good start-up with the people, talent, name recognition, and coolness of SCDP (they have female copywriters!! They gave Lucky Strikes the heave ho ! (that's how it's remembered thanks to Don's letter), they have African-American employees!!, (they're soon to have a WOMAN partner!!), I mean granted, all those developments (pretty hilariously actually when seen from the audiences POV) were unintentional, but from the outside looking in?? I'd say anyone with half a brain knows this is a solid bet.

The biggest, most influential, most powerful, most affluent consumer wave in the history of the world; the boomers (Hello Sally...), are coming into their own, and they value hipness and progress and multiculturalism and women's rights and so on and forth, and anyone can see SCDP is really right there to collect the projects aimed at them. Joan is no fool. As a matter of fact she's always been the sharpest knife in the drawer at SCDP outside of Don (and part of their attraction to one another), and she definitely knows a good bet when she sees one.

I think it's on it's way to becoming a giant, the kind that begins to gobble up smaller ad agencies and then maybe perhaps itself gets gobbled up and that five percent could grow to be a breathtaking number pretty quickly.

posted by Skygazer at 12:22 PM on May 30, 2012


By the way, when did we decide Joan lived in Jersey City?

There was reference a few seasons back to Paul Kinsey living in Jersey City. Which I believe Joan mocked?

There are also a lot of references early in the series to the idea that Joan is living the "eligible bachelorette in the big city" dream (especially as she's contrasted to frumpy Peggy from Brooklyn). It's apparent, too, that she's still living in the same apartment that she shared with her lesbian roommate back in Season 1, which Dr. Rapist moved into when they got married. And he was a resident at Columbia Pres, so would have needed to live in Manhattan for sure. The consistency of that set and the different tones of the various scenes that take place there is on par with the sort of costume analysis that Tom & Lorenzo are so good at.

I think at some point there was reference to Dr. Rapist being based in New Jersey in the nebulous idealized future which failed to materialize when he volunteered to go back to Vietnam. But said future never actually materialized, and AFAIK the "Harris" family is still living in Joan's bachelorette apartment in Manhattan.
posted by Sara C. at 12:28 PM on May 30, 2012


Linda Holmes: But the major disagreement here isn't "she might under the right circumstances" versus "she would never ever ever." It's "Were these the right circumstances?"

Well, other than getting the cover she needs and continued respect of people she cares about: Roger (Done. Roger is true blue to the bone when it comes to Joan. Period. I think he'd take a bullet for her --or at least pay someone to take bullet for her, in his name.--).

Pete? Pfft. Joan will use him as a toothpick one day...

Don: They've always had an understanding. He goes all the way out to Jersey City to make the point that he's always regarded her as much MUCH more than a sex object. And that won't change. And he's going to give her the regard and honor she needs if necessary. Done.

Layne: Layne, indirectly gives his blessing and tells her to go for it pretty much and to take a stake in the company instead and a partnership. I think that right there was the greenlight.

And because she is a single mom, and her mom is driving her nuts, and because she's never one day in her life since she hit puberty probably been allowed to forget what a desirable woman she is in the most humiliating ways (If the wolf whistle hadn't been invented before Joan, it would've had to be invented afterwards...).

Joan is not afraid of men sexually, indeed, I think she understands them inside and out in terms of their sexual desire for her, and she doesn't see it threatening, just as a male weakness. One she's used to further herself before...

And indeed Herb for all his sleaziness (and she reads him right, from one meeting, indeed it's probably second nature to her...), is like an overgrown awkward but sweet schoolboy, with old fashioned manners. Who's thrilled by her very presence. He's no threat...

One last thing, and this might sound like a cop out, but how many times has one heard the term "truth is stranger than fiction...." There's an element to life that's always unpredictable and unknowable, and incredible stuff happens all the time. I think as long as a character is strong and well-defined, well played, there's not much that comes out of the blue other than sheer absurdity (and even then...) that won't work, with the right circumstances. And I think they were right. So right Joan got the whole thing over with, before Don even got to her apartment, to give her the moral support she needed to either do it, or not.....

This thing with Joan? I'd be surprised if Joan wasn't offered money or gifts for sleeping with someone before...and in the past, she'd only entertained those, like Roger, who she liked for real....and said heck no, to the rest.
posted by Skygazer at 12:45 PM on May 30, 2012


Whoops, just checked Wikipedia and apparently Dr. Rapist was a resident at St. Luke's, not Columbia. Either way.
posted by Sara C. at 12:54 PM on May 30, 2012


In terms of Joan, I'm afraid I think it's the height of projection to think she wouldn't go through with things, under the right circumstances.... [...] It never ceases to amaze me when those characters were born. I mean we see them in the 60s, but someone like Joan was born in the 30s went through her most formative experiences in the 40s and 50s and was a child during WWII. Don was easily born in the early to mid 20s. Think about people you know who were born in those decades...it was really a hugely different world [...]

Yeah, but for me, the fact that she was born in the 30s raises the stakes, not lowers them. I think that a woman from that era would be more likely to value virtue over money than a woman born later. My grandmother was born in 1925 and was widowed at 35 with four boys. She worked, the boys (ranging in age from 8 to 20) all worked, and she took in boarders. She was a real looker and re-married 5 years later. She was super proud of having held it together. And her attitudes in the 70s and 80s about sex and loose women and "shortcuts" like welfare make it clear to me that having sex with someone for financial gain would have been anathema.

I'm in the minority with Linda Holmes: I certainly buy that there are circumstances that would lead Joan towards this decision. Actually I buy that even under these circumstances she could be motivated to make this decision; Weiner, et. al. just did a bad job of making this particular version of the arc believable. Where was the inner turmoil? Are we to take away from it that she made the decision easily? That it really was no big deal to her after all? For a series that has, at times, told whole stories with a gesture or a look, this was a very hamfisted approach to a hugely pivotal event in the show.

And further to era of the characters, Don Draper lost all sex appeal for me at the moment he rolled his eyes at the Beatles when talking to Sally a season or two ago. I suddenly realized, OHMYGOD HE'S MY GRANDFATHER. I know where this way of being leads and it is not attractive.
posted by looli at 12:56 PM on May 30, 2012


Well okay Joan lives in the Quantum metro area and has yet to collapse her waveform into a particle apartment on the east side.

But think about this, Joan's arc throughout the series, can you imagine Season 5 Joan saying anything like this?

“Go home, take a paper bag, cut some eyeholes out of it. Put it over your head, get undressed and look at yourself in the mirror. Really evaluate where your strengths and weaknesses are. And be honest.”

Joan has been dragged down from her lofty perch and is slowly climbing back up to a newer, stronger, more mature position. It's my favorite arc on the show.
posted by The Whelk at 12:56 PM on May 30, 2012 [6 favorites]


Are we to take away from it that she made the decision easily? That it really was no big deal to her after all?

I certainly didn't get that impression, but Joan is very much the type of person to keep her disappointments and regrets held deep down inside, to present an ever-clean look to the world and act as though every shitty thing that's happening to her is just what she already expected.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:00 PM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I would seriously be extremely surprised if the elevator shaft comes back."

One day people will write Ph.D. theses about that elevator. It has something to say about everyone: Marriage in Trouble, Women with Different Power Strategies, Staring into the Abyss, Times are Changing but They Are Still Awkward, You Can't Ignore Me, Should Female Power Be Direct or Subtle?, Salvation! (jump to 6:18ish, nobody has the right screencap).

The elevator's commentary is always important. I don't think anyone will fall down the shaft, but the elevator itself is always going to come back. I mean not in a silly way, but scenes in and near the elevator will continue to provide important punctuation and framing of issues and relationships and themes on the show. Elevator scenes are ALWAYS important.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:20 PM on May 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


Classic Deux ex Machina, somewhat, I guess.
posted by Skygazer at 1:23 PM on May 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


value virtue over money

People keep saying this, I think not really thinking about which character we're talking about.

Betty? Sure. Trudy*? Maybe. Peggy? Definitely, especially before Season 3 or so.

But Joan has been around the block, in a time when that phrase meant something. In the pre-feminism ethical system, Joan has no "virtue" to speak of. Almost every way of casting aspersions on a woman from that time applies to Joan at this point. Premarital sex. Homewrecker. Tart/tramp/slut/town bike. Promiscuous. Damaged goods. Cheater. Cuckold. I was tempted to say "unwed mother", but she actually was married to another man when she got pregnant! And now, divorcee.

It's sad to say it, and it's sad that people would have thought this way about themselves or the people they supposedly loved and respected. But I don't think a single character involved in the prostitution storyline had any illusions that there was any "virtue" in question here.

*Remember, too, that Pete is willing to pimp out his wife precisely because Trudy wasn't a virgin when they got married. It's explicitly mentioned in the scene. By him. In this world, once a woman is known to have had sex with a man she wasn't married to, she is a whore. The rest is dickering over the price, or however that expression goes.
posted by Sara C. at 1:25 PM on May 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


I don't think anyone will fall down the shaft, but the elevator itself is always going to come back

Well okay but yeah I mean that the empty shaft for people to fall down isn't going to come back, and no one is going to fall down it. That was my point.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:28 PM on May 30, 2012


*Remember, too, that Pete is willing to pimp out his wife precisely because Trudy wasn't a virgin when they got married. It's explicitly mentioned in the scene. By him. In this world, once a woman is known to have had sex with a man she wasn't married to, she is a whore. The rest is dickering over the price, or however that expression goes.

That's such a good point. It occurred to me that it wasn't so bad, in his mind, that the guy offered to sleep with her and she should have, given their past history. What was one more spin around the block, especially for his sake (grimy little pimp, indeed!)?

I thought that if it had been just a friend (hardly possible given the men-women friendship dynamic of the time) she was approaching directly who had made that offer he would have been pissed. Like really really pissed. But this view points out he still might have been into it! (Since she was already a whore in his mind, despite their marriage.)

I wonder if he somehow blames the first years of infertility on her, too.

It still bugs me how he's sticking it to Don. Oedipal complexwho'd be mom? Even after Don paid his share of the capital infusion that one time? Who'd be the mother? Campbell doesn't have issues, he has subscriptions as the saying goes. Maybe he's moved on from wanting Don to admire and respect him and just wants to beat the crap out of him every way he can.
posted by tilde at 1:37 PM on May 30, 2012


Where was the inner turmoil?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and posit that her inner turmoil may come out later, and when we least expect it. Remember, Joan is all calm and poise on the surface; that's part of what makes her Joan. But there've been a number of instances where she took a lot of crap from somebody initially, until finally reaching a breaking point and EXPLODING.

Remember how, after she was raped by her fiancee, the whole rape thing was completely dropped ... until this season? Turned out it was one her main reasons for leaving him.

(See also : the art department shenanigans in season 4, and her dressing-down of the ditzy receptionist this season. And that's just off the top of my head.)

My guess is that we haven't heard the last of Joan's encounter with Mr. Rennet. Not by a long shot.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:40 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


until I remembered that Lane did exactly that a scant few weeks.ago

After Don objects and leaves, and the rest of the group votes, Layne is the last one to leave and gives Pete a great grimacing look that says "I smashed your face once; I can do it again."

And just, really owning it, and yet, we're not gonna discuss it.

That's another great part of this plot--it will never be mentioned ever again by anyone. Rings very true to me.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:48 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


*Lane
posted by mrgrimm at 1:49 PM on May 30, 2012


Unless Afroblanco is right and it's mentioned by Joan herself as she stands over the helpless body of Pete Campbell who is suffering from his first heart attack. Phone in hand, wondering if it's absolutely necessary to dial 911.
posted by Sara C. at 1:51 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh I'll wager before long, Pete mentions the FUCK out of it. What else will that ant be able to try and take Joan down a peg with? I'd say they're on equal footing now, but Joan's a partner now, and Pete's still just Pete.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 1:52 PM on May 30, 2012


That's another great part of this plot--it will never be mentioned ever again by anyone. Rings very true to me.

My money says Pete brings it up sometime down the road. I think he probably feels he personally landed Jaguar because of his pimping Joan. I can easily see the little worm feeling like this is a huge victory for him over Don. This is a political power moment for Pete, in his mind.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:00 PM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


wondering if it's absolutely necessary to dial 911

Joan would never wonder this. Because 9-11 didn't exist. /pedant
posted by SassHat at 2:01 PM on May 30, 2012 [6 favorites]


Arya and Peggy, Sansa and Joan - Mentirs in Mad Men and Game of Thrones
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ha, SassHat. Fine, then, calling an ambulance.

(I literally cannot imagine a world where someone collapses on the floor in obvious cardiac distress and you have to go find a phone book and look up the nearest ambulance service or whatever.)
posted by Sara C. at 2:08 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


...or mentors. Stupid phone.
posted by Artw at 2:09 PM on May 30, 2012


Sara C.: "In this world, once a woman is known to have had sex with a man she wasn't married to, she is a whore. The rest is dickering over the price, or however that expression goes."
Man: Would you sleep with me for ten million dollars?
Woman: Sure.
Man: How about for ten dollars?
Woman: What do you think I am?
Man: We've already established what you are. All we're doing is bargaining about price.
It's attributed to both Churchill and Shaw. Who knows.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:14 PM on May 30, 2012


Of course, the real parallel characters between Game of Thrones and Mad Men are Arya Stark and Sally Draper. Those kids need to team up and show everyone.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:23 PM on May 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


DIRTYBOOTS and MURDER - together they make CRIME.
posted by Artw at 4:53 PM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Art of Mad Men
posted by Artw at 3:35 PM on May 31, 2012


Artw: "...or mentors. Stupid phone"

If it's any consolation, I changed it in my head to "Arya and Peggy, Sansa and Joan - Mentats in Mad Men and Game of Thrones".
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:57 PM on May 31, 2012


Oh man, crossover gold.
posted by Artw at 8:10 PM on May 31, 2012


WHISKEY MUST FLOW
posted by The Whelk at 8:46 PM on May 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought insurance policies didn't pay out for suicides.

I, unfortunately, have experience in this. Many, if not most, life insurance companies will pay out on a suicide if the policy is older than a year or two.

Anyway, I have nothing intelligent to add, except to note, as others have, that Peggy would be the age of my boss or my maternal grandparents (early / mid 70s), Don would be the age of my paternal grandparents (80s), and even Sally would be about my mom's age. People get old. It's crazy.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:49 PM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, Joan did rise to the level of office manager, and she did divorce her rapist husband, and she did turn down Roger's money. I thought this was part of an arc for her, and so I felt it was surprising she would sell herself for 5% of SCDP.

I just rewatched this episode, and it occurred to me that the financial security might not have been Joan's motivation at all. I mean I do think she wanted the insurance for herself and her baby, as Lane suggested. But (as has been pointed out above) the cash in hand could well have been her better bet on that front.

She rejected the $50k, but Lane's suggestion may have swayed her because she realized that, by making this deal, she would gain herself a position in which she would never be subjected to such a thing again. And she had been in a similar situation before, when she submitted to rape rather than give up her hopes of marriage to a surgeon. The marriage didn't pan out, and she ended it and put all her energies back into SCDP, only to have another major sexual insult offered to her there. She says to Lane, "You were all in there talking about it?" Then he suggests the partnership. She is upset that the partners have all been discussing the price of her cooperation, but she realizes that if she makes partner, in the future she'll be a participant in the discussion, not the topic of it. This would make perfect sense of the arc outlined in the comment above: Joan's choice is not made out of defeat or desperation or humiliation, but out of continued determination to take control. And she is absolutely pragmatic enough to pay the price.

It is interesting that the only change Joan makes to Lane's proposal, when she takes it to Pete, is that she specifies that hers will not be a silent partnership.
posted by torticat at 12:24 AM on June 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh man, crossover gold.

I just would so like to see Omar from The Wire walk into the offices of Mad Men's SterlingCoooperDrapperPryce.

Maybe give Pete Campbell a little visit. Plop himself down on Pete's couch...



Omar: Pete, yo. You out of control. A man...he got to have a code he live by...


DOIINGGG!!!

[Pete's eyes pop out of his head and ricochet off the walls like ping pong balls.]

posted by Skygazer at 2:55 AM on June 1, 2012


Or Sam from Burn Notice. Him and Fi get in there, start blowing things up...

Rewatched some of the first season this week.

Peggy, 1960, $35 a week - $1820 per year before taxes
Pete, 1960, $75 a week - $3900 per year before taxes (though Pete rounds it to take home pay of $3500 when they are looking at the apartment.
Sandwich at the cart: 35 cents

There's a later episode (first, second?) That show Ken making $300 a week: $15600 and Harry $150? $7800 I think.

Contrast that to 1966 and Joanie is making $12,500 as office manager (someone put that as what it was if $50k was 5x her salary).

Also - Joanie is not in Jersey City, Paul was. She mentioned to Peggy that eventually she (Peggy) would get into the city "like the rest of us girls" and TLo says Joan's in the same apt as always (roomate out, Husband, then mother, in). What fooled me is that perspective change of the shots.

Watching those first couple of episodes I see a ton of foreshadowing now (though to me Sal's was obvious). A lot of the guys are in black suits (including Sal). And Ken was a creeper, too - going after Peg, Paul kissed her, Harry sounded like he was talking about hookers but then walked it back ....

Layers, man. Reminds me of the writing of Iron Man - they put in a lot of "bits" in the movie that could be in-jokes if it stood alone, or could be built on if there were more movies. Same with the layering here.

I have changed my mind about Lane being discovered this season. One place I worked actually kept two sets of books. There were real and secret partner meetings. Very slimy.

I can see Lane doing that to keep Joan and others in the dark longer as a hook into season Six...
posted by tilde at 5:42 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Watching those first couple of episodes I see a ton of foreshadowing now (though to me Sal's was obvious). A lot of the guys are in black suits (including Sal). And Ken was a creeper, too - going after Peg, Paul kissed her, Harry sounded like he was talking about hookers but then walked it back ....

Yeah, it's insane. I recently rewatched the whole series over the course of a few weeks and it's funny to me how very much everything was planned. Take Megan--introduced a good handful of episodes before I ever noticed her at the Pond's cold cream panel, and it's emphasized over and over again how beautiful she is. And little bits of her characterization were there, too. She did "some" acting, promised Don sex with no strings attached after she saw Allison run out of there. So many little things that made their engagement into an inevitability. Just a really well-written show. I'd highly recommend a rewatch to anyone contemplating it.

(Although the side effect is this time around, I noticed all the many moments of Betty being a good mother--there were a surprising number--and she's a much more sympathetic character to me, and Don far less. It's fundamentally changed how I watch the show.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:30 AM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Frankly I never got why so many people were seeing Betty as the villain instead of Don.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:36 AM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Weird, PhoBWanKenobi, this second time around (I'm nearing the end of season four) I've noticed much more how Betty seems to detest her children, particularly Sally. The first time I watched, I was more sympathetic to Betty -- I could see how trapped she was, but I didn't notice how hateful she was in her little everyday interactions with her children.

But all the moments with Megan in season four are amazing when you pile them up. Megan calming Sally when Dr. Joy Miller can't, Megan connecting with Sally. Megan as a competent secretary. Megan in the frame, literally between Don and Dr. Miller. I was completely shocked when Don announced he was marrying Megan, but on the second viewing it's all right there in bold print.

It makes me wonder how far in advance the story is planned. Do they already know what is going to happen up to the very end? How far in advance do the actors learn of the basic storyline?
posted by brina at 7:59 AM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


It wasn't even that I saw her as a villain. I think her good qualities were kind of eclipsed by "SHE WANTS HIM TO HIT BOBBY!!! SHE SLAPPED SALLY!!"

Weird thing is that she seems to be the type of person who was a remarkably good parent (for the time) to her kids when they were young. When she tries to give Sally a doll at the birth of baby Gene to get them to be friends, it was really very sweet and empathetic--and I can understand her frustration when it backfires. And she's super loving toward Gene when he's an infant. Other than an (at the time socially acceptable) belief in corporal punishment, her parenting only seems to really fail when Sally becomes a tween and becomes a sexual competitor for Glen. Which is kind of almost understandable (though not defensible) considering how vapid and unfulfilled her life was romantically for years and years.

I guess now I really see, too, what her expectations were for her life, created via social context and parenting, and how once she discovered who Don really was, how she could have never accepted him. And I can't really fault her for that like I once did.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:02 AM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


brina, PhoBWanKenobi, shakespeherian

I dunno. I'm iffy about Betty. This time around I see all the poison she ate up and is passing on to her daughter - being skinny, being admired, but not a slut - How much is that different from Joan being raised by that (Cougar?) to be admired? But Betty had "happy" parents and Joan did not (comment by Joan about her mother's marriage once that was REALLY bitter).
I guess now I really see, too, what her expectations were for her life, created via social context and parenting, and how once she discovered who Don really was, how she could have never accepted him. And I can't really fault her for that like I once did.
Yes! He didn't just lie, he lied about EVERYTHING. I'd see Trudy doing the same thing, if Pete were Dick Whitmanned.

Spent too much time reading recaps on TWOP waiting for last week's to go up ...

Wrapping up S1 (1960) Salaries:

Don (end of season $45,000) - speculated to be $30,000 earlier and he gave his brother $5,000 to go away. He's also now a partner, though I missed by how much. (episode after Roger's heart attack, when he fades at the Lucky Strike luncheon.) The doc says he's 38 but that doesn't jibe with later seasons.

Peggy the new junior copywriter - $40 a week = $2,080 (birth control $11 a month)

1962 (S2) Salaries:

Oh! Joan's Birthdate, Feb 24, 1931 - so she's 29 this year!

Ken does make $300 bucks a week! $15,600

Harry uses that knowledge to get himself bumped up from $200 ($10,400) to $225 ($11,700)

And that's the last we see of salary talk, IIRC until this episode. Well, Don's percentage nets him $500,000 when SC is sold to the British (and he was a junior partner, so we know Alice, Roger, and Betram got much more).

One note, Ken and Pete pretty much do the same damn job (though once we get to SCDP, Ken is junior to Pete) what's with the discrepancy?

My only thought is that they figured Pete would have no clue being a rich boy, at what he was worth? Or Ken is just better than him ... and has gotten more raises since they "started together"?
posted by tilde at 8:26 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


In thinking about it, I am convinced that Joan did it for the power, not the money -- she knows how precarious their financial situation is (well, except she doesn't yet know about Lane), and she specified she wanted the power to vote and to discuss.

I need to rewatch to see what I think about whether Don knew or suspected Joan had slept with Herb by the time he spoke to her, and whether Joan would have changed her mind had she known. But I still claim that there is no way Roger would have believed Pete telling him that Joan was okay with it, because Roger wouldn't believe him if Pete said "Your name is Roger".

I don't think Betty is a nice person. I think she was nicer to Don than he deserved, but she's overall a very unhappy person who is not terribly kind to her kids. (Though she is better with Henry, she still is cruel when Don reappears.) I just don't think Don is overall a nicer person than Betty (more well-rounded, since we see him so much more), or that he's a better parent. I certainly don't blame Betty for leaving him (and suspect that the Dick thing was the excuse more than the only reason.) I just cannot see how Betty is a less sympathetic character than Don, or Pete, or Roger, or any of the other unsympathetic characters on the show.
posted by jeather at 9:03 AM on June 1, 2012


I dunno. I'm iffy about Betty. This time around I see all the poison she ate up and is passing on to her daughter - being skinny, being admired, but not a slut - How much is that different from Joan being raised by that (Cougar?) to be admired? But Betty had "happy" parents and Joan did not (comment by Joan about her mother's marriage once that was REALLY bitter).
I guess now I really see, too, what her expectations were for her life, created via social context and parenting, and how once she discovered who Don really was, how she could have never accepted him. And I can't really fault her for that like I once did.
Yes! He didn't just lie, he lied about EVERYTHING. I'd see Trudy doing the same thing, if Pete were Dick Whitmanned.


