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They're not the same men
April 7, 2013 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Mad Men Season 6 (and simultaneous saturation coverage) begins again tonight. As the show winds down, along with the decade that defined it, the 1960s, critics are wondering "What's the best ending for the best series on TV? Can it survive the onset of the 1970s?"
posted by Potomac Avenue (1408 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

 
Now: if only someone would do a mashup of Game of Thrones and Mad Men...

(I kid; excellent links above, especially since they take sooooo long between seasons!)
posted by digitalprimate at 11:19 AM on April 7, 2013


CNN has a lot of great coverage of the premier including What the 60s Really Looked Like, and Mad Men's (Recreated) Locations of New York. GQ isn't so excited about it. Rolling Stone has a cheat sheet to get you up to speed. Time has some insight into Matt Weiner's hatred of Spoliers. Grantland predicts the end. And Buzzfeed...well..
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:20 AM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I haven't read your links because they seem to contain spoilers, but I am excited for tonight and hope to see more of Peggy than we did last season.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:20 AM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, it seems silly to start talking about how a show will end almost two years before the end.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:22 AM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


No spoilers for S.6 as far as I know--Matt and AMC have made sure of that. Only speculation here.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:23 AM on April 7, 2013


I want the final episode's last 10 minutes to be set in 1986. Don spends this time trying to get a document to print from his Macintosh.
posted by hellojed at 11:40 AM on April 7, 2013 [51 favorites]


I was just thinking about Don on a houseboat in a v-neck + blazer in Miami Beach. There's no way he stays in New York in the 80s.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:44 AM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think Mad Men should end either with Don watching the debut of MTV. However, it seems unlikely that they'll be able to stretch the show out through another decade to make it to the 80s.

Also, "...the best series on TV"? [cough]BreakingBad[/cough]
posted by fuse theorem at 11:45 AM on April 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


More like Breaking Bad Show That Isn't Mad Men.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:46 AM on April 7, 2013


just half-way through Season 5 right now, so I won't be chasing any of these links for the time being. But I just have to say (Spoiler Alert, I guess) Season 5/Episode 6 (the LSD episode) has to be one of the best TV hours I've ever experienced, smart, stylish, adventurous (just like the subject matter) and utterly effective at disorienting the viewer. Yet it never feels heavy-handed, like Mr. Weiner and crowd knew that LSD was a HUGE topic and so, wisely, they just bit off a tiny piece, but really made the most of it, without really even dwelling on it that much.

Good show. Looking forward to catching Season 6 sometime reasonably soon.
posted by philip-random at 11:48 AM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hurry up Phil, you can make it through the rest of the season by tonight I believe in you.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:50 AM on April 7, 2013 [8 favorites]


All I know is that Sally Draper has been one of my most favourite characters in this entire series. And despite the fact that she's mostly a second-tier character, there is something wonderful about charting her progress through the various years. Watching her grow and mature into a young woman. I look forward to seeing how she handles this turbulent period.
"It’s not called a wheel, it’s called a carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels."
posted by Fizz at 11:59 AM on April 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


I am SO PUMPED for tonight's premiere. Especially because I've been marathoning my way through all five previous seasons this week to refresh my memory and prepare. I have emotional problems.

The very first link in the OP, the top ten episode list from the AV Club, is pretty great... I love that they included The Suitcase in their list. It's not only the middle episode of its season (4th season, 7th episode), it's also the middle episode of the entire series, and I think it's possibly the cornerstone for understanding Don.
posted by palomar at 12:03 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Suitcase = my favorite episode of any TV show of all time. The final scene reaches Middlemarch levels of emotional depth.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:06 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Joan, Peggy and Sally are my favorite characters. Just from being alive in that era, I feel like if it was reality, Sally would get into drugs, maybe run away.
posted by AnnElk at 12:10 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


All i know is that Don has to end up a cranky old man working for Reagan's campaign, selling the empty suit to America with the same skill that he sold Kodak
posted by The Whelk at 12:10 PM on April 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


I feel like if it was reality, Sally would get into drugs, maybe run away.

I agree. I feel like we might see Sally truly "rebel" against her parents. We've seen aspects of her rebellious nature against her parents, her situation, and maybe this year: her generation.
posted by Fizz at 12:12 PM on April 7, 2013


All i know is that Don has to end up a cranky old man working for Reagan's campaign

Possibly, but I think Don's too smart for that in some ways. My ideal ending would be in-house at GE, finally realizing he can live a life without endless authority-defying ambition, laying out microwave oven spreads in Good Housekeeping.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:19 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


"My bitch about it is the fact that it's a show about a bunch of scum bags. All they do is screw the secretaries, drink themselves to death, smoke themselves to death and produce piss advertising. And this is happening during the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement and women's liberation? All the important things going on in the world and they've got that piss-ass show?"

-- Original Mad Man George Lois. Who was responsible for things like this.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:19 PM on April 7, 2013 [11 favorites]


Sally's not the right age for hippie rebellion but she is the right age to go punk as fuck.

Still kinda annoyed we dont have an LGBTQ character in the main cast considering the time peroid
posted by The Whelk at 12:21 PM on April 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


They're selling hippie wigs in Woolworth's, man. The greatest decade in the history of mankind is over. And as Presuming Ed here has so consistently pointed out, we have failed to paint it black.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:21 PM on April 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


(In fairness I don't agree with George Lois. Everyone remembers the big issues of the sixties as if they were the only thing going on at the time. But in fact at any given time life is just being lived, only incrementally different from the way it was being lived before. Mad Men recreates the sixties from within, not from the perspective of the banner headlines that survive.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:25 PM on April 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


I have a confession: I never really got into Mad Men. However, due to the aforementioned saturation coverage of the upcoming season, I endeavored to start watching the program on Netflix.

I find myself in agreement with Mr. Greenwald at Grantland, that was linked by Potomac Avenue above. What strikes me most about the show isn't the fashion, the drinking and smoking, the sexism, or the changing landscape of work and society. It's the horror. The casual, sadistic horror of the day-to-day existence of the characters as they try to navigate their lives through the rocks and shoals of the old ways passing forever and the new ways not yet charted.

I used to envy my father coming of age during the early '60s. Now I'm not so sure that my own fin de siècle journey into adulthood wasn't better. At least we could see it coming. To me Mad Men illustrates perfectly what happened to my father and others born during the war in the interface between the Silent and Boomer generations: they ran off the edge of the cliff like a cartoon character and didn't realize they were about to fall until it was far too late.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:25 PM on April 7, 2013 [12 favorites]


Sally's not the right age for hippie rebellion but she is the right age to go punk as fuck.

She's two years younger than my mother, who was most definitely a hippie and most definitely too old for the punk scene. These time boundaries are pretty loose, and where you lived had a big part in it.

Still kinda annoyed we dont have an LGBTQ character in the main cast considering the time peroid

They had a major gay character, and a secondary gay character. Those stories played out realistically. There's not going to be a suddenly enlightened view on Madison Ave. The best you're going to get is Don, who treated it like any other secret to be closely guarded. If there's nowhere to go with that story, having a character just to check the "gay box" is the sort of thing that Mad Men avoids.
posted by spaltavian at 12:34 PM on April 7, 2013 [12 favorites]


The kiddo'sschool had a Mad Men themed auction last night, so I got to break out the Paul Kinsey cosplay again.

Some day I'll have to rock the Season 1 and Hare Krishna looks so I can do The Many Ages of Paul Kinsey.
posted by Artw at 12:35 PM on April 7, 2013 [8 favorites]


(The kiddo did not get to come along as Little Sally Draper.)
posted by Artw at 12:39 PM on April 7, 2013


Mad Men is telling the most interesting and important story of the 1960s (and 1970s) -- the revolution in consumer and cultural behavior.

The big-"P" politics (Viet Nam! Civil Rights!) is more prominently recalled (at least in media other than Mad Men) because those recollections are written by people who consider politics to be exceptionally important, and because "we stopped a war!" and "I marched with Martin" allow some people to claim greater victories than they in fact achieved.
posted by MattD at 12:42 PM on April 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


I am excited for tonight and hope to see more of Peggy than we did last season.

TEAM PEGASUS - REFORM!
posted by Artw at 12:48 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


I love the show but the only thing I don't like about it is Don. Am I alone?
posted by colie at 12:49 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


This needs to be the season Sal comes back.
One of my favorite moments of acting on this show was Sal re-enacting Bye Bye Birdie while the blood slowly drained from Kitty's face.
posted by Dr. Zira at 12:49 PM on April 7, 2013 [24 favorites]


@colie I don't think anyone is supposed to like Don Draper. He's the car crash at the centre of the show that no one can take their eyes off.

(I shall be religiously avoiding spoilers here in the UK until I can get hold of the DVD for series 6 since we refuse to give Rupert Murdoch any of our money...)
posted by pharm at 12:54 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Artw: "TEAM PEGASUS - REFORM!"

Thermos check COMPLETE.
posted by Dr. Zira at 12:56 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Somebody get the time machine and round up Mamet.
posted by Artw at 12:56 PM on April 7, 2013


I racked my brain for ten minutes trying to remember what website had this fantastic generational theory, especially regarding my father's time as alluded to above, and I just couldn't come up with it before posting. Naturally, and as usual, it came to me half an hour later: MeFi favorite HiLoBrow who sorts my Dad into The Blank Generation who, "[…]were in their teens and 20s during the Sixties (1964-73, not to be confused with the the 1960s), and in their 20s and 30s during the Seventies (1974-83)."
posted by ob1quixote at 1:03 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Really really looking forward to this, this is one of the most consistently great dramatic television series we are lucky to get right now. The characters are so well written, so multi-note, so human in their flaws. Shit, sometimes I feel that the Agency itself is a character, it's written so seamlessly into the story.

Tonight is gonna be great.

The kiddo'sschool had a Mad Men themed auction last night, so I got to break out the Paul Kinsey cosplay again.

Artw, that is an outstanding costume!

You don't own a yellow Ascot/Neckerchief? I did this costume a couple years ago, and I had to repeatedly explain it, because I don't look anything like Kinsey. I think you'd knock that one out of the park though.

/CostumeFilter
posted by Sphinx at 1:09 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


The mohair was my nod to Bohemian Kinsey, but perhaps next time I should go full-ascot.
posted by Artw at 1:10 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Don is pretty bad (the Sal thing had me yelling at the screen like an imbecile) but capable of pity when it doesn't cost him too much. The real irredeemable shit is Peter Campbell. Needy, utterly self-centered, pointlessly mean when he has the tiniest shred of power, and oh yeah, a rapist. His best trait is that when he has power over someone he's too stupid to bank it for a rainy day instead of squandering it for shits and giggles (e.g. ratting out Ken to Roger, at a time when he hates Roger). I love Trudy's ray of sunshine, find the good in everyone character but my god is it wasted on him.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:18 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Pete is pretty much the Joffery.
posted by Artw at 1:19 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sally Draper grows up to be Joan Jett. Count it.
posted by 4ster at 1:26 PM on April 7, 2013


but perhaps next time I should go full-ascot.

Artw, we're talking about Kinsey here. In the Kinsey universe, it's always time for full ascot.

Pete Campbell is a much deeper character than anything GRRM has put to paper. Sure, he's like the Diet Coke of evil, but all he knew was evil, all he saw was Don's success at what he perceived as "doing evil". He can't put his heart into it, because at heart, like a ton of men, he doesn't want to really hurt anyone, he just wants to look like a guy who would. Although, I'd love to see another failed boxing match.

Personally, I'd love to see a Kinsey-esque scene with Sal where Sal was contentedly running a tiny kingdom somewhere in the NYC ad scene, although I know that's not gonna happen.
posted by Sphinx at 1:29 PM on April 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


Pete is a fantastic character though & so perfectly played by Kartheiser.

(On preview: Sphinx beat me to it.)
posted by pharm at 1:30 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Gah. I've been chugging away at my oh-fuck-it-maybe-it-really-is-as-good-as-everyone-says Mad Men marathon all week long (right on the heels of the Game of Thrones one) and I'm still only halfway through season 3.

(I was wondering how long it would take before what's-her-face from Mad TV got a good laugh. Did not disappoint.)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:34 PM on April 7, 2013


Yeah, I really loved Pete's speech to his electroshock lover towards the end of last season. His wrong-doing and right-doing is so small, but also so futile, that you can't help but pity him, and though without vision, his character has the best chance of becoming a moral success.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:35 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Anyone care to cross-reference Updike's Rabbit character with the Mad Men crew? I often think of the two intertwined, but I'm not sure which is the most Rabbit like. I guess it's Pete?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:36 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sal is working for Diana Vreeland at Vogue.
posted by Artw at 1:38 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


pharm, I didn't beat you to anything. In fact, you pointed out something I totally neglected in my manifesto above.

I didn't mention at all how Kartheiser is killing the role, people across the planet have a visceral hate for Pete, and a big part of that can be contributed to Kartheiser really delivering.

Sys Rq, I did the exact same thing last year. Binged four seasons in less than a month. Finished the last episode of Season 4 the day of the premier, hectic but an absolute blast.
posted by Sphinx at 1:39 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I finally talked my wife into watching Game of Thrones with me, and it's joined Breaking Bad and Mad Men in our pantheon of great shows we watch together.

Anytime she asks if anyone will be okay I just say "yes". We just reached Baelor, it was glorious - worth the bruises.
posted by Artw at 1:49 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]



TEAM PEGASUS - REFORM!

PIZZA HOUSE
posted by The Whelk at 2:00 PM on April 7, 2013 [12 favorites]


I finally talked my wife into watching Game of Thrones

Did she start from the beginning? Because my girlfriend's a fan so I decided to give the Season 3 premiere a try, and I'll tell you, I paid close attention to that "Previously, on 'Game of Thrones'..." recap and it made absolutely zero sense to me. I might as well have been watching in Spanish.
posted by cribcage at 2:05 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


TV doesn't work like that anymore, you need to start at the beginning.
posted by Artw at 2:06 PM on April 7, 2013 [20 favorites]


I stopped watching after Season 1 because life got crazy, but I'm maybe about ready for a Season 2-5 binge. The problem is then I'll be angrily waiting on Season 6 for however long. Dammit cable overlords, let me buy the episodes when they come out! TAKE MY MONEY.
posted by emjaybee at 2:07 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Because we came to it late we're waiting to binge on Breaking Bad S5 in the brief window between the release of the box set and S6 starting.
posted by Artw at 2:08 PM on April 7, 2013


Sal is sadly never coming back, the actor is all but retired.

Don is the least interesting part of the show of course - Pete is fascinating cause he's usually NOT WRONG, like he has a point 90% of the time, it's just being filtered through his awful, self-absorbed Peteness. Roger has no inner life so his drug-fueled introspection is a huge pivot turn for him, and Peggy..poor Peggy, she wants things SO HARD and is going to be SO DISAPPOINTED when she finally gets everything she wants.

Joan's arc of being made humble and a Better Person through getting everything she always wanted in the worst way possible is my favorite storyline in the show. That or like, Jane being a fashion forward experimental Mod with chandelier earrings.

And I can;t separate out Megan from me being REALLY DRAMATIC and SUPER YOUNG and THRUST INTO THINGS so I hope things go well for her cause I need to know what's going to happen to me.
posted by The Whelk at 2:10 PM on April 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


Don is the least interesting part of the show of course

I understand this point of view, and I support it, but I really cannot agree. Don is the engine of the show, and its heart. Yes, he is an ubermench asshole straight white dude, whose struggles with conscience and identity nevertheless make him impossible to identify with beyond his privilege and therefore make him kinda empty as a fully representative modern character, in a way that, say, Walter White, Veronica Mars, or anyone on the Wire, is able to be. He's the subject of the show, not its hero: his brilliance, failure, and model of masculinity are what revolve the other characters around him. The show started as a more realistic version of the Sopranos, and it continues as such--the guy at the center is more like Macbeth than Henry V, less redemption, more unknowable, holy, damned enigma. Or maybe you have to have a certain kind of dad to make that endlessly interesting.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:22 PM on April 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


Well he is the center of the show, the focus of the shows major themes, I just don't find him very interesting partly because he gets the most screen time but he's not the typical blank audience stand in protagonist ( that role was filled by Peggy until she got all kinds of interesting) I just don't particularly care about him beyond the effect he has on the other characters.

Which, granted, is like, the entire show.
posted by The Whelk at 2:27 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


cribcage: "I paid close attention to that "Previously, on 'Game of Thrones'..." recap and it made absolutely zero sense to me."

I think that "previously" recap is less about "here's a summary of what's already happened" and more about "here are some very important things you need to remember because shit's gonna start going down now."
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:31 PM on April 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh man ArtW, I once accidentally walked into a Mad Men viewing party at a bar and everyone assumed I was dressed up FOR it when in reality I was just wearing my brown 60s suit and red period tie cause they went together and I was feeling spiffy that day.

It was like walking into the Scott Pilgrim movie wearing that skull t-shirt. Master of Accidental Cosplay is me.
posted by The Whelk at 2:32 PM on April 7, 2013 [11 favorites]


/puffs empty pipe.
posted by Artw at 2:33 PM on April 7, 2013


knowing little about this show, i can still tell you how it ends in the 70s - most of the characters become "hip" and hedonistic, even more selfish and self-absorbed and soldier on with their careers and affluent lifestyles, except for those who decide they have to "find themselves" and eventually realize no one's home

they didn't call the 70s "the me decade" for nothing, you know
posted by pyramid termite at 2:35 PM on April 7, 2013


In Soviet Russia, masters cosplay YOU.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:36 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Someone has to end up with a front yard vegetable garden and wooden plates.
posted by The Whelk at 2:36 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


That'd be Pete and Trudy.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:38 PM on April 7, 2013


I'm still annoyed that I didn't call Harry Crane, closet case but I still bet on Harry Crane Secret Swinger. Or drug dealer. Whatever.
posted by The Whelk at 2:43 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Harry Crane, future NBC television exec.
posted by drezdn at 2:57 PM on April 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


If it hadn't been done already, I almost think the "Six Feet Under" ending would have worked for Mad Men, with Sally driving to California at the end while we see what happens to each of the major characters.
posted by drezdn at 2:59 PM on April 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


Or maybe you have to have a certain kind of dad to make that endlessly interesting.

Yeah, totally. This also explains my fascination with the Terminator.
posted by invitapriore at 3:05 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


And I can;t separate out Megan from me being REALLY DRAMATIC and SUPER YOUNG and THRUST INTO THINGS so I hope things go well for her cause I need to know what's going to happen to me.

If she's anything like me or my similarly histrionic college friends, she either gets successful at what she does, gets therapy, and, on a personal level, becomes really boring, or continues to live a life of tumult and drama. I'm leaning toward tumult and drama. She is an actress.

Add me to the think-this-is-the-best-show on TV club. There were episodes of season five that were just stunning--Signal 30 was a work of art.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:27 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


See, I was just going to wear lots of cool scarves.
posted by The Whelk at 3:29 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the Sepinwall article:
When we see Peggy, it’s clear she’s absorbed an awful lot from Don; other than context and Elisabeth Moss’s usual great performance, there’s virtually no resemblance between this Peggy and Don’s mousey secretary from season 1.
We saw exactly one shot foreshadowing this last season and I think it's a great example of how beautifully written the show is. Peggy gets out from under Don's abusive thumb and immediately starts berating copywriters. We've all known that, over time, Don would likely become a little bit of a Roger (and much of his arc is about whether he will fulfill this destiny, I think), but I think few viewers expected Peggy to become a Don in quite such negative ways. But it makes sense--they share the same creative drive that means they don't tolerate fools, gladly or not.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:31 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am looking forward to obsessing over this season with you all.
posted by sweetkid at 3:38 PM on April 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm really excited for one of the only shows I care to follow; it's been too long since the last season. I thought last season was a little dull, but 1968 should be exciting.

My one wish: less Meghan. Unfortunately I don't feel too optimistic about the prospect of her overdosing on seconal, but there's always hope.
posted by WhitenoisE at 3:39 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Peggy gets out from under Don's abusive thumb

Don was giving her what she needed to survive. She started out looking for the magic formula and believing everything anyone told her -- even Joan's atrocious and completely unsuitable advice from the beginning. Don kept her from looking for kindness or a sugar daddy in anyone and just drive hard for what she wants. And he's right up front about it, he tells her as much all along the way.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:40 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


He was a pretty unrepentant jerk to her in season 5 (and having just rewatched the season, I feel pretty confidant in saying that). The money throwing was just heartbreaking. Yes, he's harder on her because he sees them as kindred spirits but self-abuse doesn't justify abusing Peggy. Their final season of 5 together, at the movie theater, suggests he knows exactly how big his mistakes were.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:44 PM on April 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


Dammit cable overlords, let me buy the episodes when they come out!

You know you can buy a season pass on iTunes and Amazon, right? You should also be able to download episodes individually if you finally catch up somewhere in the middle of the season.

It's the best $30 I spend on TV, annually.
posted by Sara C. at 4:09 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


knowing little about this show, i can still tell you how it ends in the 70s - most of the characters become "hip" and hedonistic, even more selfish and self-absorbed and soldier on with their careers and affluent lifestyles, except for those who decide they have to "find themselves" and eventually realize no one's home

Don't forget Disco! ugh. And Disco clothing. Double ugh. Goddamn polyester.

I'm dying to watch it tonight (I missed it so much) but we will do what we always do with TV shows these days, let the season finish and then watch an episode or two a day.

It's a little frightening how much I love TV now. In the 70's and 80's I was either reading a book or out. In fact I didn't bother to buy a TV until the late 90's I think, but damn TV has gotten soooo freaking good. How middle class and sedentary I have become.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:16 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sally sees Star Wars, has a religious moment and founds the American Order Of Jedi in the hills of New Mexico.
posted by The Whelk at 4:17 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm also hoping for less Megan. Mainly because she's just a pool of... not much. I can't say exactly what I have against the character. She has a vaguely Mary Sue-ish quality, to the point that I kind of think we're being trolled, and at some point the curtain is going to be swept back to reveal something on the level of Dick Whitman. I sort of don't believe anything she says. And then reading things Wiener has said about his intentions confuses me even more. I don't feel like I'm picking up what he's putting down, with her, at all.

A part of me thinks that the writers didn't really think through the implications of the choice to have Don marry her. Now they're scrambling to give her a backstory and conflict and things that she wants, and it all feels a little bit phony.

Or, who knows, maybe in season 6 it turns out she's actually a KGB operative and the whole "French Canadian parents" thing is a sham.
posted by Sara C. at 4:19 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sally sees Star Wars, has a religious moment and founds the American Order Of Jedi in the hills of New Mexico.

I don't like that Manson fellow that's hanging around.
posted by Artw at 4:20 PM on April 7, 2013


I'm still waiting for the "Ginsberg has a hope chest full of dead cats" reveal himself.
posted by The Whelk at 4:26 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a little frightening how much I love TV now. In the 70's and 80's I was either reading a book or out. In fact I didn't bother to buy a TV until the late 90's I think, but damn TV has gotten soooo freaking good. How middle class and sedentary I have become.

Nah. Tvs just really good now.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:28 PM on April 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, I think the people who think Sally is too young to be a hippie are either bad at math or don't know much about 60's counterculture.

Sally was 6 in 1960, so 12 in 1966, and 15 in time for Woodstock. That's the perfect age to be a hippie. Hippies weren't 25 year old post-college terminal adolescents (well I suppose some of them were, but). There's a reason it was called a Youth Movement.

My guess is that Sally runs away to Woodstock sometime this season or next. She lives close enough to hitchhike easily. She drops acid and freaks out. Someone (I'm betting on Zhosia Mamet's character) takes her home to her mother. Betty is Not Amused.

By 1972 she's burning her bra* at Wellesley. I think Sally's the kind of girl to rebel just enough so that she has a storied past, but not enough to completely ruin her life. I'm also pretty sure she grows up to be Martha Stewart.

*Yes, I know nobody really burned their bra, and the protest that meme is based on happened in '68.
posted by Sara C. at 4:32 PM on April 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


Since Ginsberg was born in a concentration camp, I think supervillainy is his destiny because MAGNETO.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:34 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


X-Mad Men.
posted by The Whelk at 4:34 PM on April 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


Fire up the Tumblrcerebro!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:38 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


By 1972 she's burning her bra* at Wellesley. I think Sally's the kind of girl to rebel just enough so that she has a storied past, but not enough to completely ruin her life. I'm also pretty sure she grows up to be Martha Stewart.

At the very end of the series-Smash cut to modern day and people preparing for a speech by Senator Draper, talking about how her fathers' work in the Raegan campaign inspired her to get into politics herself because in a democracy you have to insist on being listened to or they'll ignore you at best.
posted by The Whelk at 4:38 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ginsberg landing Hostess and Kool-Aid accounts because all important advertising placements in comic books are controlled by "those people".
posted by Artw at 4:43 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]



My guess is that Sally runs away to Woodstock sometime this season or next. She lives close enough to hitchhike easily. She drops acid and freaks out. Someone (I'm betting on Zhosia Mamet's character) takes her home to her mother. Betty is Not Amused.

I really, really hope not. That would be boring as hell. I don't know why people yearn so much for Sally to be a hippie. It would be the most cliched, obvious move possible.
posted by sweetkid at 4:44 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


The only problem with Don working on the Reagan campaign is that he was so fundamentally apathetic about the Nixon campaign in season 1. Also, there was that time in season 3 or 4 (I think?) that he bumped up against a security clearance if he wanted to work with the aerospace industry. I don't think you can have a secret like Dick Whitman and work on a political campaign like that.
posted by Sara C. at 4:45 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sort of hoping she joins the Guild of Faceless Men, after first cutting Duck Phillips' throat as a parting gift to her Dad.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:45 PM on April 7, 2013 [11 favorites]


Besides there are so many overlooked Bizzaro subcultures she can join!
posted by The Whelk at 4:45 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


She has a vaguely Mary Sue-ish quality, to the point that I kind of think we're being trolled, and at some point the curtain is going to be swept back to reveal something on the level of Dick Whitman. I sort of don't believe anything she says. And then reading things Wiener has said about his intentions confuses me even more. I don't feel like I'm picking up what he's putting down, with her, at all.

Oh, I don't think she's Mary Sue-ish at all, but that might be because I see her as a fairly unsympathetic character. Mary Sues are fundamentally wish-fulfillment vehicles; Megan Draper might get the guy, but at her heart she's a pretty miserable person--manipulated by her parents, unable to take joy in her work, petty and judgmental (I loved her decrying all her office mates as awful, cynical people even as she cynically looked down on them), back-stabbing (see: her treatment of Peggy, and her French actress friend). She only seems at all ideal when we glimpse her through Don's eyes, but that's a fiction--and a fiction that's broken by the end of the series. He either wanted a Barbie doll, or a partner, and Megan is neither--just a person who is fundamentally unfulfilled and who will do really unsavory things to get what she wants.

She's actually kind of like Pete, the more I think about it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:46 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think Sally will actually Be A Hippie.

I do think the show is not going to let the summer of '69 go by without somebody going to Woodstock, and she's the most likely candidate. I definitely think that if this happens, it's going to be in the guise of Horrible Thing Sally Did, and not "Sally finds herself and moves to the Haight".

Either that or it's going to be Roger.

Or it'll be an extremely tertiary character like one of Megan's dumb counterculture friends, mentioned in passing but with nothing really to do with the story. (Maybe one of Megan's dumb counterculture friends is coming down from a bad trip at the Draper Residence?)
posted by Sara C. at 4:47 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah Megan's got soooo many negative qualities. She's vain, impulsive, weirdly snobby and superior and immature. I love her.
posted by The Whelk at 4:48 PM on April 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


I can totally see Roger going full hippie because he's still basically 15.
posted by The Whelk at 4:49 PM on April 7, 2013 [13 favorites]


Sally should go study with Lee Strasberg, because it's something her mother would not have been talented enough to do and Betty would be so very jealous.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:49 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm using the wrong term, wrt Megan and the "Mary Sue" thing. She just seems so much like Wesley Crusher in the early seasons of Star Trek: TNG. Like, ugh, I don't like you, I don't think you fit in here, I don't know why the series creator is so stuck on you, and I resent the fact that every fucking episode of last season was about you and your dumb problems that aren't really problems.

She just comes off as somebody's Mary Sue in an embarrassing Mad Men spec script. "And then the beautiful and exotic secretary marries Don Draper and they all live happily ever after until next season when the writers realize their mistake."

It's also very possible that they're trying to create a female Pete, but the actress just isn't really up to it. Or, I don't know, maybe I genuinely don't get this at all.
posted by Sara C. at 4:52 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Megan's whole thing is that she's very superficially seductive, not just looks, but like she conforms herself to be the ideal of whoever is in her eyesights. She's a living, breathing Ad, something that gives you exactly what you want, something you didn't even know you wanted. Don's in love with the idea of Megan, and Megan sells Megan very, very well.

And the best thing about her is that you're not sure if she's conciously aware that she's doing this.
posted by The Whelk at 4:55 PM on April 7, 2013 [16 favorites]


Oh, I actually love Jessica Pare (she was great on Jack and Bobby--ironically as John Slattery's daughter). I guess I understand the dislike, because I've hated lots of characters, but I think she's complex in terms of both writing and acting.

Wesley Crusher was a Gary Stu because he was an infallible author avatar (Gene "Wesley" Roddenbery) who was the youngest and the best at everything, not simply because he was annoying.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:58 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


She's also an ad that doesn't like to be ignored. Ignore Megan at your peril, or else you'll come home to a vacuum salesman wearing lingerie and screaming YOU CAN'T HAVE THIS.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:59 PM on April 7, 2013 [8 favorites]


In that way she's very Un-Betty, screaming, fighting, object throwing, Megan makes scenes.

I always thought it fed very nicely into Don's self loathing and need to be slapped around along side Megan's need to be the center of attention ( which, dear god can you imagine being raised by those parents? It's amazing she's NOT a Pete, or at least not aware of what she's doing. I always thought a Megan who was fully aware of her powers to manipulate and focused on that goal would be borderline unstoppable in a very scary way.)
posted by The Whelk at 5:04 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]



"Sally's not the right age for hippie rebellion but she is the right age to go punk as fuck."

I was born in the same year as Sally Draper is supposed to have been, so I was there. It wasn't 'hippie' culture - it was 'youth' culture. All parents and most adults were thought to be hypocritical idiots, trying to be cool, swapping spouses, drunk every night with medicine cabinets full of Seconal and Valium. Sally Draper reminds me of friends from jr high/high school.
posted by AnnElk at 5:05 PM on April 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


I have this encroaching dread Sally is going to go to a very dark place ala The Ice Storm soon.

My friends' mom still can't watch this show cause it brings back too many memories.
posted by The Whelk at 5:07 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


( which, dear god can you imagine being raised by those parents? It's amazing she's NOT a Pete, or at least not aware of what she's doing. I always thought a Megan who was fully aware of her powers to manipulate and focused on that goal would be borderline unstoppable in a very scary way.)

I honestly thought that this was her arc over last season--she starts out kind of muddled in her intentions, and then she's galvanized by her father's judgment, and ends the last episode stealing acting jobs from her friends and writhing in bed, demanding that Don gives her roles.

She's so young when he marries her. She could have become a lot of things, but I think there's a chance she becomes something not-so-pretty by season 6. Though I guess we'll see soon!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:11 PM on April 7, 2013


PhoBWanKenobi: "She could have become a lot of things, but I think there's a chance she becomes something not-so-pretty by season 6"

Well, we do know there is at least one episode in which she's going to dress like Mrs. Roper from Three's Company.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:12 PM on April 7, 2013


Maybe I need to go back and rewatch the entire Megan arc and see if there's something I'm missing, because I just do not get it. It's not even that I dislike Megan as a character. (I dislike Pete as a character, but I see why he's on the show.) There's just something I find off-putting about the way the character is drawn.

It's very possible that it stems from her not having a very compelling central conflict, and I can't tell whether that's the fault of the writers, or whether the story they've given her just doesn't make compelling TV. It's like, you don't really want to be a secretary (who does?). You don't really want to work in advertising even after your big speech to Don about how desperate you were to work in advertising. And notice last season ended on Megan's big speech to Don about how much she wants to be an actor. Why should I believe that, especially after every episode shows her not really trying that hard to be an actor? A TV show about a pampered housewife trying to find herself is not that interesting of a TV show. Especially since Megan's story lacks any of the built-in conflict of Betty's similar role.
posted by Sara C. at 5:13 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


I do wonder if Megan is a decent actress and if that matters.
posted by The Whelk at 5:15 PM on April 7, 2013


I think Megan's central conflict is her parents.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:15 PM on April 7, 2013


Oh, to me that ambiguity is the compelling character conflict. We know that in many ways, she's a fiction, but we never quite know how much. Maybe entirely. And she may or may not even know that she's essentially false. I find that super compelling.

I think Megan's central conflict is her parents.

Her father, yeah. But I guess you don't marry a Don Draper without daddy issues.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:18 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Megan Draper might get the guy, but at her heart she's a pretty miserable person--manipulated by her parents, unable to take joy in her work, petty and judgmental (I loved her decrying all her office mates as awful, cynical people even as she cynically looked down on them), back-stabbing (see: her treatment of Peggy, and her French actress friend).

I find this fascinating, really, because I thought she was the best thing about Season 5. She's not a Mary Sue--not a writer's stand-in, but an audience stand-in: while the rest of the characters are written very realistically, she was the only one who was able to come in and say, realistically, "Wow, you are all really horrible to one another." And she tried to be civil and kind for the most part: to Don's kids, to her co-workers (as far as one could take it), and to Don himself, up to the point where she let him know she Would Not Tolerate his bad behavior (cheating, belittling her, disappearing for no reason, etc.)...some people found the weird Howard Johnson's detour where he pulled her out of work and she ended up freaking out over an orange sherbet strange, but I loved it that she was able to acknowledge the power dynamic with him as more of an equal than Betty (speaking of people whose purpose on the show has gotten questionable) ever was.
posted by psoas at 5:19 PM on April 7, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'm just sad we're probably not going to see her Mom's perfect Gallic World Wearniess anymore
posted by The Whelk at 5:20 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Megan's an actress with near-unlimited resources in the capitol of the American theatre. If she were a decent actress, she'd be walking the boards at Chelsea or studying at Yale, not pulling strings to get into a TeeVee commercial.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:20 PM on April 7, 2013


But... who cares? They're annoying, but they're no Pete Campbell's parents. They're no Don Draper's parents. They're no Betty's parents or Peggy's parents or Joan's parents or even Trudy's parents. (Actually Trudy's parents seem sort of OK.)

Maybe it's a stakes problem. You've spent four-five years building these characters who lead these very high-stakes lives. Your dad is abusive and your mom is a whore. You want something nobody in your family even remotely approves of, to the point of telling you to your face that you're going to hell for shacking up with a Jew. Your family is basically a dead last name that people care about because it's in a few history books. Your family is your mom telling you you're a whore for having a little fun in the city while you're young.

So suddenly I'm supposed to care about someone who's daddy is disappointed in her? Boo fucking hoo.
posted by Sara C. at 5:22 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Exactly. She falls for the test footage scam ( oh I am RIGHT THERE WITH YOU Megan) but shouldn't she be in more classes? What was the 60s era NYC acting scene like for someone like her? Does she just not know what to do? Is she untalented? Is she not serious? Did getting sudden unexpected capital blunt her drive? Did she actually have that drive?

That's why Megan is fascinating to me - I'm not sure how aware she is of what she's doing, and that's kind of a huge deal.
posted by The Whelk at 5:24 PM on April 7, 2013


But... who cares? They're annoying, but they're no Pete Campbell's parents. They're no Don Draper's parents. They're no Betty's parents or Peggy's parents or Joan's parents or even Trudy's parents. (Actually Trudy's parents seem sort of OK.)

But that's probably the fundamental tragedy in Megan's life. The times she's most judgmental and cutting to Don and his coworkers are all moments that revolve unknowingly or knowingly around their secrets. So you get all those moments when she throws Dick Whitman back in Don's face, or when Peggy makes a remark about how Joan didn't look all that great at 9 months (because Peggy sure as hell looked amazing) and Megan assumes it's just Peggy being catty. Megan has no dark secrets and I'm sure that kills her--her biggest issue isn't even that her dad's disappointed in her. It's that he's supportive of her dreams.

Yeah, she's shallow and her problems are shallow. But I've known soooo many people like Megan (and been one like her, at times). I don't find her compelling because I care what happens to her--I'm not rooting for her, or not. But she's a fascinating person to throw into the mix and throw off the comfortable balance. She's meant to make us uncomfortable and unsettled, in the same way that people like her--with their petty, meaningless conflicts, and yet demanding so much time and space for them--make us in our lives.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:28 PM on April 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


She's also the only woman, outside of Bobbi, who regularly called Don out on his bullshit.
posted by The Whelk at 5:30 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


My problem isn't that nobody is like Megan in real life.

My problem is that there's a reason those people aren't usually the main characters of television shows.

"I'm afraid to be my best self" doesn't make for compelling drama.

Then again, I'm clearly the only person who isn't picking up what the show is putting down, so maybe I should stop talking it out and just go rewatch her whole arc.
posted by Sara C. at 5:30 PM on April 7, 2013


Sally sees Star Wars, has a religious moment and founds the American Order Of Jedi in the hills of New Mexico.

Nah, too old. Twelve in 1965 = twenty-four in 1977, which is precisely the wrong demographic for bugging out over Star Wars. Too old. To truly have bugged out over Star Wars (when it was new), you had to be fifteen or younger ... and it's pretty much thus ever since, too. The secret of the franchise is that it's perfect for kids (five-fifteen), but if you don't get exposed to it until later than that, it's a bit of a meh ... (too old young for the obvious melodrama etc) ... at least, that's how it was for me (eighteen when I first saw it, opening day in the Terminal City, 1977).
posted by philip-random at 5:31 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


late to this party, but people have done GoT/MM mashups (Cersei as Betty Draper=yes!).
posted by ifjuly at 5:36 PM on April 7, 2013



Then again, I'm clearly the only person who isn't picking up what the show is putting down, so maybe I should stop talking it out and just go rewatch her whole arc.


I don't really get it either. The main thing I saw Matt Weiner say about her was just that he thought everyone fell in love with her when they saw her, like you just can't help but love her, which is not what a lot of the audience seemed to see.

I've seen a lot of internet and real life comments about how she's a feminist who holds her own against Don, but all I've really seen her do about that is zooby zoo, angry cleaning in underwear, pouting about orange sherbert and throwing spaghetti at the wall.
posted by sweetkid at 5:38 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


See, I don't see Joffrey as a Pete, mainly because Joffrey is an idiot and Pete's no idiot. Pete Campbell=Pete Baelish.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:40 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Did getting sudden unexpected capital blunt her drive? Did she actually have that drive?

Remember she had pretty much given up, and only started again after marriage. You don't become a secretary in glitzy midtown firm and still expect to make it to casting calls.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:40 PM on April 7, 2013


> My problem isn't that nobody is like Megan in real life.

I've definitely known (and always disliked, frankly) people like Megan both in real life and other shows (she reminds me a lot of Nate from Six Feet Under, conventionally attractive in a way that lets her get so many things she takes for granted, and above all, all that self-righteousness without a lick of genuine self-awareness). The problem is worrying Weiner et al aren't going to do her character critical justice. That remains to be seen.
posted by ifjuly at 5:41 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


There is actually one comment from a Metafilter thread last season that sort of explained Megan to me, I think by PhoBWanKenobi. I'll have to go find it.
posted by sweetkid at 5:41 PM on April 7, 2013


EW: Weiner on Megan's "threatening" independence:
Weiner notes that last season they spent a lot of time in the writers room trying to figure out who Megan really is and what drives her. “What’s interesting to me is that she’s an idealistic person. She’s artistically idealistic. And I love that she couldn’t be kept from that,” Weiner says. But Weiner wasn’t about to let her get away with just up and quitting the agency. In the Mad Men world, all actions have consequences. “It was kind of an indictment of his job which I think was somehow insensitive. And I always wonder if she wishes he was doing something more important,” Weiner adds. “In the end, her independence is threatening to him. He’s old-fashioned like that.”
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:43 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, I totally read your comment wrong, Sara C. Whoops! Yes, I agree with you. Megan's totally believable (believably unlikeable), but if she's supposed to be a genuine major player now without yeah, a critical eye on her character, well...yeah, that'll suck. I'm really hoping last season was a set-'em-up-to-knock-'em-down sort of thing there (I was very WTF so the marriage isn't going to promptly be shown as a joke the way Peggy and Joan bonded it would be at the end of 4), but I'm wary because Weiner's interviews sure don't seem to read that way.
posted by ifjuly at 5:45 PM on April 7, 2013


And the whole "she's so independent!" thing rings so hollow to me, but I realize that's like, I dunno, a young sex-positive feminist today snarking on Dworkin without giving her her just dues, how radically things have changed.
posted by ifjuly at 5:47 PM on April 7, 2013


Yes, [Don] is an ubermench asshole

Don is explicitly not this, and he despises those people. What you're describing is what he projects with clients and coworkers.

whose struggles with conscience and identity nevertheless make him impossible to identify with beyond his privilege

What? Don really can't be identified with beyond being rich and white?

and therefore make him kinda empty as a fully representative modern character, in a way that, say,

Don's existential brooding dread is extremely modern; the dark childhood is something I, and many people can relate to. Breaking Bad is great, but Walter White's tragic faults are tragic in a larger-than-life Greek drama way that I can't relate to personally.
posted by spaltavian at 5:47 PM on April 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think Mad Men should end either with Don watching the debut of MTV.

Oops, I think I meant to say: ...either with Don watching the debut of MTV or taking an initial meeting with its producers who would like Don/the firm to handle the advertising. If he's still with Megan, she'll be the one who'll want to grab on but Don will fail to see upcoming sea change. Fade to black.

Re Megan, my problem with her has been the way she was allowed to eat the show for no reason other than someone behind the scenes apparently had the hots for the actress. IMO she ain't all that and I want to see Mad Men not The Megan Show. (Gotta say though that she does wear clothes well.)
posted by fuse theorem at 5:51 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


> She's also the only woman, outside of Bobbi, who regularly called Don out on his bullshit.

What? Faye was the best at this (and maybe some of my immediate dislike of Megan stems from the fact it was "choose A/Faye or B/Megan, Don" and he chose B, which revealed a lot about him and not in a good way, a sort of reverting back/cowardice/shallowness). And she didn't call him on it while waggling her pantyclad ass while cleaning the house, no less.

And Rachel Menken did it occasionally too, albeit in a "you're doing it and I'm being a sucker right now" way.
posted by ifjuly at 5:58 PM on April 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


Sara C. obviously I did not know they were doing season passes for Mad Men, so thanks to filling up all my TV time for the foreseeable.....
posted by emjaybee at 6:01 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, I like Don and Megan and the idea that in eachother, they both are getting what they wanted-- or at least what they thought they wanted. And deconstructing that over last season was really interesting.
On the other hand, I am super-tired of the Megan Show.
posted by ApathyGirl at 6:03 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


The more I think about it the less I mind it, I guess, Don's shallow relationships. Rachel was too good for him, and she was smart enough to know what would happen. And even though Faye did eventually fall for Don, I'm only now reminded of her warning that Megan will learn what she has, that he "only likes the beginning of things". That was actually perfect now that I think about it. What's painful(ly boring) is having to watch it play out. The toy's been wound up, it's just a matter of watching it go through the motions (it's a cliche to be one of those "I'd trade so much Megan time for Peggy time from last season, egads" but yeah that's me). And it has to (I don't mean like it's guaranteed to happen on the show, but that if it doesn't things will ring false and feel empty/cheap). And that's boring to me. And feels also murky because of all this gossip that someone on the show is just enamored with Pare, as if the Don blinders are now one in the same with the show blinders. A show that gets Don's flaws and knows they're flaws is one thing (great!). One that just falls for the same things he does without more reflection, not so much.
posted by ifjuly at 6:11 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Whoa Betty, what the hell?
posted by The Whelk at 6:22 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


What the hell, Betty?
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:23 PM on April 7, 2013


I think Betty just wondered in from King's Landing.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:24 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Really weirded out by all the Megan dislike here. Who cares if you like or dislike a character? TV isn't freaking OK Cupid. She a perfect compliment to Don, and is trying to build an adult, complicated, honest relationship, which allows the writers to explore the question "can don be happy with honesty and companionship"?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:24 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Spoiler Alert: This season begins in the Year of the Ritz Cracker.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:25 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


^lol
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:26 PM on April 7, 2013



Really weirded out by all the Megan dislike here. Who cares if you like or dislike a character?


This is a huge element of the show. See also people's dislike of Betty and Pete. I think it's making things a bit too personal/serious to be "weirded out."
posted by sweetkid at 6:30 PM on April 7, 2013


TEAM ROGER STERLING'S FANTASTIC HAIR.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:30 PM on April 7, 2013 [8 favorites]


Really weirded out by all the Megan dislike here.

She's a character that many find annoying for whatever reason and she has dominated the screen time of the last season. I don't think it's weird to vocalize dislike over a character like that in a show you really like otherwise. Don't understand what OK cupid has to do with it.
posted by WhitenoisE at 6:32 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Whoa, we have hippie foreshadowing.

Also therapy doesn't work on people with no inner life Roger.
posted by The Whelk at 6:33 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


^yeah that's why I rely on psychotropic drugs instead.
posted by WhitenoisE at 6:34 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry, not really "weirded out". More like "annoyed by how kvetchy folks online can be about fictional characters on shows they like".
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:35 PM on April 7, 2013


Roger has an inner life it's just way more on display than everyone else's. I guess you mean he doesn't have any secret inner live, which, yeah. He probably gets almost as much pleasure and insight out of therapy as his therapist does--by which I mean lots.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:37 PM on April 7, 2013


Is that Abe? I'm not going with you to your hairy revolutionary place Abe. You look like you're about to kidnap Patty Hearst.
posted by The Whelk at 6:38 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Who's the comedian? Furiously Googling "Carson ear jokes" doesn't achieve the desired results. I did however, learn that Juliet Prowse was mauled by a tiger in 1987 preparing to go on the Tonight Show to promote Circus of the Stars, so it's not a total loss.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:38 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


> This is a huge element of the show. See also people's dislike of Betty and Pete. I think it's making things a bit too personal/serious to be "weirded out."

If it helps clarify at all (maybe it doesn't), I love Betty to death as a character (the feminism talking) and will be sad if she's barely on the show anymore. Of course I don't "like" Pete but I like his presence on the show (it is always at the very least entertaining in a wince-while-laughing sort of way).

What bugs me is how people seem to have forgotten most of how the season before last actually went down, and I'm baffled and dismayed audiences, like Don, seem to have forgotten Faye and the very real distinction the show made a point to establish between her and Megan as a symbolic choice of which way Don would go after his divorce. That might be the show's fault, granted--it seemed like all the air went out of that last season, and again, maybe that's arguably partly due to all the (gossipy, granted) claims the show itself fell in love with Pare. It's still a bummer.
posted by ifjuly at 6:40 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


That whole doorman thing was really odd, especially the editing...I don't know what significance it has...
posted by WhitenoisE at 6:41 PM on April 7, 2013


In other news this Bank of America commercial is definitely geared toward people who like to think about commercial pitches which somehow delights me and frightens me.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:41 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Spoiler Alert: Please welcome new cast member Zach Gallifanikis.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:42 PM on April 7, 2013 [8 favorites]



In other news this Bank of America commercial is definitely geared toward people who like to think about commercial pitches which somehow delights me and frightens me.


I work in advertising and we usually spend half of Monday talking about the show.
posted by sweetkid at 6:42 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'll also be ok with it if maybe this has all been some sort of very sly nuanced long-arc thing where we're meant to understand Betty's disappointments and failures as a heavily maternalized wife won't actually be that different from Megan's as a seemingly newfangled and idealistic, heavily sexualized one. That the sexual revolution still put women in a confining box of terms. The more things change; same wolf in a new sheep. But we'll have to see. And the tricky part there is being mindful of "having your cake and eating it too" stuff re: "Pare is beautiful and sexy, here, some underpants housecleaning and Zou Bisou".
posted by ifjuly at 6:43 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Bob from Accounts is my new mortal enemy.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:43 PM on April 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think I own Pete's tie

I don't know how to feel about that.
posted by The Whelk at 6:45 PM on April 7, 2013


Take solace knowing you don't own Pete's sideburns.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:45 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


That conversation between Pete and Don about "waiting for work every holiday" etc is very Account/Creative. Very realistic for that relationship, even today.
posted by sweetkid at 6:46 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


This show pops on 2d-3d conversion, hot damn.
posted by WhitenoisE at 6:46 PM on April 7, 2013


This episode is so disjointed. I feel like it's a Mad Men promo instead of a Mad Men episode.

Likely intentional, in which case pretty amazing, but still--I feel so unmoored.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:47 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Weiner notes that last season they spent a lot of time in the writers room trying to figure out who Megan really is and what drives her.

Bingo.
posted by Sara C. at 6:48 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


You guys

Peggy has learned how to dress herself.
posted by The Whelk at 6:48 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm with you PhoBWanKenobi. I'm a bit bored, hoping this picks up hour 2. Right now it's like I'm watching the first Presidential debate from last year, yelling, "Wake up, will you, this is critical!" at the TV.

Except it's not as critical. Right?
posted by sweetkid at 6:49 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah everything seems crazy in this ep. Im betting on a last scene where something legitimately nightmarish happens, but I'm bad at gambling.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:49 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


This episode is so disjointed. I feel like it's a Mad Men promo instead of a Mad Men episode

I was thinking the same thing...cinematography is pretty though. I don't know someone else is in charge.
posted by WhitenoisE at 6:50 PM on April 7, 2013


I didn't really expect anything wildly different though. Seasons don't have to start with a kidnapping or something, it's not 1997.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:51 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, all of these ads are like, tailored to the Mad Men audience. It makes me...kinda uncomfortable.
posted by The Whelk at 6:51 PM on April 7, 2013


What's the best ending for the best series on TV?

Mad Men is a great show and I think it can survive well into the 70s within it's internal timeline. As for what's the best ending for the best current series on TV, I trust the writers of Board Walk Empire to do a great job.
posted by juiceCake at 6:52 PM on April 7, 2013


Man, all of these ads are like, tailored to the Mad Men audience. It makes me...kinda uncomfortable.

yeah why would they do that?
posted by WhitenoisE at 6:52 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who...is this person?
posted by The Whelk at 6:54 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


AMC has really interesting ad placement. My favorite was the Long John Silvers' ad during a showing of "The Perfect Storm."
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:55 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well I finally found a character I identify with on this show! Yay bald Jewish guy!!!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:56 PM on April 7, 2013 [5 favorites]



Who...is this person?


The doctor? No clue. I don't think he was in last season though I could be wrong.
posted by WhitenoisE at 6:56 PM on April 7, 2013


You have to be very ...trim to wear Rogers outfit here.
posted by The Whelk at 6:57 PM on April 7, 2013


Something very suspicious about how Don reacts to him. Maybe he's just intimidated by how BALD AND SEXY HE IS.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:57 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's the fifteenth Doctor.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:57 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Something very suspicious about how Don reacts to him. Maybe he's just intimidated by how BALD AND SEXY HE IS.

Swingers?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:58 PM on April 7, 2013


I am not on Team Roger Sterling's Double Breasted Suit.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:58 PM on April 7, 2013


I feel like there's a weird sexual vibe between Don and the Dr. Although I'm sure that's not where it's going. Maybe just because Don doesn't really like ever seem to like other men.
posted by sweetkid at 6:59 PM on April 7, 2013


So far Austin Powers Season 6 is a TOTAL SUCCESS
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:59 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just playing y'all. But the colors. Ugh.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:00 PM on April 7, 2013


Oakland/Green Bay was Super Bowl II, so 1967?
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:00 PM on April 7, 2013


Oh hey, way to confirm a detail in my otherwise unrealted but takes place in the same peroid draft Mad Men, awesome.
posted by The Whelk at 7:01 PM on April 7, 2013


^68
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:01 PM on April 7, 2013


Don does not have male friends! Don hates and fears other men!

I DON'T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING.
posted by The Whelk at 7:03 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Christmas '67, since Super Bowl II was '68.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:03 PM on April 7, 2013


Thanks Gillette, now my electric shaver doesn't have to pull face/pube double duty.
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:04 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


So less than a year since the last episode? Weird. Sally seems to have aged more than that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:05 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Megan shot a shoe commercial in April 67 and now in December 67 she's famous? I know they say she jut got on the soap but ugh.

"You just have a way" bleh.
posted by sweetkid at 7:05 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dr. Rosen is the same doctor that rescued the doorman, no? So maybe Don, sensing his own mortality, would find it useful to have a heart surgeon as a bud.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:05 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


That wrong lighter thing is brilliant and will have facinating repercussions. Also I'm positive Megan is cheating on Don, possibly with the sexiest Jewish doctor ever.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:06 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


So less than a year since the last episode? Weird. Sally seems to have aged more than that.

I'm sure they would have delayed her puberty if the damn AMC ethics council would keep their noses out of the artistic vision.
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:07 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


What is Betty's obsession with this girl??
posted by sweetkid at 7:08 PM on April 7, 2013


Weiner notes that last season they spent a lot of time in the writers room trying to figure out who Megan really is and what drives her.

You'd think they'd want that figured out before putting her everywhere.
posted by kenko at 7:08 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dr. Rosen is the same doctor that rescued the doorman, no? So maybe Don, sensing his own mortality, would find it useful to have a heart surgeon as a bud.

Yeah filters are for pussies.
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:08 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


JANE!
posted by The Whelk at 7:08 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


She's both jealous and worried. She's only 15 and just ran away to Greenwich Village.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:09 PM on April 7, 2013


Team Jane's Amazing Hats!
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:09 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apparently Ken Cosgrove from Accounts did not get the sideburns memo.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:10 PM on April 7, 2013


She's both jealous and worried. She's only 15 and just ran away to Greenwich Village.

ah, you've got it.
posted by sweetkid at 7:10 PM on April 7, 2013


Dons about to crackkkkk ah there we go.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:12 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


He just got puke revenge. Remember Roger and the post-oyster puke?
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:12 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well I finally found a character I identify with on this show! Yay bald Jewish guy!!!

Mine is wheelchair lady. Oop, now it's Don.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:13 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


The post oyster puke was revenge for Roger hitting on Betty.
posted by sweetkid at 7:14 PM on April 7, 2013


This metaphor just in: Background on the 1967 NFL Championship Game, a/k/a, The Ice Bowl.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:14 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


why don why? no seriously, why? I must have missed something
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:14 PM on April 7, 2013


It seemed to come right at the mention of the fullness of Mimsy's heart.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:15 PM on April 7, 2013


Look at these fcking hipsters.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:17 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Betty is being so brave. She's grown so much.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:17 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Welcome to the set of Fight Club.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:19 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whoa..Betty


Whoa.
posted by The Whelk at 7:19 PM on April 7, 2013


Is this Mad Men or Girls?
posted by spitbull at 7:19 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Rory Manarich is stealing Paprika!
posted by The Whelk at 7:19 PM on April 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


Also everyone has awful hair.
posted by The Whelk at 7:20 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hey betty, I see that look in your eyes. WHY DON"T YOU JUST HAVE YOUR WAY WITH THOSE UNDERAGE HOMELESS BOYS.
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:20 PM on April 7, 2013


Isn't the doorman Little Carmine (Ray Abruzzo) from the Sopranos?
posted by juiceCake at 7:20 PM on April 7, 2013


DON SLEEPS WITH THE FISHES
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:21 PM on April 7, 2013


Oh god, anyone watching this in Wisconsin? That Dean commercial was all sorts of wrong.
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:21 PM on April 7, 2013


Megan is the fifth Girl from Girls.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:23 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


IMDB says Ray Abruzzo's not in this. Alo the doorman looks younger than 59 to me.
posted by sweetkid at 7:23 PM on April 7, 2013


That pro glide commercial was a bit ..disturbing.
posted by The Whelk at 7:23 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Watching in Wisconsin. That was... unreal.
posted by eenagy at 7:24 PM on April 7, 2013


Grok!
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:30 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Heeyyyyyy maaaaaaa n nnnnnnnnn *gets shot by dirty harry*
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:31 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


yeah I just tried looking up the first use of grok just now to see if it was on track for the time period. Can't tell.
posted by sweetkid at 7:32 PM on April 7, 2013


You have bad manners is basically Betty for " SHIT IS FUCKED UP AND BULLSHIT"
posted by The Whelk at 7:32 PM on April 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


Grok was coined by Heinlein in 1961.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:32 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes I know Dr Zira but that doesn't mean the word would have moved out into regular use necessarily.
posted by sweetkid at 7:33 PM on April 7, 2013


...uh Davinci is a superhero? Wtf Starz?
posted by The Whelk at 7:34 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]



You have bad manners is basically Betty for " SHIT IS FUCKED UP AND BULLSHIT"


I think she was kind of intrigued by them and wanted to stay and learn more but backed up when she said that.
posted by sweetkid at 7:34 PM on April 7, 2013


Well, he did seem like a very literate and well-read hipster, which is probably why he was elected head hipster.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:35 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Whelk: "...uh Davinci is a superhero? Wtf Starz?"

You know who's in the first episode? The Earl of Grantham.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:36 PM on April 7, 2013


Its the admen B team!
posted by stratastar at 7:36 PM on April 7, 2013


Peggy is having none of your shit
posted by hellojed at 7:37 PM on April 7, 2013


Oh Abe, your hair, no.
posted by The Whelk at 7:37 PM on April 7, 2013


What brand are those headphones?
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:37 PM on April 7, 2013


Go back to your music, Abe, the Establishment has work to do.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:37 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Brand Adorable
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:38 PM on April 7, 2013


Beyerdynamic?
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:39 PM on April 7, 2013


People! Being made aware of privlege!
posted by The Whelk at 7:39 PM on April 7, 2013


I FUCKING WANT THEM
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:40 PM on April 7, 2013


Bob, you douchebag.
posted by The Whelk at 7:40 PM on April 7, 2013


Ken's a jerk now?
posted by sweetkid at 7:41 PM on April 7, 2013


Ken Cosgrove when did you become a stone cold badass?
posted by The Whelk at 7:41 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ken Cosgrove from Accounts is like Highlander. There can be only One From Accounts.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:41 PM on April 7, 2013 [15 favorites]


Season will end with Apollo 8. maybe.
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:43 PM on April 7, 2013


Jumping, fridge, death, funerals, vanishing, suicide, hello major themes.
posted by The Whelk at 7:43 PM on April 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


THE SECOND SET OF FOOTPRINTS IS WHEN YOUR SUICIDAL IDEATION CATCHES UP WITH YOU DON
posted by The Whelk at 7:44 PM on April 7, 2013 [18 favorites]


Don bombing is the nightmare I referred to earlier.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:45 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]





THE SECOND SET OF FOOTPRINTS IS WHEN YOUR SUICIDAL IDEATION CATCHES UP WITH YOU DON


or one of his other selves - Dick Whitman, Happy Don, etc.
posted by sweetkid at 7:45 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's only one set of footprints, because you were being carried...by Jesus
posted by hellojed at 7:46 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is that Rizzo? Under that hair cloak?

