Tag Archives: Betty and Henry

Megan’s Milkshake Brings Don’s Boys to the Yard – A Recap of Mad Men’s Season 4 Finale “Tomorrowland”

MEGAN:  (reads inscription on ring) “I will love you always, Anna – ❤ Don.”  Who’s Anna?  I thought your first wife’s name was Betty?

DON: (blushes) It was.  But . . . umm . . .  Anna is . . .  a nickname I have for all my wives.  Yeah, that’s it!  A nickname!

MEGAN:  (scrunches face, in confusion) How many wives have you had?

DON:  You mean, so far?

Watching the Season 4 Finale of Mad Men taught me that I should really pay more attention to the predictions of my fellow Maddicts.  You guys really know your stuff!  Back from the beginning of the season, when Faye first said those fateful words to Don (“You will be married again, within a year.”), many of you presumed them to be prophetic.

 

“TO ME!  I meant you’d be married to ME!  Dammit Don!”

Some of you (Alchera :)), even correctly picked Megan as the lucky Bride-to-Be!  And as far as Joan, I would say that the majority of you suspected the moment we left her sitting in that abortion clinic, that she wasn’t going to go through with it.

 

“I’ll just tell Greg the stork brought it over.  He’s such a lousy doctor, he’ll never know the difference.”

Yep, Matt Weiner is going to have to get up pretty early in the morning to fool YOU guys!

“I’ll show them!  Next year, Creepy Glen is going to go postal, and shoot the ENTIRE CAST!  They’ll never see it coming . . .  My baby boy needs an Emmy!”

While I may not have been quite as prescient as other fans of this show, I have to say, I found this to be a pretty enjoyable hour.  After what had been a kind of dour second half of the season, “Tomorrowland” left our SCDPers on a high note, one that was, at least partially, hopeful and uplifting.  Plus, it was really nice to see Don happy, for a change — cannon-balling into a swimming pool, truly enjoying the company of his children, for a change, grinning and blushing like a lovesick teenager . . .

“I think I just peed . . . “

That being said, given recent events, I still kind of think he’s an idiot  . . .

Don Draper, here is a glimpse at your own, personal, Tomorrowland!

But enough of this “touchy feely” stuff!  Let’s get on with the recap!

“Then you are stuck trying to be a person, like the rest of us.”

We all should have known Faye was totally DUNZO, the minute she told a still half-asleep Don, who had a “sick feeling in his stomach” about his upcoming trip to California, that he should come clean to the rest of the world about being Dick Whitman.  After all, “Tricky Dick,” he may be, but “Honest Abe,” he’s most certainly not! 

“And then what happens?”  Don inquires of Faye, like a child seeking a bedtime story from his mother.

“Then you are stuck trying to be a person, like everyone else,” replies Faye matter-of-factly, as if making the decision to expose the Clark Kent behind your Superman is as easy as say . . . deciding to get married to the secretary you barely know.

“But Megan is my Lois Lane . . . well, technically Peggy, is my Lois Lane.  But Megan is my . . . what was the name of Clark Kent’s secretary, again?  Did he even have one?”

Faye’s faux pas aside, the not-long-for-this-world couple shared a sweet and emotional goodbye, that, in hindsight, did seem to have a bit of finality to it.  It was almost as if Don’s trip to “Tomorrowland” was his metaphorical journey to his own future, in which Faye, now inextricably linked to his past as Dick Whitman, was destined to take no part.

The Happiest Place on Earth?

“Don and I thought it would be best, if we approach from the rear.”

The sad part is, I didn’t even make that title to be funny.  Pete ACTUALLY said it!  You’ve just gotta love a heterosexual man, who’s not afraid of a little rear penetration . . .

Speaking of butts, Joan is working hers to the bone, having now been forced to assume mail clerk duties, as a result of SCDP’s drastically reduced staff.  When she arrives at Lane’s office, he has some good news to share with her.  And by “good news” I mean, news that could be “good” but actually ends up being kind of lame.  You see, the “good news” is that Joan has received a promotion, and, with it, a new fancy title:  Director of Agency Operating Relations, or something like that . . .

The not-so-good news is that, while the position does come with increased responsibilities, it comes with NO increased pay.

“Lane, darling.  Next time you are planning to screw me over, I’d prefer being approached from the rear . . .”

While Joan is busy running the entire company, more or less, for free, Don is over at the American Cancer Society, trying to save it from financial ruin, by pitching a “free”advertising campaign.  Given Don’s usual penchant for dishonesty, I found the unusually blunt approach he took with these, as Pete called them, “Fat Cats,” oddly refreshing.

