Tag Archives: Anna Draper

Don’t Be a Dummy (or an Ass)! – A Recap of Grey’s Anatomy’s “That’s Me Trying”

JACKSON:  So, I hear this is the episode where we all just play with dolls for an hour  . . .

APRIL:  I love dolls!  I used to have a Barbie Dream House when I was a kid.  I would make Barbie throw these awesome slumber parties, for all my other dolls.  It was hard though.  Because I had a lot of dolls, and the Dream House only had one bed . . .

ALEX:  I am so turned on by you, right now . . .

In the five or so years since it has been on the air (MAN, I’M OLD!), Grey’s Anatomy has tackled some pretty heavy and hard-hitting issues: terminal illness, mental health issues, divorce, emotional abuse, loneliness, death, mass murder, hot naked men  . . .

Never . . . gets . . . old.

This week’s episode, however, was about dummies . . . and asses.

So, grab your favorite blow-up doll . . .

 . . . and BACK THAT ASS UP. . .

 . . . because it’s time to do some RECAPPING!

Nothing Like a Good Old-Fashioned Autopsy to Work Up an Appetite . . .

“I have nothing against Dead People!  Some of my best friends are corpses.”

Poor Bailey!  She still can’t figure out what mean-spirited and manipulative plot twist rare medical abnormality resulted in the untimely death of Special Guest Star Mandy Moore Mary Portman.  And so, off she heads to the Autopsy Room, in search of answers . . .

(By the way, does anyone who watched the episode know if Mandy Moore was actually in it, Weekend at Bernie’s style?  Or was that just a Madame Tussaud – type “dummy” of her on the autopsy table?  Either way, it was SUPER CREEPY . . .)

Now, I know that the Pathologist performing “Mary’s” autopsy was just “doing her job.”  And I know that she is probably used to working with patients who don’t . . . um . . . “talk back.”  So, Bailey’s non-stop barrage of questions and generalized buttinsky-ness was probably pretty gosh darn annoying for her.  I am also sure she is the “best in her field.”  (After all, isn’t every specialist who works at Seattle Grace?)

OMG!  Anna Draper from Mad Men came back from the dead, as an ill-tempered pathologist!

However . . . I don’t care HOW MANY YEARS of my life I had spent cutting dead bodies open . . . NEVER would I consider it OK to chew gum, and make dinner reservations, while doing it.  Aside from majorly disrespecting the dead . . . that’s just GROSS!

So, when the Undead Anna Draper told Bailey that the results of Mary’s autopsy would be inconclusive for at least another two weeks (Apparently, Mary’s brain had to “soak more” or something), I can understand why Bailey wanted a “second opinion.”  And, truthfully, I hope that Bailey finds the answers she is seeking, if only so that she can get some much-needed closure on the dark chapter of her life entitled, The Shooting.

Speaking of beating a dead storyline corpse . . .

Yang Quits Seattle Grace

“Give me back my Kickass Character, or I’m going to jump!”

OK . . . so I’ve been noticing quite a bit of heated debate on the internet amongst Grey’s fans, regarding this whole Cristina / PTSD storyline.  There are many of you out there (like me), who find the storyline to be growing tiresome, and increasingly difficult to watch.  While there are others of you who praise the authenticity with which the show’s writers have dealt with the very REAL issue of post-traumatic stress.

To some extent, I can see those fans’ point.  After all, it would be perfectly understandable for a real-life doctor, who endured what Cristina had to endure during The Shooting, to experience some long-term effects of that trauma.   And I also agree, that dramas like this too often sweep events like The Shooting under the carpet, failing to address their lasting impact, at all. 

And yet, when it comes right down to it, I watch Grey’s Anatomy to be entertained, not to be lectured about the devastating effects PTSD can have on the human psyche, and the importance of seeking long-term psychological treatment for those effects. 

Sometimes as a producer / writer for a popular television drama, you have to sacrifice a bit of realism for entertainment value.  And, in the case of this storyline, I feel like that is a lesson that Grey’s Anatomy still needs to learn . . .

All right . . . I’m off my soap box now.  Back to the recap .  . .

This was supposed to be an “Easy Day” for Cristina Yang.  She was supposed to spend the day with her new husband, playing with dummies, along with the rest of the residents.

But Evil Teddy had to go and ruin that, by telling Cristina that she (gasp) actually had to help a REAL LIVE patient, instead . . .

Oh, the horror!

As it turns out, that Sweet Smiley Old Man on who’s behalf Cristina negotiated, so that he could get a spot on the lung transplant list a few weeks back, was set to go into surgery that day (once Teddy picked up his New Lungs, of course).  And so, Teddy requested that Cristina monitor the patient, while she retrieved the vital organ.  Giving Teddy that Deer-in-Headlights look we’ve come to come to expect from this “New Yang,” Cristina reluctantly agreed to perform the task.