I...people find a barber. Now.
posted by The Whelk at 7:47 PM on April 7, 2013


The Dick Whitman replied,
"The times when you have seen only one set of footprints
Is when I carried you."
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:47 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank god for the age of valium
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:49 PM on April 7, 2013



Is that Rizzo? Under that hair cloak?

I...people find a barber. Now.


No one's cutting their hair from now until Reagan.
posted by sweetkid at 7:49 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


THIS ENTIRE EPISODE IS ABOUT HAIR
posted by The Whelk at 7:50 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


AND DEATH
posted by The Whelk at 7:50 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


EPIC SWEATERS!!
posted by stratastar at 7:50 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bobby keepin it real
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:50 PM on April 7, 2013


also like a million people have died.
posted by sweetkid at 7:50 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jesus roger just die already
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:51 PM on April 7, 2013


She did the only thing she could to upstage Henry's sweater.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:51 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Don's jacket is giving my TV a migraine.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:52 PM on April 7, 2013


Lindsay Weir has a freshman at Michigan!
posted by ChuraChura at 7:53 PM on April 7, 2013 [8 favorites]


Way to look beyond the valley of the dolls there Megan.
posted by The Whelk at 7:53 PM on April 7, 2013


Stan, I can't deal with your mountain man WTF TED?
posted by The Whelk at 7:54 PM on April 7, 2013


Oh, Koss. Nevermind. Do not want.
posted by WhitenoisE at 7:55 PM on April 7, 2013


THESE HEADPHONES ARE MAKING ME THIRSTY!
posted by dirigibleman at 7:57 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Carousel becoming a horror show. Tv show as slideshow. This episode about the pain of making a Tv show, the terror of repeating a formula, the fear of dying and the secret hope of bringing a story, your story, to a noble end.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:57 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


On Mad Men, PortaPros would look daringly futuristic.
posted by box at 7:57 PM on April 7, 2013


JUST WALK INTO THE SEA ALREADY.
posted by The Whelk at 7:57 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah so uh fuckyeahbaldmadmendr.tumblr.com
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:04 PM on April 7, 2013


this music is weird.
posted by sweetkid at 8:04 PM on April 7, 2013


Oh lord Don no.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:04 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


your bald man is getting stepped out on Potomac Avenue!
posted by sweetkid at 8:05 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, at least we know why he's on a Dante kick.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:05 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Time to go interrogate my wife.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:06 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


On the next episode of Mad Men, Pete wets his pants like 4 times
posted by hellojed at 8:07 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Next week on Mad Men: "What? Who? Why's that? No you didn't. Yes, I am." Dun Dun Dun
posted by WhitenoisE at 8:09 PM on April 7, 2013 [16 favorites]


I have no idea how Don Draper got into this man's wife, or why.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:11 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


"What? Who? Why's that? No you didn't. Yes, I am"

just like a conversation with my mother.
posted by sweetkid at 8:11 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don Ho? More like Don, Ho.
posted by The Whelk at 8:12 PM on April 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


also hey look constant references and allusions to Elizabeth Taylor? Man-eating, marriage shattering Elizabeth Taylor?

That doesn't mean anything, right?
posted by The Whelk at 8:13 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Weiner's going to absurd heights with those bumpers. Also omg Lindsey Weir!
posted by stratastar at 8:15 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Tonight Show comedian remains a mystery.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:15 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


rewatching - another theme seems to be people having multiple identities - starting with Megan/"Corinne" her soap character, then Betty's "daughter" (the hippies referring to Sandy as Betty's daughter and her not correcting them), Dark/Blonde Betty, etc, all in addition to Don's multiple identities, recalled with the Private's lighter switch.

Also the Private's "best man" - drunk guy at bar/Don.
posted by sweetkid at 8:16 PM on April 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


Dark!Betty befriending a local werewolf tribe!
posted by The Whelk at 8:17 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Dark!Betty whipping that squat into shape! Dark!Betty cooking the best hashcake! Dark!Betty can do anything! Nothing is forbidden and everything is permitted! Do what thy Dark!Betty wills is the whole of the law!
posted by The Whelk at 8:19 PM on April 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


Dark!Betty reads Heinlein so she can find out what "Grok" means.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:21 PM on April 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


Hey Sally "So My Mom we went and joined up with a whole bunch of penniless anarchists" is a GREAT college admissions essay topic just saying.
posted by The Whelk at 8:25 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I mean that's not going to happen but lets think about how wonderful that would be.

A Betty Francis late-in-life conversion to far lefty politics would be amazing however and I would totally buy it.

That or any sudden political sentiment. She's got the in right there, and I think it was set up in the first act (Oh Grandma Francis, you are a delight, you're totally aware of the drag queen version of yourself you're playing. Also I think you where my grandma, for real.)
posted by The Whelk at 8:28 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also how jangly and sharp and pointy was Megan? Outside of the Hawaii dreamstate she was so ...uh

Valley Of The Dolls-y, all bright and sparkly and TIGHT HAIR TIGHT DRESS TIGHT TIGHT TIGHT.
posted by The Whelk at 8:31 PM on April 7, 2013


I loved the Sterling Manse however, so florid! so froo! So very encrusted with historical monies!

Also Bert existed.
posted by The Whelk at 8:32 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank God there was a Thermos sighting in this episode.
posted by mynameisluka at 8:33 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


mynameisluka: "Thank God there was a Thermos sighting in this episode."

I missed it. Was it wearing sideburns?
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:35 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


It was in some unflattering jacket with awful square hair so it kinda blended in
posted by The Whelk at 8:36 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


She's got the in right there, and I think it was set up in the first act (Oh Grandma Francis, you are a delight, you're totally aware of the drag queen version of yourself you're playing. Also I think you where my grandma, for real.)

I agree, and I don't think it was a coincidence that Betty giggled along with the girls when Sandy said her mom was dead. I think Betty feels pulled toward what's going on politically/socially but it resisting it because as a Republican politician's wife she really can't no she can't really.
posted by sweetkid at 8:36 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also last season opened with a party showing off LIVELY FUN MEGAN WHO PLANED IT ALL and this season opens with a party of four to MEGAN BEING UNAWARE OF THINGS.
posted by The Whelk at 8:38 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


It ends up with Betty joining the Black Panthers.
posted by The Whelk at 8:39 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


The 1968 Democratic National Convention.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:40 PM on April 7, 2013


The keynote speaker was Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)
posted by The Whelk at 8:41 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


And Dan Rather got roughed up.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:42 PM on April 7, 2013


Also Hawaii As Metaphor, the place of Don's self-annihilation fantasy and Megan's stoned longueurs, Hawaii the place they bring soldiers for RnR but they can't escape cause "they all look like the enemy" and people with your lighter will drag you to their weddings, a place that promises forgetting and instead throws your past at you like a hand grenade cause HEY DON YOU CAN'T ESCAPE YOUR PAST. EVER.
posted by The Whelk at 8:49 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


why it's almost like your desire to totally shed your former selves is TROUBLING you Don WHY COULD THAT BE?
posted by The Whelk at 8:51 PM on April 7, 2013


The subculture is storming the gates! I had kind of hoped we would get to the end of the series before that happened. Not that there wasnt some valuable stuff happening there, but you know, just, like ZZZZZ.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:54 PM on April 7, 2013


I can't be the only person singing "Dark!Betty!" to this tune.
posted by mynameisluka at 8:54 PM on April 7, 2013


In the very last episode set in the future, a down on his luck former world-traveling quasi-hobo wizened Don meets an elderly Soup Kitchen working nun-like Betty at the local Anarchist food not bombs event.
posted by The Whelk at 8:55 PM on April 7, 2013


DARK BETTY LAUGHED AND DANCED AND LIT THE SPLIFFS ONE BY ONE
posted by The Whelk at 8:56 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


She stirred the hobo goulash 'til the day was done.
posted by mynameisluka at 8:57 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


also cause of the setting and scenery I expected this to come on the soundtrack.
posted by The Whelk at 8:57 PM on April 7, 2013


Hawaii the place they bring soldiers for RnR but they can't escape cause "they all look like the enemy"

I saw that as just Matt Weiner's trademark bringing in nonwhite characters just so the white characters can make some racist jokes/comments about them for "authenticity."
posted by sweetkid at 8:58 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe Don, maybe every character, will be descending into Hades this season. They're going to get seriously fucked up and see some awful people do horrible shit. They're going to go to purgatory hopefully (best book in the series imo). Then, paradise. But that light at the end of the tunnel... is it just the glow of the first slide in the series coming around again? Is the mouth of the godhead the gate that Dante went through to enter Hell? Is the universe just another vicious cycle?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:59 PM on April 7, 2013


I saw that as just Matt Weiner's trademark bringing in nonwhite characters just so the white characters can make some racist jokes/comments about them for "authenticity."

I saw it as supporting the idea that a Hawaiian vacation is sold as being "away from it all" and transformative, like Don pitches, but when we see him there, he's knee deep in his own past and everyone else he meets is stuck in their pasts to the point that he LITERALLY CANNOT THROW HIS PAST AWAY.

Oh you metaphorical lighter.
posted by The Whelk at 9:00 PM on April 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


Also I want to know why Joanie was in her PAIN COLOR for her one scene. Cause Joan+Purple=SAD TIMES
posted by The Whelk at 9:09 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


The first two hours of this new season—the penultimate season of the whole series—are redolent with callbacks to earlier times in the show’s run, filmed in such a way to key memories of who these characters were and where they’ve been in the audience’s mind. But for as much as these men and women seem to move forward, they’re also mostly standing pat. Life is a series of doorways, Roger Sterling opines early on, but after you live long enough, you realize that the more doors you open, the more you recognize what’s on the other side as the same place you were before.
posted by The Whelk at 9:10 PM on April 7, 2013


Some think Dante dies at the beginning of the Inferno.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:10 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Basically, if half the cast doesn't die horribly by the end of the series I will be surprised.
posted by The Whelk at 9:11 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


* Joan only appears in one scene — and it's at least somewhat notable she doesn't go to the wake, given her history with Roger (her son just lost one of his grandmothers) — but it's a notable one, as much for what isn't said as for what is. Joan is busy posing on the fancy new SCDP staircase when Harry breezes past, frustrated by this disruption in his workday — and, I suspect, because Joan is now a partner who gets her portrait taken while he, the almighty head of the TV department, is not. It's a silent, fitting coda to the Joan/Harry story from "A Night to Remember," when it was clear to everyone but the people at Sterling Cooper how much better she was at Harry's job than he was.
posted by rewil at 9:14 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I thought the episode was very meh, except for Roger Sterling's magnificent hair, and the notion of a closet full of magnificent Leicas. The highlight was sitting bolt upright on the couch and screaming to Mr. Squirrel, "HOLY CRAP THAT'S LINDSAY WEIR" and watching his face break into a grin as he realized I'd totally nailed it. (ID'ing voiceovers and small-role actors is the height of entertainment for us.)

Also, costume/production people, can you please retire Betty's now-bizarrely-unrealistic fat suit already? We get it.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:15 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Pete must be doing well -- he seems pretty condescending in his exchanges with Don. I mean, even for him.
posted by rewil at 9:16 PM on April 7, 2013


I saw that as just Matt Weiner's trademark bringing in nonwhite characters just so the white characters can make some racist jokes/comments about them for "authenticity."

I saw it as supporting the idea that a Hawaiian vacation is sold as being "away from it all" and transformative, like Don pitches, but when we see him there, he's knee deep in his own past and everyone else he meets is stuck in their pasts to the point that he LITERALLY CANNOT THROW HIS PAST AWAY.


I've also seen a lot of comments about how the young private looked like John Slattery, which I really see. That "they look like the enemy" comment is totally something Roger would say.
posted by sweetkid at 9:40 PM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Abe looks like he's about to say " Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
posted by peppermind at 10:06 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also I want to know why Joanie was in her PAIN COLOR for her one scene. Cause Joan+Purple=SAD TIMES

TLo have said that they suspect the purple=Joan pain theme will not be carrying over this season. Too early to tell for certain, but that was...a lot of purple, and no trauma to go with it.

My two cents in the Megan debate: I find her interesting, but not the character I'm most focused on. But the endless critiques of her supposedly insanely jacked-up teeth/mouth get tiring when you keep bumping into them on the wider internet. From reading some posts on TWOP, you'd think she was a freak of nature that Weiner is trying to push onto the viewing audience as an attractive woman. It makes me a bit defensive for her.
posted by PussKillian at 10:08 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Abe looks like my father. This is seriously creeping me out.
posted by palomar at 10:14 PM on April 7, 2013


I'm just a little staggered that Betty's idea of pillow talk seems to involve sounding like a member of the Manson Family. (Which would mean that it's actually 1969!)
posted by scody at 10:59 PM on April 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's like they're doing Sterling Archer Draper Price's job for them
posted by The Whelk at 11:06 PM on April 7, 2013


Don Draper, haunted by objects again.
posted by Artw at 11:12 PM on April 7, 2013


he really needs to stop picking up things or talking to people.
posted by The Whelk at 11:13 PM on April 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


PIZZA HOUSE UPDATE: PEGASUS HAS EVOLVED TO *ALICORN*.
posted by Artw at 11:13 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


MIGHTY PEGASUS HAS FIGURED OUT SUIT-ISH DARK BLUES AND TARTANS ARE FLATTERING.
posted by The Whelk at 11:16 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


So... Did Betty just spend the entire episide trying to do something nice?
posted by Artw at 11:23 PM on April 7, 2013


TELL ME OF THE WATERS OF YOUR WORLD, SQUATTING COUNTERCULTURE TYPE.
posted by The Whelk at 11:25 PM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


They contain pig... and botulism!
posted by Artw at 11:28 PM on April 7, 2013


Was the Leica model the M2? It doesn't seem like that would be a coincidence - the conversation at the bar in Hawaii?
posted by peep at 11:35 PM on April 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


You should see what it does to a water buffalo!
posted by Artw at 11:37 PM on April 7, 2013


I will be very upset if the series doesn't just turn into this
posted by The Whelk at 11:40 PM on April 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


It'll end the same way too.

"P-Campb? There is no P-Campb, varlet. And indeed, it's not a game we play. I am Superwoman!"
posted by Artw at 11:47 PM on April 7, 2013


In lieu of a season 8, I'll re-watch the French Connection.
posted by Scoo at 5:58 AM on April 8, 2013


So reading the AV Club review and the comments, I'm surprised by how negatively people were reading Betty's awkward pillow talk. This is a woman whose sexuality and confidence were squashed out by Don in a very deliberate way, and she's muddling through the idea of "spicing things up" even if she's wholly missing the mark. Her expression when she said that stuff was adorable--she's not a person with any real potential toward sexual violence (and I think the degree to which she empathizes with Sandy suggests that Betty might, oh noes, have some pretty run-of-the-mill rape fantasies). Mostly I really like how good Henry has been for her. She's safe and supported and can grow and even put her big ol' awkward foot in her mouth sometimes.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Also, it's the moment you've all been waiting for: Tom and Lorenzo's coverage begins.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:37 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Her expression when she said that stuff was adorable--she's not a person with any real potential toward sexual violence (and I think the degree to which she empathizes with Sandy suggests that Betty might, oh noes, have some pretty run-of-the-mill rape fantasies).

You might be right - I couldn't quite get a read on Betty's expression during that conversation. It was definitely NOT her standard "I am manipulating this situation and am actually really angry and pushing buttons" face, nor was it a frustrated anxiety face, also common for her. I just didn't get it. Hmm.
posted by sweetkid at 6:50 AM on April 8, 2013



Also, it's the moment you've all been waiting for: Tom and Lorenzo's coverage begins.


This is such a bad way to start the week. So much productivity just gone.
posted by sweetkid at 6:51 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, did any notice if that was Danny (cure for the common _____) back in the writers room with Stan & Ginsberg. I thought it might have been, but with all the glasses and hair I wasn't really sure.
posted by .kobayashi. at 7:14 AM on April 8, 2013


Don's still wearing his little hats in 1968! And, with the oily hair, beginning to really look the part of the middle-aged businessman square (including the chain-smoking and heavy drinking) who is working so hard to stay up with the times, while loathing those very same times and, ultimately, himself. He's becoming my uncle Harold.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:35 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Koss still makes the headphones from this episode.
posted by zsazsa at 8:18 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Bob from accounts also writes sci-fi under a pen name, but it's extremely cheerful. He just added Ken as a character to his latest story.
posted by drezdn at 8:21 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah this was as much as I've liked Betty in a while. She can't exactly escape from everything she's been through but she can try to be an okay person – to her husband, her daughter, and even her daughter's friend – despite all that.

Paprika dude looks nothing like me, Whelk, this means war. (I also disagree with you on Peggy's dressing herself – for god's sake, man, once upon a time I thought you had taste.)

I disagree that Don is hard to identify with. You change who you are to be more like what you think will get you what you want. Then you get it, and realize you didn't want that after all. So you try and become more like what might really get you something, and you try again, and again, and meanwhile the goalposts for what you ought to be aiming for are slowly shifting, shifting, until finally they look like something you might have had once or might have been at some point but now it's too late to go back. Don's emblematic of that in that it forms his literal actual identity, but you get it too with Roger and his wife, tiny violinist girl, Pete and that girl from last year, Peggy and her new job, and Megan in the way that I find most interesting.

Megan I think is one of the most empathetic characters on the show. She seems to make more of an effort than anybody to make other people happy. She's also young enough or lucky enough that she has an awful lot of self esteem and can tell other people when she's not happy and, you know, do something about it. The whole tragic arc of the last season is that she is, in many ways, exactly the wife Don wants, both in conventional and unconventional ways. Yet she is not merely his appendage; her being who she is means she wants and needs things too, and that means Don is made starkly more aware of the fact that she doesn't "have his back" in the deep, all-permeating way he was seemingly searching for. At the end of the day, they are two separate people, and Don is no closer to escaping himself than he's ever been. Because what he wants is impossible.

I'm interested in what the show will do as Megan is betrayed and hurt. There's a part of me that hopes, futilely, that she and Don will figure their shit out and actually do something to change, but I know that goes against the show's central thesis. Was The Sopranos this relentlessly stubborn in its refusal to portray anything other than the dregs of human nature? Because honestly, while Mad Men's well-written and well-acted there's something that rings false to me about its determination to avoid, I'm not saying this well, but, the possibility that eventually people work something out.

Actually, that's why I think Breaking Bad's the superior of the two AMC shows: it's a tragedy whose main characters are capable of recognizing the mistakes of their ways, changing their behaviors even, and are ultimately caught up not by their refusals to change, but by the consequences of their previous behaviors. Walt tries to stop cooking meth. But he can't because he's burnt Jesse out to the point where Jesse has no options left. He gets into a season-long war with Gus, not merely because of his own arrogance, but because Jesse can't ignore his girlfriend's brother's death, and Walt has to save Jesse's life at the expense of provoking a dangerous man. Breaking Bad has had more "returns to normalcy" than any other show I know, where each of its characters says, "Alright, I've had it, I'm done, this is wrong in every way." Mad Men, by contrast, refuses to have any of its characters back out of anything, which is necessary for the show to go on but feels really stale and also leads to awful scenes like Son of Matt Weiner Gets To Drive A Car. Great show still, but not without its flaws.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:52 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


(If that seems like an unfair judgment of Mad Men, I'll add the disclaimer that this weekend, my girlfriend and I watched 7 Up through 21 Up, which similarly follows people throughout the sixties but which captures, beautifully, poignantly, hilariously, how drastically people change over the course of their lives. The cynicism of Mad Men, in which nobody ever changes, seems ugly compared to a documentary series in which every life seems strange, wondrous, and constantly in a state of transformation.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:57 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


This is a woman whose sexuality and confidence were squashed out by Don in a very deliberate way, and she's muddling through the idea of "spicing things up" even if she's wholly missing the mark.

I have to agree, even though it took me a bit to see it that way. For a moment, I thought Betty was using (an exaggeratedly violent idea of) Henry's sexuality as a cudgel to strike him with in an attempt to make him feel guilty and crass and corrupt. After all, that's been her pattern for years: take the truth, blow it up into something bigger, then hit the person closest to you with it.

But on reflection, I think she's genuinely trying to "spice up" their sex life, and taking some delight in it even when she says something that shocks Henry. (Maybe especially when she shocks him.)

We've already seen her role-playing with Don in Rome, when they pretended to be strangers picking each other up. And we saw her more modest attempt to seduce Don on Valentine's Day in Season 2, when she comes out of their bathroom at the Savoy to show her uncharacteristic black lingerie, cocking her hip in a self-confident pose that crumbles a bit as Don greets her with an underwhelmed, patronizing little "wow" as he brushes past her into the bathroom.

And that dismissive treatment from Don makes Henry's affectionate, sometimes exasperated support of Betty all the more touching. From this episode, it looks to me like she's feeling loved and safe for the first time in her life, and she's experimenting with expressing herself honestly.

Even little things like the lunch exchange with Sally: the Betty we've come to know would have made a cutting remark in response to Sally's "I don't know why you're counting my meals," but this Betty doesn't. And I don't think the old Betty would have responded to Sally's sarcastic "Did you want her to say a tearful goodbye" (paraphrasing here) with an honest "frankly, yes." The old Ossining Betty would have made a pointed remark about the girl's ingratitude or rudeness and painted herself as a put-upon hostess rather than admitting her feelings: yes, I wanted an emotional goodbye.

Henry has been good for her, and how could he not have been? He loves her, he accepts her, he expresses both his love and his occasional frustrating with her clearly (for the most part; in Season 4, meeting Lindsey's rep in the city, I thought their marriage might be over), and he lets her know he loves her even if and when she says things that he doesn't like. Don never did any of that, and it sounds like her parents didn't either.

I'm shocked to find that I kinda like Betty. Yes, even with that horrible rape-scenario talk about the girl sleeping in the next room. This --- making filthy, transgressive dirty-talk, listening thoughtfully to an unsatisfied teenager and saying honestly "Why are you insulting me? I'm trying to help," searching a grubby neighborhood for a wayward 15-year-old --- is Betty trying to find some pleasure and satisfaction and even meaning in a life that's gotten smaller with every passing year.

Even if that dyed-black hair is a terrible mistake --- not that it's unflattering, but it makes her resemble Henry's mother far too much. Oh, Betty, just because Don has complicated absent-mother issues doesn't mean everyone does.
posted by Elsa at 9:07 AM on April 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


Wait'll you get to the later Up documentaries.

I actually think Don might have changed from last season. Maybe drastically, though we saw such little glimpses of him in these episodes that it's hard to say. In the office, he makes himself look foolish or weird or dated again and again. His alcoholism seems to be back with a vengeance and now he's a sloppy drunk. The way he looked when he slumped back home after cheating was so just sad.

I think the significant thing about Don's redefinition of himself is that it's not aspirational, but desperate, necessary. He's always running away from things, not toward.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:08 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can someone please tell me who the violinist girl (Sandy) is supposed to be? Is she simply a friend of Sally's, or is she a relative somehow?
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:36 AM on April 8, 2013


She's just a friend of Sally's.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:42 AM on April 8, 2013


Can someone please tell me who the violinist girl (Sandy) is supposed to be? Is she simply a friend of Sally's, or is she a relative somehow?

This is just me spitballing, but I think Sandy might be the daughter of Betty's old Ossining neighbor Joyce. Joyce appears in the first season, then we re-met her in S5 episode "Tea Leaves": Joyce and Betty bump into each other at the oncologist and Joyce insists on taking Betty out for tea, where she describes how it feels to have a terminal diagnosis.
posted by Elsa at 9:43 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think the significant thing about Don's redefinition of himself is that it's not aspirational, but desperate, necessary. He's always running away from things, not toward.

I have to disagree ever so slightly with this: Don does try to change how he relates to people. He's trying to learn from the destroyed relationships he's left in his wake, and we see him consciously grappling with that over and over.

Adam came looking for family, for connection, for his brother. Don rebuffed Adam by giving him a valise full of money and sending him away, and Adam killed himself, to Don's everlasting sorrow and shame. Next time he starts to brush off someone in need --- dropping off Miss Farrell's little brother on the road --- Don gives him money... and then stops. Don gives the young man his card and says [something like] "I swore next time I would do this right: If you ever need anything, call me."

He gives Lane a chance to escape prosecution and get his life in order. He doesn't know that Lane would rather die than return to England, and how could he know that? In his scenes with Don, Lane is anxious, angry, and superficially repentant, but he doesn't reveal his inner panic and desperation to Don, not really. Don covers the missing money and the act of embezzlement, which should be enough to help out Lane without exposing the company to loss or scandal.

Don is shattered to learn Lane has killed himself, but I'm not sure what more Don could have done. He couldn't have allowed an embezzler to remain in a position of financial responsibility, and he couldn't have recommended Lane for a similar position in another firm. Don discovered that a colleague had committed a crime that would poison their business; he offered that criminal money, time, silence, and a measure of compassionate encouragement. And it still wasn't enough, because we don't know what's inside other people unless they're willing to tell us. (And, yes, unless we're willing to see and hear it.)

That very same day, Don arrives home exhausted and full of sorrow, his tentative triumph over the Dow meeting soured into grief and shock... but instead of letting Glen, Sally's unexpected visitor, take the train home, Don offers to drive him all the way back to Hotchkiss. On the way down in the elevator, Don really listens to the kid lamenting how everything falls apart, and he asks Glen what would make him happy. Cut to a scene of Glen driving Don's car, Don watching paternally as the kid smiles in excitement. He's trying. He's really trying, in his limited way, to contribute some measure of happiness in this sorrowful world, and to show this young boy that the world has promise as well as sadness in it.

In S4 episode "The Suitcase," Peggy and Don get into a fight over who got credit for a Clio-winning campaign. Don points out that he (the partners, really) pay her for her ideas, which makes them all his (the firm's, really) ideas. Peggy explodes: "AND YOU NEVER SAY THANK YOU!" Don yells back "THAT'S WHAT THE MONEY IS FOR!"

Just two episodes later, an older matron delivers Sally to Don's office, having found her on the train hiding from the conductor. Don thanks her and offers to reimburse her for her ticket and trouble, but the stranger isn't interested in anything except chiding Don (in the same way Betty would have). When she won't stop, Don loses his temper a bit, but in a way that shows he's internalized some of Peggy's complaint, even if he hasn't figured out how to use it yet: "I've said thank you and I've offered you money!" He's listening. He isn't graceful at incorporating the things he's learning, but he is learning.
posted by Elsa at 10:00 AM on April 8, 2013 [30 favorites]


that's a really great analysis, Elsa.
posted by sweetkid at 10:09 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like the idea of Sandy being Joyce's daughter (they do look similar).

Interesting, how in all of your examples, Elsa, Don just throws money at people again and again. It was his ultimate mistake with Peggy, too. It makes the times he hasn't (all with younger men, it seems?) that much more significant.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:10 AM on April 8, 2013


But I agree in a larger way: Don thinks that secrets and crimes and lifelong worries can be shoved further and further down, that we'll all be better off if we swallow our rage and fear and insecurity and keep pushing ahead. But of course, he's dead wrong. Don needs to deal with the reality of Dick Whitman --- not just the legal issue of his decades-long impersonation, but the self-loathing and despair that made that impersonation so attractive to a panicky young man in the first place.

Dick Whitman has been digging holes, digging himself deeper and deeper into despair, for decades. (In "The Hobo Code," he's a weedy little child digging for no reason; his stepmother Abigail hollers at him, "Dick Whitman, you stop digging holes!" In the Korea flashback where we see the real Lt. Don Draper (maybe in "The Mountain King"? I'm not sure), Dick Whitman's assignment is to dig latrines for the camp they're constructing. Don/Dick needs to stop digging holes out of panic and start building something constructive.

For several years, I've been saying that the perfect last scene for "Mad Men" would be Don and the kids (and maybe his wife, if he has one) digging a hole in the front yard of his new house and planting a sapling: setting down roots, digging a hole for a hopeful purpose, planting something that his children will enjoy, and their children, too, and generations to come. It would be a symbol that Don has stopped digging dens and escape hatches and started digging to lay down a foundation. It would show him believing in the future, instead of just living in the present.
posted by Elsa at 10:15 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Don's relationship to money and the wealth of the Drapers, Francisis, Sterlings, etc is such such such an interesting drumbeat under the show. Don throws money at his problems while at the same time reveling in the fact that he can do that. Roger doesn't think about money cause he's always had it.
posted by The Whelk at 10:18 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I definitely think it's an artifact of growing up poor (which is the one truth Don never shied from--"My dream was indoor plumbing"). Money "fixed" everything for him, so he assumes that it will for other people, too.

Never mind the fact that he remains fundamentally pretty broken.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:25 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]



Paprika dude looks nothing like me, Whelk, this means war. (I also disagree with you on Peggy's dressing herself – for god's sake, man, once upon a time I thought you had taste.)


Dark navy blue suit with gold buttons is the best office look we've seen in her in, fitting, grown-up, responsible. All good considering that left to her own devices Peggy goes for aspirational looks that always fall flat.
posted by The Whelk at 10:30 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Elsa, Don just throws money at people again and again. It was his ultimate mistake with Peggy, too. It makes the times he hasn't (all with younger men, it seems?) that much more significant.

You're right: it's notable that Don offers money more readily to men, and more gracefully, too. And that he's learned how to temper that offer, though only with men: with Adam, he only offered money. To the other men, he offered money and some support, however inadequate it turned out to be. He's still clumsy at offering support, but he's trying.

Don offers money partly because it was the unattainable panacea of his childhood. His parents fought over it; his stepparents lost the farm because of it. Money represented freedom to him: freedom from poverty and need, sure, but also freedom from the opinions and decisions of others. Remember that (at least in Dick's memory) his father opted out of the cooperative when the price for their crop fell too low, but got browbeaten back into the sale by Dick's stepmother. He went out in the rain to saddle up the horse so he could sell their grain "for nothin'!" and was kicked fatally while Dick watched. In young Dick's mind, his father died for money, and not enough money, either.

But more than that, I think Don offers money because he doesn't really believe he has anything else to offer. His father beat him, his stepmother berated and resented him. Don says (to Bobby, I think) that Uncle Mac "was nice to me," but Adam mentions that Uncle Mac always called Dick "soft." I fear that "nice to me" just means Mac didn't strike Don, didn't berate him as "a whore-child," didn't constantly resent and rebuke him for existing.

Don thinks he's worthless, and the show has told us that from the start. In the very first episode, Don tells Midge that he's going to fail, that they're going to figure out that he can't do it and then he's "over." Don thinks that he's a failure who's miraculously staving off revealing his true nature, over and over. It's part of the reason he doesn't have any friends: not just that he needs to protect his secrets, but that he thinks all relationships (except with his children) are transactional: if he doesn't have something of tangible value to give, why would anyone bother?

I was SO EXCITED to meet Dr. Rosen. I actually clapped and said to The Fella, "Don has A FRIEND! DON HAS A FRIEND!" (Did everyone catch that split-second look Dawn flashed him when Don told her Dr. Rosen wasn't there for a meeting and described him as "a friend"? Dawn has got Don's number, all right. I loved seeing her so confident and crisply businesslike, btw.) And then the fondue party scene started and I crumpled, saying "Oh, Don. No. No, Don."
posted by Elsa at 10:33 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Also why did "You're good in a crisis" feel so sinister and tense? I mean she's supposed to have just saved the campaign through a hail mary pass stroke of genius, why does it still feel like everything has gone wrong?

I get the distinct impression Peggy is just going from disaster to disaster day in and out and is being set up for a big stress blowout.
posted by The Whelk at 10:34 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


But more than that, I think Don offers money because he doesn't really believe he has anything else to offer. His father beat him, his stepmother berated and resented him. Don says (to Bobby, I think) that Uncle Mac "was nice to me," but Adam mentions that Uncle Mac always called Dick "soft." I fear that "nice to me" just means Mac didn't strike Don, didn't berate him as "a whore-child," didn't constantly resent and rebuke him for existing.

Beautiful analysis. Makes Megan's "Nobody loves Dick Whitman" so much more cutting. Because no one did, except Adam. And Don helped push Adam toward suicide.

One thing I've always kind of wondered was whether Adam's suicide could be trusted. The notion that it might be Dick Whitman's lighter that the groom ended up with was interesting--if it was, what would happen to that lighter? Where would it end up? The show teased us with Adam's resurrection last season, and so much of the series has been Don reacting to Adam and Adam's death. I don't think the writers will pull the rug out with that, but I could see it happening, and being very, very interesting.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:40 AM on April 8, 2013


I never thought I'd be happy to see Don cheating yet again. Wonder if it's significant that she seems like an older, more refined version of Megan. Someone who's moved beyond the desperate need to try to impress people. Nice feint there because just based on her body language, I was expecting it to be the blonde from the party.
posted by fuse theorem at 10:42 AM on April 8, 2013


The notion that it might be Dick Whitman's lighter that the groom ended up with was interesting

I don't think it's Whitman's lighter, but Draper's: the PFC (whose rank is engraved on the lighter) calls Don "Lieutenant," suggesting that he read the rank off of Don's lighter. (I don't recall Don telling the younger man his rank, do you?)
posted by Elsa at 10:42 AM on April 8, 2013


Makes Megan's "Nobody loves Dick Whitman" so much more cutting

It's funny how much room there is for interpretation in this show. I found that line shocking but also touching: she's saying "I love Dick Whitman." I think she's telling him that she loves him, not just the bold, successful identity he's cloaked himself in, but the person inside, the cowering, terrified little child who never knew love.
posted by Elsa at 10:45 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought that was just his way of implying he thought Don was old/respectable/whatever.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:45 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


He didn't mention his rank and I was slightly jarred when he said Lieutenant cause Don hadn't said anything.
posted by The Whelk at 10:47 AM on April 8, 2013


It's funny how much room there is for interpretation in this show. I found that line shocking but also touching: she's saying "I love Dick Whitman." I think she's telling him that she loves him, not just the bold, successful identity he's cloaked himself in, but the person inside, the cowering, terrified little child who never knew love.

Oh, I think that was definitely Megan's intent, but I don't think that's how Don interpreted it. The two mentions Megan make of Don's past in season 5 are both the points when everything goes to hell--when the party becomes an actual fight, and when Don drives off. I don't think Don feels as if Megan knows Dick Whitman at all.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:47 AM on April 8, 2013


It's funny how much room there is for interpretation in this show. I found that line shocking but also touching: she's saying "I love Dick Whitman." I think she's telling him that she loves him, not just the bold, successful identity he's cloaked himself in, but the person inside, the cowering, terrified little child who never knew love.

See that was one of the points where I thought, if Megan really wanted to, she could totally destroy Don - she gets it, she gets it better than anyone we've seen with Don and if she wants to, she can use her empathy like a hammer and hit where she knows it'll hurt the most.

So on one hand she's actually the best woman to fall for him and the at the same time it leaves both of them super-vulnerable to each other's attacks if anything goes sour.
posted by The Whelk at 10:51 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also I think Megan being cast as a soap opera villain is forshadowing.
posted by The Whelk at 10:52 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


also Peggy! Is! On the phone! All night! With Stan!

Please leave Abe for Stan Peggy, make him shave off that unflattering beard.

Or just be besties, just hang out more with him so we see more of you two together cause you're adorable.
posted by The Whelk at 10:57 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Mad Men Power Rankings: The Doorway
posted by The Whelk at 11:09 AM on April 8, 2013


I have been shipping Steggy for many seasons. They have such an affection for one another! That phone call was so loving. It's like the phone calls I have with my husband--gossip gossip gossip tease tease gossip.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:11 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


They're perfect for each other! they have the exact same sarcastic tics and working class backgrounds! They are both painfully aware of how silly their jobs are but also good at fixing problems!
posted by The Whelk at 11:14 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


It will never happen while Peggy is dating Frank Zappa!
posted by Artw at 11:16 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


I wonder just how much of Peggy/Abe is just that it requires literally no effort on her part.

And my theory that he's her connection.

Plus, you know she likes keeping superficial connections to the art/politics world so it's not just HEADPHONE MARKETING 24/7.
posted by The Whelk at 11:19 AM on April 8, 2013


I was about to say that Peggy would never cheat but then I remembered that movie theater handjob. But I don't think she'd have an emotional affair, at least.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:19 AM on April 8, 2013


Having an affair would require too much effort on Peggy's part and she's clearly consumed with ALL WORK ALL THE TIME but it would help her transition to being LO THE NEW DON.
posted by The Whelk at 11:21 AM on April 8, 2013


LET THE PEOPLE GO, PEGGY!
posted by Artw at 11:22 AM on April 8, 2013


NEVER THEY MUST WORK HARDER, THAT'S WHAT THE MEATBALL SUB IS FOR.
posted by The Whelk at 11:23 AM on April 8, 2013


If Peggy is an alicorn now then that makes Don a unicorn.
posted by Artw at 11:23 AM on April 8, 2013


Abe is a good candidate for pushing his SO toward free love then regretting it when it doesn't work out (also: Megan).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:23 AM on April 8, 2013


Or Don was already an alicorn. He's her Princess Celestria really.
posted by Artw at 11:24 AM on April 8, 2013


Don is into cheating for the cheating, free love isn't going to work out.
posted by Artw at 11:25 AM on April 8, 2013



Abe is a good candidate for pushing his SO toward free love then regretting it when it doesn't work out (also: Megan).


Oh god that's so ...plausible. It'll be like this but with characters we care about!
posted by The Whelk at 11:25 AM on April 8, 2013


Basically I just want an entire episode set at some awful coked-up swingers party held in Don's apartment. Can I have this one thing?
posted by The Whelk at 11:28 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


(because the leading causes of unhappiness in the Mad Men world are, getting what you want, revealing yourself to others, and having parties.)
posted by The Whelk at 11:29 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just recreate this scene in it's entirely Mad Men
posted by The Whelk at 11:31 AM on April 8, 2013


(because the leading causes of unhappiness in the Mad Men world are, getting what you want, revealing yourself to others, and having parties.)

Haunted objects
The Patriarchy
posted by Artw at 11:34 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was SO EXCITED to meet Dr. Rosen. I actually clapped and said to The Fella, "Don has A FRIEND! DON HAS A FRIEND!"

I'm pretty impressed how quickly this thread pegged the strange dynamic between Don and Dr. Rosen as something sexual:
Something very suspicious about how Don reacts to him. Maybe he's just intimidated by how BALD AND SEXY HE IS.

Swingers?

I feel like there's a weird sexual vibe between Don and the Dr. Although I'm sure that's not where it's going.

I'm positive Megan is cheating on Don, possibly with the sexiest Jewish doctor ever.

I, too, was just happy that Don had a friend and never caught that at all. Perhaps I was lost in a hairy fog of beards. I love Stan's beard. My first crush was Grizzly Adams, and Mountain Stan could be his nephew.
posted by gladly at 11:35 AM on April 8, 2013


Guys with super impressive jawlines should not have beards he said, shielding his chin form view.
posted by The Whelk at 11:36 AM on April 8, 2013


Also, we're just letting a reference to furtive gay bathroom sex slide then?
posted by The Whelk at 11:37 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Checkov's Shopping Bag.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on April 8, 2013


Peggy keeps falling for a type. Except for Duck, who was a complete departure for her, she goes for boyish, slightly clumsy men: young Pete Campbell, Father Gil, that pick-up in the bar ("My ma says I'm still growin'!"), Mark. They even have the same broad-faced, blank-faced look to them.

Abe was an intermediate step for her: boyish looking and still a bit clumsy in his approach, but accomplished, intelligent, and a little edgy.

Ted Chaough is that same type all grown up: still boyish-looking, but confident and capable and in charge. I've been worried that Peggy would fall for Chaough since we first saw them together at that diner where he hired her. (And finished the interview with "Your first day ends with you and me at La Caravelle." Yikes, your new married boss wants to take you out to the city's most romantic French restaurant? EEK.)

Or just be besties, just hang out more with him so we see more of you two together cause you're adorable.

Yeah, I think the relationship Peggy has with Stan is the relationship she hoped Don would allow her after "The Suitcase": collegial, friendly, even occasionally flirtatious, but not sexual. They're in competition but they aren't archly competitive. She can even be something of a mentor to Stan, the way Freddie was to her: respectful, affectionate, and supportive.

But Don doesn't have friendships, not even with Peggy. Not yet.

After she leaves Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (Harris?) at the end of S5, Peggy keeps reaching out to Don, saying "Put me on your call list!" and "We should all get together," but Don thinks that when you give someone a boost, they move on and leave you behind --- because that's what Don has done over and over. And because that's what he expects from others, that's what he gets.
posted by Elsa at 11:41 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


boyish, slightly clumsy men: young Pete Campbell

Wow, I totally forgot about their relationship and their kid. It's like it never happened.
posted by girlmightlive at 11:44 AM on April 8, 2013


Somewhere the Peggate child is ruling kindergarten with an IRON FIST.
posted by The Whelk at 11:46 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's like it never happened.

"It will shock you how much it never happened."
posted by gladly at 11:48 AM on April 8, 2013 [21 favorites]


Don spreads out at the hotel bar from The Shining in the middle of the night to talk about love and violence with PFC Dinkins, who describes spraying the hotel mural wall red with blood like it could just be an ecstatic act of release and not a violent atrocity (there are still a few months to go before My Lai)
posted by The Whelk at 11:51 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty impressed how quickly this thread pegged the strange dynamic between Don and Dr. Rosen as something sexual:

Agreed! I wrongly attributed that to Don's odd, alienated approach to a male friend: not a boss, not an employee, not a rival (oops, my bad there), not a client to be wooed. I assumed that Don, so accustomed to and unruffled by the opportunity for sexual conquest, would treat the overtures of friendship with the same uneasy trepidation that some people bring to a sexual overture.

I mistakenly thought that edgy energy was Don's anxiety about the appeal of Dr. Rosen as a friend, and how vulnerable but curious that made Don feel. I'm disappointed that it was actually the sublimation of his guilt and, I dunno, a piquant frisson he feels at being so darned neighborly to the guy whose wife he's banging. (And then I felt the horrible recognition that OF COURSE that's what it was about. That's the Don we know, all right.)

In our household, the second half of "Mad Men" was put on hold so The Fella could watch and review Vikings. The History Channel has stopped providing screeners, so I'll be watching "Mad Men" on delay for the foreseeable future, which means I'll be missing all the real-time discussion here and elsewhere.
posted by Elsa at 11:51 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


on the upside Vikings has more possibly for beardy threesomes.
posted by The Whelk at 11:53 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


As of last week, I was the only Twitter return for #Vikingthreesome.
posted by Elsa at 12:00 PM on April 8, 2013


I need to do a Vikings catch up.
posted by Artw at 12:03 PM on April 8, 2013


Where was Teddy Chough on vacation?
posted by drezdn at 12:04 PM on April 8, 2013


I think Chaough was at a retreat of some kind. When Peggy leaves her (second? third?) message with the pastor, she's trying to get him to deliver it despite an apparent moratorium on messages, so some sort of incommunicado monastic retreat from modern life, maybe?

Now I'm rewatching that scene. Ted says "I apologize, but it was sort of a retreat for my wife and I, and --- well, apparently I work too much."
posted by Elsa at 12:23 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also forgot how hilarious "Next Week on Mad Men" is.
posted by girlmightlive at 12:25 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Next week on "Mad Men": Joan says something ambiguous to someone standing outside the shot; Roger cracks wise about death; Pete makes his pinched face; Don says "WHAT?"
posted by Elsa at 12:39 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think Chaough was at a retreat of some kind. When Peggy leaves her (second? third?) message with the pastor, she's trying to get him to deliver it despite an apparent moratorium on messages, so some sort of incommunicado monastic retreat from modern life, maybe?

I think she said he was in Colorado, didn't she?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:45 PM on April 8, 2013


Ahhh, that's why Peggy's trying to figure out the time difference to Colorado. Good catch!
posted by Elsa at 1:01 PM on April 8, 2013


But it's also definitely a retreat, as Chaough says himself, suggested (enforced?) by his wife Nan to give them some time away from work. And still her New Year's Eve gets interrupted by work.
posted by Elsa at 1:03 PM on April 8, 2013


If a priest was involved, I'm guessing that it was a religious marriage retreat.
posted by drezdn at 1:17 PM on April 8, 2013


I'm a little surprised there has been no comment on the shot of Ken chewing out the new guy from accounts .... with Burt Cooper clearly visible, reading a paper, over Ken's shoulder.

A second floor and still no office for Burt?
posted by anastasiav at 1:20 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I so want to read this thread, but I still haven't seen the big blockbuster season premiere. But really enjoying Elizabeth Moss's acting in her new thing: "Top Of The Lake."

Sad Skygazer is sad and wants to play in the Mefi Mad Man reindeer games. Whah. :-(

posted by Skygazer at 1:30 PM on April 8, 2013


Bert is kind of a specter haunting the heart of SCDP.
posted by The Whelk at 1:31 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


The shoeless set of footprints on the beach, passing the pile of clothes left when the neutron bomb disintegrated your flesh.
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on April 8, 2013


To return to this idea:

Don just throws money at people again and again. It was his ultimate mistake with Peggy, too. It makes the times he hasn't (all with younger men, it seems?) that much more significant.

Well, Don also solved Anna's problems with money, or so he thinks. He bought her a house, he allowed her the financial freedom to support herself modestly as a piano teacher. But he was able to give her those things because she (apparently) never asked for them, just accepted them graciously. She wanted to know what happened to her husband, but she doesn't appear to make any financial claim on Dick/Don.

Of course, it was the emotional connection that sustained them both far more than the financial connection, despite her sister's dismissive "You're just a man in a room with a checkbook." Anna doesn't even make emotional demands from him, just displays gratitude for his rare visits. When he announces that he can't stay, she says "I want you to do whatever you want to do."Anna says "I know everything about you, and I still love you." Anna is the all-forgiving, all-knowing, unconditionally-loving mother Don never had and always wanted. She's the woman he hoped Betty would be. She's the woman he hoped Megan would be.

I think Don wants his relationship to Peggy to feel the same: he wants her to acknowledge that in promoting her from secretary to copywriter, he gave her a platform from which she can operate and that she should be comfortably grateful for that. (Even though promoting her was self-serving: he got the benefit of her talent while sticking a thumb in the other copywriters' eyes, then gave her an office to stick a thumb in Pete's eye.)

The difference is, Peggy is working for him, so it is appropriate for her to request more money, more responsibility, more power... but when she does so, just as her male colleagues would, Don feels that Peggy's making an importunate request that disrupts the selflessness he wishes she would display. In Don's unconscious, unexamined heart, that makes Peggy what he always fears women will reveal themselves to be: a whore, just like his mother.

Everything traces back to Evangeline, the mother Dick Whitman never met but of whom Abigail apparently reminded him frequently. In "The Hobo Code," little Dick Whitman matter-of-factly tells the visiting hobo, "Ain't you heard? I'm a whore-child." He's heard that all his life; it's the one certainty in his uncertain life.

And we see Dick's mother in a flashback: a pretty young woman --- maybe a prostitute, maybe just a farm girl trying to make ends meet --- who took a handful of change to have sex with Archibald Whitman, and who died giving birth to Dick.

About that flashback: whose flashback is it? It isn't Dick's/Don's, since it portrays his conception and birth. Is it a story he's been told by his vicious father or his shrewish, judgmental stepmother? Is it a story he made up as a child to explain what little his parents have revealed to him about his birth mother? Is it something he imagined as an adult? Is is a combination of all those things?

I think Don has built a false dichotomy in his head, a dichotomy of which he is completely unaware: women who silently, unaskingly accept your generosity are respectable, loving, accepting madonnas, while women who ask for money (or power, or agency, or maybe even affection) are demanding whores.
posted by Elsa at 1:42 PM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'm going to undermine my own observation above by pointing out that Don also gives Midge a lavish, unasked-for gift in S1: he shows up at her apartment with a fat bonus check in his pocket and says "Pack your bags, we're going to Paris."

When she demurs and invites him to stay and spend the evening getting high with her friends, Don sees (or believes he sees) that she's in love with her beatnik "friend." (Presumably not the same "friend" who gave Midge a TV earlier in the season.) Don asks her one last time to come with him. When she refuses, he endorses his $2500 check to her, tucks it contemptuously into her bra, tells her "Buy yourself a car," and makes his final exit.

So it's a more complicated dynamic than the dichotomy I described above. Don doesn't give Midge the money because he believes her to be a whore; he gives her the money as a generous but condescending kiss-off when he sees her (he believes) giving and receiving love.

Maybe he gives her the money because he's stung that she could fall in love with someone else and he wants to retroactively make her feel like a whore by putting a price on their time together. Or maybe he's demonstrating his contempt for her friends' (and her) anti-consumerist rap, and their reductive view of him as The Man who scrambles for a paycheck, by showing them how easily he can walk away from a huge sum of money, money they'll almost certainly cash in and use. Or maybe he wants to give her something tangible as a way to finalize --- to contain, to minimize --- his relationship with her.
posted by Elsa at 2:50 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Minority opinion-SO loathed the episode, called it dramatically inert and tedious with little visual flair and leaden performances and kept calling out what he saw as clunky conveniences, the lighter - the doctor- etc. I pointed out everything he complained about has been a part of the show since the start and he counter with they seemed to be really highlighting the elements he doesn't like.

. I think there wasn't enough Joan for his tastes.
posted by The Whelk at 4:55 PM on April 8, 2013


Is there any amount of Joan that would be enough? I want more Joanie, always. My heart dropped to see her in purple, but maybe Tom & Lorenzo are right about that not being a harbinger of sorrow for her anymore.

I have SO MUCH to say about Joan's arc last season, especially the contrast between what it meant to her and what Don thought it meant. OH GOLLY.
posted by Elsa at 5:16 PM on April 8, 2013


Episode 2 - Bert and Joan two header.
posted by Artw at 5:20 PM on April 8, 2013


BERT AND JOAN FIGHT CRIME.
posted by The Whelk at 5:28 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


what he saw as clunky conveniences, the lighter - the doctor- etc

I don't think "Mad Men" uses small details like the lighter the way most shows do. It's a rare prop on MM that's actually used in classic Chekhov's gun style. I can think of a handful that do work like Chekvok's gun: the box of photos Don received from Adam, for example, pays off in a classic plotty move when Pete discovers it. And sure, there are others. But by and large, those portentous objects tend to function as metaphors, not literal tools.

Pete's gun, for example. It started out with a wedding present, a kitschy chip-and-dip bowl. Trudy assigns Pete the chore of returning it for store credit, and Pete feels the first chipping-away of their nuptial bliss: the fellas at work razz him for being henpecked, the girl at the returns counter is immune to his charms*, his college buddy is strutting around bragging about banging Pete's cousin Bethany** in the coat room at Pete's wedding.

And look at the shape of that chip-and-dip: it's clearly intended to represent testicles, right? "It's a chip-and-dip! We got two!" Pete is sacrificing his testicles for marriage, or at least that's how it feels to him for the moment.

So he trades in the wedding present for store credit and uses that to buy himself a rifle (phallic symbol much?). He shows it off to the guys at work and feels redeemed, but when he takes it home, Trudy FLIPS HER LID and orders him to take it out of the house.

To really ram home that symbolism, in a POV shot, Pete surveys the entire secretarial pool over the sights of that rifle and finally takes aim on Peggy, just before impregnating her.

We see the gun again briefly in S5 when Pete and Harry switch offices, and Ken mentions it at the dinner party at the Campbells' house, to Trudy's surprise. Pete still has that rifle, and the show makes sure we know it.

My point: on most shows, the gun would be a plot point. Someone would get shot with it, or a window would be shot out, or someone would fall under suspicion of having shot someone or something with it. But on "Mad Men," it's a haunting reminder of Pete's ever-fluctuating sense of masculinity and self-esteem.

*go figure, the store clerk who's looking up the newlywed's registry isn't swooning at the new husband's offer to take her out on a date if she'll give him a cash refund rather than a credit, nor at his puny wrath when that fails.

**There's no way that's Don's perky young blind date, Bethany, from S4, right? The show repeats names pretty often, so probably not. But a small, horrible part of me is delighted at the idea that Pete's pretty, empty-headed, Betty-in-training cousin gave Don a taxi blowjob and never heard from him again.
posted by Elsa at 5:36 PM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


The season 6 opener was very tired, like the series just got back from jumping a shark or something.
posted by anothermug at 5:46 PM on April 8, 2013


I don't think it felt tired at all. I thought it felt strange and unsettling and quiet, but I suspect that this was intentional--to show both the disconnect Don is feeling personally and the broader disconnect he's feeling with the era.

I trust in Weiner.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:14 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty okay cause "small and quiet" on this show is like always the part right before CRAZY SHIT HAPPENING ALL THE TIME.
posted by The Whelk at 6:34 PM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


If they're throwing a "grok" into E1 then TEAM NEW WAVE SF is expecting big things for the rest of the season.
posted by Artw at 6:55 PM on April 8, 2013


You know Paul Kinsey would be all over the Heinlein.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:01 PM on April 8, 2013


Holy shit I just realized that there are two very important sci-fi films released in 1968.
TEAM DAMNED DIRTY APES
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:31 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


The tone and the pacing of 6x01 were odd and unsettling. Even the opening shot of the episode which is called back to later seems like an odd structural choice for a show that likes to occasionally make odd structural choices. And the fact that Don doesn't say anything outside of the narration from The Inferno until the scene with the army guy in the bar - it's almost-dreamlike in its oddness.

But unlike most shows, the season premieres of Mad Men are always setting the tone for the season to come. Maybe it starts some plot machinations, but mostly it moves us along the chronology of the 60s and introduces us to a new mood. 1968 is a huge year - and portents of death, while no stranger to the show, feel even more fitting than ever. I thought Season Five was bleak, but I suspect this season will be even moreso.

Don, particularly, looks completely lost in this world of long hair, sideburns and epic facial hair. He's still the clean cut guy he was back 1960. Peggy entered this world that year and she's grown up with it, negotiating this strange new world. Don is completely unmoored, buffeted around by clients he can't agree with (or get them to agree with him), co-workers who are on another wavelength and a marriage he can't seem to control.
posted by crossoverman at 7:33 PM on April 8, 2013


Don is definitely starting to look like (and be) an anachronism. Dick is also some years (4 or 5 I think) older than Don, so the gulf is even wider between him and the young generation (the baby boomers) than it seems.

I also felt somehow glad that Don is cheating on Megan. But I disagree with a lot of the blogs/commentary I read. When he says "I want to stop this," I didn't think he meant he wanted to stop cheating with the Dr's wife downstairs, but that he wants to get off the merry-go-round of marrying one and cheating with a bunch of others, but not necessarily that he wants to stay with Megan. Maybe I'm projecting.

I just think he wants to truly be known and understood and accepted for who he really is, and even though he told Megan the truth about his past, that wasn't enough.

Also last season's cliffhanger, when the woman asked if he was alone, it seems most people commenting in blogs and such took it at face value -- was he available. I took it to be more of an existential question, and the answer is yes, he is alone.
posted by loveyallaround at 8:25 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm actually really okay with the show not doing the obvious route with the gun on the wall - it's really too potent a symbol (of...impotence) to be actually used.

Then again I liked how in Season 5 the show could surprise me by bring TOTALLY MESSED UP and doing lots of crazy structural things that CAME FROM NOWHERE AND ATTACKED OUR CHARACTERS LIKE RAVENOUS BIRDS.
posted by The Whelk at 8:26 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


My question RE: Don is always "What exactly is keeping him here?" The marriage he doesn't care about? The job he finds tedious and doesn't seem to connect with anymore? A city he's grown remote from? The kids he never sees? I mean, it always strikes me how very few of our main characters HAVE FRIENDS.

If Don vanished tomorrow to tour the world as Rick Vickman no one would bat an eye.
posted by The Whelk at 8:30 PM on April 8, 2013


Dick is also some years (4 or 5 I think) older than Don

I thought Dick-who-became-Don is younger than the original Draper. Dick's a kid in Korea, Don is a lieutenant. I believe there is also a reference to this in the first season, with the doctor mentioning that Don looks younger than his age.
posted by spaltavian at 8:37 PM on April 8, 2013


Quickly stopping in to say that the last night's episode CONFIRMS my theory that Woodstock will end up as a bone of contention between Betty and Sally. The promise and/or doom of the counterculture is going to be all over their relationship going forward.

Also, did anyone get a weird moment between Dr. Rosen and Dawn when he came by to pick up the camera. I couldn't tell if they recognized each other, if he was taken aback by the fact that Don has a black secretary, or if she was taken aback by the fact that Don is friends with a Jew.

Or maybe just that Don is friends with anyone.
posted by Sara C. at 8:37 PM on April 8, 2013


Don is definitely starting to look like (and be) an anachronism.

Thing is, Don isn't really "of" any generation or time. The only thing that Don has more contempt for than his cohort is himself. And while the generational battle plays out, Don will "side" against the hippies, but only because of how childish and emotive they are, not to any loyalty to the establishment whatsoever. He's found how to navigate is the current lie, he has no desire to adapt to the kids' lie.

Or maybe just that Don is friends with anyone.

Yeah, it's not being Jewish. This is almost certainly the first time Don has ever had a "friend" at the office.
posted by spaltavian at 8:43 PM on April 8, 2013


Or interacted with other men in any way that was casual and friendly. The closest thing to a dude friend he's had was Lane, and Lane ended up like his brother.

Also yes, I liked acknowledging Dawn existed.

Thing is, Don isn't really "of" any generation or time. The only thing that Don has more contempt for than his cohort is himself.

Don is total 100% Lost Generation existential void to the point where he can never really be comfortable with anyone or himself. He's got a weaponized version of Impostor Syndrome and still waiting for the day when it all comes crumbling down and he had to run again.

Which is why the background check episode is THE BEST, the show briefly became a cold-war spy thriller cause that's whats going on inside Don's head all the time. All the skills of being a great conman are also all the skills in being a great salesman.
posted by The Whelk at 8:49 PM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


A Betty Francis late-in-life conversion to far lefty politics would be amazing however and I would totally buy it.

I thought for a really long time that Betty would eventually end up at one of the early Betty Friedan inspired feminist consciousness raising groups (actually I thought that's where we were going with Betty's trips to Weight Watchers last season), but it hasn't happened and it's getting a bit late for that.

If someone doesn't have a run in with either NOW or the Redstockings this season, the show is probably never going to address Women's Lib.
posted by Sara C. at 8:52 PM on April 8, 2013


I couldn't tell if they recognized each other, if he was taken aback by the fact that Don has a black secretary, or if she was taken aback by the fact that Don is friends with a Jew.

I think it's both simpler and more revealing than that.