“MEGAN!  Get me another cigarette, NOW!  My No Smoking campaign is on TV!”

After more or less admitting to the Executive Board that he IS, in fact, a smoker (most of the Board is too) and that he only wrote the article, in an attempt to save his agency, Don pitches yet another one of his brilliant campaign ideas.  This one features young kids spending time with their knocking-at-death’s door parents.  The campaign is intended to target teens, the largest demographic of NEW smokers.

“But [teens] hate their parents,” remarks the only female on the Board.

With parent’s like THESE, can you blame them?

Don explains that the commercials would not actually be about “the dying parents” but about the teens, themselves, who, he claims, are nostalgic for their lost childhood, and fear the future, which they automatically equate with death. 

In short, here we have a chain smoker, who is running away from his past, pitching an anti-smoking campaign that advocates  embracing the exact same thing he is fleeing.  Ironic, no?

Back at the office, Don’s new whore best friend, Pete, is just gushing over how great Don performed at the meeting.  And I have to say, it’s nice to see these two playing so nice, for a change.

It just goes to show ya, sometimes all it takes is some compromise and understanding and $50,000 to repair a long-lost friendship.

As it turns out, one of the “Fat Cats” on the American Cancer Society Board is also an Executive of Corning Glassware, as well as a good friend of Ken Cosgrove’s father-in-law.   So, Don and Co, request that Ken take the influential men golfing, in hopes of scaring up some new business.

“YAY!  I have more than one speaking line, this week!”

However, Ken, unlike say . . . everybody else in the office . . . is not one to mix business with family life.  Therefore, he absolutely refuses, to jeopardize his new marriage, for something as insignficant, in the scheme of things, as the possibility of a new account.  “Why can’t you just call Corning for a meeting?”  Ken inquires rationally.

“Don and I think would be best if we approach from the rear,” replies Pete.

“Did he just say what I THINK he said?”

Alas, Ken is more of a “frontal entry” guy, so he blows off his boss’ request.  “I’m going to service the 30 percent of this firm that are MY clients,” Ken concludes before storming off.

Wait a second . . . did he just say “service?” 😉

“Just because you’re sad, doesn’t mean everybody else has to be.”

“I’m BAAAAAACK!”

When Betty chased Creepy Glen into the woods last week, we just knew his temporary disappearance from the show was just too good to be true, right?  Just like the Big Bads in horror movies, Creepy Glen just HAD to come back  for his FINAL SCARE.  Except, this time, his doing so, royally screwed over the woman who quite possibly remains the most moral character on the show.  Carla!

“Now we can finally start discussing my spinoff, Mr. Weiner?”

Now, those of us, who’ve watched the show from the beginning, know that there are plenty of VERY good reasons why a mother would not want their daughter hanging out with a kid like Creepy Glen.  For starters, he’s “Creepy.”  He also invades and trashes peoples homes.  He also plies little girls with cigarettes and spiked Cokes.  Unfortunately, none of these VERY valid reasons are why BETTY doesn’t want Glen to see Sally.  No, her reasoning actually has more to do with . . . JEALOUSY.

It’s like the Evil Queen and Snow White all over again!  Betty just can’t stand having a man reject her for a younger model, even if that “man” is a Bad Seed 13-year old, and the “younger model” is her OWN significantly more age appropriate daughter.

“I’m the fairest one of all!”

So, anyway, Betty steps out of the house to get some groceries.  And, not a minute later, Creepy Glen, who has been watching the home for lord knows how long (See what I mean, about the “creepy?”), “casually” pops in to say goodbye to Sally, in anticipation of her upcoming move out of the neighborhood. 

Carla kindly dismisses him at first.  However, ultimately, the sweet housekeeper can’t deny her surrogate child One Last Goodbye with the Little Goober, who very well may be Sally’s only friend.  (Especially, if news got out around the playground about her unique brand of “slumber party entertainment,” which we witnessed a few weeks back.) 

OOPS!

And so, Carla lets the star-crossed pair rendezvous One Last Time.  How very Romeo & Juliet!

“assuming Romeo was MAJORLY Creepy . . .”

To my pleasant surprise (and possibly only because Matt Weiner does not allow his son to kiss girls yet), the final meeting between Sally and Glen is actually fairly chaste (handshakes and hugs were exchanged), and only slightly creepy.  (“I say goodbye to people all the time, says Glen.  “I’m good at it.”)

 

Sure, Glen.  This guy was good at “saying goodbye” to people too!   They just didn’t often get the chance to “say goobye” back. . .

