DUCK Don! – A Recap of Mad Men’s “The Rejected”

 

When someone throws a ceramic paperweight at your head, that’s probably a good sign the relationship is over . . .

Poor Don!  He seemed to be the only character not having much fun in this episode.  Then again, his secretary  his f*ck buddy Allison probably wasn’t having all that much fun either . . .

And yet, what could be more fun than throwing a hard round object at your (sort-of-but-not-really) ex-boyfriend’s head?  I mean, the way I see it, Don got off easy.  After all, Allison could have had access to a John Deere tractor . . .

 . . . and that would have made things considerably . . . messier.

But before I get started on this recap, a tribute must be paid.  Did you know that John Slattery, the guy who plays Roger Sterling, directed this episode?

Pretty impressive, right?  Here’s to you, Roger  John, for a job VERY well done!

Let’s begin, shall we?

What the world needs now is more little Campbells . . .

If the kiddies ask, tell them that this is what the act of procreation looks like . . .

“That looks fun, Mommy!  I want to procreate RIGHT NOW!”

When we first see Pete, he is dealing with some bad news.  You see, Sterling, Cooper, Draper & Pryce has recently landed the lucrative Ponds Face Cream account.

Unfortunately, the acquisition conflicts with the company’s, slightly less lucrative, Clearasil account, a company which just so happens to be headed up by Pete’s father-in-law.

Therefore, it is up to Pete to effectively dump his wife’s Daddy, on the company’s behalf.

So, Pete meets his stepdad at a bar — undoubtedly, hoping to soften the blow a bit, by getting his Pops all liquored up, before he delivers the bad news.

“How dry I am!  How wet I’ll be, if I don’t find . .  . the bathroom key!”

But Pops already knows what Pete has to tell him, or at least he thinks he does.  Not realizing that his daughter hasn’t told Pete yet, Trudy’s dad accidentally spills the beans that Trudy is pregnant.  Pete is THRILLED!

This has NEVER HAPPENED TO HIM BEFORE . . .

 . . .  well . . . it’s never happened before, on purpose.

In fact, Pete is so overwhelmed by the good news, that he completely forgets to tell his stepdad about the BAD NEWS.  At home, Pete and Trudy rejoice over the upcoming new addition to their happy family. 

This pair is so genuinely sweet, and the warmth and chemistry between them so intense, that it almost makes me feel guilty about secretly rooting for a Pete and Peggy repeat hookup in the future . . .

. . . ALMOST!

Ever the ideal housewife, Trudy isn’t even mad, when she finds out about Pete having to dump representation of her father’s company.  In fact, she offers to drop the axe on her Dad, HERSELF! 

Woah, talk about whipped!  Pete must be a STALLION in the sack, to merit this kind of selfless behavior, on the part of his wife.  Then again, maybe he just has a really big . . . GUN.

Pete Campbell and Ken Cosgrove: Reunited and it feels so good!

“Hey, Pete!  Mr. Rogers called.  He would really like his  sweater back . . .”

Good news notwithstanding, Pete had another problem to cope with this week.  Namely, his frenemy / former nemesis, Ken Cosgrove, was getting married to some filthy rich trust fund baby, and wanted to meet Pete for lunch.

Remember when Pete punched Ken in the face, because Ken had called the secretly pregnant Peggy, fat?  Good times . . .

At the lunch, after a few moments of awkward silence, Pete and Ken air out their respective beefs with one another.  Ken calls Pete out for talking smack about him behind his back – a charge which Pete vehemently denies, despite it obviously being TRUE!

“Now Ken, you know I would never say anything to your face, that I wouldn’t say behind your back.”

As for Pete, he finally rids himself of the nagging notion that Ken is a better person and account manager than he (which he totally is, by the way!).  He does this by shamelessly bragging about his being able to become a Dad before Ken does.

“You can’t have one yet!  Nah-nah, nah-nah, nah, nah!”

Later, Ken expresses his frustration with his new advertising firm.  (Apparently, he left the former Sterling Cooper, shortly after Don & Co. defected).  Specifically, Ken gripes about his firm’s representation of only Mountain Dew, as opposed to ALL Coca Cola products.  “What’s the point of having pieces, if you can’t have the whole pie?”  Ken argues, more or less.

“See what I just did there?  That’s called Business Strategy . . . and I’m GOOD at it!  This is why you have to have me back on the show working for Sterling, Cooper, Draper & Pryce . . . I’m also kind of hot . . .”