 

We are treated to a tiny glimpse of the Old Cristina, when she exchanges some dry banter with her adorable patient, who — despite some evidence to the contrary — we can tell she likes and really cares about.  “Any joke that begins with an animal walking into a bar is, by definition, not funny,” insists Cristina wryly, when the patient in question tries, in vain, to make her laugh.

I don’t know . . . it looks pretty darn hilarious to me!

Despite refusing to laugh at his jokes, Cristina is remarkably kind and supportive to her patient, when he admits his fear of getting “New Lungs.”  “Don’t think of it as ‘getting New Lungs,'” offers Cristina.  “Think of it as getting rid of Old Crappy Ones.”

During this exchange the patient’s estranged daughter, Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, enters the room . . .

“I don’t really get this whole  ‘Hospital  Thing.’  Whenever people got sick on my show, we just performed spells to make them better . . .  It was SO much easier.”

 When Tara apologizes for her not-so-subtle barb about her father not being in her life for twenty years, Adorable Patient surprises her, by complimenting her snarkiness.  “You get that from me,” he says proudly.

It’s actually, a very sweet moment . . . or, at least it would be, if Adorable Patient didn’t go into cardiac arrest, during it.

That’s right!  I said cardiac arrest.  Now, in addition to needing a new set of lungs, Adorable Patient might require a new heart, as well!

As a bevy of nurses rushes to her father’s aid, and DOCTOR Cristina stands stock still, suddenly becoming fascinated by shiny objects, Tara begins to wonder whether witchcraft might be a preferable solution to letting her absentee father rot in this Crackpot Hospital . . .

Worried about his wife’s mental health (aren’t we all!), Owen grants Meredith trauma surgery certification immediately, despite her not having completed the skills course (How unfair is THAT?).  This way, she can help her “Best Friend” through her “diffcult time.”  But Cristina doesn’t want Meredith’s help.  Instead, she brusquely sends Meredith to provide Tara with updates on her father’s status, while she attends to stabilze Adorable Patient’s heart, solo.

“So Tara, you and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are like ‘friends,’ right?  Do you think you could get me her autograph?”

Although pushing off the “interpersonal stuff” on a friend, so that she can do the “medical stuff” sounds precisely like something Old Cristina would do.  We can immediately tell that something is off about our old Robo Doc.  Cristina’s tenacity and aggressiveness are gone.  Her heart is just not in it.  Oh . . . and she’s being a TOTAL BIATCH to Poor Meredith . . .

Later Cristina admits to Meredith that she doesn’t want to speak to Adorable Patient’s daughter, because she is afraid.  Everything about Seattle Grace that Cristina used to love, now petrifies her.  And abject fear does not exactly inspire confidence in Witches from Sunnydale a patient’s family members.

Later, while Meredith and Cristina are on the roof of the hospital, waiting for Teddy’s triumphant return, Meredith confronts her “bestie” about her excessive b*tchiness, of late.  And yet, by the time Cristina finishes her tirade, Meredith undoubtedly wishes she hadn’t brought it up and so do we.

“How are you fine?  How are you just completely fine?”  Christina yells.  “I am ruined, OK?  I am dead.  I am wrecked. . . . Why are you okay?  You were there too.  You were there  . . . with your sad eyes, screaming at me to save his life. Telling the guy to shoot you, and not giving a crap about yourself or your pregnancy.  I didn’t have a choice.  And you did that.  If it was anyone else on the table . . .  if it was anyone else standing there . . . I would have walked away . . . I could have walked away, and, then, I wouldn’t be here!”

“Does this mean you won’t be having Sleepover Parties, with Derek and Me, anymore?”

Ultimately, Cristina is able to stabilize Adorable Patient’s heart, long enough for Teddy to return with his organs, and perform the planned surgery.  But when Chief Webber approaches Cristina, to compliment her on a job well done, Cristina asks to speak with him privately.  As she later admits to Owen, she quit Seattle Grace, right then and there.

“You were right.  I can do it.   I can still be a surgeon,” explains Cristina.  “I just don’t want to.”

It’s possible that we might never get back, Old Cristina.  But one thing is for certain: this New One has GOT TO GO!  Take care of yourself, Cristina!  Here’s hoping that you get the help you need, and come back REALLY SOON. with a brand new storyline that doesn’t involve your ever having to give us the Deer-in-Headlights Look ever again!

  (Oh, and kudos to Sandra Oh, for some outstanding performances, these past couple of weeks.  Just because I didn’t like the things you “did” and “said,” doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the skill with which you did and said them.)

This Butt’s for YOU!

While Cristina was busy “butting out” of Seattle Grace, Mark and Sloan were “butting in” to the life of a late twenty-something patient, who desperately wanted to get some more ass . . . literally.

I don’t know which part of this scene was funnier: the patient’s repeated insistence on increasing the size of her computer-generated butt double (despite the fact that a woman with that small of a frame would probably topple over, if she had that ass); or Lexie’s increasingly horrified reaction shots . . .

“My goodness!  Get an ass like that, and you might have to actually wear Size 6 jeans!  THE HORROR!”