Dawn gives every impression of being excellent at her job: efficient, organized, and confident. Don appears to have complete faith in her; he doesn't argue with her about the office rearrangement or even shoot off a very snide remark, like he would have with any other secretary (except Miss Blankenship, because who can argue with her?) and when he asks her to "somehow" track down this soldier's troop to return the lighter, she replies simply and confidently, "I will."

I think Dawn's surprised to find Don meeting with someone who isn't in her appointment book; Dr. Rosen in turn is surprised at her conclusion that this must be a scheduled business meeting. When Don says "he's a friend," Dawn looks at him a little blankly because Don has never, ever had a friend drop by. And that's weird, and she's noticed it, or maybe is just noticing it now.
posted by Elsa at 8:54 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I thought Dick-who-became-Don is younger than the original Draper. Dick's a kid in Korea, Don is a lieutenant. I believe there is also a reference to this in the first season, with the doctor mentioning that Don looks younger than his age.

Yes maybe you're right. I remember that too in Korea. Also the real Don is already married and Dick (I think) lied about his age to get into the army as soon as he could.

The thing I'm remembering is S5 episode 1 when Megan throws him a big 40th birthday bash and he tells her he's already been in his 40s for a few years. I'll need to go back and check I guess.

So now I'm confused...
posted by loveyallaround at 8:55 PM on April 8, 2013


I thought for a really long time that Betty would eventually end up at one of the early Betty Friedan inspired feminist consciousness raising groups

Not gonna lie, during the squat scenes it occurred to me "God Betty would actually probably be super happy and suited to being a Den Mother type in a commune or such."

I mean, do you remember the Draper Marriage? All hushed tones and repression and you've ruined everything! So tightly wound and concerned with appearances! The natural arc of Betty's story would be to finally go "fuck respectability, fuck how I look, fuck being perfect." And run off somewhere were she's actually in a position of knowing things - that scene in the squat Kitchen turned on Betty knowing something they don't know (how to cook).

So, Sterling's daughter and her tech startup. That was such a weird scene everyone seems to be glossing over as perfunctory but seriously, water,fridge, avarice, it's so strange.

I mean the setting would make anything strange (SO MUCH MOLDING) but STILL.
posted by The Whelk at 9:11 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm actually really okay with the show not doing the obvious route with the gun on the wall - it's really too potent a symbol (of...impotence) to be actually used.

Oh, absolutely! I'm saying that the show is powerful precisely because it doesn't use most of its potent objects as tools to move the plot along, but as metaphors to explore and expand the characters' inner lives. And that also enhances the value of the few times that the object actually is Chekhov's noun.

I suspect that lighter is Don Draper's, not Dick Whitman's, and not just for the reason I gave above (that the younger man perhaps reads Draper's rank from the engraving). For one thing, Don has been using that lighter for the entire series, and it's hard to imagine he's been carrying around something monogrammed for Dick Whitman all this time and using it 20-40 times a day.

And that lighter, or maybe it was Whitman's, was instrumental in the actual Don Draper's death; he burned to death when Dick, trying to steady his nerves after an attack dropped a lighter into a stream of leaking fuel. I still remember the jolt I got watching the flashback to the original Don Draper's death in Korea; if I recall correctly, it cuts right back to present-day Don/Dick pensively lighting a cigarette with an identical Zippo.

Until I watched "The Doorway," the possibility that Don's oft-used lighter would be engraved "PFC Richard Whitman" never occurred to me. Even though I knew servicemen got free Zippos, I didn't ever put it together that Dick would have had one. So I thought our Don was walking around using the actual lighter that set fire to the man he was impersonating. I'm actually a little relieved to think that Whitman's lighter set the man on fire, not the one our Don carries around every day.

So I don't think that PFC is walking around with Dick Whitman's engraved lighter; it seems much more likely that our Don's everyday lighter is engraved "Lt. Donald Draper" than "PFC Richard Whitman," if only because Don wouldn't want to wave Dick's monogram in people's faces every time he lit someone's cigarette.

But that doesn't mean PFC Dinkins won't show up with Don's lighter one day, remembering facts that are true about Dick but not Don. For example, Don told Dinkins he wasn't married when he was in Korea... and Dick wasn't, but Don was. Or possibly one of Dinkins' army superiors knew Draper and will show up in NYC to return the lighter, only to see that this isn't the Donald Draper he knew. There are plenty of dramatic possibilities with the lighter, but I'd be surprised if Dick Whitman's monogram is the key.

And if nothing ever happens with the lighter, it still works as a metaphor and a poisonous reminder to Don of everything he tries to suppress every day: a reminder of his own lighter, with which he killed a man he barely knew. A reminder of his assumed identity. A reminder of his younger, more callow self, embodied in Dinkins. A reminder of how careless he can be, revealing information that can catch up with him. A reminder of the secret at the core of his life.
posted by Elsa at 9:13 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing I'm remembering is S5 episode 1 when Megan throws him a big 40th birthday bash and he tells her he's already been in his 40s for a few years.

Not sure he said "years" there. The way I took that was he's already been 40, because his actual birth date is earlier in the year than Draper's. (Meaning the actual Draper would have been 45 or so.)
posted by spaltavian at 9:14 PM on April 8, 2013


Also, Jane Sterling: Decent Human Being. Where is she living? Is she still in the place Roger bought her? What is she doing with PILES OF MONEY and a EXISTENTIAL CRISIS? Does she keep up with current hat trends? What's in the future of ex-trophy wives who are still in their 20s and hang out with Dr. Leary?

In my head she moves to Italy and ends up an as extra in Danger: Diabolik!
posted by The Whelk at 9:16 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, he's been 40 for 6 months when she throws him the party. He kept his age, roughly, but took Draper's birthdate.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:16 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought Dick-who-became-Don is younger than the original Draper. Dick's a kid in Korea, Don is a lieutenant. I believe there is also a reference to this in the first season, with the doctor mentioning that Don looks younger than his age.

Dick Whitman is definitely younger than Donald Draper, and our Don Draper appears to be fudging the actual Don's birth year most of the time, providing his own instead.

In that scene with the doc at the beginning of the second season, Don pauses before saying his age, as if he's deliberating over what age to report. When Pete confronts Don, armed with info on Draper from his friend in the [NSA? State Dept?], Pete says something like "And you're remarkably well-preserved for your age," indicating that this Don looks younger than the official record shows Donald Draper to be.

That said, the Don/Dick timeline doesn't seem to work if you look at it closely, as the Lipp Sisters explore here.

But Don appears to use Draper's birthday and his own birth year. That's mentioned before Megan's surprise party; in "Out of Town," Don tells stewardess Shelley that it's his birthday. She flirtatiously asks to see his driver's licence. Don says "That won't help," presumably because it's not Don Draper's birthday; it's Dick Whitman's birthday.
posted by Elsa at 9:23 PM on April 8, 2013


Wait, no Jane is going to end up one of those rich ladies who clustered around Warhol and the like. It'll all be mind-expanding what-is-art boundry pushing until someone overdoses and she runs off to open a pottery store/peyote experience in New Mexico and wear lots of flowing muslin robes.
posted by The Whelk at 9:24 PM on April 8, 2013


What's in the future of ex-trophy wives who are still in their 20s and hang out with Dr. Leary?

I dunno, but I DO know that my immediate reaction to news of Roger's mother's death was an excited "MONA AND JANE IN THE SAME ROOOOOOOOOOM!" And clapping, a bit of clapping. I may have clapped a lot during this premiere.
posted by Elsa at 9:26 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think Mona thinks very highly of Jane (or anyone really, I'd pay cash money to hear Mona just talk shit about the main characters) but Jane trying REALLY EARNESTLY to be a Decent Human Being is the best. I mean I like it even more than Drunk Catty Jane and drunk catty Jane was delightful.
posted by The Whelk at 9:30 PM on April 8, 2013


That timeline is interesting.

Well the Mad Men Wiki (no idea of the accuracy) says that Dick was born in 1926 and Don in 1917. Then an Onion AV club refers to the conversation I remembered from A Little Kiss, s5, which has Dick 6 months older than Don.
posted by loveyallaround at 9:31 PM on April 8, 2013


This is almost certainly the first time Don has ever had a "friend" at the office.

...

Or interacted with other men in any way that was casual and friendly.


That I understand (and I definitely think Rosen and the Draper/Rosen thing represents an interesting development), I just thought there was a very deliberate "uh... WHUT" moment between Dawn and Dr. Rosen that I don't think we can chalk up to "Wait, Don has friends?"

I mean surely you'd assume your boss had a whole social life that you weren't privy to. That was a pretty big double-take from both Dawn and Rosen for it to be about Don knowing people who don't work at SDCP.

Don is total 100% Lost Generation existential void

The Lost Generation would be Don's parents. That's the soldiers from WWI, not Korea.
posted by Sara C. at 9:36 PM on April 8, 2013


Well also we the viewer are THROWN into this relationship with no set-up. Don has a doctor friend now! For some reason! I think it's supposed to be jarring, not cause Holy Shit Don has Friends? HUMAN FRIENDS? but also cause who is this person we've never seen?

My timelines are all off I know- what was the phrase I was thinking of, the immediate post-war writers? I'm pinging on Crack-Up and Age Of Anxiety but that's not right.
posted by The Whelk at 9:41 PM on April 8, 2013


I think he meant to say Silent Generation, but in terms of their build-in existential dilemmas, the Whelk hit the nail on the head (they were described in 1951 as "grave and fatalistic, conventional, possessing confused morals, expecting disappointment but desiring faith").
posted by scody at 9:44 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I mean surely you'd assume your boss had a whole social life that you weren't privy to.

... yeeeeah, but if I'd worked for the same boss for a year and a half and never once seen him meet a friend, make or receive a personal (non-family) phone call with a friend, or even refer to someone as a friend, I'd do a double-take the first time he did.
posted by Elsa at 9:45 PM on April 8, 2013


Yes! I meant Silent Generation, all locked doors and hushed tones and not expecting much.
posted by The Whelk at 9:53 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


But how do we know that's the case? We only see the characters' lives in flashes. We only see the relationships that pertain to the narratives the writers give us.

For example in Season 4 Peggy has a roommate who we see once, for a moment, and not even in a scene that actually has Peggy in it (she appears at Peggy's birthday party that she blows off to pull an all-nighter with Don in "The Suitcase"). None of the other characters seem to be TAKEN ABACK that Peggy has a roommate. She's just a part of Peggy's life that we don't see, because the show isn't called Apartment 3G, it's called Mad Men.

I think it's pretty narrow to assume that Don's life ends at the edges of the screen.

Besides which, the show has implied that Don has male friends outside of advertising plenty of times before. They just haven't played such central roles before.
posted by Sara C. at 9:57 PM on April 8, 2013


Yeah but Don's the main character, he's the one we spend the most amount of time with, to have him SUDDENLY HAVE A NEW BEST FRIEND when we haven't seen him have any friends outside the office, is a little jarring.
posted by The Whelk at 10:02 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, something just occurred to me.

We ended season 5 in the summer of 1967. It's now Christmas '67/New Years '68.

How did the dudes have time to grow all that hair?

And in real life, what was the trajectory of this sort of thing? Were dudes just coming in after a holiday weekend with sideburns? Was there a really slow few months at barbershops all over (socially liberal) America as (young) men collectively decided they didn't really need a trim?

I've been thinking a lot about this lately, as I feel like bangs are kind of going out of style, and noticing how many women I see working an awkward bang transition. It's like we're collectively staring in the mirror, trying to figure out how long we can sweep them to the side before it's time to bust out a headband or some bobby pins.
posted by Sara C. at 10:03 PM on April 8, 2013


also all guys are now sporting Viking Hair (super short on the sides, long on top) after it bubbling for a while.

Which is fine cause it means Fluffy Feathered Long Locks are finally Over.
posted by The Whelk at 10:05 PM on April 8, 2013


(if you want my opinion hair is about to get really short and really military for a while, just based on what I'm seeing.)
posted by The Whelk at 10:06 PM on April 8, 2013


Back to Don's the Dr. Rosen Visits The Office scene -

Yeah, but just because we find it jarring doesn't mean the other characters should. It would be unexpected for someone like Dr. Rosen to appear, but that was a pretty deep reaction shot from Dawn.

I still think something's afoot.

Maybe Dawn has overheard Don whispering sweet nothings to Sylvia, a la every third Peggy storyline in the first couple seasons.

Either that or, again, Rosen is surprised to discover that Don has a black secretary, and Dawn is picking up exactly what he's putting down. Which is how I first read it.
posted by Sara C. at 10:07 PM on April 8, 2013


I think it's pretty narrow to assume that Don's life ends at the edges of the screen.

Okay, but we can only base our knowledge of Don (or anyone else in a fictional story) on what the narrative shows us and on what we can extrapolate from that. And what the narrative has shown us is an apparent complete absence of friends in Don's life, all the way from S1.

Don has never been shown to have a friend, just family (including Anna, who is a stand-in for his mother), colleagues, neighbors (whom he views as an obligation, not a friendship), romantic interests, and strangers with whom he strikes up conversations. Connie Hilton was one of those strangers, and Don may have hoped that would blossom into friendship as well as a business relationship, but I think he was looking for a substitute father figure, just as Anna provided him a substitute mother. (Indeed, when Connie drops Sterling Cooper as his agency, Don angrily complains about Connie "kicking me around while you call me 'son'.")

I'm open to other interpretations if they're persuasive, but I don't think any further explanation is actually necessary. If you do think it needs more explanation, I'd love to hear one that actually draws some information and support from the actual events of the show.
posted by Elsa at 10:09 PM on April 8, 2013


We ended season 5 in the summer of 1967. It's now Christmas '67/New Years '68.

How did the dudes have time to grow all that hair?

And in real life, what was the trajectory of this sort of thing? Were dudes just coming in after a holiday weekend with sideburns? Was there a really slow few months at barbershops all over (socially liberal) America as (young) men collectively decided they didn't really need a trim?


I'm guessing it was a post-summer of love trend. My dad had a shaggy Beatle cut in '66 and his high school yearbook is filled with two kinds of comments: those about how he needs a haircut, and those warning him not to get his girlfriend pregnant (he got her pregnant, but did not get a haircut. Hippie.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:09 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


we can only base our knowledge of Don (or anyone else in a fictional story) on what the narrative shows us

But I'm not talking about OUR reaction.

I'm talking about Dawn's reaction.

Dawn is a character on the show, not a viewer of the show.
posted by Sara C. at 10:13 PM on April 8, 2013


Right, and I feel like her reaction is adequately explained by what we've seen of Don's life on-screen, as I've outlined above. I don't think we're going to agree on this, so I'm going to drop this, but if you have some other textual explanation for it, I'll be reading with attention.
posted by Elsa at 10:15 PM on April 8, 2013


Don has never been shown to have a friend

This is not the case. Generally any time the Drapers back in Ossining are shown attending any kind of social function, there are other men around who Don seems to get on with well enough. It's never implied that Don is some kind of misanthropic loner.

Not to mention that, to view his relationship with Rosen as exceptional, you have to see it as a lot more than what's shown, which is that Rosen is a neighbor who he and Megan sometimes socialize with, and who Don casually offers a camera (possibly as some kind of compensation for the fact that he's fucking Rosen's wife).

I mean, they're not picking out china patterns at Macy's, for chrissakes.
posted by Sara C. at 10:21 PM on April 8, 2013


if you have some other textual explanation for it, I'll be reading with attention.

I have two, which I've already said:

It's a moment of racial/ethnic/class-based tension.

and/or

Dawn knows something.

I'm not sure why you're getting so catty about an odd little moment on a TV show that is full of odd little moments. Pretty much the best thing about Mad Men is that you can rewatch and notice different layers from the ones you noticed before.
posted by Sara C. at 10:23 PM on April 8, 2013


Wow, that was really amazing. They mananged to infuse it with such a sense of foreboding, especially in the first half. It came across as dreamlike and surreal - maybe some people might find it heavy handed, jarring in some cases but I thought they did it in a way that worked really well.

One thing I thought was interesting was the pitch meeting. It's like every character in the show was stewing in this thematic world of existential malaise, there's all this death floating in the air and so the pitch seems natural to them, but when they show it to the guys from the hotel it's like "WTF the guy dies!?". They're people who are external to the inner conflict swirling around these characters and it's jarring to them the same way some of the earlier stuff in the episode is jarring to us. And I also think it helps anchor the episode (And then the other creative after the meeting "Does this make you think of suicide?" "Of course, that's what's so great about it!"")
The only problem with Don working on the Reagan campaign is that he was so fundamentally apathetic about the Nixon campaign in season 1. Also, there was that time in season 3 or 4 (I think?) that he bumped up against a security clearance if he wanted to work with the aerospace industry. I don't think you can have a secret like Dick Whitman and work on a political campaign like that.
Yeah, people seem to forget this. Dick Whitman is locked out of the upper echelons of the establishment.
Dr. Rosen is the same doctor that rescued the doorman, no? So maybe Don, sensing his own mortality, would find it useful to have a heart surgeon as a bud.
Too bad he's fucking his wife then.
Oh god, anyone watching this in Wisconsin? That Dean commercial was all sorts of wrong.
Watching in Wisconsin. That was... unreal.
So reading the AV Club review and the comments, I'm surprised by how negatively people were reading Betty's awkward pillow talk. This is a woman whose sexuality and confidence were squashed out by Don in a very deliberate way, and she's muddling through the idea of "spicing things up" even if she's wholly missing the mark.
I saw it more as a power play, Henry Francis made the joke about how no one would blame him if he left her for her and Betty turned it around and twisted it into something really dark that really threw him off.
But that doesn't mean PFC Dinkins won't show up with Don's lighter one day, remembering facts that are true about Dick but not Don
Really? Because I got the impression that guy was almost certainly going to die.

Oh, I found the friendship with the doctor pretty unusual as well. Don is never seen being friends with anyone he's not trying to get something out of, even Anna is someone he needed something from. But, when we find out he's fucking his wife it makes more sense, he's friends with him so he has an excuse to be around the wife. Maybe he gets a thrill out of hanging out as a couple while sharing the secret with the wife. So, he is getting something out of it.
posted by delmoi at 10:29 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


They mananged to infuse it with such a sense of foreboding

Oh god yes.

In the scene in part two where Don and Rosen go down to the storage room to find skis, I half expected Rosen to throw a knife in Don's back. And that was before we found out Don was fucking his wife.

I just always have this itchy feeling that we're going to turn a corner and someone's going to wind up dead.

(I also felt this way when Betty went inside the East Village squat looking for Sandy. Like she was going to turn a corner and poor Sandy was going to be turning tricks or shooting up heroin.)

I think I watch too much Breaking Bad during the off season.
posted by Sara C. at 10:35 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


he's friends with him so he has an excuse to be around the wife. Maybe he gets a thrill out of hanging out as a couple while sharing the secret with the wife

I also think there's an element of "I need to be nice to this guy so he doesn't get suspicious".
posted by Sara C. at 10:37 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, that was basically the problem with the Barretts. Jimmy noticed, "Hey, that guy's not my friend. But he sure does spend a lot of time with my wife..."
posted by Sara C. at 10:37 PM on April 8, 2013


Yeah, it was confusing to us because we didn't know. We had no clue why Don was being so nice to the guy - Although I thought it was just Don being really impressed by the Doctor saving the Doorman's life.
posted by delmoi at 10:40 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Elsa: "There are plenty of dramatic possibilities with the lighter, but I'd be surprised if Dick Whitman's monogram is the key.
"

Or there are none. In Madmen the metaphor is always bigger than the plot point that it would possibly engender.

I'm always confused by people (online) who lament that Madmen has gone off the rails after one episode, they've seen other seasons, these things build!
posted by stratastar at 10:42 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a slow build kind of show, complaining that's slow or deary is like complaining that spring is warm and wet. That's kind of the point.I still think the observation about Sally is totally true, that she could literally take any path and we would buy it.

I'd kind of kill a kitten for episode that was nothing but the second-string characters with zero interactions with the main cast. Can we see Ken writing? What Bert does all day? Jane's hat-picking out process? Henry answering phone calls from representatives? Harry being pervy and awful? Dawn buying a newspaper and bag of peanuts before getting on the train to go to work?
posted by The Whelk at 10:55 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure why you're getting so catty about an odd little moment on a TV show that is full of odd little moments.

I don't intend to be catty, though of course tone is notoriously hard to communicate online. I hope I haven't hurt your feelings or made you feel dismissed, and if I did, I'm sorry. I was purely from my clumsy writing, not from intent.

I've been reminding myself that you probably haven't been intending that either --- until you called me "catty," which seems like it was intended both to hurt my feelings and dismiss me.

I disagree with you, but I've been listening with interest. As I've said several times, I think Dawn's reaction is simple to explain by what we know about Don and what (we can extrapolate) Dawn has seen of his social life or lack thereof.

If something else develops, that would be interesting and within the tenor of the show. I regret that I didn't specify that before, but I also think that if that moment --- which you identify interestingly as a little frisson of racial tension --- doesn't develop into something more in future episodes, Dawn's double-take (and Rosen's glance, as a response to her surprise) is already sufficiently explained. It seems like you don't agree, and I didn't think it was necessary to say that intelligent, observant people often disagree about nuances like that.

Knowing now that you think Don's other Ossining neighbors were his friends, I think we may fundamentally disagree on what friendship looks like from the inside, which is intended as not a reflection on either of us, just a difference.

I think Don loathes his old Ossining neighbors, only tolerating them because they were thrust into proximity and barely behaving well with them even then. He routinely asked Betty if they can't postpone or cancel planned outings, and he found the gathering at his daughter's birthday party so repressive that he took off and didn't return until everyone had left. One of his neighbors observes in his absence, "Don Draper, you are a first-class heel."

His approach to Dr. Rosen is different in many ways. We have seen Don closely observing Rosen at work, seemingly fascinated. He's asked Rosen questions about the nature of his work and, more tellingly, about Rosen's private feelings about that work. He's explicitly invite Rosen to his place of work; he's insisted that Rosen come by to pick up a camera. He's expressing what looks convincingly like affection, respect, and

We've also heard Megan point out that Don doesn't have any friends, that she "had to invite your accountant to your birthday party" because he doesn't have anything but work associates. And we've seen Don brush off Peggy, who appears to want a real friendship with Don, because she's moved on to another place of work.

I also think there's an element of "I need to be nice to this guy so he doesn't get suspicious".

Sara C., I think you're absolutely right about this, and that was part of my own disappointment during the fondue scene when I realized Don was cheating w/ Mrs. Rosen. I was disappointed that instead of having a promising, friendly acquaintance that might blossom into more, Don is just keeping his rival close.

But I do think you and I disagree about the necessity to further explain that glance Dawn gives. So unless there's more in the next episode or you have something specific to point out that I missed (which I would very much like to hear and talk about, because obviously I'm interested in the minutia of the show), I'll try to step out of this particular branch of this discussion now and leave it to you and others who do have more to say about it. (That's all I meant above, and I'm sorry I wasn't clearer, especially if it hurt your feelings.)

Or there are none. In Madmen the metaphor is always bigger than the plot point that it would possibly engender.

stratastar, I agree completely! In fact, that's the next paragraph in that comment you quote. The metaphor is powerful on its own, whether that lighter moves the plot along or not.
posted by Elsa at 10:56 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, I just re-watched the scene where Dawn meets the Doctor. I think you guys are reading too much into it. I don't think it was really meant to show anything other then that she's nervous/intimidated by Don, or is maybe slightly embarrassed about maybe making a social fax-paus.
posted by delmoi at 11:15 PM on April 8, 2013


Really? Because I got the impression that guy was almost certainly going to die.

Oh, yeeeah, good point. Poor PFC Dinkins.

But all I really meant by that was that, though I don't think Dinkins is going to be the guy to blow up Don Draper's secret identity, I guess it's not outside the realm of possibility.

If that lighter ends up being a plot point in addition to the powerful symbol it already is, and that's a big if, how do you like this scenario? PFC Dinkins tells the story of his wedding, complete with the Hawaiian tourist's name because, hey, it's engraved on this lighter! Dinkins' CO says "Hey, I knew a Donald Draper in [Korea/engineering school/wherever]. Why don't I return that lighter to him when I go to New York next month?" He gets there and realizes this is not Donald Draper, and KABOOM, Don's life explodes. Plausible, yeah?

But even if it's plausible, I don't think it's dramatically or narratively satisfying (though Weiner et al could certainly make it more satisfying than, y'know, I can). I don't think Don's secret will be broached from outside; I think Don has to (as Roger phrased it to Mona) blow up his own life.
posted by Elsa at 11:18 PM on April 8, 2013


(I also felt this way when Betty went inside the East Village squat looking for Sandy. Like she was going to turn a corner and poor Sandy was going to be turning tricks or shooting up heroin.)

I think I watch too much Breaking Bad during the off season.


I misread that as "Betty was going to be turning tricks or shooting up," and that was a truly great moment that happened inside my head, so thanks for that.
posted by Elsa at 11:22 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Think to the last time you actually saw someone collapsed out/passed out drunk at a bar.

That's so temporally distressing to me cause no one else thinks that's really a big deal. If I saw someone dead out at a bar I've be very concerned and alert and interested in Making Sure This Person Does Not Die. Even at a resort. Even at a place designed for forgetting. I would be disturbed.
posted by The Whelk at 11:23 PM on April 8, 2013


I'd kind of kill a kitten for episode that was nothing but the second-string characters with zero interactions with the main cast. Can we see Ken writing? What Bert does all day? Jane's hat-picking out process? Henry answering phone calls from representatives? Harry being pervy and awful? Dawn buying a newspaper and bag of peanuts before getting on the train to go to work?

OH WOW YES PLEASE. Although Jane must do more than pick out hats all day every day, right?

... No, I'm picturing her gallery of hats and realizing you may have intuited Jane's entire calendar. I can just picture her datebook, every day filled with hat-shopping.
posted by Elsa at 11:25 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have to go to bed now; I hope everyone is still talking about this episode in the morning and, y'know, every day forever and ever, even if that means I say something thoughtlessly mean and you get mad at me for it.
posted by Elsa at 11:27 PM on April 8, 2013


JANE'S DATE BOOK

8:AM WAKE UP, DRINK COFFEE, READ NEW ISSUE OF ITALIAN VOGUE

8:40: GRAPEFRUIT

9: AM: CIGARETTE

9:15: MORNING CALISTHENICS

9:40: SHOWER AND SPLIFF

10:03: CONSIDER THE LOBSTER. CALL ASTROLOGIST. GET INTO HOUR LONG CONVERSATION WITH SOMEONE WHO CALLS THEMSELVES A 'SEER" GET REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE LACK OF INDIGO IN YOUR LIFE.

11:10: GET DRESSED FOR LUNCH. CONSIDER HATS.

11:40: HATS

12-1:50: LUNCH WITH FORMER FRIENDS - KEEP SMILING - THEY ARE SO VAPID- BUT THERE IS THAT ONE THING-ABOUT THE ART OPENING-IT COULD BE GOOD-WHATEVER-VIDEO ART?-SO HOT RIGHT NOW-I HATE YOU. AND YOU- OH HEY THEY HAVE THE OMELET I LIKE

2:00-4: CAB INSPIRED NAP

5:05: JOINT AND HAIR FIXING

5:40: CAB TO GREENWICH VILLAGE PARTY

6:01: NO ONE YOU KNOW IS THERE AND SOME AWFUL HARI KIRSHNA KEEPS TRYING TO GROPE YOU

7:00: WALK OUT OF THE PARTY, GO SEE A MOVIE.

9:34: MOVIE SUCKED, PLUS THE COUPLE ABOVE YOU WAS TOTALLY MAKING OUT. SO AWFUL. NO ART AT ALL. GO HOME.

10:15: NOT HOME, ACTUALLY AT BAR IN THE AREA THAT CATERS TO WAYWARD BUSINESSMEN, REBUKE THEM ALL WITH HAUGHTY ART THOUGHTS AND ITALIAN PHRASES. THEY ARE JERKS.

11:30: WAIT THIS GUY KNOWS ITALIAN, AND ALL THE ARTISTS YOU MENTIONED, HUUUUUH

1:15:STUMBLE BACK WITH GUY, HE'S NOT AS CUTE AS HE SEAMED, PLUS ALL HE KNOWS ABOUT ART IS FROM LIKE, TIME MAGAZINE, UCK, SEND HIM HOME. THIS IS THE WORST.

2:30: COLLAPSE IN BED READING THE FLUXIST MANIFESTO WITH A DIM URGE THAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING MORE WITH YOUR LIFE AND A FULL GLASS OF BOURBON AT YOUR SIDE. DREAM OF NEW HATS. CAUSE SERIOUSLY. HATS.
posted by The Whelk at 11:38 PM on April 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


I wanted to rewatch it tonight but I realized our DVR recording had failed so I have to wait until tomorrow when I rewatch it so I can chat more.

Has there been enough returning of lost objects for us to say it's a motif? It's just the lighter and the wallet so far, right?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:38 PM on April 8, 2013


PFC Dinkins tells the story of his wedding, complete with the Hawaiian tourist's name because, hey, it's engraved on this lighter! Dinkins' CO says "Hey, I knew a Donald Draper in [Korea/engineering school/wherever]. Why don't I return that lighter to him when I go to New York next month?" He gets there and realizes this is not Donald Draper, and KABOOM, Don's life explodes. Plausible, yeah?

This has happened or come close to happening a few times.

His brother Adam realized he wasn't really dead, came to find him, and got shut down so cold it drove him to suicide.

Pete Campbell explicitly tried to blow it up and get Don fired. Did not work.

Another time, he was recognized on a train and just blew it off.

It also strikes me that Anna's family have enough knowledge to be able to easily blow Don's cover. Good thing they live in California, I guess.

Don has now told at least two lovers (Fay and Megan) the truth and faced no consequences.

I don't think we're ever going back to the Outing Don Draper storyline, at least not with the "if one person finds out, that's it for Don" angle. Lots of people already know. The man is giving interviews to the Wall Street Journal and taking publicity photos. Some staff sergeant in Vietnam is not going to ruin Don's life at this point.
posted by Sara C. at 11:46 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


My guess for the lighter is that it's going to be returned with a note that Dinkins is dead.
posted by Sara C. at 11:48 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


9:15: MORNING CALISTHENICS

In a year or two this will be replaced with a 9:15 yoga class at Integral Yoga, the guru of which will be coming to America to lead meditation practice at Woodstock next summer.

There are dozens of Jane Sterlings still taking yoga at Integral to this day. It's one of my favorite things about New York.
posted by Sara C. at 11:52 PM on April 8, 2013


Though Wikipedia tells me that Satchidananda was already in New York as of '66, so maybe she already knows him.
posted by Sara C. at 11:56 PM on April 8, 2013


The thing about Draper/Whitman is that this is the 1960s, right. There were no biometric databases, No Facebook, They didn't even have computers. I don't even know if they had credit reports. And Don has lived for DECADES without anyone from Don's old life except Anna seeking him.
posted by delmoi at 11:58 PM on April 8, 2013


I kinda do the morning calisthenics already
posted by The Whelk at 11:59 PM on April 8, 2013


Integral Yoga : man this is amazing. Laura “Lakshmi” Warfield. Bhudhara Hari (Bruce) Kerner. Brigitte (Bala) Arlé. Saraswati (Jenny).

No Ashram Name? No Teaching Job!

A redshirts episode of Madmen would be genius. It would also probably be a great episode in a mediocre season 8 after Weiner had passed off show-running duties.

Elsa your contributions have been great. Crossed wires do happen.
posted by stratastar at 12:22 AM on April 9, 2013


Eh, I took yoga for a long time at Integral and had instructors with all kinds of names. But yeah. Integral is probably the closest you can get to Hari Krishna without actually being in a cult.

If you're ever in New York you should check out a class, or if you're not up for it, try to go to their Friday night Kirtan sessions. Trippy as hell.
posted by Sara C. at 12:33 AM on April 9, 2013


I feel like I got the best Mad Men ending when watching Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Everyone gets horrible battleship grey British solutions to their romantic problems!
posted by The Whelk at 12:41 AM on April 9, 2013


I should put together some kind of Places To Go In New York If You Want To Feel Like A Mad Men Character thing.
posted by Sara C. at 12:41 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well number one is the Oyster Bar. I know cause I put Steve Rogers and Tony Stark there and it was good.
posted by The Whelk at 12:44 AM on April 9, 2013


Sara C.: "If you're ever in New York you should check out a class, or if you're not up for it, try to go to their Friday night Kirtan sessions. Trippy as hell."

Oh, I'm down.
posted by stratastar at 12:56 AM on April 9, 2013


The thing about Draper/Whitman is that this is the 1960s, right. There were no biometric databases, No Facebook, They didn't even have computers.

This reminds me: if Roger's daughter is to be believed, the wave of the future is... refrigeration?
posted by scody at 12:57 AM on April 9, 2013


Refrigerated trucks no less.
posted by delmoi at 5:27 AM on April 9, 2013


This reminds me: if Roger's daughter is to be believed, the wave of the future is... refrigeration?

I'm kind of curious where they're going with that, if only because a major character in the book East of Eden *spoiler* lost a ton of money on train refrigeration. That was near World War I though.

Refrigerated Trucks are a huge industry now, but how long have they been successful?
posted by drezdn at 5:41 AM on April 9, 2013


I don't think we're ever going back to the Outing Don Draper storyline, at least not with the "if one person finds out, that's it for Don" angle. Lots of people already know.

I agree. Sooooo many people know know: Pete Campbell, Burt Cooper, Betty, Pete's friend Russ (who works for the NSA? State Dept? and has checked on Donald Draper at least twice for Pete), Dr. Faye Miller, Megan. Maybe Anna's family; they all know him as Dick, not Don, but I don't know how much of the truth they know. I can't remember, is there anyone else?

Even the waitress he picked up in his S4 blackout knows him as Dick. And she's a perfect example, actually: someone he'll almost certainly never see again who knows just enough about his secret to make him uncomfortable --- not because of her knowledge, but because of his indiscretion.

As I said above, I think that the show won't have Don's identity revealed by an external source. Don has to blow up his own life. It's more dramatically interesting if Don resolves the problem on his own initiative, or lives with it constantly simmering under him and adding pressure. (Though that seems less likely, doesn't it?)
posted by Elsa at 5:49 AM on April 9, 2013


Has there been enough returning of lost objects for us to say it's a motif? It's just the lighter and the wallet so far, right?

Does the shoebox full of Dick Whitman photos count? It wasn't "lost," precisely: Adam sent it to Don, but Pete intercepted it upon delivery. Pete took it home, where Trudy discovered it. He then handed it over to Don, who took it home, where Betty discovered it.

And there's the Clio that Don lost while he was building up to his S4 blackout. He asks Miss Blankenship to call the bar (I think, The Pen & Pencil) about it. It's returned, because Alison throws it into a glass frame when she storms out. Megan repairs it, and they start chatting, which leads to them making love.

And then there are the lost objects that don't get returned. Just for a start, that would include: Shelley's wings, which Don gives to Sally when she discovers them in his luggage; the photo that Lane takes from the lost wallet before returning it; Ken's lighter that he leaves at Sal's after dinner, and which Sal enjoys using.
posted by Elsa at 6:09 AM on April 9, 2013


Also, there was that time in season 3 or 4 (I think?) that he bumped up against a security clearance if he wanted to work with the aerospace industry.

But that was only because his secretary filed out the forms and sent it off without telling Don. Had Don himself filed out the from, he certainly would have avoided suspicion there.

As I said above, I think that the show won't have Don's identity revealed by an external source. Don has to blow up his own life. It's more dramatically interesting if Don resolves the problem on his own initiative, or lives with it constantly simmering under him and adding pressure. (Though that seems less likely, doesn't it?)

I know the dramatic arc of the show has been a slow unraveling of the central tenet of Draperism- this never happened. But I really hope the show doesn't go all the way in the opposite direction of fatalism, of every single chicken inevitably coming home to roost. I just don't buy (or just don't want) the show's upshot is going to be "you should have stayed the orphan of a whore and a drunk".

I don't think Don Draper will be destroyed from within or from without. Self-creation was scorned by his mainline peers and by the Hooverish times he lives in, but is will be celebrated a few decades hence. At some point Don Draper will become more than a mask for Dick Whitman; just not sure what.
posted by spaltavian at 6:17 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just don't buy (or just don't want) the show's upshot is going to be "you should have stayed the orphan of a whore and a drunk".

I agree with you. But there's some middle ground between "Don keeps his secret forever" and "Don ruins his life and goes to jail." I don't mean that he will actually destroy his life. I was using the phrase "blow up his life" the way Roger did in a conversation with Mona; he says that he's been wondering if falling for Jane was "just an excuse to blow up my life."

Don seems to think his identity problem is unresolvable, but it isn't. As Faye points out when he confesses his secret, "You were a kid," and Don still thinks about his impersonation the way a panicky, powerless young man might, not the way a privileged, moneyed, worldly man could. He doesn't listen to her very reasonable advice: get a lawyer, at least find out what consequences there might be. Don prefers to repress and ignore it, as he has from the beginning of this masquerade.

Don tells Pete "It's desertion. There is no statute of limitations." But I think the tagline from the Glo-Coat ad isn't an accident: [emphasis mine, obviously] "Footprints on a wet floor? That's no longer a hanging offense!" It highlights Don's preoccupation with the worst possible punishment for his identity switch and desertion, but also undercuts it by pointing out what a lawyer would tell Don: it's not treason, it's not a capital offense, there were extenuating circumstances. At least one could make the case that there were; he had just been injured and watched the only other soldier in his isolated camp die horribly, and he probably had what we now call PTSD. This is a legal problem that a good lawyer could sort out for him, if Don dared to discuss it with one.

If Don can overcome his eternal inertia, if he can interrupt his soul-killing habit of repressing his terror and self-loathing and for once look his trouble straight on, he might be able to fix this mess without ruining his life.

This secret at the core of his life is like that hot tooth from the end of S5: he wants to ignore it. "It'll go away, it always does," Don says to everyone who asks about his toothache. But, as the dentist tells him, it won't go away. It will only get worse. "You almost lost your jaw," the dentist tells him. "I'm gonna do you a favor and take it out, but it's not the tooth that's rotten," the specter of Adam tells Don.

It's not the tooth that's rotten: it's Don's life, built on lies that he can't even stand to look at. It's Don's heart, which was stunted by a childhood of misery. He needs to learn to look at himself and face his problems, and if he does, maybe he can eventually find true joy and meaning in the world, instead of desperately grasping at evanescent pleasures of the moment.

It's only by addressing our problems that we can overcome them, and Don needs to address this rottenness eating away inside himself before he loses everything.
posted by Elsa at 6:54 AM on April 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


I just don't buy (or just don't want) the show's upshot is going to be "you should have stayed the orphan of a whore and a drunk".

Right, that's what we have Downton Abbey for!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:20 AM on April 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


I just thought there was a very deliberate "uh... WHUT" moment between Dawn and Dr. Rosen that I don't think we can chalk up to "Wait, Don has friends?"

I also had a sense of the "uh WHUT" moment and there are some good possible explanations here. My first thought was that it also had to do with location. She might have been just a bit surprised to find Don with a friend who didn't have an appointment in Don's office. But looking for Don, someone says "I saw him heading to the storage closet," she goes over there and here's this random guy. Can she still talk to Don freely about business? If he has a friend over, what are they doing here? Maybe with a touch of "what are we just giving out cameras to anyone now?" She is probably aware that they are very expensive cameras (an M2 would have cost over $2,000).

As an aside, if Don gave the doctor a Leica M2 it would not be "the best one". The M2 was produced as a lower cost alternative to the M3. Both of these started production in the 1950s. 1967 was the last year for the M3 and production on the M2 stopped in 1968. The successor to both of these, the M4, started production in 1967 and would have been the best one to give the doctor (and I would think the one they were working up an ad campaign for). Also, I hope Rosen picked up a lens for the camera before gifting it to his wife.

Here's a picture of the M2 box; here's an advertisement for the M4.

I think Rosen already knows Don and his wife are fooling around.

Finally, I would love nothing more for it to be revealed that Bert Cooper has been scheming some grand scheme this entire time while he has tricked everyone into thinking he just wanders around and reads newspapers.
posted by mikepop at 7:26 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is a legal problem that a good lawyer could sort out for him, if Don dared to discuss it with one.

Don't all those solutions mean becoming Dick Whitman again? Isn't that what Don's afraid of? He doesn't just want the stuff that Draper has, he wants Dick Whitman to not exist.
posted by spaltavian at 7:40 AM on April 9, 2013


He doesn't just want the stuff that Draper has, he wants Dick Whitman to not exist.

I don't know if facing up to his impersonation means eschewing the name of Donald Draper, or whether Don could legally change his name to Donald Draper, or what. But that brings up two points:

Once the legal problems are resolved (and I don't know how complex they are; was "identity theft" a prosecutable offense in the 1960s? It must have been, right?), Don could reinvent himself again if necessary, but this time without the constant fear of being caught.

Don believes in re-invention: when Pete discovers his secret, Don turns to Rachel Menken and suggests they run away together, start over. He tells Sterling and Cooper that, if he ever leaves Sterling Cooper, it won't be for another job in advertising. He advises Lane to buck up and move on from the discovery of his crime. When Lane asks what he could tell his wife and son, Don evenly replies "Tell them the next thing will be better, because it always is."

When Roger's old flame brings her flagging dog-food account to SC, Don tells her she has to change the name. "The name is poisoned," he tells her, and "I'm not saying a new name is easy to find. And we will give you a lot of options. But it's a label on a can. And it will be true because it will promise the quality of the product that's inside."

And that's all "Donald Draper" is to Dick Whitman: a label he appropriated to get out of a terrible situation. He uses Draper's name and birthday (but not year) and Social Security number (to get a driver's license, which appears to be how Anna found him), but everything else is Dick Whitman in another label. Don relies on his own talent and drive. Inside, he's still himself.

If he moves on from advertising, another name would do just as well. And he's said several times that he wants to get out of advertising. If he stays in advertising, he'll be notorious, but he already is to some extent: his full-page letter attacking tobacco companies made him notorious as someone who bit the hand that fed his company for decades. And still the company is becoming more and more successful.

So if he could just put behind him this gnawing fear of being caught, Don could (if necessary) re-invent himself and live his life with confidence, either in the advertising world or elsewhere.

But the more important point: if he's ever going to be happy, Don needs to find a way to live with the fact that he is Dick Whitman. He needs to get over the shame and self-loathing and fear that was instilled in him during his grindingly miserable childhood.

The question is, does the show allow Don to change that much? Matt Weiner has said over and over again that people don't change, but (as I argued here) Don is struggling to change some pretty basic aspects of himself and the way he relates to others. Can he change the this fundamental unhappiness at the core of his life? I don't know, and I can hardly wait to find out --- even though that will mean the show is over.
posted by Elsa at 8:05 AM on April 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Honestly, I think Don struggling to change is part of his static character. He's always been interested in evolution as a sort of philosophic principle (which is why he's been okay hanging out with beatniks and hippies), I don't know that he ever actually achieves change at all.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:11 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't know that he ever actually achieves change at all.

Well, that would certainly be congruent with what Weiner says about Don, and about the show's characters in general: that people don't really change.

[not really a SPOILER for "The Sopranos"] It's also how he wrapped up "The Sopranos" [or helped to], with the central characters still enmeshed in their lifelong patterns and repeating behaviors they've sworn to extinguish.
posted by Elsa at 8:14 AM on April 9, 2013


But I think there's some room for growth and development in these characters even without fundamentally changing their own behaviors. With work and wit, they can master those tendencies and employ them to greater gain and maybe happiness.

Joan, for example: she's always used her beauty and charm and (to a lesser extent) access to her body for her own gain, whether it's the mink cape Roger gave her early in their relationship or the night that she took her depressed (and secretly infatuated) roommate Carol out to "find some actual bachelors and empty their wallets." The man she ends up with after that outing is plain-looking, condescending, and has a tedious sense of humor --- a long way from handsome Roger's wit and easy charm. But Joan settles for him because he meets her needs that night.

She knows how to use her beauty to navigate trouble in the office, too; when Joey harasses her and makes work unpleasant, she tells Peggy that "One dinner with Mr. Kruetzer from Sugarberry Ham [the client] and Joey would've been off the account and out of my hair."

So it's not that surprising, in retrospect, that she accepts the partners' offer to spend an evening with that loathsome Jaguar rep in exchange for financial independence. To draw a direct line between the gifts Joan accepted from suitors and the prize she claims after the Jaguar "date," the Jaguar episode shows Joan arriving at the hotel room wearing the fur Roger gave her in that flashback to their long-ago hotel-room meeting --- the fur that a hustling salesman named Don Draper sold to Roger and had delivered along with his scanty portfolio.

It's an extension of a strategy she's been tacitly employing for years when it suited her, but Joan is finally valuing herself highly enough. She understands that with this one high-stakes move, so familiar from the small-stakes game she's been playing for years, she can leverage her beauty and desirability to provide not just treats or furs or baubles, and not just the money they initially offer, but a chance for much greater power and the position of authority that she deserves. (Whether that will allow her to be happy, or even secure, we'll see as S6 continues.)

And there's probably a way for Don to similarly master his own familiar strategies to provide himself a sense of security and peace. We know he can handle the lateral thinking it would involve, because we saw him do it with the tobacco letter in "Blowing Smoke." He used a familiar strategy (the sales pitch, the all-out advertising campaign that "changes the conversation") to re-brand the company. Maybe Don can find a way to make his old familiar patterns work for him instead of against him.
posted by Elsa at 8:50 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


the wave of the future is... refrigeration?

My immediate thought was the scene in The Graduate where someone takes him aside and tells him the wave of the future is plastics.

Both of them are kind of true, but I don't know how actionable advice like that would have been in the late 60's. My assumption has always been that "you should get into X, it's the wave of the future" stuff is mostly small talk for parties, not something to actually ask your father for money to do.

It also seems a little low-rent for Sterling's daughter. I get that her husband doesn't have as much money, but the guy's name is Brooks. They named their child Ellory, for chrissakes. He's high WASP just like her. "Didn't have the start you had" means "his daddy didn't leave him an ad agency", not "he grew up in a shack."

I have some acquaintances back home in Louisiana who made money in trucking, developing refrigerated truck technology, or solving problems related to how to make refrigerated trucking possible. None of them are crazy beyond your wildest dreams king of Park Avenue rich. It seems like kind of a "new money" thing to get involved in, at least from the perspective of the Upper East Side.

So I don't know that investing in refrigeration is the boost they think it's going to be.

That said, yeah, there was a HUGE boom in this sort of thing. I assumed it started before the late 60's, though. I mean, didn't that start with the evolution of the supermarket, suburbia, the highway system, etc in the 40's/50's? Maybe those pieces of the puzzle were already in place, it was just the refrigeration technology that was new?
posted by Sara C. at 9:55 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don has to blow up his own life. It's more dramatically interesting if Don resolves the problem on his own initiative, or lives with it constantly simmering under him and adding pressure.

I have enough family secrets that all seem to come out of this particular generation, and which are STILL talked about in hushed tones 50+ years later, to think that most likely it will just be something Don lives with.

In 1993, Anna's cute surfer girl niece shows up at Thanksgiving, Sally's kids ask "Why does that lady keep calling Grandpa Dick? I thought you said his name was Don?", and they get a hushed-tones update about how Grandpa used to have a different name but we don't talk about it and it has something to do with the war. At least, that's how this would play in my family.

Then again, this is a TV show, so I guess it could somehow all blow up in his face, simply because dramatic things happen to people with big secrets on TV shows. But it really doesn't feel like the show is going in that direction.

(If anything, I think the only way they return to it is by having Sally find out and get all "YOU'RE SUCH A PHONY MY LIFE IS A LIE I'M GOING TO BERKLEY AND THERES NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT")
posted by Sara C. at 10:04 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would really like to see Anna's niece again, actually. Maybe she's the one going to Woodstock.
posted by Sara C. at 10:34 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Elsa: "It's also how he wrapped up "The Sopranos" [or helped to], with the central characters still enmeshed in their lifelong patterns and repeating behaviors they've sworn to extinguish."

Now that's a pretty fascinating comparison given this interpretation of the Sopranos ending.

It's interesting that Megan introduces herself to her Minnesota fan as Megan Calvet, not Megan Draper.
posted by Dr. Zira at 12:05 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's interesting that Megan introduces herself to her Minnesota fan as Megan Calvet, not Megan Draper.

Yikes, I didn't even think about how Don would take that. (Which is to say, not well.)

She mentions using it as her stage name in S5, which makes a certain amount of sense, especially since the first role she lands is for Butler Footwear, an account with Don's agency. She even reassures him that they'll never know she's his wife. "I'll be Megan Calvet!" (Don reminds her that Cosgrove and Ginsberg, who know her, will be at the auditions. He doesn't say this, but do you suppose they would have felt comfortable rejecting the boss' wife?) And when we see her film test, her name in the chalkboard clapper reads "Megan Calvet."

But yeeeeah, that's one more thing that probably undermines any sense of security Don once felt with Megan. A healthy 1960s spouse with good self-esteem probably wouldn't find Megan using her birth name as her stage name alienating or threatening, but Don isn't a healthy spouse with good self-esteem.
posted by Elsa at 12:24 PM on April 9, 2013


I don't think it would be all that threatening, since the 60's is still the era of the stage name and anything French sounding sophisticated.

Though I do think it's a signal that Don's marriage to Megan is fundamentally different from Don's marriage to Betty, but every single aspect of their lives together signals that -- you don't really have to read the tea leaves there.
posted by Sara C. at 12:34 PM on April 9, 2013



I would really like to see Anna's niece again, actually. Maybe she's the one going to Woodstock.


Oh me too. I feel like she's one of the few characters I'd want to hang with. We'd bake or something. Also I wouldn't hate it if she went to Woodstock. It would be a stretch though, since she's at Berkeley.

you don't really have to read the tea leaves

Nice one.
posted by sweetkid at 1:25 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


It would be a stretch though, since she's at Berkeley.

Well, she was at Berkeley, 2-3 years ago. Then again I think it's pretty unlikely that someone like her would go all the way to New York for a rock concert, unless she's working in the music industry now.
posted by Sara C. at 1:45 PM on April 9, 2013


I finally saw the episode last night, and am just now reading through all the comments tonight. It's been super fun to see what you all wrote up to the premier, now knowing what happens, and then getting to also read what you all thought of it afterwards. This has been the best thread.

That episode was fairly mindblowing, imho. It was so nuanced and morbid and foreshadowing. And at the same time, completely not subtle, fantastical and the inverse of foreshadowing (history repeating?).

The opening scene was so much like a Breaking Bad open, I couldn't believe it. It seemed like a flashfoward, with that object perspective...then a harsh cut to smiling faces and greetings. Like it never happened. And then you didn't know if it actually did until so much later, when Don was drunk out of his gourd and badgering the doorman about what it felt like to die. Until that point I literally thought that Don imagined the whole scene as an extension of his fall from "heaven", i.e., the return home, to his grounded, dreary existence.

"His" lighter is so coming back to him, and that is sad for what that means.

That Betty left the violin, and is no longer blonde are both events that are so incredibly telling for the character and the show.

Megan is going to lose her shit when she finds out about Don cheating on her. Don better be walking behind her down the stairs because the soap's about to get real.

Abe will go to Woodstock and Peggy will stay with her career. And Stan.

I got the impression that Sterling's daughter was secretly hoping Roger would gift her the heirloom wedding ring. She got the jar of water instead, which was touching, but she still left it on the couch. The financial investment was her settling for the best she could get in lieu of the ring.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:21 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Betty leaving the violin was so Betty and yet not Betty. It was great.
posted by sweetkid at 2:24 PM on April 9, 2013


Well, she was at Berkeley, 2-3 years ago. Then again I think it's pretty unlikely that someone like her would go all the way to New York for a rock concert, unless she's working in the music industry now.

Yeah she just doesn't seem like she'd leave California. She like matches the background there. She's so sunny and sweet and laid back. She needs to stay far from the Mad Men world.
posted by sweetkid at 2:25 PM on April 9, 2013


Betty leaving the violin was so Betty and yet not Betty. It was great.
Well, what was she supposed to do with it? She can't just show up back at home with the violin - leaving it there made practical sense, unless she was going to tell everyone what happened to the girl. Which I guess would actually have been a reasonable thing to do.
posted by delmoi at 3:57 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know it was played in a way to imply it was the doorman Rosen was saving, but does anyone else think we were actually seeing a foreshadowing of Don's future in the opening CPR scene? For me, it was the camera angle, looking up from the floor at Rosen giving CPR.

And, speaking of camera angles, I thought the shot of Joan on the stairs from the cameraman's lower vantage was pretty...gratuitous. It was just these enormous purple-clad boobs with this little face peeking over the top.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:11 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that staircase scene is foreshadowing a tough road ahead for Joan. The way the camera guy spoke to her was so patronizing and demeaning ("stand there, doll, and think important thoughts"). She wants to be treated with the same dignity and respect as the other partners, and it's clear that she's not going to get that in the backwards good ol' boy system that is SADP, especially since the partners know what the deal was.
It makes me glad Peggy got out into a more progressive firm where Ted's going to give her the respect she's earned.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:23 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know it was played in a way to imply it was the doorman Rosen was saving, but does anyone else think we were actually seeing a foreshadowing of Don's future in the opening CPR scene? For me, it was the camera angle, looking up from the floor at Rosen giving CPR.

Honestly I thought the whole point of that was to show how Jonesy sees a literal light[fixture], but later when he tells Don he saw a light, Don takes it as a religious thing.

Rewatching it now. Some thoughts: they're really emphasizing Sylvia's Catholicism. She crosses herself when Jonesy falls; Don says he shouldn't say Merry Christmas to Rosen, and Rosen says to "save it for Sylvia."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:22 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


On rewatch, I think Dawn's weirdness in because she thinks she screwed up. And what we're shown of her in this episode shows her to be the perfect secretary. Really really good at what she does, thoughtful, accommodating.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:51 PM on April 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I know it was played in a way to imply it was the doorman Rosen was saving, but does anyone else think we were actually seeing a foreshadowing of Don's future in the opening CPR scene? For me, it was the camera angle, looking up from the floor at Rosen giving CPR.

So this opening and subsequent flashback is very interesting to me - the way it's shot and the way it's cut together. I think it's another death allusion, which the premiere was filled with.

The "is it Don question" is resolved later with a weirdly edited flashback - Don & Megan are returning from Hawaii, then all of a sudden it's weeks (months?) earlier and the Doctor & his wife are trailing Don and Megan when the doorman passes out. Maybe this is the first time Don & Megan met the doctor and his wife? In any case, it's so seamlessly cut together - that it's very jarring one we're back in the "present" and the doorman is doing okay and Don asks him what he saw.

I never got the light reference (he saw a literal light, Don thought it was spiritual) but that works for me.
posted by crossoverman at 6:53 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I agree that Dawn is awesome MORE DAWN PLS.
Dawn has read Message to Garcia thirty seven times and will not bat an eye if you ask her to return a random object to some random dude with only the sketchiest of information. She's the perfect secretary for Don.

I desperately want to discover that she's living a secret life as a "fixer." for Bert Cooper.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:14 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that staircase scene is foreshadowing a tough road ahead for Joan. The way the camera guy spoke to her was so patronizing and demeaning ("stand there, doll, and think important thoughts"). She wants to be treated with the same dignity and respect as the other partners

Interesting to note, too, that little moment when Harry Crane marches past her up the stairs, impatient with all the photo taking.

It was working with Harry that made Joan realize she wanted more than Head Secretary, or little housewife.

Now Joan is partner, and Harry isn't. That's got to kill him.
posted by Sara C. at 8:04 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


She crosses herself when Jonesy falls; Don says he shouldn't say Merry Christmas to Rosen, and Rosen says to "save it for Sylvia."

She's also wearing a cross at the New Years Eve party, and there's a crucifix on the wall and I think also a plaster saint in the bedroom where she and Don have sex.
posted by Sara C. at 8:15 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


FWIW:

My wife and I ate our 15th anniversary dinner at La Mer in Honolulu, overlooking (I think) the stage seen in the opening sequence, and watched a bright white meteor slide down the sky over Diamond Head after the sun had set. It was pretty alright.

PFC Dinkins was clearly cast to resemble a young Roger.

My wife, who has a history of forecasting plot developments on sketchy evidence, says Dinkins will die in 'Nam and the lighter he has, with Lt. Draper's name and rank on it, will lead to complications.

Did St. Mark's ever really look like a set for La Boheme? I suppose it must have. Viv forecasts Betty boinkage with Grok the Hippy King.
posted by mwhybark at 11:33 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dinkins will die in 'Nam and the lighter he has, with Lt. Draper's name and rank on it, will lead to complications.

Surely complications only arise if the name on the lighter is Dick Whitman, right?
posted by crossoverman at 11:47 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seems like they could happen either way. If they try to give the lighter back do someone in Don's real family, for example (like his parents).
posted by delmoi at 1:59 AM on April 10, 2013


Just occurred to me how much reference there was to staircases, elevators, heaven and death, going up/down, being on the right floor, etc. in this episode. Neat.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:32 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


"The Jumping Off Point"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:09 AM on April 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


The first Mad Style of the season!
posted by rewil at 8:33 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay it's been confirmed via Mad Style that I own an exact replica of Pete's outfit in that office scene.

*sppoky twilight zone music*
posted by The Whelk at 8:50 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]



It was working with Harry that made Joan realize she wanted more than Head Secretary, or little housewife.


I admit that I've never been a big Joan fan. Not that I don't want her on the show, but I've never really been drawn to her inner life or motivations like I have other people on the show. Which I know is the exact opposite of every other person who watches this show.

I'd like to see her struggle a bit with her new responsibilities this season though. Hopefully as partner in 1968 she can't just wiggle her way through a client dinner to be successful. It would be interesting to see her need to change tactics a bit.
posted by sweetkid at 9:12 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Overnight question: Don has a closet full of just-obsolescent Leicas that he's comfortable giving away, but Megan gets a Kodak Instamatic 100?
posted by mwhybark at 9:24 AM on April 10, 2013


Did Joan ever wiggle her way through stuff? I think in a lot of ways what she's good at is reading men and being what they need to be (even more than Megan). She seemed very regal in her one scene, like the queen of that office. I'm curious to see what she does with that power.

T&L said that Henry's outfit wasn't notable in the Christmas scene, but both he and Sally were in blue. The cut directly to Henry's lack of reaction to Sally calling her mother "Betty"--and the later scene of him telling her to ask her mother about the party--suggested to me a pretty friendly, comfortable relationship. Funny, to think that Sally has had conflicts with Betty and with Gma Francis, even with Megan, but with the men in her life--Don, Henry, Glenn, she's mostly an ally or a friend.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:29 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


but Megan gets a Kodak Instamatic 100?

That's the camera my parents used in the 80s.
posted by drezdn at 9:56 AM on April 10, 2013


I think Dawn's weirdness in because she thinks she screwed up.