Ken’s rant gives Pete an idea . . .

That night, at dinner with his step-parents, Pete corners Trudy’s dad and more or less bullies him into giving Sterling Cooper Draper & Pryce the opportunity to represent ALL of Vicks Chemical (except for Clearasil, of course).  The new account will be worth $6 million to the company (quite a bit of cash, by 1965 standards).

 “Every time you try to offer me something, I lose more and more respect for you,” begins Pete,  who is always a real “PRO,” when it comes to buttering up a prospective client.

“You’re also ugly, stupid, and smell bad.  So, pay me NOW, Daddy-O!”

Poor Trudy’s dad!  Still warm from the glow of impending grandfatherhood, he is shocked, and a little hurt, by his son-in-law’s callousness in handling the situation.  “Are you mad at me?”  He asks, adorably, like a toddler who’s just been put in Time Out by his parents.

Yet, only moments later, things begin to come clear, for the Patriarch of Vicks Chemicals. . .

“You’re a real son-of-a-b&tch, you know that?” Trudy’s father posits bitterly about his son-in-law.

A photograph of Pete’s mom . . . the B*TCH.

Peggy Olson: Party Girl Extraordinaire?

We always had HIGH hopes for you, girlfriend!

While Pete was busy making babies, making amends, screwing over his stepdad, and doing other Boring Adult Stuff, the formerly Square Peggy was FINALLY learning to act her age . . . twenty-something!

It all started, when she met an enterprising young art editor from Life magazine, named Joyce, while riding the elevator to work.

Joyce (who had enterprising business woman / hippy dippy, feminist lesbian written all over her, from the moment she stepped on screen) titillates Peggy with some decidedly risque nude model pictures that her magazine had recently rejected.  Appreciative of Peggy’s wit and moxie (and wanting badly to get inside the Olson pantalones), Joyce invites the young copy editor to an art exhibit / party at an abandoned sweat shop in the village.

At the party, the typically socially awkward Peggy does surprisingly well!  Like a true Party Pro, our girl mingles effortlessly with the artsy-fartsy crowd, smokes some grass, graciously deflects insults about her “working for the man” and “not being a real writer,” just because she’s in advertising.  She also pretends to enjoy a lame and pompous installation art video that looked suspiciously similar to the “brainwashing video” the Others used on Lost.

F.Y.I, that’s Peggy’s loser boyfriend, Mark, or, as he was known on Lost, Dead Karl . . .

PEGGY:  “I don’t know what it is about this film, but I suddenly have this overwhelming urge to fly Oceanic Flight 815.” 

JOYCE:  “Is this a 60′s flashback we’re in now, or just Purgatory?”

Peggy even deftly avoids an awkward moment when Joyce, not surprisingly, tries to plant a big wet one on her lips.  “I have a lame and annoying boyfriend,” explains Peggy politely.

“He doesn’t own your vagina,” replies Joyce.

“Yeah, but he’s renting it,” retorts Peggy.  Touche!

(OK.  So, when did this stop being an episode of Mad Men, and start being a reenactment of The Vagina Monologues?)

Eventually, the party gets raided by the police, and everyone has to dash .  . .

During the escape, Peggy has a close encounter and locks lips with this cute artsy activist who, maddeningly enough, was not credited on the IMDB page for this episode.  (Neither was “Joyce,” actually.  Weird.)  However, he KIND of looked like Theo Alexander, who played Talbot on True Blood. Therefore, to represent this guy, I’m going to use THEO’s picture, instead . . .

This is just to give you an idea about how much HOTTER Artsy Activist Guy was than Peggy’s Lame-o Current Boyriend . . .  It’s also because I’m still mad that they killed off Talbot on True Blood . . .

You Stay Classy, Peggy Olson . . .

Now, I know you’re not real used to the late night party scene, yet, Peggy.  But, just so you know, banging your head against your desk?  Not a great cure for a hangover . . .

The next day, while Peggy is working on a new advertising campaign, one of the office secretaries  hands her THIS card to sign . . .

And it is by reading this card, that Peggy first learns that Pete and Trudy are having a baby, which, unlike Peggy’s illegitimate child with Pete, the couple will KEEP and RAISE.  Poor Peggy is ambushed.  Fighting back tears, she quietly excuses herself from the room, heads to her office, and closes the door. 