But you know Lexie, every patient’s case has to be ALL ABOUT HER!  So, instead of rationally expressing concern about the fact that the patient’s “new ass” was be highly disproportionate to the rest of her body, and would likely throw her back out of alignment, Lexie ASSUMED that the patient was having the surgery to impress “Some Guy.”

And you know what they say about people who ASSUME things, right?  They make an ASS out of . . . well . . . everyone.  (You thought I was going to say, “You and Me,” didn’t you?  See what I mean about “assuming” things?)

As it turns out, Butt Girl, isn’t Lexie.  Because Lexie, at least according to Butt Girl, has a FABULOUS ASS!  (Also, Butt Girl doesn’t rashly decide to move in with her 20-years older than her boyfriend, before she’s really ready, and agree to raise his 18-year old bastard child.)

Ahem!

All Butt Girl wants is to be able to look good in a pair of jeans.  Is that too much to ask?  Apparently . . . at least, as far as Lexie is concerned.

Later, at Joe’s Bar, Lexie finds a Lonely Mark lecherously assessing the veracity of Butt Girl’s claim regarding the SHEER AWESOMENESS that is Little Grey’s ass.  And, although Lexie feigns moral indignation at being treated by her former lover colleague like a Pair of Firm Grapefruit, the little Wiggle Move she does, when she walks away from him, says otherwise . . .

“My Humps.  My Humps.  My Lovely Lady Lumps!”

“Alzheimers is a Bad Disease.  We Should Cure It.”

While Sloan is busy checking out Lexie’s ass, Derek seems to have lodged his head up his.  I always thought that doctors worked these CRAZY hours.  Yet, this week, we see virtually the ENTIRE Seattle Grace staff playing with dolls, for a whole day.  Meanwhile, Derek spends about 12 hours in the board room “researching Alzheimers” for his upcoming grant proposal, only to come up with this . . .

Come on Dr. McDreamy!  I know eight-year olds that can write better Book Reports than that!

Fortunately, Bailey, who’s been dealing with her own problems this week (See Anna Draper story, above), is wise enough to see the REAL reason behind Derek’s writer’s block.  She is also kind enough to take time out of her own busy sulking schedule to help him see it too.  “I am not the one who can’t stop  thinking about his wife getting Alzheimers long enough to write a damn essay!”

As if things weren’t sucky enough for him already, Poor Derek then has to go home and break the news to his wife — who has just been unceremoniously dumped by her best friend — that he’s going to have to dump her from his surgical trials too, in order to maintain some modicum of objectivity in his research . . .

MEREDITH:  Well, THIS is depressing . . .

DEREK:  I know . . .

MEREDITH:  Let’s f*ck.

DEREK:  OK.

In other Want-to-Slit-Your-Wrist Couple’s News . . .

 Arizona Goes to Africa . . . ALONE.

Surprisingly, Callie and Arizona’s breakup had absolutely nothing to do with Arizona’s insistence on wearing this hideous hat . . .

When the episode begins, Callie and Arizona are still doing the same thing they were doing when last week’s episode ended.  Namely, they are packing.  Or, perhaps, more accurately, they are giving away their useless crap, so that they won’t have to pack it. 

(I mean think about it. You’re traveling halfway across the world, to a place where you plan to spend THREE YEARS.  Do you have any idea how EXPENSIVE checking all that luggage would be?)

And don’t even get me started on those SUPER embarrassing Full Body Scans . . .  No wonder Callie would rather stay home!

So, Arizona tries to pass off some of Callie’s cooking utensils on Mark  . . .

Oh come on!  As if Mark ever eats ANYTHING besides TV dinners and underaged hookers, anyway . . .

Then, Callie starts TOTALLY bitching Arizona out for giving her crap away, without asking first.  So, yeah, it becomes pretty obvious, pretty quickly, that Callie has NO desire to go to Malawi and help the “Tiny Humans” . . .

To add insult to injury, Chief Webber starts really laying the guilt trips on thick, as he gripes to Callie about how incredibly HARD it will be to replace not one, but TWO awesome attendings, like Callie and Arizona.

Hmmmm . . . maybe if your doctors spent less time groping dummies, and more time helping patients, you wouldn’t be so short staffed all the time. . .

Sensing weakness in Callie, the relentless Chief Webber pushes the knife in a little deeper, by telling her that, had she decided to stay at Seattle Grace, he had “big plans for [her.]  Really BIG!”

“I’d show you those plans right now.  But they are currently in my pants.  Unless, of course, you would like to go get them . . .”

Throughout the episode, Callie snarks on and on, about how utterly LAME Malawi will be.  So, really, is it any wonder that NO ONE wanted to come to her’s and Arizona’s going away party?

Seriously?  I’ve seen funerals that were more lively . . .

Later, when Callie meets up with Mark for another extended “I Don’t WANNA GO!” Complaining Session, Mark takes this opportunity to compare Callie’s trip to Africa to a boob job.

You stay classy, Mark Sloan (you Dirty Old Man, you)!

