Lane Pryce: Fashion Guru / Wild and Crazy Guy? – A Recap of Mad Men’s “The Good News”

“Oh yes, Anna.  The advertising world is VERY exciting.   Us Mad Men are always on the pulse of the very latest in pop culture and fashion.  Like THIS new item, for example . . .

The Beefsteak Belt Buckle!  It’s fashionable.  It matches everything.  And it’s great for snack on the go . . . provided you don’t mistake it for anything else nearby . . .

“Freddy Rumsen did that once.  He’s never been the same . . .”

 This week’s episode of Mad Men featured Don Draper getting wasted, hitting on chicks half his age, and going out for expensive nights on the town.  But wait . . . isn’t that what happens in EVERY episode of Mad Men?  Perhaps, but  last night’s episode  was different, because last night we also got to watch LANE PRYCE get wasted, hit on chicks half his age (OK they were prostitutes, but still . . .), and go out for an expensive night on the town!

Who knew Don and Lane together could be such “Wild and Crazy Guys?”

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Perhaps we should start at the beginning, with the only OTHER main character to actually get a storyline this week.  THIS GIRL . . .

Dr. McRapey saves the day . . . for once.

“Well, they had to find SOME way to make my character likeable, before he dies in Vietnam.  How else can Christina Hendricks win an Emmy next year for her portrayal of the ‘grief-stricken widow?”

The episode begins with Joan Holloway hanging out in her hospital gown, and visiting with her friendly neighborhood GYNO.

“Open wide, Joan!  And I’m not talking about your mouth, either.  Unless, of course .  . . well, nevermind.”

If Doctor McGirly Parts looks at all familiar to you, he should.  This douchey Doc was the same guy who examined Peggy in the Season 1 Pilot episode.  (Remember?  He warned her against being the “Town Strumpet” . . . like Joan?)

“Oh, of course, not Doctor.   Aside from Pete, that college boy I picked up in the bar, Duck, my new boyfriend Mark, and my entire high school Chess team, I am a TOTAL virgin!’

However, this is NOT the same GYNO as that old fart, who told Betty she should be THRILLED to have a baby, because she has had a rich husband to care for her.

Douchey GYNO assures Joan that she is very healthy.  Everyone’s favorite Office Manager should definitely be able to have a kid if she wants one, despite her having had two abortions prior, one of which had been administered by Douchey himself.  Everything seems great about the visit, until, in typical Douchey fashion, the GYNO takes the opportunity to inquire after Joan about why her “happily married” husband would rather go to war halfway across the world, than stay home and bang her.  OUCH!  That one had to hurt!

Knowing full well that the window of opportunity that Joan and Dr. McRapey have to screw like bunnies (and hopefully procreate like them too), before he heads off to war,  is very limited .  . .

Even the Energizer Bunny has to stop sometime . . .

Joan approaches Lane the day before New Year’s Eve, in order to request some days off after New Year’s, during which she could “take care of some personal business.”

Unfortunately for Joan, Scroogey McLane hasn’t been laid since Eisenhower was inaugurated . . .

“Ahhhhh, us Brits DID always ‘like Ike’ . . .”

So, of course, he is none too pleased about Joan’s request.  “You will be off on New Year’s, why should I give you more days?”  Lane whines. 

When Joan tries to get her boss to reconsider, Lane REALLY goes for the jugular.  “I understand that all men are dizzy and powerless to refuse you, but consider me the incorruptible exception,” he seethes.

Clearly, Lane is the guy who got teased and rejected by all the pretty girls in high school, and now vows to make all of their lives miserable, whenever possible.  “Don’t go and cry about it,” Lane calls after a flabbergasted Joan, adding insult to injury, as she stalks out of his office.

“Lane Pryce, you are SOOOO not allowed in my Conga Line, next Christmas!”

Joan’s day goes from bad to worse, when she arrives home from work, only to get into an argument with her husband, about when he is leaving for Vietnam, and why the two of them cannot coordinate their schedules efficiently enough to find so much as five extra minutes of mutual screw time.  Thanks to Mr. “Incorruptible Exception,” a vacation for the not-happy-couple is pretty much out of the question.

“Was it just me, or did this scene look and sound like something out of that Leonardo DiCaprio film, Revolutionary Road?”

In order to make amends with Dr. McRapey, the next night, Joan holds an impromptu luau in her apartment, complete with leis (but sans getting laid).  Joan hopes that this charming luau will make up for the trip to Hawaii she and McRapey will never take, and the sex on the beach they will never have.  But things don’t exactly go as planned.  For starters, she nearly chops off her fingers!

Admittedly, this is probably a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea!

McRapey surprises EVERYBODY by being surprisingly cool about the whole ruined evening.  He quickly grabs his medical kit and goes to work on Joan’s bloody hand, amusing her with cheesy jokes, as she works.  The unexpected sweetness of the moment brings Joan to tears.

