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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]

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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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The Return of Freddy Rumsen (and Creepy Glen): A Recap of Mad Men’s “Christmas Comes But Once a Year”

“Ho, ho, ho!  Don’s a ho, ho, ho!”

Tonight’s installment of Mad Men marked the “return” of a number of important people and things:

First, there was Freddy Rumsen . . .

A man whose vast talents include: pissing himself before client meetings, taking “six-month leaves” and playing Mozart with his fly . . .

Also, returning for this episode was Glen Bishop . . .

His talents include:  creeping everybody out, watching grown women pee, asking for locks of their hair, and being show producer, Matt Weiner’s kid in real life!

“That’s my boy!”

The final addition to the “People Returning” category is Lee Garner, Jr. . . .

His talents include trying to rape Sal . . .

 . . . getting Sal fired because he tried to rape him, and making fans HATE HIS GUTS for getting rid of Sal.

Other non-human returnees included:

Peggy’s virginity . . .

But it left a few minutes later . . .

And Don’s misery and lack of good judgment . . .

But, when you think about it, has that EVER really left?

So, now that we’ve given all the old -newcomers a warm welcome, what do you say we get on with the show?

The Case of Creepy Glen and the Phantom Phone Calls

“I don’t know about you.  But I’m just really happy to be involved a storyline that doesn’t involve someone dying, or me getting screamed at by my Mean Mommy.”

When the episode first opens, the new “Francis family,” led by the “about as exciting as watching paint dry,” Henry Francis . . .

“What exactly is wrong with watching paint dry?  I very much enjoy watching paint dry.  It’s scintillating . . .”

 . . . are searching for a Christmas tree that won’t scrape the paint off their ceiling.  While there, Sally runs into Creepy Glen . . .

“I heard you got a new dad.  My mom said that would happen,” offers Glen conversationally.  (Ohhh  BURN!  Take that Mama Betty!  You should have really thought twice about giving this boy a lock of your hair.  He’s out for revenge now!)

Glen then shows Sally his red twine dispenser, and Sally remarks at its beauty, before being called away by her brother.

“I might call you sometime,” threatens Glen, as he ponders putting a lock of Mama Betty’s hair on a squirrel he just killed, and making it into a voodoo doll.

Creepy Glen DOES call Sally.  But instead of revealing his true identity when Housekeeper Carla picks up the phone, he refers to himself as STANLEY, his evil alter ego.  As if Creepy Glen wasn’t creepy enough before, he now has multiple personality disorder too! 

Sally, who, unfortunately, has never seen the film Fatal Attraction (both because it’s Rated R, and because it hasn’t come out yet in 1964), takes this brilliant opportunity to pour her heart out to Creepy Glen / Stanley.  “I hate it here.  I really, really do,” she gripes.

(It’s interesting how Betty CLAIMS to be squatting in Don’s house with her new husband for the “children’s sake” and the “children” themselves, don’t even want to be there.)

“Bad Mommy!”  (says Creepy Glen, as he stabs a pin in Voodoo Betty’s heart).

“Don’t worry.  One day your parents will wake up and they will want to move.  You’ll see,” Glen offers, cryptically, before hanging up the phone.

That night, while the “Francis’s” (I’m never going to get used to typing that) are out for dinner, Glen once again calls the house.  This time, no one answers.  He and his friend then somehow break into the house and vandalize it, by pouring food from the fridge all over the place.  “There’s eggs in my bed,” complains Bobby, who has had more to say in this episode then he did throughout the entire third season of this show.

“My room is fine,” exclaims a confused Sally, as she walks toward her night table and finds Creepy Glen’s red twine dispenser – clearly, a gift of love . . .  FROM HELL! 

(Insert maniacal laughter here.)

“Mark” Your Man?

You know who wasn’t getting stalked by a creeper this week?  Peggy!  But she WAS getting pressured into sex, by her clingy, nasally voiced loser of a boyfriend, Mark.  (PEGGY!  You can do SO much better!)

I rest my case.

“I want to be your first,” whines Dweeby Mark, uttering the most unintentionally hilarious line in the entire episode, about the girl who got knocked up by Pete, and who Duck Phillips gave “a go around like she never had before.”

Like a virgin .  . . touched for the very tenth time . . .

Born Again Peggy tells Marky Mark with his Pants in a Bunch that she “wants to wait.”  He responds by laying on her the slobberiest, most unsexy, kiss of all time.  “Think about THAT!”  He says triumphantly, as he struts out of her apartment.  Oh, she’s thinking about it, all right . . . and so are we . . .

After admitting to herself that she “doesn’t want to be alone on New Years,” Peggy receives some advice from Freddy Rumsen about “men.”   Freddy tells her that she should “not lead the boy on,” because that’s PAINFUL . . .

Ahem.