“You’re sounding an awful lot like a girl who’s getting a boob job, just because her boyfriend likes girls with Really Big Racks . . . and by Big Racks, I mean Africa,” explains Captain Obvious Sloan.

“But I love her,” argues Callie.

“I know.  But you are going to have to learn to love Africa too,” Sloan remarks wisely, before pulling his bestie in for a sweet embrace.

I heart these two .  . .

Talk about waiting until the last minute!  It’s not until Arizona and Callie are already at the airport, waiting to board the plane, that Arizona drops the bomb on Callie that she will be going to Africa, without her.

“Geez, Arizona!  Do the words Frequent Flyer Miles mean ANYTHING to you?  Do you have any idea how many pairs of shoes I’ve charged to my American Express Card, so that I could get this flight?”

Arizona explains that going to Africa, and providing medical care to third world children, has always been her dream.  And Callie’s sulking and carrying on, is ruining that dream.  Callie begs and pleads with Arizona to reconsider, but to no avail.  So, finally, she issues an ultimatum . . .

“If you get on that plane and go without me we are done. Do you hear me? We are over,” Callie insists.

“Really?  Were you planning to ground me, and forbid me from going to prom too?”

Rather than run crying into her arms muttering apologies, Arizona just nods sadly after all she’s just going on maternity leave, not leaving the show.  No need to get so dramatic!  “We are standing in the middle of an airport screaming at each other. We are already over,” replies Arizona, as she turns and heads toward her gate.


 “Oh please!  Screaming in the airport means we ARE a couple!  That’s what couples do!  They FIGHT . . . and have hot makeup sex . . . possibly, while becoming members of the Mile High Club!”

Don’t worry, Callie!  She’ll be back . . .

And finally, last but not least . . .

April Kepner – Dummy Doctor Extraordinaire!

“I pity the FOOL who messes with MY dummies!”

When, at the beginning of their trauma certification class, Owen informed the residents that there had been a bus accident outside, with massive casualties, they ran to the scene of the incident, like BATS OUT OF HELL!

So, you could imagine how disappointed / pissed off they were, when these “fine doctors” found out that their “trauma victims” were actually the cast of those lame (and incredibly creepy) Old Navy commercials . . .

Man, I HATE those commercials . . .

Apparently, Owen spent his “million dollar” trauma training grant on: (1) a bunch of impeccably dressed dummies; and (2) flashcards listing various fake injuries that the dummies are purportedly suffering from.  (Coincidentally, you can buy all of these things at Old Navy, for the banner price of $19.99!) 

Here’s how trauma training works.  The residents break up into groups of four.  Together, those groups tend to the injuries of the fake dummies.  If they can keep the dummies “alive,” long enough to get them onto a “rescue helicopter,” they can earn their certification. 

Now, there are PLENTY of teams.  But the only one that the episode writer really seems interested in is “Blue Team,” starring April Kepner Dr. Hotness Avery, and Alex Karev.

Though Blue Team is the only one that seems to really care about the exercise (continuing to tend to their patients, long after all the other teams have “failed,”  and hours into a very rainy night) Dr. Power Tripper Hunt inexplicably seems determined to PUNISH them for their dedication.  He does this by making up more and more fake injuries for Blue Team’s dummies, and refusing to let the FAKE helicopter come and take the “victims” away.

“Here we are, seven episodes into this season, and ALL of my lines so far have been some form of ‘Cristina, are you OK?’  Well, now, I’ve got my OWN storyline, and I’m going to make the best of it, dammit.  Even if it means babbling on about things that make NO SENSE WHATSOEVER!”

Dr. Hotness (who is quickly taking over the “Cocky-Bad-Boy-Who-Deep-Down-is-Just-Insecure” role, formerly held by Alex Karev) eventually gets fed up, and quits the “game.”  This was fine by me, because it gave Owen an excuse to yell at him, which gave ME an excuse to gaze into those dreamy eyes of his . . .

Observe . . . the Sexy Brood and Smoulder of Dr. Hotness, in his natural habitat.

Eventually, Owen has Avery return to complete the certification course.  However, before that happens, April  — upon deciding that TWO can play at the “making sh*t up” game — has come up with an “ingenious” (and by, “ingenious,” I mean “adorable, but incredibly dorky”) way to “save” her victims and “win” the game.  While rambling on like an INSANE person, April dashes off to a nearby ambulence.  Then, despite being told by Owen that it is “not in play,” April stuffs her’s and Alex’s dummies in the back of it.

By the way, the cheesy Action Movie Music that was playing in the background, while April was doing this, made the WHOLE scene TEN TIMES FUNNIER!  If anyone knows what song that was, PLEASE tell me!  Because, once I find it, that puppy is becoming part of the “Running Mix” on my iPod, STAT!

While Alex looks on with amusement, Owen tries in vain to reason with Crazy April, telling her that the ambulence . . . um . . .  broke down . . . or something.  But April will not listen to reason.  “Now MOVE!  Or I will RUN . . . YOU . . . DOWN!”  She growls, before putting her key in the ignition, and driving the ambulence around to the Emergency Room entrance.