“Didn’t I tell you NOT to go and cry about it!  Why don’t you EVER listen to me?”

Because, unlike Lane, Dr. McRapey is NOT the “incorruptible exception,” he is visibly softened by Joan’s uncharactertistic show of emotion.  “I can’t fix everything, but I can fix this,” he replies, smiling ruefully at the woman he may ACTUALLY love, despite all prior evidence to the contrary.

Keep this up McRapey, and I may have to actually learn your character’s REAL NAME!

Saying sorry is the hardest part . . .

To My Loyal Secretary,

Roses are Red.  Violets are Blue.  My marriage is over, and so are YOU!  YOU’RE FIRED!

Hugs and Kisses,

Lane

Dr. McRapey Greg  (See?  I did it!  I remembered his name!) wasn’t the only man needing to do some serious Joan Holloway Ass Kissing . . .

And let’s face it, there’s plenty to go around.

So, Mr. “Incorruptible Exception” has his Secretary send Joan a box of roses.  But when she opens them, and reads the card inside, she is infuriated!  It turns out the card says something completely workplace inappropriate like,  “I’ve been an incredible ass.  Please take me back.  I want to make love to you, while wearing nothing but a Beefsteak Belt Buckle.  Hugs and Kisses – Lane”

When Joan confronts Lane about a card that she would see as being sexual harrassment, if such a thing existed during the mid sixties, Lane is appalled.  As it turns out, Lane had recently gotten into a little tiff with his miserable cold fish of a wife . . .

Coincidentally, if they ever did a UK version of Mad Men, this is probably who they would choose to play the Betty Draper character . . .

So, the  . . . noun that rhymes with kitsch . . . immediately up and left for England, taking Lane’s only son with her.  (Let’s face it, seeing how much this broad hated NYC, we all know she was just WAITING for an excuse to do this, card or no card.)  And so, when the soon-to-be former Mrs. Pryce receives Lanes flowers in the mail, you can imagine her surprise (and relief?) when the card attached says, “Please forgive me, Joan!”

Lady Pryce vows never to return to the U.S., and instructs her son to tell his father that he won’t be returning either.  Happy Friggin New Year, Lane!

Eager to spread the “holiday cheer” already looming throughout this lovely episode, Joan proceeds to ream Lane’s secretary a new asshole for singlehandedly destroying his marriage.  When the secretary indicates that the mixup was the florist’s fault and not her own, Joan fires her faster than you can say “roses are red.”  Happy Friggin New Year, Secretary!

Smoking some grass, underage ass, home painting with class

I think I once saw a porn that began like this . . .   “Oh Mr. House Painter, you got paint on your jeans, let me WASH THEM FOR YOU!”

While Joan was chopping her fingers off, and Lane was watching his marriage go down the toilet, Don was headed to Acapulco alone for New Years.  But before he got there, he planned to spend the day with his old friend Anna Draper, the REAL wife of the REAL Don Draper, and the only woman who truly loved him for who he was . . .

Anna is admittedly a bit worse for wear, having broken her leg recently.   Yet, she is still thrilled to see Don.  Just moments after he has arrives, Anna’s sister conveniently drops by, with a scantily-clad college student named Stephanie in toe.  Stephanie is Anna’s niece, and nearly half Don’s age, which makes her the PERFECT love match for him, as far as he is concerned.  I don’t know about you guys, but lately, Don Draper has been starting to remind me a lot of Matthew McConaughey’s character in the film Dazed and Confused.

“That’s what I love about [these] girls: I get older, and they stay the SAME AGE!”

Once they get rid of Anna’s Stick Up Her Ass sister, Anna, Stephanie, and Don, armed with a massive bag of grass, head out to the local bar for a few quick drinks.  As Don drinks, he gets pensive and philosophical.  So, while young Stephanie is off fiddling with her jukebox (no pun intended), Don begins waxing poetic to Anna about how Betty didn’t love the REAL Don Draper Dick Whitman, and that she dropped him like a hot potato, the minute she learned of his ignominious roots.

[Insert sad dramatic music here.]

Now, typically, I am NEVER one to stick up for Betty, under ANY circumstances.  However, Don’s kind of being a bit of whiny b*tch here.  So, I have to give credit where credit is due.  Ummmm DICK, your wife left you, because you CHEATED on her countless times, and LIED to her for many years about every important facets of your REAL life, including YOUR REAL NAME!

“Yeah!  Take that, DON!  You just got schooled!”  (sticks out tongue)

When the slow song Stephanie chooses on the jukebox immediately begins to play on the jukebox  (This is TRULY impressive, as I don’t think I have EVER had the song I selected from the jukebox actually played while I was there to hear it.  I’ve always been convinced the whole “jukebox thing” was a scam to eat my quarters.), Stephanie and Don the Lech, begin to slow dance .  . . up close and personal.  Don seems very happy about this recent turn of events.  In fact, you know what I bet he could use right now?