I don't think there's much difference between Joan and Betty at all in that way (or even Betty and Megan!). These characters are all products of their environment, and while environment can create villains (Pete, sometimes), it's hard for me not to feel a lot of sympathy for Betty and how she was groomed to have this certain type of life--one which is rapidly becoming an impossibility due to social change. Which is why I think he never would have married Don. It wasn't the lies. She could have been with a philanderer. But the poor son of a whore philanderer? Never ever ever.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:26 AM on June 1, 2012


It makes me wonder how far in advance the story is planned. Do they already know what is going to happen up to the very end?

My guess, from both a close viewing of the show, knowing a little about the behind the scenes machinations between Wiener and AMC, and also from knowing how TV works, would be that they plot out overall season arcs, and possibly know where that will leave them for the beginning of the following season. For example they planned the Megan arc of last season and probably knew from there that Don would ultimately marry her. They would then have an inkling of what the issues in their marriage would be and maybe how to plot that out over the course of the current season.

But I doubt that something like which characters are costumed in black suits in a one-off scene in season 1 really is planned as some sort of omen. There's just no feasible way to do that, because you can't know in the first season of a series that you will get orders for more. And there's really no point in paying writers for all that extra work of plotting out years and years that will likely never come to anything.

Not to mention that there's just no way for that sort of thing to trickle down to the random nobody they send out to buy vintage suits on like day 1 of the first season. It has to be a black suit because the minor character with two lines in the scene is maybe going to get kicked to the curb five years from now? What? Well there are no black suits with the right kind of lapel in his size. So, plot arc ruined? TV doesn't work that way.

You might know certain things about character arcs due to the nature of those characters -- for example Sal's arc is a quintessential gay character arc of the period and illustrates the kinds of things that the show deals with a lot. You don't have to hire someone in season 1 to plot out where season 3 is going to take Sal; you just know.
posted by Sara C. at 9:39 AM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Betty is complicated. Terribly unhappy in her role, immature to the point that she (a) connects more with Glen than with anyone else throughout the series, and (b) eventually even goes so far as to see a child psychiatrist for herself. Jealous of her children. Prone to lashing out, locking her daughter in a closet, doing vindictive shit like announcing it's time to move to Rye after discovering Sally hanging out with Glen.

I think Don is kind of a pretty good dad for his time. He doesn't just get angry with Sally for being afraid of her brother. Instead he tries to get a the root of her fear. He, not Betty, comforts his children when the president is killed. He doesn't instantly believe the worst of his children. Having had a hard childhood himself, he seems determined to be kinder to his own kids.

I don't understand, though, why Betty couldn't be with the poor son of a whore philanderer. They have money, they are securing more and more prestige for themselves in the community, and he has kept his secret very well. He's the creative director of and eventually a partner in a Madison Avenue agency. They live in a beautiful house and own a beautiful car and apparently have a drawer full of cash. Why should Don's terrible secret past change any of that? The bigger problem, to me, is not that he's a poor son of a whore philanderer but that he pretended otherwise for so long.
posted by brina at 9:45 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


They have money, they are securing more and more prestige for themselves in the community, and he has kept his secret very well. He's the creative director of and eventually a partner in a Madison Avenue agency. They live in a beautiful house and own a beautiful car and apparently have a drawer full of cash. Why should Don's terrible secret past change any of that? The bigger problem, to me, is not that he's a poor son of a whore philanderer but that he pretended otherwise for so long.

It's just a choice she never would have made--she would never feel secure in his ability to provide for her, and what matters to her is both social appearances and the ability to feel secure in his ability to provide. Those were the two things she looks for in a husband, and why she's with Henry now. She's a house cat, and staying with Don would have made her feel more like a barn mouser.

I don't think Don is a good dad. Don is a mostly very absent dad. He skips out on Sally's birthday parties and is absent for most of Gene's babyhood because he's courting Conrad Hilton. After the divorce, he frequently skips out on their weekend together, leaving his kids with various women involved in his life to varying degrees (some near strangers!). He pretty transparently buys their affections to make up for those absences (the dog, the Beatles tickets), but it's not exactly stellar parenting.

The one advantage Don has over Betty is that he's able to interact with kids as if they're adults, while Betty's conception of Sally, particularly, is stuck in childhood. She doesn't let Sally go to her grandfather's funeral because she believes kids are best shielded from that. She thinks that having Gene "buy" Sally a doll as a friendship gesture will help because she sees Sally as a little girl. But it's mostly a failure of framing, not intent. Betty is clearly trying very hard to be a good mother for her time, despite the fact that she doesn't exactly love motherhood. And her whole life is motherhood. She's not exactly bullshitting when she says to Don that she's with the kids all the time and therefore deserves to make the decisions, even if her decisions aren't ones I particularly agree with.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:10 AM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why should Don's terrible secret past change any of that?

Because it's the 60's, and times are changing. If the show was set in 1953, or 1933, or 1593, yes, Don's big lie is meaningless in the face of How Society Works. If you are a woman, you find a man who can provide for you, and then you're set, regardless of what kind of person that man turns out to be or what that means for your future happiness on a psychological level.

But in 1963, the world is turning upside down, and suddenly divorce is kind of OK. Especially if you've already found another more acceptable man who can also provide for you, and he's fine with the concept of divorce due to being divorced himself. In that context, the choice to leave your untrustworthy liar husband is a lot easier.
posted by Sara C. at 10:27 AM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


My comment about the black suits was ill-placed here - there was (I lurk) a comment at TLo how no one was wearing black suits this year (1967) except Pete when he went in and played Joan, and someone else chimed in about that Brooks Brothers snootily stated to someone they knew that they only sold Grey and Navy suits and blah blah blah.

I think they did plant a number of themes they revisit; interesting to see how Joan reacts to Lady Chatterly's Lover and it's portrayal of what such bullshit marriage is. It doesn't occur to them that a) 500 years ago marriage wasn't for love (I have not read LCL), b) romantic love may be invented but so what. Also allows them to play with her not marrying Roger (who she was already sleeping with for six years by then, as well as being with the firm that long - but we don't find all that out until later). But it also lets them use it for her mom's marriage disaster discussion later.

I think there is a tight padded show bible that they play from whenever they can. This is the age of time-shifting, so we'll do crap like parse out exactly what everyone is paid then and translate it to today's dollars.

I don't understand, though, why Betty couldn't be with the poor son of a whore philanderer.

There was still a lot of social classing going on (hell, there is now, too). She took him at his word for his stability (successful fur guy with a degree in engineering), but her father complained all the time that "he had no people". That you can't "trust a man without people". As paralleled in the Dykman/Campbell story line of "Oh, a Dykman in the building!" and "His grandfather dropped it all in '29 but ..." "We [something something important] [something fancy city botanical something] .... who you are from and who you know are as important as what you make/do (which is also why Pete's dad hates that he's in advertising - and that for Ken it's just a day job).

Agreeing with Sara about divorce, too. It's one thing to be a philandering sonofabitch that cheats but provides even if he's an ass like a lot of men who leaves her to the children and home life, but another one to be someone else completely, especially one of such low class she had to figure out on her own.

Could he, at sometime, told her the truth? Possibly. (no story for us!) But to find out years and years later, after she's already pissed about everything else in her life and how he treats her and the world treats her and when she's found a new story-book knight to rescue her (possibly) ... no.

It's also very similar to Vanity Fair with Don as a modernish Becky Sharp, now that I think about it.
posted by tilde at 10:34 AM on June 1, 2012


I don't think there's much difference between Joan and Betty at all in that way (or even Betty and Megan!).

I dunno. In the recent Thanksgiving episode, Betty says something like she's "grateful that no one else has it any better than we do."

I can't imagine Megan saying that. I think Megan (Quebecois; daughter of academic; 10+ years younger?) comes from a very different worldview than Joan or Betty.

Why should Don's terrible secret past change any of that?

Well, because he lied to her several times, even after he was caught, and if he had not been caught, he would have continued lying to her for the rest of their lives. I'm not saying Don has to provide full details of his mother's occupation, but there has to be some trust. I think it's the continued and persistent lying (affairs, psychologist) that's the straw, not the fact he's the son of a prostitute. She keeps Don's secrets even after the divorce; there's no reason to think she couldn't have done so if they stayed married.

The one advantage Don has over Betty is that he's able to interact with kids as if they're adults, while Betty's conception of Sally, particularly, is stuck in childhood.

I wouldn't say he treats them like adults; I'd say he treats them like people which differentiates him from Betty. I think Don is a pretty good dad by the standards of the time.

What I like about Betty is that she shows that it's wasn't just the highly intelligent and capable women of the time who were ruined by confining gender roles--every woman was.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:42 AM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


FWIW, I think the black suit stuff at TLo was wrong, or at least, wrong in terms of how the male characters are costumed. I've never noticed that black suits are eschewed on the show, and now suddenly the men are wearing them. It's possible that black suits were rarer in the 60's than they are today, or that they had a different social context back then. But think they were grasping at character straws with that "ooooh, nobody ever wears black suits!" thing.

Re Lady Chatterley's Lover and Joan's comment about what bullshit marriage is, I think you're reading way too much into that. If anything, I think it was chosen to reflect the times (LCL was really controversial at the time and makes the perfect little nod to the period) and also to reflect one of the overarching themes of the show -- the changing social mores centered around gender, marriage, sex, and family. It also probably reflects Joan's character at that time, that of a very single 29 year old whose marriage prospects are rapidly dwindling. Keep in mind, too, that she's one of the few characters openly having pre-marital sex so early on in the series. It might have been a subtle nod to her relationship with a married man, but keep in mind we learn about this just a few episodes down the road. So that's not so weird.
posted by Sara C. at 10:46 AM on June 1, 2012


Betty, even more than any other character on the show, uses her social class as a weapon. It's her last resort tactic in arguments, "I am an upper class WASP social register sort and you are not. Your opinion will never matter as much as mine." Once she finds out she can use that against Don she almost revels in it, which why I understand *why* she's doing it and how much it has to do with her restrictive background, but it does make her seem cartoonishly villainous at times - an Aryan From Darien if you will.
posted by The Whelk at 10:47 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not disagreeing with you, Sara C.; I agree that Chatterly was likely timely and meant to go with the Joan/Roger thread and put you in the right time frame. I'm just saying that it's nice that they could also use it later on with her being crushed at the Jane thing, and finally latching onto Dr Rapist (first episode time-reflective comment about how cute the GYN is and his nice house in the country), after Roger's heart attack (I know the Jane thing came after!).

I saw something that was talking about Iron Man the other day that reminded me, is all. They stuck a bunch of cutesy things in there that, in the event it was a one-off movie would be cutesy call-backs, in-jokes, but if more movies happened, could be used as tie-ins.

Also had a discussion elsewhere that reminded me to pay attention to Don/Pete interaction the early season more.
posted by tilde at 10:57 AM on June 1, 2012


I dunno. In the recent Thanksgiving episode, Betty says something like she's "grateful that no one else has it any better than we do."

I can't imagine Megan saying that. I think Megan (Quebecois; daughter of academic; 10+ years younger?) comes from a very different worldview than Joan or Betty.


I'm not saying their worldviews are the same--I'm saying they are incredibly tied to their respective upbringings. I suspect a lot of the reason that Betty seems more cruel is that she's been groomed for a very traditional life, one which is rapidly becoming outdated. That's not to defend slapping your kids or locking them in the closet but these things are much more monstrous viewed through a modern, progressive lens than they would have been in the 1940s and 1950s WASP world in which Betty came of age--in which a woman would be disappointed in her husband for not spanking a kid.

And I really do think it was the revelation about Don's identity that broke their marriage. She forgave infidelity again and again--if you look at what happened with neighbor lady, or even Pete Campbell and trainguy, these things almost seem expected as normal within this certain type of suburban life. But it's the moment he tells her what he really is that she falls out of love with him. Had he told her at the beginning, I think she never would have gone for Don, much less married him (the myth she tells herself about his mysterious past? He's a football hero who hates his dad). It just would have been that unacceptable to her.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:57 AM on June 1, 2012


Yeah, I don't so much think Betty left Don because his true origins are as a hillbilly dirt farmer. He makes references to growing up poor and rural pretty often before The Big Reveal, and later on she says something about always assuming he was some country boy football hero who hated his daddy.

What I think is that she uses class and status as a weapon, as you say, The Whelk. Things are already pretty rocky between her and Don (remember they were separated for a lot of season 2 and really only get back together because "it's the right thing to do" on various levels). She has this flirtation going with Henry, who is divorced himself. Then she finds out the truth about Don (which of course I'm sure she chooses to see in the most negative light -- deserter, fraud, divorced another woman probably during her and Don's courtship without saying a word about it). She needs a "logical reason" to leave Don for good, and status is that reason. She can't talk about her feelings, so suddenly the real problem is that Don is "really" a hillbilly dirt farmer and not good enough for her.
posted by Sara C. at 11:05 AM on June 1, 2012


Take Megan--introduced a good handful of episodes before I ever noticed her at the Pond's cold cream panel, and it's emphasized over and over again how beautiful she is.

I didn't start watching the series (no cable) until I heard about the one where Joan gets her checkup from Dr Cutie and the go ahead to start planning to have children. It came up in news articles around that time for it's discussion in 1960s terms of abortion, aka "procedures" and Betty's unexpected pregnancy and her insistence that "this was not a good time".

Caught up on Netflix (First couple of seasons) then went through and watched it all when it came back no Netflix last year. Megan actually stood out to me because she was referred to out of the room (someone calling to an open door and her not being visible or vocal) and then at Pond's because she was the only one in bright colors.

Even then, I really thought his proposal was sudden. Damn. But on rewatching, it was pretty threaded in there.
posted by tilde at 11:07 AM on June 1, 2012


They stuck a bunch of cutesy things in there that, in the event it was a one-off movie would be cutesy call-backs, in-jokes, but if more movies happened, could be used as tie-ins.

This is where we disagree. Having worked in TV for many years, it just doesn't work that way. Anyone who says that this sort of thing happens is bullshitting.

It's true that they littered the early episodes with references to ideas that would become the overarching themes of the series. But, no, there's just no way that Joan's one-off line about a doctor's summer home is some kind of omen that she's going to have a tumultuous relationship with a doctor several years down the road. That line is from the pilot. When it was written, nobody even knew whether the show would ever be made. At that phase of development, Joan was meant to be a tertiary character like Ken and Harry. There is just no possible way that they were setting up an arc for one of the main characters of the series, which would span half a decade of series time.

Fans love to believe this stuff, but it's just not true. Really.
posted by Sara C. at 11:15 AM on June 1, 2012


What I think is that she uses class and status as a weapon, as you say, The Whelk. Things are already pretty rocky between her and Don (remember they were separated for a lot of season 2 and really only get back together because "it's the right thing to do" on various levels). She has this flirtation going with Henry, who is divorced himself. Then she finds out the truth about Don (which of course I'm sure she chooses to see in the most negative light -- deserter, fraud, divorced another woman probably during her and Don's courtship without saying a word about it). She needs a "logical reason" to leave Don for good, and status is that reason. She can't talk about her feelings, so suddenly the real problem is that Don is "really" a hillbilly dirt farmer and not good enough for her.

I didn't read it that way at all. I thought that for Betty, finding out about Don's real identity when he'd been treating her like crap for the past ten years, was just the last straw. What did she say during that horrifying scene when Don burst into their bedroom and grabbed her by the throat while she was sleeping and accused her of being a "spoiled Mainline brat"? Nothing about status. She said, "I've never been enough for you."
posted by orange swan at 11:33 AM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Joan was meant to be a tertiary character like Ken and Harry.

No way do I buy that. Joan's always been either a crucial part of the ensemble, or on the way to being developed as such. I've known since season one that barring some ridiculous plot twist or need to write her out of the show, Joanie would be a partner. And at this point, I'd say Joan is just as key to the show's cohesiveness and integrity as Don or Peggy, or the Megan/Betty construct.
posted by Skygazer at 11:43 AM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wait, what? She does too talk about status in that scene:

Don: And now I'm not good enough for some spoiled, main line brat?!
Betty: THAT'S RIGHT!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:43 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


What is a "main line" person anyway? What are the origins for that designation?
posted by Skygazer at 11:45 AM on June 1, 2012


Philadelphia Main Line.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:46 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Mainline brat" refers to an old and expensive residential area of Philadelphia that's situated around the main railway line.
posted by orange swan at 11:48 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Neat. learn something new all the time round here....autodidact heaven of sorts...
posted by Skygazer at 11:50 AM on June 1, 2012


and yes Betty is the physical manifestation of the Mainline at it's peak and most influential right before it retired from the world in disgust, so to speak.
posted by The Whelk at 11:52 AM on June 1, 2012


Mainline

Well there goes thinking it was a reference to the Velvet Underground's Heroin. And foreshadowing of Sally's future as a junkie and member the Andy Warhol's Factory troop...

posted by Skygazer at 11:57 AM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've just spent a good five minutes trying to find that confrontation scene on Youtube and can't find it. But I really do think that Betty cared about being lied to more than she did about Don's real origins, and that she had simply had it with Don's treatment of her. When she said he wasn't good enough for her, she was right — she'd been a much better spouse to him than he to her.
posted by orange swan at 12:01 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Touche, orange swan, but I think the line has an interesting double meaning. While she's speaking from emotion and venting her disappointment to him, "I was never enough for you" also has interesting economic implications.
posted by Sara C. at 12:02 PM on June 1, 2012


yeah I don't think its the BULK of her anger/resentment but more a subtext running the background cause when you're that angry at someone nasty little thoughts like "well of course some hillbilly would do this to me..." can and will bubble in the back of your head.
posted by The Whelk at 12:04 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which is why I think Betty's last resort position is to fall back on her background, this isn't how the Right People Behave, the right people being a no true scotsman argument of course.
posted by The Whelk at 12:05 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


"well of course some hillbilly would do this to me..."

Unless he found some Texas Tea while taking a pot shot at dinner ...
posted by tilde at 12:06 PM on June 1, 2012



I've just spent a good five minutes trying to find that confrontation scene on Youtube and can't find it. But I really do think that Betty cared about being lied to more than she did about Don's real origins, and that she had simply had it with Don's treatment of her. When she said he wasn't good enough for her, she was right — she'd been a much better spouse to him than he to her.


I agree -- I don't remember her ever saying she was leaving him because he'd grown up poor, it was all about the lying.

Don: And now I'm not good enough for some spoiled, main line brat?!
Betty: THAT'S RIGHT!


He's putting her down, she's putting him down -- seems like how people have passionate arguments. I don't get how those scenes are always read as Betty leaving Don because she looked down on him. She said "you lied to me every day." That's what she hated about it.

I remember when Don and Betty had that argument about hitting Bobby and he shouted that his father beat him and it just made him hate him, Betty looked taken aback and whispered " I didn't know." I feel like she wanted to know more about him and he never let her in.

"I was never enough for you" also has interesting economic implications.

What implications?
posted by sweetkid at 12:15 PM on June 1, 2012


Skygazer - I'm not sure how/why Joan stuck around and had a more substantial role than originally planned. I think part of it was for color, and then when the show actually aired she was the breakout female character, rivalling Peggy.

Notice that her only story arc of the first season is the lesbian roommate (which I think is a C story when it appears). Her other roles are in support to the development of other characters -- as a mentor/villain to Peggy and as Roger's piece on the side. Her role becomes a lot more substantial in season 2, the first season to be written after the show had aired.

If you actually guessed that she would eventually be a partner from the pilot episode? You're either delusional or you didn't see it until after you were already familiar with the show. She's barely in the pilot.
posted by Sara C. at 12:18 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


sweetkid - think about the word "enough".
posted by Sara C. at 12:18 PM on June 1, 2012


orange swan: ""Mainline brat" refers to an old and expensive residential area of Philadelphia that's situated around the main railway line."

"Gloria, how's it gonna go down? /
Will you meet him on the Main Line, or will you catch him on the rebound?"
posted by Chrysostom at 12:21 PM on June 1, 2012



sweetkid - think about the word "enough"


I did? I thought "I was never enough for you" was a comment on his many infidelities and how she took that to mean he found her inadequate.
posted by sweetkid at 12:24 PM on June 1, 2012


It is. But you can also read it another way. That he's nothing and was lucky to ever get a perfect blonde from the Main Line, and now somehow that's not enough for him. She's describing herself as a product, an object to be owned. You could use almost the exact same line in an argument about Don's choice to buy a Cadillac. It's almost a line from his pitch for Jaguar.
posted by Sara C. at 12:32 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm not seeing that the "I was never enough for you" line is at all about money. Don just couldn't seem to give up his extra-curricular women or really embrace his role as a family man — he kept pursuing a fantasy separateness. He had one of his girlfriends actually waiting outside in the car when Betty confronted him about the contents of his secret drawer, for heaven's sake, and that was after Betty had already kicked him out once for cheating.
posted by orange swan at 12:33 PM on June 1, 2012


I don't think the line is about money.

I think the line is about status*, and about the old way of patriarchs trading women around like cattle. And about class. Betty is a thing, a status marker. And even that amazing status marker -- which hillybilly Dick Whitman could never have gotten for himself by legitimate means -- even THAT isn't enough for Don**.

It's almost the line of the show, if you think about it. Everything Mad Men is about is in that line. (possibly overthinking this.)

*I mean, obviously as an undertone/subtext to it being about Betty's feelings of inadequacy and Don's affairs and their generally being a terribly matched couple.

**This has a lot of parallels with Peggy's story, actually. Anytime Don and Peggy are in conflict, it's always about what "enough" should be, for Peggy.
posted by Sara C. at 12:43 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you actually guessed that she would eventually be a partner from the pilot episode? You're either delusional or you didn't see it until after you were already familiar with the show. She's barely in the pilot.

Well, I guess you're right if "being delusional" means being completely fucking right.
posted by Skygazer at 12:52 PM on June 1, 2012


Don just couldn't seem to give up his extra-curricular women or really embrace his role as a family man — he kept pursuing a fantasy separateness.

It's interesting to see how much he's changed for Megan and tried to reform--and probably why he's so frustrated that he's not enough for her. Don has no friends, no outside interests, no affairs. Megan and work are his entire world, with his kids every other weekend. The friends they see are Megan's; the places they go are either for work or her arranging. I think Don's hypercorrected from treating Betty as never enough to forcing Megan to be his everything. From neglect to suffocation.
posted by gladly at 1:03 PM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


But there's no way anyone could guess that from her role in the pilot. You could equally well guess that she'd die of a botched abortion, marry Sal, come on to Peggy later in the bathroom, or cut off her hair and become a bra-burning Women's Libber.

There's absolutely no way to take from her five minutes or so of exposition-ful screen time that, five seasons later, she'd become a partner in a completely different advertising agency.
posted by Sara C. at 1:07 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


he's so frustrated that he's not enough for her

Ooooh. I see what you did there.
posted by Sara C. at 1:08 PM on June 1, 2012


About Don and Betty--Don sure thought the secret's reveal was the marriage-ending act:

After I told her, I felt relieved. I kept thinking how small it was compared to how long it went on. I know, I know. It's just, I could tell the minute she saw who I really was, she never wanted to look at me again. Which is why I never told her (From "The Good News").

You can see a lot of this in how it plays out in Season 3. Don tries to shape up and make up for his infidelities and be a better, more present father. But it doesn't matter after that point, and Betty tells him that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:23 PM on June 1, 2012


There's absolutely no way to take from her five minutes or so of exposition-ful screen time that, five seasons later, she'd become a partner in a completely different advertising agency.

Ha ha....well yeah, that part of it would be delusional. How would one guess SC is going to go through all the uproar with the British company and then end up giving the rights to the old agency and it's work, and reforming/re-incorporating....