April then starts picking up the dummies, and carrying them, BY HAND, into the hospital . . .

“Hey there, Old Navy Mannequin!  You are much shorter, in person . . .  By the way, are you single?”

She probably would have performed surgery on the damn things too, if Owen didn’t FINALLY put the kibosh on the whole exercise.  “OK.  Fine!  Blue Team Wins,” Owen mutters.

“Blue Team, wins?  BLUE TEAM WINS!”  April yelps, throwing her poor defenseless Old Navy Mannequin on the ground in triumph, with all the verve of a Football Player, who just scored the winning touchdown in the Superbowl.

This Crazy Chica even had her own ENDZONE DANCE, for crying out loud!  Once she’s finished self-congratulating, April rushes to Alex, and pulls him in for a tight embrace.  Alex honestly, looks a bit taken aback by the sudden show of affection.  However, he is obviously pleased to be a part of this insanity.

“I’ve never been hugged by a Real Virgin before . . . weird.”

That night, at Joe’s, Alex teases April, by doing a spot-on impersonation of her “I WILL MOW YOU DOWN,” speech.

“I will make you walk the plank, Matey!  Arrrrgh!”

But then, the Former Bad Boy sweetly compliments April on how “awesome” and “hilarious” she was, during the course.  He’s ABSOLUTELY signing up for April’s team, the next time Seattle Grace has a skills lab!  After he tells her all this, April gives Alex this look, and it’s a look us girls know all too well . . .

Yup . . . that’s the one . . .

Oh, April, honey . . . You are in SOOOOOO much trouble!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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For a Good Time, Call . . . – A Recap of Mad Men’s “The Suitcase”

 

Coincidentally, both the best . . . and the worst nights of your life tend to be the ones that end like this . . .

Sunday night’s episode of Mad Men reminded me of one of those long crazy Friday nights during college.  The ones that seem to go on forever, traversing across varying locations, moods, and states of inebriation, all the while, becoming increasingly more bizarre as the hours wear on.  Nights like these will ALWAYS bring you closer to the people with whom you spent them — even if you can’t remember everything that happened, and some of the stuff you do remember, you wish you could forget . . .

Unfortunately, for Don, WE will remember EVERYTHING he did last night.  We even have the incriminating pics and GIFS to prove it.

Don’t worry, Don.  At least you didn’t hook up with Miss Blankenship!

“HEY!  It was just that one time!  Why are you cutting my balls off  . . . again!”

So, without further adieu, let’s relive the wildest and craziest, yet most heart-warming, night in Mad Men history!

Tuesday Night’s All Right for Fighting

Note:  This poster is from the FIRST Liston / Clay fight, which took place in 1964.  The rematch referred to in this episode, occurred on May 25, 1965, which, I guess, makes Peggy a Gemini . . .

When the episode opens, Harry is doling out tickets to his fellow ad men, so that they all can watch the Liston / Clay fight, which will be streaming live from a movie theater.  (Pretty high tech for 1965 – no?)

Typical Guy Banter abounds.  The men insult one another’s masculinity (or lack thereof), excessive frugality, and religious affiliations.  They then start arguing over who will win the big fight and placing bets.

Then Don shows up at the office two hours late for a meeting.  He is clad in his sexy bowler hat, but is looking slightly less than sexy, with his rheumy bloodshot eyes, cradled by both dark circles and bags the size of Samsonite suitcases.

Jerky “I can’t work naked in front of Peggy, without getting a hard on” Stan tries to kiss Don’s butt, by making some lame comment on how “Sonny Liston would be a great ad man.”

Uhhh . . . Stan?  You’ve got a little something on your nose.

To which, Don replies, “Clearly, he’d be a better one than YOU Yes, he would.  I’ll put my money on Clay.”

(Sidenote:  It’s interesting how, Don put money on Cassius Clay in the office pool.  Yet, he derided Clay’s arrogance, during his evening with Peggy, AND claimed to have LOST money, when Clay knocked out Liston.  Coincidence?  Or was Don so drunk, he simply forgot who he put money on?)

Don then calls the guys and Peggy into his office, so they can pitch him their proposed television advertisement for the Samsonite account.  In my opinion, the gang puts on a pretty good show.  The pitch is a football-themed celebrity endorsement, starring Joe Namath (Who knew he’d been playing for that long? Not me . . .).  The concept was that a Samsonite suitcase was so strong that Namath’s “wimpy girlfriend” (Peggy) could protect him from being tackled, using the suitcase alone as a shield.  But the best part of the pitch, in my opinion, was New Guy Joey, who does a pretty adorable Namath impersonation.

Unfortunately, he was fully clothed, at the time.

Sadly, Don does not have the same soft spot for Joey Baird that I have.  He despises the pitch.  And, after letting the guys off with a slap on the wrist, he REALLY gives it to Peggy.  “I’m so glad you are at a place in your career, where you feel comfortable failing,” he remarks cuttingly, with the officious air of an impossible-to-please father, who asks his daughter, who just got a 98% on an exam, where the other two points went.