That's what I thought too. Dawn is the super-competent person who never lets anything slip through the cracks, and for a brief moment she thought she might have made a slip-up. So she was initially anxious about a perceived mistake, and then kind of surprised at the explanation, because again, Don doesn't have friends over to the office.
posted by ambrosia at 9:57 AM on April 10, 2013


Don has a closet full of just-obsolescent Leicas that he's comfortable giving away, but Megan gets a Kodak Instamatic 100?

Right tool for the right job. Megan hasn't shown any interest in high-level photography so she probably would have preferred the Instamatic to the Leica.
posted by mikepop at 10:04 AM on April 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think in a lot of ways what she's good at is reading men and being what they need to be (even more than Megan). She seemed very regal in her one scene, like the queen of that office. I'm curious to see what she does with that power.

Joan is SO powerful, and of course not just through her beauty or her ability to influence men.

She's incredibly competent at so many things! When she briefly read scripts for Harry, she was savvy at IDing plot developments that would boost ratings, allowing the client to stay locked in at a lower advertising rate while reaching a larger audience. And she was so deft in handling those clients, too, while making it look like Harry was the deft one. And remember when Peggy was looking for a roommate? Joan airily tossed off a cheerful, evocative ad that Peggy, a professional copywriter, scrambled to jot down*. She's good at so much, and she deserves every ounce of success she can accumulate.

Joan has deserved greater responsibility and more of an interest in the business for a long time. It's a shame if the male partners think she was only instrumental in landing Jaguar, because Joan appears to have been instrumental in the success of that agency since it was founded. Heck, since before it was founded: the best day's work we ever see Roger do is in S4 "Shut the Door, Have a Seat," when he calls in Joan (currently between jobs, and he knows it) to help them collect all the records they need to start the new agency; she knows exactly how the day-to-day business runs.

*The flip side of that: Joan can be bitingly, precisely cruel without ever being quiiiiite openly objectionable. When she meets Sheila, Paul's African-American girlfriend, Joan says "When Paul and I were together, the last thing I would have taken him for was open-minded." Look at how much hostility she packed into that little remark:

1. I've noticed your race, and nothing else about you.
2. Your race matters to me, and I'm implying that it matters to your boyfriend.
3. Whom I used to bang.

Vicious, precise, and totally gratuitous.

posted by Elsa at 6:07 PM on April 10, 2013 [15 favorites]


Then again I liked how in Season 5 the show could surprise me by bring TOTALLY MESSED UP and doing lots of crazy structural things that CAME FROM NOWHERE AND ATTACKED OUR CHARACTERS LIKE RAVENOUS BIRDS.

And sometimes they weren't even structural things, just random moments punctuating the action. Remember Megan's last day at SCDP? Don kissed her goodbye, called the elevator for himself, and was suddenly looking down into the dark, gaping elevator shaft. AAAAAH, what a moment. I burst out sobbing in horror and sorrow and scared the hell out of my husband, actually.

And that's a great example of the way "Mad Men" balances object as plot point versus object as metaphor. I was half-afraid that elevator was going to malfunction later in the season and KERSMASH some secondary or tertiary character, but the writers know that it's more ominous and potent hanging in the background of that season, a constant reminder of the dread lurking behind so much of the story.
posted by Elsa at 7:31 PM on April 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Elsa, please tell me you are writing about this somewhere else where you can get attention and eyeballs and clickthroughs and gratitude? Because your comments in this thread have been insightful and delightful and simply marvelous. I'd read your recaps and explications every week. Just point me where.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:39 PM on April 10, 2013 [16 favorites]


Sal is sadly never coming back, the actor is all but retired.

Really? Dude's got no less than five movies coming out this year.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:09 PM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


fiercecupcake, what a compliment! I haven't written much about "Mad Men." Um, not until this thread, but I think I might have to start. Putting these thoughts down in writing, complete with textual examples and references, has been very satisfying, and hearing other people's thoughts and different interpretations of the same events is even better.

I do have a blog (listed in my profile) and I do sometimes write about TV and movies there, though usually in short form. If and when I end up writing more about "Mad Men," that's where I'll post it. Most of my movie and TV writing is thumbnail reviews for the weekly newsletter (paper and online [not a self-link, but, y'know, a husband-of-self-link]) that my husband edits for the Local Supercool Indie Videostore where he works.

I keep looking for somewhere online to have in-depth conversations like this with a similarly intelligent, diverse, and (above all) civil group of interested viewers. I don't think Metafilter wants or needs to have a "Mad Men" thread for each episode, but I dearly wish I could find somewhere with this level of discussion to participate weekly.

By the way, anyone who's interested in "Mad Men" subtext should check out Tom & Lorenzo's Mad Style entries. The analysis connecting Janie Bryant's costuming choices to narratives, characters, and themes is stunning. OH GOLLY, they've posted "The Doorway, Pt 1." I know what I'll be reading twice tonight.
posted by Elsa at 8:12 PM on April 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Overnight question: Don has a closet full of just-obsolescent Leicas that he's comfortable giving away, but Megan gets a Kodak Instamatic 100?
Heh, I remember going back and looking at some of the early scenes again and stumbling across that, and then checking closely to see if she had a Leica. There's obviously a simple practical explanation, that a Leica would have been hard to use and so Don gives Megan the Instamatic.

But given all the symbolism the show is infused with you have to wonder if it didn't mean something, like for his wife a cheaper, simpler, easier to use camera and to the doctor a complex difficult to use device.

It seems like a deliberate choice the writers made, it would have been easy and cute to re-use the same camera, and it would even mean they'd need fewer vintage props. I think viewers would have bought Megan using the Leica given how even high-end DSLRs have an 'easy' mode these days. Was it just a nod to authenticity/realism only a few people would notice or was it a symbolic example of don not taking his wife as seriously as he should, not anticipating complexity from her he might find in a friendship with a guy who's wife he's banging?

The interesting/fun thing about literary analysis of course is you can find all kind of things that the author didn't actually think about putting in there, there's never any way to 'prove' things one way or another.

In fact now that I think about it... dude what if Rosen turns out to be gay and ends up with a crush on Draper? There certainly was enough foreshadowing of that... The oddly sexual vibe, graphic discussion of gay sex at the fondue party, the "stop flirting" line as they literally head into the closet. (Even going through the 'back door' to meet his wife (not sure about that but I think these apartments do have back/service entrances))

Anyway, like I said you can look come up with all kinds of theories and no way to ever really know what's intentional and what's not, unless a future episode proves or disproves your point.
posted by delmoi at 9:46 PM on April 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Elsa: " I don't think Metafilter wants or needs to have a "Mad Men" thread for each episode, but I dearly wish I could find somewhere with this level of discussion to participate weekly. "

Heh, you'll be surprised to find out that we find threads to make it happen.

Delmoi, my operational theory is that Rosen *knows,* and doesn't care. So the flirtation was as much each character checking each other out for reasons he believes the other doesn't know. But who knows.
posted by stratastar at 12:56 AM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


If Mad Men's "The Doorway" took place on Facebook...
posted by crossoverman at 4:58 AM on April 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's obviously a simple practical explanation, that a Leica would have been hard to use and so Don gives Megan the Instamatic.

The other explanation is that Megan picked out and bought this camera for herself (even possibly pre-Don).
posted by mikepop at 4:59 AM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Really? Dude's got no less than five movies coming out this year.

Huh, I guess owning that store didn't pan out.
posted by The Whelk at 7:29 AM on April 11, 2013


FWIW, when Dawn tells Don that the photographers are ready for him, Rosen offers to do it instead, and Don suggests that he'll need a couple of weeks with the manual first. Maybe the implication is that Meghan isn't willing to put in the effort to try?
posted by peppermind at 12:40 PM on April 11, 2013


One thing Tom and Lorenzo pointed out that I hadn't noticed-- Ted Chaough might be attracted to Peggy. Run, Peggy, run!
posted by drezdn at 12:46 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]




One thing Tom and Lorenzo pointed out that I hadn't noticed-- Ted Chaough might be attracted to Peggy. Run, Peggy, run!


I definitely caught that vibe. And Peggy makes terrible romantic decisions. I can see the AskMe now...
posted by sweetkid at 12:47 PM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


But given all the symbolism the show is infused with you have to wonder if it didn't mean something, like for his wife a cheaper, simpler, easier to use camera and to the doctor a complex difficult to use device.

I like how it works both as practical reality and as something deeper. Sure, Megan would probably want a small point-n-shoot that she could throw in her suitcase, toss into a pocket, or (to be saucy) tuck into the hip of her bikini bottom where she carries money and weed.

But I love how Don giving Dr. Rosen a flashier, splashier camera than Megan has also resonates as something bigger. There are so many possible interpretations of this small imbalance: that Don doesn't offer Megan the best of himself; that Don isn't taking Megan seriously; that he feels he's given her enough already and has started withholding; that he wants to turn his generous impulses elsewhere; that he doesn't think she could master the camera, since he tells Dr. Rosen "You're going to need a couple of weeks" to learn how to use it. And that's just a start: there are probably as many interpretations of the camera disparity as there are viewers thinking about it.

Portentous phrasing: Rosen asks "And which [camera] model will change my life?" Yikes. [Don replies "Like everyone else, I only know about the price."]

Almost immediately, I started crushing on Rosen, who appears to be brilliant, modest, funny, genial, philosophical, and all-around delightful. But that means nothing: this show is impossibly adept at turning characters I adore into characters I loathe, and vice versa. In the first season, I thought Harry Crane was sweet and sympathetic, but on reflection I can see that his chiseling, chivying personality --- the guy who is always trying to figure out how much he can get away with --- was always lurking underneath him and it only took a small taste of power to bring it to the forefront.
posted by Elsa at 12:49 PM on April 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


One thing Tom and Lorenzo pointed out that I hadn't noticed-- Ted Chaough might be attracted to Peggy. Run, Peggy, run!

He's been flirting with Peggy since S5. At their interview in the shabby diner, he bowls her over, both with an immediate and lavish salary offer (higher than she requested) and with lots of compliments (which seems to be his employee-courting pattern, based on what he's previously said to Pete, but Peggy isn't accustomed to compliments from a boss).

Visibly flustered, she says "I think I need a milkshake!" He laughs and tells her that "Your first day ends with you and me at La Caravelle," a posh and romantic NYC restaurant of the period. He's definitely interested --- or at least wants to convey that he's interested in --- more than her professional acumen.
posted by Elsa at 12:57 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


[bolded emphasis added] In fact now that I think about it... dude what if Rosen turns out to be gay and ends up with a crush on Draper? There certainly was enough foreshadowing of that... The oddly sexual vibe, graphic discussion of gay sex at the fondue party, the "stop flirting" line as they literally head into the closet

In fact, Don and Arnold Rosen visit two closets together: the supply closet at the agency and the storage closet on the ground floor of their apartment building.

Just a note: while Don is in the SCDH closet getting the Leica, Dr. Rosen, apparently thinking himself unobserved, obviously and thoroughly checks out a passing secretary, even leaning slightly out into the hallway to get a better view of her as she walks away. The show has made a gesture to show his interest in the female form.

Of course, that doesn't mean he isn't also sexually interested in men, or even just in Don. It's also totally possible that the charged tension between Don and Arnold Rosen reflects the unstated sexual competition between them, or the hesitance and excitement each may feel at finding a companion so different from them, or a thousand other interpretations. And you make a compelling list!

If a person (rather than physical evidence like, say, a photograph from that generously given Leica or a stray cross necklace left on a bedstand) divulges Don & Sylvia's affair, my money's on the drunk blonde neighbor from the fondue party. She's openly interested in Don*, and if she finds out he's cheating with her more decorous, older, even somewhat matronly neighbor, she'll be jealous and offended.

*She and her husband are also my second pick for introducing swinging/key parties to the show, after Harry Crane. Harry has already made oblique reference to swinging back in the S5 premiere. At Don's surprise party, he explains Jennifer's absence with a breezy "She couldn't get a date!" just before he moves in on a group of Megan's Beautiful People.
posted by Elsa at 1:17 PM on April 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


even somewhat matronly neighbor

We must have different ideas about matrons.
posted by kenko at 2:11 PM on April 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


T&L said that Henry's outfit wasn't notable in the Christmas scene, but both he and Sally were in blue. The cut directly to Henry's lack of reaction to Sally calling her mother "Betty"--and the later scene of him telling her to ask her mother about the party--suggested to me a pretty friendly, comfortable relationship.

This is an interesting point. They're also both wearing elaborate colorworked sweaters with red details in that "ask your mother about the party" scene, too, aren't they?
posted by Sara C. at 2:18 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


We must have different ideas about matrons.

Oh, Sylvia is lovely --- and Don obviously agrees --- but her hair and clothes are not modern and fresh, they're traditional and matronly. From what we've seen of her, she dresses more or less like Mona does: in a conservative, upscale style with the trappings of wealth but not of youth.

And of course she is quite literally a matron: she has a grown child off at college. Being matronly doesn't mean she can't be sexy; it just means she's mature.

Hey, I'm mature and my husband thinks I'm a hottie. Because he has great taste.
posted by Elsa at 2:22 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Re the Leica vs. the Instamatic -- it really might just be that someone in the 60's who isn't a serious photographer probably wouldn't bring that much camera on a vacation to Hawaii. The show is usually very good about those details.

The era of everyone having a huge SLR, lenses, and sundry other equipment that they tote around all the time just to take pictures of cupcakes is extremely recent. Like, the past five years recent.

Smaller and easier would have been considered better in Megan's situation, and for all we know the Drapers have a Leica at home.

That said, I don't remember how the "I'll give you a camera" conversation went down in the episode. I don't think it was implied that Rosen is a serious photographer.

It just occurred to me, though, how many cameras show up in the season premiere. There's Megan's camera in Hawaii, which is called back to in the vacation slide show scene. There's Rosen coming to the office to pick up a freebie camera that Don offers him. Then there's the photographer shooting all over the SCDP offices throughout the episode. In fact, doesn't the photographer switch cameras in order to shoot Don in the moment before he realizes he has the wrong zippo?

There's the scene with Peggy and the film footage of the commercial shoot, as well, though I don't know that it's relevant (movie camera vs. still camera, the film itself vs. the camera).
posted by Sara C. at 2:32 PM on April 11, 2013


the storage closet on the ground floor...

That's probably not a storage closet but a basement. A lot of New York apartment buildings like the one Don & Megan live in have huge basement storage facilities that decidedly are NOT closets. It didn't read like a closet to me at all, aside from as a "place you store things".

That said, I think there's a shot of the open door and Dr. Rosen on skis outside, at ground level. Which could just be one of those mistakes you see over and over on shows that are set in New York and not actually shot there.

Dr. Rosen, apparently thinking himself unobserved, obviously and thoroughly checks out a passing secretary

Then again, go back to the first two seasons and watch everything Sal does around women, and in groups of men who are in the act of objectifying women. There's obviously a complicated calculus about self-consciously ogling women in order to pass as straight.

It's equally possible that Rosen realized "I'm in an office full of sexy secretaries, I better act like the red blooded All American Man they expect me to be..."

Not necessarily angling on Rosen being gay, though didn't someone change the subject in a conspicuous way at the New Year's Eve party? I got the sense that there was SOMEONE at that party who didn't want to talk about homosexuality. I forget who actually changed the subject, though.
posted by Sara C. at 2:41 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


It just occurred to me, though, how many cameras show up in the season premiere. There's Megan's camera in Hawaii, which is called back to in the vacation slide show scene. There's Rosen coming to the office to pick up a freebie camera that Don offers him. Then there's the photographer shooting all over the SCDP offices throughout the episode. In fact, doesn't the photographer switch cameras in order to shoot Don in the moment before he realizes he has the wrong zippo?

Yes to all of this. Megan's camera, Rosen's camera, the professional photographer all over the agency at important moments, Betty's snapshot of Sandy that she takes to St. Marks, Megan's slideshow on New Year's Eve.

I've actually been working on a blog post compiling all those references to cameras and extending it to a larger theme. If I get it done anytime soon, I'll post a link here in case anyone's interested in reading it.

That's probably not a storage closet but a basement.

If I remember rightly, they're rummaging through shelves in a larger storage area, but Rosen also searches in a separate closet off that larger area, echoing Don's entrance to the SCDH closet.
posted by Elsa at 2:46 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hm, good point about the storage closet inside the larger area.
posted by Sara C. at 2:47 PM on April 11, 2013


It's equally possible that Rosen realized "I'm in an office full of sexy secretaries, I better act like the red blooded All American Man they expect me to be..."

True, and I meant to mention the possibility that, even if he was unobserved, it could still be the habit of maintaining camouflage. Of course, the best way to keep any cover is by maintaining it even when you think no one can see you, to keep the habits of disguise and subterfuge up.

I don't have any opinion on Arnold Rosen's sexuality, but I'm fascinated by how precisely other viewers are unpacking the various cues and clues packed into this episode.

I got the sense that there was SOMEONE at that party who didn't want to talk about homosexuality. I forget who actually changed the subject, though.

Sylvia is the only one who doesn't speak or laugh when [blonde guest; did anyone catch her name?] pushed her husband to tell the story, and she changes the subject immediately to their children. As he finished describing the position of the two men in the bathroom stall, Sylvia delicately wiped the edge of her mouth with her fingertip, and that's when I knew she and Don were cheating together.
posted by Elsa at 2:55 PM on April 11, 2013


What gave you the impression he was unobserved? He was in a glass-walled office full of people.

I, too, have no particular read on his sexuality, though it's interesting that it's his wife who changes the subject.

She also looks a lot like Kitty.
posted by Sara C. at 3:01 PM on April 11, 2013


Well the only real clues are the bizarrely flirty banter with Don ( which I can buy as that being the only way Don knows how to act with people he's not trying to destory, flirting and being a good salesman are twins) and the odd gay sex cottaging story at the party, which can be a tell, or just a foreshadow to Don's own covert, sereiptitious sexual affair.

I mean I was so sure about Harry Crane, closet case, and I got my hopes up for nothing!

( although yes, if you read stories from closeted men at the time, there was a near universal tic to overly check out women - this pops up in the recent Tinker Tailor movie for example.)
posted by The Whelk at 3:04 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


In that scene, Rosen is in a walled-in corner of the office, tucked away from the glass-walled spaces and therefore (relatively) shielded from sight, and Don is in the closet turned away from him. Dawn turns the corner looking for Draper and is surprised to see a stranger standing there, suggesting that she didn't see him from a distance. None of that is conclusive, of course, but it is suggestive.

But whether he is observed/observable or not, the point that you make (and I agree with) remains: we can't tell whether that gesture was genuine or camouflage. But the show made a point of showing us that look, that gesture, for whatever it means. If they hadn't shown us that moment, if he had not carefully surveyed a woman's body, we wouldn't have noticed the absence of that moment.

Sal did make a show of being interested in women. His tended to be broader and stagier than Rosen's scrutiny of a secretary's backside, but of course that doesn't mean Rosen isn't capable of subtler subterfuge than Sal was. Different people express themselves differently, whether they're being honest or hiding their true motives under false actions.
posted by Elsa at 3:10 PM on April 11, 2013


( although yes, if you read stories from closeted men at the time, there was a near universal tic to overly check out women - this pops up in the recent Tinker Tailor movie for example.)

And in fact, Rosen checks out the passing woman in a way still suggested as the marginally more polite way to ogle women today: wait until we can't see you gawking, then gawk away.
posted by Elsa at 3:12 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


In the scene in part two where Don and Rosen go down to the storage room to find skis, I half expected Rosen to throw a knife in Don's back.

Yeah, what a scene! "Mad Men" is great at stimulating that feeling of dread and impending death, then (usually) not paying it off in violence, but letting it hang in the background poisoning the air.

In S1 episode "5G," Don visits Adam in his seedy rooming house. Before leaving Ossining, Don puts something into a valise, but we don't see what. In his room Adam reminds Don that Uncle Mac always said Don was soft. "But you aren't soft, are you?" Adam asks, his back turned to pour a drink.

Don agrees: "No, I'm not." With his eyes still on Adam, he reaches silently into the bag.

The Fella and I both gasped out loud, trying to persuade ourselves that he wasn't about to kill Adam with a gun or knife he'd stashed in there. It didn't seem appropriate to the show's tone, but in the first season, who can say what a show's tone really is?

Of course, what he was reaching for was a stack of money. This isn't a show where (again, usually) people can resolve their problems with violence. It's, among other things, a show where Don Draper tries to buy off emotional and existential voids with money or tangible goods.

But that stack of money, and the lack of emotion it represented, killed Adam anyhow.
posted by Elsa at 3:39 PM on April 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


My hunch is that the cameras are symbols like war or weapons, set up by the Roger look/act-alike with the M2 reference. Akin to what you said, Elsa, about money instead of gun. Every camera/photo scene (to me) was so suspenseful, especially with Megan taking that picture of the wedding...I was like "Ooooh, noooo!" And then I thought to myself, "Why am I tense about this?" Same later, when they were going through the photo reel, knowing they would get to that shot. But nothing. Yet still something.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:45 PM on April 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Roger look/act-alike with the M2 reference.

btw, I'm indebted to several viewers in this thread pointing out the resemblance. I was trying to figure out if I knew the actor; I didn't realize he was familiar because he's supposed to be familiar --- to us and probably to Don.
posted by Elsa at 3:47 PM on April 11, 2013


It's not even just the appearance...I just rewatched that scene...that IS a young Roger. The mannerisms, voice/accent and cadence and intonation, the things he said. "So Mister...has he even moved at all?" [pointing, then leaning over drunk friend] "You're either dead, or you've got great balance." Then the way he saddles up to Don at the bar. Not to mention the whole comically and accidentally existential monologue that flows from him after. It's uncanny.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:53 PM on April 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


The Fella and I both gasped out loud, trying to persuade ourselves that he wasn't about to kill Adam with a gun or knife he'd stashed in there. It didn't seem appropriate to the show's tone, but in the first season, who can say what a show's tone really is?

wwwhat? that would have been insane, and very offbrand.

Also --

I've pointed out in the thread that the young private in Hawaii looks like Roger, but I'm still not sure what significance it has if intentional.
posted by sweetkid at 3:53 PM on April 11, 2013


wwwhat? that would have been insane, and very offbrand.

That's what I said in that very comment: "'Mad Men' is great at stimulating that feeling of dread and impending death, then (usually) not paying it off in violence, but letting it hang in the background poisoning the air" and, as you quote, "It didn't seem appropriate to the show's tone, but in the first season, who can say what a show's tone really is?"

"5G" was only the fifth episode of "Mad Men." Until the third episode, the series appeared to be the story of a talented, hard-drinking, womanizing creative director and his associates, but in the third episode, this charismatic central character is abruptly identified by an old acquaintance as "Dick Whitman," which was a huge jolt. This man isn't who we thought he was.

It's not completely unreasonable to wonder if an unfamiliar protagonist who has built his life on a giant secret will kill to protect that secret. I'm glad that's not the direction that the show went, but that moment seems to be constructed to keep us guessing what he's got in that bag.
posted by Elsa at 4:05 PM on April 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, Hawaii is bizarro alternate universe world for Don. In it, there's this kid, who reminds Don not of himself, but of Roger. This guy is on the Roger path, already setting himself up for his prejudices and tumbling into marriages and misguided idealisms. Meanwhile, Don officiates a wedding, his wife gets drunk and high and generally laps it up, while he reads about hell and is surrounded by charactures of the worse kind...adoring fans*, annoying clients, over-the-top sales pitches (the emcees and overselling of "Hawaiian paradise"...I mean, they're already there for chrissakes). Don is just witnessing all of this and still, days after, all he can say is that it was "an experience". And that's the best spin he can put on it. He tries to sell it as heaven on Earth, but for him its hell. I really don't even think that actually occurred to him until he saw the ad board he created in the way everybody else saw it in the meeting room...as a suicide fantasy.

*I just love how Megan says later, in the weird little black and white dancing-while-high bedroom scene, "She really knew me." Who is 'me' and who is Megan and what is it that her fan really knew?
posted by iamkimiam at 4:07 PM on April 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


*I just love how Megan says later, in the weird little black and white dancing-while-high bedroom scene, "She really knew me." Who is 'me' and who is Megan and what is it that her fan really knew

Yes! I thought this too, which led to my whole theory that the "double identity" theme is set up by the fan calling Megan "Corinne" early in the episode.
posted by sweetkid at 4:10 PM on April 11, 2013


Thinking about this a little more...there's something connected to Don's interaction with "young Roger" in Hawaii and how old Roger "turns out" at the funeral. Don can't handle it, literally.

And the thought of their identities being switched, his life connected to young Roger's, via the lighter (which was already so symbolic to him, but now meaningless), really bothers the shit out of him.

Other random thoughts...
There's a point when young Roger says "Am I wrong?" in the exact same way Roger once said it to Don. Can anybody remember when that was and the context? It's going to drive me crazy forever.

Dinkins also ends his conversation with Don saying "I believe in what goes around comes around. One day, I'll be the veteran in paradise. One day I'll be the man who can't sleep at night and talks to strangers." Ooooh, the look on Don's face. Such contempt, disgust, disdain. Also, that first sentence...immediately thought of the carousel. Which is funny, because the next scene is Megan taking a picture, which later ends up in the carousel. The other thing is that Dinkins doesn't realize that he already is that man. But Don does.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:25 PM on April 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Haha, look what I just stumbled upon: Hawaii: The Jumping Off Point.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:14 PM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Fella and I both gasped out loud, trying to persuade ourselves that he wasn't about to kill Adam with a gun or knife he'd stashed in there. It didn't seem appropriate to the show's tone, but in the first season, who can say what a show's tone really is?

wwwhat? that would have been insane, and very offbrand.


I had the same reaction as Elsa did in the "5G' episode. A stack of money made more sense, but the scene felt designed to give you that moment of uncertainty. It was still season 1 so it didn't seem as implausible as it does now. Exhibit A: Pete's character who was revealed to be exponentially more crazy than you thought he was almost every episode.
posted by mikepop at 6:50 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


wwwhat? that would have been insane, and very offbrand.

No, I remember seeing that episode for the first time, and I'm pretty sure I thought it was a gun he was putting into the bag, too.

I don't think I expected Don to actually shoot Adam, or to kill him, but there were two possibilities in my mind:

1. Don does shoot Adam, and the entire rest of the series plays out Talented Mister Ripley style, with Don forced to deal with an ever-growing and stakes-raising secret. From deserter/identity thief to murderer to god knows. Breaking Bad would go there just a year or two later, and while it wasn't entirely consistent with the "tone" of the show, frankly, I didn't think Walter White would kill that guy, either, and I was wrong about that one.

2. Don does not shoot Adam, but he pulls a gun on him, and a Scene ensues, and it is somehow resolved, leaving behind a messy and possibly pathetic situation that tells us something about the sort of man Don Draper is.

I was really glad the show avoided this entirely by having Don try to buy off Adam. In fact I think that choice was where Mad Men went from "cool period show about one of my favorite historical moments" to "best show on TV", in my mind.
posted by Sara C. at 6:59 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, I remember seeing that episode for the first time, and I'm pretty sure I thought it was a gun he was putting into the bag, too.

The scene is cut together that way - we're supposed to suspect that. And when the show doesn't go that path, it's another clue to how Don is and how the show is. Much like all the conversation in this thread about what objects mean and stand for - and whether they are just portents or actual examples of Chekov's Gun style foreshadowing. We're meant to think one thing and then it's something else - it's a pretty key way for a narrative to build drama. But Mad Men has found a way to exploit, in some ways, our tendency to over-read things.
posted by crossoverman at 11:56 PM on April 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


When PFC Dinkins talks to Don at the start about the machine gun he's using in Vietnam, he calls it the M2. And the M2 is the model of Leica that Don gives to Dr Rosen later on.

I'm not even sure what to think about that, other than it's two kinds of shooting.
posted by crossoverman at 2:54 AM on April 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


Exactly. And Dinkins talks about how blood will be projected all over the wall. Which is how the Kodak Carousel works. Maybe that's a stretch, but it's one of a gazillion ways the metaphors keep crossing over.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:02 AM on April 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Pro photog guy's main axe appears to be a Rolleiflex, fwiw. I did not find any good closeups to confirm.
posted by mwhybark at 7:08 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll have to rewatch the episode with Adam (oh noes, what a tough job) but I don't remember thinking there was going to be any shooting.

Usually when violence happens on the show it isn't set up but totally unexpected, like the lawnmower over the British guy's foot ( "He'll never golf again" haha).
posted by sweetkid at 7:33 AM on April 12, 2013


I'll have to rewatch the episode with Adam (oh noes, what a tough job) but I don't remember thinking there was going to be any shooting.

Of course, it's possible --- maybe even desirable --- for some viewers to see the suggestion and for others not to. "Mad Men" is packed with moments and images that are wide-open to interpretation.

Even if you didn't think for a split second "eek, is that a weapon in there?," many other viewers are saying that they did. The moment was loaded with the ambiguity that allowed some viewers to make that jump, and (I think) constructed exactly to encourage that question. Not a certainty, mind you: a question. Maybe you had a better handle on Don/Dick's likely trajectory, or don't have as noir-y a mindset as those of us who wondered if it might be a gun, or a thousand other little or big reasons that you didn't question.

The viewer's context matters, too; I suspect that if I'd watched it for the first time two or three years ago, I wouldn't have thought of a gun. Even a new viewer who doesn't know plot points has likely absorbed some of the pop-culture sense of both Don Draper and the show, and would know unconsciously that pulling out a gun doesn't fit with either of those in that moment.

(Kind of the way that I, watching "Breaking Bad" after it had been out a few seasons [SPOILER for BB S1], wasn't surprised when Walter killed for the first time. Though no one had spoiled that plot development for me, I knew Walter White's character as a desperate man capable of terrible things.)

Since that episode showed Don packing an unrevealed object into a bag, and later showed him reaching into that bag while his brother's back was turned, giving the viewers plenty of time to idly speculate about that unseen object, I'm deeply curious now: what did you guess might be in there? Did you intuit that it would be a stack of money? Did you imagine a box of family photographs, or an heirloom or family token of some sort, or some other object? Or did you not speculate at all, but simply wait patiently for the reveal? That's not a rhetorical question; I'm sincerely curious about how different viewers react to (and speculate or don't speculate about) loaded moments like that. Or did you not find it particularly loaded?

Usually when violence happens on the show it isn't set up but totally unexpected, like the lawnmower over the British guy's foot.

Again, that's exactly what several of us are saying: that the show offers portents of violence and physical doom without (usually) bringing about that particular piece of violence.

There are so many possible foreshadows of death or injury that don't pay off (and therefore aren't actual foreshadows) but instead hang in the background, reminding us of the fragility of our fates: the looming elevator shaft, Pete's gun (and we know the Draper household has a gun, maybe just a BB gun, because we see Betty shoot at the neighbor's birds), the preoccupation with murder and rape in "Mystery Date," the pocketknife that Glen shows Sally at the Christmas tree lot, the close shot on the knife that the St. Marks squatter stabs into the pork butt, and --- for those who felt a frisson of uncertainty over it --- the something unseen that Don stashes in his valise and pulls out while Adam's back is turned in "5G."

These are reminders of mortality and violence and pain and sorrow, but not (again, usually) events that themselves lead to death or injury. They help create the atmosphere of slogging through the existential dread of daily life. As Don says, "It's your life: you don't know how long it's going to be, but you know it's going to have a bad ending."

The show is loaded with objects and images that remind them (and us) of that "bad ending," while the show's actual violence or death usually lands abruptly in the characters' laps without overt warning: the lawnmower disaster you mention, Roger's first heart attack, Miss Blankenship dead upright at her desk (with Don's annoyed, distracted "I don't want to hear it!" to her framed so we can't see if she's alive, dying, or dead), Adam's suicide, Lane's oh-so-genteel father lashing out and striking Lane with his cane, Archibald Whitman's fatal kick from a horse.

Several of the deaths that do occur are not only unexpected but occur at a great remove, which is both realistic and reflective of the numbing effect death can have on survivors: Andrew Campbell's death in an airplane crash (and one the entire office, including Pete, has been cracking wise about all day), Eugene Hofstadt collapsing in line at the A&P, Mimsy Sterling's stroke "in the bathroom," news of Anna's death relayed, finally, in a long-dreaded phone call.

I think that's part of the reason Lane's death hit me so hard. The show has been so adept at insinuating images and foreshadows of characters' deaths without actually bringing those deaths about. When Lane's first attempt (suicide by Jaguar) failed, I let out a huge breath of relief; "Mad Men" has trained me well to absorb the portents of doom and allow them to color the atmosphere, rather than expecting them to pay off in literal death.

So when Lane succeeded, I was... well, not terribly surprised, but crushed nonetheless. The usual pattern (show the portent, back away from it, continue the story with that dreadful image hanging in the background) meant that I was unconsciously assuming Lane had a chance to survive, to recover, to continue. But Lane isn't Don, and he didn't believe he could recover, recreate, reinvent his life. So he ended it.

And I sobbed in sorrow and horror, partly because it's always hard to see someone's true pain (even a fictional someone), and partly because the show has trained me so keenly to believe in symbols of death as just symbols, and to expect actual death to arrive swiftly and unexpectedly, not in excruciating installments like Lane's did.
posted by Elsa at 11:03 AM on April 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Even if you didn't think for a split second "eek, is that a weapon in there?," many other viewers are saying that they did.

Yes, I know that, I'm not saying those viewers are wrong, which is why I said I'll rewatch it and see what I think. I'm not saying my viewing is correct or the only one possible or I can't understand how the show could have set up a different interpretation.
posted by sweetkid at 11:12 AM on April 12, 2013


sweetkid, I hope my tone was clear: interested but not snide or argumentative. I'm genuinely curious and interested what your reaction will be when you rewatch the episode, and if it spurs any memory of what your original reaction was, I'd be fascinated to hear it!
posted by Elsa at 11:15 AM on April 12, 2013


So, is Sylvia Beatrice? Dr. Rosen, Virgil?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:52 PM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


This episode and (Metafilter's own) shakespeherian's Choose Your Own Adventure stories have convinced me that I reeeeeeally need to re-read The Divine Comedy.
posted by Elsa at 3:30 PM on April 12, 2013


Usually when violence happens on the show it isn't set up but totally unexpected, like the lawnmower over the British guy's foot ( "He'll never golf again" haha).

But that didn't happen until much later, after the show's tone and rhythms were set. In fact, it's probably moments like the potential of a gun but really it's cash that make the very rare violence as shocking as it is. We're used to that feeling of foreboding as we react to familiar media tropes, see them averted, only to be shocked later by something completely unexpected.

When 5G aired, it was only a few episode's into the show's run, and those rhythms hadn't yet been established. It was a sort of turning point, where the show could easily have taken a left turn to be one kind of thing, but it didn't, instead becoming something else.
posted by Sara C. at 7:43 PM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The M2 is, I guess, as weapons go a bit of a design classic - it came into service in 1933 and is still in use today with little modification.
posted by Artw at 10:07 PM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seconding Skygazer. Top of the Lake is an absolute ripper. Beautifully shot by Jane Campion, New Zealand looks absolutely stunning.
posted by unliteral at 2:13 AM on April 14, 2013


Swingers!
posted by box at 7:02 PM on April 14, 2013


Trudy is a boss!
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:53 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pete is emasculated!
posted by box at 7:59 PM on April 14, 2013


Hey, Diamond Dave!
posted by box at 8:03 PM on April 14, 2013


Peggy is working on a ketchup ballet!
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:04 PM on April 14, 2013


That was an absolutely amazing episode of television.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:09 PM on April 14, 2013


I liked it, but Sylvia really bores me.
posted by sweetkid at 8:10 PM on April 14, 2013


I liked it so much that I'm watching it again. So many amazing parallels between characters, but subtle and varied enough not to hit you over the head. So many subtle repetitions of women who have transactional sex and little, petty jealous men.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:14 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh I always watch it again.
posted by sweetkid at 8:16 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Mad Men" Actresses Reluctant to Call Peggy and Joan Feminists
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:16 PM on April 14, 2013


That article is weird. They're not saying that they, as actors, aren't feminist--just that neither character would have considered themselves as part of the feminist movement of the historical period. Which is accurate, given both of their characters.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:21 PM on April 14, 2013


Oh, Peggy. There's no way you wouldn't have seen where the ketchup thing was going with Ted.
posted by rewil at 8:24 PM on April 14, 2013


To be fair, Stan shouldn't have said anything to Peggy in the first place.
posted by sweetkid at 8:29 PM on April 14, 2013


But they love each other.

Honestly their relationship has been so affectionate in those two phonecalls that I almost wonder if they're having an affair. I think that would be a little too cheap for this show, but I think it speaks to the episode's motif of infidelity--she "cheats" on Stan with Ted. For business/money.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:34 PM on April 14, 2013


Man, do not fuck around with Trudy.

And the Thermos sighting streak continues!
posted by mynameisluka at 8:44 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


she "cheats" on Stan with Ted. For business/money.

I agree with this, but also think Don is going to be more pissed about this than Stan. Although Stan might be in trouble if/when they find out he told Peggy.
posted by sweetkid at 8:49 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, is every episode this season going to have a Kodak Carousel sighting, too? I couldn't help but notice it behind Don's desk.
posted by mynameisluka at 8:53 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whoa, that was exhausting in the best possible way.

Trudy has always been such a bad ass, despite the increasingly scolding, uptight tone she's developed in the last few years. She's a born businesswoman; she shows it over and over again in helping Peter navigate tricky agency matters, and not just the ones that involve her father's account. (As Don says to her in "Signal 30" when she maneuvers him into a dinner party he's trying to avoid, "Too bad your husband can't close a deal like that.")

If those two reconcile soon, they might introduce key parties/swinging to the series (making my previous top picks dead wrong). Trudy says [something like] "There's no way for me not to be an object of pity while you get to do anything you want," but swinging might strike her as a good way to get some of that freedom for herself and redress the imbalance she sees between them.

We had two Draper-identity references right in a row: in the Jaguar meeting, Don suggests a car dealer's circular, which is apparently how Anna Draper became aware of him in the first place. Immediately after the meeting, Roger says to Don "I've never seen such a deft self-immolation." (That might not be word-for-word, but "self immolation" is definitely in there.) Of course, the real Don Draper's death by immolation is what allowed Dick Whitman to switch identities with him. Something about those two moments in fast succession gave me shivers.
posted by Elsa at 9:25 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm starting to pick up a Rabbit Angstrom vibe from this season... whether it's from Don or Pete or both is yet to be seen.

Also, fuck yeah Trudy.
posted by palomar at 10:13 PM on April 14, 2013


Two of the best moments of acting in the history of the series, both half second stares: The one Trudy gives to sleeping Pete before she turns out the bedroom light and the one Don gives to Sylvia upon discovering her comforting Megan in his apartment (after Megan leaves the room)
posted by The Gooch at 11:15 PM on April 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Elsa: "I think Don has built a false dichotomy in his head, a dichotomy of which he is completely unaware: women who silently, unaskingly accept your generosity are respectable, loving, accepting madonnas, while women who ask for money (or power, or agency, or maybe even affection) are demanding whores."

Boom! This theme of transactions in relationships / prostitution, came back again and again starting with individual relationships and moving up to business itself : Sylvia asking for money from Rosen, but being given it from Don. Herb's visitation of Joan (the tryst which Don hated, and refused to participate in, and his continuing bitterness about it); Heinz Beans vs. Ketchup leading to Peggie's selling out Stan to Ted... It goes on and onnnnn!

But as the flashbacks to Don's childhood show; he is aware of it, he just can't do anything about it. In the last flashback he remembers seeing his step-mother in the physical act and stage of being BOTH a mother AND a whore at the same time. This symbolizes and collapses the Madonna/Whore dichotomy, which he resents but is forced to re-live over and over again.

Nice catch on the Rabbit Run/Pete mirroring. Harry Angstrom leaves his wife for a while to shack up with his mistress in a new apartment away from his suburban drudgery. Surprise : it doesn't make him any happier.
posted by stratastar at 12:25 AM on April 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


"This didn't happen. It's just up here," Don tells Sylvia, the patented Dick/Don art of reinvention, which echoes what he told Peggy oh so many years ago about her pregnancy and leaving the truth behind, "Peggy, listen to me, get out of here and move forward. This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened."
posted by crossoverman at 4:20 AM on April 15, 2013


By the way, everyone, over the off-season, I totally forgot which Mad Men analyses (other than Tom & Lorenzo) that I used to read on Mondays. Can you re-hip me to the weekly review/analysis sites that you like? I promise to bookmark them this time.
posted by .kobayashi. at 7:03 AM on April 15, 2013


Sepinwall's HitFix recaps are pretty good.

"This didn't happen. It's just up here," Don tells Sylvia, the patented Dick/Don art of reinvention, which echoes what he told Peggy oh so many years ago about her pregnancy and leaving the truth behind, "Peggy, listen to me, get out of here and move forward. This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened."

What I felt more interesting about this is the fact that Don is capable of this compartmentalization--and really, really good at it, and Sylvia is not. This is going to lead to real trouble, particularly since she clearly genuinely likes Megan. She really doesn't want him falling in love. Is he?

Also how sad that Don used that same old tired married man's line on Sylvia to bag her--"We're drifting apart." Interesting, to think about how the news of the miscarriage galvanizes him to speak up at work but not to be a better husband.

Thinking more about Megan last night, what she told Sylvia, it's easy to think she's being "selfish" because of her career but the political stuff in the background all episode makes her reluctance to have a kid right then pretty understandable. Some people over at the Sepinwall blog think she had an abortion. I don't, but I could see why they thought that.

Cardenelli and Hamm have fantastic chemistry.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:21 AM on April 15, 2013


Oh wow, a few paragraphs into the T&L analysis and disagreeing so hard already.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:23 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Argh! Seriously trying to get work done PHoBWanKenobi but want to respond to your post AND see if I disagree with T&L analysis or not!

I often do, at least slightly. The fashion ones too. I don't think they are always on point.
posted by sweetkid at 7:41 AM on April 15, 2013


Yeah, I think TLo focused so much on what's going on with the men and their affairs, that they missed all the comparisons being drawn between the women.

Also, was I the only one that gasped when Pete was making hotel arrangements for his battered mistress and says "I'll run you over"? Is that a phrase that Americans would actually use to offer someone a ride in that era, because it seemed quite threatening to me.
posted by peppermind at 7:54 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, it just sounded like Pete's awkward WASP-talk to me.

And I agree, peppermind--what's interesting about the repetition of the show's themes here (and this episode felt almost more like a thesis statement to me) is that as the women around Don change--due to time and his own changing socioeconomic status--his static behavior has drastically different effects. You see that in the failure of Pete's marriage, too. A lot of people called his mistress last season "Dark Betty," but it's Trudy who is dark Betty, if anything--a woman who is your equal who won't stand for being disrespected one iota, and who won't give up their lifestyle. Pretty fascinating.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:59 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe it was meant to have a double meaning, but I doubt Pete was outright threatening the woman in front of his wife.
posted by sweetkid at 7:59 AM on April 15, 2013


Also there's a thread of women taking care of their children--the unpleasant things they must do to care for their children (and how funny, in an episode without Betty). Dick's stepmother hated whores, but must become one because Adam is on the way. Joan has to become a partner. And take the bus. Sylvia wants to send money to her child, but her husband doesn't want her to, so she's glad when Don gives her cash after sex.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:05 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Don's subtextual agreement that maybe it would have been okay for Megan to terminate the pregnancy shows, I think, how far he's pulled away from her. He wanted nothing more than to be partners in business and parenthood with her last season.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:15 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, I don't think Pete intended to be threatening, but the phrasing stood out to me as being both ominous and awkward.
posted by peppermind at 8:32 AM on April 15, 2013


Uggg... I watch the show via Amazon Instant, but this episode hasn't been made available yet.
posted by drezdn at 9:24 AM on April 15, 2013


AV Club has Monday morning reviews.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:27 AM on April 15, 2013


Wow, Tom and Lorenzo's comment board is out of control good on this today. I mean, I always like reading peoples' analyses there and here, and the T&Lo commentary is OK, but the comments are just near perfect in their insights - mostly on Pete/Trudy and why she might want a separated marriage but not divorce, and also the Don/Silvia thing, what the money means, why the affair feels hollow now, etc.

Try as I might though, I don't entirely understand the purpose of the flashbacks to Dick Whitman in this episode.
posted by sweetkid at 10:36 AM on April 15, 2013


peppermind: Also, was I the only one that gasped when Pete was making hotel arrangements for his battered mistress and says "I'll run you over"? Is that a phrase that Americans would actually use to offer someone a ride in that era, because it seemed quite threatening to me.
I think that's a very common idiom. I learned it from my mother, and use it moderately often myself. It implies a short trip that is no bother. Perhaps it's confined to the Greater New York area?
posted by ob1quixote at 10:39 AM on April 15, 2013


For me, the flashbacks achieved a few things that hadn't been done yet:Which is, I think, a difference between Megan's lifestyle and his feelings toward Joan (who he clearly still enjoys a friendship with), Sylvia, other women that he's helped financially--last season, Megan asked for things but didn't need them. He wants to be a caretaker, a necessity, and in some ways this could add transparency to why he stifled Betty's growth, to keep her dependent on him. I don't think he necessarily wanted Megan dependent--he would have been happy to have someone who in terms of career and creativity was his equal--but I think he feels weird about giving her things she neither earns nor needs.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:47 AM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


What I felt more interesting about this is the fact that Don is capable of this compartmentalization--and really, really good at it, and Sylvia is not.

Don demonstrates over and over that he is capable of --- gifted at! desperate for! --- compartmentalization. It takes compartmentalization and the ability to shut doors behind you, never to open them again, to walk away from even a miserable family as a young man and begin life anew with no contacts or friends. It takes compartmentalization to believe that, when your little (half-)brother finds you and wants to rejoin your life, you can brush him off with money. It takes cool-headed (or dysfunctional) insulation of one thought from another to trick a high-powered man in your chosen profession into thinking he hired you, then forge ahead to become his best talent.

Don believes he can close those doors and move on again, reinventing himself a second time. When Pete confronts Don about his identity in "Nixon vs. Kennedy," Don asks Rachel Menken to start over with him "like Adam and Eve" in some undecided new place, maybe Los Angeles, maybe Mexico. He won't even explain why he wants her to leave her home, her work, her family, her life. All he will tell her is that "something happened and I want to go and I want you to come with me and I don't want to come back." At that moment, he's (at least talking about) abandoning not only his wife and his work but also his children, and never looking back.

In S4, Don starts making concrete plans to facilitate such a disappearance. When he talks to his accountant after the security clearance scare, he sets up a trust for his kids, "something their mother can access," trying to wave away Frank's concerns by saying that if she needs to, she'll know why.

In the very next episode, Dr. Faye asks Don "Do you know what a Chinese Wall is?" But of course he does, because he's been building his own walls between different facets of his identity and his life at least since that fire killed the real Don Draper in Korea. He's been pretending for a long time, he has to pretend every day just to live with himself, and he thinks that's normal rather than a pathology.

Even more: Don believes others can do this, too, and that they want to. His advice to Peggy was decisive, simple, and uncompromising. He didn't ask what she wanted or planned. He just told her "This never happened," assuming that's what she would want: to forget and move on, as he always has.

He slept with Allison and the next morning gave her the promised Christmas bonus out of his own pocket without consciously realizing the implications. It's consonant with his ongoing behavior to imagine he'd already segmented off the events of the night before, letting them be subsumed into her other personal duties for him (like wrapping his kids' Christmas presents), and he assumed she would/could do the same. It's only after she tells him "This actually HAPPENED!" that he even briefly acknowledges something other than having "taken advantage of [her] kindness on too many occasions."

Don Draper's belief in the ability to un-happen events is almost magical. When Betty finds out about Don's affairs in S2 (or, as he puts it, "I was not... respectful... to you"), he tries to mend the rift between them not by wholeheartedly apologizing or making promises that he won't do it again, but by saying he'd "do anything I could to undo what happened."

He's wishing he could just undo it, make it un-happen, and that's because he has unhappened so many things in his life: he un-Dick Whitman'd himself in Korea. When Anna caught him impersonating her husband, they made an arrangement that (in effect) un-caught him. When Roger was reluctant to hire him, Don (arguably; the show leaves this ambiguous) takes advantage of of Roger's drunkenness to create a job for himself out of nothing but his assertion that he has one. And that's all before the series begins.
posted by Elsa at 10:50 AM on April 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Show the beginning of Don's compartmentalization of self. "You have your own room. That's how things work here." "Keep your head down and mind your own business." (I'm paraphrasing, not quoting directly, but that's the gist)

This was particularly interesting to me because I've been wondering how much of Don's compartmentalization was the result of his masquerade as Draper, how much is his grappling with untreated PTSD* (if he suffers it, which seems both realistic and suggested by the sheer unthinking panic he experiences when anything refers back to the moment of the identity switch), and how much came from his childhood. Seeing that compartmentalization laid out so clearly in his childhood answers some of that question.

It also illuminates his stepmother's character rather strikingly. In earlier seasons, she's shown as self-righteous, religious, and critical. In this episode, she moves into a brothel where her sister works (as a cook, maybe? she's aproned and primly dressed). But her sister also says of Mack, "He's with me."

So Dick Whitman's pregnant stepmother, previously the very image of pinch-faced virtue, takes up with her sister's fella, who is also a pimp. That's a powerful formative experience of women, of sex, and of love.
posted by Elsa at 11:04 AM on April 15, 2013


I really like Nelle Engorons analyses of the show, too bad they aren't on Salon this season. I've linked to her blog though.
posted by peppermind at 11:08 AM on April 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Even more: Don believes others can do this, too, and that they want to.

Yes, and I think the fact that Sylvia is unable to do this will represent a significant difference between her and other mistresses. She's quite like Rachel Menken in the fact that she's from a religious background that necessitates a type of confession/atonement, as well as a history, both personal and cultural. But Rachel was part of his working life, not his family life, already insulated from his home and children and wife and so he could end that without it having wider ripples. Sylvia is not; she knows his wife and no matter how much she's able to b temporarily swayed by the prospect of sex, I cannot imagine it working out long term without terrible effects for both of them.

Which isn't to say that his affairs haven't been too-close to home before, but when he slept with Sally's teacher, he was also sleeping with a woman who was in some ways similarly broken, with a similarly fractured past, a flighty creature who could disappear when he was caught despite sitting in the front seat of his car as his fight with Betty raged. Will Sylvia be so easily forgotten? Not likely.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:16 AM on April 15, 2013


Yes, and I think the fact that Sylvia is unable to do this will represent a significant difference between her and other mistresses.

And a similarity to Pete's newly introduced lover, who is waaaay too close to home ("I'll park my car in the street instead of the driveway" so he'll know she's thinking about him) and either thoughtlessly indiscreet for the thrill of it (sitting bloody-faced on Trudy's couch and urging Pete to spend the night in the city with her) or wanting to get caught by Trudy as well as her husband.

Last season as the partners looked at the vacant office space upstairs, Pete said "Don, I'm going to have the same view as you." And he does. Pete, drink in hand and face furrowed, looks out the windows on the same view Don has a flight down.

It's worth noting that Don also has the same view as Sylvia and Arnold Rosen, one story down. (Rosen explicitly compares their apartments, noting "Well, you're a floor higher than us.")We haven't actually seen that they're precisely one flight down, right below the Drapers, but it would be tidy.) In the New Year's Eve scene when Sylvia asks what Don wants from the new year and Don gazes up at the ceiling saying "I want to stop doing this," he's looking up toward the bedroom he shares with Megan.

It's not surprising that Sylvia fetishizes guilt, and I'm not speaking of her religion here. This is a woman who gave her lover Dante's Inferno --- not the entire Divine Comedy, just the part about the torments of Hell! --- to read on his Christmas vacation in paradise.
posted by Elsa at 11:40 AM on April 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I wonder if doorways will so meaningfully recur as a motif throughout the season. In this episode, Don doesn't pass through that final threshold--as Roger implied in the last episode, you just find the same old shit behind those doors. But he's so much more comfortable coming in through the back entrance of Sylvia's apartment. It speaks to--what, his breeding? His class? His a gigolo. An employee, like her maid. Even as he's her John.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:55 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Vulture did a run-down of Mad Men recaps last week, which might spark some memories or give you some new voices to listen to, .kobayashi. I like them, Sepinwall, TLo... I'd like to read more from Grantland but it's blocked at work so I tend to forget it.
posted by rewil at 12:05 PM on April 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, and Don's subtextual agreement that maybe it would have been okay for Megan to terminate the pregnancy shows, I think, how far he's pulled away from her.

I'm interested to hear how other viewers read that conversation. To me, it seemed like they were talking past each other by refusing to speak in specifics. I'm not sure either of them knows what the other is saying, or that we can know what either of them means, in that exchange. I've bolded the part that seems particularly open to interpretation, both by us and by Don and Megan.

Megan: Well, I had a miscarriage. A few days ago.
Don: Are you okay? Did you go to the doctor?
Megan: Yes.
Don: How far along were you?
Megan: Six weeks.
Don: I wish you would've told me.
Megan: I guess I didn't know how you'd feel. I didn't know what you'd want.
Don: Megan, you have to know I want what you want. Is that what you want?
Megan: Of course it is. But I don't know whether it's even the right time to have a conversation about it. And I guess that's why I didn't tell you about it, but I should've.
Don: Yes, you should've.
Megan: Do you want to have that conversation?
Don: Whenever you want.

It's not clear to me what conversation each of them thinks they're having, or going to have. It could certainly be a conversation about having a baby, but it could easily be a conversation about limiting their fertility in some way. "I want what you want" is dangerously non-specific, especially since Megan doesn't know what she wants, as she clearly told Sylvia. "To be pregnant now, at this point? I didn't know what I wanted to do and I was so relieved I didn't have to do anything."

I wonder if doorways will so meaningfully recur as a motif throughout the season

Doorways and transitional spaces have always been important to the series, but one thing is clear: this episode is all about margins being crossed, compartments bursting open, boundaries erasing themselves as secrets threaten to spill out. It's about thresholds and transitions. Don's history of closing doors behind him forever is ending.

Look at all the dissolution of boundaries: Raymond's colleague from Heinz crosses over into (what Raymond thinks is) his territory at the agency. Pete brings his suburban life into his city apartment, which means their affair leaks out and contaminates his home. Don's lover finds is jealous that he's still sleeping with Megan, and Megan spills a secret to Don's lover. Don and Sylvia end up on a date together. Joan's supposedly one-night entanglement saunters into her office. Stan spills a secret to Peggy, who spills it to Chaough, who insists she use her friend's confiding gossip to further her own career. Even smaller moments depict unpleasant events bleeding through into moments of distraction and entertainment: for example, "The Tonight Show" is pre-empted by war reports. The pleasant everyday life these characters have worked and dissembled to create are getting eroded, slowly but certainly.

Weeks ago, I privately bet my husband (a high-five, our usual stakes) that Megan was going to have an abortion this season. We discussed whether this counted; he says it does and delivered my high-five in good faith. He may have also called me a witch.

Unrelated: I'm wrong that Don was looking up toward his own bedroom from the Rosen's apartment, unless a different lay-out puts the maid's room under the Draper's bedroom. If it's the same layout, does that put the Rosen apartment maid's room in the same place as Sally Draper's room? I'm tempted to rewatch the S5 premiere to trace out rooms.

posted by Elsa at 1:04 PM on April 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm fascinated with the idea that Trudy's known about Pete's dalliances all along. If she was using "apartment in the city" is a euphemism for infidelity, by agreeing to the apartment in the city, was she basically committing to look the other way as long as she was discreet? Did she know about Beth Dawes?
Has Trudy been cheating, too?
posted by Dr. Zira at 3:43 PM on April 15, 2013


No, I don't think Trudy's been cheating. Remember her disgust at Pete's attempt to pimp her out for a short story publication?

But I wouldn't be surprised if she knew about Beth, on some level. When he came home smashed up after his fight with Beth's husband, he said he fell asleep and drove his car into a ditch, didn't he? I don't imagine the car was actually damaged.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:00 PM on April 15, 2013


Bon Appetit: Just Say No: What They Drank (or Didn't) on 'Mad Men' Last Night
posted by crossoverman at 7:19 PM on April 15, 2013


Pete is so, and I mean, SO... cruisin' for another bruisin'. Too bad Layne's not around this season to apply some very proper very effective, fisticuffs to that Don wannabe of a weasel.
posted by Skygazer at 7:46 PM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, Megan man. I think she made that miscarriage happen. Which means it wasn't a miscarriage at all. I think the word "miscarriage" was a code word of sorts at the time, and I think it explains Sylvia's obvious Catholic discomfort at the knowledge of that, although curiously adultery is more or less okay, if you torment yourself enough about it with feelings of guilt and make sure that every moment NOT actually fucking Don is an internal melodrama. Which is VERY Italian Catholic actually.

But Don's like (paraphrasing here) "Cut the drama, baby, you know you love it. I'm Don Draper dammit."
posted by Skygazer at 7:54 PM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Too bad Layne's not around this season to apply some very proper very effective, fisticuffs to that Don wannabe of a weasel.

Heck, I'd pay good money to see Trudy do it. Remember how avidly she was looking forward to the boxing match in S4's "The Suitcase"? She grew up fondly watching boxing. " I've been watching boxing since I was a little girl. My father loves blood sport!" and “I want a rare steak and I want to see those two men pound each other!"
posted by Elsa at 7:59 PM on April 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


They're not saying that they, as actors, aren't feminist--just that neither character would have considered themselves as part of the feminist movement of the historical period. Which is accurate, given both of their characters.

Also for the time period. In 1967-68, feminism was really only a thing within the Left. You had career women with Marxist backgrounds like Betty Friedan starting to talk about "A Problem With No Name", and you had much younger radical activists (mostly coming out of the anti-war and Civil Rights movements) who were getting sick of having to liberate everyone else but still make the sandwiches and get fucked by the men. In 1968, your average homemaker or establishment career woman from a conservative family would not really have been aware of Feminism with a capital F.

My guess is that, within five years, Peggy will be nominally part of the Women's Lib movement, probably the more liberal (as opposed to radical) wing, joining NOW, supporting the ERA, and the like. I doubt that Joan would ever call herself a feminist in those terms, though she might support a lot of the goals of the feminist movement (either openly or privately).

That said, I'd sort of love it if Abe left Peggy for a Redstocking, or if Peggy's cute lesbian friend eventually becomes one of the Lavender Menace. But short of a minor Peggy subplot or the show going several more seasons, we're not going to see Feminism in an overt self-avowed way.
posted by Sara C. at 8:02 PM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


particularly since she clearly genuinely likes Megan

I don't know if this is the case. Maybe it's the word "genuinely" I take issue with. Because she was NASTY to Megan in the conversation about the miscarriage. I mean, shaming a married woman for using birth control to presumably put childbearing on hold while her career is running hot*, and here she is fucking the same woman's husband? Wow. I'm not sure we've seen much that vile on the show. The only thing that comes to mind is Pete pimping out Joan, or maybe Betty's antisemitic remarks to Jimmy Barrett after Jimmy rubs her nose in the fact that their spouses are cheating together.