But, as for Joan, I went into the series already seeing her as a major component, simply from the prominent placement in the ads I think and probably some of the initial fawning and delight with the series in the press, but I'm pretty sure that either by the first two or three episodes, I had very strong suspicions that it was simply a matter of time before she was made a partner on the strength of her shrewdness and the effective way she really ran and watched over things from the background at SC. And to be completely honest, once Sterling Cooper did re-establish itself as SCDP after the re-organization, I was positive at that point that it would, indeed almost have to happen, in order to square the character's abilities, and arc and keep things believeable, but also because she's really the heart of the agency in many ways. She and Drapper at least, and that's been obvious since they were in an emergency room together in season 2 or 3 finally (it escapes me what that was for unless it was for Roger's heart attack not sure...) getting to know one another and coming together and seeing eye to eye on so much.

I'm amazing, right? That's how Team Pegasus rolls, Hon...
posted by Skygazer at 1:23 PM on June 1, 2012


Megan and work are his entire world, with his kids every other weekend. The friends they see are Megan's; the places they go are either for work or her arranging. I think Don's hypercorrected from treating Betty as never enough to forcing Megan to be his everything. From neglect to suffocation.

Ohhh this explains so much about his behavior this season that I DID NOT GET.
posted by sweetkid at 1:23 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


* Or it might be TEAM PIZZA HOUSE, not sure. Ask Whelk-y or PhoB...
posted by Skygazer at 1:24 PM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


that's been obvious since they were in an emergency room together in season 2 or 3 finally...

ie, the waiting room of an emergency...

posted by Skygazer at 1:27 PM on June 1, 2012


that's been obvious since they were in an emergency room together in season 2 or 3 finally...

ie, the waiting room of an emergency...


Her last day at SC-brits when the guy got run over with the lawnmower ...
posted by tilde at 1:33 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, I can see predicting this in season 3 (which is when the emergency room moment happens). But in the pilot? No. I think you're back projecting based on the character's trajectory throughout the first few seasons. You can't watch the pilot and assume really much of anything about the character aside from "everything Peggy's not".

I thought she'd become more of a career-woman in season 2 when she's oddly disappointed that Harry hired someone else to help him with media stuff. I started seeing her as more of a management/finance/administrator powerhouse towards the end of season 3, with the events you describe.

But in the pilot she's just a fun redhead with curves to die for. And that's OK. That's all a character like that has time to be in a pilot. You can't build a multiple-season story arc for 10-15 major characters into a 42 minute TV pilot.
posted by Sara C. at 1:34 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would not have picked her as a partner from day one, but I did as a strong centered character simply from her ability and skillset and perspective as a Peggy with a couple of Joans in my life.

I wonder if any of the partners would try to influence her vote or vice versa (thinking about it, she finds out Lane's issue, gets him to pay it back and "fix" it but he pledges his support/forwards something she doesn't want to (hah! she's JOAN!) to the partners.
posted by tilde at 1:35 PM on June 1, 2012


"I've watched Sunday’s divisive episode of 'Mad Men' twice, and at last I have an opinion. I'm not sure that what Joan did was realistic. But I also don't care, because as TV, it worked."

"Joan's Decision," Emily Nussbaum

But, as for Joan, I went into the series already seeing her as a major component, simply from the prominent placement in the ads I think and probably some of the initial fawning and delight with the series in the press, but I'm pretty sure that either by the first two or three episodes, I had very strong suspicions that it was simply a matter of time before she was made a partner on the strength of her shrewdness and the effective way she really ran and watched over things from the background at SC.

Historians, how many women became partners at ad agencies in the 1960s? I figured it was a big deal because it just did not happen (outside of family members).
posted by mrgrimm at 1:43 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I too think if anyone can save Lane at this point, with the confusion and the hole he's in, it will be Joan. And yeah, I think they're already a team, actually.

I'm going to predict that by the end of Season 6, barring any huge all encompassing event that hurts the company (1967 is the much vaunted Summer of Love, and SCDP, unintentionally being the most progressive, multicultural, gender advanced, with the coolest Creative Director on Madison Avenue), is really all set to be one of the, if not the absolute hottest go-to agency for any company, new and old seeking to attract the insanely lucrative demographic that is the BOOMERS.

Unless the Pegster steals Don's thunder a bit, but I'm honestly thinking her venture over where she's going is not going to be a smooth one and I see some bad days ahead for her in a place that might just value her for where she comes from (SC/SCDO as DD's protege) rather than where she wants to be going...

Perhaps she'll return to SCDP, with a massive title upgrade (a partner and Don's equal? Why not...) and appropriate salary uptick.
posted by Skygazer at 1:55 PM on June 1, 2012


Lost my train of thought up there, but my original point is that I think Joan will own more than 5% of SCDP by the end of Season 6 / 1967.
posted by Skygazer at 1:57 PM on June 1, 2012


seeking to attract the insanely lucrative demographic that is the BOOMERS.

Does this mean Sally Draper's going to be the original coolhunter?
posted by Sara C. at 2:06 PM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Historians, how many women became partners at ad agencies in the 1960s? I figured it was a big deal because it just did not happen (outside of family members).

It'd guess outside of family, it happened very very rarely, if ever...

But it would be a huge mistake to only read the show purely from the POV of history, indeed the writing on the show continually and from the pilot itself has made one of it's chief attributes and most fun aspects, the tongue in cheek presentation of the writers presenting a convention of the time vis-a-vis, it's modern analogue and nowhere has that been more prominent than in the treatment of women in the workplace (and indeed in the home as well), and knowing that that strange almost alien different time is being processed by writers who live in the present, only makes it a natural that a really neat and cool, and strange (because it sets up and opens up a huge vast rich vein of golden opportunity to explore that socioeconomic and sexual dynamic that comes from a woman --indeed the woman, because Joan's voluptuousness verges on the mythic and satirical of the ideal portrayed by films and the media in the late 50s/early 60s-- breaking through barriers and boundaries formerly barely dreamed about. I, for one, am incredibly keen to see how the other partners are going to adjust to Joan's presence. Even more interesting, is going to be how outsiders to the agency, clients and new employees adjust to Joan and how she manages it. And she will manage it.

So, yeah, as writer for that show, I'd constantly be searching out confrontations based on the congnitive dissonance and cultural shock of development in the 60s and getting them front and center and it's really the genius of that show on almost every level (Fashion, food, clothes...) to do that....even down to referencing things like the fact that elevator shafts opened up without a car all the time in the 60s and there were hundreds of deaths a year because of people falling down shafts or, the other thing I get a kick out of is children on the show riding in the front seats without seatbelts.

And I know 99% of parents with small children watching that are shaking their heads (some utterly aghast)...muttering "Wow...that's right...that's exactly the way it was, and no one really gave it too much thought..."
posted by Skygazer at 2:17 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Skygazer, the moment that sold me on Mad Men was the scene in an early episode where Betty yells at Sally for running around with the dry cleaning bag over her head, but when she actually says something to her, it's not, "you're going to suffocate!" but "My dry cleaning better not be in a heap on the closet floor!"
posted by Sara C. at 2:27 PM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


One of the great little moments/details for me in season one was when the Drapers go for a picnic and at the end, Don picks up the picnic blanket and he just lets all the paper plates and rubbish go flying into the park. I grew up in the 80s when "don't be a litterbug" was a big thing and, of course, the big push of recycling began. But, I assume, back in the 60s this just wasn't a thing people cared that much about.
posted by crossoverman at 4:24 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


OK, so I was just reminiscing with some old Tom & Lorenzo Mad Style posts, and I found something that really underscores the idea that Joan was originally meant to be a minor character. Joan doesn't get a single story of her own until episode 10 of the first season. Until then, she's a bit player in Peggy and Roger's dramas. And again, while I'm not 100% sure, my guess is that the Joan And Her Lesbian Roommate subplot is a C story.

Compare to the most recent episode where Joan's storyline is the A story, and Peggy Quitting SCDP is relegated to B story status while Don's Marital Drama is the C story.
posted by Sara C. at 7:59 PM on June 1, 2012


About Don and Betty--Don sure thought the secret's reveal was the marriage-ending act:

Yeah, and Weiner reinforces this too in the commentary on the episode when Don comes clean. He says that Betty tries, but ultimately she can't accept Dick Whitman (or words to that effect), and so she goes through with the divorce.

I was really surprised by this. First time I watched, I thought Betty was quite compassionate when Don told her his story (albeit angry, of course). And she did ask him why he'd never just told her. I thought the tragedy there was that, if he had found a way to be honest with her from early on, things could have been different; but that he had foregone the possibility of her trust and acceptance through the layers upon layers of lies that he had built up.

I still kind of prefer that interpretation, as I feel like it's what the show actually communicated, and also it's easier for me to empathize with a character who can't forgive deception than one who can't accept a person's background. But Betty's not me, of course, and I was interested to find out that the intention of the writers was that she be someone who could perhaps overlook infidelity (she already had) but not a seedy childhood. I mean that's maybe the worst indictment of Betty on the whole show.
posted by torticat at 9:43 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel like I've seen this said elsewhere and I also feel it personally -- Weiner sometimes has interpretations of the characters that don't match what a lot of the audience sees. Even though they're his characters, they belong to everyone in a way and sometimes I watch the commentary and think, "shut up Weiner."

I agree, I just don't see that Betty rejected Don because she couldn't deal with his past because it was beneath her. She knew he didn't have status -- no parents, rough childhood, living on a farm, no nanny, she knew all that. She couldn't take the lying and it's strange because she's really clear about that, and people still see it as "Betty the brat couldn't take poor Dick Whitman."

I mean that's maybe the worst indictment of Betty on the whole show.

I agree. But I just overlook that interpretation because it's not mine and I don't buy it.
posted by sweetkid at 10:04 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Part of the beauty of post modernism is that we can accept both things as true, Betty is both finally too upset with the constant lies to go on and she kinda uses the newfound Orphan Hillybilly information to recon her anger into something more blunt and understandable.
posted by The Whelk at 10:43 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cause throughout the whole breaking up narrative, Betty is selling herself a story, she's unhappy cause her husband is cheating, she's unhappy cause she's alone and bored, she's unhappy cause her husband is cheating and spying on her and doesn't respect her and doesn't treat her right because ....he's bad and awful and grew up poor. Again, she has every reason to feel this way, she should be pissed off, she should totally divorce his ass, but she doesn't seem to understand the bigger things going on, she's been so coddled and protected all her life that she doesn't realize why she's still unhappy or why rushing into another marriage may have been a bad idea cause expecting everything to be fixed by marrying the right guy isn't the best game plan.


She's a victim of the society that created her, someone that wasn't given any tools on how to handle adulthood because that might tarnish just how wonderfully pristine she was. " Of course your mother is obese" is a total taunt but also reveals her shallow analysis of situations combined with a lot of werid snotty baggage she inherited from her Mainline folks. Betty, like Pete, is tragic because she will always be unhappy but she will never understand why.

But unlike Pete, she at least has a few valid reasons to be a boiling pot of angst, even if she's not totally aware of them.
posted by The Whelk at 10:54 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I still kind of prefer that interpretation, as I feel like it's what the show actually communicated, and also it's easier for me to empathize with a character who can't forgive deception than one who can't accept a person's background. But Betty's not me, of course, and I was interested to find out that the intention of the writers was that she be someone who could perhaps overlook infidelity (she already had) but not a seedy childhood. I mean that's maybe the worst indictment of Betty on the whole show.

Eh, is it? I think about the thousands of ask metafilter questions about deception, and how marriage is predicated on honestly, like a contract with certain terms. For me, it just feels clear that those are terms Betty would have never agreed to in the first place. And it's classist, but Betty cares unusually about class and Dick Whitman is unusually low class. "I knew you were poor, and I knew you were embarrassed about it . . . " to her that meant not growing up with a cleaning lady, I'd wager. Not growing up without indoor plumbing.

But god, still, that awkward pat on the shoulder she gives him when he shows her the picture and cries about his brother was just heartbreaking.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:46 AM on June 2, 2012


Weiner sometimes has interpretations of the characters that don't match what a lot of the audience sees.

Oh, totally! My favorite example is Don's early exchange with Suzanne (was that her name? the teacher). She asks him if his family will be around for the summer and then makes some comment about how now he might as well come out and ask her if she's going to be around too, as if he had been the one directing the conversation that way. Viewers thought she was craycray, but Weiner said in the commentary something like, "I want to be clear about something, Don IS coming on to her in this scene." I rewatched and thought, well, maybe, if by "coming on" you mean compelling her by the sheer animal force of his presence. I mean obviously we already knew he was interested in her, but in the scene he literally just stands there and answers her questions, and she does come across as nutty with her assumptions.

I agree with The Whelk, though, that the multiple interpretations are good. To his credit, Weiner always says this, too, and generally doesn't act possessive of the characters. The cryptic writing and acting lend themselves to different readings, and seem realistic to me that way (i.e. people don't IRL broadcast their emotions or motivations and may not even understand all of them, themselves).
posted by torticat at 8:19 AM on June 2, 2012


I still think Suzanne was craycray, just all around.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:10 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was reminded of this comment, by Sara C.. when watching it again this morning:

Peggy to Don, as he declines celebrating the Jaguar account: "You really have no idea when things are good, do you."
posted by peagood at 6:26 AM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Don was totally hitting on the schoolteacher! I didn't read her as crazy at all. I felt awful for the way that Don treated her. She didn't want to get involved with him but he continued to pursue her and then when it was inconvenient he disappeared back into his marriage without a single thought for her.

But unlike Pete, she at least has a few valid reasons to be a boiling pot of angst, even if she's not totally aware of them.

There was one season that I liked because it really humanized Pete. He has so much privilege and so many connections, he is never going to be able to know if he could be a self-made man like Don. He's terrified of anything that could take that privilege away from him because he doesn't know if he could make it without it. That, combined with his status as less-favored son lends him a perpetual insecurity that he has no practical way of overcoming. He will always have, in the back of his mind, the idea that everyone only keeps him around for his family and his connections (which was more explicit in the first season).

(He's a total sleazeball, too, but I can see why he is so angsty).
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:38 AM on June 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, I thought he was hitting on her. Their relationship and affection was clearly mutual. I also thought she was generally pretty crazy-seeming--reckless and slightly confrontational. I think that appealed to Don--he was looking for a woman to run off with him since season 1. But something just felt off about her. Could have been the lack of compartmentalization there, which we saw with all of Don's other mistresses, but something about her relationship with her brother, too, said "bad boundaries" to me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:56 AM on June 3, 2012


Both, he was hitting on the teacher and she was crazy. She was also subject to other issues; her brother whom she tried to care for, unsuccessfully.
It's true that they littered the early episodes with references to ideas that would become the overarching themes of the series. But, no, there's just no way that Joan's one-off line about a doctor's summer home is some kind of omen that she's going to have a tumultuous relationship with a doctor several years down the road. That line is from the pilot. When it was written, nobody even knew whether the show would ever be made. At that phase of development, Joan was meant to be a tertiary character like Ken and Harry. There is just no possible way that they were setting up an arc for one of the main characters of the series, which would span half a decade of series time.

Fans love to believe this stuff, but it's just not true. Really.
Arrested Development had a lot of pre shadowing going on; I don't see why that's so implausible?

Kenny's story writing came back (not first episode, granted), Paul's insanity jumping onto everything because he's as uncertain as Campbell.

Joan's comments first episode re: doctor was just a setup for getting Peggy there, for talking about one of the ultimate paths for secretaries (marrying the boss, marrying a doctor; no reason to interact with a lawyer but they didn't make shabby money, either).

They didn't have to have it planned out for her to meet Greg, but it made a nice hook when she did.

I wonder how they would have done the airplane episodes without Pete's dad dying off (the actor was killed in an avalanche?) or not killing off a beloved character (hints I read on TLo) or not having written off someone who did go (because they were a class a ass - Just started digging through TWOP forums - how could i have not noticed those?).

Like I expect Mark Cherry wasn't going to kill off Nicolette Sheridan till she pissed him, off, either, but he killer her off in a quite final way.
posted by tilde at 3:50 PM on June 3, 2012


Don was totally hitting on the schoolteacher! I didn't read her as crazy at all.

Me either. I found Suzanne so appealing that I hoped Don would go back to her once his marriage ended. I bet a lot of her student's fathers hit on her ("You're all wearing the same shirt") and she was quite rightly calling Don on it. I thought she was just very forthright and original and caring. And she was an interesting person with depth. She obviously had a passion for teaching. She was a runner at a time when women didn't go running. She was doing her best to help her brother even though he was someone who was terribly hard to help. When Don dumped her she asked him if he was going to be okay, and he was touched by that and said something to the effect of, "Only you would ask about me at a time like this."

There's a disturbing strain of argument in this thread. Some people in it seem to be trying to paint Don's various flames in the worst light possible. Betty left Don because she's obsessed with status! Suzanne was crazy! Nevermind that there's no real overt evidence for either of these arguments and that both women treated Don much better than he treated them — they're the ones being painted as seriously flawed and faulted for the breakdown of their relationships with him.
posted by orange swan at 5:09 PM on June 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I see crazy as a compliment, not bunny on the stove crazy. Given the few choices and realities in the time/place for women, I'd hope I'd make those choices to have independence and what I want. Maybe cynical fits better for her. ;)
posted by tilde at 5:14 PM on June 3, 2012


btw envious of y'all, I have to wait for the iTunes availability in the morning ...
posted by tilde at 5:15 PM on June 3, 2012


Betty left Don because she's obsessed with status! Suzanne was crazy! Nevermind that there's no real overt evidence for either of these arguments and that both women treated Don much better than he treated them — they're the ones being painted as seriously flawed and faulted for the breakdown of their relationships with him.

I don't know if it breaks down the thrust of your feminist critique, but I think Betty broke up with Don because she cares highly about status and is more sympathetic than Don (whose deception is definitely "to blame" for their break-up). I don't think it's a horrible thing to care about status. I think for someone like Betty, in the historical period when she was young, it's completely understandable. And I think for her to take Don back when he revealed the truth to her would have showed a serious compromising of her values. In a way, it was the ethical choice for her to make (even though a lot of people seem to hate her for not loving Dick Whitman).

See also: Rachel Menken. Faye, too, to a certain extent (I loved how she called him on the childcare bullshit).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:20 PM on June 3, 2012


I wouldn't mind having that Peggy doll and her Thermos.
posted by rewil at 5:43 PM on June 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Peggy to Don, as he declines celebrating the Jaguar account: "You really have no idea when things are good, do you."

And, of course, she is right about that. But in that moment, he really was in no mood to celebrate, having just discovered that Joan had gone through with the indecent proposal and was now a partner.
posted by crossoverman at 8:01 PM on June 3, 2012


Called it.
posted by gaspode at 8:24 PM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Team KEN COSGROVE FROM ACCOUNTS!
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:19 PM on June 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Damn Jaguars are just so flincky, aren't they?
posted by The Whelk at 9:32 PM on June 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also Sally Draper you get out of that J. D. Salinger book this instant.
posted by The Whelk at 9:33 PM on June 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


Do not go to Don if you're feeling down and out.
posted by drezdn at 9:39 PM on June 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I predict more vomiting.

From Megan's POV this must have been the weirdest day.
posted by The Whelk at 9:48 PM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah man, little Sally Draper was out having a perfectly lovely Wes Anderson movie and look what happened...
posted by Artw at 9:57 PM on June 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


Bert Coopers voice of doom...
posted by Artw at 10:03 PM on June 3, 2012


I was think both

Huh I know the exact bison they are looking at.

And, if you pumped up the colors this would be a Wes Anderson-oh of course something has happen.
posted by The Whelk at 10:03 PM on June 3, 2012


How, exactly, is Bert running the company?
posted by The Whelk at 10:05 PM on June 3, 2012


He just wanders in with grim accusations and announcements of tragedy. He's like a shakesperian ghost.
posted by Artw at 10:06 PM on June 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


Sooo....Joan's vote now counts for more, right?

Oh god how agonizing was that car reveal? You've painted yourself into the world's most British corner there Lane.

Also haha Don the void at the bottom of your soul is hilarious when laid bare like that, you are the perfect avatar of consumerism.
posted by The Whelk at 10:11 PM on June 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Well, you know, he didn't have any soul crushing secrets in his life, clearly he is a magnet for that shit.
posted by Artw at 10:14 PM on June 3, 2012


From Sepinwall's review:
Though this was Lane's farewell episode, this is Don Draper's show, and as the tragic news punched him in the gut, I couldn't help but think of a prior situation Don found himself in very much like this one. This isn't the first time, after all, that Don has learned that a man he knew well (even if he tried to hold him at a distance) had hung himself as a result of Don telling him to leave. Before there was Lane Pryce, there was Adam Whitman. The circumstances, and Don's motivation, were different, but the end result is the same: rather than run away, Dick Whitman tells someone else to do the same, and that man instead ties a length of rope around his neck and violently exits this life of ours. Even Don's reaction is framed similarly each time.
I had forgotten that.

OK.

So now that the heavily foreshadowed event has happened, maybe next week's episode could be less heartbreaking. It'd be a nice change of pace, just saying.
posted by rewil at 10:40 PM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pegs oriented episode set in mirror SCDP.
posted by Artw at 10:46 PM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Everyone has a goatee.
posted by The Whelk at 11:08 PM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, of course. THEY ARE ALL BEATNIKS.
posted by Artw at 11:12 PM on June 3, 2012


So, next week... will it be Sterling Cooper Draper Campbell?
posted by crossoverman at 3:56 AM on June 4, 2012


Roger takes another LSD trip, changes his name to Aurelius. Guest starring Angus Young.
posted by psoas at 4:25 AM on June 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


So now that the heavily foreshadowed event has happened, maybe next week's episode could be less heartbreaking.

I've been convinced all season (ever since the "blood runs red on the highway" films in driver's ed) that Pete will kill someone with his car (perhaps Howard or his wife?) and bury them in an empty lot.

We'll see.

TEAM GLEN!
posted by mrgrimm at 6:10 AM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The elevator speaks again: Glen is Don's mini-me. Or something. Don even gets down to Glen's level after Glen speaks the secrets of Don's soul.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:26 AM on June 4, 2012


Glen is the son that Don never had.

(He's got TWO? Where the hell are they?)
posted by ColdChef at 6:36 AM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bobby and Gene are kept in cool, dry, air tight containers until needed to fill out a breakfast scene.
posted by The Whelk at 8:06 AM on June 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


Bobby's container could use some work; the preservation qualities just don't seem to be there.
posted by rewil at 8:16 AM on June 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Bobby is going to grow up thinking the Buick is his dad.
posted by The Whelk at 8:45 AM on June 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Did the SCDP elevator sound like the Tardis last night?

And bonus... Don IS still going to see movies.
posted by drezdn at 8:45 AM on June 4, 2012


I am glad the ominous 'somebody's about to die' finger of fate ended up on Layne. When there was talk of ski trip at the beginning I was afraid for Bobby or Gene being impaled on something. They seem expendable and Betty is less than protective of the offspring.

But Layne really shook be. First play it for almost laughs when the Jaguar won't start. His end was brutal. I watched through fingers.
posted by readery at 8:51 AM on June 4, 2012


Don and Glen race into Canada to begin new lives as Dan Weaverman and his son Ben, mighty fur trappers of the frozen north!
posted by The Whelk at 8:59 AM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Glen opened his mouth in order to precociously intone upon Tonight’s Theme. “Why does everything turn to crap?” To which we yelled at our TV, “Not everything, Glen! Just everything you’re involved with!”
posted by The Whelk at 9:03 AM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


This isn't the first time, after all, that Don has learned that a man he knew well (even if he tried to hold him at a distance) had hung himself as a result of Don telling him to leave.

Precisely what I mentioned to my wife last night as we watched: "That makes two."
posted by Edison Carter at 9:09 AM on June 4, 2012


I love Glen. I think he's perfect as meta-character (the author). There's something both incredibly creepy and sympathetic about him. The mustache was perfect.

I thought the end scene was perfect too. Don isn't imparting any sort of life lesson or giving Glen a father figure; he just had a really, really shitty day (I flashed back to Alan Whitman too) and wants to do something fun. I thought it was great.