Peggy then attempts to forget this whole thing ever happened.  (“It will amaze you how much it never happened,” said Don last season. — LIAR!)  She does this, by wisely trying to knock the newfound information out of her brain, by ramming said brain into her wooden desk.  When this doesn’t work, Peggy does the mature thing, and congratulates Pete, in person, on the upcoming new addition to his family.  Well done, Peggy!  Cheers to you!

Near the end of the episode, Peggy heads out to lunch with Joyce and her new artsy friends, while Pete prepares for a business lunch with the principals of Sterling, Cooper, Draper & Pryce, his stepfather, and other executives from Vicks Chemical.  On the way out of the office toward their increasingly divergent futures, the erstwhile couple share a look that is equal parts approval, respect, admiration, and wistfulness for a shared moment in time that has passed . . . at least for now.

Another One Bites the Dust . . .

Goodbye Allison!  We will surely miss you.  But fear not about your future . . .

I hear THIS GUY is hiring.  He can sympathize with what you endured.

And your “virtue” is most certainly safe with him.

Poor Don couldn’t keep a secretary, if she was attached to his belt buckle . . . and most of them are!

Let’s see . . . Don’s past secretaries:  Peggy moved on to bigger and better things, Jane moved on to Roger’s bigger and better pants, Lois was a moron, and Allison . . . well that’s a whole other story entirely . . .

It all started when Market Research Lady . . .

Does anyone else find this shrew as annoying and unlikeable as I do?

 . . . decided to conduct a focus group, using Sterling, Cooper, Draper & Pryce’s most youthful secretaries, to determine an appropriate advertising campaign for Ponds Face Cream.  (Ummmm yeah . . . a bunch of attractive single white women of the SAME age, who live in the SAME city, and work in the SAME office . . . in advertising . . . as secretaries . . . now THAT’S a “diverse and representative” sample of the nation’s shoppers, if I ever saw one.)

 “I could have chosen a more appropriate sample for this group . . . and I’m a monkey.”

Not only does Market Research Lady do a TERRIBLE job chosing a sample to test her product (which the girls NEVER actually test, by the way), she also does a TERRIBLE job ascertaining their feelings about beauty.  This is probably because, in her attempt to be, “just one of the girls,” Market Research Lady comes across as so patronizing, arrogant, and phony, that she makes me want to VOMIT . . .

My sentiments exactly!

Within moments, Market Research Lady’s horridness has infected the secretaries.  One of them is bawling her eyes out about how she feels that her boyfriend rejected her, because she wasn’t pretty enough.  Watching from a nearby “observation room” (a.k.a. Joan’s office) the SCDP execs are uncomfortable, yet oddly captivated, by the soap opera unfolding in front of themthat is except for Peggy, who has begun absentmindedly trying on Market Research Lady’s wedding ring (Now, who in their right mind would MARRY Market Research Lady?); and Don, who is WATCHING Peggy try on the wedding ring, with a smugly paternal look on his face.

“Aha!  I KNEW IT!  I CAUGHT YOU!  You wanna get married, you wanna get married . . . you wanna get . . .”

“Shut the f*ck up, Alchy!”

Meanwhile, the other secretary’s cryfest has started to remind Allison of her little “encounter” with Big Don’s Big Dong, and her waterworks start flowing too! 

(Market Research Lady takes all this crying to mean that young women of the 60′s could care less about beauty regimens, unless they think it will help them land a husband.  She therefore suggests, much as Freddy Rumsen did two weeks ago, that the Ponds campaign be based around marriage proposals.  Don thinks THAT idea is a bunch of old-fashioned, uncreative, Bull Crap, and so do I!)

When an anguished Allison rushes out of the focus group, Peggy, ever the “Fixer Uppper,” offers to go after Allison, and see what’s up.

Initially, when Peggy thinks Allison is just crying over how incredibly LAME the focus group was, she is remarkably sensitive.  “People cry at these things all the time!  I’ve seen GROWN MEN cry at them . . .”

 . . . and whiny twenty-somethings playing teenagers.

However, when Peggy learns that (1) the REAL reason Allison is crying is because she has slept with Don; and (2) Allison believes PEGGY had once done the same thing  (Peggy actually DID try to seduce Don in the pilot episode, but he rejected her.), Peggy is significantly less sympathetic.  “Your problem is NOT my problem,” seethes Peggy at a bawling Allison, horrified by the notion that people at the office assume she has slept her way to the top.  “And, honestly, I think you should just get over it,” concludes Peggy, with all the coolness and sensitivity of a porcupine in 95-degree weather.