*That said I was wondering during the whole scene, as well as the scene between Megan and Don later, whether Megan doesn't want kids at all and is afraid to own up to it.
posted by Sara C. at 8:09 PM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


By the way, did anyone else pick up on the blood imagery throughout the whole thing?

There's the (unseen) miscarriage, Pete's fuckbuddy beaten bloody and a later shot of Trudy left holding the bloody rag, a KETCHUP account, and two steaks show up over the course of the episode. Don's is even on the menu as Steak Diavolo, or devil.

I'm also enjoying the shit out of the contrast between the soap opera Don's wife acts in and the literal opera that plays as he fucks Sylvia. Especially since people often dismiss Mad Men as being "just a soap opera", and this episode has such operatic themes -- especially how the entire plot turns on who knows things, who doesn't know them, and what's going to happen when others find out.
posted by Sara C. at 8:14 PM on April 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Having seen it - Wow Trudy. Wow.

Yeah the conversation between Sylvia and Megan, it's hard not to read some malice in Sylvia's "I'd never think it was my choice." thing. Like she's trying to suss out why Megan is awful for Don and why she is much better (Megan is ambivalent about having kids! aaaaataaaacccck).
posted by The Whelk at 8:15 PM on April 15, 2013


I wonder if doorways will so meaningfully recur as a motif throughout the season.

Is it just me or are there too damn many entrances and exits to the Drapers' and Rosens' apartments? I'm starting to get confused about how people are getting in and out of places.
posted by Sara C. at 8:15 PM on April 15, 2013


I noticed how cigarettes have become a symbol of illicit and dangerous activity and not just something everyone does all the time.
posted by The Whelk at 8:16 PM on April 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


and for no reason here is what Jon Hamm looked like in High School.
posted by The Whelk at 8:36 PM on April 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


It also seems odd to me that the Drapers/Rosens are living in this beautiful new apartment building, obviously very ritzy for the time -- any apartment where the elevator opens directly onto the apartment is SWANK, ditto service entrances, maids' rooms, etc -- but there's still that ratty shared basement laundry room?

And even if such a room exists, why aren't the Drapers and Rosens sending their laundry out, like normal moneyed New Yorkers?

I get that the writers couldn't come up with another way for Sylvia and Megan to get to the miscarriage confession, but I mean, come on. At least try.

(that said, five points to griffyndor for the "airing our dirty laundry" metaphor.)
posted by Sara C. at 8:47 PM on April 15, 2013


I mean, shaming a married woman for using birth control to presumably put childbearing on hold while her career is running hot*, and here she is fucking the same woman's husband?

It wasn't birth control she was ambivalent about, but abortion, specifically. I didn't see it as particularly shaming, as far as these things go, for a conversation between two Catholic women in the '60s.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:56 PM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Megan had a miscarriage, and I think you have to ignore a lot of the dialogue in the scene to assume that she actually had an abortion and is just using a euphemism.

Also, Sylvia is perfectly supportive of Megan until Megan alludes to getting pregnant because she messed up her birth control, felt conflicted about the pregnancy, and feeling sort of relieved that she didn't have to figure out whether to have an abortion or what. That's why Megan should feel guilty, in Sylvia's eyes. The abortion idea is in there, hypothetically, along with a lot of other baggage. But what Sylvia is actually shaming her for is the assumption that it's OK to want to control your own fertility.

What's especially fucked up, to me, though is that Megan is obviously looking to Sylvia for some support, and Sylvia can't even say, "A lot of women feel that way" or "You'll get over it" or "When you have a baby, you'll forget this ever happened." She can't even say a platitude or some backhanded catty bullshit. She looks Megan straight in the face and tells her that she should feel guilty about what happened. Despite the fact that it was a fucking miscarriage!
posted by Sara C. at 9:09 PM on April 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I didn't see what Sylvia said as deliberately shaming Megan, but rather as the reaction of a woman who had been devastated by her own miscarriage hearing another woman go on about how relieved she is to have had one. If anything, Sylvia seemed to be holding back.

Now, of course, Megan came away from the exchange feeling guilty. But that's how she went in, isn't it?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:11 PM on April 15, 2013


Megan had a miscarriage, and I think you have to ignore a lot of the dialogue in the scene to assume that she actually had an abortion and is just using a euphemism.

You missed a major subtext of their conversation. Megan had a miscarriage, but had been thinking about terminating the pregnancy before that. That was what the whole "choice" bit of their conversation was about.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:13 PM on April 15, 2013


Which is to say, what Sylvia was horrified by was the idea that Megan thought she had a choice (to terminate), not the birth control or the rest of it--she explicitly says she empathizes with Megan about the miscarriage itself. They were both raised Catholic, and Sylvia, Catholic in the era before it would be acceptable to even speak of these things. Frankly, I've heard modern undergraduates speak more judgmentally about abortion than Sylvia did in that scene, where she simply seems taken aback by the idea that Megan would consider termination, something that is (as she says) completely outside of anything she'd ever imagine considering, given her background.

She seemed shocked to me, and a little unsettled to be forced by situation into a nurturing role with this young woman both whose husband she is schtupping and with whom she actually shares very little in terms of values or ideals. This is an empty nester housewife who feels guilty watching television in the middle of the day. In terms of values, their generations couldn't be further apart.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:19 PM on April 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


No, I got that. And I get that Sylvia would disapprove of Megan doing that. It even makes perfect sense that Sylvia would disapprove of Megan even considering it. What I found shocking was that Sylvia wasn't even willing to give a little ground, even just to save face and help Megan feel better about something as awful as having a miscarriage.

I didn't expect Sylvia to be all, "OMG ABORTIONS ARE THE BOMB DIGGITY, GURL, YOU MISSED OUT!" What I expected was for Sylvia to say something passive agressive and then pull away. Like you do, when someone you don't know terribly well says something you disapprove of, but it wouldn't be socially OK to call them out on the carpet. Sylvia chooses to call Megan out, to hell with keeping up appearances.

It's almost like the opposite of Don giving Dr. Rosen the camera last episode.
posted by Sara C. at 9:24 PM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I honestly didn't see that. She discloses her own miscarriage, after all. I think if anything the awkwardness was due to Megan misreading the situation (maybe understandably, because she seems lonely, this season, even more desperate for external approval than she did last season), not due to any malice on Sylvia's part.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:29 PM on April 15, 2013


She discloses her own miscarriage, after all. I think if anything the awkwardness was due to Megan misreading the situation (maybe understandably, because she seems lonely, this season, even more desperate for external approval than she did last season), not due to any malice on Sylvia's part.

I think there was at least a little bit of malice in there, even if it wasn't conscious. Sylvia's looking to displace her own guilt about fucking Don, obviously, but she's also quite plausibly reacting in the moment out of the jealousy that she later admits she has toward Megan when she realizes that Megan's pregnancy means that the Drapers had not "drifted apart" as much as Don had led her to believe (a convenient lie that she had no doubt been happy to accept before). So even though her first gut reaction is one of empathy for Megan's miscarriage, the second she sees a way in which she can put Megan down (thus quickly pre-empting any troublesome identification with her), she takes it. Somewhere, Sylvia can now console herself that while she may be a Bad Catholic for sleeping with Don, Megan is a Worse Catholic for having even allowed herself the thought of having an abortion.
posted by scody at 9:42 PM on April 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


I didn't expect Sylvia to be all, "OMG ABORTIONS ARE THE BOMB DIGGITY, GURL, YOU MISSED OUT!"

Off-topic, but holy cats, that made me laugh my big dumb face off. Thank you for that, Sara C., it was much needed.
posted by palomar at 9:43 PM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thing is, I really can't imagine Sylvia reacting any other way even if Megan wasn't schtupping Don, given what we know about her age and the apparent depth of her faith.

I do think there's something very real about Megan reaching for a peer and instead finding someone who reactions just like her (also dark-haired, Catholic) mother.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:49 PM on April 15, 2013


Maybe I just know a lot of hypocritical Catholics.
posted by Sara C. at 10:08 PM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Eh, not saying she's not hypocritical in practice. Just that that conversation didn't seem particularly mean-spirited to me, so much as poorly calculated, on Megan's part, and kinda generally awkward. You know, "I had a miscarriage!" "Okay, I'll watch the show."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:10 PM on April 15, 2013


I do really hope Megan finds a Consciousness Raising group soonish/eventually -- that very much felt like where her conversation was going, like all she needed was a slightly different interlocutor and there would have been a feminist click. Despite what I said about it being too soon for any of that. Though Megan's intellectual background, liberal outlook, and counterculture friends might make her a better candidate for the Women's Movement than any of the other principal characters.
posted by Sara C. at 10:13 PM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


So I've caught up to season 5, in addition to watching the new episode Sunday night, and I had a random thought: Who is washing all the cocktail glasses? For as many as they go through, there should be somebody washing up in the background of every scene that takes place in room with a sink in it.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:34 AM on April 16, 2013


I felt like Sylvia was jealous of Megan, what with the beauty and fashionyness and Don-having and TV show having, and then when she found out about the miscarriage she felt like at last, Megan had "failed" in some way and wanted to stick it to her. I don't think she was genuinely upset about Megan's considering the abortion before miscarriage. Because Sylvia is a big empty hypocrite.
posted by sweetkid at 10:47 AM on April 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Because Sylvia is a big empty hypocrite.

Wow, I don't know. That just seems to be a lot of vitriol to aim at a character we've only seen in two episodes.

(Usually I'm not all, "Why down on the ladies?" But I've yet to see anyone rail about how shallow and fake say, Bob from accounts seems. And we know just about as much about either of their characters.)

Actually, does anyone have thoughts about that last scene between Bob and Pete last week? Haven't seen much discussion of it. Up until the beginning of that season, he felt like an awkwardly intrusive Cousin Oliver. But there was a humanizing moment. Can we trust it? Can we trust him?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:35 AM on April 16, 2013


Bob creeps me right the fuck out.
posted by The Whelk at 11:38 AM on April 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I predict Bert will murder Bob in episode six.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:48 AM on April 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I liked T&L's take on Bob in their MadStyle blog of The Doorway. There's too many similarities between young Don Draper and Bob Benson to be ignored:
Adorable, slightly slimy Bob Benson is going to be a bit of a problem, isn’t he? In his earlier scene with Don, we noted how his youthful, college-grad career man clothes stood in sharp contrast to Don’s mid-Century mature blackness. Bob is a Don stand-in, even though he’s accounts. He resembles him to the point that he could pass for a younger brother and he’s got the same kind of 3-syllable alliterative name. Plus, Don got his first job at SC by essentially berating Roger on an elevator.
I don't think SCDP has seen the kind of ruthless, naked ambition Bob seems to have. I'm especially curious to see where they're taking him, if it pays off at all this season.

"Collaborators" had such a strong theme of war and disloyalty running through it. I'm not sure what Weiner wanted to do with it, or if it's setting up a tone for the season. I think the primary talents of SCDP are ripe for a fall though. They've all got their heads elsewhere.
posted by gladly at 12:08 PM on April 16, 2013


Actually, does anyone have thoughts about that last scene between Bob and Pete last week?

My thought was that if Pete realized he forgot to buy toilet paper and didn't feel like stopping on the way home (or if no stores are open/convenient), wouldn't he just take a roll from the office? Or wouldn't Bob just do this and give it to him? Or is Pete just testing Bob because he finds him annoying?
posted by mikepop at 12:23 PM on April 16, 2013


I think the point of the toilet paper was to show that Pete would be staying in the city/cheating on his wife that night (his mistress mentioned the lack of toilet paper).
posted by drezdn at 1:49 PM on April 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or is Pete just testing Bob because he finds him annoying?

I had the same thought as we watched. There's probably a closet full of toilet paper and Pete's going to pass drugstores on the way back to his apartment, right?

But sending Bob to buy his toilet paper sends a clear message (and yet, like Joan's snideness to Sheila that I described above, it's not overt enough to make a fuss about) to Bob about Pete's view of him. Bob is trying to talk to Pete as a mentor and an inspiration, not an equal but a role model. Pete sends him on a menial errand which, consciously or unconsciously, casts Bob as Pete's flunky rather than his respected junior.
posted by Elsa at 1:52 PM on April 16, 2013


There's too many similarities between young Don Draper and Bob Benson to be ignored...

Abso-mo-lutely. He's an operator with his whole "OH LOOK I HAVE AN EXTRA CUP OF DELICIOUS COFFEE, WHY DON'T YOU TAKE IT DON. PLEASE...OH PLEASE TAKE IT. I ALWAYS GET AN EXTRA CUP..."

And bingo, Bob Benson from accounts is suddenly a name and a face! And it's a total Don Draper move.

And Pete-y Campbell, c'mon folks, he lives to have his ass kissed, and playing the mentor. Insecure weasel that he is. I can almost hear his thoughts as he sucks up every last molecule of Bob's ass-kissing: "Ho ho...that Bob Benson from accounts is a good kid..."


I wouldn't read too much into that, it seemed more like he was thinking outloud because Trudy's banned him from coming anywhere near their suburban home and he's got to stay in city at the apt that could "use a woman's touch."
posted by Skygazer at 1:57 PM on April 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


God I wonder if Bob is totally sincere and none of this is an act he just thinks this is how people socialize-

That would be SO. SAD.
posted by The Whelk at 2:07 PM on April 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have a feeling Pete's never purchased (or stolen) his own TP before.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:41 PM on April 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


"OH LOOK I HAVE AN EXTRA CUP OF DELICIOUS COFFEE, WHY DON'T YOU TAKE IT DON. PLEASE...OH PLEASE TAKE IT. I ALWAYS GET AN EXTRA CUP..."

It goes unmentioned, but in the background of the stairway photography scene, Bob stands around holding onto the other cup of coffee, not drinking it... because it's not for him.

When Pete finishes having his portrait taken and steps off the stairway, he reaches out without a word to grab his cup of coffee from Bob. That guy is already doing errands for Pete before we're introduced to him. He's already looking for an excuse to hang around the bosses, just like Pete was in S1.
posted by Elsa at 2:58 PM on April 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bob doesn't actually drink coffee. He feeds on the hopes and broken dreams of others.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:33 PM on April 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


One role that Bob plays subtly is establishing how much SCDP has grown since the previous season. They might not be on par with the original Sterling Cooper, but they're definitely moving up.
posted by drezdn at 6:02 PM on April 16, 2013


I have a feeling Pete's never purchased (or stolen) his own TP before.

I have a feeling Pete can barely wipe his own ass, much less procure the materials to do it. That guy is just a series of mishaps forestalled by the actions of others.
posted by Elsa at 7:13 PM on April 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


All women are the same woman in the eyes of Don Draper.
posted by rewil at 8:29 AM on April 17, 2013


Elsa: "I have a feeling Pete can barely wipe his own ass, much less procure the materials to do it. That guy is just a series of mishaps forestalled by the actions of others."

Oh, I think that's a dangerous underestimation of Pete. He's a weasel, but weasels are competent as well as duplicitous. Just because he can't fix sink doesn't mean he doesn't know how to sell an ad campaign.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:36 AM on April 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, Pete has a very good instinct for the business and a strong work ethic. His main problem at work is being a complainer, but he's somehow made that work for him, too.
posted by sweetkid at 8:41 AM on April 17, 2013


Yeah, I overstated that. I just meant he's useless at home.
posted by Elsa at 8:59 AM on April 17, 2013


Who is washing all the cocktail glasses?

Carla.

No, seriously, take note of how many of the well-off characters have household help.

If you're referring to the office, that's most likely the secretaries' job, or they kick it down the totem pole to steno girls, the receptionist, or someone else even lower on the food chain. Even now, if you work in an office where there's real glassware/mugs/utensils/etc. rather than disposable, it's the low-ranking admins who end up washing the dishes. I've worked at a lot of companies where the decision to "go green" means that the entry level newbies get stuck washing a lot of dishes.

Re Pete, Bob, and the toilet paper, it kills three birds with one stone.

Firstly, you've got an easy way to communicate to the audience that Pete is taking Trudy's kicking him out seriously, yet proactively. He's not going to mope in the office, sleeping on a couch and keeping clean shirts in a desk drawer. He's got an apartment in the city already. He's free!

Secondly, it models a classic aspect of the newbie/mentor relationship. Pete didn't demand that Bob go out for toilet paper. Bob asked Pete (on purpose) if he needed anything from the deli, and Pete took him up on that. This accomplishes something for Pete (no need to do something as menial as stop in a store for toilet paper), but it also gives something to Bob, because now Pete knows who Bob is, and trusts him to do stuff, and Bob has a reason to talk to Pete, and hey, maybe if Pete needs help on an account, he'll choose to farm the work out to Bob, that nice up and coming kid who needs a break, rather than any of a number of other young Accounts guys. This is the exact reason Bob had the extra cup of coffee in the last episode -- better to be the guy who brings the boss a coffee than the guy the boss barely knows.

(Am I the only person who has ever worked this angle in real life? Maybe I'm more like Pete than I thought...)

Thirdly, it contrasts Pete and Ken. When Ken sees Bob trying to ingratiate himself, he chastises him. When Pete sees the same thing, he takes Bob up on the Alpha/Beta work relationship I mentioned. I'm not sure exactly what this is supposed to say, quite yet, but if nothing else it aligns Bob on Team Pete rather than Team Ken in the SCDP Accounts Wars.
posted by Sara C. at 6:42 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sara C.: If you're referring to the office, that's most likely the secretaries' job, or they kick it down the totem pole to steno girls, the receptionist, or someone else even lower on the food chain.
Agreed, but you never see them doing it. Yet Old Fashioned glass after Old Fashioned glass gets used in Don's and Roger's offices. It's like cowboys never having to reload their six-shooters in old westerns.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:55 PM on April 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have a feeling Pete's never purchased (or stolen) his own TP before.

It's little things like this that make the show so great.

There's this thing people really don't talk about. A gender thing.

Until the last generation or so, people like Pete didn't ever have to do things like this. That was what secretaries and wives were for. You still see it with older people -- bosses who don't know how to send an email (once upon a time it would have been typed correspondence, the secretary's responsibility), or older male relatives who've never mailed Christmas cards or bought their own underwear. It's also at the root of a lot of outdated marital tropes, like the way that you can't send a man to the supermarket -- even with a grocery list -- because he'll come back with all the wrong things. Hell, it's the reason for plenty of other cultural assumptions we still adhere to, like the dirty "Bachelor Pad" apartment, or how dudes mostly eat steak and cheeseburgers and buffalo wings because they obviously don't cook or care about eating healthy food.

It never ceases to amaze me how Mad Men addresses these things, which to be honest most people never think about at all. The show could easily leave it out, and few if any viewers would care. But they don't, because this is what the show is about. The way that times changed at this particular moment, and the range of ways that people reacted. So on the one hand, Pete and Trudy respond to marital problems in a DRASTICALLY different way from Don and Betty a few years ago. On the other hand, it's not like Pete's going to do something ridiculous like buy his own toilet paper.
posted by Sara C. at 6:55 PM on April 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Interesting notes about Hair - the production Pete is discussing is the off-Broadway version which had no nudity and less songs than the production that ended up on Broadway.

It did strike me during the episode that he doesn't mention nudity and only says "a few songs" - which is entirely historically accurate. Good work, Mad Men!
posted by crossoverman at 10:42 PM on April 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Agreed, but you never see them doing it.

I want to say that there's a scene that takes place in season 4 -- Chrysanthemum & the Sword, maybe? -- where Don & Faye are talking in SCDP's kitchen. Was Faye washing the glasses, or am I misremembering?
posted by .kobayashi. at 7:36 AM on April 18, 2013


Faye wasn't staff at SCDP, she was hired for her expertise. I can't imagine that she would be washing glasses in that context.
posted by ambrosia at 9:07 AM on April 18, 2013


This is the scene I have in mind: 1, 2
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:42 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Was Faye washing the glasses, or am I misremembering?

Yes, Dr. Faye Miller is washing the dishes dirtied by her focus group. ("World travelers," she says; research for the suitcase pitch.) I remember being struck by that scene precisely because we so rarely see people doing dishes, but through most of the series, dishes are being dirtied at every meeting. Not only are the writers and accounts execs constantly drinking, but they always present focus groups and clients with a meal or a snack, even if it's just Danish.

Two notable things about that scene w/ Faye washing dishes:

A) Do ya think a male researcher would be washing his focus group's dishes? If Faye were instead Dr. Frank Miller, would that Dr. Miller be standing at a sink cleaning plates? Or would he assume some (female) underling would take care of them?

I liked how subtly it reminded us that, however high she rises in her field, there are specific gendered limitations and expectations placed on her from outside --- and however much she tries to reject them, there are some to which she will capitulate, because we all do, sometimes of necessity, sometimes without even seeing them.

B) Don wanders in with his bottle of sake and leans there against the sink trying to charm and engage Faye, but never makes even a token offer of help. That too speaks --- subtly but clearly --- of his own place in those gendered roles.
posted by Elsa at 10:07 AM on April 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


through most of the series, dishes are being dirtied at every meeting.

To that, I'll add: But not at Peggy's emergency meeting with the headphone client. Burt Peterson suggests they have lunch brought in and Peggy rejects it, saying it's an emergency meeting, not a lunch.

But now you have me wondering if Peggy, having been a secretary herself (and, as a copywriter, having been shut out of some of the more lavish meeting or work-session meals), is generally more sensitive to the work load that all those meals and drinks place on the support staff in the office. I'll have to watch with that in the back of my head.

"Dr. Frank Miller." OF COURSE my unconscious went straight to Wolverine.
posted by Elsa at 10:15 AM on April 18, 2013


Re Faye doing her focus group's dishes, remember, too that Faye is an outsider at SCDP, and also, probably more importantly, a woman. She needs to have a special rapport with the other women in the offices she visits, especially the secretaries who she likely relies on to coordinate a lot of her work.

Another subtle thing the show has talked about a lot over the past few seasons is how to be a professional woman in a pre-feminist era. They're dealing with it now in last week's scene contrasting how Peggy gets along with her female secretary (supportive and easy-going) vs. how she deals with her male underlings (Grand High Bitch). When Peggy tried to go easier on the guys and be more of a friend, she got feminine hygiene jokes in return.

My guess is Faye doing her own dishes is another angle on this delicate song and dance. For all we know there was a similar scene early in Faye's career where she tried to play Ice Queen Who Is Too Good To Do The Dishes and got her ass handed to her by the secretaries she depends on.
posted by Sara C. at 8:49 PM on April 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Bob Benson acts exactly like proto-Don when he was courting Roger for a job. I think cultivating Bob helps Pete expand his presence at SCDP. Remember later that same episode when Joan asks Roger "what exactly do you do?" Roger points to Don and says "find guys like him."

I bet we find out before long that Bob has always been keen on creative work.
posted by dry white toast at 8:10 PM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know but I can't wait to see more of Bob.
posted by sweetkid at 8:11 PM on April 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


" we'll I'm not going to have a whole bottle."

Oh Slyvia, you have no conception of the upper limits of Don's alcohol tolerance.
posted by The Whelk at 10:09 PM on April 20, 2013


I could totally picture Henry Francis rolling up his sleeves, throwing a dishtowel over his shoulder and chipping in with the washing.
After all, not only does his job involve cleaning up Nelson Rockefeller's trainwrecks, he probably devotes a substantial portion of his life cleaning up Betty's trainwrecks, so it's a short jump from metaphorical to literal cleanup.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:19 AM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I could totally picture Henry Francis rolling up his sleeves, throwing a dishtowel over his shoulder and chipping in with the washing.

You saying this makes me realize how much I like Henry. He's a nice guy, and not in a bad way.
posted by ipsative at 9:58 AM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel like I've already seen that scene of Henry rolling up his sleeves and doing dishes, no?
posted by iamkimiam at 12:29 PM on April 21, 2013


Sir John of the Hamms needs to stop driving his Mercedes so fast in neighborhoods where little girls are playing soccer.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:06 PM on April 21, 2013


He's a nice guy, and not in a bad way.

This is true. He's been good for Betty, but it's easy to forget that he first hit on her while she was married to Don.
posted by drezdn at 5:35 PM on April 21, 2013


An actual Dawn story without white people glaring at her and/or making racist jokes. Woot.
posted by sweetkid at 7:05 PM on April 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


META FICTION!

Also Stan's coat. And spy music. Pete's apartment represents adultery in all it's myriad forms!
posted by The Whelk at 7:17 PM on April 21, 2013


Joan's Mom you guys, she is bossiness incarnate.
posted by The Whelk at 7:18 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had no idea Harry had such fine taste in antique desks. Harry will be our king.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:20 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


So when exactly did Ken die on the inside?
posted by The Whelk at 7:20 PM on April 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh noes you didn't Harry Crane!
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:25 PM on April 21, 2013


Harry, you bitch.
posted by The Whelk at 7:26 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's Joan being not awesome again, yet everyone probably still thinks her petty tyranny is awesome.
posted by sweetkid at 7:26 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is no Ken only Dave Algonquin.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:28 PM on April 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, Megan in a French maid outfit.
posted by The Whelk at 7:28 PM on April 21, 2013


I think Harry is the paper to Joan's rock.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:30 PM on April 21, 2013


You don't ask a partner to sign your birthday card - Joan's not here to make friends.
posted by The Whelk at 7:30 PM on April 21, 2013


Am I hallucinating Heather Grahams?
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:31 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did Dawn just say her friend is getting married...and dinner? Go Dawn!

Also, disappointed that there was another "SHE'S BLACK YOU KNOW" bit in the partner's meeting.
posted by sweetkid at 7:32 PM on April 21, 2013


It's just Heather Graham singular and that's not her. I see the resemblance though.
posted by sweetkid at 7:33 PM on April 21, 2013


AND WE HAVE SWINGERS THIS IS NOT A DRILL
posted by The Whelk at 7:35 PM on April 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Who had swingers on their Mad Men bingo card?
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:35 PM on April 21, 2013


I feel like Megan and Don are a far reach for the swingers. Those two are smoking. A hit and a miss!
posted by sweetkid at 7:37 PM on April 21, 2013


It's so great AMC has picked up Taxicab Confessions from HBO.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:37 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


My name is Joan Harris and I feel like I'm a thousand years old.
posted by The Whelk at 7:40 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I swear I thought they where going to hand him the check and a letter of resignation for him to sign.

Also Bert's socks.
posted by The Whelk at 7:41 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I knew this episode was trouble as soon as we heard the jaunty "walking around the office" theme which we haven't heard in ages.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:41 PM on April 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I mean, but maybe they treat Joan like a secretary because she gets involved in stupid petty little secretary things because she can.
posted by sweetkid at 7:47 PM on April 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


She's taking Kevin to California to sell real estate from hell.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:47 PM on April 21, 2013


Don Draper, super spy.
posted by The Whelk at 7:49 PM on April 21, 2013


Peggy no you didn't! The student has become the master.
posted by sweetkid at 7:50 PM on April 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Okay Joan, loose the lace but that Serious Bidness outfit is perfect.
posted by The Whelk at 7:52 PM on April 21, 2013


Man, the clothes have their own battle going on this episode. Ruffles versus Mod.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:52 PM on April 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Ruffles vs Mod.
posted by sweetkid at 7:55 PM on April 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Joan's little trip to the Electric Pussycats Swingers Club, oh we've all been there Joan.
posted by The Whelk at 7:55 PM on April 21, 2013


This subway ad is basically the same thing Dow wanted, BTW.
posted by The Whelk at 7:55 PM on April 21, 2013


One of my coworkers at my current job worked on the ketchup account for a long while, so this is pretty hilars for her I'm sure.
posted by sweetkid at 7:59 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


A hit and a miss!

What...I meant swing and a miss.
posted by sweetkid at 8:00 PM on April 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is there really a difference between ketchup and catsup?
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:00 PM on April 21, 2013


"You kiss people for money" is about as close as he can come to calling his wife a whore.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:02 PM on April 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Takes one to know one Don.
posted by sweetkid at 8:02 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looks like next week we're gonna get some Ginsneto.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:04 PM on April 21, 2013


You wanna get a job in a movie theatre there don because you are projecting
posted by The Whelk at 8:05 PM on April 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


So, question.

Joan is a full partner but she handles the day to day and long term accounting for the firm, right? She has Lane's old job?
posted by The Whelk at 8:12 PM on April 21, 2013


Project Killmachine!
posted by box at 8:13 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Swingers wear plaid sports jackets.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:14 PM on April 21, 2013


It is known.
posted by The Whelk at 8:14 PM on April 21, 2013


Looks like it. The only other person who would be suited to the task would be Bert.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:14 PM on April 21, 2013


Megan: I'm trying to take your feelings into consideration cause you tend to react badly to strangest thin-

Don: ALL WOMEN ARE WHORES.
posted by The Whelk at 8:15 PM on April 21, 2013 [9 favorites]


Lane's old job, not swinging.
Don't get me wrong, I think Bert could swing, I just choose not to imagine it.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:15 PM on April 21, 2013


Project Killmachine!

The way he said that was so crazy. Love Ginz.
posted by sweetkid at 8:15 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I kinda loved Bob Benson in that scene. HOWARETHINGSDON?!
posted by stratastar at 8:17 PM on April 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Bob is advancing from my mortal enemy to grudgingly, pathetically adorable.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:19 PM on April 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Joan: When did you get younger than me. Wait why is *everyone* younger than me? And why do they treat me like I'm 22 and not a middle-aged single mother in an important and complex job? Why does it feel like I'm in a room slowly filling with sea water and no one is breaking out the lifevests? What the hell has happened to me?

Harry: ME ME ME MINE MINE MINE GIMMIE GIMMIE GIMMIE SHE'S A DIRTY MAN TOUCHING THING (grabs Scarlett like she's a wayward puppy) MINE!

Ken: I've been double-crossed most mostly I'm thinking about how I want to come in with a tommy gun and mow this entire place down.

Stan: MOD SQUAD.
posted by The Whelk at 8:19 PM on April 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ginsberg: It's not paranoia if they are actually plotting against you plus I've replaced my toes with grapes.

Bob: Hi I'm Bob Benson! How are you? You can do anything you want to me and I won't mind! Even butt stuff! I just wanna make you happy I'm Bob Benson. Bob benson. Boooob Beeeeeensoooon.

Dawn: I do have a desire to please but mostly cause I work in a spooky pyschosexual rat
maze of haunted, hollow-eyed men.

Sassy Creative Lady: *bemused grunt* Get these people. *grumble*
posted by The Whelk at 8:23 PM on April 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Heh. Boob Benson.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:23 PM on April 21, 2013


Notre Dame fight song/'Yankee Doodle Dandy': we invented the mashup.

(Yeah, I totally watch it the first time for plot developments and shit, and then the second time is just to drink in the atmosphere.)
posted by box at 8:25 PM on April 21, 2013


Yeah, I totally watch it the first time for plot developments and shit, and then the second time is just to drink in the atmosphere

DUH everyone does that's why they show it twice.

I actually do that backwards to you though. First time for everyone's mood/emotional state, second time for plot.
posted by sweetkid at 8:28 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Harry Crane's office. I still cannot deal with your office decor Harry. It's like the hotel suite at the end of 2001.
posted by The Whelk at 8:28 PM on April 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Harry Crane transcends time and space. I think he may be a time lord.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:31 PM on April 21, 2013


Peggy: Oh who I was kidding, I was never going to have friends. Oh well, better start on that affair!

Not-Heather Graham: Wow, we sure don't have drunk grabby guys hunting for casual sex in Spokane! The city is magical!

Meredith: *Is still confused by her teleportation here from the enchanted kingdom of Andalusia but making the best of it. Why just this morning a bevy of songbirds helped tie a bow on her dress!*

Pete: Wow, when I'm not the grossest thing on this show you know you have a problem

Swingers: HI. WE'RE THE GROSSEST THING.
posted by The Whelk at 8:33 PM on April 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Did every scene have an adultery/prostitution allusion? Aside from the Dawn/Scarlett stuff which is, you know *just* sneaking around the rules.
posted by The Whelk at 8:36 PM on April 21, 2013


Knowing about the swingers thing I'm picking up so much more innuendo in the dinner scene.
posted by sweetkid at 8:38 PM on April 21, 2013


What Joan needs, office-wise, is Joan. That is someone to be as good an office manager as she was so she can break off being seen as "another secretary" to all the other women in the office and focus on just doing accounting.
posted by The Whelk at 8:38 PM on April 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Has anyone the the history of marijuana smoking ever appeared cool and edgy by referring to weed non-ironically as "grass"? Did that work in any decade?
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:39 PM on April 21, 2013


Why does this guy look so familiar?
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:40 PM on April 21, 2013


the ....20s?

Oh wait no then it was "tea"
posted by The Whelk at 8:40 PM on April 21, 2013


I wonder if Ginsberg and Pegster are going to schtup in the next episide.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:40 PM on April 21, 2013


"It's very tasteful."

"Well, it's not real life."
posted by box at 8:41 PM on April 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well Abe and Gins kinda look alike now, with the hair, maybe she just got them confused.
posted by The Whelk at 8:42 PM on April 21, 2013


Swinger guy...can't place him it's driving me nut. All I got is "Too Close for Comfort."
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:43 PM on April 21, 2013


Hey Harry here's a check to shut up.

You know who else gets money to shut up?
posted by The Whelk at 8:49 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well...Ted Knight is dead.

Hey Harry here's a check to shut up.

Sorta, but it's his commission check.
posted by sweetkid at 8:50 PM on April 21, 2013


I hear the word 'Avon' and I just think Barksdale.
posted by box at 8:51 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]




I hear the word 'Avon' and I just think Barksdale.

Avon calling! EVERYONE RUN.
posted by The Whelk at 8:52 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, Don's pitch Vs Peggy's pitch? I thought Don/Stan's was perfect for magazines but Peggy's was well suited for billboards. They're both good.

And very similar.
posted by The Whelk at 8:53 PM on April 21, 2013


We'll see.
posted by box at 8:56 PM on April 21, 2013


I assume the winning pitch was just a close-up of the bottle with the words EAT MORE KETCHUP in 99 point italics.
posted by The Whelk at 8:56 PM on April 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought Don's pitch was better. Only slightly. I don't think the client would go with not showing the product though. They live for showing the product.

It made sense that they both lose out to JWT in the room

Here's some fun history of Heinz advertising.
posted by sweetkid at 9:00 PM on April 21, 2013


A period review of the Electric Circus, the club Joan went to.
posted by The Whelk at 9:09 PM on April 21, 2013


Swinger guy...can't place him it's driving me nut. All I got is "Too Close for Comfort."

Looked like Ted McGinley, who was a category unto himself on the old jumptheshark.com website. Hoping it's not a bad omen.
posted by The Gooch at 9:25 PM on April 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that surely was Ted McGinley. Between him and Bert's socks I think I need a drink.
posted by rewil at 10:25 PM on April 21, 2013


Throughout Harry's little tantrum I was distracted by whatever is going on under his nostril. Is that a nose hair situation that needs desperate taming, or is it a mole?
posted by palomar at 10:30 PM on April 21, 2013


"Between him and Bert's socks I think I need a drink."

Burt's couches were the best. But given the amount of time spent on clothing, I think office decor is being given a little short-shrift. This got me thinking of not understanding Harry's office decorations. It started with me thinking that it just... doesn't... work, and felt like the entire edifice was coming down for me, but I think I convinced myself otherwise:

What do the offices say about Harry/Don/Sterling/Burt/Pete/Joan, and to a lesser extent how much time would they put in selecting furniture? The latter question is a non-starter, but the offices do say something about personalities:

Don, Pete perfectly utilitarian with their respective jobs.

Burt with his eyes on Rothko's? Yes. His new office (no more hanging out in the lobby!). It's him.

Sterling with the modern freudian couches and alien lighting, and large painted Rorschach blobs... he wouldn't do it himself, and I don't think he would be attracted to or approve of such ... frippery but it matches his place in the world OK.

I started this by thinking that Harry would have no taste at all and wouldn't put anytime in picking out this stuff. Only he started on it several seasons ago, he's always had older antique desks, but they've never fit his personality (slimeball) or job : California jetsetting tv-guy! But in this episode it starts to take shape.

He's the social reactionary, unhappy about being placed below Joan. They may not want to make him partner, but TV is the future, I doubt they can fend him off with checks for long.
posted by stratastar at 11:56 PM on April 21, 2013


Not only does Bert have an office, everyone has to take off their shoes to enter!

Also, prior to Peggy's pitch, she talks about changing the conversation - very Don Draper. I personally liked Don's work better - but no way would Heinz take minimalist over maximalist (BILLBOARDS! TIMES SQUARE!) in the 60s.

Okay, so... when was this episode set? The one brief mention of RFK when Don was watching the TV made me jumpy. I didn't think it could already be April 1968, but when was this episode?
posted by crossoverman at 3:29 AM on April 22, 2013


Of course, RFK was shot in June of 68. MLK in April. At least now that Dawn has a life outside SCDP, someone might care when MLK gets shot in a few months time.
posted by crossoverman at 4:01 AM on April 22, 2013


Did the "Broadway Joe on Broadway" show sponsored by Dow happen in real life?

Joey Heatherton! John Wayne!
posted by Chrysostom at 6:40 AM on April 22, 2013


So are Ken and Harry going to leave SCDP?
posted by drezdn at 6:53 AM on April 22, 2013


Alas Broadway Joe on Broadway is not a real thing.

However, Googling Joe Namath straw hat yields a 1974 pic of Joe Namath and Cher in straw hats.

I still can't believe that swinger was Ted McGinley. I has an old.
*weeps on pile of VHS cassettes*
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:20 AM on April 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I boggled at the Ted McGinley appearance too, but can I just add that whenever Ken's father in law makes an appearance I always think of him first as Leland Palmer?


w/r/t office decor, there was some mention when SCDP was moving into the new space that Jane made all the decorating decisions for Roger's office.
posted by ambrosia at 10:46 AM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is winter '68. LBJ announced he wouldn't seek re-election at the end of March. Roger and Bert were still talking about his re-election.

This season is what I've been waiting for throughout all of Mad Men. Part of why the show fascinates me is it because it portrays a group of people living their lives, unaware of the Mac Truck that is going to hit them. 1968 is the Mac Truck.

Every season, the cultural shifts that have been building are acknowledged, definitely present, but still possible to avoid, for most of the characters anyway. In this season, it's EVERYWHERE. TV, radio, conversation, it's permeating their business as well. This season so far is just setting the table. In the next few months, LBJ will abdicate, MLK will be shot, RFK will be shot, Daley will crush the protesters at the Chicago Democratic Convention, Nixon will be elected, and peace efforts in Vietnam will fall apart, again. I'm curious to see how far into all that this season goes.

I think they gave Dawn more storyline now because she will be the focal point of dealing with MLK's assassination.
posted by dry white toast at 10:50 AM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have been so curious about Harry Crane's office! It was bugging me too, and I wondered if it was over at TLO's recaps that I remember reading about it. But I couldn't find anything easily there. I found this from GQ though:
GQ: Harry Crane has this really elaborate landscape painting that seems at odds with the rest of the office décor.

Didul: That was something that Matt and the writers came up with: they wanted him to seem pretentious. They thought that French provincial, which was kind of up-and-coming, would be a great way to go, where he possibly invested some of his own money so his office was a little different from everyone else's.

So, my dishes are piled up by the sink and my floor needs mopping and my tea is cold and the kid's forms for camp need filling out -- but now I know a bit more about why Harry Crane's office looks the way it does.
posted by peagood at 10:56 AM on April 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


How did Pete and Don think Heinz was going to end any other way then how it did?

Not surprising to see Don attack Megan for being a whore because we learned this week that Don is the biggest whore on the show by a mile. He went to Heinz Beans looking for a lifeline when SCDP was hanging by a thread, then took all of an episode to abandon his loyalty to them when a bigger sugar daddy came calling. Having Ketchup use the room SCDP paid for to see other pitches was perfect. They deserved what they got.

Oh, and Don's pitch was better than Peggy's.
posted by dry white toast at 11:03 AM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hubba hubba, Joey Heatherton! (The piano player - doesn't he look like Sal? Now I'd like to think Sal gave up the advertising rat race and found a spectacular new career.)
posted by peagood at 11:16 AM on April 22, 2013


I miss hanging-out-in-the background-of scenes Bert. It was like he had achieved Bodhisattva status. I AM IN ALL SPACE AND TIME.
posted by dry white toast at 12:21 PM on April 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Having Ketchup use the room SCDP paid for to see other pitches was perfect.

The "use the room" seemed like a callback to Pete offering Don the use of his apartment after they met with ketchup guy there - which seemed like such a random line at the time. I'm not sure why Pete did that apart from his random Don-worship.
posted by sweetkid at 12:27 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, my dishes are piled up by the sink and my floor needs mopping and my tea is cold and the kid's forms for camp need filling out -- but now I know a bit more about why Harry Crane's office looks the way it does.

I approve of your priorities.
posted by sweetkid at 12:27 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


dry white toast: "Oh, and Don's pitch was better than Peggy's."

Not sure I agree. Too bad we don't get to see the winning pitch from J Walter Thompson.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:25 PM on April 22, 2013


I can't believe it's 4:30 EST and I haven't read T&Lo's take yet. Must be busy today!
posted by sweetkid at 1:26 PM on April 22, 2013


I can't believe it's 4:30 EST and I haven't read T&Lo's take yet. Must be busy today!

I disapprove of your priorities.
posted by peagood at 1:33 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Haha nice one.
posted by sweetkid at 1:34 PM on April 22, 2013


It's Joan being not awesome again, yet everyone probably still thinks her petty tyranny is awesome.

I am fully in Joan's corner. She had every right to fire Scarlet. Falsifying a timesheet and lying about it would get you frog-marched to the door in my office. She probably could have handled it better (like by asking Dawn straight out what was up with the time cards, rather than trying the "Scarlet has already told me everything" maneuver), but she was in the right. And then to have the other partners override her decision was humiliating. In no other department would a personnel decision be a topic of conversation at the partner's meeting, with or without a temper tantrum from Harry.

What Joan needs, office-wise, is Joan. That is someone to be as good an office manager as she was so she can break off being seen as "another secretary" to all the other women in the office and focus on just doing accounting.

Looks like Dawn is in line to be the next Joan. By handing over the keys to the supply room and the timecards, Joan is giving up policing small office matters and putting herself into the executive role that the other partners already have.
posted by donajo at 1:54 PM on April 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now that I have my priorities straight, I read the T&Lo recap and am agreeing so hard. They are pretty clearly on the side that Joan was wrong here, and though Harry was inappropriate to bring in the Jaguar sex thing, otherwise he had a point (which I was yelling at the TV and on Twitter about last night).


T&Lo mention that the environment is established as pretty lax at SCDP so it's understandable that the secretaries would think they could get away with a fairly minor infraction. And it was fairly minor. But Joan drew it out into a big dramatic scene, firing Scarlet while she was standing on the stairs, etc.

I feel like Joan would get more respect from the other partners if she stayed out of the secretary stuff. It's clear that the other partners don't care. They don't care about anything unless it's about making or losing money (as they should). Large quantities of money though, not a secretary's afternoon wages.

It seems like she might be understanding that, though, when she gives Dawn a little more responsibility. That gives Joan the ability to pull away.
posted by sweetkid at 3:14 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, I thought that Harry was being an unrepetent jerk, and that kind of disrespect would not have flown with any other partner. I also thought that part of the reason he got away with it was that Scarlet is pretty transparently his mistress and Joan will never be on the inside of the boys' club on that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:35 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, I thought that Harry was being an unrepetent jerk, and that kind of disrespect would not have flown with any other partner.

Which was exactly the point. All the male partners think they've done the right thing but they are still treating Joan as the second-class partner. And of course she still has to deal with the secretaries, because it's not like her day-to-day job has changed.

If Harry had directly disrespected any of the male partners (which he came close to doing in the meeting with Bert and Roger), he would have been out. But in the end, it was just Joan.

But if Harry's a jerk, he's also a jerk with a point - he's the head of television and he's still getting no respect? It's 1968 people, wake up!
posted by crossoverman at 3:42 PM on April 22, 2013


More than double his yearly salary is a pretty good reward. I don't know if his work demands a partnership--certainly not just because Joan got one.

(She brought in Jaguar, after all.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:44 PM on April 22, 2013


I thought Harry was being Lord Jerk Of Bitch Mountain but Joan really shouldn't have enmeshed herself into petty secretarial pool drama like that, she whipped out the old Queen Bee persona she had at the start that she really should keep discarded. I think her little adventure with Kate made up her mind that she needs to not be seen as Office Mnager or One Of The Girls and she needs to do this from outside the boys club ...cause she is never getting in there.

So, empowering Dawn to take her place and wearing that amazing men's ware inspired black and white thing.
posted by The Whelk at 3:44 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I agree that that was Joan's arc this episode. It's not clear whether she hasn't relinquished those duties because she was attached to them (they're where she formerly derived her power) or because other people were incompetent (Scarlet at the partner's meeting last year, Meredith). I think Dawn is a worthy predeccesor.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:49 PM on April 22, 2013


T&Lo mention that the environment is established as pretty lax at SCDP so it's understandable that the secretaries would think they could get away with a fairly minor infraction. And it was fairly minor. But Joan drew it out into a big dramatic scene, firing Scarlet while she was standing on the stairs, etc.

I don't buy that Scarlet thought it would be no big deal, because the men in the office and Joan seem to come and go as they please. The creatives, the account men, and Joan are surely not hourly employees. They don't punch timecards. I don't disagree that Joan handled it badly, but clearly, Scarlet and Dawn knew that they would get in trouble for messing with the timecards.

I thought Harry was being Lord Jerk Of Bitch Mountain but Joan really shouldn't have enmeshed herself into petty secretarial pool drama like that, she whipped out the old Queen Bee persona she had at the start that she really should keep discarded.

She's the supervisor of the secretarial pool. It's her job to discipline them for infractions such as falsifying a timecard. She had a point about Scarlet not being there to greet Harry's guest, even if it worked out okay.
posted by donajo at 3:49 PM on April 22, 2013


(I may be taking this personally because I know what it's like to be an office manager. If you let these "minor infractions" slide then you look like a poor manager when a client or a boss notices that people are not at work when they should be, and if you enforce the rules you're a bitch and a petty tyrant. There's no winning.)
posted by donajo at 3:53 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can we talk about Peggy and what a badass she is? She must've known that Don, Stan, and Pete would be at that bar (Ken knew to find them there too), and she took Ted there to face them after squaring off at the pitch. She's declared herself as Don's equal, and is letting him know it.
posted by donajo at 4:24 PM on April 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


(I mean the real thing is , Joan should not be an Office Manager now that she's partner, that job should go to someone else.)

Peggy is amazing, although I don't think she knew they would actually meet - it was possible but you never know...

Don hearing at the door, heartbroken? encouraged? Scandalized? WHO KNOWS.
posted by The Whelk at 4:28 PM on April 22, 2013


Heartbroken. Utterly. And perhaps a bit immasculated--feeling as if he's been replaced by a younger model. That's why he runs into Megan's studio and humiliates her, after previously reacting relatively mildly to both the news of the sex scene and the interaction with her swinger bosses. He can't punish Peggy, but he can punish someone else.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:24 PM on April 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Let's look at the role the stairs are playing in the relationship between Joan and Scarlett too: Scarlett was fired standing in the same spot, as she was motioning to Dawn, where Joan posed for the photograph in the season opener. Where Harry blustered past her, if I recall.

Previously, Scarlett chaired the partners' meetings after Joan became the partner. She and Roger flirted in Season 5; and her first line was "No" to Harry. She was being touted as "the New Joan" for a bit. Is Joan firing her old self?
posted by peagood at 5:31 PM on April 22, 2013


Joan should be Lane now. She should have an office with a window, and she should be managing the office manager and keeping an eye on the books. Firing Scarlet was appropriate but it shouldn't be her doing it.
posted by dry white toast at 6:14 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I liked Don's pitch because it shows confidence, that no one is in the same class as Heinz Ketchup. They're the Xerox of condiments. Peggy's pitch reeks of insecurity.
posted by dry white toast at 6:16 PM on April 22, 2013


Precisely, toast. Joan's office is so cluttered and claustrophobic with all of those file cabinets and the never-ending stream of secretarial dramz. She's moved up in title alone. It was also telling that Harry's shit fit earned him a bit of (grudging) respect from Roger and Bert, but when Joan whips it out and throws her own shit fit, she is a bitch who is "making a scene."
posted by mynameisluka at 8:12 PM on April 22, 2013


"GQ: I just read that earlier in his career, Jon Hamm had been a set decorator on soft core porn movies."

I'm in love the backstory of Hamm and his wife's careers as working actors/writers just on the edge of Hollywood.
posted by stratastar at 9:11 PM on April 22, 2013


(I mean the real thing is , Joan should not be an Office Manager now that she's partner, that job should go to someone else.)

Right. The thing is, the partners (and the staff) do not give her the respect she's entitled to, but Joan hasn't demanded it either. She's gone along with carrying out her old duties even after her promotion. In order to move forward at all, she really needs to hear what her friend is telling her: that it doesn't matter how others see her, because what she wants is there for the taking.

It's interesting though that giving up office managing will move Joan fully out of her comfort zone. She's been straddling the roles of partner and office manager. In the first she is competent but insecure in her standing. In the second she is operating below her paygrade, but has a comfort level that comes from years in that job. By firing Scarlett she exercises authority, but doing this now, under the auspices of her old role, doesn't move her forward any and actually diminishes her.

Personally I don't think Joan did anything inappropriate in that episode, and I think Harry was just a royal asshole. But what Joan did wasn't productive for her; and I'm really interested to see where she goes now that she's realized it.
posted by torticat at 9:46 PM on April 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Has anyone the the history of marijuana smoking ever appeared cool and edgy by referring to weed non-ironically as "grass"? Did that work in any decade?

Apparently, yes. I used to work with a bunch of people who are of roughly Peggy/Stan/Ginsberg's generation and they still call it grass and it's ADORBS. Grass is very much right for 1968.

In fact, every once in a while I have a minor crisis about whether I should say pot or weed and whether one is passe, and if so, which one. (Usually this happens when I'm feeling paranoid for, uh, reasons.)
posted by Sara C. at 10:08 PM on April 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think the client would go with not showing the product though. They live for showing the product.

Yeah, when Ketchup Guy said "But we want to see the bottle", and Don and Stan tried to smooth over that bit, and then Peggy came in and revealed A GIANT KETCHUP BOTTLE and the copy just basically says KETCHUP. YES., I knew they had it.

If this wasn't a TV show and the scene weren't played for dramatic efficiency, I'd say that Peggy possibly only got it because they had just seen the SCDP pitch and had "but we want to see the bottle" in their heads.
posted by Sara C. at 10:12 PM on April 22, 2013


Wait, hold on, did Peggy's firm not get it? I was in the middle of that scene, interrupted for a second, and thought that was a win for Peggy.

This makes the bar scene make so much more sense. I was thinking, "Why would Peggy do that? I mean, there's doing something a little unscrupulous because it helps your career, and then there's rubbing it in a friend's face. WTF?"

Man, never let anybody interrupt your Mad Men viewing, even for a second.
posted by Sara C. at 10:16 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wait, hold on, did Peggy's firm not get it? I was in the middle of that scene, interrupted for a second, and thought that was a win for Peggy.

No, there was a third firm (forget the name right now), whose pitch Ketchup apparently "bought in the room." That's why Ted said the thing about the small firms being given the option to fight over the crumbs (i.e., Baked Beans).
posted by scody at 10:18 PM on April 22, 2013


She had every right to fire Scarlet.

Agreed, but it was petty.

Think about it. Roger doesn't go around telling Ken how to service accounts. Don rips his creatives to shreds, but he doesn't do their job for them.

By getting that personally involved in a matter that cost the company maybe $10, she shows that she's not doing Lane's job. She's doing her old job. Lane groused about nickel and dime issues, but those were more on the level of over-extending themselves on creative, or losing an account. Not which secretary cheated the company out of a couple hours' pay.

Contrast this with her friend who thinks she's come a long way -- in a lot of ways Joan hasn't. The root of it might be that she herself doesn't really believe she's more than the Boss Lady Of The Secretaries.

It also gives fuel to Harry's cause. He's cutting deals with Dow Chemical and the TV networks. Joan is firing other people's secretaries for penny-ante offenses. So why is she a partner?
posted by Sara C. at 10:28 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


J. Walter Thompson! is the third firm, who actually gets to take Ketchup to the dance.
posted by scody at 10:34 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't get to participate much in these after-show discussions because I don't watch TV at broadcast time, so I'm always behind. But I have a question about last week's ep that I'm wondering if any of you still following this thread could help with.

It has to do with the flashbacks, and Dick Whitman's family. First, is any part of the following chronology wrong?

Dick's biological mother was a prostitute who died when he was born. Dick was left with his biological father, Archie, and Abigail, his wife.

Archie was kicked by a horse and killed when Dick was 10. Abigail was pregnant at the time with Adam, Dick's half-brother. Having no other means of support, Abigail moved in with her sister, a prostitute, who lived in a whorehouse with a guy called Mac.

Abigail either became a prostitute or at least slept with Uncle Mac to pay for room & board.

If all of that is correct, then my question is, why does Matt Weiner still have the same actor playing young Dick Whitman who played him 4-6 years ago? The kid's like 16 now; but in the scenes in last week's episode, no more than eight months can have passed since we last saw Dick at age 10.

Doesn't make sense, unless I'm missing something. Or did everyone else just suspend disbelief on this, and I'm the only one who was confused by the pregnant woman with a teenage Dick? (I haven't seen this discussed anywhere else.)
posted by torticat at 10:46 PM on April 22, 2013


Bert's socks

... and Hokusai's Dream of The Fisherman's Wife again, if more discreetly shot this time. So now we have definitive proof: Bert still has an office.
posted by mwhybark at 10:48 PM on April 22, 2013


Also: isn't the Project K room Pete's old pillared office? or was that a different building? Must have been.
posted by mwhybark at 10:53 PM on April 22, 2013


Finally, apparently DDB had Heinz Ketchup in '68, and here is a DDB storyboard. I haven't found anything indicating JWT snapped it up.
posted by mwhybark at 11:07 PM on April 22, 2013


Oh, and duh: it's evident the ketchup in the show is commentary on and foreshadowing for both the war - Project Killmachine indeed - and the specific martyr's blood of MLK and Bobby Kennedy that are so loomingly inbound.

I think, but will not swear to it, we heard a radio report of Bobby Kennedy announcing his candidacy, which places this episode in March. MLK is shot in April.
posted by mwhybark at 11:16 PM on April 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think, but will not swear to it, we heard a radio report of Bobby Kennedy announcing his candidacy

Yep, I think that's what that radio snippet was, too. Also, the Tet Offensive (referred to in last week's episode) took place in February, and MLK hasn't been shot yet (April 4), so it has to be March.

On a less somber note: Lancers on Joan's dinner table! In its distinctive faux-earthenware crock!
posted by scody at 11:37 PM on April 22, 2013


Sorry, Peggy, ketchup and catsup are the same thing.
posted by donajo at 6:38 AM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Update, April 22, 5:25 p.m.: According to a Heinz spokesperson, Henry John Heinz first brought his product to market as “Heinz Tomato Catsup,” but changed the spelling early on to distinguish it from competitors. And Dan Jurafsky tells us that Del Monte did not switch spellings until 1988, after it became clear that ketchup was the spelling of choice for American consumers. (Hunt’s went with ketchup significantly earlier, he says.)

Too funny. I do seem to remember more "catsup" in the supermarkets as a kid.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:50 AM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Part of the reason Don listened in on Peggy: Don likes to watch.
posted by drezdn at 7:12 AM on April 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I saw a comment somewhere, I think it was in a AV Club review, that Don and Peggy had a really co-dependent relationship when she worked at SCDP. Seeing Don listen at the door really confirmed it. He badly misses her.
posted by dry white toast at 7:33 AM on April 23, 2013


Awww, Harry, Paul, and Ken all hang out together.
posted by The Whelk at 9:32 AM on April 23, 2013


Donajo, she's using a turn of phrase.

I don't know if it's still the case, but it definitely was when I was learning to read in the early/mid 80's -- generic store-brand ketchup was pretty much exclusively labeled as Catsup, whereas Heinz and maybe one or two other brands used Ketchup. I don't know if Heinz trademarked that spelling, or if there were other more subtle reasons for it.

But Peggy isn't saying "Catsup and Ketchup are two distinct products", she's saying "Everybody knows Heinz is the genuine article, and every other brand out there is an inferior imitation."

I think that Slate piece badly missed the point of her pitch.

(I have a very clear memory of being 4 or 5 years old and sitting at my grandparents' kitchen table. This would have been about 1985. My grandparents are penny-pinching Depression survivors, so they bought generic everything back then. I remember looking across the table, seeing a bottle of ketchup labeled "Catsup", and asking, "WHAT'S CATS UP? WHY DOES THE KETCHUP SAY CATS UP? WTF GROWNUPS WHY IS THE WORLD SO STUPID?" I'm still not satisfied with their answer, which was "Eat your fish sticks.")
posted by Sara C. at 12:34 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: WTF GROWNUPS WHY IS THE WORLD SO STUPID?
posted by sweetkid at 12:36 PM on April 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I find Rich Sommer inexplicably cute (the dimple perhaps) and it makes me extra uncomfortable every time Harry Crane says something misogynistic.

I like can't even watch that interview without going to deeply weird places in my mind.

Maybe someday Rich Sommer will play a nice sympathetic character and I can feel free to watch media footage of him unencumbered by a vague sense of wrongness and distaste.
posted by Sara C. at 12:44 PM on April 23, 2013


Rich Sommer is apparently Nicest Guy Ever. He's in Celeste and Jesse Forever as a nice guy, but it's a very small part and Rashida Jones is rude to him.
posted by sweetkid at 12:50 PM on April 23, 2013


Joan has consistently shown a sort of ambivalence towards other women in terms of loyalty and solidarity. I felt, with Peggy as a fellow secretary, it was hard to tell at times if she was trying to undermine her self-confidence by giving unsolicited advice, or genuinely trying to help. Peggy was certainly expecting Joan to be resentful of her promotion to copywriter, as well as disapproving of her decision to move in with Abe, unmarried (for which Joan, astonishingly, expressed respect and admiration).

As to the two secretaries in the present, Scarlett and Dawn: Scarlett is portrayed as a sexy, flirty, but rather manipulative secretary who knows how to deal with the men. A lesser, duller Joan (there is and will always be only ONE fabulous Joan Harris), as this is also the way Joan was portrayed at the beginning of the series.

I wonder if Joan's extremely emotional reaction to Scarlett's (blatant) lies and manipulation has something to do with a feeling of being replaced as the sexy übersecretary with the power to appease. Or if she is just projecting on Scarlett her own self-disgust and shame at having spent her youth purchasing privilege with her sexuality.