Very glad to see Betty back too, though I'm really not sure what the point of the fake body suit is ...

Was last night's episode the first without Peggy? (Imdb lists Don and Peggy with 65 eps each, but really, she wasn't in last night's episode, right?)
posted by mrgrimm at 9:16 AM on June 4, 2012


Team KEN COSGROVE FROM ACCOUNTS!

I'm going to be tiresomely pedantic and insist that you must say that exactly as Ken did:

Ken! Cosgrove! Accounts!
posted by orange swan at 9:19 AM on June 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


From Jaguar USA's twitter feed: Well, at least it didn't happen in the E-type.
posted by gaspode at 9:19 AM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I cannot decide if Glen is supposed to still be read as "maybe I will shoot someone ...someone FAMOUS!" creepy or he's just not a very good actor.


Joan's partnership, the Jaguar account, the mod smoked-glass office, all these would-be triumphs are now shot through with fresh streaks of blood. In leaving when she did, Peggy escaped from a haunted house. Sex disappoints salty old ghoul Roger because he's buying it with unearned money and privilege, not earning it on his own charms. Don — Shakespearean king that he is — becomes bloodthirstier after the Jaguar acquisition, his appetite whetted for bigger name-brand national prey. He's not happy they did one thing well, only angry they aren't doing more new things better.
posted by The Whelk at 9:20 AM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


They're getting Dow. Mark my words.
posted by Edison Carter at 9:23 AM on June 4, 2012


So many chemical and glass products to be exposed too!
posted by The Whelk at 9:25 AM on June 4, 2012


The anti-pitch he gave is going to force them to rethink. He's sown the seeds of dissatisfaction. Don knows what he's doing.
posted by Edison Carter at 9:30 AM on June 4, 2012


Getting Dow would a be a disaster for the firm, culturally speaking. An old style para-national better-living-through-chemistry supercorperation like Dow will give them cred and clout and cash but it's also the type of company, like Monsanto and GE that are going to be publicly vilified by the younger generation, at the center of a bunch of wacky conspiracy theories, and constantly playing catch up for accidents and bad PR. Foreshadowed in the cigarettes line "Government is going to kill it." and of course, Napalm.

SCDP getting Dow would push into the firmament of the old school, old people, old money world and they can kiss the entire youth consumer market goodbye. It would be a terrible thing for the soul of the agency.

Which is why it will happen.
posted by The Whelk at 9:31 AM on June 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


Since the season needs something strong to end on, I'm guessing Don or Megan cheats.
posted by drezdn at 9:56 AM on June 4, 2012


I see more the honest temptation shows up. Megan gets a part, ends up going away for three months and it ends on an ambitious nite where they are both presented with what looks like a clear opportunity to cheat.

Cut to black, cue up The Stone Poneys "Different Drum"
posted by The Whelk at 10:08 AM on June 4, 2012


I cannot decide if Glen is supposed to still be read as "maybe I will shoot someone ...someone FAMOUS!" creepy or he's just not a very good actor.

Glen Bishop is played by Marten Holden Weiner, Matthew Wiener's son, which may explain a lot or not for you. I think he's supposed to be a socially dysfunctional kid, and I think he does OK.

They're getting Dow. Mark my words.

Of course, SCDP (will it become Sterling, Cooper, Draper, and Holloway?) will get Dow. Why else would they have those scenes (unless it portends something bad for Ken)?
posted by mrgrimm at 10:45 AM on June 4, 2012


It was interesting that the whole Dow meeting involved the tobacco letter, and then the Dow reps asked about nothing but napalm—with Don invoking napalm's use in WWII, Korea, and now Vietnam. Because, soon people will be hearing about a new chemical (that Dow manufactured) that will be used in Vietnam and Cambodia: Agent Orange, a chemical nearly as evil and vilified (for good reason!) in American history as tobacco.
posted by General Malaise at 10:55 AM on June 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Defoliant? More like delightful!"
posted by Edison Carter at 11:11 AM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


And then [Matt Weiner] goes, "Come on, let's go to my office." Anytime anyone takes you into their office, you know you're in trouble. And then he says, "So, listen, something I want to talk to you about." I went, "Uh-oh," and he went, "Yeah, sorry." And then he broke out some really really good brandy. Some ridiculous brandy that had been in casks for half a century or something. You know you're in trouble at that point.
Interview with Jared Harris.
posted by rewil at 11:57 AM on June 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


"This is dirty"
"Yeah, that's what we're doing this season."


DIRTY
posted by Artw at 12:14 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


there are bums on that side of the park.
posted by The Whelk at 12:14 PM on June 4, 2012


I'm not sure if I understood Rogers's conversation with Ken. If they get Dow, he doesn't want Pete involved... But what did he mean with the second "I don't want Pete in any meetings?"
posted by drezdn at 12:15 PM on June 4, 2012


I think he meant he didn't want Pete in any meetings courting Dow, but then amended it to "any meetings" meaning any meetings with Dow ever assuming they land them.
posted by mikepop at 12:25 PM on June 4, 2012


I thought it meant that if his father-in-law's company was coming aboard, Ken figured he might as well be the accounts man to benefit from it. And perhaps as well that Ken didn't want his father-in-law to have to deal with that slimebucket Pete Campbell.
posted by orange swan at 12:55 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Whelk: "I cannot decide if Glen is supposed to still be read as "maybe I will shoot someone ...someone FAMOUS!" creepy or he's just not a very good actor"

Since he got the gig by being Matt Weiner's son, I'm inclined toward the latter, but then again, there's a weird David Mametish thing he's going for him, so it kind of works as the former as well.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:03 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


[or what mrgrimm said].
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:05 PM on June 4, 2012


I haven't figured out how to fit in his brother's death into this; but Lane represented what happens if you try to buy into the American Dream but don't go for it all out. He loved America, and everything it stood for, (he had a mini-bronze, pre-patina! statue of liberty on his desk) never wanted to go back to england, butin the end, he couldn't give into it completely. His social circle was sitll british (he fell into watching footie matches with fellow expats), he still had to pay for expensive trips back to england for his wife, his son was still at Eton or whatever symbol of old-school status that in the end bankrupted him. His relationship with Joan even could have gone a different way, if he didn't fall back into crude old school sexism.

Don's advice was sound: he would have gotten a new job (if it was made public that he embezzled, he would be black-listed, but Don covered that up for him), and he would have had a fresh start. But it would have meant starting new, disclosing his failures to his wife, family, and himself... living with the shame of failure, and allowing it to renew him.

But no one can inhabit the American dream of renewal like Don. Lane had to settle for an American death, in his office. RIP :(
posted by stratastar at 2:50 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am surprisingly pleased that Bert noticed the cheque and not Joan. (And disappointed, but not surprised, that we lost Lane instead of Pete.)

Ken's storyline is getting more interesting to me.
posted by jeather at 4:32 PM on June 4, 2012


jeather: "Ken's storyline is getting more interesting to me."

Agreed, totally. He's become the moral center of the show.

Also, MeFi PSA: "Bye Bye Birdie" is available on Amazon Prime instant streaming.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:25 PM on June 4, 2012


I keep thinking about the word 'elegant' and all the permutations of that...for the characters in the show, both from their perspectives and the viewers'. Especially since it was the failure of the Jaguar (not to mention all the symbolism wrapped up in Jaguar itself, re: last week's episode) that ultimately brought him back to the office. And the irony of knowing that he couldn't even drive himself there.

It seems like Layne's resignation letter is the first of many letters of doom coming up in the season finale.

Does anybody know what building it is across from Layne's office? He walks up to it (and you think he might jump out)...there's the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower so nicely placed near the window...to the left of Layne...IIRC, he's sitting in the chair, not terribly unlike the opening credit silhouette...it's a nice composition and I'd love to know what the third building is just outside the window (that he doesn't fall out of, unlike the opening credits).
posted by iamkimiam at 5:44 PM on June 4, 2012


Well he's in the (then newish) Time Life building, I don't know the orientation of the offices but since it doesn't seem like he's looking onto another monolith like his building, he might be looking eastward toward the upper stories of radio city music hall and rockafeller center.
posted by The Whelk at 5:48 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I believe that's the Empire State building, not the Eiffel Tower.

Two-fingered typing by Lane, but he knew how to do it.

Nothing to add to what I've read, but Lane wasnt going to come clean. He'd "earned" it. Stubborn even to death.

Between the extended credit & the Xmas bonus, there's a lot of fixing to do. I expect Joan may take over the books with Bert officially, publicly, but nominally in the role.

As part of his resignation, I expect his shares will revert in whatever fashion is laid out in the original partnership. It might take the form of a payout to the family & or the company.

I'm more concerned about how they're going to handle the publicity of death & removal of him from the masthead.

If Joan moves up I don't expect it to be public for. a good long while.

& Ken said I don't want to be your partner to Roger (closed caption ftw)
posted by tilde at 5:58 PM on June 4, 2012


I don't think they're going to change the name but I do think Pete is going to make noise about being made a full partner. It totally fits him. Kenny is, uncharistivally out for blood, which makes me think Pete is in a ticking clock cause without Peggy, Ken doesn't really have an attachment to the business anymore and when you piss off the Nicest Man Ever well, you got it coming.
posted by The Whelk at 6:15 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don had agreed to pay back the 7000$ that Lane stole. I don't know whether he will keep Lane's secret after this or what.

I also thought that the interactions between Sally and Betty were great -- no matter how much Sally wants to hurt Betty back (as she did about Anna), she also loves her, and she's going to be fascinating as a teenager, though I guess we won't see too much of that, if the show is going to end in 1970. (Unless it isn't?)

Sure, let's hope that Ken's attack on Pete will turn into something bad happening to Pete. Things turn out well for him for no reason all too often. Ken's the moral centre mostly because we don't see him enough to know exactly in what ways he is a dislikable person. He seemed to have Betty's back -- in secret, where it wouldn't hurt him, but he did mean it, even if in part because in the end she cared about/needed the job more than he did. He was going to cut Herb off -- but didn't, in the end, either because he doesn't care about Joan or because he didn't think even Pete would go that far. I am interested to see what he does next, especially when he next sees Peggy. I don't think there was a long time gap between these past two episodes.

I really hope that next season goes back to being more subtle, though. We still get the slow burn, except it's signposted, and you're given a map and a little narrative also to make sure you don't miss anything. (Though maybe I will be shocked next episode.)
posted by jeather at 6:52 PM on June 4, 2012


Rewatching first season. I miss Francine.

Trudy, I wonder if she was really turning Charlie down, or if it was letting him know she was not too easy.

I see some lines repeated; Paul is a royal ass.

I still think that Pete's gonna die before the series is all over though with a suicide in the office, I don't see that happening now.

Maybe Trudy pushes him in front of the train.
posted by tilde at 7:01 PM on June 4, 2012


I still think that Pete's gonna die before the series is all over though with a suicide in the office, I don't see that happening now.

Maybe Trudy pushes him in front of the train.


Or perhaps we could have a Murder on the Orient Express plot, where all the other characters band together to kill him. That would be cathartic.
posted by jeather at 7:10 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pete is going to survive the series. But he will become a bitter man in a studio apartment, bitter from the loss of his wife, career, and social life, and bitterly blaming it all on the cultural revolution. In the final scene, we will see him wearing an old suit, sitting back in a chair. The apartment seemingly composed entirely of yellowing wallpaper, orange lights, and dusty green carpets, the chair is no different. On either side of his floral chair stand towering stacks of magazines. It is revealed that he has since purchased all the back issues of The Public Interest, Commentary, and National Review. The camera comes around, and we his eyes light up. He throws down his copy of The Way the World Works. Standing, he exclaims, "but of course, how did I not see it before, what this country needs is supply side economics."
posted by TwelveTwo at 7:46 PM on June 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


I thought the end scene was perfect too. Don isn't imparting any sort of life lesson or giving Glen a father figure; he just had a really, really shitty day (I flashed back to Alan Whitman too) and wants to do something fun.

I don't know about life lessons, but I do think it wasn't so much about Don having fun as about his trying to give support/happiness to someone else, after just discovering that his own actions had (once again) resulted in a man's hanging himself.

It paralleled the scene after his brother's death when Don takes Suzanne's brother for a drive. He's supposed to be taking the brother to a new job, but the brother has no intention of taking the job, and Don lets him out of the car partway there and gives him some money and his business card.

In both cases you see Don doing something kind and sort of nurturing for a young man in reaction to the responsibility he feels for another person's death. For all his flaws, Don seems to have deep compassion for people in a tough spot. It's probably his best quality.
posted by torticat at 8:12 PM on June 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Jaguar tweets about the most recent episode. Way to miss the point, car company.
posted by crossoverman at 8:20 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh yes, and I had to bow out of the earlier Suzanne discussion because I watch these episodes 24 late and didn't want to see spoilers on the current one... but I wanted to clarify that I did not think Suzanne was crazy overall, and Don really screwed her over. It was just that one, early scene with her in which she was drawing conclusions about Don that were not based on anything we'd actually seen that made people comment (at the time) that she seemed a bit crazy. She said, "You're all the same, drinking and philandering," when Don hadn't done anything at that point but make small talk--and she had initiated the conversation. And it struck me as an example of Matt Weiner's thinking he's communicating something, but he's so oblique about it that what he's saying doesn't make it onto the screen (it happens inside the character's head, in this case Don's).

Suzanne turned out to be completely right about Don, of course, and the only reason I bother to bring the subject up again is that I agree with you, orange swan, about the troubling tendency of viewers sometimes to paint Don's various flames in the worst light possible. That wasn't what I intended.

The part about Betty's status-obsession is, unfortunately, supported by Weiner himself, if you care about authorial intent, which no one has to. I think it paints her in a very bad light. And it's another example IMO of Weiner's intending something that didn't necessarily make it to the screen, or at least was left completely ambiguous.
posted by torticat at 9:08 PM on June 4, 2012


"The part about Betty's status-obsession is, unfortunately, supported by Weiner himself, if you care about authorial intent, which no one has to. I think it paints her in a very bad light. And it's another example IMO of Weiner's intending something that didn't necessarily make it to the screen, or at least was left completely ambiguous."

I don't think so at all -- I don't know if I'd say status-obsessed, but certainly concerned about status. Joining the Junior League, hiring the decorator who's done other people's houses, resisting socializing with the divorcee down the street, shutting down Francine when Francine asks for support with spousal cheating, getting angriest at Sally when other people catch Sally doing something bad, maybe even the horse riding ... lots and lots of on-screen Betty is very much about putting up an appropriate upper-middle-class facade and having other people think well of her (and I'm sure I could think of more examples if I went back and rewatched, but really, just the Junior League subplot is plenty status-obsessy on its own). I don't think Betty's "status-obsessed" because she left Don for Henry Francis; I think it's because she spends a hell of a lot of time concerned about what other people think about her (which is of course pointed up, in a different way, through her past life as a model and her current sojourn in Weight Watchers; and in yet another, more personal way, in how she's determined not to let Megan take her place with her own children) and making sure that she has the right house, the right clothes, the right friends, is in the right clubs, etc. Whatever self-knowledge Betty is gaining this season has a lot to do with the fact that I think she's seeing, at least a little, that that outside validation is pretty hollow. Part of that realization came from the weight gain; part of it came from her divorce -- both are attacks on her image, both physical and social.

Also my heart broke when I saw how badly she needed Sally to need her this week.

Man, I feel like a lonely island of grokking Betty sometimes. I start to worry there's something wrong with me that I'm so sympathetic towards her. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:49 PM on June 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


I am going to name my band "Lonely Island of Grokking Betty."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:56 PM on June 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Okay, last comment on Betty-status. Referencing the Junior League in fiction serves only one purpose ever, which is to show that a character is wealthy, concerned with her community status and other such external matters, and that there are cracks in the necessary facade of perfection. (See also: The Help, Gossip Girl, Devil in the Junior League, Hart of Dixie, etc. You'd never know Eleanor Roosevelt and Sandra Day O'Connor were members.) Characters who rebel against the Junior League are authentic and can't be contained by social convention (Skeeter in The Help, Serena in Gossip Girl); characters who seek its approval are conventional, status-concerned, and lacking in authentic self-knowledge (Betty; Hilly in The Help; Lemon in Hart of Dixie).

Maybe the most surprising thing about Betty's Junior League plot is that they're actually doing Junior League-y things like political activism for the reservoir (I think it was) rather than just having catty social events, as is typical for fictional Leagues, but it's absolutely there, and so prominent in the plot, to signal the character's status-anxiety and concern about her community standing. Also probably her desire to be conventional and accepted.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:26 PM on June 4, 2012


Man, I feel like a lonely island of grokking Betty sometimes. I start to worry there's something wrong with me that I'm so sympathetic towards her. :)

No, I feel the same way. I guess we're in a grokking Betty club. I honestly think that there's something wrong with the framing of the question here--that the women should be faulted for the breakdown with the relationship. Because I actually think that the breakdown of the relationship is a triumph, in Betty's case. It's what allows her to grow as a person, to demand of her life the things she's always needed but couldn't ask for before.

And people might say, "Well, you're saying she's shallow and obsessed with class." I think Betty's obsession with class is not, in any way, shallow. I think she's an astute reader of social situations and wonderfully skilled in her mastery of these things (see: Betty in Italy; Betty at various business dinners; Betty artfully rejecting various romantic overtures). I think she's marvelously well-suited to be the wife of a politician. She's got a real grace and expertise about it. But I really do think that, through our modern eye, these things ring hollow--in part because they're not obviously career driven, because Betty so clearly wants to be a certain kind of woman behind a certain kind of man. I'm not sure that it's entirely fair, to Betty or women who were like her, for us to judge. She's skilled and she's worked hard to be who she is, and that's shaped her worldview, and both she and Don understand that. He lies to lay claim to what he never had a right to take; he maintains the lie to hold on to something that should never have been his. Is it wrong of Betty to prefer someone with social cache? I'm not sure it is, any more than it's wrong for anyone to have any honest and mutually understood preference for a certain type of spouse.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:44 PM on June 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Um, spoilers for Fringe...

It occurs to me that Jared Harris has had an amazing, busy year: Sherlock Holmes sequel, recurring part on Fringe, ongoing role on Mad Men.

And then it occurs to me that all of his characters died this year, too.

Of course, he's died on Fringe before, but I can't see David Robert Jones being resurrected again. Moriarty, maybe.
posted by crossoverman at 10:57 PM on June 4, 2012


lots and lots of on-screen Betty is very much about putting up an appropriate upper-middle-class facade

Totally agree. I think it's the reason she was willing to swallow Don's philandering for as long as she did, as well.

Again, when I said her motivation didn't make it to the screen, I was talking specifically about the scene(s) directly prior and leading to the divorce. In those scenes, you see her very angry about Don's deception, and comparatively compassionate about his background and everything he's been through. So to hear from Weiner that what was going on in her head was a struggle to accept Dick Whitman rather than questioning whether she can forgive Don Draper yet again was surprising (to me). I agree, though, that the former interpretation is fully consistent with her character, and that both issues would be a struggle for her. What I was commenting on was which one was the straw that broke the camel's back.
posted by torticat at 5:45 AM on June 5, 2012


jeather: "Ken's storyline is getting more interesting to me."

Agreed, totally. He's become the moral center of the show.


My wife and I were talking last night about how relentless the show has been this season on removing all of the moral anchors from SCDP. Megan was by far the most moral and balanced person in the office; she's gone. Peggy, pretty moral (if ambitious), gone. Joan is, to most eyes, morally compromised. Until the embezzlement, Lane appeared to be a do-the-right-thing guy. Now he's off the table. Don and Roger spent earlier chunks of the season being, if not moral guys, at least guys with a broad perspective and a set of priorities larger than success in advertising. Now they're both swinging hard away from that.

Which leaves Ken... who is also suddenly playing hardball. SCDP's turning into a very Darwinian place at season's end.
posted by COBRA! at 7:42 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ken is playing hardball against Pete. I think Ken was compromised by his inaction towards Joan and Peggy, not by wanting to save his father-in-law's company from having to interact with Pete. I just really dislike Pete. None of the characters are especially nice, but most of them have a few redeeming qualities. Not Pete. There was a brief time I thought it might be otherwise, but no.

What ever happened to Dawn?
posted by jeather at 8:08 AM on June 5, 2012


What ever happened to Dawn?

She's still there - though, offscreen; in the latest episode, Megan talks to her on the phone when she's trying to reach Don about Sally missing. I was confused for a second until I remembered that little joke about the names!
posted by bluefly at 8:21 AM on June 5, 2012


I just really dislike Pete. None of the characters are especially nice, but most of them have a few redeeming qualities. Not Pete.

Oh, you're not alone in that sentiment. I read an article on Vincent Kartheiser in which he said that once he was at a bar chatting with a woman who didn't recognize him (he says he hardly ever gets recognized), and when he told her what he did for a living, she said something like, "Oh, I hate you!" He said, "You mean, you hate my character," and she said, "No, I hate you. I get a visceral reaction of hatred every time you come on the screen."

Ouch.
posted by orange swan at 8:50 AM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


jeather: "Ken's storyline is getting more interesting to me."

Agreed, totally. He's become the moral center of the show.


Hardly. Benjamin Ginsburg is the moral center of SCDP (and America). Chaste, responsible, family-focused. An oasis of morality.

I haven't figured out how to fit in his brother's death into this;

It's not too complicated. Don denied both men assistance, instead proffering his "hobo code philosophy" ("you won't believe how much you won't remember this" or whatever) and both men killed themselves as a direct result of his actions.

And by the show's end, we'll see Don being interviewed by Peggy. This is the problem with ring structured plots.

If Don ends up interviewing with Peggy I will literally eat my shoes.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:51 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just really dislike Pete. None of the characters are especially nice, but most of them have a few redeeming qualities. Not Pete.

Which is an indication of how great his performance is. I think the writing for Pete has been pretty uneven this season, but The Other Woman was top-notch Pete in every way ("she said we couldn't afford it").

Pete has serious dysfunction (or is an alien, as hinted by his extreme reaction to the Earth image), but Kartheiser is stealing the show in a lot of ways. He's almost too good.

I actually like where Pete's arc is going; he sucked up to Don trying to win his approval for so long with no result that he's finally said "fuck it, I do want I want." Bad business is coming for Pete. I can smell it.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:58 AM on June 5, 2012


I think Betty's obsession with class is not, in any way, shallow. I think she's an astute reader of social situations and wonderfully skilled in her mastery of these things

I agree, and just want to say I'm in your grok Betty club. Even though I don't like the word grok because someone I didn't like used to use it a lot.

I think when Betty's rough on Sally about what other people are thinking/doing (especially in the first few seasons) it's in a way to be protective of her. She grew up and lives in a world in which status is extremely important, and she doesn't want Sally to grow up and be an outcast. I don't think her way of going about things is right, and I think she doesn't yet realize (or is maybe just starting to realize) that things are going to be a little looser socially for Sally than they were for her.

I think a very telling moment for me is the first or second episode of the first season, when Betty has the car accident and is consumed with anxiety that Sally might have a scar, and never get married, and be lonely for the rest of her life. I think she tries to show her love for her daughter by getting her to understand these rigid social expectations because she thinks that's the only way to succeed. Of course it's not totally selfless, she is interested in how people perceive her as well. But it's more complicated than most think.
posted by sweetkid at 8:59 AM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


How Sunday's episode should have ended.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:01 AM on June 5, 2012 [10 favorites]


How Sunday's episode should have ended .

Literally laughed out loud. Thank you.
posted by ColdChef at 9:03 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hardly. Benjamin Ginsburg is the moral center of SCDP (and America). Chaste, responsible, family-focused. An oasis of morality.