 . . . and that if she “really likes him, she should wait,” Peggy decides to screw Marky Turd anyway.  Hey Mark, get the hint . . .

But, hey, at least you won’t have to worry about THESE anymore . . .

Freddy Rumsen Doesn’t DO Santa Claus!

(Insert sad zipper music here.)

Well, I, for one, enjoyed seeing Freddy Rumsen return. (Now we just need Sal, Ken and Paul!)  Unfortunately, the poor guy didn’t seem to be enjoying himself all that much this week!  It’s tough being on the wagon in an office filled with alcoholics, isn’t it Freddy? 

 Just ask THIS GUY . . .

Sorry, wrong Duck.  I mean THIS GUY . . .

Kind of blew the punchline there, didn’t I?

Speaking of Duck, I never did forgive him for what he did to poor Chauncey . . .

So NOT cool!

But I digress, back to On-The-Wagon Freddy  . . . 

He comes to the offices of Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce, sober 16 months, and armed with a two-million dollar account, Ponds Face Cream.  When asked how he managed to receive such a windfall, Freddy explained that he and the CEO were “in the same fraternity” (more on that later). 

Interestingly enough, the heretofore, happy-go-lucky (happy-go-drunky?) Freddy specifically requests that Pete not have anything to do with the account, as it was Pete who ultimately got Freddy canned for The Piss Heard Round the World.  Now, not that I blame Freddy at all for his decision, but I would be careful, messing with Pete, if I were him.  After all, the dude IS armed . . .

 . . . and REALLY likes to hunt!

Freddy might not be happy to see Pete, but he’s thrilled to see Peggy, at least initially.  Upon entering the office, he lovingly refers to her as, “Ballerina,” and gives her a big bear hug.  If you recall, it was Freddy who first convinced Don and Co. to give then-secretary Peggy a shot at being copywriter for the old agency.  And look how far she’s come since then!

“I’ve come VERY far!  I now wear granny suits, and have the haircut of an 85- year old, despite being in my mid 20s!”

Peggy’s and Freddy’s reminiscences are cut short when Roger Sterling comes back from lunch with the Ponds CEO, clearly wasted!

Not THAT wasted!

“That man sure knows how to have a good time!”  Roger proclaims about his lunch companion, before stumbling back to his office. 

“That’s some job he has,” scoffs Peggy upon Roger’s exit, echoing the same thoughts many of us Mad Men fans have had throughout the course of the series.  Seriously, does Roger ever work?  (He does have the best one liners-though!)

“I also have the best sex life.  Unless you count Don . . .”

Freddy is not paying attention to Peggy’s gripes, however.  He’s worried about the CEO of Ponds.  He gets up and rushes to make a call.  “I heard you went out with Roger Sterling today.  Do you have something to tell me?”  Freddy says into the phone.

Clearly, the “fraternity” Freddy and the CEO were in together only has two Greek letters in it . . . and both of them are “alpha.”

Later, Peggy and Freddy argue over the Ponds campaign.  Freddy wants to use more mature models as spokeswomen, and Peggy wants to use young beautiful ones.  Gone are the days of prim and proper Peggy, who would either hold her tongue completely or politely express her disapproval, when one of her colleagues made a campaign suggestion that was ill advised.  She really let poor Freddy have it, basically telling him, in no uncertain terms, that he was “old-fashioned” and had no talent. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for women sticking up for themselves.  And Freddy’s notion that young women idolize and want to look like old ones, simply because old women are MARRIED, is pretty laughable.  And yet, the diatribe seemed a bit tactless on Peggy’s part.  Talk about biting the hand that once fed you!

Freddy wasn’t much better, telling Peggy that if she didn’t work so hard, maybe she’d actually find a man that would want to marry her (and impliedly allow her to stay home barefoot and pregnant).  Riiiiiiight, because MARRIED women are always SO MUCH happier than single ones . . .

Need I say more?

When Freddy didn’t show up for the office Christmas party, Peggy became concerned.  So, she was understandably relieved to see Freddy in the office the next day.  “I don’t want to have to worry that you are going to go out and get drunk, every time I hurt your feelings,” scoffs Peggy.

REAL NICE!  Pick on the former alchy, why don’t you?  What happened, Peggy?  Did Marky Turd steal your sensitivity chip?

As it turns out, Freddy didn’t skip the Christmas party because Peggy “hurt his feelings,” he simply didn’t want to be Santa, because, for whatever, reason, Freddy associated wearing the Santa costume with getting wasted in it.  Whatever the reason, he manages to stay sober. 

 Good for you, Freddy!

But you know who most certainly, DIDN’T stay sober this episode?

Don (Juan?) and Roger Claus

Not only is Don drunk for much of this hour, he is also having a REALLY difficult time getting laid.  First he tries to hit on his new neighbor, Reed from Grey’s Anatomy . . .