An X-ray of Peggy Olson’s heart  . . .

(We can almost hear Don’s words echoing in Peggy’s head, as she berates Poor Allison. — “It will amaze you how much it never happened.”)

So, PETE she forgives without question, but ALLISON gets relentlessly chewed out and crapped on?  What kind of “feminist” logic is that exactly, Peggy?

Later, when Don goes to check on Allison, she closes the door to his office, and confronts him about their indiscretion, forcing Don to acknowledge its existence, for the first time.  Allison then calmly explains that she has found another job opportunity, and would like for Don to write her a recommendation letter.  Don agrees to do so, but deflects any personal responsibility for the document, suggesting that Allison write it herself, and he can just sign it.

Now, personally, I would JUMP at this opportunity.  After all, Don Draper may be “Mr. Creativity” when it comes to advertising, but, lets face it, he’s a total ZERO when it comes to emotionally connecting with other human beings.  People like that make TERRIBLE recommendation letter writers.  This way, Allison has the executive of a company right where she needs him to be.

He is obviously feeling guilty about his past actions, and, therefore, highly willing to agree to anything she wants him to put in that letter.  The possibilities are ENDLESS.  Here’s just one example . . .

To whom it may concern:

Allison is the best secretary on the face of the Earth . . . no .  . . the GALAXY!  She is a genius, unbelievably talented, hard-working, dedicated, and drop-dead  gorgeous!  In fact, I am wholly convinced she is descended from gods.   She is also an absolute lioness in the sack.  Hire her, or I will hunt you down and kill you.

                                                                                        Very truly yours,

                                                                                        Don Draper, Executive

                                                                                   Sterling, Cooper, Draper & Price

Allison, however, took complete offense to the fact that her boss, a man she once admired, slept with, and obviously still had feelings for, couldn’t be bothered to come up with a single original word about her merits as a secretary.  Furious, Allison lifts up a paperweight from Don’s table and thrusts it against the wall, shattering a glass picture frame, in the process . . .

Strike three, you’re out!

Of course, Don copes with Allison’s outburst and subsequent departure the same way he copes with everything else, by getting sh*tfaced . . .

Be careful how much you drink, Don!  Little Sister is watching . . .

To Don’s credit, he is not a total heartless pig.  And, despite Allison’s destruction of his office, he STILL feels bad about what he did to her.  In fact, Don even expresses a willingness to have Allison come back and work for him, until Joan silently convinces him that this would send a “bad message” to the rest of the company about what happened between them.  Later that night, in his lonely apartment, Don starts to type up an apology letter to Allison, but, ultimately, loses his nerve . . .

Never one to be accused of not having a sense of humor, Joan has an ingenious idea of who to hire as Don’s umpteenth secretary . . .

It’s DAME EDNA!

OK .  . . It’s not. But she TOTALLY looks like Dame Edna, doesn’t she?

And she’s a TERRIBLE secretary too — with all the class and customer service skills of a wet dishrag!

(I’m still not entirely certain that Don WON’T try to sleep with her, anyway . . .)

[www.juliekushner.com]

8 Comments

Filed under Mad Men

8 responses to “DUCK Don! – A Recap of Mad Men’s “The Rejected”

  1. What …. a recap! I keep thinking how Peggy and Pete might do a retap … bad, bad, bad idea …

    I just love this show, well, more like “love, love love it.” It’s nice to read your love and enthusiasm, too. I wish I had time to do recaps every week.

    Hey, I am giving away two copies of a new Mad Men book – Mad Men and Philosophy, if you’d like to stop by my blog and enter to win one of them.

    • Awww, thanks so much girlfromtheghetto! Your praise of this recap means so much to me, as I have always considered you somewhat of an unofficial “Mad Men expert,” based on your fabulous past blogs about the show, as well as our previous discussions about it.

      This was a fun episode, wasn’t it? I am so impressed with John Slattery! Who knew he had such a talent for directing? Just the fact that he directed Alexa Alemanni and Jon Hamm in that paperweight scene impresses me immensely. (That could have gone SO WRONG, in the hands of a lesser director!)

      I’ll definitely pop by your blog for your Mad Men Book Giveaway contest. Although my Mad Men posts aren’t all that popular, if our interaction here sends even one of my recap readers your way, I would be honored and so pleased . . .