Damn, I forgot about Ginsburg.
posted by COBRA! at 9:04 AM on June 5, 2012


To think, Lane never got to see the Mets get a no hitter.
posted by drezdn at 9:10 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]



Hardly. Benjamin Ginsburg is the moral center of SCDP (and America). Chaste, responsible, family-focused. An oasis of morality

Do you mean Michael?
posted by sweetkid at 9:11 AM on June 5, 2012


While all this is going on Ginsberg is doing something off the bushes somewhere.
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


While all this is going on Ginsberg is doing something off the bushes somewhere.

Thank you, The Whelk, I finally remembered what the "reused" lines in my comment was about.


Ginsberg: S5, E11 "She just does whatever she wants, doesn't she?"

Joan/Peggy: S1, E5 (?) "He [Don] just does whatever he wants, doesn't he?" Peggy is trying to deal with Mrs Draper showing up, assuming Don is off at another greasey assignation with Midge.

Makes me think Ginsberg is another Peggy, of sorts. Peggy was our witness and voice to the sexisim, and a force for feminism, Ginsberg is a witness and voice, to some attempts at feminism or equalization of the sexes? Or how much we can't, how deeply it is entrenched?
posted by tilde at 9:47 AM on June 5, 2012


Bad business is coming for Pete. I can smell it.

I had assumed that the first 9-10 episodes of the season were telegraphing some sort of major comeuppance for Peggy, and so far it appears that maybe I was far far off base. Moral: karma, in Mad Men, as in the real world, is an illusion.
posted by psoas at 10:11 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why on earth would Peggy deserve a comeuppance?
posted by orange swan at 12:38 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ditto.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:46 PM on June 5, 2012


Do you mean Michael?

Yes. Yes I do. (His name should be Benjamin ...)
posted by mrgrimm at 12:48 PM on June 5, 2012


That Trek script was genius... GENIUS! And she trashed it...
posted by Artw at 12:49 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why on earth would Peggy deserve a comeuppance?

There have been little things all season. Her snippy comment about going back to work at Don's surprise party. Blowing up at the Heinz guy. Repeatedly botching the Cool Whip line in the test kitchen. Don reviewing recent work (for his portfolio I think?) and seeing Peggy's name on none of it. We've been told she was taking on a lot more responsibility, but we really haven't seen much good work from her this year. I for one was surprised the the major development for her this year was a step up the ladder, albeit elsewhere.
posted by yellowbinder at 1:16 PM on June 5, 2012


One of these days we're gonna have an actual gay character in the main cast. One of these days.
posted by The Whelk at 2:12 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


TEAM GIRL WHO SAYS PEGASUS.
posted by Artw at 2:14 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Let's give her a spinn off where she's a radical lesbian art scene lady.

You'd watch that you'd watch it so hard.
posted by The Whelk at 2:19 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


We've been told she was taking on a lot more responsibility, but we really haven't seen much good work from her this year.

Given where her story went, I actually think this was a smart move on the part of the writers. In the end, she represented a lot of people who do their job, do it well, are given more responsibility and get no recognition for it. She was working late a lot and we can only assume that was to make whatever job/s she was doing the best they could be. In an environment where she has to work harder to get noticed - and this year she was working harder and she didn't get noticed.

We were reminded of how good she was in that lightning fast pitch in her final episode. She still had the goods and Don dropped the ball.

And none of the rest of those things she did deserves a comeuppance. Most of them are things Don always does.
posted by crossoverman at 2:22 PM on June 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


The Heinz client clearly did not give a shot about anything until Don could come into the room to sell it to him, so everything before that was him setting her up to fail.
posted by Artw at 2:35 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


so everything before that was him setting her up to fail.

As was the the Cool Whip flub. Don's head wasn't in the work, so he'd refused to practice with her and then tried to lay off the failure on her. Also the scene gave the writers another chance to show Peggy treating Don like an equal and telling him exactly how it is. "You're not angry at ME, so SHUT UP!"
posted by torticat at 3:22 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm just going to sit here and think about the super campy Chevialre rep cruising Riverside park during his short trip to New York and picking out even more bright and insane jackets.

I mean I was wrong on the Harry Hypothesis ( although he's clearly sleazy and has swinger .....leanings) so I've got no Potenital Gays to think about. Ginsberg? maybe? I have a hard time thinking of Ginsberg in anything resembling a sexual context. He only wants Martians.

Where the hell did Kurt go anyway? Freelance? The Freelancer who got a line last episode is pretty fabulous but I'm not getting my hopes up.
posted by The Whelk at 3:43 PM on June 5, 2012


Side note: I have a (gay) friend named Kurt who looks a LOT like Elizabeth Moss. This clip gets tossed around with some frequency.
posted by yellowbinder at 4:45 PM on June 5, 2012


What are you guys talking about? Sal Romano is coming back. He's just busy taking photography courses to expand his skillset so he can be more competitive in the job market. He'll reapply to SCDRiP after he finishes his stint as Ann-Margret's personal assistant. Kitty is still super supportive, even after their quiet divorce. Mrs. Cosgrove can fill you in - she and Kitty have the occasional coffee.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:42 PM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Forgive the derail here Team PIZZA HOUSE, I'll get to the meat of this episode, but first I want to mention how excited I was to hear mention of Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-up (1966) (Megan who's looking through the paper for a movie, and gives Blow-up an extra-special stress to it, and I'm sure that was NO MISTAKE...probably mostly cos the film would be a bit on the racy side for Sally) I think I might've even nerd-punched the air, like TEAM ANTONIONI had just scored and scored hard.If you don't know it Blow-up was shot in London and was a huge hit in the art film scene and was responsible for bringing Brit cool, design, fashion, mystery and alienation, post-modernism and the twiggy-look into the U.S. in a big way and of course, as is the way with MM the Jaguar dovetails into that nicely.

But more importantly so much of the show, but especially this season seems to reference Antonioni's work, especially in the way the the male and female dynamic is coming apart at the seams in some ways in ways Antonioni had been exploring since the early 60s and his masterpeice Il Notte, L'avventurra and L'Eclisse trilogy (L'avventurra stands alone for me as an breathtaking realization, as it was the first of the films I saw, and I was quite in impressionable, in college, and lucky enough to view it on a big screen retrospective at the Film Forum. It stands for me as the greatest cinematic experience of my life, even still).

There's, what seems to me a, kindred sort of resonance between the spiritual sickness of the men in Mad Man, especially Don within this season in his new relationship towards Megan, reminds me of Sandro from L'avventurra, in a nutshell women are capable of renewal and life, and men are not and incapable of transcending their superficial and materialistic trappings, in spite of their affluence and free time, they're always wanting...and wanting something they don't understand so they become susceptible to easy answers to it (ie, Finally, something you can truly own).

I'd like anyone to look at L'avventurra's very final, devastating image of Sandro and Claudia, (sitting and standing by the bench) and not seeing the approximate male/female dynamic those if they were replaced by Don and Megan, or Roger and Joan, or Don and Peggy, or Pete and Trudy, or even Lane and his wife, or, even, sadly: Lane and Joan...

But also, Weiner in pushing the boundaries of literary sub-textual metaphor and synesthetic language of architecture, spatiality and materialistic elements he's in deep homage and celebration of Antonioni, who is the undisputed master of it and even created much of that language.

Things like the air being "toxic" and Lane swiveling around in his chair to look out on the falling snow and the cold impersonal sooty city with his Statue of Liberty reminding us that he is indeed an immigrant with all the hardship of isolation and striving and struggle that comes with it, and how sometimes the big dream goes nowhere...but an early grave. That was heartbreaking and I can't believe Don couldn't really understand or empathize more with just how vulnerable and fragile Lane was, if he was even too embarrassed to ask for a loan from Drapper (who he sees as the most sympathetic...).

Anyhow, the elevator motif is pure Antonioni, from it's cheery lit up and optimistic taking of Peggy to a brighter future to the Brutalist (fascistic even) underpinnings of cables and cinderblocks and cold perfect steelland I'm thinking it's now an Objective Correlative as much as it is a deux ex Machina (in reverse), in that it seems to be a place of encountering truth (Roger and Don discuss the Dow meeting) and destiny. Going down seems to be good...going up into SCDP is now going up to confront...death. Suicide.

And if they do get the Dow account that's exactly what SCDP will become a part of...I'm really saddened at how much Don wants to be part of the establishment now. The big guys. The old money. Hmmm...
posted by Skygazer at 8:04 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


But will they have... THE YARDBIRDS?

Look at these british hipster consumerists.

The scene is extra awesome because of how huge Beck and Page go on to become. And seriously Blow-Up is an amazing movie.

Thanks skygaze, interesting stuff to think about.
posted by stratastar at 10:03 PM on June 5, 2012


That's a great scene from Blow-Up, the yardbirds are rockin' like crazy and sound insanely good, and yet the creepy and jaded and superficial audience is frozen like statues. (Except for the mixed couple...)

I need to re-watch that film.
posted by Skygazer at 11:47 PM on June 5, 2012


Reading Mad Style, I remembered that Sally must have worn those white boots home to Betty.

That could be not so good.
posted by rewil at 7:32 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


DIRTY BOOTS
posted by Artw at 7:39 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


These boots where made for teenage angst, and that's what they're gonna do, one of these days the boots are gonna illuminate a familial conflict all over you.
posted by The Whelk at 7:43 AM on June 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


The Mad Style piece for Commissions and Fees is up. I hate to admit this, but seeing a new Mad Style is a highlight of my week.
posted by orange swan at 7:57 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have a vision of Jon Snow walking into a tent to meet the King Beyond the Wall next season on Game of Thrones, and when Mance Rayder lifts his head who should we see peeking out from underneath a cowhide hoodie but a smiling Mr. Jared Harris. I'm just saying here.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:05 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


TEAM DAVID ROBERT JONES
...is primarily composed of horrid shape shifting creatures.
posted by Artw at 7:07 PM on June 6, 2012


Jared Harris implied that Peggy is gone for good in a recent interview.

I honestly don't see how it could be true. Gone for the rest of this season, maybe, but she has to be back next season, right? Right?
posted by donajo at 8:54 PM on June 6, 2012


Peggy rises from the sea, wrapping her massive tentacles around the statue of liberty, shattering glass with her wails, the laughter of the deep.
posted by The Whelk at 10:05 PM on June 6, 2012


I honestly don't see how it could be true. Gone for the rest of this season, maybe, but she has to be back next season, right? Right?

I don't know how the actors are contracted on this show, but I suspect only Weiner knows whether she's needed next season or not. And maybe not even him, since it might be too early for him to have decided the direction of season six.

I suspect Jared Harris' comparison to his leaving the show is erroneous, but it certainly sounds like she's gone for the season. Which I can live with, since it's only one more episode.

That said, AMC wanted the cast cut back and Weiner might be capitulating - writing them out in his own way, rather than just having cast disappear.

In any case, even if she's gone from the main cast (*weeps*), I know we'll see her again - which obviously can't be said for Lane and is unlikely for, say, Sal.
posted by crossoverman at 10:59 PM on June 6, 2012


Someone should do a "shops of the retired stars" tour, with Sal and Vasquez from Aliens and, well, I'm sure there's others...
posted by Artw at 11:03 PM on June 6, 2012


I mysteriously failed to comment in this thread from the get go, so I have been cacthing up.

Some loose ends. Upthread, a discussion of the relative frquency or probability of female partners in agencies of the time. I can't comment directly on that, but will call your attention to this 2009 memoir of Myra Janco Daniels, who married Draper Daniels, apparently partly in order to cement an agency merger. Draper Daniels is of course a primary inspiration for the character we know as Don Draper. Ms. Daniels describes herself as an executive VP at her agency before Daniels buys it, so on balance I would say that there is historical precedent for decision-maker roles by women in the show's milieu.

Layne had to go, really. A shame. I chuckled at the grim Jaguar joke.

I learned sometime this season that Jared Harris is the biological son of Richard Harris and the adoptive son of Rex Harrison. Unless I have it backwards.

Plot forecast: Don told Bert he would "take care of" Layne's embezzlement, but he did not spell out to Bert that Layne had been embezzling. So as far as Bert knows, there's a signed check from Don to Layne for $8k, and a dead man. So when the cops come, that info should be enough to cause a legal investigation - which will show that Layne was embezzling but which will once again place Don's identity in jeopardy. So I'm not absolutely sure how that will play out but the lack of a discussion between Bert and Don regarding that check is sure to be a point of confusion and contention.
posted by mwhybark at 10:01 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's Lane. Lane Pryce. Sorry, that's been bothering me throughout this thread.

Bert assumed that Don authorized a bonus for Lane, not that there was any embezzlement or that money was missing. I hope that plot is dropped with Lane's death.
posted by donajo at 10:07 AM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pegs oriented episode set in mirror SCDP.

Where everyone is wearing darkest-timeline felt goatees. And the Mirror, Mirror episode is on in the background of a scene.
posted by mwhybark at 10:09 AM on June 7, 2012


I would watch a series with Blane Pryce.
posted by The Whelk at 10:11 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


D'oh, missed the goatees joke due to threadscroll length!

That said, I would like to see a treatment for the Krishna Trek script. Maybe he gets a co-writer line on The Way to Eden.

How in hell did I not recognize Harris as Moriarty? Holmes is ashamed of my observation skills. Holmes facepalm.
posted by mwhybark at 10:24 AM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had to think about the Moriarty thing, too; to me that was last year (2011).
Pegs oriented episode set in mirror SCDP.

Where everyone is wearing darkest-timeline felt goatees. And the Mirror, Mirror episode is on in the background of a scene.
October 16, 1967. Although Harry could get it sooner ...

I don't know where the series is going. I do miss Peggy, even if (my guess) Ginsberg is the 'new' Peggy.

Don's identity is so far done to death, I can't see him abandoning it or having to fear its exposure longer, though it may limit them in some ways for Dow as it did for General Aviation. I'm still worried Joan has to share her 5% with Greg.
posted by tilde at 10:37 AM on June 7, 2012


I don't want the new Peggy! I want the old Peggy!

/Rejects earnestly proffered doll.
posted by Artw at 11:33 AM on June 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


How Sunday's episode should have ended.

This is unrelated to recent events, but that video reminded me of the one time in the series where Don manages to hold his face in such a way that he briefly transforms from handsome leading man into smug, bloated muppet for a few weird seconds (at around 0:08).
posted by invitapriore at 12:07 PM on June 7, 2012


I can't imagine writing Peggy off the show. (It's more likely than Don interviewing with Peggy, but still, pretty unlikely).

'Mad Men' and Peggy Olson: Where does she go from here?
posted by mrgrimm at 5:55 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bert assumed that Don authorized a bonus for Lane, not that there was any embezzlement or that money was missing. I hope that plot is dropped with Lane's death.

But then there is the 50k loan that Lane took out in order to have the money to give bonuses. That plot line might come back.
posted by jeather at 6:04 PM on June 7, 2012


Old Peggy died in a tragic bean ballet accident.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:10 PM on June 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


But then there is the 50k loan that Lane took out in order to have the money to give bonuses.

Credit line, Lane insists.
posted by mwhybark at 9:48 PM on June 7, 2012


Was it a credit line? I thought he specifically said they had that 50k in their account, which was what they could use to give bonuses. If they didn't get the 50k, where did they get the money to give the non-partners bonuses and cover their expenses until they got Jaguar and still have enough left over for Lane to embezzle?

I won't mind if this plot thread is left dangling, to perhaps be explained in a single offhand remark next season. But I don't think it is crazy to imagine that it will come up and Don's keeping Lane's secret won't last.
posted by jeather at 4:40 AM on June 8, 2012


My guess is that if Peggy Olson was being truly written out, we'd be seeing more interviews with Elizabeth Moss right now, as we are with Jared Harris. But with only one episode left this season I wouldn't be surprised to not get back to her until next season, when more time has passed and she'll be well-established in her new role (or failing spectacularly or whatever they have planned).
posted by mikepop at 5:41 AM on June 8, 2012


Was it a credit line? I thought he specifically said they had that 50k in their account, which was what they could use to give bonuses. If they didn't get the 50k, where did they get the money to give the non-partners bonuses and cover their expenses until they got Jaguar and still have enough left over for Lane to embezzle?

Lane got a $50,000 extension on their line of credit, which Lane procured in secret from the the other partners and presented as "found money" in their account. So they already had enough for expenses, thus his plan to disperse this "found" money as bonuses. They other partners decided to be frugal, throwing a wrench in his plans. I'm not sure what Lane's long-term plan was for covering this up, but perhaps keeping a second set of books until they were liquid enough that erasing $50,000 would not be noticed. This only would have been problematic if they actually did need to extend their credit at which point their banker would have said, "uh, what about that $50 grand we just gave you?" Lane was pretty desperate so it's easy to see him convincing himself that would not come to pass.

So right now, Bert believes Don was a soft touch and approved $8,000 to Lane. Only Don knows Lane stole that $8,000. But with Lane dead, the fact that he secretly extended their line of credit $50,000 is going to come out now rather than later. Either they'll find it in the books or the banker is going to bring it up with whoever is now dealing with him. And/or more notes may surface from Lane detailing the issue.

Alternately, Lane is so concerned about his family saving face he may have engineered some sort of $50,000 payback/cover-up before he killed himself, counting on Don to keep silent about the known transgression of stealing $8,000. But that's sort of like plate-spinning from beyond the grave - quite tricky unless you get the plates spinning just so.

Also, adjusted for inflation:

$8,000 = $55,000
$55,000 = $378,882
posted by mikepop at 6:09 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Theoretically, SCDP had the same insurance on Lane that they have on Pete and it covers suicide.
posted by drezdn at 6:11 AM on June 8, 2012


Yes, Lane has the same insurance as Pete, including the suicide clause, but I don't know that Pete lied about it paying out to the company. He looked as if he were lying, but maybe he wasn't.

Considering Roger's heart attack in S1, Bert's age (did his sister front any money for the new firm?), and the tenuous nature of the fledgling but growing company, the bank and/or simple prudence would have deemed the existence of some sort of "company insurance/company beneficiary" life insurance. A smaller payout for widows/heirs I'm presuming exists as well. Most of the major companies I've worked for on salary had small life insurance (2x salary payout) at no cost to me, benefiting my heirs directly.
posted by tilde at 7:01 AM on June 8, 2012


Last night, I was wondering what the point of the wallet plotline from the beginning of this season. It did establish that Lane needed money, but was somewhat honorable. What was the point of the "mob" guy though? Is this something that is going to comeback?
posted by drezdn at 8:52 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lane got a $50,000 extension on their line of credit, which Lane procured in secret from the the other partners and presented as "found money" in their account. So they already had enough for expenses, thus his plan to disperse this "found" money as bonuses

I still don't see how this works.

There are two options. They approved an increase in the line of credit and Lane didn't borrow the money. Their cash account stays the same, the amount of credit they have is higher but the credit they used is the same. But then I don't see how he could pull off the "we have an extra 50k" story and pay out bonuses to everyone (excluding partners).

So then he actually had to pull on that extra 50k, which means that they now owe it to the bank.

(Note: an increase in credit line is like an increase in the credit limit, as far as I can tell, you're not obliged to use that increase. But if Lane didn't, then it doesn't seem to work out.)

And this, to me, is a plotline that is major enough -- it caused the death of one character -- that just totally dropping the "we owe 50k we don't know about yet" plot doesn't work. Don is presumably still going to cover the 7k Lane stole, but what happens when this debt pops up?
posted by jeather at 9:05 AM on June 8, 2012


Last night, I was wondering what the point of the wallet plotline from the beginning of this season. It did establish that Lane needed money, but was somewhat honorable. What was the point of the "mob" guy though? Is this something that is going to comeback?

Was that a mob guy? I thought the point of that story was to begin plotting Lane's dissatisfaction with his life/(figurative) impotence. He finds a wallet with a picture of a cute girl, talks to her, and imagines himself with her. When the owner of the wallet shows up, he keeps the picture. And then about a month or so later, he tries to bring in the Jaguar account.
posted by donajo at 9:27 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Lane's own bean ballet
posted by mrgrimm at 10:26 AM on June 8, 2012


The part about Betty's status-obsession is, unfortunately, supported by Weiner himself, if you care about authorial intent, which no one has to. I think it paints her in a very bad light. And it's another example IMO of Weiner's intending something that didn't necessarily make it to the screen, or at least was left completely ambiguous.

Oh, I think Betty's status-obsession is THE whole point of the show.

It's a show about advertising. In the Thanksgiving episode (s05e09, "Dark Shadows"), Betty says, "I'm thankful that I have everything I want and nobody else has anything better." Betty is the epitome of the (rather despicable but universal) human trait that the "mad men" exploit, their raison d'etre.

Glen opened his mouth in order to precociously intone upon Tonight’s Theme. “Why does everything turn to crap?” To which we yelled at our TV, “Not everything, Glen! Just everything you’re involved with!”

"It's your sister. We're figuring out when we can ball"
posted by mrgrimm at 10:39 AM on June 8, 2012


How Mad Men turned Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce into TV’s scariest monster
posted by crossoverman at 9:39 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


This blog post was really great and direct about some of the motivations and themes in "the Other Woman," the point on Roger's reaction, which was not made explicitly in this episode, but the last was really good. Roger tried buying Joan out himself! A larger unasked question, that maybe the series is starting to explore is how has feminism changed the asking price of women (Peggy demands respect not money).

"He calls a meeting of the partners so that they can negotiate an offer to give Joan. Notice that Roger’s first instinct is that Pete should tell Herb to take a long walk. This is natural, as Joan was his lover in the past and the mother of his child. He has an instinctive male need to believe in her sexual virtue, that she is above this offer. Pete however says that she was more amused than shocked, and that it’s just a matter of the right price. Shocked, he outright asks “She said she’d do it.” Pete responds “She said we couldn’t afford it.”

You can see Roger’s disappointment and hurt as he hangs his head down. Remember, Roger a few episodes earlier was trying to give Joan money to raise his child. He was trying to offer all types of financial support and we found out he’s been trying to do so for a long time now, and Joan presented herself as too principled to accept that offer. So what’s going through his mind now? He now feels that she wasn’t too principled after all, but rather that he just couldn’t afford her price either in that scenario. This is why he ends up saying “I won’t stand in the way, but I’m not paying for it.” It’s because he offered her his money in the past and she turned it down, and he feels too emasculated to now offer his money on these terms.

What’s interesting is the parting lines each partner says when leaving. Roger says “Don’t fool yourself, this is some very dirty business.” He’s against it, doesn’t want to believe it will work, but is too hurt to stand in the way.

posted by stratastar at 1:00 PM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


PEGGY'S THERMOS SURVIVED!

and coordinates with her dress!
posted by stratastar at 7:31 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


TEAM ROGER STERLING'S BAD FRENCH ACCENT.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:32 PM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm a little worried about this Dish-Network-dropping-AMC thing. Which is weird, because I am not a Dish Network customer.
posted by box at 7:55 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did I just see what I thought I saw while hearing my favorite James Bond theme song?
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:04 PM on June 10, 2012


CALLED IT
posted by The Whelk at 8:06 PM on June 10, 2012


Dogs humping? Me too.
posted by box at 8:12 PM on June 10, 2012


I kind of love Megan's mom's world weary Gallic fatalism.
posted by The Whelk at 8:13 PM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think Megan's mom is my new hero. She was like a knife slicing through all the character's follies and illusions this episode.
posted by jokeefe at 8:24 PM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


My super-talkative uncle from Iran just said "ya-la!" at rory gilmore's naval.

New band name. Alternative : Rory Gilmore Brain Zaps!
posted by stratastar at 8:45 PM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metaphorical Toothache.
posted by The Whelk at 8:48 PM on June 10, 2012


Marie is not here to take care of you she is for crushing your hopes and dreams!
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:51 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Megan's too busy living inside French fairy tales.
posted by The Whelk at 8:52 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do French fairy tales involve enormous teeth? Perfect!
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:57 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


In case you want to pretend you're in the theatre with Don and Peggy, here are the opening credits to "Casino Royale."
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:00 PM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Does anyone else think that the secret unsung hero of season 5 is Harry Crane's jacket?
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:15 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


DIRTY.
posted by Artw at 9:25 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Joan glasses. Her glasses.