On the other hand, Dawn is something of a second Peggy. Earnest, honest, smart and, it seems, brave in spite of her fears.

As a middle-aged mother, though still a very beautiful one, Joan is finding that her sex-appeal is no longer as effective with men. Quite on the contrary, it may be used against her. Both her age and her improved position are doble-edged swords and I am very intrigued if she will make the best of them or let herself be consumed by resentment of other girls, or by a feeling of impotence at being treated as a lesser partner. Or if she will step up, "grab what is right in front of her to take" and be supportive and show solidarity for women who are choosing to take a chance with more independent life projects.

With Joan exemplifying both rivalry and solidarity with women, I would love it if the show would start dealing with Joan's role as a role model or mentor for other women at the company, and to see what kind of leadership she will take up in the company as a whole.
posted by ipsative at 12:53 PM on April 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Harry Crane is now Alexander Cabot III from Josie and the Pussycats.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:00 PM on April 23, 2013


Donajo, she's using a turn of phrase.

Sure, of course. But I think it's interesting that she's drawing a distinction that literally just amounts to marketing decision from a prior generation.
posted by donajo at 1:04 PM on April 23, 2013


I thought that was the whole point. She's saying, "OK, so here's your pre-existing marketing strategy. Let's build on that. You don't need to assure the consumer that your ketchup tastes good, or is better ketchup than X or Y brand. You need to remind the consumer that, WE'RE KETCHUP, BITCHES."
posted by Sara C. at 1:12 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


WE'RE KETCHUP, BITCHES

No doubt that was the unseen winning pitch. Picture that on billboard, ketchup guy.
posted by mikepop at 1:22 PM on April 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


As to the two secretaries in the present, Scarlett and Dawn: Scarlett is portrayed as a sexy, flirty, but rather manipulative secretary who knows how to deal with the men. A lesser, duller Joan (there is and will always be only ONE fabulous Joan Harris), as this is also the way Joan was portrayed at the beginning of the series.

The difference between Scarlet and Joan is that Joan was good at her job. In the T&L recap, they harped on how awful Joan was to other women in the first season during the basketful of kisses scene. But when I watched that, I didn't see that with the rest of the secretaries other than Peggy. Instead, she was being comforting to them (what reads to us as condescension might have, in that era when psychology in product focus group testing was new, seemed like a welcome acknowledgement of how weird and prying the questions were). Joan, like Dawn, never cared that the other women liked her--except as it pertained to being able to do her job as head of the secretarial pool. She needed to be respected, feared, utterly confident. Peggy, in contrast to both Joan and Dawn, wasn't particularly good at her job as a secretary--she was a dreamer. Joan's relationship with Peggy was contentious because Peggy was powerful while flaunting rules that Joan had absorbed really well. If Joan skipped out early at work, you could bet she wouldn't be flailing on some stairwell about it.

The secretaries who Joan has had conflicts with--say, Jane--weren't just beautiful. They were beautiful and sloppy.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:23 PM on April 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


The contrast between Joan and Harry that stood out the most to me is how Harry reacts to the partners' wanting to placate him vs. how Joan reacts to the Jaguar proposition. Harry wants a partnership, but takes the money, whereas Joan doesn't settle for anything less than a partnership when they need something from her. She knows how to handle herself with the partners, even if they still see her as Head Secretary. Harry doesn't. At least not yet.

If Harry had refused the money, and said he wanted the partnership instead, he probably would have gotten it. He keeps waiting to be acknowledged. Sterling, Cooper, Draper, and Campbell never waited. They demanded, commanded or took the acknowledgement they felt they deserved.

I identify a lot with Harry in that way, so the fact that his first attempts at demanding acknowledgement were rather stilted and come off so badly rings pretty true. He doesn't have enough practice at it yet to do it with grace.
posted by dry white toast at 1:24 PM on April 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


There was a 30 Rock reference in the bar scene.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:56 PM on April 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, there was, and it was extremely exciting.

I feel sad that I didn't catch it, though my brain did stick on "Old Spanish" for a second. When I realized I couldn't remember what was supposed to be in that/which cool mixology bar menu I'd seen it on, I let it go.

The brilliant thing is that 30 Rock's "Old Spanish" is wine and tonic water (well, in the original episode wine, tonic water, and an olive garnish), and the Old Spanish served to Choaugh is, in fact, red.

I wonder if wine and tonic water would be good? I like Sangria. Kalimoxto (wine and cola) sounds like an abomination but isn't all that bad.
posted by Sara C. at 2:13 PM on April 23, 2013


The secretaries who Joan has had conflicts with--say, Jane--weren't just beautiful. They were beautiful and sloppy.

Absolutely! Thank you for articulating this. I think this is actually part of what Joan and Don have in common. They don't hate dishonest, they hate sloppy. Part of the reason why, I want to believe, Don hates Pete.

But I think Joan's criticism of Peggy went way beyond her qualifications a secretary and into the personal, such as her weight. Though at that time being a successful woman at a job probably had as much to do with your success as a woman, as with your success at the job itself, and this is something Joan understood well. She understood workplace politics, but I don't think she understood Peggy or any other possibilities.

More than beautiful, I meant beautiful and effective, using beauty as power over men and other women, etc. Joan did that and most of the guys at the company fell in line. Scarlett did that and only Harry fell in line, so I guess this is what I meant when I said she was a lesser Joan. Despite Scarlett's failings, I think there is something Joan is projecting onto her that explains the intensity of her reaction.

Yes, Dawn is a better secretary than Peggy. But Peggy did get very good at her job in the end, and turned into a loyal, discrete and competent secretary to Don. Or am I misremembering? It's been a while...
posted by ipsative at 2:16 PM on April 23, 2013


Ehm, of course Peggy started out as a discrete secretary - I meant discreet.
posted by ipsative at 2:19 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The secretaries who Joan has had conflicts with--say, Jane--weren't just beautiful. They were beautiful and sloppy.

This is a good point.

The "GO HOME UR FIRED" beat reminded me a lot of Joan's way of dealing with Jane.

And, of course, Jane's offense was similar in spirit to Scarlett's. She openly flouted the rules in a kind of saucy devil may care way that didn't really have serious consequences for anyone and wasn't at all a fireable offense. (Remember Scarlett's defense, "But everybody does it!")

Similarly to the Jane situation, someone above Joan's head comes to Scarlett's rescue, undermining Joan's authority. There's even a similar tinge of flirtation* between Scarlett and her rescuer, just like Roger and Jane.

I'm curious about what is being signified by the similarity of these two situations.

*I'm not sure whether Harry and Scarlett are Having An Affair or just really lack boundaries and act inappropriately with each other and maybe hooked up once. Keep in mind we've seen a few times now that Harry does not handle extramarital sex very well.
posted by Sara C. at 2:25 PM on April 23, 2013


Joan is being given the opportunity to grow out of her circumscribed role courtesy of the conflict with Harry and the literal handoff of the keys to Dawn. I ahve a hard time imagining she'll be able to can Harry exactly but the sabotage should be something to see! Hopefully she'll be an effective mentor for Dawn.
posted by mwhybark at 3:31 PM on April 23, 2013


But I think Joan's criticism of Peggy went way beyond her qualifications a secretary and into the personal, such as her weight. Though at that time being a successful woman at a job probably had as much to do with your success as a woman, as with your success at the job itself, and this is something Joan understood well. She understood workplace politics, but I don't think she understood Peggy or any other possibilities.

To Joan, I think issues like weight (and birth control--remember, she sets Peggy up with that doctor's appointment in the first episode) are completely tied in to success--early in the series Joan is almost explicitly hoping to find a rich husband to take her away from all of this. Peggy isn't successful at that; she doesn't dress better, she gets fatter and progressively more tied in to the creative side of things, something beyond the pale to Joan. Joan in contrast is playing the game by the book, but finds out, in small moments throughout the series, that her work is really meaningful to her. I think it bothers her quite a bit when women break these rules--either work rules or the sort of standard marriage narrative, earlier in the show--which explains most of her interpersonal conflicts.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:31 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think she's changed her mind on the standard marriage narrative, after seeing how her own marriage went down, but otherwise that sounds dead on to me.
posted by peppermind at 4:02 PM on April 23, 2013


Part of me is kind of hoping that Harry will walk (possibly to Choaugh?), and that Joan will gun for his job.

Then again, Joan can barely fill Lane's shoes, so I'm not sure wheeling and dealing with network execs is really in the cards for her.
posted by Sara C. at 5:09 PM on April 23, 2013


I think it might take the whole rest of the series for Joan to find her place in the company, especially if she tries to gun for Harry's job or anything on the accounts side of things. The rest of the partners are happy to keep her in her place for now.
posted by crossoverman at 5:28 PM on April 23, 2013



Then again, Joan can barely fill Lane's shoes, so I'm not sure wheeling and dealing with network execs is really in the cards for her.

Definitely not. Making Joan head of television would just be an audience gift for Joan fans.
posted by sweetkid at 5:39 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really enjoyed the lighter tone of this last episode, especially in regard to Harry who's a completely full of himself dickhead and always good for some comedic relief, and then with that super awkward dinner scene.

Watching Don's face as he began to grasp what was going on was hilarious. Hamm's expression was perfect frozen combination of barely contained shock, bemusement and ma


Also, it's just dawned on me and apologies if it's already been mentioned, but could what Joan pulled in regard to Scarlett be a way to push Harry into making an ass of himself (which he did) and exploiting the tension between him and the head partners, so that Harry moves on, and Joan can get him the hell out of there so she can take over the TV division?
posted by Skygazer at 6:00 PM on April 23, 2013


perfect frozen combination of barely contained shock, bemusement and ma

and what? I'm dying of suspense, what is that word?

Joan can get him the hell out of there so she can take over the TV division?

No, what qualifications does Joan have to run TV? She hasn't even expressed any interest in it since that one time several years ago when she helped Harry. Harry lives for this stuff. He's always piping up about California and TV shows, even while it makes him look like a nerd and not "cool" like he wants people to see.
posted by sweetkid at 7:35 PM on April 23, 2013


WE'RE KETCHUP, BITCHES

No doubt that was the unseen winning pitch. Picture that on billboard, ketchup guy.


Now in photo form
posted by mikepop at 8:14 PM on April 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


and what? I'm dying of suspense, what is that word?

Sorry, Sweetkid, yeah I lost may train of thought there, I couldn't really do justice to the look on Don Draper's expression and kinda ran out of time in the edit window.

It's just weird though...he looks like someone just tried to grab his balls out of the blue....you know one of those looks when you're trying to be polite, suave, debonair and a good sport and everything and then someone nonchalantly grabs your metaphorical balls and your wive's metaphorical boobs after a dinner out and makes it seem like oh HO HO....just another night to go back to the crib and smoke some weed and swap partners.


I mean I don't think Don's a prude, but he's already got his hands full with Sylvia and all....but of course that doesn't mean he wants someone to think they can get it on with his wife and all, there is that male pride thing.

But honestly it also seems like he's been way ahead of all this since like at least 1960, he's already smoked tons of pot and gotten busy with half the women in Manhattan, so I have to wonder if he's a little amused by general culture catching up to where he's been a already for a while.


Yes, it's really fricking complicated. It was strange he showed up on the set to watch the love scene. Does he really even care that much about a TV Soap kiss or is he looking to get the courage and anger together to finally leave her, because it's obvious that Slyvia has a handled or some inkling of the turmoil he has inside in a way whats-her-face is just to self-absorbed tand perhaps to young (?) to really understand.


Complicated...complicated...com-pli-cated....


Did anyone notice the referencing of the positioning of the Soap Opera kiss, in comparison with the Don and Sylvia kiss, and that both had a new level of intimacy?
posted by Skygazer at 10:45 PM on April 23, 2013


hey, people. remember the last time that Don was outside a room while secret business was going on inside? oh yeah. No wonder he was so angry, he got out prostituted!
posted by stratastar at 11:54 PM on April 23, 2013


Son is totally fine with pot smoking and sleeping with other men's wives.

He just doesn't want other people to do it ...and not out in the open. If you can't do something in secret, why do anything at all?
posted by The Whelk at 5:23 AM on April 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


After all, when Don does it, it never really happened. When other people do those things it totally did.
posted by invitapriore at 9:19 AM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


yeah, I feel like he's embarrassed about it because the swinger couple is open and direct and healthy about it and talking right in front of his wife, where for Don sex is about secrecy and compulsion and control and secret, secret shame. I don't think he thinks they are catching up with "his" place in culture at all, they're way ahead of him.
posted by sweetkid at 9:22 AM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Totally. In fact I think sex is so much about repression and secrecy and control for Don that he likes it that way. You can imagine a different person having those feelings about sex but identifying them as unhealthy, and being in the position of being uncomfortable about the swingers' proposition but wishing they weren't. That's not Don, I don't think. He wouldn't just be uncomfortable, he'd be bored.
posted by invitapriore at 9:33 AM on April 24, 2013


Mad Style is up. I never would have drawn the line between Sylvia's, Megan's, and Joan's black and white outfits on my own. As per usual, T&L are right on.
posted by donajo at 10:15 AM on April 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


When other people do those things it totally did.

It didn't occur to me until right now how meaningful it is that Megan's love scene is being done for the camera.

If Megan was having an affair with Rod (heh), and Don was dimly aware that his wife was always Working Late or needed to Rehearse, but otherwise wasn't having his nose rubbed in it, he could maybe look the other way. (I mean remember Betty's weird flirtation with that horseback riding guy and then he Talked To Her At A Party and it was Officially Weird?)

But the fact that Megan is doing this on TV, as a performance is what really throws him.

I am now re-evaluating everything Megan has ever done on the show and whether it was A Performance or just normal and private. I have a feeling that part of why she was so dull last season is that trapping her in the apartment doesn't give the writers a chance to play with that idea after they blew their wad on Zou Bissou in the season premiere.
posted by Sara C. at 10:42 AM on April 24, 2013


(BTW this is what I meant when I said I disliked Megan, didn't know what the point of her was or what the writers were trying to do. Even if they're just going to use her as a counterpoint to Don's values, at least that's something.)
posted by Sara C. at 10:43 AM on April 24, 2013


You know what I loved? As Don and Megan were bonding in the car over the ridiculous swinger couple, Don asks how long they've been together and Megan replies eighteen years. And both turna way from each other and gaze bleakly forward in a total Graduate shout-out, because they both realize that this couple has stayed together, happy and loving and functional, through acceptance of their baser desires. And they know that they won't, can't, and will inevitably fail because of that.

But the fact that Megan is doing this on TV, as a performance is what really throws him.

Don really doesn't like seeing his wives act publicly sexual. That he even pretended to be okay with it for a moment (which I took as a sign of his emotional distance from Megan) was huge.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:56 AM on April 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Slight derail, but this week's episode made me realize how Peggy's ascendance this season is especially interesting in juxtaposition with Joan's storyline, because I feel like early on in the series Peggy and Joan were set up as being on opposite poles in terms of their relative levels of compassion and sensitivity, and now we're a long way towards seeing that relation almost reversed. Anyway, I hope we get to see more of Joan this season. Her character is in a really interesting place.
posted by invitapriore at 11:32 AM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


relative levels of compassion and sensitivity, and now we're a long way towards seeing that relation almost reversed.

Not really.

Peggy is willing to be a bitch or do something slightly unscrupulous if it means a career win and/or success for her employer, in the broader sense. She still feels guilty about dicking over Stan and knows it's a shit move, but she does it because it's for a larger purpose (and ultimately won't have many consequences -- she knows SCDP would do the same thing in her situation and that Stan will forgive her). Similarly, she doesn't want to be a bitch to her male underlings, but she knows she has to in order to get good work out of them.

Joan seems to mostly just lash out, usually in scenes where doing so is counterproductive and the stakes were low to begin with. She won't lash out if she's not provoked, but in my opinion that doesn't show any great compassion on her part.

Personally I feel like someone who Will Cut A Bitch is a lot less "compassionate" as a character trait than someone who really doesn't want to screw you over, but has to for Reasons.

Then again I see one of the major overarching narratives of the show as being about Peggy's way vs. Joan's way, and how Peggy's way would turn out to be the way of the future whereas Joan's way of doing things will become obsolete. I don't think it's so much about "compassion" as it is about working women and the choices they make.
posted by Sara C. at 11:56 AM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


You're right, compassion isn't the right word for it, but I still think there's this sort of inversion between the development of their characters,* and maybe it would be better framed in terms of the narratives the two characters have about themselves as I see it: Peggy sees herself as on the rise, and the higher she gets the more she can only really think about herself, see for example with how little prodding it takes from Teddy to get her to fuck Stan over; whereas Joan's planned perfect life exploded, and to me it seems like it's softened her character in some ways and has allowed to feel a greater sense of empathy for at least some of the people around her. I'm reminded of that scene early on in the series where her (friend? roommate? I don't remember) basically admits that she has romantic feelings for Joan, and Joan just kind of steamrolls over that confession with a topic change without acknowledging the confession at all. Watching Joan with her mother and with this friend of hers, I get the feeling that she would handle that situation very differently now. I don't know, I'm kind of foggy today and having that thing where what you want to say stops seeming correct once you actually write it out, so I might be off-base here, but I think there's something there that I'm reacting to. It may just be a wordy restatement of, like you said, the show's broader narrative of Peggy's Way vs. Joan's Way as far as their models for getting along in the professional world go.

* One literal one being that their situations re having a baby around are reversed.
posted by invitapriore at 12:26 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don really doesn't like seeing his wives act publicly sexual.

I don't know if it's that clear-cut, though. He seemed to like it when Betty sultried up that cafe in Rome.
posted by COBRA! at 12:33 PM on April 24, 2013


I felt like that was a "what happens in Rome stays in Rome" kinda thing though." He REALLY didn't like Betty in the yellow bikini. Or anywhere near Roger.
posted by sweetkid at 12:35 PM on April 24, 2013


Very true. I suppose they were both sort of pretending to be different people in that moment.
posted by COBRA! at 12:37 PM on April 24, 2013



Mad Style is up. I never would have drawn the line between Sylvia's, Megan's, and Joan's black and white outfits on my own. As per usual, T&L are right on.
posted by donajo at 1:15 PM on April 24 [3 favorites −] [!]

And then the poor thing put on her whore robe...


How am I watching the same show as those guys, and until they post such things, I don't see it in the moment?

Also: WHORE ROBE!

posted by peagood at 12:54 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


He seemed to like it when Betty sultried up that cafe in Rome.

Well, it was right after she elegantly declined the advances of the two Italian Romeos literally drooling at the next table over and she did it in Italian, I believe.

That was tremendous show of stunning beauty and affluence and sheer Americano star-power, for both of them, but especially for Betty, who seemed to be at a moment glowing and in her perfect element as if she had worked to be ready for that perfect moment, with her perfect husband and her "perfect" life, all her life. And it was amazing.

{American's were already mythologized and adored in Italy at that point. Just a heady combination of gratitude and adoration for being liberated from the Nazi's by the U.S. Army and the glamour of Hollywood.}

And here you have this couple who look like they just stepped out of a romantic Hollywood film.

No matter what ultimately happened afterwards, Betty and Don will always have that shining happy moment in Rome back in '61.
posted by Skygazer at 1:04 PM on April 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Man, also, is it just me or is Joan Halloway verging on the satirical in the manner in which her figure and bust is so exaggerated??

I mean, it's beginning to edge out from what was somewhat possible in the realm of human body types to a downright parody of sorts? Isn't her curvy busty bodacious voluptuousness approaching off the charts comic book proportions?? Are they padding her somehow? She's like fertility Goddess or something.
posted by Skygazer at 1:15 PM on April 24, 2013


How am I watching the same show as those guys, and until they post such things, I don't see it in the moment?

Reading T&L has trained me to look for things I never would have noticed before - and I did notice the similarities between Sylvia's black and white coat and Megan's maids outfit, but I didn't put Joan's outfit into the mix at all. It never occurred to me. And then T&L pointed it out and it's a revelation. And the whole episode is better.
posted by crossoverman at 3:31 PM on April 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mad Men in Space? Writers Pitch Show About NASA in the ’60s
posted by homunculus at 3:51 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love Stan even more knowing he's a walking hamburger.
posted by Dr. Zira at 3:55 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Stan and Don's little lol munchies joke in the tinfoil room amused me more than it probably deserved to.
posted by invitapriore at 4:18 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man, also, is it just me or is Joan Holloway verging on the satirical in the manner in which her figure and bust is so exaggerated??

It's just you.
posted by donajo at 4:23 PM on April 24, 2013


Mad Men in Space? Writers Pitch Show About NASA in the ’60s

Ooh, I hope it's more like Hogan's Heroes in Texas.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:23 PM on April 24, 2013


I watch the Mad Men on Wednesday nights so I'm always late to this party, but wow. I am just floored, stunned, by those last scenes with Don. I just cannot even get over the arrogance and hypocrisy.

First, he shows up on Megan's set, I think not because he's curious or cares per se, but because she was so overly worried about what it meant for her to do this scene that she didn't even let Don have a word in. Hence the quip on the couch about her telling him what he'll think/say next. He showed up just to spite her, to reassert his dominance and remind her of her place as his wife, while she was so vulnerable. And I do think that he absolutely loathed the idea of her publicly gallavanting, even if it was just pretend. It makes her look frivolous and him look less than in control, almost mocked by the show. He chastizes her, calls her a whore and on. She simultaneously nails it and sets up the next scene with her retort about how he can't even be bothered to care about her life, her career. Which is so beneath him to acknowledge as even a point in an argument.

So then we see the penny (worst contrived and overwrought sign ever) and Sylvia and him are on the bed. He's asking her about what she does when he's not around...the very thing Megan was calling him out on (not giving a shit about what she does when he's not around). He notices the cross and asks Sylvia about it. She throws it back, saying that she knows he doesn't care about her faith. He responds "But I know it's important to you." Further showing the contrast between his wife (whose important things he dismisses) and his mistress (who he cares? pretends to care? about).

But he turns on her too. When he pushes further and asks her what she prays about, she pierces him with "I pray for you to find peace" and he feels it. You see him swallow and the face slightly fall. He recovers and turns the necklace around her neck.

It's interesting to me too, how Don projects guilt onto Sylvia who is seemingly not terribly distraught with this very real affair, despite her very visible religous convictions. And then Megan, who has so much real guilt over a pretend affair that is very public by design. Don lets Megan have it, while he witholds it from Sylvia. That's what the episode title meant to me at least. It's almost like the scenes in this episode (not just ones involving Don) take the idea of a vow/contract/binding and pervert it, as if having and holding are actually at odds with each other, each reserved for separate referents. Each character struggles with this in some way, having something and holding something else.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:32 PM on April 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


Historical inaccuracy alert: Le Cirque did not exist in 1968! Impeach Erin Levy! Fire Weiner! The show is a fake, it's a fraud.
posted by crossoverman at 5:18 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


And yet drinking stays in this episode's background, for the most part. There are some choice little moments: When Don arrives home from work, Megan tells him, "I'm going to get you a drink, then I'm going to stuff you with coq au vin"--even their dinner is drunk!
posted by crossoverman at 5:21 PM on April 24, 2013


You could even say it's...false advertising.

I'll walk myself to the elevator.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:23 PM on April 24, 2013


Man, also, is it just me or is Joan Halloway verging on the satirical in the manner in which her figure and bust is so exaggerated??

My guess is that it's the changing times. In the early seasons, Joan looked curvy compared to the other female characters, but with everyone else in crinolines and shirtwaist dresses, she looked pretty normal.

Now that the prevailing aesthetic is less Marilyn and more Twiggy, she really stands out.

They also have her mostly still wearing pencil skirts and other curve-hugging styles, while other characters are in sheaths and a-lines.
posted by Sara C. at 6:43 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hope it's more like Hogan's Heroes in Texas.

And I'm hoping for more The Right Stuff, but a TV show. Which would work, since The Right Stuff is approximately a zillion hours long and spans far too much story and too many characters to entirely work as a film.
posted by Sara C. at 6:46 PM on April 24, 2013


I'll walk myself to the elevator.

Careful, it has the tendency to open up into an abyss of obviousness.
posted by crossoverman at 7:09 PM on April 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


the Right Stuff, but a TV show

Ah! You mean From the Earth to the Moon.
posted by mwhybark at 10:14 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sylvia's black and white coat and Megan's maids outfit

I forget if this was pointed out upthread or not, but Don and Sylvia's trysting chamber is of course the maid's room.
posted by mwhybark at 10:29 PM on April 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I forget if this was pointed out upthread or not, but Don and Sylvia's trysting chamber is of course the maid's room.

For connections like these - mirrors facing each other, on each turn distorting their reflections some more - I love this show. I could lose it when people say they've watched it and think it's boring!

As to Don's feelings towards Megan's acting, I wonder how soap opera acting was valued in the US in the 60s in terms of prestige and, well, classiness. (Sorry if someone's already mentioned this) I wonder if one like Don would've accepted more serious, prestigious acting jobs (such as in theater, hollywood movies, etc). I mean, playing the maid in a soap opera will bring you fame and probably relatively good money but not necessarily the sort of mystical aura I would associate with hollywood divas and women in Don's imagination. It's neither dignified nor prestigious, right? Sort of like the lowest possible form of TV, like reality shows nowadays.

Though I would be hard pressed to find any indication in the series that Don is thinking about this...

As to Joanie, I would love to know what she is feeling and thinking at the moment! It feels like a critical episode for her in terms of personal growth, like she could take a turn any time now.

Btw, nice to meet you all! I'm relatively new here but bad with introductions... Looking forward to discussing the rest of the series with you!
posted by ipsative at 7:21 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man, also, is it just me or is Joan Halloway verging on the satirical in the manner in which her figure and bust is so exaggerated??

My guess is that it's the changing times. In the early seasons, Joan looked curvy compared to the other female characters, but with everyone else in crinolines and shirtwaist dresses, she looked pretty normal.

Now that the prevailing aesthetic is less Marilyn and more Twiggy, she really stands out.

They also have her mostly still wearing pencil skirts and other curve-hugging styles, while other characters are in sheaths and a-lines.


She's also gained weight since the first seasons--she looks pretty realistically like someone who had a baby and is still pushing herself into structured undergarments.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:23 AM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Matthew Weiner was on Fresh Air today talking about the current season and Terry Gross was positively giddy.
posted by donajo at 6:00 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


ipsative, the problem with Megan becoming a Hollywood Star is that she lives in New York. In the 60's, most of the soaps were based in New York, so that and Broadway were really the only options for professional actors at Megan's level.

There was also the beginnings of the off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway worlds, but those would not have been big enough at the time to be many people's bread and butter. To this day off-off-Broadway is mostly people with day jobs performing out of love of the craft and the material.

In the 60's it would have been rare to the point of unheard of for Hollywood to fly out a rank-and-filer like Megan. Airfare is too expensive, and since casting materials like head shots, screen tests, and even sides are analog (and communication has to happen either via expensive long distance calls or telegrams), mounting a bicoastal casting call would be beyond the means of most productions.

The only way Megan is getting to Hollywood is if she becomes a HUGE soap opera phenomenon (i.e. "Gets Discovered") or if she and Don decide to relocate out there to pursue opportunities for her.

Then again, I've long thought that the series would end with Don in California.
posted by Sara C. at 6:56 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I went back and watched the "bake-off" scene because it seemed so pivotal. Focusing on Peggy as the SCDP team exits the room, her eyes do not first go to Don as I expected. Instead she first looks at Stan, her eyes somewhat downcast, obviously still feeling somewhat bad about taking his ketchup tip and handing it to Ted. Only after that interaction does she glance at Don, in a much more neutral "so here we are" way. (Meanwhile Ted is wearing a shit-eating grin the entire time).

Don wants to listen at the door, which is an echo of him spying through the door at the whorehouse in last week's flashback. He has a slight look of disgust when Peggy says his "change the conversation" line, maybe mixed with a little disbelief, surprise. To her credit, Peggy does not once glance back at the door, even though she must suspect SCDP is listening in.

But re-watching Peggy's pitch, it is uncanny how Don-like it is in every aspect, not just from that line: strategy, delivery, cadence, tone of voice, confidence. And he walks away not disgusted or angry, but more befuddled and resigned. He must be thinking about his entire relationship with Peggy, which gets him thinking about his current relationship with Megan and somehow I think it's something in this whole process that leads him to go to Megan's set.

And I may be under the influence of too much Mad Style, but I watching the cut between the close up of Peggy, with that bright bright red collar, and Don listening outside, reflects the overall red=whore theme they've been highlighting. Don respects Peggy, he knows she has talent, he is witnessing a great pitch, etc. - but still, because it is how he ends up interacting with most women in his life, he is still thinking "whore" in some back portion of his mind.

I've also been thinking of Sylvia's "I pray for you to find peace" line. Does she think she knows what Don needs to do to find peace? Does she think it involves leaving Megan? Or does she have no idea and therefore thinks the only thing she can do is ask God (who would presumably know). I honestly can't figure out her long term vision for what she wants to happen with this relationship.
posted by mikepop at 6:56 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


> My guess is that it's the changing times. In the early seasons, Joan looked curvy compared to the other female characters, but with everyone else in crinolines and shirtwaist dresses, she looked pretty normal.

Now that the prevailing aesthetic is less Marilyn and more Twiggy, she really stands out.

They also have her mostly still wearing pencil skirts and other curve-hugging styles, while other characters are in sheaths and a-lines.


One of my favorite editing moments of the show that foreshadowed this was when Don hooks up with the tiny super-young lady in California from like Season 3 or whenever, and when he finally gets it on with her the shot is of his face, lying down on the bed, and his eyes going wide as she offscreen (I think it was offscreen, maybe shot so you only saw her back though; it's been a while) takes her bra off. And the whole scene, and really most of that California trip, was about how surreal and different everything was aesthetically and social more-wise, and hints that it would be spreading eventually, that California was just ahead of the times. The very next shot is a close-up of Joan's chest as she presents cake at an office party.

This was my reaction at the time to it: the peggy and joan thing, its subtlety and seeming naturalness, reminds me of a general thing i'm fond of in the show that's so rare and so welcome for tv. i mean show don't tell is obvious; it goes beyond that, it's the way the show is poignant and yet so unsentimental about certain things changing. one of the show's gigunda motif-themes among others to me is the way things will change drastically (or rather openly), entire social dimensions taken for granted will be reconsidered, and where that will leave people who lived during the open transition, people who just like anybody in any time had their individual small lives to get through too on another level. the way scenes are paced and emphasized and acted and shot, every little detail, to get that across in THE MOST pervasive yet subtle way, where it's elevator music, you could miss it, but it's saying everything, it might as well be an intercom to doomsday in a way. i think that's a very true but counter-intuitive to traditional narrative tv story-telling spectacle way to present how those changes could have been experienced. you have the scene with don asking the west coast jetsetter girl how old she is after she undresses and she's so tiny. and the way she climbs on top of him and all you see if don's reaction to her tiny tan little frame--it feels like it's telling you the ideal for a sexy woman's body is changing, and the encroaching obsession with youth, sexual hedonism, laziness/lack of accountability/irresponsbility/whatever-you-want-to-call-it-open-id as exalted mainstream cultural aspiration is coming, twiggy and drugs and LA and plastic surgery and mainstreamed hardcore pornography and the cult of youth and all of that. the kind of family set up joy and her "friends" have is unthinkable in the idealized '50s northeast old monied establishment. but that's changing. (EDIT: i LOVE that a few episodes later the writers confirm this; Don mentions after his visit to california he realizes new york is old, out, that it represents decay albeit a luxurious kind). don's bewilderment and sort of sleepy confused response to it all is caught in his face when he sees her topless and it's all about his reaction and not her per se. he's turned on but he's also amazed, dazed. you don't know how hard i love that they make the immediate next shot center on joan's generous frame as she doles out doughnuts in an almost maternal (smoothly so in that oh-so-'50s) way. god. joan (or rather what made joan work) is on the way out, and the show makes the joans caught in it, their lives a kind of tragedy noone even noticed. they don't make sweeping social changes like that any big thang, some monumental zoom!-type moment, but more just a lot of little spaces and pieces, little details or negative space really--what happens that you probably miss if you're not actively paying attention--because you know, in real first-person life as it's lived that's the way it actually goes down. i like it very much, i find it masterful and just wish more mainstream narratives handled things in a similarly well though out fashion.
posted by ifjuly at 7:04 PM on April 25, 2013


And the whole scene, and really most of that California trip, was about how surreal and different everything was aesthetically and social more-wise, and hints that it would be spreading eventually, that California was just ahead of the times.

I'm not sure how apt this actually is, since the people Don falls in with in that episode are members of the idle rich international jet set, not Californians. Though I suppose those sorts of people would be "ahead of the times" in that there are really never any social rules at all for such people. When you're minor Italian nobility living in the Bahamas for the tax shelter and swanning about all over the world, it really doesn't matter who you sleep with or what type of skirt you wear.
posted by Sara C. at 7:57 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was thinking more along the lines of obsession with youth and perceived freshness (the backstage to see the Stones or whoever scene had a similar vibe), how that demographic and chasing it is going to matter much more, and a change in desired female body type (going from yeah, Joan/Marilyn to Twiggy) and more explicit sexual revolution type "anything goes, out in the open" stuff, but yeah, I get that.
posted by ifjuly at 8:50 PM on April 25, 2013


Wow. I've just caught up with this, and I have to say, since Mad Men is one of the shows that I watch but don't analyze or beanplate whatsoever – it's never had a huge analytical appeal to me for whatever reason – reading this has given me some sense of what my friends go through when I start talking about Breaking Bad.

No wonder my friends love me so much because this is awesome. Keep it up. :D
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:32 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


ugh, I have to get into Breaking Bad.

I was an English major and beanplating Mad Men seems so natural to me...
posted by sweetkid at 8:34 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, English class frustrated the shit out of me (as somebody who LOVES reading and tries not to think about why he loves it so much), so I beanplate the crap out of everything except for good stories. Harry Potter notwithstanding.

Mad Men is a hell of an interconnected, involved story, and I'll have fun rewatching it all over again – I haven't done any repeated viewings over the years, so I barely remember what happens in the first couple of seasons – and in the meantime it's something I like to watch and go, "Oh Don, don't do that," and have a blast watching because it's a world I can really get into. It makes me feel like an insider in the best way – I don't feel like I have an overarching view of what's going on in this world, even though I totally do. I'm just somebody watching and waiting to see what happens next.

(Breaking Bad is glorious in a way that Mad Men isn't. I don't mean that it's a better show, because the two have such different approaches to things, but BB is a roller coaster thrill ride like nothing else. It shows off its virtuosity way more, I think, versus Mad Men, where even episodes that have ridiculously "conceptual" formats feel like more of the same thing. You'll get a kick out of it I think.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:41 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


From Fresh Air: EXISTENTIALISM. Yes! This explains everything.
posted by stratastar at 8:42 AM on April 26, 2013


From Fresh Air: EXISTENTIALISM. Yes! This explains everything.

Nooo seriously I have work to do but now I really want to listen to that
posted by sweetkid at 8:43 AM on April 26, 2013


In my experience, the problem with low-level English class crit is that it becomes free association. Hell, even sometimes with more advanced lit criticism; I'd be sitting in my graduate seminars and scratching my head and going "show me the textual PROOF!" Whereas television, especially a show with a strong attention to detail like Mad Men, demands screenshots and so more robust defense of theses. I don't always agree with the conclusions, say, T&L draw about costuming (I think they tend to go to easy on male characters, frankly, and their analysis of female characters is at times oddly simplistic*) but they sure do point out interesting things about the show-as-text.

Breaking Bad is glorious in a way that Mad Men isn't. I don't mean that it's a better show, because the two have such different approaches to things, but BB is a roller coaster thrill ride like nothing else.

Yeah, Mad Men is pretty much a literary novel. Slow burn pacing, static characters who act as filters and receivers for the world around them. Thrill ride it's not.

*No joke, I rely on metafilter for feminist crit of Mad Men. I ventured into /r/madmen the other day and could not believe the number of people who thought that Joan was a "lazy, bitchy whore."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:00 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Reddit discussions of shows are the absolute worst. I keep getting drawn, like a moth to a flame, to /r/community, and it is always just Alison Brie nipples.

And I should point out that by low-level English classes I'm not even referring to college courses (I enjoyed my critical theory in college, because I love professors and hate classmates) – I was turned off to the whole thing in middle school and high school, where reading became less about "I love this story" and more about "It's important that I know what this story is". I'd have loved a high school class on Mad Men, though – reading all these clever little details within the episodes is a real eye-opener, and in a fun way too.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:42 AM on April 26, 2013


In my experience, the problem with low-level English class crit is that it becomes free association. Hell, even sometimes with more advanced lit criticism; I'd be sitting in my graduate seminars and scratching my head and going "show me the textual PROOF!"

Yeah. Crit theory is great, but I really think making English majors read some analytic-type philosophy for some exposure to that mode of argumentation would help with this, even if it's not directly relevant to the texts.
posted by invitapriore at 10:06 AM on April 26, 2013


I was turned off to the whole thing in middle school and high school, where reading became less about "I love this story" and more about "It's important that I know what this story is".

Yeah, I found that problematic in high school but mostly because it was all about bland analysis of what certain symbols "mean." Like "the green light in Gatsby is LONGING" or "The Old Man and the Sea JESUS" and just what is that I don't even.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:35 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


it was all about bland analysis of what certain symbols "mean." Like "the green light in Gatsby is LONGING"

It frustrates me when people take Mad Men to this place. Like "PUT ON YOUR WHORE ROBE". Really? I agree that the show uses color to tell stories, but let's not get ahead of ourselves here. I also don't like the current obsession with what the green/blue color combination MEANS.
posted by Sara C. at 11:30 AM on April 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


But don't you SEE? Things aren't really good unless they have secrets which only smart people understand! That's how you know you're not just mindlessly watching TV, you're embarking on a QUEST!
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:46 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are SECRETS that not everybody knows! But if you know them, you are BETTER than them!
posted by box at 6:49 PM on April 26, 2013


Well the clothing and color stuff isn't a one to one thing, this color ALWAYS means X, but it's more about establishing visual themes and repeating beats. The redness of Megan's robe in the dressing room is a visual callback for young Don seeing the working woman in a red robe in the brothel, it's a cue for the audience to see his point of view and mindset, not a decoder ring that unlocks a SEEKRITT NARRATIVE. People harp on it cause Mad Men has established itself as a fussy, detailed oriented show where the costume and set design does a lot of thematic heavy lifting and foreshadowing, and now people are hanging onto to that a little too hard. I don't actually think the green and blue mean anything other than ways to visually link thematically similar scenes together.
posted by The Whelk at 7:08 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


But, you know, putting your three main female characters in black and white outfits in one episode is ...a thing. A woman in black and white, a maid? a nun? a mourner? Or something different? is how I parsed that grouping.
posted by The Whelk at 7:11 PM on April 26, 2013


I'm more interested in how the symbols have shifted. Cigarettes are closely identified with Don and being coded as symbols of dangerous or illicit activities: The doctor tells Don smoking is dangerous, Sylvia only smokes the maid's room they fuck in, Megan was just told that they're "not worth the wrinkles." (Don isn't worth the stress to put up with him).

Like the slow emergence of Scarves as a symbol of female wealth and metallic color to represent power, the show has it's own visual and metaphoric shorthand, and that's fun to look into (without going too nuts into it, of course.)
posted by The Whelk at 7:17 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying there's no meaning to the color analysis stuff at all, just that blue/green doesn't necessarily MEAN anything. Just because yellow is Peggy's "power color" or Betty had that blue "sad marriage coat" doesn't necessarily imply that someone wearing a navy dress with green trim specifically indicates a specific thing that can be "decoded" with careful attention to each episode.

The black and white thing is a thing though, yeah. I'm still not sure how Joan ties in, but yeah, there's clearly something to that.

My issue is more with the "this" MEANS "that" type of analysis. I think the show is a lot more subtle than that.

Though I did think having Dawn wearing a yellow cardigan in the last episode was a nice touch.
posted by Sara C. at 9:38 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hm, Stan's jacket, then.
posted by mwhybark at 11:25 PM on April 26, 2013


So we've got Pete, Peggy, Bob Benson... how long until all the characters on the show become Don?
posted by Gordafarin at 2:34 AM on April 27, 2013


And it was driving me crazy, but I finally placed her - Pete's new squeeze is the awkward college girlfriend on Cougartown.
posted by Gordafarin at 2:46 AM on April 27, 2013


PhoBWanKenobi: In my experience, the problem with low-level English class crit is that it becomes free association. Hell, even sometimes with more advanced lit criticism; I'd be sitting in my graduate seminars and scratching my head and going "show me the textual PROOF!"

invitapriore: Yeah. Crit theory is great, but I really think making English majors read some analytic-type philosophy for some exposure to that mode of argumentation would help with this, even if it's not directly relevant to the texts.

Stylistics. When I think of all the silly little solipsistic essays I produced during my lit-studies, longing for a vocabulary to express the connections I was making in my mind that didn't feel like I was writing some derivative pseudoliterary b.s.

All the while there was this discipline full of people making and harmonizing theoretical models to try to help literary criticism make claims without appearing like a lunatic.
posted by ipsative at 3:43 AM on April 27, 2013


Yeah, I think we're all on the same page here. I don't even think that T&L would say that colors are a secret decoder ring. They are, like a musical composition, about establishing mood, repeating patterns, and motifs albeit through a visual palette. Visual details seem to be about providing some insight into the psychological states of characters.

The extent to which we bean-plate these stylistic choices because we are so interested in figuring out what makes the show and individual scenes so appealing to watch, no?
posted by stratastar at 2:28 PM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


So we've got Pete, Peggy, Bob Benson... how long until all the characters on the show become Don?

I think the more interesting question is which of the characters will transcend Don. Peggy will. Pete won't unless he figures out that Don is not the Best Thing Ever to be. Maybe Bob will avoid it altogether, but since Bob wants to be Pete who wants to be Don, things arent looking good for him, either. Will Dick transcend Don or will he remain in his infinite whore loop? He's now been this version of Don for so long that I think he may have lost his superpower ability to reinvent himself. Without Anna or Peggy or Megan, or some other woman to guide him into a feminist world, he'll die in the new world, with all the other dinosaurs, like a TV version of Willy Loman.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:39 PM on April 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hi, everybody!
posted by box at 7:03 PM on April 28, 2013


Hi, Dr. Nick!
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:03 PM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


(I start a lot of my work emails this way, when I don't go for 'Good news, everyone!')
posted by box at 7:06 PM on April 28, 2013


Harry Hamlin in nerd glasses!
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:07 PM on April 28, 2013


I'm getting my masters at Hudson University.
posted by box at 7:10 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ginsberg! So cute and awkward.
posted by sweetkid at 7:11 PM on April 28, 2013


I knew Bobby Kennedy. And Gene McCarthy, you are no Bobby Kennedy.
posted by box at 7:12 PM on April 28, 2013


I'm going to Harlem in a tuxedo.
posted by box at 7:15 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am starting to suspect Abe is Peter Parker.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:16 PM on April 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


In the year 2013, everyone goes to Harlem in a tuxedo.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:18 PM on April 28, 2013


Why are you destroying this house?
posted by box at 7:19 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Peggy hug!
posted by box at 7:25 PM on April 28, 2013


That is not what I meant!
posted by box at 7:27 PM on April 28, 2013


PETE!
posted by sweetkid at 7:28 PM on April 28, 2013


Joan hug!
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:28 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


So we know that Abe isn't a tramp, as he goes to Harlem in saaaatin and furs.
posted by The Whelk at 7:29 PM on April 28, 2013


And an inexplicably tiny bow tie.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:30 PM on April 28, 2013


I'm deeply concerned about William Mapother being in this episode. It's just a slippery slope to Tom Cruise from there.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:33 PM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, for Non New Yorkers, Peggy is thinking aout moving into what is the Manhattan equailvent to a huge out of the way blind spot.
posted by The Whelk at 7:33 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nice to know realtors where always sharks.

This insurence guy is from a David Lynch movie.
posted by The Whelk at 7:34 PM on April 28, 2013


You're drunk, Randy, go back to the island in purgatory with Ben and John Locke.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:35 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


All the tears in the world.
posted by box at 7:35 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apparently, Barbara Corcoran got her start as Peggy's real estate agent.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:36 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh Betty, you make everything about you.
posted by The Whelk at 7:37 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dark Betty enforces the child custody agreement.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:37 PM on April 28, 2013


She's a piece of work.
posted by box at 7:38 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's quite the opposite.
posted by box at 7:39 PM on April 28, 2013


Lose the clone mustasche and we can talk Ginsberg.

Also hearing Jon Hamm deliver an ad pitch in the commercial break is really disorienting.
posted by The Whelk at 7:40 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is that a Jon Hamm AA voice-over?
posted by box at 7:40 PM on April 28, 2013


I like how the seeds for all the crazy shit that would break into the mainstream soon are all on display.
posted by The Whelk at 7:41 PM on April 28, 2013


yep Jon Hamm on the American Airlines VO
posted by sweetkid at 7:42 PM on April 28, 2013


Oh Bobby, you are classic middle child.
posted by The Whelk at 7:44 PM on April 28, 2013


SQUEEEEEEE!
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:45 PM on April 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Dr. Zira!
posted by ChuraChura at 7:45 PM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


OH HEY HOW THERE PLANET OF THE APES METAREFERENCE

oh Don, master of the letter and not the spirit of the law.
posted by The Whelk at 7:45 PM on April 28, 2013


This is now officially the best episode of Mad Men ever.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:47 PM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


W80s?


CUE WAVES OF RUEFUL HISTORICAL LAUGHTER.
posted by The Whelk at 7:48 PM on April 28, 2013


I hope Peggy does move into the w80s so she can be at center of far left Jewish liberalism on the east coast and a fairly huge gay neighborhood in the 70s.
posted by The Whelk at 7:54 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also cause then they could have a scene in Big Nick's
posted by The Whelk at 7:54 PM on April 28, 2013


It feels like your heart is going to explode.
posted by box at 8:00 PM on April 28, 2013


Jon Hamm is most beautiful when he's sad, just FYI
posted by The Whelk at 8:00 PM on April 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


I can't wait for the Mad Men spinoff: Pete Campbell, Freedom Rider
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:00 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh hey this song won the Eurovision song contest for this year, BTW
posted by The Whelk at 8:03 PM on April 28, 2013


er the year before.

Also, Ted practically licking Peggy in the earlier part.
posted by The Whelk at 8:07 PM on April 28, 2013


Our dads play chess together.
posted by box at 8:11 PM on April 28, 2013


I love that Joan can pull off glasses and evening wear together.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:12 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


if you know what I mean
posted by The Whelk at 8:12 PM on April 28, 2013


And for people unfamiliar with their US History, Bobby Kennedy is about to get shot.

Which is just gonna be great for Henry.
posted by The Whelk at 8:13 PM on April 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also, this episode is called "The Flood" and features a reference to the Biblical flood.

Which was, you know, the end of the world.
posted by The Whelk at 8:15 PM on April 28, 2013


All this has happened before and all of it will happen again.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:17 PM on April 28, 2013


what was the point of the scene with Randall?
posted by sweetkid at 8:19 PM on April 28, 2013


Randall was the possibility of business, but instead gives a strange, violent, spiritualism/almost New Agey rant that both adds to the free-floating weirdness and apocalyptic atmosphere, but is also something sold as one thing but gives something else. He should be giving them work but instead he gives them a disturbing vision of the future that "wastes their time."

Randall is a touch of the mystic, an oracle, representing how far from the "norm" things have gotten that day.


Also I think to establish that Roger has some new strange friends (He talked me off a ledge once? what where you on Roger? Is Randall a psychedelic trip buddy?)
posted by The Whelk at 8:24 PM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I also think it's relevant that Ginsberg got set up on a blind date "like something from the Old World."
posted by The Whelk at 8:27 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel so much more optimistic for Don now that he's been outed as a loving father.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:28 PM on April 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


What did the guy yell during Paul Newman's speech? I assume it was about MLK, but I couldn't make it out.

Also I think to establish that Roger has some new strange friends (He talked me off a ledge once? what where you on Roger? Is Randall a psychedelic trip buddy?)

That's what I thought.
posted by donajo at 8:28 PM on April 28, 2013


There was a nasty voice in my head saying that Don was just trying to get Megan to shut up.
posted by The Whelk at 8:29 PM on April 28, 2013


I love that Joan can pull off glasses and evening wear together.

Me too, and I'm glad that Joan gets to go to these galas now as a partner, not just as eye candy.
posted by donajo at 8:30 PM on April 28, 2013


Joan's glasses are always The Best.
posted by The Whelk at 8:32 PM on April 28, 2013


I assume it was about MLK, but I couldn't make it out.

It was something like "Are you aware that Martin Luther King has been murdered?"

Also, another product not delivering as advertised - a political speech at a non-political, intra-industry event that has nothing to do with politics.
posted by The Whelk at 8:35 PM on April 28, 2013


also: Joan Harris, master of the awkward side-hug.
posted by The Whelk at 8:36 PM on April 28, 2013


Also: Bert yelling like Mr. Burns in "Homer The Smithers" when Homer and Mr. Smithers have a fist fight.
posted by The Whelk at 8:37 PM on April 28, 2013


Silly Paul Newman: Leave the politics to Marlon Brando.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:39 PM on April 28, 2013


Also Ken was technically in this episode. He doesn't have a line but he walks across the set right before Peter and Harry lay into each other.

I kinda want Ken to vanish for the rest of the show and in the final episode there's a background visual of a best-selling Ken Cosgrove book that no one really mentions.
posted by The Whelk at 8:42 PM on April 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Poor Ginsberg! His papa has picked the worst day ever to attempt matchmaking by ambush.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:43 PM on April 28, 2013


Ken's also at the gala, because they cut to his sad expression so we know he's not an insensitive jackass, unlike some people *cough*HarryCrane*cough*.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:44 PM on April 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm still waiting for payoff on my promised Ginsberg weirdness? Abe was mentioned before, but if Ginsberg isn't revealed to be literally Spider-Man it's not gonna be worth it.
posted by The Whelk at 8:46 PM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ginsberg: "I'm not gay! I'm not on drugs! I'm Spider-Man!"
posted by The Whelk at 8:47 PM on April 28, 2013


Man did I love watching Pete ream out Harry. I'd watch an entire show of that.

Also, aw, poor Ginsberg is a virgin.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:49 PM on April 28, 2013


the longer hair suits him (it's the big eyes) but that soup strainer has got to go.

Unless he's looking for the more Tom Of Finland types. Hope springs eternal.
posted by The Whelk at 8:52 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


L'amour est bleu

Love is Blue

The song describes the pleasure and pain of love in terms of colours (blue and grey) and elements (water and wind). The English lyrics ("Blue, blue, my world is blue …") focus on colours only (blue, grey, red, green, and black), using them to describe elements of lost love.


Thanks, donajo for the link to Matthew Weiner on Fresh Air, where I learned that Weiner would prefer not to show any teasers, but would like for everyone to just listen to the closing song and to think about what it means. Don.
posted by peagood at 8:55 PM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I cannot get over how amazing it was to see Planet of the Apes put into its proper historical context.

Sci-Fi is about to play a huge role in reshaping the way people think. In April of 1968, we've also got ST:TOS in Season 2 (67-68); the Frank Gorshin episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is going to air in the third season (68-69) in January of 1969. This is the stuff that is going to rock and shape the brains of the now-Sally and Bobby Draper-aged geezers during the formative childhood years of the 1970s, and played a huge role in how they learned to think about and relate to people who are different from themselves. The adults during this time are reacting to the sweeping legislative reforms enacted in Congress as a result of LBJ's Great Society programs, to which we owe some of our most important pieces of civil rights legislation.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:09 PM on April 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


FROM TUMBLR

"I absolutely loved this episode, and found it riveting, full of bleak and at times grimly comic set-pieces. The claustrophobia of the awards ceremony was the perfect setting for an intrusion of harsh social reality into a bastion of meaningless privilege, which played itself out again when the sound of blaring sirens intruded in Don and Megan’s apartment. This, too, was what I took from the subplot in Peggy’s apartment-hunting (it’s hard to hate Gabe’s well-intentioned desire to usher in what is nonetheless gentrification) and a brilliant, hilarious confrontation between Pete and Harry. Pete, for all his foibles — this episode found him bearing the burden of divorced Don circa season 4, one for which he was unprepared — has always been a more forward-thinking member of SCDP, and despite so many other hateable aspects of his persona, he was dead-on about Harry’s carelessness for what’s really at stake in the race riots of 1968. Okay, so many Harry’s not a racist with a capital “R”, but he’s a professional apologist by nature. We saw last week how Harry was eager to smooth over Dow’s atrocities with rah-rah rhetoric, and I like to think that that special is just one of the pre-emptings that are the subject of his complaints. This was a perfectly executed scene, in which two different kinds of smarm clash, but one at least has a vestigial social conscience.

[Disregard the next two sentences if you hate it when people bring up pet theories that won’t die.] I wonder if Pete still has that rifle in his office, or his apartment? A certain Chekovian rule about loaded guns may apply. (While we’re on the subject: was Roger’s aside about the creepy mystic insurance client talking him down from a roof a bit of a shout-out to those who theorized about his or Don’s jump from a roof being what we’ve been watching in the opening credits for the past six seasons?)

It’s also worth noting the differences in how Peggy and Joan consoled — er, sort of — their secretaries. Peggy showed some genuine emotion in a difficult time (we already saw her privilege coming to light in her scene with Dawn last season, and there was a definite hint of it present here), while Joan, well, perhaps her failure to read Dawn isn’t something we should criticize too harshly. It sure was awkward, though. As Tom & Lorenzo pointed out with regard to Dawn’s costuming in their comments on “To Have and To Hold,” Dawn isn’t going to be portraying the African-American experience we equate with the ’60s. I think it would be a grave misstep if, for instance, she’s sporting an Afro and raised fist by this time next season. This is in keeping with the mission of the show regarding its other characters, to depict the violent social change of the ’60s through an Establishment lens. Not, of course, that we think anything less of Dawn for being inside its walls. Her “I’d rather be here right now” certainly was telling, and says something about how her peers may view her.

Don’s given a lot to process in this episode, and as in “The Doorway,” his solution is to drink heavily and retreat from life. It’s perfectly in character for him to find a loophole in Bobby’s no-TV rule, as it is for him to shrug off attending a vigil to head to the movies. Aside from my geeky enjoyment of it (cf. the Gamera scene several seasons ago), it was a great move of the series to linger on the Apes trial scene and ending (that giveaway newspaper, too, cleverly mirrored the news reports post-assassination that everyone had on their desks). Something here resonated with Heston’s own viewing of Woodstock in an abandoned theater in The Omega Man; both Heston and co-screenwriter Serling take on an iconic status as quintessential Fifties men struggling to comprehend contemporary life: just like Don! Later, his speech was deeply sad, wherein he all but admitted to feeling nothing at the birth of his children, and only stumbling into feelings of love and pride in spite of himself. Lacking the vocabulary that we have today to describe a traumatic childhood, Don still got to the gestalt of the matter, even if it is something we more or less already know. However, the series hasn’t highlighted his relationship with Bobby in a while, and his troubled attempt to be the marginally decent father he never had was a late-in-the-episode scene I found very moving. If only Don could get it together and try to be a decent husband, but we know from his arc last season that that won’t be happening anytime soon (at least, I suspect that to be the case).

Betty’s coda this episode has an emotional impact as well; she’s poised to reveal herself publicly again, and to have her husband take on the dream career that led her to him in the first place. However, she’s not the woman she was then, and a sense of loss tinged her contemplation of her black hair in the mirror. It was a tangential scene to the episode’s theme, but a meaningful one.
"
posted by The Whelk at 9:18 PM on April 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also Student Teacher lady is getting her Masters at Hunter, not "Hudson".

Hudson is where you send the kids you don't like very much in the Law And Order universe.
posted by The Whelk at 9:25 PM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, I just wept my way through that episode.

Our predictions of Dawn being the lens through which the MLK assassination played out: DASHED!

My hopes of seeing the Thermos in Peggy's office: DASHED!

Also, I may have yelled at the screen when I realized that Don was pouring all of his existential angst into mooning over Sylvia-on-vacation. My boyfriend is mystified by the EMOTION that pours out of me while watching this show, usually accompanied by torrents of profanity and exclamations like "Oh, Trudy!" and "God, Peggy!".
posted by mynameisluka at 9:28 PM on April 28, 2013


Also God Ginsberg's suit jacket during the diner scene, all bunched up and shoulder-padded and big. He's literally not fitting into his clothes. Make of that what you will.
posted by The Whelk at 9:28 PM on April 28, 2013


Trudy's yellow phone of IRON WILL.

Note that is two scenes of divorced (or basically, if not in name) dads dealing with custody in this episode.
posted by The Whelk at 9:29 PM on April 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was laughing during the Fresh Air episode to hear Matthew Weiner say "Megan and Don really make up one person. Don." But it's really true. Megan will forever be a side player in Don's life, ineffectively kissing his shoulder while he looks for the same figure over and over to make the pain go away. I appreciated Jessica Pave much more in this episode than usual. Megan doesn't get what's going on, but she knows enough to know that Don is in pain and she loves him enough to hate every second.
posted by mynameisluka at 9:33 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I liked that they started with a Second Avenue Subway joke.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:36 PM on April 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


There are many people in Yorkville still waiting for that line to be true.
posted by The Whelk at 9:39 PM on April 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


That scene with Betty staring into her mirror at the end makes me think Dark Betty's going to be replaced by Regular Betty on the campaign trail. Dark Betty can't pull off the Stepford stare like Regular Betty.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:40 PM on April 28, 2013


I'm still holding out for Dark Betty gets All Kinds Of Political. She can't play the Sandra Lee role anymore, so she's gonna try a different way.
posted by The Whelk at 9:42 PM on April 28, 2013


Her problem, though, is that she's married to a Republican, so if she goes that route, she's going to go more Happy Rockefeller, or (less likely) Phyllis Schafly, but not Gloria Steinem, who's a woman for the independent Helen Bishops of the world who don't define themselves by their spouses. I think her only way forward is falling back to what she knows.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:52 PM on April 28, 2013


Something I noticed on a second viewing of tonight's episode: the sound of the crashing waves at the end of Planet of the Apes is the same sound as the crashing waves in Don's mind as he stares out the office window in the season premiere.
posted by palomar at 10:57 PM on April 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


They let Bobby do something! (The wallpaper'd bother me, too, kid, I understand.)
posted by rewil at 12:15 AM on April 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Charlton Heston clips they chose felt a little too overwhelmingly on-the-nose for my taste. But to be fair, I think I always felt that way about Planet of the Apes too.
posted by .kobayashi. at 5:44 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Regarding Pete's tirade at Harry: I loved this because they have consistently dropped little notes that Pete, whatever his other flaws, is more progressive when it comes to race than others in the office. For example, go back to season 5 episode 1. This is the episode where rival agency Y&R drops some water balloons onto some civil rights protesters. Pete is annoyed that everyone else is treating it as a joking matter. And in the very last scene when Y&R sends over an African-style statue as a joke, Pete is visibly uncomfortable although he doesn't say anything.