It works for swollen EYES . . . so why not . . .?

After dropping Anna off her house, Don offers to take Stephanie . . . *cough, cough* HOME *winks, clears throat.* 

Shocker of shockers, when Don arrives at Stephanie’s house, he immediately leans over, and begins to look at the college student with his trademark, “Even though I’m practically old enough to be your Dad, you should seriously consider f&cking me, because I look like this” . . .

 . . . eyes.

Stephanie responds to Don’s advances by . . . telling Don that Anna has terminal CANCER . . .

 . . . and that NO ONE has told her she’s dying, so as to PROTECT HER FEELINGS!

And ladies, let me tell you, there is no better way to kill a man’s . . . Beefsteak Belt Buckle . . . than to talk to him about “feminine health” issues . . .

Don is immediately faced with a cavalcade of conflicting emotions.  He is saddened by the prospective loss of his dear friend; angered that Anna’s own family has been keeping this information a secret from her (because Don NEVER keeps secrets from ANYONE!); and intensely guilty about leaving Anna alone to die.  He vows to come clean to Anna about her illness the following morning, even though that is when he is scheduled to leave for Acapulco.

However, when the morning comes, Don realizes that he can’t do it.  It is not his place to make this type of important decision about Anna’s life.  So, instead, he repaints Anna’s chipped walls, write both of their names on the bottom like a school boy with a crush, and sadly departs Los Angeles.  However, instead of going to Acapulco, Don decides to spend New Year’s Eve in NYC.

All Right! Enough of this maudlin crud!  On to the booze, babes, and Beef Beltbuckles!

“Let the debauchery begin!”

When Don arrives back at the office, he finds it completely empty, except for Lane.  After a few awkward moments with one another, these two decide that having a non-business related conversation while sober is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE.  So, the two pop open a bottle of wine sent care of Lane’s alcoholic father back in the UK, and proceed to get positively sh*tfaced.

Soon, Don is holding his liquor bottle at crotch level and pouring it on the floor instead of in his glass.  Watching this, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the “Freddy Rumsen Pee Incident” from Seasons Past.  I half expected Don and Lane to start lapping the stuff off the floor like dogs (“stuff” meaning the liquor .  . . not the pee . . . because that would be gross . . . not that licking whisky off a shag carpet isn’t). 

When the proverbial “keg” has been completely tapped, Don and Lane decide to go to a movie.  They argue a bit over what they should see.  Upon getting a glimpse of the film they did end up seeing on the screen, I was certain it was Godzilla.  However, upon doing some further research,  I quickly learned that it was some old film called Gamera, about a genetically altered turtle, with a bad attitude and destructive tendencies . . .  Kind of like THESE GUYS . . .

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Heroes in a Half-Shell, TURTLE POWER!”

And who doesn’t love a nice, feel-good movie, about a Reptile on Steroids?    In addition to being adorable, the men found themselves able to relate to Gamera on some deep spiritual level.

“This movie is VERY good!”

Next, the boys head out for dinner at a fairly swanky restaurant. 

LANE: “What a jolly good night this is!”

DON:  (Starts giving Lane the “even though I’m practically old enough to be your Dad, you should seriously consider f&cking me, because I look like THIS” eyes”)

LANE:   Ummm, Don.  Why are you looking at me like that?

DON: Sorry, it’s an old habit of mine . . .

LANE:  Well, it’s working.  Suddenly, I have this insane urge to f*ck you . . .

It is during this dinner that Lane gets the brilliant idea to put an entire hunk of steak over his crotch and do a dance that looks suspiciously like the Macarena.

First the Ninja Turtles, and now THIS.  Clearly, Lane is a man before his time . . .

The Wild and Crazy Guys’ next stop is a comedy show. 

But the comedian seems pretty lousy, from what I could tell.  After making some lame joke about masturbation, he starts going after Don and Lane themselves, with some half-hearted “gay jokes,” and a few “ugly jokes” . . .

?????????????????

 . . . about Lane.  Fortunately, Don’s Hos arrive, and the group quickly take their leave . . .

NO!  Not Don HO!  DON’S HOS!

Close enough . . .

Don, Lane, and the hos, head back to Don’s apartment.  Both hos want Don and Lane to do it in Don’s guest bedroom, where the kids stay when they come over, but Don wisely nixes the idea .  . .

“Dad, why are there tadpoles in my bed?”

Ultimately,  Don lets Lane screw in his bedroom, and Don and his ho take the couch.  And they say New Yorkers don’t understand hospitality!

The next day, Lane offers to pay for his lay, and the pair share a “lets never discuss this night again” look with one another, before heading back to the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper & Pryce.  Lane, Don, and the rest of the crew, quickly gather around a brand new conference table for their first meeting of the New Year. (When did they get a table?  Weren’t they all just sitting in an empty circle last week?)

“Gentleman, shall we begin 1965?”  Joan inquires.

YES, PLEASE!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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