They are amazing, never take them off.

So! Strong finish I thought, rounded out the themes of the series, I was expecting way more explosions given the fast and speedy nature of this season but it ended up more circling the events then really hitting them and I enjoy watching Pete suffer even if I don't think Rory Gilmore here was an interesting or well acted plot whorl.

They're totally turning Lane's office into a stairway, right?

Peggy's romantic flight to beautiful scenic dog fucking Virginia. Of course she.gets a cigarette, that was The Big Deal when she first came on, as a sectary.

Also, hey there early art carrer, no don't mind me I'm just going to flashback to the three hundred dollar scam I bought into when I was starting out. Also, there is no way Marie did not know what she was saying, she switched back to French to cover up calling her daughter dumb. I mean she's not a nice person but I admire Marie's total zero tolerance for other people's bullshit, she gets enough of that from Emile and his pretentions.

Wow dealing with Lane's widow was brutal. She hates SCDP SO. MUCH. I wonder, with the motif of Fairy Tales running through the season, how perfect Beauty and The Beast was as a device in the Draoer marriage, both parties have to change themselves in order to form a stronger union and undo the spell.

Also Don has a literal hole inside of him that is causing him pain that he refuses to get treated until the last second. Anvilicious much?
posted by The Whelk at 9:27 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Everyone smokes at evil parallel agency.
posted by Artw at 9:29 PM on June 10, 2012


Also RODGER STERING IS A GOODEN GOD DRINK IN MY BEAUTY CITY FOR I AM MAN REBORN
posted by The Whelk at 9:29 PM on June 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Peggy actually dressed like an adult in the amber agency.
posted by The Whelk at 9:30 PM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cause that was fucking Chanel, which I hope means she's gotten someone to come with her to Bergdorfs and smack the floral prints out of her hands.
posted by The Whelk at 9:31 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Although in retrospect everyone else was really casually dressed, overcompensating maybe for her new position by breaking out the coutre.
posted by The Whelk at 9:32 PM on June 10, 2012


Can someone in the NYC acting world help me a bit with Megan? I know she's nt working and it's driving her batty, but since she doesn't "have" to work, can't she take unpacking work or does she need to be part of a union first or? I know it's hard to even get unpaid work and the laws about who can work where are really complex but I wonder why she's not at, say more classes ( aside from getting involved in a screen test scams).

On the other hand, we don't really have any in world examples of her acting ability, maybe she really does suck.
posted by The Whelk at 9:35 PM on June 10, 2012


Not working*
posted by The Whelk at 9:36 PM on June 10, 2012


Unpaid work, yeah, iPhone away.
posted by The Whelk at 9:36 PM on June 10, 2012


It's not right to take advantage of the hopeless.
posted by Artw at 9:41 PM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


well hmmm, there's a question?

Does it matter if Megan is hopelessly untalented?
posted by The Whelk at 9:44 PM on June 10, 2012


Casino Royale and You Only Live Twice, both 1967... They seem like they are from completly different incarnations of the 60s.
posted by Artw at 9:58 PM on June 10, 2012


Also RODGER STERING IS A GOODEN GOD DRINK IN MY BEAUTY CITY FOR I AM MAN REBORN

HE IS THE LIZARD KING! HE CAN DO ANYTHING!
posted by Artw at 10:00 PM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Marvel as Will Forte dances to the Casino Royale theme.

So SCDP is really successful again, but everyone is unhappy?
posted by drezdn at 10:06 PM on June 10, 2012


I was able to figure out Peggy was in a hotel room, because it looked like the hotels my parents would stay at in the 80s.
posted by drezdn at 10:07 PM on June 10, 2012


So then he actually had to pull on that extra 50k, which means that they now owe it to the bank.

They wouldn't owe 50K, though, but only the 7K that Lane borrowed for his "bonus". And Don's going to make good on that himself. So the books will be balanced.
posted by orange swan at 10:08 PM on June 10, 2012


Yeah they're swimming in money now, I wonder how that's going to go over.

Bert will have an office! To do ....Bert ....stuffs.
posted by The Whelk at 10:11 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Marie's reaction to Don and Drunk!Megan was telling "No she's your problem now, here are the keys to Megan's future happiness, I'm going to fuck your business partner, bye."
posted by The Whelk at 10:20 PM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


also, Stan, talking for the audience, "I'm so tired of this dynamic." Ginsberg needs a leash, he was downright rude to the client. Can we just cut to Ginsberg's chest of hooker scalps or secret book of tasteful "wrestling" photos or something? Peggy gets to troll movie houses for weed and handy jays and occasionally remembers she has a friend with art scene connections.

Also Ginsberg was wearing a different ugly blazer than the blazer He Always wears. I don't think Stan is long for the series, actually.

Ken "I am too in this show" Cosgrove has a line and everything.
posted by The Whelk at 10:25 PM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can we just assume they'll cover the $50k with the $125k? And will Don's paying off the widow without a vote come back to haunt them?
posted by drezdn at 10:30 PM on June 10, 2012


Not haunt per se, but be an issue?
posted by drezdn at 10:31 PM on June 10, 2012


Casino Royale and You Only Live Twice, both 1967... They seem like they are from completly different incarnations of the 60s.

Do you know how much I love them for doing that? I LOVE THEM SO MUCH FOR DOING THAT!
posted by crossoverman at 10:32 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think with all the new money coming in no one is going to notice a small hiccup in the books, besides it was her money, they had promised to pay it back, he's just doing it now.

Again, wow that was a brutal scene with the Widow Lane. That ambition line was like she blames All Of America for her husband's suicide.

And raise your hand if you couldn't stop humming I AM YOUR DENTIST! During Don's dental work ....which might have cost him his jaw, which can be the result of oral cancer caused by.....smoking.

JUST SAYING.
posted by The Whelk at 10:35 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Megan's blonde friend and her on again off again ....German? accident was nice. Good late 60s student look there without being sterotypical.

Oh Pete, talking about LA and sunshine, your dick is not magical treatment for chronic depression, and one again he gets something he wants entirely by accident due to his bad actions. He can't stop falling up, or being punched up rather.
posted by The Whelk at 10:38 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also Trudy appears to be redecorated the house cause apparently she got her vision back and noticed what it looked like.

Poor Trudy! She's so clueless. They really need to have Pete and Trudy being backstabbing and petty against others. It's the only time they make sense as a couple, the little social climbers.
posted by The Whelk at 10:40 PM on June 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


CUT TO FUTURE SCENE, PEGGY IN OFFICE, SMOKING AT TYPEWRITER

"You've gone down a path, lady"

"You've come to a place, sweetie."

"The roads you have traveled, baby..."
posted by The Whelk at 10:45 PM on June 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


He can't stop falling up

Pete: "I'm going to have the same view as you, Don."
Don: "Congratulations."

Don could barely contain the contempt in his voice.

Pete, sharing a view with Don is sharing a view with Don. It doesn't make you him. It doesn't even make you a facsimilie of him. It just means you have the second storey view.

And that shot, of all the partners standing in the expansion of their empire, looking out onto the future - that was a beautiful shot.
posted by crossoverman at 11:05 PM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


"you've been on a plane and seen two dogs humping, baby."
posted by Artw at 11:05 PM on June 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Megan's blonde friend and her on again off again ....German? accident was nice. Good late 60s student look there without being sterotypical.

I'm guessing we won't see that "friend" again, given the way Megan helped herself to the commercial she had wanted to get. Unless it's a hair pulling scene.
posted by orange swan at 11:12 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Alan Sepinwall reviews "The Phantom"
posted by crossoverman at 1:06 AM on June 11, 2012


Might be wrong, but I thought the friend was doing a sort of Continental thing when she was around Marie, kinda like Roger dusting off his boarding-school French.

Also, Todd VanDerWerff, for the AV Club.
posted by box at 4:45 AM on June 11, 2012


Well it looks like they are not pursuing Lane's book-cooking, but given that he was shown tidying up affairs before he tried to take his final ride in the Jaguar I don't think he would have left that photo in his wallet.
posted by mikepop at 5:46 AM on June 11, 2012


Pretty sure Don stored the soul of his dead brother in his rotten tooth.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:23 AM on June 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Thermos lives, indeed. :)
posted by tilde at 6:38 AM on June 11, 2012


I can't see them putting the staircase in Lane's office, though it does have to go somewhere; but wouldn't putting it in his office (even dismantling the offices near it in a remodel) make everyone go through it all day, every day?

Now to wait for season six .... please less Megan .... verrrry annoying.

As to the "will he or won't he" they left us with at the end. "He's back" is the implication and the interviews, but no point in speculating; I'm all for anything with less Megan and more throwing Pete Campbell under a train. I don't care about his infidelities all that much. (Though I finally got why he sent Sally out of the bathroom on the episode where he dumped Bobbi and they ran the "two sides of every woman" campaign. D'oh.

I think Don is not exactly effortlessly but deliberately Don Draper, Campbell wants to be but is failing and feels empty that he doesn't feel as confident as Don seems.

Thinking back to the first episode and Don telling Campbell he's going to be (die?) alone in the corner office, a middle manager with no friends ... (paraphrasing) ... now he and Campbell have the same "corner office" albeit on floors 38 and 39 ....
posted by tilde at 6:49 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Never say never again.
posted by Artw at 9:39 AM on June 11, 2012


I just picked up season three and four for $20 each at No-Frills a few weeks ago. I'm going to spend the next year watching one episode a week, plus all the commentary and special features, so I'm all primed and ready for season six.
posted by orange swan at 11:44 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


The more I think about it the more irritatingly on the nose the toothache is. Our first shot is Don using a cotton ball soaked in whiskey to numb the pain (LIKE THE PAIN IN YOUR SOUL DON) and Megan commenting on how much mouthwash he was using (HIDE THE PAIN DON) "I want to see that ice on your tooth not in a drink" (YOU CAN'T DRINK THIS PROBLEM AWAY DON) "You should've come in sooner." (YOU'RE ON THE BRINK OF NO RETURN DON CHANGE YOUR WAYS)

and so on.
posted by The Whelk at 2:15 PM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


This season was gratingly heavy handed, possibly to make the show more accessible to new viewers. I felt like this last episode might've been a return to form, if only they'd dropped the bits with Adam and the toothache.
posted by peppermind at 3:41 PM on June 11, 2012


Word--I really liked the gratingly heavy-handed, hit-you-over-the-head-with-the-symbolism quality of this season, and even I thought the Adam bit might've been over the top.
posted by box at 3:49 PM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Remember when, for a couple of years, it seemed like dead characters that only one character could see we're a feature of every HBO and HBO-like show?
posted by Artw at 3:57 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I didn't mind the bluntness when they were also doing exciting new script structures and blowing apart the formula more, the bluntness fit the speedier, stranger turns the episodes were taking.
posted by The Whelk at 4:02 PM on June 11, 2012


Speculating now and thinking about big events the show will probably acknowledge in its final two seasons...

Season 6: August 1967 (the summer of love) through June 1968 (RFK's assassination)
Season 7: Jan 1969 (Nixon's inauguration) through December 1969 (well, you know, lots of stuff happened in '69, plus Weiner said that it would end in 69)
posted by crossoverman at 5:48 PM on June 11, 2012


Finally watched on a larger screen. I think the staircase will be through Lanes office but the lower floor will be restructured to make it less obviously his (since Pete is moving) old space.

Also watched the inside bit & saw what twop viewers were saying about Don thinking Megan had something undeniable but not necessarily GOOD.

Petey didnt get hit by a train but two punches & a band was nice for the General of the Howdy Doody Circus Army (band name!). His story to Beth leads credence to the theory this is all Ken-fic.

Both Don & Pete ended up with blood on their mouth this episode (joke from Roger @ c/f)

(now Rewatching c/f) I think Betty's sweater is bloused because it is borrowed & way too big.

Megan is wearing her screen test outfit & earrings in c/f.

Yep, Pete is next door to Lane(I recognize the art, his name is on the door, but I assumed from his desk perch it was his. )

Speaking of art, some of the falling art in opening sequence was in early season Pete's office. Maybe he's the falling man, not Don. He's trying to be Don & failing to have it please him.
posted by tilde at 6:01 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damn no edit window.

Phantom - Montage was supposed to wrap up major characters but Joanie was left out again.

All I could think for Roger was Futurama: "Happy New Year, naked weirdo!"
posted by tilde at 6:05 PM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Whelk: "Bert will have an office! To do ....Bert ....stuffs."

Four words: MOAR ASIAN TENTACLE PORN.

tilde: "As to the "will he or won't he" they left us with at the end. "He's back" is the implication and the interviews, but no point in speculating; I'm all for anything with less Megan and more throwing Pete Campbell under a train."

I'm not the biggest Megan fan either, but I interpreted the end as confirmation of my suspicion that Megan is not the modern woman I thought her to be, and was surprised at how disappointing this is to me. Is Megan just going to turn out to be the pre-Betty; the training Betty; the Phantom Menace Betty? I will be very surprised if next season doesn't start out with Megan either pregnant or having just busted out a new mini-Draper.

orange swan: "I'm going to spend the next year watching one episode a week, plus all the commentary and special features, so I'm all primed and ready for season six."

I love this idea; for the last few weeks my Sunday nights have revolved around television. What to do now to fill the void? Go to church?
Maybe weekly study of the Gospel of Weiner.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:40 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I will be very surprised if next season doesn't start out with Megan either pregnant or having just busted out a new mini-Draper.

I'd be very surprised since, didn't her mother say that Megan couldn't give Don children?
posted by crossoverman at 11:00 PM on June 11, 2012


I thought she said Megan wouldn't give him children, as in didn't want to. Which Don has mentioned is the case. He raised the topic on their honeymoon and Megan said his three children were enough.
posted by orange swan at 11:10 PM on June 11, 2012


Ah, yes. The way her mother said wouldn't, I figured she meant she couldn't, adding it to list of failures her mother perceives Megan has made.
posted by crossoverman at 11:13 PM on June 11, 2012


Okay so where to start...how about all those doors opening? Almost every single scene began with a door opening and someone stepping into a space. Except for Roger and Megan's mom who literally explode through a double door into a hotel bedroom like a two-headed beast.

Considering that 1967 is the year The DOORS broke on through to the other side, with their first LP, and their smash single Light My Fire, I would say it's a fair bet that that's a reference, as well as the book the band took the name from by Aldous Huxley: The Doors of Perception, which is about Huxley's experiences on mescaline.

And again I feel like there's a harking back to Michelangelo Antonioni's use of an Objective Correlative, (TEAM ANTONIONI IN THE HOUSE!)

Because each time there's an entry into a new space (office, bedroom, hospital room, train, house, building floor) there's a transaction that takes place. Something is either given or taken away or both: Beth's mind is taken away and it seems to give Pete some understanding into himself finally. Don give's Layne's widow a check for 50K. She gives him a piece of her mind. Her very British mind and tells him that he was wrong to ever "give that man the idea something that he was not..." (To a Brit the act of dreaming oneself beyond's one station is profane?). And Layne was dreaming of real life and real love, instead of the mere shadow of a life, a ghost like life of desperation, that he actually lived. That scene almost makes me feel that his shuffling off from the world was an act, perhaps of mercy to himself. Especially if THAT, his wife's articulation of who he was is who he actually was...And in the end he Willy Loman's out of existence and it's not that he embezzled a check (indeed his death made the company money), it's that he had a picture of a cute girl in his wallet. A girl he never even met, but dreamed about. Began his dreaming...

Don finally goes to the dentist and get's his ("hot" like lust? like life? Like a "hell") tooth out and has a vision of his brother (who hung himslef like Layne did) who tells him he's going to take out something he truly doesn't need. (That was a complex transaction...his pain is gone and something is returned to him...either that or too obvious..)

Megan's infantilization, progressing all season long, seems finally complete, as she compromises her lofty ideas of "art" and "acting," and asks for Daddy Don, to get her a part in a (Butler) shoe commercial.

And in one of the strangest encounters, her mom comes back from her lovemaking with Roger, and both figuratively and literally puts the responsibility for Megan's well being squarely into the hands of Don, the new parent.

Don's been fighting against it all season in a real effort to keep the relationship from turning into a repeat of Betty, and healthy and on a sense of parity and as he says good bye to Megan in her childhood fairy dream, after she kissed him demurely on the cheek like a daughter, he walks away from the fairy tale land she now inhabits and the change in their dynamic is complete. (And sorry maybe it's cos I'm a dude, but I think Megan is awesome. That last scene of her freezing to have her make up put on is amazing.)

But maybe it's the chill inducing string section that marks the intro to the devastatingly cool You Only Live Twice with the equally devastingly cool Don Drapper (the "old-fashioned" Don) going to a bar to brood and look cool and wait for the evening to issue forth it's ephemeral friends.

And Peggy sure has come has come a long way baby, I kept waiting for her to utter that line or maybe Don saying it to her in the movie theater, and btw, of course she's going to remain a part of the show, she's the only one who seems able to still see the world for what it is...a couple of dogs screwing outside her bedroom window. Long way indeed.

ONe last thing: Kartheiser was brillant in the scene in the hospital room. Just fantastic piece of acting.
posted by Skygazer at 4:25 AM on June 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


ONe last thing: Kartheiser was brillant in the scene in the hospital room. Just fantastic piece of acting.

Agreed. One thing I keep forgetting in all this is how great Kartheiser is, because Pete is such a shit.
posted by crossoverman at 4:44 AM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


LANE LANE LANE

Clean slate, Beth's mind, Pete's clarity.
Other clean slate, new floor, new build up on the second floor.
Other clean slate, Megan's new career and Don's take on it.
Other clean slate - their marriage? Though Weiner said pretty much she leaves him from other interviews people have read. Now that everyone's saying that, he might keep her on just to piss people off.

I still want to push Pete in front of a train, but if the first episode is to be believed, that's not gonna happen.

What the heck is Kartheiser going to do after this? He's a great big piece of crap - is he type cast now (before? Never seen him in anything).

From the horses mouth:

Weiner: It’ll mean different things to different people.If you watch these screen tests, they’re always silent. And I looked at a bunch, from Marilyn Monroe to James Dean, and you get this sense that you’re getting a really good look at somebody’s private self. And I thought it was a chance for him to evaluate her and his feelings for her and make a decision. He realizes how badly she wants this—and how unhappy she is.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!
posted by tilde at 5:49 AM on June 12, 2012


Kartheiser played Connor in Angel when he was younger, and yes, he played an annoying little shit in that too. I'm not concerned for his career though. There's always a role for someone you love to hate, I'd imagine.
posted by peppermind at 5:55 AM on June 12, 2012


Maybe he could play the Paul Reiser character in an Aliens remake.
posted by Artw at 6:00 AM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd like to see Kartheiser play a different character for once. Although I'm not sure I could see him and not just hate whoever he plays.

I was underwhelmed. The entire season has been amazingly unsubtle, and it ended with the same lack of subtlety, and if it weren't that Pete got hit a few more times (a good theme) and Roger and Megan's mother, I'm not sure I would have cared. This episode just seemed like they forgot there was a thirteenth episode and wrote it quickly.
posted by jeather at 6:07 AM on June 12, 2012


Well it looks like they are not pursuing Lane's book-cooking, but given that he was shown tidying up affairs before he tried to take his final ride in the Jaguar I don't think he would have left that photo in his wallet.

See, I though it was almost hilariously obvious that as soon as Lane's gone, everyone's like "Holy shit, we're rolling in money!" -- the implication being that Lane was either wildly unscrupulous or really, really bad at the business stuff.
posted by psoas at 9:29 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Didn't Lane claim that they would soon be bringing in money? Maybe it wasn't all a fake-out to get his bonus.
posted by Artw at 9:40 AM on June 12, 2012


peggy and joan dress colors (they cut from Peggy in Chanel to Joan and the new partners' secretary), but I forget if they matched or contrasted.

Pete's scene in the hospital was just tremendous, and while I don't see the narrative as Ken-fic, there's a clear referent: Updike.

I don't see the ending as indeterminate, except insofar as we don't see what happens after the cut. I mean, come on. Don may be the Schrodinger's Cat of our narrative, but seriously -

"That's what happens when you help someone. They succeed, and move on," uttered over one Bond theme, cut to Megan as a fairytale princess who literally freezes before that fantastic long reverse dolly shot and then the bar scene with another freaking Bond theme.

This is not ambiguous.
posted by mwhybark at 10:10 AM on June 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


and, oh yeah, Ginsburg coffee stains on shirt. I love the guy.
posted by mwhybark at 10:40 AM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm concerned he may physically explode or something.
posted by Artw at 10:43 AM on June 12, 2012


He'll just get so twitchy and angry that he reaches apotheosis and becomes God Of The Dorks.
posted by The Whelk at 10:46 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Didn't Lane claim that they would soon be bringing in money? Maybe it wasn't all a fake-out to get his bonus.

Yeah, it seemed likely a lot of those accounts were about to pay out. Sugarberry hams, for instance, since it's almost Easter.

I love how Weiner can turn stuff around and make Pete sympathetic again. That speech in the hospital room casts so much in a new light. How he never wanted to leave New York. How he was okay with not being parents. He's been forced to live the Draperesque suburban life, and he knows he's not good at it. The sympathetic darkness in both his character and in Beth's was pretty fascinating. Reminds me of the couch scene between he and Peggy (funny to remember her being so timid and understated). I hope he and Trudy divorce, but I don't think they will.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:56 AM on June 12, 2012


It seemed like that line about sunshine acompanied a shot that was as dark as they could get it.
posted by Artw at 11:01 AM on June 12, 2012


I can't even remember why Pete and Trudy are together, can you? It was more than a little arranged if I recall.
posted by The Whelk at 11:11 AM on June 12, 2012


We don't really know. The series opens on the day before their wedding.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:13 AM on June 12, 2012


And Pete resents her family looking down on him cause they're title rich but money poor, compared to his family? Or do I ave that turned around?
posted by The Whelk at 11:20 AM on June 12, 2012


No, I think it's more than he resents her dad throwing money/accounts at him in order to strongarm Pete into giving Trudy what she wants (ie, babies, a new apartment, IIRC).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:31 AM on June 12, 2012


She is, like, old Old New York, though, isn't that right? Van Something, implying New Amsterdam Dutch?

How she ended up attending community college in Colorado 50 years later is just one of those things we hope Inspector Spacetime tackles, I suppose.
posted by mwhybark at 12:09 PM on June 12, 2012


How she ended up attending community college in Colorado 50 years later is just one of those things we hope Inspector Spacetime tackles, I suppose.

I so thought Annie's Boobs were California-based.
posted by tilde at 12:21 PM on June 12, 2012


She is, like, old Old New York, though, isn't that right? Van Something, implying New Amsterdam Dutch?

No, that's Pete's mom. Their entire conflict is pretty much between old money who squandered it and new money who doesn't mind flashing it around.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:28 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love this idea; for the last few weeks my Sunday nights have revolved around television. What to do now to fill the void?

I plan on having sex (while my wife watches True Blood).
posted by mrgrimm at 12:46 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


drezdn: "an we just assume they'll cover the $50k with the $125k? And will Don's paying off the widow without a vote come back to haunt them?"

I think there's a point to be made that the poor guy killed himself (remember, the firm made money off his death!) over what was essentially a tiny amount of money, but a huge amount to his pride, and sense of self. That we, as watchers wish that the money would play a bigger part in the direction of the story, and SCPD (hint, it won't, as Joan says they're making money hands over fists), underlines the point of the story.
posted by stratastar at 12:49 PM on June 12, 2012


Dear gods that show has lost its plot so many times. I like constant naked guys but I need some context, okay?
posted by The Whelk at 12:49 PM on June 12, 2012


No, I think it's more than he resents her dad throwing money/accounts at him in order to strongarm Pete into giving Trudy what she wants (ie, babies, a new apartment, IIRC).