So seeing this all come to the surface is not as surprising as it might have been. I'm curious if there is a specific biographical reason he is more progressive on this issue, or if it is just part of his character for whatever reason.
posted by mikepop at 6:43 AM on April 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Pete also didn't like Roger's blackface at his house party.
posted by sweetkid at 7:00 AM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think Pete was the only one really pissed at Harry for saying disrespectful things to Joan in the last episode, too. He was the only one who tried to cut him off, if I recall correctly.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:08 AM on April 29, 2013



Randall is a touch of the mystic, an oracle, representing how far from the "norm" things have gotten that day.


I thought someone might say something like this to explain Randall. If that's all there is though, I think that scene was a waste of time. We could have spent more time with Dawn, for example.
posted by sweetkid at 7:36 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ohh the TLo review is up, and they're saying this ep and the JFK assassination ep are examples of how Mad Men doesn't do history well. I disagree. I thought this one and the Kennedy one were both fantastic.
posted by sweetkid at 7:40 AM on April 29, 2013


I thought part of the fact that we didn't see much Dawn was to show how disconnected she is from her coworkers. Last season I thought she was awkward around Peggy because Peggy is awkward, but now I kind of suspect that Peggy's relationship with her black secretary was to show that much of Dawn's awkwardness comes out of the way she's keeping her head down in the workplace there and not forging ties with other people. God, that awkward Joan hug. Heartbreaking.

Agree completely, sweetkid. I think the writers capture that atmosphere of shock and change very well.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:02 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also really disagree with T&L's thesis about Dawn being Peggy 2.0. What do you guys think?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:24 AM on April 29, 2013


I'm really irritated by Matt Weiner's treatment of race overall on this show and have been for my whole time watching the show. People explain it away as these characters being sheltered from race relations and no black people worked in advertising/office jobs back then (untrue) but I've heard Weiner say outright in an interview that he's not interested in the race relations in the 60s as a storyline and didn't want to include minority characters in his show. That is completely fine, there's no requirement that a show has to be x points of diversity or whatever. But then when he did add Dawn, he used her as a punchline, like almost all other minority characters on this show.

I don't know if Dawn is Peggy 2.0 because we know almost nothing about her. We get so little of her perspective, family life, background, ambitions, etc. We got a glimmer last week, only to have her barely get to have anything to say in this episode that was centered around a hugely important civil rights moment. We just keep getting the same perspectives "man these white advertising people sure are clueless about civil rights. Look someone will make a bigoted joke now."

I've said before, I think that Mad Men could be much more diverse and have it be believable and impactful. I think Friday Night Lights is a really good example of a show that could have handwaved over diversity issues but didn't, and humanized both white and minority characters in a really interesting way that wasn't just "black people having struggles" vs "white people being bigoted."

Again, Weiner doesn't HAVE to do anything, but to bring in these characters after you've specifically said you aren't interested in race as a topic, and then half assing their development, is just ridiculous to me.
posted by sweetkid at 8:35 AM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why are you destroying this house?

I applaud the escalation of decay, mother.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:28 AM on April 29, 2013 [13 favorites]


That's a great connection Sys Rq!
posted by sweetkid at 9:33 AM on April 29, 2013


I don't remember Peggy's exact wording, but her initial exchange with her secretary seemed to focus on the aftermath of MLK's murder, fear of rioting. The secretary was upset about the actual loss of Dr. King. Peggy adjusted quickly.

That is Peggy's great saving grace and the thing that will save her is that ability to adjust. Don cannot adjust. It will be his downfall.

The Randall/Roger thing was some weird Coen Bros. shit.
posted by readery at 9:46 AM on April 29, 2013


I agree with you in many ways, sweetkid, though I actually do think that, at this point, we're learning more significant information about Dawn as a person: we know she's conservative, traditional, fairly insular in her attitudes (honestly, she seems an odd candidate for someone who would apply to a Madison Ave agency), someone who wants to just do good work and keep her head down. I honestly interpreted her desire to stay at work as a reaction that was fear-based (afraid of the rioting) rather than a grief reaction. She is withholding quite a bit of herself from her co-workers, though she clearly respects Joan. You get the feeling that the job is a stopgap for her until she can get married, not her whole life, like it was with Peggy.

I'm a bit more frustrated with the way they're using Phyllis, as a device to mirror Dawn and Don's relationship to Dawn via Peggy, rather than a fully-fledged person. You know--Peggy hugs Phyllis, so we have to see Joan hug Dawn. That sort of thing.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:57 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"predictably, all of these people take this mass tragedy and make it all about themselves. Pete chooses the moment to try to get back into Trudy’s good graces. Don shuts down and shuts out his wife and children. Megan squabbles with her dad on the phone. (He’s entirely too happy about the “escalation of decay.”) Peggy puts in an offer on an apartment that she hopes will succeed, because the chaos erupting around the country may drive down property values. (Tony Soprano’s quoting of the old maxim “When there’s blood in the streets, buy property,” seems particularly relevant here, especially given this shows connection to The Sopranos.) Abe sees the story of a lifetime and a chance to work with the Times. Bobby pretends to have a stomach ache. Henry decides to further his political ambitions. The characters all react to the assassination in at least somewhat appropriate ways—Harry, who just wants regular programming to resume, aside—but they also almost immediately start trying to think of ways to turn the chaos to their benefits." - AV Club
posted by The Whelk at 10:04 AM on April 29, 2013


yeah, no I definitely agree that we're seeing a bit more of Dawn and that's good. But I feel like we'd need a lot more information to know if she's Peggy 2.0 or not. I rewatched a bunch of Season One episodes last night with a friend new to the show, and we really get so much Peggy development in Season One with so many hints to how she becomes who she is now (well 1968 now), both subtle hints and broad strokes.

We would never get that level with Dawn (And I don't think we should, I wouldn't really like to watch the Dawn Show at this point) so it's hard to say what she's going to develop into. I agree that she's a bit conservative and a surprising choice to apply to Madison Avenue - especially because that whole job offer was a stunt to stick it to Y&R and I have the feeling the black applicants knew that. But it would be interesting to get more info on how she made that decision.

I'm a bit more frustrated with the way they're using Phyllis, as a device to mirror Dawn and Don's relationship to Dawn via Peggy, rather than a fully-fledged person. You know--Peggy hugs Phyllis, so we have to see Joan hug Dawn. That sort of thing.


Yeah totally agree. But again, Weiner sucks with race. I was happy about Pete's rant though, it was something. Then again I'm always rooting for Pete.
posted by sweetkid at 10:05 AM on April 29, 2013


I do wonder, though, if Dawn's protest that she's not going to meet someone at work means that she is, in fact, going to meet someone at work. Who, though, at this point? It feels like we're being set up for a Ginsberg romance with someone (and I think he's super adorable and wonderfully weird, so I want to see it), but I can't imagine he and Dawn would be a good match at all. I find it difficult to imagine Dawn dating outside her race. And most of the candidates (Bob Benson?) aren't only white, but so white.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:06 AM on April 29, 2013


It feels like we're being set up for a Ginsberg romance with someone (and I think he's super adorable and wonderfully weird, so I want to see it)

Yeah, Ginz has really grown on me. I was initially resistant just because I always want to see more of the characters we've got, but he really is wonderfully weird, as he put it. I don't think it will be Dawn, and agree she probably wouldn't want to date outside her race, but I'd love to see Ginz get a hookup! He was so sweet yet awkward with that girl. She was sweet and interesting, too. Really liked that scene.
posted by sweetkid at 10:10 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The comments at the AV club note that the Pete/Trudy marriage was at its high point for the last assassination episode.
posted by The Whelk at 10:11 AM on April 29, 2013


I honestly interpreted her desire to stay at work as a reaction that was fear-based (afraid of the rioting) rather than a grief reaction.

Yes, this. Remember when Peggy found her sleeping in the office for that very reason? It's her refuge.

I'm a bit more frustrated with the way they're using Phyllis, as a device to mirror Dawn and Don's relationship to Dawn via Peggy, rather than a fully-fledged person. You know--Peggy hugs Phyllis, so we have to see Joan hug Dawn. That sort of thing.


Yeah, but, 1. She's a secretary. Other than Joan, Peggy, and Dawn, the secretaries are not deep characters. 2. She's a secretary at CG&C. Underlings there are barely more than extras.

Pete chooses the moment to try to get back into Trudy’s good graces.

I don't think that's what he was doing at all. I think he was broken up and needed someone to share his grief with.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:13 AM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but, 1. She's a secretary. Other than Joan, Peggy, and Dawn, the secretaries are not deep characters. 2. She's a secretary at CG&C. Underlings there are barely more than extras.

Right, but Weiner didn't need to invent a black secretary at CGC for the sole purpose of reflecting Dawn, and where usually secretary-as-plot-device would be fine, given the show's weird relationship with black characters, it's certainly not a writing choice I would have made.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:16 AM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


One thing that I totally forgot to mention because I started thinking about Dawn/Peggy 2.0 was that when Pete was reacting so strongly to Harry's indifference about MLK's assassination ( "He was a great man," "4 kids"etc) I immediately contrasted that to his reaction when American Airlines Flight 1 went down in the first season, with his own father on it.

Pete sort of wandered numbly into Don's office and didn't know how to react. Don had to tell him that the right thing was for him to go home, be with family (even though Don doesn't know how to grieve either, he at least knows how to make it "look right").

I'm not sure if there's a difference to Pete about this being a national event vs a personal one, or he's changed as a character, or he's angsty about family and Trudy, or what, but it's an interesting contrast.
posted by sweetkid at 10:33 AM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I found that line interesting because I suspect he was trying to hit Harry where it hurts--but how much does Harry actually care about his wife and three children?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:38 AM on April 29, 2013


Right, but Weiner didn't need to invent a black secretary at CGC for the sole purpose of reflecting Dawn, and where usually secretary-as-plot-device would be fine, given the show's weird relationship with black characters, it's certainly not a writing choice I would have made.

No, I get that, and it's a fair point.

But at the same time, it's sort of important to at least have one other black person somewhere, especially in this episode, just to shift the presentation from a monolithic depiction of Dawn = The Black Experience to a story about individuals. And if that's the reason you're shoving a new character in there, putting them in a roughly equivalent position will highlight what needs to be highlighted with maximal efficiency.

It's kind of gross how obviously deliberate it is, sure, and obviously it's far from ideal. But it's at least kind of un-terrible.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:48 AM on April 29, 2013



I suspect he was trying to hit Harry where it hurts--but how much does Harry actually care about his wife and three children


Yeah. I do agree with T&Lo though (and/or Sepinwall, can't remember right now where I saw it) that this "Harry is an asshole" thing seems to come from nowhere. He's seemed like a dweeb before but not an out and out horror, and he did seem really dedicated to his wife early on (introducing himself as "Harry Crane, married" to the young women, being crushed with regret when he cheated on Jennifer).

It's said to be a reflection of Weiner's dislike of TV executives but it just seems really accelerated and sort of "off" to me.
posted by sweetkid at 10:48 AM on April 29, 2013


predictably, all of these people take this mass tragedy and make it all about themselves. Pete chooses the moment to try to get back into Trudy’s good graces.

I don't think Pete was scheming there, I think he was thinking about his family and that led him to reach out to Trudy, it's also why he mentioned family to Harry.
posted by drezdn at 10:51 AM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I could see a guy like Harry becoming corrupted by his own perceptions of his coolness, not to mention teeming with resentment about how those he views as rivals--Pete, Joan--rising in status. I thought it was pretty clear in the episode where he's trying to get the Stones that he's a dork, that he's trying really hard and he's out of his element. He wants to impress Don there but doesn't really know what's impressive. And so he ends up reaching for asshole stuff, probably because he sees some of them men around him doing loathsome things and thinks he can pull it off without being loathsome himself. I don't find any of that out of character.

I'd like to see Jennifer resurface, though. She was established as the one pushing him toward greater ambitions in the early seasons and I wonder what's going on there now. I suspect we're going to learn a lot about Who Harry Really Is if and when we go to California this season.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:55 AM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I also disagree with T&L's analysis of Harry. Harry's behavior doesn't come out of nowhere; it comes out of the completely immature way he's dealing with his frustrations about the lack of respect he's getting at the agency for the disproportionate number of opportunities he's providing for SCD, and in this scene specifically, his bad behavior is further complicated by Pete's bad behavior. The whole fight between Pete and Harry displays the immaturity of both characters. Harry is being selfish and insensitive in his own way, but it was unfair of Pete to jump all the way to calling him out as a racist.

Harry says he'd been on the phone with clients all morning screaming at him about the loss of their ad revenues, and the office "girls" are gone, so he's already on edge. The fight with Pete starts when Harry attempts to defend the clients' frustration at the interruptions of normalcy in the TV schedule, and Pete's disproportionately angry reaction to Harry. Note that Pete, in his own way, is also being insensitive about the situation: He's not really upset by the assassination of MLK as a civil rights leader; he's upset so much because of his own homelife, which he's essentially projecting onto an assassination. Pete's masculinity has been shot down by Trudy and his way of dealing with it is that he's he's projecting his own upset about "a great man" being felled ("Let me put this in terms you'll understand: That man had a wife and four children.") Pete sees himself as "a great man" who is does not deserve to be thrown out on the street by ungrateful people, including his wife and everyone at the agency who doesn't appreciate Pete's greatness.

So when Pete calls Trudy, I agree that he wasn't intentionally scheming, but his behavior is still just as inappropriate as Harry's, because he's using the assassination as a way to try to get his foot back in the door at home, just like Harry's using the events to get his foot in the door with clients ("I'm sorry. I suppose that my comments were inappropriate. I mistook this for a workday.") Upthread, I made a comment about Pete Campbell: Freedom Rider, which was intended as a backhanded stab at Pete's lack of integrity re: this situation. Does anyone think for a second that Pete feels strongly enough about civil rights that he'd risk his own life to protest? Not. A. Chance. Pete doesn't have that kind of courage of his convictions. His whole histrionic reaction to this traumatic event is driven by pure self-centeredness.

Also: I wish I could screencap the look on Don's face when Joan gives Dawn the awkward hug.
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:38 AM on April 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


"The Flood" in five gifs
posted by The Whelk at 11:38 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, let's just take a moment to celebrate the awesomeness of Nan demonstrating extreme grace under Peggy-licking:
Ted: Have no fear. They're going to fire off a cannon when the atrocities begin. Hello all, you remember my wife, Nan.
Nan: Good luck everyone! Good luck!
Ted: I told you, Nan, Peggy's the only one competing.
Nan: [Under her breath] Well, I didn't know what else to say...
I'm fascinated by Peggy's awards gala dress, and those deeply saturated pink and green florals. It reminded me of the florals in Prada's 2008 resort collection, in particular, the pinks and greens in the print and the bow. Those pinks and greens weren't as saturated, but there's just something about pink and green together that I find very jarring.
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:42 AM on April 29, 2013


I also really disagree with T&L's thesis about Dawn being Peggy 2.0. What do you guys think?

I'm glad T&L agree with me, because she is (and also not, as always). We're discussing Dawn being apolitical now, and I seem to remember Abe chastising Peggy for being apolitical too, when they met and she didn't like his poem or essay or whatever.
posted by ipsative at 11:43 AM on April 29, 2013


What I think I saw in this episode:

- Bobby has OCD or he just really can't deal with crooked wallpaper.
- Chaugh is in love with Peggy and his wife sort of knows it.

Thoughts?
posted by ipsative at 11:49 AM on April 29, 2013


Randy is an oracle. He's the only one in 1968 who was able to predict that the death of MLK would eventually lead to a holiday featuring fantastic deals and low, low prices on appliances, linens, and sporting goods.
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:51 AM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


- Chaugh is in love with Peggy and his wife sort of knows it.

I think he has a crush on Peggy, to be sure. I don't think it is full-on love. The scene at the banquet makes it seem obvious to everyone, in that "oblivious to the rest of the world while talking to/about my crush" sort of way.

I don't think Pete called Trudy with bad intentions at the start (he urgently wants to call immediately from the banquet, but if it was all a scheme he had no reason to hurry), but once he realized they were having sort of a conversation where she wasn't screaming at him his scheming/awkward instincts kicked in.
posted by mikepop at 12:03 PM on April 29, 2013



- Bobby has OCD or he just really can't deal with crooked wallpaper.


I think Sys Rq nailed it with the connection of Bobby ripping the wallpaper to Megan's father's phone comment that he "applauds the acceleration of decay."

The "why are you destroying this house" comment by Betty really underscored it.

Another thing that struck me about Bobby ripping the wallpaper was that he lied about it. Bobby's been established as a liar - I know kids lie especially to their parents and all that - but in commentary tracks on I think the Three Sundays episode from a few seasons ago, Bobby's messing around with the stereo and Betty admonishes him for it, but even as he says "I didn't do it!" you can see the liquor bottles on top wobbling around a little. Weiner mentions he wanted to make it clear that Bobby was lying, part of his overall persona of being a little liar.

Who knows, there's so little to go on with Bobby, but when I saw him say he didn't do anything to Betty I thought, "lying again, Bobby!"
posted by sweetkid at 12:04 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


FYI: The fake POTA newspapers like the one Don was reading in the theatre ("Big Round Up of Human Beasts") while he was waiting for Bobby before they saw it the second time were published for each POTA movie. Here's a wiki summary of them if you're curious.
posted by Dr. Zira at 12:07 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pete sees himself as "a great man" who is does not deserve to be thrown out on the street by ungrateful people, including his wife and everyone at the agency who doesn't appreciate Pete's greatness.

I don't see this at all. Pete is fairly well-respected at the agency this season.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:23 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


He's not really upset by the assassination of MLK as a civil rights leader; he's upset so much because of his own homelife, which he's essentially projecting onto an assassination

I think he's both upset about the assassination of MLK and projecting his home life onto the assassination, and I don't think the latter invalidates the former, or that he's a bad person for doing that. I think everyone projects their own lives onto larger tragedies. It's how we understand them, by personalizing them.

See all the people making comments about how the Boston Marathon especially upset them because they used to live there, went to college there, know those streets, etc.
posted by sweetkid at 12:27 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think he has a crush on Peggy, to be sure. I don't think it is full-on love. The scene at the banquet makes it seem obvious to everyone, in that "oblivious to the rest of the world while talking to/about my crush" sort of way.

I think Sys Rq nailed it with the connection of Bobby ripping the wallpaper to Megan's father's phone comment that he "applauds the acceleration of decay."

The "why are you destroying this house" comment by Betty really underscored it.


Not buttering you up here, but you guys are really good at this.

That scene with Chaugh made me think about his protestant retreat back then and the fact that his wife had arranged for him to be away from work, and that Peggy couldn't reach him. I feel like there's something brewing.

As to Bobby, did he say Betty had punished him because the wallpaper didn't line up? Which is why he started peeling it. To his eyes, it was already broken.
posted by ipsative at 12:30 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


As to Bobby, did he say his Betty had punished him because the wallpaper didn't line up? Which is why he started peeling it. To his eyes, it was already broken.

And what I loved about that line is Don not even questioning it. His puzzled expression barely lasts a split second before, whatever Betty, they are off to the movies.

If he hadn't been caught I was hoping he was tunneling out, Shawshank Redemption style. Compare the scene where he first picks at the wallpaper with the scene where the little rock hammer flakes away the first piece of concrete.

Either that or he makes a hole and finds a family of raccoons living in between the walls.
posted by mikepop at 12:39 PM on April 29, 2013


As to Bobby, did he say Betty had punished him because the wallpaper didn't line up? Which is why he started peeling it. To his eyes, it was already broken.

I think that exchange might also have a bit of a meta-joke in it about a certain type of person who "punishes" Mad Men based on minor inaccuracies in the set dressing.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:44 PM on April 29, 2013


Also:

ABE WANTS TO HAVE ALL OF PEGGY'S BABIES!!! :D
posted by ipsative at 12:51 PM on April 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Ah, here's the Vicky Leandros performance of "L'amour Est Bleu" at Eurovision 1967 which The Whelk referenced above.
That is some fierce eyeliner!
posted by Dr. Zira at 12:51 PM on April 29, 2013


ABE WANTS TO HAVE ALL OF PEGGY'S BABIES!!! :D

I had no idea he felt that way! (About the apartment, I mean.)
posted by Sys Rq at 12:54 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


My theory is that Bobby was just following best practices for monitoring and prevention of time field cracks.
posted by Dr. Zira at 12:54 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I thought that Bobby would surely unearth some kind of Box of Shameful Secrets in the wall...
posted by mynameisluka at 1:33 PM on April 29, 2013


yeah, I thought he would find a door behind the paper for a second. It's just such a common trope.
posted by sweetkid at 2:00 PM on April 29, 2013


I hope Beverly Farber comes back. She was adorable, and seemed to tolerate Ginsberg's antics fairly well.
posted by donajo at 5:14 PM on April 29, 2013


Whoever is cataloging Megan's clothes on the Mad Men Wiki is hilarious. Favorites:
The "I Own More Pajamas Than Regular People Own Clothes" nightgown
The "But Glen Had Already Seen My Other Outfit" outfit
The "I'm Probably Still High From Last Night" beachwear
I do believe that the The "RIP Miss Blankenship" dress and the The "Background Beauty" dress are one and the same.

They also draw a line between the outfit that Megan is wearing when she leaves Sally in the apartment alone, to the dress she's wearing in her screen test. Cool.
posted by donajo at 7:14 PM on April 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't think Harry's jerkish behavior is entirely out of the blue, but it did seem to blossom after he was one of the chosen few to leave Sterling Cooper to form SCDP. When Megan was discussing who to invite to Don's surprise party at the start of season 5, Peggy mentions that Don hates him and he was shown to be a boor several times afterward throughout the season
posted by peppermind at 7:31 PM on April 29, 2013


My head and my heart think different things about this episode. My head is confused about doing an MLK episode from the point of view of privileged white folks, even knowing that's the milieu of the show. My heart was moved, because it was still an emotional time for many of these characters - even if it didn't affect them as deeply as Dawn, for example.

One of my favourite literary tropes is fictional stories where you feel the sense of history creeping up, ready to overwhelm the characters. In the early years of Mad Men, a lot of the history was very much in the background - news reports barely heard on radios, let alone seen on television. The death of Medgar Evers is overheard, but never commented on by the show, I think? Then, slowly but surely, as the seasons have progressed, the show has given us more and more of history - more and more concrete dates and historical events.

Obviously, the JFK assassination was the big exception in the early years of the show - but no wonder. Now that we're in 1968, it feels like every week something major and terrible is going to happen. What exactly does the show do in a couple of weeks time when RFK is killed? Another episode like this? Another body blow to the characters, where this might hit even closer to home? (ie. Henry is now running for Senate. If Bobby is worried about Henry being shot now, I suspect others will be worried about Henry when RFK is assassinated.)

So, I enjoyed this episode on the level that I enjoy all MM episodes - I like spending time with these characters. And I liked to see how they reacted to this part of history, in their complicated, cringeworthy, messy and awkward ways.

But boy, a little part of me wished we got more of Dawn - and less of the drug-addled insurance guy.
posted by crossoverman at 7:43 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"You're a sexy girl! And you smell great!"

Ginsberg really has a way with the ladies.
posted by Sara C. at 8:03 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think Harry's jerkish behavior is entirely out of the blue, but it did seem to blossom after he was one of the chosen few to leave Sterling Cooper to form SCDP. When Megan was discussing who to invite to Don's surprise party at the start of season 5, Peggy mentions that Don hates him and he was shown to be a boor several times afterward throughout the season

Going over it in my mind, ever since Harry started to go out to LA he's been seen less and less, and almost every time you see him he's slightly worse. He's really disconnected seeming from the rest of the company (he was the first to start dressing in more west coast looks, visually distancing himself from SCDP) , and I thought the reason we didn't see more of him is cause the main cast both didn't have to and didn't want to interact with him.
posted by The Whelk at 8:08 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Soooo I think Harry is treated like a big deal* out in LA and when he goes home he's barely on the radar and this sticks in his caw.

*I feel like Harry is someone who has to explain his name dropping, if you get what I mean.
posted by The Whelk at 8:14 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Look I haven't seen the whole episode yet or read all the new comments here, but we're clear that the insane pitch from druggy insurance dude becomes the Indian Chief Shedding A Tear PSA in a few years, right?
posted by Sara C. at 8:30 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


What exactly does the show do in a couple of weeks time when RFK is killed?

My guess is that the next episode is going to jump ahead to at least mid-June (maybe 4th of July - they do like using holidays as temporal landmarks), so we won't have a replay of the shocked, raw, as-they-happen reactions to an assassination. Either that or the next episode will be pre-June 5th, then we'll jump ahead. Obviously all the characters and the Mad Men universe in general will be feeling the repercussions, but they will be settled in somewhat.
posted by mikepop at 9:13 PM on April 29, 2013


Look I haven't seen the whole episode yet or read all the new comments here, but we're clear that the insane pitch from druggy insurance dude becomes the Indian Chief Shedding A Tear PSA in a few years, right?

No, I don't think all those tears look Italian enough.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:20 PM on April 29, 2013


The thing about "Harry's Behavior" in this episode is that, look, people are like that. I'm sure there are plenty of people who are like that who are also nice guys who are good to their families. A lot of people in positions like Harry's have thoughts like the ones Harry is having, nowadays, about events comparable to this. If you think there weren't TV and ad execs* FLIPPING THEIR MOTHERFUCKING SHIT around noon on September 11, you're very naive.

The difference is that in 1968 it wasn't entirely taboo to voice these kinds of opinions. Peggy's real estate agent does basically the same thing, and Peggy doesn't even have the nerve to call her on it.

We've also seen plenty of other beloved characters say casually racist things that would be beyond the pale today. Harry seems like a monster here because he would be a monster today, because Pete actually calls him out when any other character probably wouldn't, and because we all hate Pete because he's otherwise an asshole. Harry looks bad because it's Pete making him look bad.

*The interesting thing is that, being on the Sopranos writing staff at the time, Weiner would have been in a position to know many such people.
posted by Sara C. at 9:30 PM on April 29, 2013


Sys Rq, I found out recently that Leonard Nimoy also started his career playing Native Americans on TV.
posted by Sara C. at 9:32 PM on April 29, 2013


You know what's worse than the way Matthew Weiner handles race on Mad Men? The way (many/most/"typical") Mad Men viewers handle the characters' way of handling race on Mad Men.

People get So Fucking Freaked Out when Joan behaves awkwardly around her ex's new black girlfriend*, or when Harry speaks freely about the impact of the MLK assassination on ad revenues.

But, ummmm, guys, seriously, not only were people that racist in the 60's, people are that racist now. People who don't even think they are racist are that racist.

*I just had a thought. Why have the only black characters of even the most tangential significance always been women? Aside from the waiter in the first scene of the pilot and maybe the elevator operator in season 1, I don't think there's been a black man with a speaking role on the show.
posted by Sara C. at 9:37 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The way (many/most/"typical") Mad Men viewers handle the characters' way of handling race on Mad Men.

Well, how are they supposed to react? I mean, are they supposed to notice the problem within themselves when they see it reflected on screen, but instead they're putting distance between the characters' behavior and their own because of the era?
posted by sweetkid at 10:08 PM on April 29, 2013


I don't really know what they're "supposed" to do, but I always find it vaguely disconcerting.

I remember being especially bothered by a (clickbait, I'm sure) headline like "IS BELOVED MAD MEN CHARACTER JOAN HOLLOWAY A RACIST?" following the episode where Paul has that party.

It's like, really, you all thought that everyone was going to be 100% 21st century PC, on a show about white people in 1962?

I admit that it's relatively controversial for the show to be so open about how casually racist most white people were, but I just feel like people are weirdly blind about the idea that their favorite TV character might say something that wouldn't be apropos at a dinner party in 2013.
posted by Sara C. at 10:13 PM on April 29, 2013


Aside from the waiter in the first scene of the pilot and maybe the elevator operator in season 1, I don't think there's been a black man with a speaking role on the show.

Yr larger point here seems justified, but the framing is off: in this very episode, there was a black male theater usher who has lines in an exchange with Bobby. You don't mean "speaking role," you mean recurring non-incidental character, I think.
posted by mwhybark at 11:53 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dr. Zira: " In April of 1968, we've also got ST:TOS in Season 2 (67-68); the Frank Gorshin episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is going to air in the third season (68-69) in January of 1969."

Can you talk about how this episode was received by the public? Wikipedia's "reception" section is... weak.
posted by stratastar at 12:52 AM on April 30, 2013


I'm confused by your point though Sara C. First you said:

But, ummmm, guys, seriously, not only were people that racist in the 60's, people are that racist now. People who don't even think they are racist are that racist.


and then

It's like, really, you all thought that everyone was going to be 100% 21st century PC, on a show about white people in 1962?

It seems like you're saying there's authenticity in the racism from 1962, and I agree, but then what does it mean when you're saying people are still racist now? I'm confused.

Personally I don't have an issue with the characters saying racist things any more than sexist things as I see it as a sign of their times. I still feel that the show uses black people/other minorities (but mostly black people) as punchlines. I think Weiner thinks the "black coffee" jokes about Dawn are funny and that the audience will think they are funny. I don't think they're meant to shock people into better behavior today or to sympathize with Dawn in any way. They're throwaway. They make her/other black people as the 'other' in every way.

By not ever getting Dawn's point of view (and last week was really not much) or Carla's, I mean how long did we have Carla, and we never got much more about her, it keeps her as the other, it keeps black people as really sidelined and OMG LOOK IT IS A BLACK PERSON every time they appear on the show.
posted by sweetkid at 7:21 AM on April 30, 2013


but then what does it mean when you're saying people are still racist now?

I don't want to speak for Sara C., but I feel similarly about the commentary about how racist/sexist the characters are. In my experience, outside of Metafilter, I hear commentary like that about the show from people who seem to believe that everything has changed -- there is no racism, there is no sexism (or need for continued feminist work). People in general seem to be wearing blinders about the world we live in. Racism isn't a thing? Obama and Trayvon Martin would beg to differ. Sexism isn't a thing? Hell, even Christina Hendricks would beg to differ, check out her recent interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show where she brings up how she's like, "Um, okay...." when people say to her that it's so weird that the world used to be like that and isn't she glad it's totally different now.
posted by palomar at 8:24 AM on April 30, 2013


I agree that people are racist and sexist now, but that doesn't really help me decipher Sara C.'s comment.
posted by sweetkid at 8:28 AM on April 30, 2013


I think Weiner thinks the "black coffee" jokes about Dawn are funny and that the audience will think they are funny. I don't think they're meant to shock people into better behavior today or to sympathize with Dawn in any way. They're throwaway. They make her/other black people as the 'other' in every way.

I didn't think that comment was funny, and I will project my feelings on to Weiner--he didn't think it was funny either. That comment highlighted how the client, who was used to working with a female copywriter and wanted a female perspective on his account, was also a racist asshole.
posted by donajo at 8:52 AM on April 30, 2013


there was a black male theater usher who has lines in an exchange with Bobby.

I think his lines are "no" and then "yes". It's not just "no recurring character". Nobody has had a long lingering conversation with a black man on the entire show, except for the first scene of the pilot.

Sweetkid -- Here's what I mean about that comment.

So Joan behaves terribly to Paul's girlfriend. In that racist sort of way that people very much still are. Not "I don't approve of my friend dating a black person" but "oh look Paul's flavor of the month is chocolate."

People get all pearl-clutchy about whether Joan Is A Racist or what.

Meanwhile, they talk openly about how they really have a thing for Asian women. Or the illegals are stealing all our jobs. Or any other casually racist 2013 thing.

I don't know if I really have "a point" in the larger conversation about how Matthew Weiner handles race, which I think is atrocious and inexcusable. I think it's more a point about how American culture understands what "racism" is, and whether American culture can divorce the concept of racism from Civil Rights Movement segregated water fountain imagery.

(The other weird thing? People got worried that Joan was A Racist for making that comment at that party, but I'm pretty sure the same people have forgotten that Roger wore blackface at a party.)
posted by Sara C. at 8:59 AM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


thanks for clarifying Sara C. I agree with you totally on that (shocker).
posted by sweetkid at 9:02 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


For animation nerd reasons it just hit me that 1968 is when the UA studio's Censored Eleven got pulled from syndication
posted by The Whelk at 10:39 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Damn, only got to watch this week's episode last night. Observations:

-I haven't seen it discussed upthread, but Don is clearly in love with Sylvia. First, the "last week on Mad Men" clip, showing Sylvia saying "we have to be careful not to fall in love" (or something to that effect). And Don's drinking this episode seemed to me to be entirely about being worried. Other mistresses he has no problem putting out of his head when dealing with his life, even when they are in trouble.

-re Harry, someone drew a good contrast between Ken and Harry in the last episode; Harry charges into the boardroom to blast the partners, while Ken just stands there smoking a cigarette, because Ken understands what he would have to do to be in the partners' meetings and it's not worth it to him. Harry has decided he wants to be in the room, and what we're seeing is what that ambition is doing to him.

-re treatment of race in the show, I really don't see any other way for the show to treat the moment. Megan's father is right, the characters are witnessing an acceleration of decay. And they are scared and confused about what's going to happen. We would all deal with that confusion in our own way. So why should the show portray these characters any differently? The way they portrayed Dawn's reaction makes sense to me. Being at work, where there is some semblance of order, amid the chaos, is perfectly logical. Not every African-American invested themselves in the fight for social justice. Some just wanted to keep their heads down and make the best out of the situation for themselves. What's wrong with portraying Dawn as one of those people?
posted by dry white toast at 7:05 AM on May 1, 2013


or to re-phrase my last point, Weiner senses your disapproval, and Joan's awkward hug is what he thinks of it.
posted by dry white toast at 7:08 AM on May 1, 2013


I'm not saying Dawn has to join the fight for social justice. In fact, that would be pat and frankly annoying. The issue with race on Mad Men, or part of it, is that the black characters are barely developed whereas the show is overall quite good at developing characters in very small and subtle ways. They are all A Black Person Is Here rather than actual people. To handwave that away as "This is the white people's perspective" is lazy and by Season 6 it's getting old and boring. Yeah, they're scared, Dawn's scared, everyone's scared. There's no good reason beyond "Matt Weiner doesn't want to" to have the black characters be developed as much as the other characters are, and it doesn't necessarily mean a lot more screen time. See how much more we know about Bob Benson through small details than we ever knew about Carla.

"Matt Weiner doesn't want to" is a fine reason not to do this, but it's odd to me how much people read other more legitimate reasons into it. And whether he disapproves of my opinion or not doesn't really matter.
posted by sweetkid at 7:34 AM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I actually think we knew a great deal about Carla, and though I agree with your broader point, that's not the best example. Any distance between Carla and the audience was created by virtue of her job and position with the family (and Betty's racism). And really, I think we're getting a more richly developed Dawn, and will continue to this season. It's a bit late, sure. But we're finally getting development that paralleled, say, Megan's early appearances on the show.

Something I keep thinking about--how so many viewers are just sick to death of Don and his drama. I kind of love how Weiner's done that. He's said the premiere could have happened before season 1. This is Don's married status quo, which looked almost romantic once, but now we see it as the vicious cycle that it truly is. Pretty interesting.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:43 AM on May 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also as a Jerseyan, I loved Peggy's disgust at Phyllis staying with family in Newark. The '67 race riots there were bad (I grew up hearing about the concurrent riots a town over from me, in Plainfield, and the sociological impact on my family because of subsequent white flight was huge--for example, what had once been a thriving Jewish community was decimated.) And though again, I roll my eyes at them being used for devices in contrast, the contrast is interesting. Phyllis is someone who connects deeply with people, including her family. Dawn is someone who just wants to be safe. She doesn't want to be in Harlem, much less Newark.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:48 AM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


You could make the case that Newark kinda never recovered from the riots.
posted by The Whelk at 7:52 AM on May 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


sweetkid, that's fair, but I think Dawn is getting more and more developed. There's only so much script real estate you can give to each character every week. Dawn got a goodly chunk last week. It's reasonable to think that of any episode, she should get more time in this one, and the complaint that creepy ad guy's time could have gone to Dawn is legit.

But I wonder if Weiner was doing a head fake with Dawn. I said at the time that I thought he was developing her because she would be prominent for the MLK assassination episode, which is the logical thing. But instead he gave her all the screen time in the previous episode. And when Dawn finally shows up this week, we're all like "ah, here is the reaction we want to see" and then the payoff is pretty definitely leaves us a little baffled.
posted by dry white toast at 7:52 AM on May 1, 2013


It's interesting how the focus has seemed to shift off Don, I agree. It does make me wonder why we're still getting Dick Whitman flashbacks though. They seem a bit out of place to me with Don being a bit off center as he is.


And though again, I roll my eyes at them being used for devices in contrast, the contrast is interesting. Phyllis is someone who connects deeply with people, including her family. Dawn is someone who just wants to be safe. She doesn't want to be in Harlem, much less Newark

This is a fair point. Agree on the total eyerolling of their being used as devices/constrasts in this way.

Then again, Dawn took a job on Madison Avenue that was basically set up as a gotcha to Y&R. She might not have known the whole situation, but I think she knew there was something disingenuous about how that staffing call went down. That's not really playing it safe.
posted by sweetkid at 7:53 AM on May 1, 2013


It was interesting that when Don grabbed his rolodex, I wondered if he was trying to reach Dawn to see if she was okay, but it turned out he was trying to reach Slyvia to see if she was okay.

Also, deleted scene from this episode that I want to see: Don and Megan giving Peggy a lift home.
posted by dry white toast at 7:58 AM on May 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


But I wonder if Weiner was doing a head fake with Dawn. I said at the time that I thought he was developing her because she would be prominent for the MLK assassination episode, which is the logical thing. But instead he gave her all the screen time in the previous episode. And when Dawn finally shows up this week, we're all like "ah, here is the reaction we want to see" and then the payoff is pretty definitely leaves us a little baffled.

Yeah, I see what you're saying there. It's not really that I wanted Dawn developed more THIS episode, though that would have been fine, it's just more to the overall point that the black characters aren't that well developed, and even when they do play a role, they're connected to each other in thematic ways as PhoBWanKenobi suggests. But yeah, I agree that it's a very Matt Weiner move to fake the audience in that way. I think the episode was fantastic overall, I just don't think it's true that we need this white perspective in every moment for the show to still feel like it's about privileged white people in an ad agency in the 60s. It's going to feel that way even if we spend an entire episode in Harlem going shopping for bridesmaid dresses with Dawn. (And no I don't want that either).

Another possible fake: Sally. I feel like Sally was set up to have a big year this year, but she's mostly been a surly backdrop for Betty and also for Booby of all people. If Sally is going to develop into a counterculture hippie or something (which I really really hope not) I'm concerned it won't be properly developed. It seemed like the only reason she wanted to go to the vigil was because she knew she could be like "oh FIGURES" when Don clearly didn't want to go.
posted by sweetkid at 7:58 AM on May 1, 2013


Something else I wondered: why were all the (white) secretaries out of the office? Did they just assume the office would be closed?
posted by dry white toast at 8:03 AM on May 1, 2013


Someone (Pete or Ken) said they were probably watching a TV somewhere. I assumed it was a TV in the office, but maybe they were somewhere else.
posted by sweetkid at 8:07 AM on May 1, 2013


I chuckled
posted by The Whelk at 8:19 AM on May 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the hints of Sally's tween malaise are setting up some big I'M NOT A KID ANYMORE moment.
posted by dry white toast at 8:41 AM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


she's mostly been a surly backdrop for Betty and also for Booby of all people

Haha meant Bobby! Sorry Bobby.

I think the hints of Sally's tween malaise are setting up some big I'M NOT A KID ANYMORE moment.

I think so, too, I just hope it's more imaginative than Sally does drugs and/or Woodstock.
posted by sweetkid at 9:09 AM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


In other words, Peggy was dressed quietly and gave a hug to a crying woman seeking a hug. Joan was dressed loudly and gave a hug to a composed woman who really didn’t want to be hugged.
posted by rewil at 9:33 AM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wondered if the blue outfits were related to motherhood, but Abe's date wouldn't fit in with that (or does she?).
posted by drezdn at 9:42 AM on May 1, 2013


"You like kids?"

"what?"

"I mean you're a teacher but I realize now how that could have been taken wrong."
posted by The Whelk at 9:47 AM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


That cut between Henry and Betty excitedly discussing Henry's renewed sense of political ambition and Don drinking sadly on the bed was one of the more staggering that the show has pulled in a while.
posted by invitapriore at 9:55 AM on May 1, 2013


Bit of a derail, but while we're talking about Ginsberg, I wanted to say I love his father, because he reminds me of my family. Growing up Jewish in the second half of the 20th century, everything was shaped by the holocaust. And Ginsberg's father is undoubtedly a holocaust survivor on some level. And that's the prism they view their child's life through: survival. The first time we meet him, after Ginsberg gets the job, he grabs his son and sings in celebration. And in this episode, when Ginsberg says this isn't the time to think about dating, dad disagrees because he's seen hell break loose before, and creating a future for your family is exactly what you think about when you've seen what he's seen.

For Ginsberg's dad, every one of his son's achievements and milestones is a victory of survival. It rings so true for me.
posted by dry white toast at 9:58 AM on May 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


A bit more derailing but how come in every Mad Men thread every character is referred to by first name except for Ginsberg?
posted by mikepop at 10:04 AM on May 1, 2013


Stan was called Rizzo for a while.
posted by The Whelk at 10:05 AM on May 1, 2013


well I realized that people confuse him with Peggy's partner, and that I wasn't actually sure what his first name was.
posted by dry white toast at 10:06 AM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Didn't he get called Ginsberg a lot by the people at SCDP when he was first introduced? Plus I guess Ginsberg is just a more memorable name than Michael (especially by virtue of him sharing that surname with somebody famous), which as a fellow Michael I can attest to.

Also here's where I embarrassingly confess that I only just realized that Sylvia is Linda Cardellini from Freaks and Geeks, even though my only really exposure to that show was the occasional fifteen minutes spent dropping in on my roommate while he watched it in the living room.
posted by invitapriore at 10:10 AM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


A bit more derailing but how come in every Mad Men thread every character is referred to by first name except for Ginsberg?

That is interesting. I feel like it might be in part because he is the one whose most often called Ginsberg on the show? He has hardly been shown at home/other settings until last night and I feel like they call him "Ginsberg" pretty often in the office. I could be completely wrong about that though. I feel like Bert Cooper is usually referred to by his full name, or often Cooper. Don is mostly Draper in the office, and Don everywhere else. I remember neighbors called him "Draper" in the Ossining house, though.
posted by sweetkid at 10:10 AM on May 1, 2013


Also on the topic of Ginsberg, his date just nailed the delivery of her "ha! no." response to when he asked her whether she made a lot of money as a teacher. I liked her character.
posted by invitapriore at 10:12 AM on May 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I thought it was interesting how much she rolled with Ginsberg, who is usually offputting to most people. I wonder if we'll see her again.
posted by sweetkid at 10:15 AM on May 1, 2013


And Ginsberg's father is undoubtedly a holocaust survivor on some level.

Isn't that Ginsberg's own backstory? I mean, unless he really is from Mars.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:25 AM on May 1, 2013


For all their "we got this" attitude about fashion, I would think that T&Lo could use more expressive and specific terms than "Eastern" to describe changing styles for women in the late 60s. Eastern where? and why?

No, that's not for threadmates to answer, I would just like them to address those things more.

Also nice job Dr. Zira:

I'm fascinated by Peggy's awards gala dress, and those deeply saturated pink and green florals. It reminded me of the florals in Prada's 2008 resort collection, in particular, the pinks and greens in the print and the bow. Those pinks and greens weren't as saturated, but there's just something about pink and green together that I find very jarring.


T&Lo shouted PRADA at the screen when they saw Peggy's dress!
posted by sweetkid at 10:26 AM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Isn't that Ginsberg's own backstory? I mean, unless he really is from Mars.

Maybe. I always wondered if the story about being born in a concentration camp was just as fanciful as being from Mars. But either way, he wouldn't have much direct experience of the holocaust. Or he did, and burying the reality under the back story is an understandable coping mechanism. But his father most likely watched large swaths of his family disappear or die. He doesn't have that luxury.
posted by dry white toast at 10:32 AM on May 1, 2013


Ginsberg has shown a strong tendency for not wanting his colleagues to know much about his private life, so the concentration camp story could easily be a shield.
posted by dry white toast at 10:35 AM on May 1, 2013


Now I'm wondering how Harry Hamlin as Peggy's boss's boss will figure in to everything. Will Harry bolt to Peggy's firm to get the recognition he feels he so richly deserves?
posted by readery at 11:08 AM on May 1, 2013


Now I'm wondering how Harry Hamlin as Peggy's boss's boss will figure in to everything.

I'm wondering if these two mid-sized ad agencies might merge...
posted by crossoverman at 2:11 PM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


ohhh never.
posted by sweetkid at 2:33 PM on May 1, 2013


Hmmm. A merger after something happens to Bert. Or Roger. Or both? Harry Hamlin being there is a waste of giant lips and a lot of handsome geezer gravitas if he doesn't get to ham it up.
posted by readery at 2:41 PM on May 1, 2013


Wednesday night, I'm caught up!

Man, so much to say, but most of it will have to wait.

First, I just loved how Don's monologue drunk in bed was all in the second person. "You want to love them, but you just...don't." It shows both his disassociation and his pain all at once. And of course, he's confiding to Megan while she wears yet another red whore robe. I get the feeling that if she was wearing anything else it couldn't have played out that way. For the purpose of the show themes at least.

Also, that last scene, where Don is on the balcony. I can only think of ONE other outdoor scene in the show, ever. Which was Don and Betty having a picnic in the bright shiny sunshine, leaving their garbage carelessly behind.

And Pete...OMG. That guy is building an epic tower of existential crisis! I love how they framed it. Second floor SCDP, two sides, longview, separated by the secretary desk. In a way Harry and Pete were arguing the same side, superficially. But Harry's was without all the struggle that Pete has going on in his head. Pete has two sides to him that DO NOT MATCH. Love it.

The movie scene (within a scene, really) *was* a bit on the nose, but also just perfect. I keep thinking of critiques about the symbolism and racism attached to that film. As well as the final almost Biblical end of the world, with the decapitated head of the Statue of Liberty on the beach. It was shocking to Don as I imagine as it would be to anybody in a theater at that time...to see such a symbol of NYC, America, so entirely destroyed. How could you even *replicate* the destruction of such a monument? The scene is a feat in and of itself. You can see Don sitting there, blinking and completely floored. And his son is witnessing it too, but has this completely different take on it all, so outward, even proclaiming to the theater worker that people come out to see films when they're sad and haven't you seen it yet too?

I also love how every chance Don has to acknowledge Dawn it is overly counterweighted by his obsession with Sylvia. He even recognizes how pathetic his attempts at contact are, when he hangs up the phone with no message. DC is big, she's fine. I think part of him still can't grok that she went to DC and didn't tell him. He's almost frantic, in that cool and collected Don way of course.

The scene with Peggy and Abe about money, apartment, projects was both sweet and painful and I still don't know what to make of it.

The episode was just filled with pathetic and clumsy attempts at outreach from positions of privilege that the arms are completely blind to.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:11 PM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's the final scene for Mad Men...

Fade up from black... "See the USA in Your Chevrolet" is playing. Don Draper is driving an expensive car down a rural road somewhere in America. Two hippie motorcyclists are driving behind him. Then we see that they are carrying shotguns. They pull up alongside Don... Fade to black.
posted by drezdn at 5:09 PM on May 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Harry Hamlin being there is a waste of giant lips and a lot of handsome geezer gravitas if he doesn't get to ham it up.

That's it, isn't it? You don't get Harry Hamlin to be background handsome. He's there for a reason, and with all the talk of how small agencies only get scraps, I wonder if there might be some merger talk.
posted by gladly at 5:56 PM on May 1, 2013


I can only think of ONE other outdoor scene in the show, ever.

Really? There are quite a lot. The Hawaii scenes from this season for example. When Don meets the teacher at whatever kid event that was. Don building the playhouse. Betty shooting the birds. Sidewalk cafe. The California scenes around the pool...
posted by mikepop at 7:29 PM on May 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


...Betty's whole horseriding storyline from S2 (?) was outdoors. Roger's blackface party was outdoors. Joan and Roger getting mugged was outdoors...Sally and Glen drinking backwash soda...
posted by sweetkid at 8:02 PM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


When Don meets the teacher at whatever kid event that was.

Ha, that was the Maypole dance for May Day, ie, May 1. Today!
posted by sweetkid at 8:51 PM on May 1, 2013


I imagine any merger talk will lead to them locking Don and Peggy in a room together with a short knife each.

Two creative directors enter one creative director leaves.
posted by The Whelk at 8:59 PM on May 1, 2013


gladly: "You don't get Harry Hamlin to be background handsome."

Weiner spent Mr. Belding on a one shot. The man is nothing if not profligate.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:06 PM on May 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Actually wait, I just realized I only have hazy notions on how the corporate hierarchy of Creative works at SCDP, is it like.....

Creative Director (and Partner): head of Creative, hires and fires Leads, woos clients, brings in clients, sells pitches, is the public face of Creative.

Lead Copywriter: Manages/hires/fires all freelancers and manages the day to day of Creative's output working on multiple projects at once, Is present at pitches/can pitch. Directs and leads copy and general concept.

Junior Copywriter: Everyone who is on staff but not Lead.

Head Of Art/Art Director? Lead? This seems like a one man job at SCDP (Stan) but was a bigger deal at SD: Produces comp illustration and pitch material and directs finished art, works closely with copy in shaping pitch, fires/fires art-related freelancers.

Freelancers Art/Copy: Paid by project, submit portfolios and previous work, brought in en-mass for big jobs.

Is that how it is?
posted by The Whelk at 9:08 PM on May 1, 2013


Actually it makes sense if they have no other full-time art staff besides Stan. The winnowing of art depts to just freelancers and one director was already done for anyone who wasn't massive by then.
posted by The Whelk at 9:12 PM on May 1, 2013


So, someone on Twitter is saying that this is evidence of the extreme attention to detail on Mad Men. Is there any evidence that the show's producers are that OCD? Or just coincidence?
posted by dry white toast at 9:32 AM on May 2, 2013


Hmm. I don't buy it, I call coincidence.

Also OCD is medical condition that requires therapy and other treatment and means more than just "attention to detail."

Sorry, misuse of the term really irritates me and it's been all over especially in relation to Bobby and the wallpaper in the recent episode.
posted by sweetkid at 9:39 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I noticed the rain on several people's coats, and I think someone mentioned that the rain would help with fires if there were riots.
posted by zsazsa at 9:45 AM on May 2, 2013


Definitely deliberate. They mentioned there was rain. How is it OCD to research the weather on a given day?

Ok, putting away my curmudgeonly historian self for a while.
posted by mynameisluka at 9:49 AM on May 2, 2013


I noticed the rain on several people's coats, and I think someone mentioned that the rain would help with fires if there were riots.

That makes sense, I stand corrected.

But not on the colloquial misuse of OCD.
posted by sweetkid at 9:52 AM on May 2, 2013


I'd say not coincidence but not necessarily more attention to detail than normal. They were probably looking at a lot of primary sources for what happened in NYC the day after the assassination and I'm sure a number of newspaper articles and personal recollections mentioned the rainy morning.
posted by mikepop at 11:55 AM on May 2, 2013


Sorry, misuse of the term really irritates me and it's been all over especially in relation to Bobby and the wallpaper in the recent episode.

Yes, that was me. I apologize. Though to be honest, I did mean it as a sort of half-serious prediction. But of course there's no evidence for it at the moment. Didn't mean to be insensitive.
posted by ipsative at 12:13 PM on May 2, 2013


Apologies for the dismissive use of OCD. Careless on my part.
posted by dry white toast at 12:56 PM on May 2, 2013


aw thanks friends. Now back to expert television analysis!
posted by sweetkid at 12:58 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dr. Zira: "FYI: The fake POTA newspapers like the one Don was reading in the theatre ("Big Round Up of Human Beasts") while he was waiting for Bobby before they saw it the second time were published for each POTA movie. Here's a wiki summary of them if you're curious."

That's awesome, thanks for the info.
posted by Gordafarin at 1:21 PM on May 2, 2013


Yes, the fact it was raining the morning after was a lovely detail for the show to conclude. I suspect people would remember that, if they were around at the time. Plus, April showers seem appropriate to include in an episode called "The Flood".
posted by crossoverman at 3:25 PM on May 2, 2013


I guess it's true that you remember details like that. The weather on 9/11 is certainly seared into my brain.
posted by dry white toast at 7:32 PM on May 2, 2013


Seriously, half the post-the-week-after essays where all "But it was such a nice day."
posted by The Whelk at 7:38 PM on May 2, 2013


Seriously, half the post-the-week-after essays where all "But it was such a nice day."

On top of that, where I am - on the other side of the world - when I woke to the news, the weather in Melbourne was almost exactly the same as it was in New York the same day. So I think of 9/11 (9/12 with the time difference) as having the same weather across the world. It's so odd. I'm sure it was raining somewhere.
posted by crossoverman at 11:03 PM on May 2, 2013


I had a dream that it was Monday morning and I'd seen the new Mad Men and came to this thread to read what people were saying about it. This is either a sign of MetaFilter addiction or a Prophesy; I take it to mean that this week's Mad Men will be pretty damn good.

And having Linda Cardellini on the show this year makes me so gleeful. I can't wait for Don to say one of his terrible things that he says to the women he sleeps with at the ends of seasons so we can get a five minute shot of her making an uncomfortable cringe face that somehow expresses the entirety of the situation through subtle micronuance, as is her specialty.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:07 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now I'm wondering how Harry Hamlin as Peggy's boss's boss will figure in to everything.
I have no idea but if it doesn't involve a mechanical owl, a two-headed dog, and a kraken, I'm going to be very disappointed.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:19 PM on May 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


And a spunky teenaged detective!
posted by The Whelk at 10:27 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


And a spunky teenaged detective!

They're keeping Sally in the background until she busts out a deerstalker hat and a giant magnifying glass.

Sally Draper in
The Case of the Disappearing/Reappearing Lighter (Or, Nobody Loves Dick Whitman)
posted by crossoverman at 11:41 PM on May 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's only so much script real estate you can give to each character every week.

What if the show hadn't waited an entire year to give Dawn anything to do, rather than making all of Season 5 The Megan Draper Show?
posted by Sara C. at 12:04 AM on May 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Growing up Jewish in the second half of the 20th century, everything was shaped by the holocaust. And Ginsberg's father is undoubtedly a holocaust survivor on some level.

Re this, and other talk upthread of Ginsberg's story wrt the holocaust.

At first, I thought Ginsberg's father was Russian (maybe blame it on bad dialect work?) and that he was a Russian soldier in the war who liberated a camp and found baby Ginsberg*.

This episode, hearing his accent again, I get that he's Jewish and European, not Russian. So my guess is that he and Ginsberg's mother were in there together (possibly as a family, possibly not?), and mom didn't make it.

I don't think Ginsberg is old enough to remember living through the holocaust. He's what, 25? That would make him a toddler at best at the end of the war. Even if we decide he's 30 (which, given his hair these days I don't think is the case), that still makes him a grade schooler in 1945.

*I use Ginsberg because I keep forgetting his first name. I want to say Allen. But I know it's not.
posted by Sara C. at 12:14 AM on May 4, 2013


FWIW a pretty big proportion of Jewish friends of mine in New York who are in their 30's and 40's have old family stories about crazy shit their grandparents did in Europe during WW2. Including one story of Grandpa escaping his concentration camp to rescue Grandma from hers and fleeing to America. Almost anything is possible with Ginsberg.
posted by Sara C. at 12:18 AM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did you know Stan from Mad Men was a teen heart throb?
posted by readery at 7:03 PM on May 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Apparently, episode 6 "For Immediate Release" was leaked by iTunes - I guess, taking the title literally.

That said, I haven't seen it pop up anywhere else. If anyone does know where to get it early...
posted by crossoverman at 8:42 PM on May 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


DAMMIT why did I choose this season to subscribe through Amazon instead of iTunes? In addition to being less than impressed with Amazon's interface in general, how DARE they not leak this episode to me?
posted by Sara C. at 8:48 PM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Re Stan, man that is almost as good as earlier this week when I found out that Adam Scott (of Party Down and Parks & Rec fame) has a tiny role in Star Trek First Contact.
posted by Sara C. at 8:50 PM on May 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Seeing Adam Scott in The Aviator is even more perplexing cause I've got meta-fictional goggles on and going "Why is the guy from Party talking to Tony Stark's Dad and Watson?"
posted by The Whelk at 8:55 PM on May 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just rewatched "The Flood". I was intrigued, on first watch, why during the "previously on..." montage they put in a clip from the season five premiere about Don's age. In retrospect, it was a previous moment between Don and Bobby - but also, in an episode about MLK's assassination, using a clip where Don says he's turning 40, when MLK only lived to 39, is quite fitting.

Also, I noted that Pete's declaration that it's a "shameful, shameful day" took its inspiration from Trudy, who called the incident shameful in their phonecall.

And the theme of raising children in there throughout - from Don and Bobby, through Abe talking to Peggy about where he thought they might raise their children, to Ginsberg asking his date if she liked children.
posted by crossoverman at 2:32 AM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, I noted that Pete's declaration that it's a "shameful, shameful day" took its inspiration from Trudy, who called the incident shameful in their phone call.

I've been using that all week. In discussing a prominent typo on a business's website, and in talking to an employee about her upcoming maternity leave and how far the US is behind in family policy. It's my new favorite word.
posted by donajo at 1:14 PM on May 5, 2013


I can't even remember what Stan looks like without his beard anymore. It's like the beard has become Stan.
posted by Dr. Zira at 1:30 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is the fact that I miss this hair cut a sign that there is something wrong with me?
posted by The Whelk at 1:36 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Werewolf Stan can't do pomades any more because he is high 75 percent of the time.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:05 PM on May 5, 2013


Wow he is getting a ton of press this week.
posted by sweetkid at 2:42 PM on May 5, 2013


I think we all kinda want to be Stan
posted by The Whelk at 3:08 PM on May 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Re Stan's hair, it's hard to imagine a dude who looks like that in 1964 will be a mountain man Easy Rider type just a few years later.
posted by Sara C. at 5:48 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am Bert Cooper's argyle sweater.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:01 PM on May 5, 2013


Everyone seemed out of character in that scene.
posted by sweetkid at 7:05 PM on May 5, 2013


I don't want to be this close to Pete's underpants.
posted by The Whelk at 7:05 PM on May 5, 2013


Neither does Trudy, apparently.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:06 PM on May 5, 2013


For a second I was terrified Pete was going to hit on Joan.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:06 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


When did Don Draper start raiding Dick Van Dyke's closet?
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:07 PM on May 5, 2013


Here's Harry Hamlin again, pointlessly.
posted by sweetkid at 7:10 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


See? The jaunty music always signals trouble!
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:13 PM on May 5, 2013


MARIE!