      Thanks for your kind words and for taking the time to comment. I’m always happy to have another blogging pal to talk Mad Men with.

  2. Hey!

    I just entered a contest to try and win a walk-on part in an episode of the show “Mad Men”. Please come to my blog at http://mrssplapthing.blogspot.com and vote!

    I need loads of votes to catch up to people who already posted their picture, so get your friends to come and vote too!

    Cheers,
    M

  3. angelina

    nice,ty admin

  4. Lola

    i heart this episode, in fact, i’m really liking this season so far. all of Mad Men should be people getting high in warehouses, throwing sh*t at one another and riding around in convertibles while looking sexy.
    i didn’t care for last season’s Bettyfest. it was too WASPy, i like for my TV characters to emote!

    or it could be that Pete is my favorite character. the whole exchange between him & his father in law was priceless (i mean, who just shrugs off being called a bastard?).

    i wonder if Peggy & Pete’s little incident will ever come to light. on the one hand, i’d like to see something else happen between them, but on the other i really like Pete’s wife (she’s hilarious). how old would their kid be? four?

    also, i’m surprised to see that John “Silver fox” Slattery directed the episode. he did a good job.

    • True, Betty is completely incapable of emoting because “her people are Nordic.”

      And I am SO GLAD I’m not the only one who LOVES Pete Campbell! I feel a bit weird saying that, seeing as I am starting to think he is a complete sociopath. He can be mind-mannered, sweet, and charming for three-and-a-half episodes in a row, and then he turns around and does what he just did to his Dad-in-Law.

      The funny thing about it, was that Pete’s bullying was COMPLETELY unnecessary! Mr. “You Need a Bigger Apartment, So I’m Just Going to Buy it For You” would have given Pete the entire Vicks account at the drop of a hat. All Pete had to do was ask, especially with Daddy all high on the baby news. Instead, he made the father feel like the account was extorted out of him. And yet, I still found Pete’s confidence, as he poured that drink, and his Dad-in-Law almost cried, VERY HOT. (I’m sick, I know.)

      Trudy is an awesome match for Pete, but so is Peggy. Maybe they can all become hippies soon, and have a “Free Love Threeway.” That would be spectacular . . .

      I hope the Silver Fox puts himself up for Emmy consideration for directing this one. He deserves it.

      Thanks for your kickass comments, as always! :)

  5. madmennn

    am i the only one who finds peggy extremely ANNOYING!
    she abandoned her child yet people still like her.
    she is unnecessarily rude and cocky sometimes and I honestly don’t think she has any redeeming qualities about her.
    she’s never happy/satisfied with anything/anyone and i get the feeling she thinks everyone else owes her something.
    idk maybe i just don’t like the fact that one second she’s nice sweet innocent peggy and next second she’s a complete bitchhh! (and not in a feminist, need to stand up for yourself way either)

    • Hi madmenn! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! Although I generally like Peggy, I can certainly see what annoys you about her. She can be extremely uptight and judgmental at times. And I remember being REALLY unnerved by the harsh and insensitive way she treated Allison, during this particular episode!

      After all, Allison just did the EXACT SAME THING Peggy tried to do in the pilot episode. There were only two differences: (1) Don came on to ALLISON, and not the other way around; and (2) Don actually WANTED to sleep with Allison. Although it takes two to tango, Don, in the position of power, was so much more in the wrong, regarding their indiscretion, than Allison was. So, she certainly didn’t deserve the lecture.

      The way Allison saw it, she was getting involved romantically, with a divorced guy, who was interested in her. Unfortunately, she was naive, and didn’t know Don, as well as we do. Peggy (who didn’t think twice about letting Pete knock her up in season 1), of all people, really should have been more empathetic and understanding of Don’s ex- secretary.

      I do think Peggy is growing up, however, and learning to tolerate people more, as the seasons progress. The Old Peggy would have been utterly disgusted by Don’s behavior this past week in “The Suitcase.” She would never have been willing to comfort and care for him, especially after he treated her as harshly as he did. So, maybe, if this keeps up, she will start to bug you less? :)

      P.S. Regarding Peggy’s baby, I was always a bit uncertain as to what ultimately occurred there. Maybe you could help me clarify. You see, I was always under the impression that the doctors told Peggy’s mother that Peggy was in no condition mentally to care for the child, given the whole pregnancy denial. So, her older sister took the baby, and raised it as her own. Is that what happened? Or did I miss something?

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