There's a pretty good summary on the Mad Men Wiki of the last Pete/In-Law feud.
posted by gladly at 12:50 PM on June 12, 2012


and we just assume they'll cover the $50k with the $125k? And will Don's paying off the widow without a vote come back to haunt them?

As Don says, the $50K would have been paid back to Lane (or his estate) over time (six years) no matter what. He just decided to pay it now in an attempt to feel better. The $125k from the insurance payment lets him do it easily and instantly, but really the company is up $125k - it just takes a few years to balance out. I don't think anyone will take issue with paying back the widow now vs. later. They might even vote to pay themselves back early too since as noted above it looks like the firehose of money is going to wash away any messy financial details or further plot developments from Lane's dealings.
posted by mikepop at 1:05 PM on June 12, 2012


Dear gods that show has lost its plot so many times. I like constant naked guys but I need some context, okay?

You want context? Simple: True Blood is Mad Men. Tell your friends!
posted by psoas at 1:08 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love how Weiner can turn stuff around and make Pete sympathetic again.

You take that back.
posted by jeather at 1:14 PM on June 12, 2012


This episode just seemed like they forgot there was a thirteenth episode and wrote it quickly.

I understand why a lot of people were underwhelmed... MM has certainly had finales with a lot more energy. But to me that episode was weird in that it felt so much like denouement that it didn't leave me dying for the next season. I thought it actually could have been a series finale--all the characters' story lines (as well as that of the firm) could be considered satisfactorily wrapped up, and the final shot of Don's face was perfect.
posted by torticat at 2:31 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love how Weiner can turn stuff around and make Pete sympathetic again.

To me, that speech he made to Beth was meaningless and insincere. Maybe he feels those things but he's so callous and unthinking, that I can't have sympathy for him. It was great to get insight into what he's been pondering in those lonely nights with those giant headphones on, but not even Weiner can make that sociopath sympathetic to me. Don't get me wrong, he's a great character and I love to watch him, but that scene just proved to me how much of a dick he is.
posted by crossoverman at 2:33 PM on June 12, 2012


I wonder if tru- no I don't even have to finish that thought, of course true blood/mad men crossover fic exists.
posted by The Whelk at 2:39 PM on June 12, 2012


I thought it actually could have been a series finale--all the characters' story lines (as well as that of the firm) could be considered satisfactorily wrapped up, and the final shot of Don's face was perfect.


I can see that, but then that would make Peggy's final scene of the show observing dogs screwing in the Virginia moonlight outside her motel? And then----> FIN?

(Sad and brutal commentary there btw...a bit too realist. Ouch.)

How did they get those dogs to do it on cue anyway??
posted by Skygazer at 2:40 PM on June 12, 2012


They just taped a bunch if cats together.
posted by The Whelk at 2:41 PM on June 12, 2012


They taped the cats where now? lulz...
posted by Skygazer at 2:42 PM on June 12, 2012


So who was "The Phantom"? Seemed like a whole bunch of "Phantom's" running around: Don's brother, the erased Rory/Beth after her electro-shock treatment, Lane, the "old" Don coming out of his spell of decency? The empty sociopathic lost shell of Pete Campbell?

And how do you guys feel about Megan completely screwing over her actress friend, and asking for the shoe commercial part herself?? After all, she's already screwing the right person for the part.

In retrospect, it really seems like Megan's been broken down by this season's events. She's been treated like a child by Betty and even Sally, who sees her almost as a peer, as well as her mother, who represents the old guard of wifely duty (and untapped potential...tragically) and lost her way.

And what did her mother mean by the saying to Don that Megan "has an artistic temperament, but she is no artist." Did she mean it in terms of Megan's not having a real artistic "job" or in that, her artistic tendencies weren't genuine enough to make her an artist??
posted by Skygazer at 3:00 PM on June 12, 2012


She's was telling Don not to encourage her cause Marie thinks she's talentless. Don watches her screen test and decides she's not, or at least thinks she deserves everything she wants and Don's habit of giving people what they want usually ...backfires.
posted by The Whelk at 3:04 PM on June 12, 2012


Does anyone else wonder why so much quality hour-long drama programming is so darn SAD. Is it recognized that it's just more powerful when it's sad? I've watched The Wire, Six Feet Under, Mad Men, The Sopranos, Rome, Lost and I'm sure some others I'm not listing (even Downton Abbey is fairly depressing, though perhaps not as much as the others). I know it's not a sitcom, and of course I expect dramas to have deaths and disappointments and the like, but on the whole, why are all these great shows so terribly depressing?
posted by onlyconnect at 3:17 PM on June 12, 2012


And how do you guys feel about Megan completely screwing over her actress friend, and asking for the shoe commercial part herself??

Hated it!! That was the first thing Megan's ever done that was kind of despicable. It showed her desperation, presumably?

I'm an oddball fan in that I like Megan, think Glenn is a great character who adds a lot to the show, and even love Pete (and not in a love-to-hate way). I'm sure there were lots of viewers who thought Megan's shafting her friend was her true character finally coming out--there has been so much distrust of her among fans all season. I never understood where that came from; she always seemed sympathetic and interesting to me.
posted by torticat at 3:34 PM on June 12, 2012


Hated it!! That was the first thing Megan's ever done that was kind of despicable. It showed her desperation, presumably?

Oh, it's so not the first thing she's done like that! She's used Peggy to cover up for her audition disappearing act at work, and she claimed that Betty was only calling Don about not having cancer to get attention from him.

I actually find Megan to be a fairly fascinating character, but I think she's pretty thorny. In a lot of ways, I think that $15 she owes Ginsberg says something about the quality of her character. I don't think she's awful. But I think she's self-centered and frequently treats people thoughtlessly.

I'm an oddball fan in that I like Megan, think Glenn is a great character who adds a lot to the show, and even love Pete (and not in a love-to-hate way). I'm sure there were lots of viewers who thought Megan's shafting her friend was her true character finally coming out--there has been so much distrust of her among fans all season. I never understood where that came from; she always seemed sympathetic and interesting to me.

I also like Glen and Pete. But I think Megan's shown a pattern of behavior this season that makes her kind of unsympathetic a lot of the time. I don't think that makes her a bad character, though. In fact, it makes her a very interesting one.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:42 PM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can see that, but then that would make Peggy's final scene of the show observing dogs screwing in the Virginia moonlight outside her motel? And then----> FIN?

LOL... I would take from it that Peggy is a realist. Pragmatic by nature and then increasingly so through Don's tutelage. She really wasn't looking for Paris, but for a position in which she could work hard (something she loves--she's never been interested in the fairy tale) and be recognized for her talent. Peggy's being in a position to name Virginia Slims would be the perfect way to wrap up her story, with the locale being a nice bit of comic irony.
posted by torticat at 3:45 PM on June 12, 2012


Oh, I missed one--she also sniped at Peggy over her "cynicism" after the party when she was really mad at Don for not having the reaction she wanted.

I think it's interesting that in most of her behavior, Megan acts in a way that, on the surface, or in a certain light, seems very justified--even righteous. I'm sure even with stealing the role from her friend, she felt it was something she had to do because she couldn't get a part any other way.

About her mother's comments--the night they first fucked, I think, she told Don that she also sang and painted in college. I see her as someone who really wants to be an artist, and I think we've seen enough examples of her acting (the cool whip bit, among other things) to know she's got some talent. But her parents are never going to accept her being a commercial actress, anyway.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:51 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


For all that I bitch about Pete, I think he's a fascinating character, one of the most interesting on the show. I don't like him and I don't really enjoy his scenes, but I do think the show is better for having him as a character.

I didn't much like Connor on Angel, but my favourite character on that show was Wesley, and only because of the Connor arc.
posted by jeather at 3:52 PM on June 12, 2012


She's used Peggy to cover up for her audition disappearing act at work, and she claimed that Betty was only calling Don about not having cancer to get attention from him.

She's also gotten in some good dings against Don during their fights... but all those things are TOTALLY just normal human behavior. Almost everyone loses their temper. The thing with Peggy was supposed to be harmless (I don't think she meant for Peggy to have to actively cover for her, and everyone at the office lies to each other about where they're going all the time), and her cynicism about Betty is understandable.

I don't think anything she's done compares to having a friend beg you to put their name in for a job and then putting in your own name instead. That was not a victimless crime.

Megan had trouble even telling her coworkers at SCDP she was leaving, she felt so bad about it. I think her norm is to be more caring and loyal than what we saw in the finale.
posted by torticat at 3:59 PM on June 12, 2012


She's also gotten in some good dings against Don during their fights... but all those things are TOTALLY just normal human behavior. Almost everyone loses their temper.

Normal, but also shitty. Which is part of what I think makes her a good character. Yes, it's understandable to hate your husband's ex. It's still shitty to claim that her reaching out to him when she's afraid of a cancer diagnosis is an attention-grab. Likewise, throwing someone's abusive childhood/hidden identity back in their face as a taunt ("nobody loves Dick Whitman"--ouch). There are a lot of little examples like that with Megan. They've probably been about proportionate to Betty's selfish or self-serving behavior this season.

But I agree that this was the worst of her behavior. I jut don't think it was in any way out of character. She's seemed to have pretty rocky relationships with friends in the past, too--lots of underlying animosity, like with her actress friend in last season's finale, or the look of daggers she gave the redhead at the party about what a great actress she is (a compliment!).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:07 PM on June 12, 2012


Oh, I missed one--she also sniped at Peggy over her "cynicism" after the party when she was really mad at Don for not having the reaction she wanted.

On non-preview... Megan was right about that! Peggy had been drunk and out of line and ended up apologizing for it. Megan was far more insightful about the dynamics in the office (and her role there) than Don ever was--or Peggy either, for that matter, who pretty much lived for the office and had trouble understanding why a different kind of person might not like it. (Peggy did, however, notably, give Megan props for her courage and self-determination in leaving.)
posted by torticat at 4:09 PM on June 12, 2012


Right, but that wasn't why Megan was upset. Megan was upset with Don because he didn't the reaction she anticipated from the party, due mostly to her massive misreading of the people at SCDP. It seemed to me that she acted out toward Peggy more out of misplaced aggression (and, maybe, depending on how calculated you think she is, a desire to leave the office then--though I'm not sure I think it was that calculated, but the possibility was there).

Like I said, all of these actions likely appear perfectly understandable if you're Megan (and I really do think she probably feels the Butler shoes thing was justified, too), or if you really strongly identify with her. But there are few characters on the show whose actions could so consistently be read as self-serving while made under a veneer of self-righteousness. It's very clear with Betty, for example, when she's being a bitch. I don't think the possibility of two readings of Megan is an accident at all on the writers' parts.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:17 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


We need to start an "Over-identifying with Megan" Club.
posted by The Whelk at 4:30 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


also, yeah her character makes so much more sense when you realize she's, what 22?
posted by The Whelk at 4:33 PM on June 12, 2012


Actually Drunk!Megan was interesting as it shows a lack of familiarity with being Totally Wasted.
posted by The Whelk at 4:34 PM on June 12, 2012


26!

But yeah, I was definitely her in college. Only worse. Working on that. Haven't had a sherbet tantrum in awhile.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:34 PM on June 12, 2012


ONe last thing: Kartheiser was brillant in the scene in the hospital room. Just fantastic piece of acting.

Agreed as well. Damn if Pete Campbell didn't have me a little choked up. I could see the argument that Pete's monologue was another example among many of the show putting its theme in bright, neon letters, but it was beautifully performed.

I thought Megan had an interesting arc this season. In the earlier episodes of the season it seemed like the conflict in the Draper marriage was going to be a generational one: Don having to deal with a modern woman who had no interest in being the perfect, doting housewife and who instead demanded respect and independence. At season's end, it does seem like their relationship has come full circle and he did, as many predicted, sort of end up with Betty redux - a hopelessly unhappy woman who will never be satisfied with the life she has.
posted by The Gooch at 4:35 PM on June 12, 2012


But yeah, I was definitely her in college. Only worse. Working on that. Haven't had a sherbet tantrum in awhile.

I haven't totally screamed at someone cause my lighting wasn't right in like, a decade. I guess that's a good thing.
posted by The Whelk at 4:39 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


At season's end, it does seem like their relationship has come full circle and he did, as many predicted, sort of end up with Betty redux - a hopelessly unhappy woman who will never be satisfied with the life she has.

The difference, I think, is that Megan is going to get the life she wants. Part of that comes about through changes in Don--he refused to let Bets work. But it seems like Megan's relationship with Don will end up just being a stepping stone for her career.

I guess we'll see next season, though.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:40 PM on June 12, 2012


ah crap now I'm remembering throwing a watch out the window cause I was losing an argument, god I was insufferable in college
posted by The Whelk at 4:42 PM on June 12, 2012


god I was insufferable in college

But it sure felt good to be right all the time.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:49 PM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING! (upends table, storms out)
posted by The Whelk at 4:51 PM on June 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was way disappointed in Megan for screwing over her friend like that. I mean, she's had her moments of frustration and lashing out a bit here and there, but for the most part she's tried really hard to be fair to people around her and be a model of integrity, towards the folks at SCDP, and Sally (definitely Sally), and her parents and to Don, of course. Not an easy thing to do, and she was fully right during her confrontation with Don at the Howard Johnson's when she demanded to know when did she stop being his employee, and when did she start to be his wife during their interactions.

Don's family, her family...her peers...Megan's been pulled in too many directions at once and her sense of self just seems to be all over the place and her identity is yet a fragile thing, as it is for most people when their in their mid-20s or so. But I think she's going to be fine in the long run. The really fragile person is Don, who's, once again beginning to lose the thread on his sense of self, and I find that when people do that they seem to default or regress to their most basic sense of self, and their most formative experiences and trials...
posted by Skygazer at 5:21 PM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm an oddball fan in that I like Megan, think Glenn is a great character who adds a lot to the show

I 100% thought it was Glenn repeatedly calling and hanging up on the new Mrs. Draper.
posted by mikepop at 6:03 PM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's still shitty to claim that her reaching out to him when she's afraid of a cancer diagnosis is an attention-grab.

It was catty, but also insightful to a degree. Betty didn't even bother to give Don a call back to tell him the diagnosis was benign. I felt for Betty in that episode, for sure, but there was definitely a sense that she used/fell back on Don ("say what you always say") and then forgot him when the panic had passed. Still--even if Megan was somewhat right, she shouldn't have said what she said.

Likewise, throwing someone's abusive childhood/hidden identity back in their face as a taunt ("nobody loves Dick Whitman"--ouch).

I took that as her trying to wheedle him out of his black mood by making light of his worst fears... I mean SHE loved him, obviously. From her perspective, she just threw him a fantastic party and he hated it. (The party was a misstep, yes, but well-intended.) I didn't think the "dick whitman" bit there was meant to be barbed, but more an assertion that she did know the worst of him and the worst of him was a problem only for him, not to her.

lots of underlying animosity, like with her actress friend in last season's finale,

See, I thought that actress friend was a bitch, and the bit where Megan told Don, "She said I could never make it because of my teeth. She actually said that!" was so vulnerable and poignant. (Also an interesting set up for a lot of IRL fan reaction to Jessica Pare, with lots of people saying they just couldn't stand her teeth or the way she talked or whatever.)

or the look of daggers she gave the redhead at the party about what a great actress she is

She obviously was uncomfortable (there and throughout the season) with her actor aspirations, and she didn't want to be outed at that point. I think she was taken aback by the redhead's comment but not necessarily angry.

I'm mostly outlining all this because I love how people can come away from Mad Men with such different impressions of what's going on inside the characters' heads. I agree with you, PhoBWanKenobi, that a lot of it is set up to be ambiguous. I also agree that Megan's very human and therefore interesting.

We need to start an "Over-identifying with Megan" Club.

um... surely you don't mean me?
posted by torticat at 6:43 PM on June 12, 2012


It's funny, so many fans sites are all "Megan is a Mary Sue nyah nyah" and I just don't see it. She has so many flaws! She's kind of way too naive and temperamental and, I'll say it, totally manipulative (although not in a malicious or premeditated way, I said this from the start of the season, she's totally figured Don out but in a totally unconscious, intuitive way that speaks to both her inexperience and her skill in reading on the spot social interactions, which made her a good pitch woman) and, most importantly, we don't know if she's good at acting! Marie could be right, she could be TERRIBLE, but that doesn't mater, what matters is if Don thinks she should keep at it cause Don already thought she was an aces pitch lady and had a few months of his dream life, someone whom he could bring in to totally win a pitch AND have a quickie in his office with. I think he's still reeling from having lost that and it explains his interactions with her post-leaving SCDP.
posted by The Whelk at 10:38 PM on June 12, 2012


...And I'll say it, if Megan ever gained understanding and mastery over her emotional/social reading and skill, she would be ......very dangerous. She's the anakin skywalker of empathy right now and if she gets really hurt then oh god is EVERYONE going to hurt.
posted by The Whelk at 10:40 PM on June 12, 2012


Also, how long have they known each other? Don and Meg? Two years max? Can you imagine the phone call on her parent's side of the discussion. "Maman!I'm getting married! To a guy you never met! He's my boss! Of a year! He's twice my age! Yes, recently divorced how did you know..."
posted by The Whelk at 10:50 PM on June 12, 2012


Also, how long have they known each other? Don and Meg? Two years max?

I looked this up - her first episode "Christmas Comes But Once a Year" is set at Christmas 1964. So, she's been around 2.5 years. He proposes to her ten months later.
posted by crossoverman at 11:13 PM on June 12, 2012


which, like Beauty and Beast, they get married and then you figure out who the person you married is later.
posted by The Whelk at 11:15 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know what would be funny? If the next two seasons weren't covered by TWOP because the show got too pathetically unwatched (there were a lot of shows I didn't watch because the TWOP recaps were better; I had to go back to watching Desperate Housewives because they stopped capping it). But the strict NDAs around MM and the buildup the "will they or won't the renew/oh when is it COMING ALREADY" show drives makes that unlikely.

I was thinking overnight (while in a nightmare scenario - brr) about Pete and Megan.

Megan has a wound and she can't figure out how to fill it. She doesn't feel many things, but, as an actress (/wannabee) she knows vaguely how she should feel or appear to feel. Like others have said, she's been playing a role, almost constantly. She's frustrated that she does "all the right things" and "doesn't get what she deserves" - even if she doesn't explicitly lay it out like that. It might not occur to her to do slimy things all the time. Sabotaging her "friend" by asking Don to get her an audition. She doesn't whack on Betty to the kids, even if she does a bit to Don, because she's grown up in a family of strife and knows how to manipulate just about enough when it comes to the family dynamic. She short cutted (female slimed, if you will) to success in some ways by marrying her boss, giving her stability financially so she could go do some hole-filling. It's probably best she doesn't want her own kids, at least not yet. She might find them pretty unfulfilled as well but then bug out (that'd be interesting, briefly, dropping a baby on Don and then leaving him). Also, because of her family dynamic, she's learned to keep shit to herself until she needs/wants something or is cued by some dim part of her brain that it's time to react. Mostly with Don, as articulated nicely up-thread. She's finally starting to do what needs doing, eat or be eaten, I expect.



Pete, after five seasons and seven years of getting his ass handed to him in much the same way, is more vocal about his feelings. He grew up belittled by his mother and father, and was told that there were certain formulas for success and if he followed them things would be as effortless as Don's things (success, admiration, women) appeared to be. He did male slimy things (Peggy) and "pressure slimy" things (buying the gun when he couldn't get cash for the chip'n'dip - and I'm pretty slow and had to be told it wasn't actually a double!). But when his father finally dies, he articulates that he doesn't know how he should feel (though being shocked is normal) - but I think that's part of a lot of his conflict internally. His speech to Beth/DarkBetty in the hospital (which I tagged as Ken-fic because of my interest in this) was actually a pretty big revelation for him. Sure it might have come off as flat to some, but sometimes realizations do that, and I got the feeling it was a dawning realisation, and the fact that he was trying to "write" it as he went along (remember the story about the hunter voicing what the bear was thinking?). Pete has done more slimy things, first as people suggested them to him (pimp out his father's death to woo American), but eventually because it got things done. He doesn't mind being the bad guy if it get things done. And he's getting his office. It finally does. They aren't all friends, they're not going to be friends, so eat or be eaten.

I had something about Ginsberg but I forgot it. It was tied to waking up to "I will survive" ... "So now you're back from outer space ..." It probably comes out way too late to be used with him. ;P

Oh, was rewatching old episodes last night - Betty has a "sherbert" orange dress, Trudy and Kitty and Megan have green nighties.
posted by tilde at 5:46 AM on June 13, 2012


Holy paragraph blocks, Batman! Sorry about that.

The Whelk I can't even remember why Pete and Trudy are together, can you? It was more than a little arranged if I recall.

I've been rewatching the old episodes (maybe that was part of the nightmare) last night, thinking what it would be like if they were re-edited to take Megan out to present the story in straight chronological order. Kind of tough because sometimes people just talk about the past without flashing back to it (in fact, I think ONLY Don flashes back).

But there was a scene where Pete's father in law was pulling Clearasil (Don's visiting Anna, Peggy's winning Popsicle, Duck's selling the company, Pete puts his foot down about adoption) and Pete mentions that he "loved" Trudy when he married her (which of course Tom tromped on with the past tense and Pete snapped back "you know what I mean").

So they did have some love, even though he's not happy (held over her a bit) that he's not her first/only lover. Or they decided they were suited and that was enough for love and marriage ("When I look into her eyes we're supposed to be one person, but I see a stranger"[paraphrase to Peggy]") but it's not. It was the first of many patches to his wound, his permanent wound he's now articulating.

I know, I know, TV Shows Are Not Planned This Way Years In Advance Like JK Rowling Convinced Us Her Books Were. I'm just saying that's where they went with it.
posted by tilde at 6:00 AM on June 13, 2012


Mad Style Alert.
posted by tilde at 9:12 AM on June 13, 2012


Am I being too sensitive or does Mad Men go to extreme lengths to make all of the unabashed leftists that appear on the show look like total buffoons? I mean, there's this argument in the first season between Don and Midge's hippy friends where he totally shuts them down with the power of his unimpeachable cynicism:
Bearded Hippy: Like you? You make the lie. You invent want. You're for them... not us.
Don Draper: Well, I hate to break it to you, but there is no big lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent.
Bespectacled Hippy: Aw man, why'd you have to go and say that?
Which I find hard to read as anything other than the writers setting up pins so that Don Draper, bowling ball, can knock them all down. And then Emil is just a total ass and his Marxism is less a considered position of his than a particularly odious symptom of how much he sucks in general. What am I missing here?
posted by invitapriore at 10:02 AM on June 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also I don't remember any exact quotes but Peggy is also fed a lot of alley-oops by the writers in the form of Joyce and Abe's crowd.
posted by invitapriore at 10:04 AM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oops, sorry, Midge's beat friends. But it's a telling error.
posted by invitapriore at 10:09 AM on June 13, 2012


I think they were hedging some blowback that of course a show set in the 60s would have Liberals Triumphantly Destroying The Old Ways cause that is the cliche narrative for stories set in that era.
posted by The Whelk at 10:13 AM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


She’s gone from being child-like to being doll-like. We’re glad the writing noted the physical resemblance between Pete and Beth. They don’t just look like siblings; they look like twins. It was always so obvious to us and we always felt like it was a huge part of why Pete became infatuated with her.

HA
posted by The Whelk at 10:23 AM on June 13, 2012


Beth looked remarkably well put together and well-groomed for someone so depressed.
posted by orange swan at 10:45 AM on June 13, 2012


She had a raging case of Plot Contrivance Arrhythmia.
posted by The Whelk at 11:01 AM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


(in fact, I think ONLY Don flashes back) - or people flash back to include Don. I'm thinking Peggy had one flash back with her mom after the birth of her child but later that episode Don finally came to visit. There was a Roger/Joan flashback, but he was giving her the fur Don sold him that he included a copy of his portfolio with (I would have seriously decked Don the next time I saw him for that, but I'm from 'modern times' and I've submitted portfolios with applications and never gotten them back).