 . . . who has miraculously been brought back to life after her untimely death, and reincarnated as a nurse.  “Reed” (who according to Wikipedia is called “Phoebe” on this show) is initially a very friendly new neighbor to Don, flirting with him mercilessly, and expressing concern over his habit of returning to his apartment inebriated on a regular basis.  Upon confirming that Don is not the Scrooge he appears to be, (“I don’t hate Christmas.  I just hate THIS Christmas,” he clarifies), she even invites him to her Christmas party, an invitation that he declines. 

 But when “Phoebe” helps a drunken Don into his apartment, and he tries to pull her into bed with him, she refuses.  STRIKE ONE!

Don’s next target is a pretty market researcher . . .

 . . . whose presentation Don walks out on, because he doesn’t want to answer a questionnaire about his parents . . . (That’s understandable, Dick Whitman Don Draper).  When the researcher calls Don out on his evasive and rude behavior, he asks her out on a date.  She declines, condescendingly telling him that he’ll be married in a year to someone else, anyway.  STRIKE TWO!

But Don isn’t the only SCDP owner lowering his batting average this episode, Roger strikes out himself when he mistakenly invites Lucky Strike scion, Lee Garner, D-Bag (a client who more or less OWNS SCDP) to the office’s small “belt-tightened” Christmas party.

“Is Sal going to be there?  I really miss Sal!”

Suddenly, the tightened belt must be loosened A LOT!  “[You] have to take this party from Convalescent Home to Roman Orgy,” Roger instructs Joan.  (She does.)  “Wear that red dress with the bow on the back that looks like a present.”  (She does.)

SUCCESS!

Lee, meanwhile, uses the party held in his honor, to basically make Roger’s life miserable.  First he hits on both Roger’s new wife, and “Joanie,” his former lover.  He then forces Roger to don a Santa suit, and takes pictures of him, with all the male employees sitting on his lap.  (Fodder for the Lee Garner Jr. Spank Bank, no doubt.)

“But where’s Sal?  I want Sal in the picture!”

To Roger’s credit, he’s an exceptionally good sport about the whole thing.  The same can’t really be said for Don, who copes with the awkward event by getting completely sh*tfaced.  He does share a sweet moment with Peggy, though.  (“Merry Christmas, Sweetheart,” he tells her, and we can tell he really means it.)

When Don arrives home to find he has left his keys in his office, he calls his secretary, Allison (played by Alexa Alemanni), who is still at the party, but is about to leave with New Guy Joey and friends.  She locates Don’s keys and agrees to bring them to his apartment.  When New Guy Joey finds out that Allison is headed to La Casa de Drunk Don, he is not pleased.  “He’s pathetic,” grumbles New Guy Joey about his boss. 

(Note: A lot of fans on the message boards seemed “appalled” by Joey’s lack of respect for Don.  But was I the only one that saw something more here?  Does anyone else think Joey has the hots for Allison?  After all, he did draw her what looked like it might have been a personalized caricature in her likeness, earlier in the episode . . .

 . . . and he DOES have a cute butt!  I wasn’t really a fan of that hideous RED velvet suit he was wearing during the office party though . . . That was HORRID!)

Anyway, Allison arrives at Don’s house to find him sleeping on the floor outside his apartment.

She lets him inside, sits him on the couch, and gets him a glass of water and some Aspirin, which he quickly downs.  But as she is set to leave, he grabs her hand, and pulls her onto the couch with him.  He then begins to kiss her, as he caresses her neck.  “Don’t,” she says softly and without much fervor.

“Don’t, what?”  He asks, laughing a bit, before beginning to kiss her again.

Allison manages to pull away one more time, but when the third kiss comes, she is completely swept away.  “Oh,” she says with surprise, as Don falls on top of her, on the couch.

A few short minutes later . . . (because, lets be honest, Don had A LOT to drink), it’s all over.  After a few moments of surprisingly tender petting, Allison sheepishly rights her clothing, and tells Don she has to go meet her friends.  “Are you sure?”  He asks.

Allison nods and heads for the door, “I . . . um,”  She begins, not sure of how to broach the issue.

“I understand,” says Don.

The next day, however, it becomes pretty obvious, that Don does NOT understand!  He basically lets Allison know, in no uncertain terms, that, in his mind, this was a “one time thing.”  “I’ve too often taken advantage of your kindness,” he says.

Allison takes the hint, and, blinking back tears, accepts the envelope Don hands her, containing her Christmas bonus.  She eagerly opens the envelope, hoping for some sign that there was more to all this than Don “taking advantage of her kindness.” 

But along with the cash, is a card containing only one phrase: “Thank you for all your hard work.” – which, admittedly, can be interpreted in one of two ways, both of which make Poor Allison feel like a hooker  . . . (At least Don never asked her to slap him.)

Bad Don!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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