Duck, Duck, Goose-d!

Duck Phillips:  The best man to bone, during a presidential assassination.

A miserable Peggy, who’s pretty much having the worst birthday morning EVER, arrives back at her desk, to find flowers and a gift from a guy who’s name, appropriately, rhymes with F&*k.

“I’m going to give you a go around, like you’ve never had.  Quack!  Quack!”

At least SOMEONE has remembered her birthday!  Peggy calls Duck to thank him for the flowers.  He then tells her that just CAN’T WAIT for her to open his AWESOME birthday gift.  She does so, while he’s on the phone with her.  And it’s . . . wait for it . . . a . . . business card.

That was LAME, DUCK!  Get it . . . “lame duck” . . . because his name  . . . nevermind.

Apparently, Duck has “big plans” to go all Jerry Maguire on the advertising world.  And he wants Peggy to leave HER job, so that she can play the Renee Zellwegger part.

“You complete me, Peggy Olson.  I’m starting my own company!  Who’s coming with me, aside from this fish?”

However, since Peggy’s no dummy, she sees right through Duck’s “marvelous offer.”  “You got fired . . . and you’ve obviously been drinking,” she replies matter-of factly, politely blowing off his claims of love, and his intense “need to see” her.

Well, played Peggy.  Why spend your night with an Ugly Duck-ling, when you can have a Swan?

 OK . . . it’s an alcoholic, and, sometimes, VERY mean, Swan . . . but it’s a Swan, nonetheless.

The Art of the Backhanded Compliment

In the bathroom, Peggy encounters two women, both of whom, in their own “really nice” way, make her feel like total crap.  The first is receptionist, Megan . . .

. . . who’s prissiness, intelligence, and ability to make “kindly” cutting remarks, make her the quintessential Joan 2.0.  When Peggy tells Megan her age, Megan replies in a manner that deftly straddles the line between jealous, uninterested, and vaguely patronizing, “Well, aren’t you doing well for yourself,” she coos.

Worse, is Pete’s wife,Trudie . . .

 . . . who is SO pregnant with Pete’s baby, she’s about ready to pop.  (Look familiar, Peggy?)  After remarking on how “witty” Peggy is, Trudi tries to “comfort Peggy” with a not-so-subtle jibe at her rapid approach toward spinsterhood.  “26 is still very young,” she offers “sweetly.”  (You know, that’s the thing about Trudi . . . I always want to hate her.  But I really believe that she thinks she’s being nice, in this situation.)

Meanwhile, Don blows off Roger, who is being faced with a forced evening of sobriety . . .

 . . . when he is tasked with watching the fight, alongside a client, who just so happens to be a recent graduate of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Don opts instead to stay in the office and work on ideas for Samsonite account.  He’s also hoping to avoid making a phone call that he KNOWS will bring him bad news . . .

If you recall from a few episodes back, Anna Draper  . . .

 . . . the only woman who ever seemed to truly love Don, warts and all, was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  And so, when Don receives an urgent phone call from Anna’s niece, he knows the worst has occurred.  Yet, he can’t bring himself to return her call, just yet, because doing so would make the loss real.

But if Don’s working late, to avoid his problems, he’ll be damned if Peggy isn’t working with him . . .

Short Fuses and Broken Engagements

Peggy is about to head out of the office for an “oh so romantic” night out with her, about-as-exciting-as-a-root-canal boyfriend, Mark, when Don calls her into his office, to discuss the Samsonite account.

After taking a big fat dump on all of her ideas, Don, once again, treats Peggy like a child, forcing her to bring her artwork into the office, so they can go over it together.  “We’ll do this RIGHT NOW!”  He scolds.

Assuming the petulant teen role, Peggy rolls her eyes, and mumbles under her breath, causing Don to yell that classic parental unit phrase, “What did YOU SAY?”

I half expected him to add the also ever popular:  “Don’t you dare talk back to me!  I do too much for you to be treated like this.  Do you want to be grounded?”

But he didn’t . . .

“If Daddy wasn’t always ignoring me, so that he could drink and screw secretaries, he’d probably say those things to ME too . . .”

Peggy’s spanking is briefly interrupted, by a series of phone calls from, Wet Blanket “Yes, I AM that Important” Mark, who keeps wondering why she is so late for dinner.

As it turns out, Mark is not alone.  After all, his idea of a romantic dinner, apparently, involves having a lively party, filled with wild and crazy guests . . .

Don’t you wish you were there?

To be honest, I’m not quite sure WHY Mark thought it was a good idea to invite Peggy’s ENTIRE family, who she despises, to her private birthday dinner.  He said it had something to do with her always wanting to be surprised.  But I don’t really buy it.  Here’s hoping he wasn’t planning on proposing . . . because that would be all kinds of pathetic .  . . and, yet, would fit his character completely.