Slimy Pete - stealing cigarette research from Don's wastebasket. I knew there was something else. He got "fired" for it, too.
posted by tilde at 11:51 AM on June 13, 2012


Tilde:
Pete, after five seasons and seven years of getting his ass handed to him in much the same way, is more vocal about his feelings. He grew up belittled by his mother and father, and was told that there were certain formulas for success and if he followed them things would be as effortless as Don's things (success, admiration, women)

Thanks for bringing this up as it helps me with something I've been thinking in that, characters like Pete and Betty, and even let's say a Harry for that matter, but chiefly Pete is the number one example of this: He's a man of a certain time and place. He comes from a semi-aristocratic old-Dutch New York lineage, has a certain education and really, in his mind, has done everything a person of his background and standing should do, to be who he ought to be, yet he's not happy. In fact, it seems the more he lives the life the way he thinks he should live it, according to some preconceived design or notion of what it means to be a man of a certain persuasion and refinement and "clearly superior attributes" the MORE he keeps getting his ass handed to him. It's sort of like someone's changed the rules of the game on him mid-stream and he can't seem to understand "what the heck is happening?"

He (and Betty, with her Mainline background and Harry, who also seems to come from a privileged background), come from a certain type of American setting that's simply never had to be self-aware or self-conscious of themselves, and they're in a time, when everything is being questioned. All those things people took as a given are no longer a given. Everyone's consciousness, regardless of LSD or not (and it's so so excellent that Roger is becoming such a acid head loving the evolving...in his hedonist way, and maybe hedonism is a survival mechanism in some ways??) is trying to wrap itself around the change.

That moment, in the hospital room with Beth, is moving to me, and Kartheiser just kills it with his performance, in that Pete, finally....finally...is waking up a little bit and doing the (for him)inconceivable, and that is, he is re-evaluating his values and his identity, and asking himself: Why am I so miserable? And realizing that Beth, was never the answer to his problems.

And it was refreshing to see him just say to hell with the putting up a face, and confronting Beth's husband on the train. He showed courage and he showed (finally) a willing to accept responsibility for his actions.

Betty is the female analogue in this, and for her, it is her problems with weight that's finally awakening a deeper more compassion side. Finally it seems to me embracing Sally, as Sally needs to be embraced by her mom.
posted by Skygazer at 12:06 PM on June 13, 2012


He's a man of a certain time and place.

That really hit home for me for the first time when Pete showed up to the office wearing short shorts and that hilarious tennis sweater.
posted by invitapriore at 12:27 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


And it was refreshing to see him just say to hell with the putting up a face, and confronting Beth's husband on the train. He showed courage and he showed (finally) a willing to accept responsibility for his actions.

Until the next scene, where he pretends he drove his car into a ditch.

I'm not sure if we saw new courage and responsibility or just more of the same brashness and not-thinking-things-throughness that has been at the core of his character.

I do agree that he is becoming more self-conscious. He's got his apartment in the city now - will it actually lead to him feeling more "right" and a productive path of more reflection or we he still feel things are wrong, just in different ways? Tune in next season.

In Mad Style, I'm glad they touched upon Michael's coffee-stained shirt in his presentation to Topaz - that just leaped out to me. It's been about six months since he started working there an pulling a decent paycheck. They've shown him as being in a relatively cash-poor situation but he's had enough time to earn enough to at least amass a sufficient number of shirts (not necessarily improving in quality or style) that he can pull it together to wear a clean one to a client pitch. That, combined with his frantic pitch, presumably fueled by equal parts coffee that avoided his shirt and desperation, spoke volumes about how he is handling the pressure now that Peggy is not there to run the show and let him focus on being creative.
posted by mikepop at 12:32 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Invitapriore: What am I missing here?

Not much, and in fact you've really brought up something that bugs me about the show. It's one of those small inconsistencies that amounts to a bit of nagging cognitive dissonance in that, from the get go, unlike Pete, Don seemed beyond his time or at least to transcend it, and to me that was the root of his genius as an ad man. Of course, he's going to be beyond the simplistic Beatnik mantra of "the system" and "the man...maaaan" etc...

His ability to be beyond that, endears him to the viewer and makes him instantly a contemporary voice in that, that pose and philosophy does sound dated and nostalgic. And I didn't take it to be anti-left as much as it was poking fun at the dowdy wide-eyed beatnik culture in the face of this guy who's basically so beyond that simply from the fact that he's created his own reality and his own persona and is living proof that we're all really creations of our own mind and much more malleable and adaptable than we think.

So, I've kept expecting Drapper to, in a way be nonplussed by many of the consciousness expanding events coming now in '66 and '67. Don's always been a nihilist. And he pays the price for it. He keeps losing track of who he is, and what or who he loves, and what he's living for...

And that ability to transcend his time through his nihilism gets him in trouble again and again. Seems to me, as long as he and Megan were equals and her will was clearly in the picture it steadied and centered him, but soon as their dynamic shifted to his will, and his vision becoming dominant (paternal really...), he's lost the thread to himself again...

I'm really curious as to what the fuck he means to do with the Dow account if they get it. It's just such a huge complex thing to try and decipher. I may be projecting my own distrust and dislike of that (military industrial) establishment though, and where it's taken this country...
posted by Skygazer at 12:52 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


And I didn't take it to be anti-left as much as it was poking fun at the dowdy wide-eyed beatnik culture in the face of this guy who's basically so beyond that simply from the fact that he's created his own reality and his own persona and is living proof that we're all really creations of our own mind and much more malleable and adaptable than we think.

...

I'm really curious as to what the fuck he means to do with the Dow account if they get it. It's just such a huge complex thing to try and decipher.


all that and a side of fries
posted by tilde at 12:58 PM on June 13, 2012


Great interview with Weiner.

On the anviliciousness, he confirms that he's working his themes on multiple layers, the first layer is the obvious one, and he often just states it, but the deeper layers are more complicated, he knows what he's doing.

Matthew Weiner: I've heard that discussion too, except for then when I hear what people say what the theme is, I'm disappointed, because it's so obvious and yet they're wrong most of the time. They say how obvious it is, and yet it's basically not what I was talking about. I'm flattered and pleased to have this unique television show that even deals with theme. If there's any attention to the audience to look at a theme, I don't think it exists anywhere else. It's one of the unique things that the show has to offer. When I look at the kind of work I try and emulate and the kind of storytelling that I like — if you look at "Moby Dick" and ask, 'What does the whale mean?" You can say, "Well, the whale means this" and end your conversation at that. But that's not what it means. There's a scene at the beginning of "Moby Dick" where he goes into a hotel and there's a painting on the wall that basically tells the entire story. So people trying to guess what's going to happen versus people trying to allow themselves to experience a meditation on an idea like jealousy or need or friendship — "Signal 30" was one where to say it's about friendship, like there's a test on the episode is a bummer for me. To say, "What does it say about friendship?" is something else.

It's tough to get a question like that, because it puts you in such a defensive position. God knows, I love the amount of criticism the show gets, because it shows people's passion for it. I don't want them to stop writing about it, or theorizing or even every season saying it's not as good as it used to be. That's fine with me, because it means that people are interested in it and watching it. But I do want people to know that if they give themselves over to each episode, there's a lot more there, and the fact that they're even looking for a theme is a lot more flattering for me. It's not usually the topic of a one-hour TV drama.

posted by stratastar at 1:12 PM on June 13, 2012


That, combined with his frantic pitch, presumably fueled by equal parts coffee that avoided his shirt and desperation, spoke volumes about how he is handling the pressure now that Peggy is not there to run the show and let him focus on being creative.
Not to mention clients taking it for granted that SCDP will give them a female copywriter perspective and Peggy's value to the company is being missed.

Anyhow that shirt stain was a hoot. I do believe Mr. Ginsberg is overdue for a "little talk."

Although on second thought, he did tag Jaguar didn't he?? Nah, he's a recognized eccentric who's value been proven....no talk for Ginsberg.
posted by Skygazer at 1:30 PM on June 13, 2012


His ability to be beyond that, endears him to the viewer and makes him instantly a contemporary voice in that, that pose and philosophy does sound dated and nostalgic. And I didn't take it to be anti-left as much as it was poking fun at the dowdy wide-eyed beatnik culture in the face of this guy who's basically so beyond that simply from the fact that he's created his own reality and his own persona and is living proof that we're all really creations of our own mind and much more malleable and adaptable than we think.

There's something to that, but on the other hand I think Don's nihilism is a handy cover for the fact that his constructed persona is not the unique, lovingly-crafted beacon in the darkness that he wants to think it is. Oh, you're a nihilistic self-starter who walks his own path? How convenient that you fit so perfectly into the high-powered businessman mold, and that you suffer from many of the same flaws as the molded men around you! (At no time is this clearer than when Peggy and Joan are reacting to his marriage announcement.) Don is as constrained by his lifestyle as anyone around him, and it's only the fact that he's willing to murder his old identities that lets him think otherwise. Don thinks his freedom is constant with respect to time, but it's actually punctuated; he has it in spades in brief those moments where he's transitioning between selves, but that's it.
posted by invitapriore at 1:44 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


wearing short shorts and that hilarious tennis sweater

What?! That was basically me in 1987. The word for that sweater is FRESH.

Don's always been a nihilist.

Don is not a nihilist. He certainly has ambition and cares deeply about his family.

Don is a hobo.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:24 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh, I just made the connection between Don's desk of clean shirts in the pilot and Gunsberg's coffee stained shirt.
posted by The Whelk at 3:29 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was just rewatching the episode; That whole scene with Pete and Beth in the hotel is not only an interesting commentary on 60s attitudes toward mental illness, it's also a great illustration of Pete's massive ego. I love the line when Pete says "Don't tell me you're not happy right now. Don't tell me you don't feel better." He might as well be saying "Sex with me: The cure for what ails ya."
posted by Dr. Zira at 3:29 PM on June 13, 2012


Pete

Pete

Pete

Your cock is not magic.
posted by The Whelk at 3:49 PM on June 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


So did anyone else make a mental leap from the episode The Hobo And The Gypsy, where we basically figure out what Don is all about, to Megan's gypsy scarf and the term for wandering theatrical people .... gypsies?
posted by The Whelk at 3:55 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Brain wiping = yet another Sci-Fi plot point.
posted by Artw at 4:11 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


The eternal sunshine of the spotless Beth.
posted by The Whelk at 4:14 PM on June 13, 2012


I did not make that connection because I was too busy trying to figure out if I could pull off Megan's effortless gypsy look without looking like a crazy cat lady or a character from a Harry Potter film.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:20 PM on June 13, 2012


I kinda feel like that look just Simms her up for the finale, it's a casual, free and lighthearted gyspy headscarf...done with a silk French scarf no doubt amazingly expensive.

Man you could write a paper on the role of scarves as symbolism in this show.
posted by The Whelk at 4:23 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't figure out that hospital scene. The first time I saw it I suspected that maybe Beth actually does remember her sexytime with Pete, but was just pretending to not know because it made it easier for everyone. I decided against that because at the end of the scene, she just goes back to her book, so maybe she really did forget that she cared about him. But does she remember Pete at all? If he's a total stranger to her, why does she let him hang out in the room for so long? I get she may be sad and just desperate to talk to anyone at all, but wouldn't she be freaked out when a total stranger walks in, holds her hand and speaks intimately, then attempts to break off the conversation by saying OH HEY, WRONG ROOM, I CONFUSED YOU WITH A DUDE?
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:26 PM on June 13, 2012


I will totally be happy with a next season realization that the Beth-Peter relationship was completely inside Pete's head and he's heading for a major psychotic break.
posted by The Whelk at 4:30 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Whelk: "done with a silk French scarf no doubt amazingly expensive. "

I was actually wondering if it was Hermès. Peggy might not yet be able to afford real Chanel, but Don Draper can probably afford to let her take his credit card to Ye Olde Hermès, where she can also contemplate purchasing a Kelly bag.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:31 PM on June 13, 2012


And Hermes was used to tempt Peggy into jumping ship way back, it crossed my mind.
posted by The Whelk at 4:33 PM on June 13, 2012


It almost felt like Beth was just good at faking ether way through situations where her brain is fried.
posted by Artw at 4:34 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


ArtW, I did get a " oh I've been here before and delt with not really understanding what's going on just smile and nod" thing from Beth in the hospital but yeah that whole thing was ...werid.
posted by The Whelk at 4:37 PM on June 13, 2012


Beth's a good faker? That's a pretty good trait to have if you're going to have sex with Pete.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:38 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Life is just a floaty dream with Mr. Buzzy, la la la la...
posted by Artw at 4:50 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's interesting how Megan seems to have adopted that scarf and cigarette pants as her fancy free "home" uniform; I think we've seen Day Off Joan in a similar outfit. Peggy, on the other hand...have we ever seen her wearing pants? I'll have to check Tom and Lorenzo to see what she was wearing during her hippie buddies phase.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:53 PM on June 13, 2012


I'm pretty sure she was wearing pants during her flirty flirty day at the beach caught in the rain sittin' on Abe's lap scene.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:02 PM on June 13, 2012


Ahh, here we go: Turtleneck. Not so much gypsy as beatnik.

I had forgotten about Peggy wearing this scarf in S1: "Men love scarves" quoth the Joan.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:04 PM on June 13, 2012


What?! That was basically me in 1987. The word for that sweater is FRESH.

I grant you that you it is not an un-pull-off-able sweater, but the associations that it invites in combination with Pete's essence is just too on the nose (this is from an in-universe perspective). If you turned Pete inside out that's how it would look.
posted by invitapriore at 5:11 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am fairly certain that I had a similar sweater obtained in 1987 from the Banana Republic men's department.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:27 PM on June 13, 2012


Introvertpoire: If you turned Pete inside out that's how it would look.

Gah! Beat me to it. I was going to say it was a snapshot of his soul.

A bit tattered and worse for wear, at this point though...

(Lots and lots of dried blood from the quite frequent, well deserved punches that Pete has an almost singular gift for stopping with face...)
posted by Skygazer at 5:54 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Whelk - you sure about Pete's lil Pete? (or would it be repete)

Just saw last episode of S2. Pete is thinking he's moving up to head of accounts & tells Peggy (in a green dress that echoes forward her S5 ChNel knockoff) he loves her.
But seriously everyone had scarves.

Pete trailed Beths from her suitcase on the train. Everyone in the hair shop wore them. The gal driving the convertible in CA with Don wore one. It was an improtant accoutrement. When I was a teen I'd wear my mothers old ones & give my dad double takes.

They were necessary. Get your hair set once a week & need to protect it. There were ulitarian & lovely & everywhere. They faded out with hats, men's hats, pocket squares, suit vests (though I saw a jaunty purple one at Moes the other day) & nylons ....
posted by tilde at 6:25 PM on June 13, 2012


Scarves are totally the recurring Ur motif of the series.


SCARVES!
posted by The Whelk at 7:42 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


What are scarves used for? Hiding vampire bites. We can make this true blood crossover happen yes.
posted by The Whelk at 8:08 PM on June 13, 2012


I was actually wondering if it was Hermès

Pretty sure Megan's mom puts on an identifiable Hermès as she leaves right around that scene, the blue-white-gold scarf.
posted by mwhybark at 8:33 PM on June 13, 2012


SCARVES!


I hope women's scarves are going to make a comeback. Scarves 2.0 it can be called, and the potential there seems limitless color options and materials and maybe some technological hookups, like a like a smartphone (I hear the next iPhone is going to be wearable as a scarf) and a music player maybe some sort of a wifi antennae...*

*I know absolutely nothing about fashion. Less than nothing really. If fashion IQ could be measured I'd be like in negative territory, actually. People who do know about fashion stand next to me and lose whole swaths of expertise on things like accessories. Whenever I walk by FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) whole roomfuls of hopeful future fashion designer's decide to go to law school instead...one time I went to a fashion show and some of the runway models exploded leaving only a demure oily purple or pink smoke puff. Poof!

posted by Skygazer at 9:27 PM on June 13, 2012


So, um, I made it 45 minutes into John Carter then bailed. Sorry guys, not doing it for me.
posted by Artw at 11:50 PM on June 13, 2012


wrong thread, Art? Although perhaps a Tom and Lorenzo thing on that would be fun to read.
posted by mwhybark at 12:08 AM on June 14, 2012


Mad Men's Richard Kartheiser on Pete's Smug Face, His Punchability and that Receding Hairline
posted by readery at 4:37 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I hope women's scarves are going to make a comeback."

Dude, just go by scarves, they're not as prevalent as they used to be, but they never go "out." People still wear them tucked around their neckline, tied around their neck as a choker/collar, tied around their neck as a tie-analog, as a hairband, tied on a purse, all the more structured ways you've seen them on Mad Men, as well as in loose loopy drapey styles. Even your average Target has a year-round display of fashion, indoor scarves. Any way you've seen them on Mad Men you can get away with in real life, with the minor exception that if you want to wear one around your neck as a choker, you have to be careful not to look like a dork, as it's a little bold, and if you wear one in your hair, be careful not to look too young. They come in all different sizes for different fashion applications.

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:56 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just watched some S3 PPL episodes - Ken's co-head of accounts job pays 21,000 a year.
"I’ll come home, I’ll be home, I will, it will happen." And she says, "No, that’s okay, [get] your apartment." And I think he does feel a little uneasy like, Oh, okay, well maybe this isn’t consistent anymore. Maybe she’s about to reject me, too.
Exactly. He might push her away to prevent her from pushing him away first.

Although now that he mentions The Pillar ... I have walked into many walls, doors, and windows (and pillars!) in my life and I did think his was a bit fake ;).

Guess that gun isn't going to go anywhere (though it showed up in S2 when everyone was scramming out of town during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I think scarves were both things back then, fashion and functional; you wore it for fashion but pulled it out for function if necessary (like pocket squares, I just noticed Roger made sure to get his back from Jane after she blubbered on him in the office). I can't see much of a function they'd be for, now. We blowout and hot iron and gunk up on our own daily (YMMV, I roll out of bed and wear a pony tail or just wear my natural frizz) or throw it back in a pony tail.

I think it's part of a larger cultural gestalt of the era for both men and women. There was only so much that you could do, granted, with what was available, but how you dressed, walked, talked and wore your hair spoke a lot about what class you were or aspired to be.



I gotta hot tarsal. Very meta. It'll go away, it always does.
posted by tilde at 7:33 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, jeez, I forgot about the "hot tooth" ... what a hobo. I never got Megan as the gypsy, but that's a great fucking call.

Petey didnt get hit by a train but two punches & a band was nice for the General of the Howdy Doody Circus Army

Pete as the President of the Howdy Doody Circus Army, with a tiny hat.

His story to Beth leads credence to the theory this is all Ken-fic.

No way. They did one "dream sequence" when Don was sick (murdering Shelley from Twin Peaks), but it's not that sort of show ... I don't think.

All I could think for Roger was Futurama: "Happy New Year, naked weirdo!"

Bring on the LSD Roger gifs.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:30 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mad Men's Richard Kartheiser on Pete's Smug Face, His Punchability and that Receding Hairline

"I think it’s a testament to the writing over the last five years that they’ve built animosity in our audiences towards a character that has done some pretty despicable things and, at the same time, who has lived a life in a perfectly moral way. I think most people who are throwing those stones should take a look at their own life."

TEAM PETE!
posted by mrgrimm at 8:32 AM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


" where do you even buy a neckerchief? Does your dad have a time machine?"
posted by The Whelk at 8:33 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pete has lived in a "perfectly moral way"? According to what system of morality? He's probably not that much worse than most of the other characters on the show, granted, but none of them come anywhere near perfectly moral.
posted by jeather at 8:45 AM on June 14, 2012


From the related Pete Campbell Is Just a Failed Don Draper link:

Pete copies Don Draper's moves at every turn, and yet he's the show's villain and Don is its (anti)hero

That's why The Other Woman (you know, the original thread? ;) is such a transcendent moment for Pete. When he (rather skillfully if douchily) handles the Joan-Jaguar situation and really wins the account for the firm, he is definitely blazing his own path.

Also, may as well link the other one, Mad Men’s John Slattery on the Finale, Roger and Joan, and His Naked LSD Trip.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:50 AM on June 14, 2012


wearing short shorts and that hilarious tennis sweater

What?! That was basically me in 1987. The word for that sweater is FRESH.


That's a classic men's sweater. You could buy it sixty years ago and you could buy it today.

Mad Men's Richard Kartheiser on Pete's Smug Face, His Punchability and that Receding Hairline

"I think it’s a testament to the writing over the last five years that they’ve built animosity in our audiences towards a character that has done some pretty despicable things and, at the same time, who has lived a life in a perfectly moral way. I think most people who are throwing those stones should take a look at their own life."


Who is Richard Kartheiser? The actor who plays Pete is named Vincent. And you can't simultaneously "do despicable things" and "live your life in a perfectly moral way". Anyone remember that poor German au pair that Pete all but raped? That's the worst thing he's ever done. Even he felt bad about it.

And all this scarf talk is making me want to go rummage through my own drawer full of scarves.
posted by orange swan at 9:58 AM on June 14, 2012


mrgrimm, thank you for the links! I don't usually seek this stuff out; I have a few places to read recaps, but season five is the first time I've watched it "as it broadcast" or nearabouts and generally stick to TWOP and (now) TLo.

I wonder also about the idea that he's doing despicable things but is still moral. What is moral? Maybe his morality is shifting and/or now eat or be eaten, every man for himself, including or especially in regards to his wife.

I tried scarves but that requires poofing and pinning I'm just not up to. :P I'll cover my head to keep it clean or keep a rare overnight pinning in. Yay for silicone hot curlers when I need them!
" where do you even buy a neckerchief? Does your dad have a time machine?"
Okay The Whelk, you got me. Where is that from?
posted by tilde at 10:04 AM on June 14, 2012


Venture Brothers!
posted by The Whelk at 10:26 AM on June 14, 2012


I wonder also about the idea that he's doing despicable things but is still moral. What is moral? Maybe his morality is shifting and/or now eat or be eaten, every man for himself, including or especially in regards to his wife.

Indeed. It's hard to imagine lying, cheating, scheming Pete as "moral." He was Joan's pimp, and going OT style, he breaks that 7th commandment several times.

I think Kartheiser gave a great interview, but calling Pete "perfectly moral" is a bit over the top.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:28 AM on June 14, 2012


Ah, and I can hear it in their "voices" now, thank you, The Whelk.

mrgrimm, maybe he meant amoral?
posted by tilde at 10:34 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actors! They're always on the side of their own damn characters!
posted by crossoverman at 2:50 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Don Draper Says "What?"
posted by Skygazer at 12:44 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don Draper Says "What?"

Never gets old.
posted by sweetkid at 12:44 PM on June 20, 2012


Okay, Don Draper Says "What" is awesome. LOL.

Just watched the season Finale of season 4. My ever-suffering but prescient spouse of record figured out why season five is all about MEGADON.
What is the song that plays at the outro of season four?

What is the song Phil hears every morning in Groundhog day?

Don is living his mistakes over and over and over again until he puts right what once went wrong to thread a Quantum Leap reference in there (Voyagers forever!).
It was interesting watching the seasons over again, I paid a bit more attention to the drudgery towards the end of season four (I didn't pay a lot of attention the first couple of times through, they were kind of background noise). I totally forgot Chaough made a play for Pete, too, while Trudy was in extended labor.
posted by tilde at 7:47 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just finished re-watching Season 4, and I highly recommend it as context for Season 5. Joan's storyline in S4 is easy to miss. For example, she mentions, in the finale, that she must have 'missed' the champagne to celebrate her promotion to Director because she was busy pushing the mail cart. I think that finale conversation with Peggy speaks a lot about Joan's relationship to SCDP.
posted by muddgirl at 9:15 PM on June 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


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