Also

Tinker Tailor Sterling Spy. He is officially Archer now.
posted by The Whelk at 7:14 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just like the gypsy woman said.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:16 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


French!
posted by box at 7:21 PM on May 5, 2013


New theory, Bob is a figment of everyone's collective imagination.
posted by stratastar at 7:22 PM on May 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Is this the comic relief episode after last week?
posted by sweetkid at 7:25 PM on May 5, 2013



Is this the comic relief episode after last week?


Peaches. And Herb. *snerk*

It must be.
posted by peagood at 7:26 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I am Marie. Marie is me. We are one.
posted by The Whelk at 7:26 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, THAT was an awkward bordello encounter.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:27 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Waaaait who was that? All these old white guys blend together.
posted by The Whelk at 7:28 PM on May 5, 2013


Pass the Heinz!
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:29 PM on May 5, 2013


All these old white guys blend together.

I WAS JUST THINKING THAT EXACT THING
posted by sweetkid at 7:30 PM on May 5, 2013


Also, don't worry Peggy, give it 40 odd years and that apartment will be worth roughly a million billion dollars and dead center to all the organic kosher produce you can stand.
posted by The Whelk at 7:30 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


New theory, Bob is an android.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:31 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


"He's not working the slide rule or anything."
posted by Chrysostom at 7:32 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mutually assured destruction.
posted by box at 7:32 PM on May 5, 2013


Cole Phelps you are cynical!
posted by The Whelk at 7:32 PM on May 5, 2013


Pratfalls! All we are missing is a spit take...
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:33 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


yeah very broad comedy here.
posted by sweetkid at 7:34 PM on May 5, 2013


We just collectively shouted, as a household HOLY SHIT
posted by The Whelk at 7:35 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Caper music!
posted by Chrysostom at 7:36 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:37 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


And then we said it again.
posted by The Whelk at 7:38 PM on May 5, 2013


Dammit.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:38 PM on May 5, 2013


Peggy!! Grr. Don't look so happy about that.
posted by sweetkid at 7:38 PM on May 5, 2013


Bob Benson is the Zelig of SCDP
posted by The Whelk at 7:39 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Honestly we're just a sploosh joke from this literally being an episode of Archer.
posted by The Whelk at 7:42 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Faster than speeding bullet eh Don?
posted by The Whelk at 7:44 PM on May 5, 2013


The french know what the catholics don't!
posted by stratastar at 7:44 PM on May 5, 2013


ohhh that was cheesy
posted by sweetkid at 7:48 PM on May 5, 2013


I'm laughing so hard it hurts right now.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:48 PM on May 5, 2013


This is ...downright zany.
posted by The Whelk at 7:49 PM on May 5, 2013


Can we just merge Mad Men into the 30 Rock universe now?
posted by The Whelk at 7:51 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


We just need a Jack McBrayer cameo for the trifecta.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:53 PM on May 5, 2013


Ah ah ah ah we are getting merger foreshadowing ah
posted by The Whelk at 7:55 PM on May 5, 2013


yea check the blind spot cuz we're gonna merge.
posted by sweetkid at 7:57 PM on May 5, 2013


I wonder if Ted's travel suitcase is filled with a rainbow of turtlenecks.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:58 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


"This is why everyone hates you."
posted by Chrysostom at 7:58 PM on May 5, 2013


They're not even foreshadowing anymore.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:58 PM on May 5, 2013


I thought it would take a few episodes. Wow.
posted by readery at 7:59 PM on May 5, 2013


I expect Dan/Ted fic on my dash by 0900, Internet
posted by The Whelk at 8:01 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's not the companies merging though, Teddy and Don are starting something.
posted by sweetkid at 8:02 PM on May 5, 2013


Don has impulsive marriages DOWN.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:03 PM on May 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's not the companies merging though, Teddy and Don are starting something


COOOOOONSTANT CRAAAAAAVING
posted by The Whelk at 8:04 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but it must be the companies merging, they said she'd be copy chief at a top 25 company, a boutique shop wouldn't be that.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:05 PM on May 5, 2013


Attention shoppers: We are back on track for Steggy.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:06 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


True, it's confusing though. Obviously Peggy's taking a risk ("I bought an apartment") which is why I thought they were going new. Plus Don and Ted are established as being nervous or over where they are, at odds with the other management.
posted by sweetkid at 8:06 PM on May 5, 2013


I just want more zany capering music.
posted by The Whelk at 8:09 PM on May 5, 2013


SCDCHGC
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:10 PM on May 5, 2013


Or maybe SCDCHCC.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:11 PM on May 5, 2013


Well, since Roger and Harry Hamlin are in on the Chevy part, I'm thinking it's a whole hog merger. Especially since the preview scenes show Ted in a suit and tie in the SCDP offices.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:12 PM on May 5, 2013


We're calling it "Allied Independent Dynamic Systems."
posted by The Whelk at 8:13 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


The extra "c" is for "cancer."
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:14 PM on May 5, 2013


"we need a name something classy and timeless..."

"Professor Freakout's Electric Ad Scene!"

"Shut up Stan."
posted by The Whelk at 8:15 PM on May 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


The pacing and humor of this episode were very similar to the episode where they founded SCDP. A bit silly, but just so fun.

Well, except for Pete's marriage finally imploding and Don hurting Joan's feelings and all.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:18 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


"How about 'Throttle', you know like we'll take your customers and push them against the wall and hold them there until they whimper and accept your product."

"Shut up Ginsberg."
posted by The Whelk at 8:19 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


And Peggy excited about the prospect of President Kennedy, although that landed like an anvil.
posted by sweetkid at 8:19 PM on May 5, 2013


I question Pete's acuity at judging the weight of prostitutes. No way was that woman 200 pounds.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:19 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've been playing a lot of L.A Noire recently and it just dawned on me how badly I want a Rockstar style sandbox game sent in the Mad Men universe.
posted by The Whelk at 8:22 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


God damn, I love this show.
posted by donajo at 8:33 PM on May 5, 2013


Can we give it up for Roger Sterling? Because he closes, Pete. He closes.
posted by donajo at 8:35 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's actually pretty realistic for everything to come up "Don!" even after he made a potentially huge mistake. I've met guys like that. They act like whatever and it ends up OK and everyone forgives them because they got something better somehow. And yeah it's always guys.
posted by sweetkid at 8:39 PM on May 5, 2013


I expecting Sterling to announce "Hey Joan, you know we're in? It's a type of zone..."
posted by The Whelk at 8:39 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jaguar guy's wife has more class than stinky Marie.
posted by sweetkid at 8:40 PM on May 5, 2013


She was boring, there is no greater crime. I'm on Drunken Gallic Team Marie.
posted by The Whelk at 8:41 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because Marie. has. Zero. Patience. For. This.
posted by The Whelk at 8:41 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


yeah in theory I am too, just hate giving Marie screentime. She's like the worst of Betty and Megan combined.
posted by sweetkid at 8:43 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


THAT'S WHY SHE'S GREAT.
posted by The Whelk at 8:43 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


The doctor's like one of the few genuinely good people on the show.
posted by sweetkid at 8:48 PM on May 5, 2013


I work in advertising in NYC in the now, and we don't talk shit to other agencies like they do on the show, we just play ping pong tournaments with them. And give them beer.
posted by sweetkid at 8:49 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Collaborator!
posted by The Whelk at 8:50 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Everyone ends up working together eventually. It's like a big soup.
posted by sweetkid at 8:51 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


We know the clients are the real enemies.
posted by The Whelk at 8:52 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


also, side note, no matter what the face foliage situation, Stan likes his VERY TIGHT CLOTHING.
posted by The Whelk at 8:53 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


That is the damn truth.
posted by sweetkid at 8:54 PM on May 5, 2013


You know that part in Death Becomes Her when Helen is watching Madalyn's on-screen death over and over on a loop

yeeaaaa
posted by The Whelk at 8:55 PM on May 5, 2013


to both of those - Stan and clients
posted by sweetkid at 8:55 PM on May 5, 2013


yeeaaaa

He's like flapping down the stairs
posted by sweetkid at 8:56 PM on May 5, 2013


Best Visual gag: Bob hanging out in the background with two cups of coffee ....waiting.
posted by The Whelk at 8:58 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bob was fantastic this whole episode.
posted by sweetkid at 9:00 PM on May 5, 2013


So, they're working on the Vega, no?
posted by The Whelk at 9:00 PM on May 5, 2013


"I like it when things stay the same!" Oh peggy, you can't just announce your feelings when you walk into a room, That makes me angry!
posted by The Whelk at 9:01 PM on May 5, 2013


Also I noticed most of the shock of that odd opening scene was that EVERYONE IS IN CASUAL CLOTHING AND KINDA RELAXED/GIDDY AROUND EACH OTHER.

THEY NEVER DO THAT.
posted by The Whelk at 9:01 PM on May 5, 2013


Bert Not In A Suit is so disorienting we all had to take a moment.
posted by The Whelk at 9:02 PM on May 5, 2013


The Vega didn't go into production until 1970.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:03 PM on May 5, 2013


Also I noticed most of the shock of that odd opening scene was that EVERYONE IS IN CASUAL CLOTHING AND KINDA RELAXED/GIDDY AROUND EACH OTHER.

THEY NEVER DO THAT.


I know and Joan's hair.
posted by sweetkid at 9:03 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


SO noticed how contemporary they looked without the hair and clothing cues.

Also I need a gif of Marie chugging the wine bottle please.
posted by The Whelk at 9:04 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's the list of all the Chevy models.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:05 PM on May 5, 2013


Also it took me a few seconds WRT: the underwriter in the opening scene to go

OH GOD IT'S CLARISSA'S DAD YOU GUYS.
posted by The Whelk at 9:07 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I liked Megan's cocktail dress because the cuffs made her look like Wonder Woman. I also loved the hot pinks they put Trudy in.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:07 PM on May 5, 2013


So I was thinking about how Ted's Chevy pitch was so much better, and why (it's concrete, of the times, interesting, experiential), and I realized that none of the ads Don has pitched this season--the Hawaiian resort, the Heinz ad, the car--have featured the products.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:09 PM on May 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Megan's cocktail dress, dear god could she be more dolled up and metallic and fussy? She looked like an Egyptian Princess in a De Mille picture.

Which may have been ...the point. Megan, all GOLD and ELEGANT and EXPENSIVE and awful apple-lady wife in her doll-like poofy taffeta throw-back.

And Marie, in Parisian black sleekness, just winoing away in the back.
posted by The Whelk at 9:10 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Marie definitely makes the world's worst secretary. "Non, I will not pass on your message, you piece of merde."
posted by Chrysostom at 9:11 PM on May 5, 2013


Don's pitch sounds strikingly modern to me actually. It's a proto ARG.

Don is bored with advertising in the same way he gets bored with women, he figures having a bigger company will allow him to do his more experimental ideas. Thus the Vegas-marriage of the two companies.
posted by The Whelk at 9:11 PM on May 5, 2013


The problem is that they've all only been interesting. I'm not sure that any of them (Heinz, maybe?) have been good.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:14 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm on board Team Marie. I loved the line about "How generous of my daughter to bring me to this dinner." And then have to sit and listen to them banging away while she has to tell Roger to go fuck himself ...she needs more wine.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:14 PM on May 5, 2013


I'm trying to imagine Don Draper dealing with social networking advertising and it makes me grab the bottle all Marie-like
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


OH GOD IT'S CLARISSA'S DAD YOU GUYS

Wow, I don't even remember Clarissa's dad. Her parents might as well have been the teacher in Peanuts. "WAHWAHWAH WAH"
posted by sweetkid at 9:16 PM on May 5, 2013


What was up with Pete's incompetent bartending? What exactly does Pete drink all day, Zima?
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:16 PM on May 5, 2013


Don doesn't get bored with women, just wives.
posted by sweetkid at 9:17 PM on May 5, 2013


This episode has me convinced Mad Men could pull off a wacky musical episode.
posted by The Whelk at 9:19 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also I couldn't tell if Peggy was terrified or tremendously turned on by the appearance of Don in Ted's office. It's like she got all dolled up for one date and instead got two!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:19 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I thought it was more like some horrible nightmare where your old grade school teacher shows up to berate you in college in-front of your friends or something.

Like, Dan is totally Her Dad showing up at her new job.
posted by The Whelk at 9:21 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


OMG must sleep but last thing: Did anyone else see a callback to Don at the bar in Hawaii with the young Sterling lookalike who was getting married, when Ted and Don were talking in Detroit? And Don said something like "We're dead!" which kind of made it like this is a dream-state bar in purgatory and Don is explaining the situation to Ted. And doesn't Don call Ted "Lieutenant" or something?
posted by sweetkid at 9:21 PM on May 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Peggy, you can work out your father issues in double time! Isn't this fantastic?
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:21 PM on May 5, 2013


They got a looong way to go before they reach Paradiso is all I'm saying
posted by The Whelk at 9:22 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm still trying to cleanse my psyche from Abe in the overalls and tidy whities. I kept waiting for Jackie Treehorn to show up and yell "Cut".
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:26 PM on May 5, 2013


That's right, also a Dante callback! It's supposed to seem like Purgatory, that settles it. Detroit the night before a pitch is Purgatory, that's exactly right.
posted by sweetkid at 9:26 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


tidy whities

tighty whities not tidy
posted by sweetkid at 9:26 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Peggy's vision of Ted in bed made it seem like she was having a stroke.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:28 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would be totally okay if I never saw Pete shirtless again.

Abe is just...the housewife.
posted by The Whelk at 9:28 PM on May 5, 2013


I'll just be sitting here, reading SOMETHING.
posted by The Whelk at 9:29 PM on May 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


I felt like that episode was similar to the Sopranos episode where Tony started hallucinating that conversation with the fish.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:31 PM on May 5, 2013


Also, ye gods, the tone of this episode. I expected there to be a BOING! SFX after he said "I have cancer"
posted by The Whelk at 9:31 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also was the .....distinct foley on Joan's bracelet intentional? At first it seemed like a mistake but during her 90 Seconds Angry Speech In Emerald Dress (all anger should be expressed in emerald dresses) it felt like the jangle was punctuating her lines, making it more immediate and intimate.
posted by The Whelk at 9:35 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reading SOMETHING by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I had a funny conversation recently with my husband about how all of my celebrity crushes require narratives (like I'm in London for a book tour when I run into Matt Smith at a bar and we start talking about bands) and that book was a wonderful illustration of that sort of thing--Peggy doesn't want to just make-out, she wants a man who comes with interests and stuff.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:36 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh Ted, cover me in turtlenecks and sensible Protestantism, oh yes, yes you are a human summer cabin in Maine, yes!*

Also I love, love, love Roger Sterling, International Man Of Mystery. It's so fitting for his man-child outlook.

*So Don goes for White Ethnic ladies and Peggy has a torch for woodsy all-american boyish types. Interesting.
posted by The Whelk at 9:39 PM on May 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


Like, if Mad Men was a traditional sit-com*, Roger would be the wacky main character causing havoc for everyone around him.

*Okay Uk Sit-com, where the main characters are all cartoons surrounded by suffering normal people and not a US one, where normal main character suffer the whims of cartoons.
posted by The Whelk at 9:42 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know why but I can't get DON DRAPER: MAKEOUT KING OF MANHATTAN out of my head.

Ken's speech can be reduced to "No one wants to talk about the 200 pound black prostitute in the room." (Oh Ken. Kenny. I know you where a bore at first and then got super interesting but now you're like, oddly cynical and dead inside. What happened Ken? You where my Steve Rogers for a while there Ken. I still hold this golden lighter for you. Come back nice Ken. Come back.)
posted by The Whelk at 9:47 PM on May 5, 2013


Also um, the fan Megan meets in the elevator. She had like her autograph book READY AND WAITING. Is Megan getting like, um ...dedicated fans now? Like, if this was modern day there would be a Fuck Yeah Megan Calvert tumblr out there?
posted by The Whelk at 9:49 PM on May 5, 2013


Also, thinking about Peggy's choice in mens, I think they're trying to make sure any hint of Don/Peggy is totally squished cause he's totally Her Dad and so she goes for boyish, idealistic, acts under their age types (Duck is the exception, he is always the exception (that poor dog)). Like Don goes for smart, intellectual or brazen types for his affairs, possibly cause they fill some need he has for companionship that challenges and engages him (that he's not getting from men cause Don HATES AND FEARS ALL MEN) while Peggy is trying to scratch the itch that she can still be around hope and youth and idealism and experimental art stuff to prove she's not the rigid control-freak bosslady she veers dangerously into being at times?
posted by The Whelk at 9:54 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


But even Duck had a creepy boyface.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:55 PM on May 5, 2013


They both veer towards "escapes" from their daily life in their romances, is what I'm saying, so this Ted thing is very uh.

Dangerous.
posted by The Whelk at 9:55 PM on May 5, 2013


Interesting how, as of this episode, Sylvia seems to have faded away. Don and Megan are fucking like (loud) bunnies again. The doctor is there--using the kitchen doorway--but not his wife.

But he's going to be home all the time now, sounds like. Which spells bad news for Don, I think.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:57 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Duck was Sad.

I admire Peggy for realizing he can't Change Him.

I do kind of love the idea of Abe as a stay at home father, even if I think their entire relationship is built on convenience and she needs to hang out with OBVIOUS IDEAL MATCH STAN MORE.
posted by The Whelk at 9:57 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also um, the fan Megan meets in the elevator. She had like her autograph book READY AND WAITING.

That wasn't her autograph book, I don't think. That looked more like a loose-leaf 3 ring binder. She probably had Megan sign her autograph on her trig homework or something.
posted by palomar at 10:00 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, I liked the bringing back of Pete's feelings of inadequacy in the face of Trudy's more storied, monied upbringing. Because I like to watch him suffer.
posted by The Whelk at 10:01 PM on May 5, 2013


She probably had Megan sign her autograph on her trig homework or something.

Well yes, obviously, but I like the idea of two girls stalking their favorite soap star more. Lets have an entire bottle episode of them waiting in the elevator, going up and down.
posted by The Whelk at 10:02 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


and if we're talking fashion Don's hair is sticking ...out more and more. He no longer looks like a face in he crowd. He stands out (and is it just me or did Jon Hamm looks really ...well rested and healthy in this episode? Maybe cause he doesn't have a Sad Drunken Scene and the tone is all zany charm.)

That powder blue number on Peggy during the kiss scene was totally a freaking couch cover however. Yeah it fit well but it looked like it was made from a divan.

I also don't like Ken's new hair because Ken is a perfect beautiful songbird that should be kept in my beautiful gilded cage.

Joan was 10/10 however, Serious sharp Joan Crawford realness.
posted by The Whelk at 10:09 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, Trudy, all frilly and femme and gauzy and delicate...while delivering some of the harshest stone-cold rebuffs ever. Iron fist in a velvet glove that Trudy, you do not fuck around with that kind of family. They got HISTORY.
posted by The Whelk at 10:11 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I just hope Homework Autograph Girl ends up failing trig because she never turns in that homework because she needs to keep the precious autograph, and that sets off a chain reaction of failures (losing her valedictorian slot, not getting into a good college) that culminate in her totally losing her shit and thinking that Megan's her BFF and then she kidnaps Megan and drags her off to Woodstock so they can get their sloppy, muddy freak on.

Barring that, STEGGY. Give me Steggy.
posted by palomar at 10:14 PM on May 5, 2013


Like, if Mad Men was a traditional sit-com*, Roger would be the wacky main character causing havoc for everyone around him.

.... and it would be called Sterling's Gold.
posted by anastasiav at 10:15 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dear god, they would have the most sarcastic children ever.
posted by The Whelk at 10:15 PM on May 5, 2013


RIDE THAT STEGGYSAURUS HIGH
posted by The Whelk at 10:18 PM on May 5, 2013


Confession: I did buy the Sterling's Gold book.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:19 PM on May 5, 2013


is it any good?
posted by The Whelk at 10:19 PM on May 5, 2013


Megan's line about doing whatever she could to make Don feel like he could jump off the balcony and fly to work like Superman... hello, opening credits reference. Also, that looked like not the greatest position for giving or receiving head.
posted by palomar at 10:25 PM on May 5, 2013


Also, Don Draper, SECRET IDENTITIES and cause yeah he fucking looks like Superman.
posted by The Whelk at 10:27 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also liked Rodger's stewardess partner in crime. He's just so infatuated with himself.
posted by The Whelk at 10:29 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's pretty much just Roger quotes from past episodes. The content isn't really worth it, but it does make me smile whenever I notice it on the shelf.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:46 PM on May 5, 2013


I was hoping for more epic Blankenship stories
posted by The Whelk at 10:51 PM on May 5, 2013


"She is 'ze apple in 'ze pig's mouth." Oh, Marie.

So did anyone else see Pete's stumble as some hard core foreshadowing?

Also, Don's whipsaw marriage to Ted is going to go as well his last two.
posted by dry white toast at 10:56 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm wondering if these two mid-sized ad agencies might merge...

CALLED IT!
posted by crossoverman at 3:01 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ken Cosgrove: you can take the boy out of Vermont, but you can't take the Vermont out of the boy. Shouldn't a decade in NYC, between Columbia & SC/SCDP have beaten the "Back in St. Olaf..." type stories back a little bit?

And you know, speaking of colleges, am I the only one who thinks that Ken's Columbia pedigree really doesn't seem fitting with his character. I can't help but think he's more of a Williams or Amherst guy (maybe Middlebury, as the Bread Loaf writing culture would be already underway, but I see him more at a men's college). But I guess they had to get him to New York somehow.
posted by .kobayashi. at 3:44 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Other thoughts:

1) The Pete-Burt-Joan secret collaboration that opened the show struck me as a little odd, if for no reason other than Burt & Joan always struck me as characters who didn't have much respect for Pete.

2) I think I had to read Something by Ralph Waldo Emerson in college. I didn't care for it.

3) I love seeing the seemingly rapidish turnaround of Roger, who'd been in a pattern of slow decline for a few seasons, and in free-fall in much of 5. I'm not sure what's doing the heaviest lifting -- the divorce? the therapy? the LSD? -- but it's good to see capable Roger fully back.

4) With the merger, and ostensibly the need for new/more creative, is there an outside chance we might get a Freddy Rumsen sighting this season -- or is he too thoroughly behind the times for the new, modern agency. I don't think I could process a Freddy with these new sartorial choices creeping into his wardrobe.
posted by .kobayashi. at 4:09 AM on May 6, 2013


Pete and the Staircase of Doom gif
posted by mothershock at 5:28 AM on May 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


We've only got one more day before this thread closes.
TEAM X-MAD MEN ENGAGE.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:33 AM on May 6, 2013


Pete and the Staircase of Doom gif

My god, I can't stop watching it.
posted by .kobayashi. at 5:34 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The added butt slide diwn the step is pure genius.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:37 AM on May 6, 2013


I keep thinking about the juxtaposition of the stair stumble versus the scene between Bert and Pete in which Bert finally validates Pete's contribution to the agency. Poor Pete: It's always one step forward, two steps back for him.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:43 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's one of the things that's really humanizing about Pete, in my opinion. I think a lot of people feel adult life goes one step forward, two steps back. And Pete struggles with that so much, which is also very human. Like he laments, "Why can't everything good happen all at once?"
posted by sweetkid at 7:05 AM on May 6, 2013


I thought Joan very neatly summed up Pete's story arc in this episode with her line "Pete, no." Actually, maybe she summed up his whole character with that.

and TLo's recap is up!
posted by peagood at 7:08 AM on May 6, 2013


News (to me): Paul Ford is blogging this season for Slate.
posted by mwhybark at 7:09 AM on May 6, 2013


I'm kinda fascinated by how Bert perceives Pete's behavior differently than Harry's. They're not all that different.

Also, boy, if I worked at SCDP, and was anything above a grunt, I would fucking hate Don Draper.
posted by dry white toast at 7:23 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The return of Pegadon!
posted by drezdn at 7:26 AM on May 6, 2013


Thank you, mwhybark - my word for today is "gurning." I have to use it five times, so I imagine I'll be teaching it to several elementary students too, by saying things like "Stop gurning at him and finish your lunch."
posted by peagood at 7:38 AM on May 6, 2013


It seems like a few T&Lo commenters are thinking the car is the Chevy Vega. Looking at the list posted above I'm not sure - the 1969 models are uninspiring - the Nova?
posted by sweetkid at 7:42 AM on May 6, 2013


I'm glad that Marie said "I am French, but I live in Montreal," because I can take that to mean that she's French-French (which I don't think was actually the intent of that line, since she was basically saying, "What the fuck would I know about Paris, I'm from Canada," but fuck it).

If Megan's parents are French-French, that explains their totally not at all Québécois accents (the actors who play Megan's parents are Belgian and, get this, English--I don't even) and why Megan seems to be English-first bilingual.

So I'm imagining their backstory is that they're Europeans who moved to Montreal to teach, and live in an Anglo neighbourhood where their daughter went to an Anglo school etc.

P.S. Chaouggy.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:57 AM on May 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


I also imagine that Megan's parents are French-French, because of the accent issue and also because French Canadians are kind of stereotypically more conservative/uptight than Marie who is all about le vin and Roger and and and
posted by sweetkid at 8:03 AM on May 6, 2013


At the same time too, Dr. Rosen was asking her opinion about whether it's safe for his son to travel to Paris. I think the point Marie was making might have been that you don't need to be from Paris to know that things are about to become very very tense there. This is early May of 68, after all. It's not exactly hard to see the beach that's about to emerge from under all those paving stones.
posted by .kobayashi. at 8:09 AM on May 6, 2013


is there an outside chance we might get a Freddy Rumsen sighting this season -- or is he too thoroughly behind the times for the new, modern agency.

He was behind the times the last time we saw him, back in 1965 or so. And Peggy, new head of copy, told him so to his face. No way he's back if she has any say. Also their whole schtick is that they're a big agency with crazy new small-agency ideas. My guess is Freddy is old enough to be some of their new creatives' grandpa.

I would love to see Sal again, though. Just one more time.
posted by Sara C. at 8:20 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


It seems like a few T&Lo commenters are thinking the car is the Chevy Vega. Looking at the list posted above I'm not sure - the 1969 models are uninspiring - the Nova?

It could be the Pontiac Trans Am. It's sold as a Pontiac, but it's built in a Chevy (Camaro) body. The first model year is 1969, which would be just right for a late-1968 street date. (I'm guessing the debut in the show is coming soon; when Roger broke the good news to the partners, he said "And we're not afraid of a deadline," which sounds like it's hitting the street soon.)

The Trans Am fits with (what I remember of) what Don says as they look over the (pictureless) description: that GM is looking for a muscle car, something fresh and powerful, something that will get customers excited the way that the Mustang did.
posted by Elsa at 8:22 AM on May 6, 2013


Sal coming back is so the "they shouldn't have cancelled Firefly" of MadMen.

I'm OK not seeing him again, esp after the random Paul Kinsey hare krishna moment from last year that was just sad.

You can never cross the same river twice.
posted by sweetkid at 8:23 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


"She is 'ze apple in 'ze pig's mouth."

Perfect example of what I'm talking about re: Marie's accent. A true Québécoise would say, "She is de happle in de pig's mout."
posted by Sys Rq at 8:27 AM on May 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sys Rq, there is NO WAY Megan and her parents are French-Canadian. Not just on account of the accents, as sweetkid said there's a huge cultural difference.

I had a problem with that during the whole Season 4 Megan story arc, and even to the point when they introduced her parents, until it was clarified that they are French people who happen to live in Montreal, not French Canadian. I kept thinking, "OK, Megan would tell people she's 'French'*, and probably in 1968 nobody would have understood the difference, but in the twenty teens, WE KNOW there's a difference so you should probably be a little more clear....?"

*I remember being told by my parents that I had "French" ancestry as a kid in the 80s -- we're Cajun, which is as different from being French as French Canadian is, and really the Cajun part of my family has more German heritage than anything else. So I get that once upon a time, you weren't Quebequois, you were "French", and you weren't Puerto Rican, you were "Spanish", etc.
posted by Sara C. at 8:27 AM on May 6, 2013


sweetkid, I mostly just want them to have an excuse to do a Stonewall story next year.
posted by Sara C. at 8:28 AM on May 6, 2013


Cajun is French-Canadian.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:29 AM on May 6, 2013


TEAM X-MAD MEN ENGAGE.

THIS CEREBRO IS POWERED BY WHISKEY
posted by The Whelk at 8:32 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Trans Am fits with (what I remember of) what Don says as they look over the (pictureless) description: that GM is looking for a muscle car, something fresh and powerful, something that will get customers excited the way that the Mustang did.

I think that was just Don assuming that's what it was, though.

I'm hoping for sad trombone.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:36 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, boy, if I worked at SCDP, and was anything above a grunt, I would fucking hate Don Draper.

The way the show reveals Don in Ted's office, I think it's definitely supposed to be a bit of a horror for Peggy. She thought she escaped, but now she's right back to it.
posted by gladly at 8:37 AM on May 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think that was just Don assuming that's what it was, though.

Don, who used to be a used-car bait-and-switch salesman, who thought about settling in California rebuilding jalopies, who knew instantly that the low horsepower on Honda's "little car" that they'd just landed was terrible news --- well, Don either knows cars or thinks he does.

And Don is positively bright-eyed looking over the (pictureless) specs for this GM model. Everyone else is at a loss without pictures. Roger assumes it's just another everyday car, saying [I'm paraphrasing here] "It's a Chevy, it's got four wheels and an engine." Don turns to Roger, visibly excited, and says "No! It's totally new."
posted by Elsa at 8:53 AM on May 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Look, Peggy, if you're going to destroy the loving, respectful, mutually supportive relationship you've built with Abe over the past few years on a self-destructive whim, you should at least try for Stan.
posted by The Whelk at 8:54 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


My crush on Ted persists. Steggy is dead to me.

Also, merger! What the what?
posted by purpleclover at 8:55 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and i just found you all over here. Who is going to drum up a new FPP so we can move over when this one expires?
posted by purpleclover at 8:57 AM on May 6, 2013


Peggy has TERRIBLE taste in men. Like terrible. Of course she would go for Ted. Bad idea written all over that one. I love that consistency in her writing.
posted by sweetkid at 8:57 AM on May 6, 2013


The way the show reveals Don in Ted's office, I think it's definitely supposed to be a bit of a horror for Peggy. She thought she escaped, but now she's right back to it.

Argh, YES. Shortly before Ted leaves for Detroit, Peggy talks to him about the pessimists she's worked with before and how refreshing it is to work for him instead... and WAH-WAAAAAH, she's right back under Don and his moods, his high-handedness, his depression. Here's hoping she's operating from a position of enough power (and knows it) to draw some lines with him this time.
posted by Elsa at 8:59 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, I dunno. Peggy could definitely do worse than Ted. I picture it as a kind of meeting-of-the-minds, work-obsessed partnership that Megan and Don did not turn out to be.

When Peggy walked into Ted's office and Don was there -- I shuddered.
posted by purpleclover at 9:05 AM on May 6, 2013


What everybody remembers about “The Other Woman,” however, is the Joan plot and whether they found it believable that she would prostitute herself or believable that the men in the office (save Don) would seem to be at least slightly okay with that. What we forget is that the flipside of that episode was Peggy winning her freedom from the place that had defined her young professional life, finding an exit strategy that Don might have been proud of, just as the culture at SCDP seemed terminally rotten. In “For Immediate Release,” Mad Men essentially reverses both story decisions. Don makes the decision to ditch Jaguar on his own, then sticks with it when everybody else is calling him out for the impetuousness and immaturity of what he’s done. (Joan’s lashing out at him, in particular, is stellar and seems designed to retroactively make some of her actions in “The Other Woman” make slightly more sense.) Is that enough to save SCDP’s soul? Probably not. To do that, the agency needs the show’s closest thing to a good, pure character in Peggy Olson. And so just as Joan’s choice is invalidated by the actions of an unthinking, unfeeling man, the actions of that same man invalidate Peggy’s choice just as easily. And he lets his wife call him Superman!
posted by The Whelk at 9:06 AM on May 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


"OK, Megan would tell people she's 'French'*, and probably in 1968 nobody would have understood the difference, but in the twenty teens, WE KNOW there's a difference

I seem to remember right after when Megan the Minor Character showed up and the secretaries were talking about beauty or something, she had some line about her mother being "of French extraction" and I figured, oh OK, so she's like putting on airs about her family history even though she's from nothing special and...man, I still can't tell what her parents' deal is.

am I the only one who thinks that Ken's Columbia pedigree really doesn't seem fitting with his character. I can't help but think he's more of a Williams or Amherst guy (maybe Middlebury, as the Bread Loaf writing culture would be already underway, but I see him more at a men's college).

Dunno, he's always seemed smart, (quietly) ambitious, and grounded, so it makes sense he'd want to put himself close to the action quickly even if he retains his rural detachment. (Re Middlebury, I know a couple of Loafers and I can't imagine he'd have patience for that kind of intellectual wankery.)
posted by psoas at 9:07 AM on May 6, 2013


...man, I still can't tell what her parents' deal is.

Who's Afriad Of Virginia Woolf, French Style. He's a polemic blowhard thoroughly in love with himself and his status as Big Marxist Brain (and his young female students, one suggests) and his prickly, hard-drinking wife who has Seen It All and responds to everything with her weary (but accurate) cynicism as they are both stuck with each other and have made making their lives together as miserable as possible into a parlor game cause they're both bored, awful people.
posted by The Whelk at 9:12 AM on May 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm hoping for sad trombone.

ahahaha, that would be hilarious and awful. But I do think Don knows about cars --- at least enough to be legitimately excited by the specs GM provided, which he wouldn't be for a station wagon, would he? Obviously, I'm just guessing about the Trans Am, though it seems to fit all the details we're given.

What we forget is that the flipside of that episode was Peggy winning her freedom from the place that had defined her young professional life, finding an exit strategy that Don might have been proud of, just as the culture at SCDP seemed terminally rotten.

Man, that is just heartbreaking --- but not too surprising. Janie Bryant even put Peggy in the same color for the two scenes: an uncharacteristic eggplant-purple. I remember thinking in the S5 resignation scene that the entire outfit seemed more like something Megan would wear, which highlights Don's feeling that all his women-folk are leaving him behind. Seeing that color resurface here was just great. (Peggy's worn the second purple dress, short-sleeved w/ white-and-purple scarf, before, and it rang chimes in my head, but I couldn't figure out what they meant.)
posted by Elsa at 9:13 AM on May 6, 2013


psoas, I had exactly the same thought when Megan said that. I figured Megan's mom was French, but just like normal everyday people French (they exist), possibly 2nd or 3rd generation American. Then they revealed she was from Montreal and I was like "yup, French Canadian." Then I proceeded to be alternately annoyed/confused until it was revealed that her parents are French-from-France, they just happened to live in Montreal, where Megan was born.

I still think Megan is a highly unusual name for a French couple in Montreal to name their child, in the 40's. But maybe that's just because its current use is so tied to Irish-American culture.
posted by Sara C. at 9:15 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


It can't be the Greenbriar, that would be the opposite of new. Everything they've told us about this car would have to be totally wrong -- and remember it's not just a sheet of paper, they go to Detroit to pitch and presumably see the car or some schematic drawings or SOMETHING to give them something to go on. Don would never have landed the pitch if it was the return of the Greenbriar.
posted by Sara C. at 9:17 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Would you like my flowers, I am quite done with them."
posted by The Whelk at 9:18 AM on May 6, 2013


Wikipedia tells me that Megan is, in fact, a Welsh name. Confirmation bias at work, guys.
posted by Sara C. at 9:20 AM on May 6, 2013


Maybe it's the K5 Blazer? Doesn't seem that All New and Futuristic to me, and neither does it seem like a "Hit The Road, Jack" kind of car.

There is a K5 Blazer perennially parked on my block, though. And it was new in 1969.
posted by Sara C. at 9:24 AM on May 6, 2013


Wait a sec, it just occurred to me that it almost HAS to be a Nova.

What does "nova" mean?

What do we know about the car right now?
posted by Sara C. at 9:25 AM on May 6, 2013


And of course, the old joke about the poor sales of the Nova in Spanish-speaking countries.

"No Va" = "It does not move."
posted by The Whelk at 9:27 AM on May 6, 2013


But it sounds like it's supposed to take on the Mustang - and the Nova is like in the boringest class of cars ever.
posted by sweetkid at 9:28 AM on May 6, 2013


Yeah, definitely not a muscle car. And there was a long, lingering shot of a muscle car in the lobby of Chevy.

Which kind of makes me think it's a joke and it really does turn out to be the humble little Nova.
posted by Sara C. at 9:30 AM on May 6, 2013


I thought Joan's lashing out was interesting, in that I'm not sure it's actually accurate as to Don's past behavior, toward her, at least--in fact, he refused to participate in the original Jaguar pimping scheme and then tried to talk Joan out of it. Was that what she meant? Did she resent that? Interesting how Don's wealth comes up again and again--why do people resent his wealth, and not, seemingly, Roger's? Sometimes I wonder how Don got quite so rich, from fur salesman to the wealthy man in season 1. He's successful but his superstar trajectory sometimes feels strange when I think about it outside the context of the show.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:30 AM on May 6, 2013


Well he also married into money, not that he would've kept any of it after the divorce but I figured her family's sizable wealth (I figure she has a trust of some sort) would've paid for or helped with things - so not a lot of Don's superstar salary would actually got spent. Take away the kids and Don doesn't have that many expenses (Rye by the case exempted)
posted by The Whelk at 9:33 AM on May 6, 2013


I don't think people just resent his wealth, I think it's also about how he is really reckless and uncompromising about the business and it rubs people the wrong way. Sterling and Cooper are rich, but they are always thinking about the business before themselves. They don't do a lot of standing on principle.

It's come up before that Don does things without consulting anyone else. He does this in part because he can, because he has the money to fall back on. He also just does it because that's what he does. If I were working with someone like that it would drive me crazy.
posted by sweetkid at 9:35 AM on May 6, 2013


Also Roger gets a pass from everyone because he's basically a comic relief character, his money is just an aspect of his overgrown rich kid schtick. He's harmless.
posted by The Whelk at 9:35 AM on May 6, 2013


I think she's not frustrated with Don about his role in getting Jaguar. She's just frustrated at his behavior in losing Jaguar, which now makes her whoring herself all for nothing. Which, ummmm, duh, I was thinking when she decided to do it, "You know clients aren't forever. What happens if someday you don't have Jaguar?"

My read on the scene is that she's lashing out at Don because Jaguar is delicate business for her (almost ANYTHING they could do with Jaguar would be emotional for her), and also because she had dollar signs in her eyes over going public. It goes back to my feelings about Joan in general -- she'll lash out impotently based on emotion, but she's not cunning or strategic at all. Peggy'll sell you down the river in a second if it means winning an account. Joan probably won't, but she'll still cut a bitch.
posted by Sara C. at 9:35 AM on May 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also everyone, we're losing this thread soon. Where will we go?
posted by sweetkid at 9:36 AM on May 6, 2013


she'll lash out impotently based on emotion, but she's not cunning or strategic at all.

I agree, and you really see this in the partner situations. She's ok as long as she's organizing the meeting or barking at the secretaries, but when they were talking with the banker this last ep she was just staring blankly, and then after it was over was asking Pete to explain things to her.

I know she's a woman of her times, but she seems so out of place in those partner meetings.
posted by sweetkid at 9:38 AM on May 6, 2013


Well he also married into money, not that he would've kept any of it after the divorce but I figured her family's sizable wealth (I figure she has a trust of some sort) would've paid for or helped with things - so not a lot of Don's superstar salary would actually got spent. Take away the kids and Don doesn't have that many expenses (Rye by the case exempted)

But I think Henry has been a step down for Betty financially, and look at his apartment with Megan (and Megan's father's objections to them), you know?

My read on the scene is that she's lashing out at Don because Jaguar is delicate business for her (almost ANYTHING they could do with Jaguar would be emotional for her), and also because she had dollar signs in her eyes over going public. It goes back to my feelings about Joan in general -- she'll lash out impotently based on emotion, but she's not cunning or strategic at all.

Yeah, I think that's true, too. But I'm just thinking about Don's behavior in general and whether that was an accurate charge generally in business--it certainly is for his marriages, and we know he has a temper and loses accounts but . . . I'm just not sure.

I actually think part of what made him decide to merge was recognizing that by saying "we," Ted is a team player in exactly the way Don isn't. He needs a Ted--someone nice, pretty much.

(Also funny, he was trying to be nice in wooing back Peggy and Ted was all cut-throat about it. Don thinks that Peggy wants to be coddled but really she wants to be respected and given proper compensation. Ted understands that, but Don doesn't.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:41 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also everyone, we're losing this thread soon. Where will we go?

Ask nicely for another one? Does that work? Mods? o:)
posted by ipsative at 9:41 AM on May 6, 2013


But the banker complemented "the cook" on the immaculate books - which was a complement to Joan for taking Lane's position. So if she's doing Lane's job well, why would she be out of place as a partner?

I think she was primarily mad at Don being inconsiderate. If they lost Jaguar at some point like you normally lose clients - time goes by, you agree to part ways to get a fresh take on things - she'd be ok. But they lost Jaguar because Don couldn't finesse the blowhard and wasn't even really interested in trying.
posted by PussKillian at 9:41 AM on May 6, 2013


Yeah we're given every indication that Joan Is Good At Accounting.

also, form the AV club comments:

"I hate change, I love Bobby Kennedy, and a gypsy woman warned me that I will spontaneously combust if man ever sets foot on the moon."
posted by The Whelk at 9:42 AM on May 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also from the comments:

"I liked how a few shots later Bob Benson materialized on the stairs right where Pete had fallen, like a fucking genie.

Seriously though, what is he."

My current guess is Time Lord.
posted by The Whelk at 9:45 AM on May 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


This episode was awesome, what a rush.

I'm rooting for Teggy!

I think Don's reappearance into Peggy's life is a negative and she doesn't like it for personal and professional reasons. I think she managed to blossom at the new agency in a way that couldn't have happened at SCDP. I wonder how he would react to Teggy, honestly, given that Ted and he were once bitter rivals I'm afraid his disapproval will throw Peggy out of balance and create tension between them. Which will add to the tension of having to work together with Peggy as head of creative.
posted by ipsative at 9:47 AM on May 6, 2013


The Bob Benson shots are totally framed weird. If it weren't for the interaction between Bob and Ken early in the season I would 100% buy that he's Pete's hallucination.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:48 AM on May 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


Also, this whole huge comment

FYI St. Germaine is a very fine Elderflower liquor.
posted by The Whelk at 9:48 AM on May 6, 2013


Bob Benson is Layne's vengeful ghost.
posted by The Whelk at 9:49 AM on May 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've been thinking about the name similarity between the utterly pedestrian Bob Benson and the steeped-in-mystery magic that is Don Draper. I know that thinking about the verb "don" and the artiface-arranging noun "draper" is so Season 2, but the real magnificence of the name is stark against the similarly one-syllable, two-syllable Bob Benson.

Bob Benson. I can't wait for the Chekhov's gun to go off there.
posted by purpleclover at 9:51 AM on May 6, 2013


He is Death, bringer of coffee.
posted by The Whelk at 9:52 AM on May 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Like seriously there was at least one shot of him last episode (i watched it twice, you'd think I'd be able to remember when) where it looked like he was standing on a totally different set than the other characters.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:53 AM on May 6, 2013


But I think Henry has been a step down for Betty financially, and look at his apartment with Megan (and Megan's father's objections to them), you know?


Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but I always got the sense that Henry is doing the work he's doing out of a patrician sense of public service, and even though the house in Rye is not as flashy as Don's apartment in Manhattan, there is a current of old money vs. new money. Remember a few episodes back when Henry was reassuring Betty that if anything ever happened to him, she would be ok? I think that was signaling that Henry has a big pile of money, but doesn't have to prove anything to anyone by spending it.
posted by ambrosia at 9:54 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


why did i not see it before:

Bob is Kenneth.
posted by The Whelk at 9:57 AM on May 6, 2013


(now I want an episode where we see the world through Bob's eyes and everyone is a muppet)
posted by The Whelk at 9:58 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Interesting how Don's wealth comes up again and again--why do people resent his wealth, and not, seemingly, Roger's?

Because, though Roger is a dilettante and a lay-about, he's not actively losing them business most of the time. He's not peremptorily throwing clients out of the office or castigating co-workers or putting potentially agency-killing full-page ads in the NYT. He loses that Lucky Strike account and when Joan finds out that he knew the whole time, she does get furious with him. When Roger loses a client, he hides it as long as he can. When Don loses a client, he throws them out as loudly as he can and boasts about it.

Furthermore, Don has a safety net --- two, actually. He has enough money (in Don Draper's name) to float as long as he needs and get back on his feet, but he also has the bedrock belief that if he crash-lands this life, he can just walk away from the smoldering wreckage and start over again.

But most of his colleagues don't have the same safety net, and he's risking their futures along with his own, and expecting them to applaud when he does it.

Of course, there's also the fact that Roger uses money much more comfortably and easily than Don does. When Roger wants something, he eases that wad of bills out his pocket and starts peeling off bills with a (sometimes snarky) smile. When Don pulls out his money clip, it's to throw a wad of bills in Peggy's face.

Sometimes I wonder how Don got quite so rich, from fur salesman to the wealthy man in season 1.

In S1, Don is comfortable but not independently wealthy. He's drawing a great salary; one of the lower echelon guys (Paul? Pete?) unwittingly reveals his own salary by saying (something like) "He [Don] isn't worth ten times what I'm worth." Don's got a nice house and two solid cars and a desk drawer full of money, but he gives (some of? most of? all of?) that cache of cash to Adam. In fact, when Betty floats the idea of buying a summer cottage in that same episode, Don tells her that they're "not so flush" at the moment.

If I recall correctly, Don accrues his great wealth in the Putnam, Powell, and Lowe buy-out, which happens without his knowledge while he's AWOL in California. When Cooper's sister objects to voting without Don (though his shares aren't enough to skew the vote, she wants his opinion), Roger brushes her objection away with [something like] "We're about to make him half a million dollars."

In scenes with Frank, Don's accountant, they tally up the income from Don's investments, the profit from the sale of Anna Draper's house (which Don paid for and which increased in value nicely), and Frank suggests that Don should bounce Betty & Henry from the Ossining house to sell it. In the meantime, Don starts collecting rent from them (which is not huge, but if they're paying anything like market rental on a house that size, it's gotta add up).
posted by Elsa at 10:01 AM on May 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


ALSO
posted by The Whelk at 10:06 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also it's totally Duck pooping on her stairs.
posted by The Whelk at 10:08 AM on May 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Thanks, Elsa, those were the details I was forgetting which got us to Don Draper: Very Rich Man.

Furthermore, Don has a safety net --- two, actually. He has enough money (in Don Draper's name) to float as long as he needs and get back on his feet, but he also has the bedrock belief that if he crash-lands this life, he can just walk away from the smoldering wreckage and start over again.

Honestly I think the money is immaterial to Don, that it's the latter that actually leads him to act impulsively. Of course, to those who are still poor, that must rankle quite a bit.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:08 AM on May 6, 2013


ALSO

NO NO NO NO NO please no. I maaaaaay have ruined our household's enjoyment of that conversation between Joan and Pete by braying "NO NO NO NO JOANIE NO" and "NO, PETE, YOU MUST BE THIS TALL TO RIDE THIS RIDE."
posted by Elsa at 10:10 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


So if she's doing Lane's job well, why would she be out of place as a partner?

Because feminism, basically.

Prior to about the point we're at in Mad Men, women were used to having to do all the work, but not in a way that could be publicly recognized. I mean, go check out that Disney Doesn't Hire Female Animators thread from a couple weeks ago.

So Joan is in a weird place -- she'd be fine to do Lane's whole job in the background, like, if he were in and out of mental hospitals or had gone back to Old Blighty and nobody was really talking about it. But she's not great at Being A Partner. She's good at her job, but she's not good at thinking on the level that Don, Pete, and even Harry think. Because she's been taught her whole life that doing that isn't for her. This is sort of what that whole Mary Kay friend subplot was about. She has to step up and figure out how to be one of the big guys. Doesn't look like she's doing that yet.
posted by Sara C. at 10:13 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Honestly I think the money is immaterial to Don, that it's the latter that actually leads him to act impulsively. Of course, to those who are still poor, that must rankle quite a bit.

I more-or-less agree. I think he's become accustomed to the money and that it supports his well-entrenched don't-plan-ahead lifestyle. But his co-workers (except for Pete, who's explicitly remarked that Don can't be trusted not to cut and run, and Cooper, who is always weaving some secret cloth in the background) don't know about that history; they presumably think his feeling of seeming security* is based on his material comfort and the ability it affords him to take chances that they can't afford.

*Except, of course, it isn't security at all; it's abject insecurity, a fundamental feeling that he's a worthless failure who's just floating from incidental success to incidental success. From the outside, the desperate jumping from one tactic to another looks a lot like sure-footed assurance.
posted by Elsa at 10:14 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


a fundamental feeling that he's a worthless failure who's just floating from incidental success to incidental success

Don Draper? Impostor Syndrome? I mean, yes, he's in the strictest definition of the word an impostor, but... that's not what I see in his personality at all.
posted by psoas at 10:18 AM on May 6, 2013


Obviously, reasonable people can disagree about that, psoas, and the show has plenty of room for interpretation, but I see it all over Don from the very first season. I outlined some of what I mean here, especially this:
But more than that, I think Don offers money because he doesn't really believe he has anything else to offer. His father beat him, his stepmother berated and resented him. Don says (to Bobby, I think) that Uncle Mac "was nice to me," but Adam mentions that Uncle Mac always called Dick "soft." I fear that "nice to me" just means Mac didn't strike Don, didn't berate him as "a whore-child," didn't constantly resent and rebuke him for existing.

Don thinks he's worthless, and the show has told us that from the start. In the very first episode, Don tells Midge that he's going to fail, that they're going to figure out that he can't do it and then he's "over." Don thinks that he's a failure who's miraculously staving off revealing his true nature, over and over. It's part of the reason he doesn't have any friends: not just that he needs to protect his secrets, but that he thinks all relationships (except with his children) are transactional: if he doesn't have something of tangible value to give, why would anyone bother?
posted by Elsa at 10:26 AM on May 6, 2013


[Note that I wrote the part about Uncle Mac before his appearance in flash-back this season; I was basing it entirely on the little glimpse of him in the Mother's Day episode and the brief conversation between Adam and Don/Dick.]
posted by Elsa at 10:27 AM on May 6, 2013


In S1... Don's got a nice house and two solid cars and a desk drawer full of money... when Betty floats the idea of buying a summer cottage in that same episode, Don tells her that they're "not so flush" at the moment. ... If I recall correctly, Don accrues his great wealth in the Putnam, Powell, and Lowe buy-out ... "We're about to make him half a million dollars."

Which underscores something I just thought of.

Both Joan and Peggy have moments in this episode that call back to that aspect of Don's story.

Joan almost swoons at the idea that, if SCDP goes public, she would be worth almost a million dollars (and her Mary Kay friend subplot really outlined the fact that she's making a great living, has all the material things she wants, etc).

Peggy says, at the news of the merger, "I just bought an apartment," to which Ted reminds her that she's about to be the copy head of one of the top 25 ad agencies in New York.

Both of them are doing spectacularly well for working women in 1968. Both of them are at about the same place Don was in Season 1. Which looks really different in 1968 than it did in 1960, incidentally.

Joan has her eyes on that "but when is it MY turn to become spectacularly wealthy?" moment (Which is why she makes the crack about Don's money when she lashes out). Despite the fact that, as has been pointed out, she's still not entirely comfortable in her role as partner.

Peggy would almost prefer to be a young homeowner trying to hire a contractor than to be invited to the Big Shot Club. She "hates" change. She just wants the bus from newbie secretary to running an ad agency to slow the fuck DOWN already. But you know she'll be fine as the head of creative at a huge agency. Just like she always is.

For Peggy and Joan, this episode is that moment in Season 2 when Sterling Cooper got bought out.
posted by Sara C. at 10:27 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I started a new thread on a WSJ article about Betty. I think it is an interesting take on Betty's place in feminism in and of itself, but it's also someplace we could continue to discuss once this thread's closed.
posted by sweetkid at 10:29 AM on May 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


I agree that Don seems to know he's a fraud, very fundamentally and at the core of his being. He keeps running, keeps whoring, keeps faking it because it's the only way he knows to keep going. Otherwise, what else will he do? Hang himself? Get kicked in the head by a horse? The sense I get from him, when his veil falls, is that he's shocked that it works, that it's still working. I think he's being genuine when he told Peggy "It will surprise you how much this never happened."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:30 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks, sweetkid!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:31 AM on May 6, 2013


I'm a little bewildered why all the "I thought it would be about [some other Betty]" comments are staying up in my new post. I think it could be a good thread.
posted by sweetkid at 10:32 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Otherwise, what else will he do? Hang himself?

Yikes, when Megan seduced him with that "jump off the balcony and fly to work," my stomach dropped and I suddenly saw the great wisdom of those of you who talked upthread about how little she understands his inner life. Jeez, Megan, do not suggest jumping off the balcony to Dick Whitman, not even jokingly.

I started a new thread on a WSJ article about Betty. I think it is an interesting take on Betty's place in feminism

YAAAAAAAY! Though Joan and Peggy are easier (for me, anyhow) to empathize with, I am riveted by Betty's predicament.
posted by Elsa at 10:34 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love puppies
posted by The Whelk at 10:41 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ok " I love puppies" was one of the most jarringly out of character moments of the show for me ever. It was almost like Jon Hamm just got tired in the sixth hour of filming this dinner and thought "I'm going to say something here" and was just looking at Buzzfeed on his phone.
posted by sweetkid at 10:44 AM on May 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


New York City. May 17, 1968.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.

The firms of Margaret Olson and This Is Some Bullshit would like to announce that it would've been nice if SOMEONE had consulted her about her new boss shacking up with the self-destructive human tire-fire of a mentor she finally found the courage to leave, hoping to make her own name in the world. Especially since her seemingly NICE new boss has now become an inappropriate object of sexual desire that she fantasizes about while physically engaging her perfectly sweet, if somewhat deadbeat, live-in boyfriend in their total splinter-riddled dump of a new apartment. Things were complicated enough! And now they expect everybody to move back into the place she so recently broke free of? Where, incidentally, a manipulative weasel who put an unwanted baby inside her also works?

posted by The Whelk at 10:45 AM on May 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


Dear Internets: The Stan giving the bird, Pete falling down the stairs, and Don Loves Puppies gifs are my favorite animated gifs in all of animated gifdom. I'd like to ask House Giffendor to turn its attention to a Bob Benson eavesdropping animated gifs, should enough frames exist for such a thing. Pretty please?
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:06 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Didn't the Chevy Nova exist in some form already (or maybe I'm mis-reading the wikipedia articles)? Though it would fit in with the space theme team Teddy discussed ("I'm tired of drawing rockets"). The Vega would be a pretty big break with previous cars, and even had their own transportation.
posted by drezdn at 11:13 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


My theory as to what's going to happen next... The merger will lead to a group splitting off from SCDP including Harry. They may leave to join another company or start their own. Dave Algonquin will write a short story about two unhappy people being fused together by an atomic blast. It will win a Hugo.
posted by drezdn at 11:18 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm still trying to get over Joan's Amazing Time Traveling Hair, which she seems to have copped from Jaclyn Smith ten years hence.
posted by scody at 11:26 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don Draper is a lousy ad man.
posted by drezdn at 1:29 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's definitely the Chevy Vega - not the code number that Roger mentioned, XP-887, in the Development 1968-70 section. I think this is foreshadowing - this new partnership, based on this relatively unsuccessful car, means that SDCPCGC won't survive much into the 70s.
posted by crossoverman at 1:49 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Joan's reaction says a lot to me. I think she's wrong; she did it for the partnership, not for the account. Don told Herb to go fuck himself because he saw that, because of how they pursued the account, Joan, Don, and SCDP were always going to be kept whores in his eyes. Don equated giving into Jaguar with Munich earlier in this season, and the latest request just proved it.

That's what Don hates: being controlled by others (see his hesitancy to sign a contract in earlier seasons)

Also, hello, they were going to have to drop Jaguar anyway if they got Chevy. Would Joan have blown up at Roger if it had been his actions that led to dropping Jaguar?

I totally get being mad at Don because of his impulsiveness, but Joan had just been divested of an albatross and she's screaming at him? She still has her 5%, is about to be very wealthy, and doesn't have to worry about Herb haunting her anymore.

I think this season ends with Joan cashing out after whatever the firm morphs into goes public, and then exorcising her demons by leaving.
posted by dry white toast at 2:10 PM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think Joan was also mad because she thought Don torpedoed her shot at a million dollars.
posted by drezdn at 2:42 PM on May 6, 2013


I'd like to ask House Giffendor to turn its attention to a Bob Benson eavesdropping animated gifs

I want an youtube montage/mashup of every time a person/group of people either duck or flee after eavesdropping.

I love how there was a whole crowd listening in on last night's episode, and they all fucking RUN FOR IT at the same moment.

(I also think the gif of Peggy eavesdropping through those weird modern transom-ish windows is my favorite gif of all time)
posted by Sara C. at 5:02 PM on May 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ok, this is far too late, and we're all over on the other thread now, but my question about why Joan would be out of place as a partner was responding to what I thought was a declarative statement that she is not qualified to be one in the more general sense. She may struggle with the proper attitude that a Partner of the Firm should have, she may still be working things out, but her qualifications for her position are not simply and purely Slept With Herb The Jaguar Guy. I just see that in a lot of places - the whole, "Joan slept her way to a position she doesn't deserve because she's just a jumped-up secretary who is now pretending to be a partner." I was just saying that she's apparently doing a partner-level job with skill.
posted by PussKillian at 6:09 PM on May 6, 2013


Come up to our new thread. It's safe. And sexy.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:00 PM on May 6, 2013


I just want to say that I have loved this thread.
posted by mynameisluka at 7:06 PM on May 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Guys, I was reading the Chevy Vega wikipedia article (hush), and I discovered something AMAZING.

John DeLorean was GM of Chevrolet during the development of the Vega.

Which means Don Draper has probably met him.

Something something

Time travel?

(Also, and I forget whether the discussion of the failure of the Vega happened in this thread or the new thread, it looks from the article that the failures were all on Chevy's end, to do with the quality of the car itself. I don't know a lot about advertising, but it's hard to lay that at SCDPowihefdsohwrjgndsx's feet. For those speculating that the Vega would be the downfall of the agency.)
posted by Sara C. at 7:18 PM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


###
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:13 PM on May 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


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