Anyway, so, Peggy keeps blowing off dinner, to continue being spanked by Don.  So, Mark is hurt, not to mention, completely humiliated, in front of Peggy’s parents.

“I haven’t been THIS embarrassed, since I had to wear those ridiculous glasses on Lost.”

Eventually, Peggy’s MOTHER picks up the phone, and tells her she should feel lucky that a “catch” like Mark is interested in her at all.  Mark takes back the phone and agrees with Peggy’s mother.  Then he sort of / kind of dumps Peggy.

Peggy returns to Don’s office, so that he can yell at her some more.  When she accuses him of never thanking her for her good work, Don basically tells Peggy that she should be happy she even HAS a job.  Peggy finally breaks down.  She rushes off to the bathroom, where she bursts into tears.

The whole thing was so heartbreaking, and awful, I almost didn’t want to watch the rest of the episode.  But, BOY, am I glad I did!  Because THIS was when things got FUN!

The Life and Times of Roger Sterling / The Lack of Balls of Bertram Cooper . . .

 .  . . and the sexy lady behind it ALL!

Ever since the ridiculously incompetent Miss Blankenship replaced Allison as Don’s secretary, I spent a lot of time asking myself two questions: (1) Why doesn’t Don FIRE her, already?; and (2) How the heck did she even GET this job?

Both of those questions were answered tonight.

Early on in the episode, Peggy actually read my mind, and ASKED Don question 1, regarding Miss Blankenship.  To this, he replied, “Joan knew exactly what I needed, and she gave it to me.”

AHA!  Don accepts Miss Blankenship as his punishment for crossing the line with Allison!  She’s also the ONE woman in the entire office, Don would NEVER sleep with.  It makes a lot more sense now . . .

But the answer to question 2 is a bit more interesting, especially since, the way Don found the answer, helped him to smooth things over with Peggy . . .

Peggy was busy stewing in her office, when Don called her back to his.  “NO!”  She yelled out, poutily, at first. 

And yet, a perpetual glutton for punishment, back to Don’s office, Peggy went.  There, she found Don listening to Roger’s dictation of his memoirs.  Clearly, the writers were holding out on us, with the memoir excerpts they provided last week.  If you recall, these included tittilating tidbits like Roger’s favorite flavor of ice cream, and why he didn’t like Laurel and Hardy.  But this NEW stuff was JUICY!

“Don’t worry, Mr. Cooper.  Your secrets are safe with ME!”

According to Roger, Bert (1) was jealous of Sterling due to his “youth;” (2) did the horizontal mambo with Miss Blankenship on multiple occasions; and (3) LITERALLY has NO BALLS!

The heretofore morose Don can barely keep the sh*t-eating grin off his face, as he listens to Roger drunkenly detail his coworker’s deepest darkest secrets.  Peggy, to her credit, feigns some disapproval at her boss’ unusually gossipy behavior.  Yet, even she can’t help but laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of it all.  It’s the first nice moment these two have had with one another the entire episode.   Then, it gets interrupted by an intruder . . .

“MOUSE!”  Peggy cries, before hopping up on the office chair, like a TOTAL girl.

Don, being the “man,” gets on all fours, in hopes of trapping the critter in his SAMSONITE suitcase, but, fails.  Peggy helps him to his feet (sweet moment #2), and Don sheepishly invites her out to a birthday dinner at the local diner.

A Date with Don Draper

At the diner, Peggy and Don converse with the ease of old lovers.  Yet, they share with one another the type of quirky minute details about themselves, typically associated with first dates.  Don briefly discusses his time as a soldier in World War II (without revealing his Dick Whitman woes, of course).  Peggy explains she has never been on a plane, both express a desire to go to Greece.  Bboth admit that they each tragically lost their fathers at an early age, and were forced to watch them die.  Despite the serious nature of some of these conversations, the mood was light, and both characters seemed completely at ease with one another.

This girly gabfest continued at a local bar, with the Liston / Clay fight blaring on the radio, in the background.

At the bar, Don and Peggy discuss Peggy’s insecurities about her personal appearance.  She admits that everyone at work assumes that Peggy slept with Don to get her job.  But, at the same time, can’t imagine why Don would ever engage himself romantically with someone like Peggy.  Apparently, Peggy’s mother assumes Don is the one who knocked her up, because HE is the only one who visited her at the hospital.  (Interesting!) 

Don also inquires after the father of Peggy’s child, but she wisely does not reveal it.  Additionally, Peggy makes some offhand remarks regarding Don’s tendency to sleep with his OTHER secretaries (read: NOT Peggy).  To these insinuations, Don replies nonchalantly with a “these things happen” sort of statement.

After the Liston / Clay fight, Peggy and Don head back to the offices of SCDP.

It’s Potty Time!

Throughout the course of the evening, we have watched Don transition from angry belligerent drunk, to funny drunk, to sweet “I love you, man” drunk.  But by the time Peggy and Don return to their offices, Don has reached Drunk Defcon 5.  “I think I’m going to be sick,” mumbles Don, as he lurches into Peggy, her arm wrapped around his shoulder, as she tries desperately to keep him from belly flopping onto the floor.

Suddenly, the dynamic between these two has shifted.  Throughout the early portion of the evening, Peggy was the petulant child, and Don was the alternatingly stern, and concerned, father.  For the remainder of the episode, Peggy will be the mother, and Don the child. 

After a few moments of deliberation over which stall to use, Peggy ultimately takes Don to the men’s room, where he rushes to the toilet, and begins to vomit uncontrollably. 

The sound is truly nauseating, as it echos throughout the white bathroom, which is completely pristine and spotless, save for a single line of grafitti.  “For a good time, call Caroline.”  (That Caroline must be a pretty busy lady, if she’s servicing THIS entire office, of horny men!)

To Peggy’s credit, she barely even crinkles her nose — no small feat, as the smell must be AWFUL!  She instead waits patiently for the retching sounds to cease, offering Don a glass of water that he refuses.  It is then that she sees a stranger lurking in the hallways . . .

It’s DUCK!  And he’s WASTED too!  When Peggy finds him, he’s got his pants around his ankles, and is farting . . . like . . . really . . . LOUD!

“I’m taking a dump in Don’s office,” explains Duck, as if defecating on a corporate executive’s leather couch is the most natural thing in the world to do on a Tuesday night.

“This is Roger’s office,” Peggy explains, without nearly as much irony or humor, as you would expect, in such a situation.  (Clearly, she’s seen EVERTHING now!  Nothing will shock this girl, anymore.)

Peggy tries to get Duck to leave, but he keeps babbling about how much he LOVES her, and why won’t she return his calls, and blah, blah, blah. 

(Oh, yeah!  This one’s a keeper, Peggy.  You sure know how to pick ’em!)

Don returns from vomiting, and is shocked to find his nemesis manhandling his daughter lover best friend protege.

“You have no business being here,” slurs Don, undoubtedly assuming that this was the man who knocked up Peggy.

Baby Duck

Then, Duck, automatically assuming Peggy is SLEEPING with Don, calls Peggy a whore.

“Oh no, he didn’t!”

Then, came the BEST PART OF THE EPISODE!  Don protects Peggy’s honor, by PUNCHING DUCK IN THE FACE  . . .

. . .  or at least trying to.  Then  . . . the two roll on the floor fighting like a bunch of schoolboys . . . only much older, and WAY more liquored up . . .

Unfortunately for Don, Duck has WAY more experience being an alcoholic than him, and therefore, has a slightly higher liquor tolerance.  He ultimately gets the best of Don (or, perhaps, Don was simply overpowered by the rank smell of Duck’s earlier farts).  Don, eventually, cries “uncle,” and Duck lets him go.

The End of Innocence

Once Peggy has shipped Duck off to the Drunk Tank, she returns to Don’s office, and the first thing he wants is another drink.  SERIOUSLY, Don?  This is getting a little ridiculous.  Get thee to rehab, go!

Peggy reluctantly pours Don a drink.  However, in the time it takes her to cross the room to give it to him, he nearly passes out.  Continuing to play the maternal role, Peggy allows Don to put his head in her lap, and she rubs his head until he falls asleep.  Awwwww!

That night, Don dreams of a youthful Anna, waving at him cheerfully, as she heads away to heaven, carrying a Samsonite suitcase, of course!

The following morning, a very hungover Don, finally gets the courage to call Stephanie in L.A., who informs him, just as he suspected all along, that Anna has died.  Peggy wakes up just as the phone conversation is concluding.  Her and Don lock eyes, and he immediately bursts into tears.

It is the most vulnerable we have seen Don Draper, since the show began, and it is heart-wrenching.  Peggy’s eyes well up, as she experiences her boss’ agony right along with him.  “What happened?”  She asks.

“Someone very close to me has died.”

“Who was it?”  She asks, cautiously approaching him.

“She was the only person who really knew me,” Don replies morosely.

“That’s not true,” whispers Peggy, as she gently rubs his back.

A Brand New Day

A few hours later, a bedraggled Peggy visits a newly freshened up Don in his office.  Undoubtedly, she is expecting him to pretend the previous night did not happen, as he has done with Peggy so many times in the past.  But now, as the two look over new advertising concepts, Don reaches out and grabs Peggy’s hand.  The gesture almost exactly mimicks the rebuffed attempt at affection Peggy made toward Don in the Pilot episode. 

This time, however, Peggy takes Don’s hand in return.  The act is a mutual acknowledgment of what these two have experienced together, as well as the evolution of their personal and professional relationship.

You know, I have to say, this was one of my favorite Mad Men episodes of all time.  I have no doubt that both Elisabeth Moss and Jon Hamm will choose scenes from this episode to include in their 2011 Emmy consideration reel.  “The Suitcase” had a little bit of everything: humor, poignance, character development, twists, major reveals, and a whole lotta potty.  What more could a fan ask for? 

[www.juliekushner.com]

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