And yet, despite all this, I couldn’t help but feel just the teensy weensiest bit bad for Creepy Glen, when, as he was leaving the Francis household, the Wicked Witch of West New York returned.  *cue The Wizard of Oz’s Flying Monkey Theme Song*

She starts screaming her head off in a way that NO WOMAN should scream at SOMEONE ELSE’S child.  (No matter HOW creepy he is.)  Feeling partly responsible for his presence in the household, Carla steps in and assumes some of the blame.  Betty briefly softens, long enough for Glen to earn a bit of my respect, for having the courage to utter two very important lines to the former love of his life.

(1) “Why do you hate me?” and

(2) “Just because you are sad, doesn’t mean everybody else has to be!”

(I can’t believe I just gave an “Oh Snap” to Creepy Glen . . .)

After Glen exits stage left hopefully for good, Betty turns around and FIRES CARLA!

The Wicked Wench didn’t even let the housekeeper, who RAISED her kids for 11 years, say goodbye to them!  Seriously, could this b*tch GET any more EVIL?  Oh . . . yeah . . . she CAN!  Betty even REFUSED TO WRITE THIS WOMAN A JOB RECOMMENDATION, despite the fact that this was obviously Carla’s ONLY source of employment for 11 YEARS! 

I don’t think I’ve had this much hate in my heart for a television character in a long time!  Perhaps, Betty’s old sad sack of a new husband said it best when he told this Sorry Excuse for a Human Being, “NOBODY is EVER on your side!” 

HEY BETTY!  Here’s looking at YOU, kid!

“We landed a new account!”

 Ken and Peggy!  Now here’s an unexpectedly fun duo, who I wouldn’t mind seeing on screen together more often.  (It’s kinda too bad he married Alex Mack.)

 It all began when Peggy’s new gal pal, Joyce, popped by her office with a “model friend” of hers, who was looking for work.  Apparently, the model, along with the advertising agency that hired her, had all been unceremoniously fired by a company named Topaz Pantyhose.  While Harry sees the model’s appearance in the office, as an opportunity to cheat on his wife AGAIN . . .

. . . Peggy forms an idea that will actually be GOOD for business. 

“Hey,” she thinks to herself.  “If Topaz is unhappy with their current representation, maybe they can be happy with SCDP!”

Despite the impending holiday (Thanksgiving, I presume?) Peggy, with the help of Account Man, Ken, wrangles a  last minute meeting with the company.  During this meeting, Peggy proceeds, as is becoming the usual, to knock the pitch out of the park — coming up with five possible advertising campaigns, seemingly out of mid air. 

And guess what?  This Dynamic Duo land the half-million dollar account by themselves — garnering SCDP the first new business it has gained since the loss of Lucky Strike!

You know what I wish?  I WISH that I had an animated GIF of Ken lifting Peggy up in the air and twirling her about, when the pair first found out they landed the account — because it was the CUTEST, MOST JOYOUS thing EVER!  Take THAT, Alex Mack!

Yet, unfortunately, I do not yet have such a GIF.  And so, I will highlight this joyous moment with another GIF, which features Pete doing the Happy Dance . . .

“I’ve got the rest of my life ahead of me.  And so do you!’

Just as Don’s lawyer is telling him that he should remarry, so that he can have turkey on the table at Thanksgiving, who should call Don at the office, but THIS Turkey.

She’s calling to tell him.  “Ooops, I fired our housekeeper of 11-years, two days before your big business trip / family vacation to Disneyland with the kids.  Too bad, so sad, for YOU!”

“You mean, I actually might have to change a DIAPER?  NOOOOOOOO!”

After trying not particularly hard to find a new “Father’s Helper” for Don to take on his trip with him, Megan announces that NO ONE is available on such short notice.  So, Don, ever the horny generous soul, offers to double Megan’s salary, provided that she come to Disneyland with him and screw his brains out care for the children while he is working.

And so, off head Don, Megan and the rest of the “fam” to see Mickey Mouse.

Now in California, Don comes home from a days work to find his now lobotomized unusually well-behaved Stepford children singing French songs with Snow White Megan.

Now, maybe I’m just a cynical and miserable person, but I found the whole scene a bit disturbing.  (Loved Megan’s dress though – So CUTE!)  Don, however, who’s used to coming home to the site of Betty screaming at the top of her lungs and performing evil pagan rituals on his children, ate it all up.  “You said you have no experience with kids.  Yet, I come home and you’re like Maria Von Trapp,” Don exclaims with amusement and intense passion.

“The hills are alive, with the sound of ME-GAN!”

The next day, Don and the children visit Anna Draper’s home, so that he can sign some documents relating to her will.  And, who should answer the door at Anna’s house but Stephanie . . . yet another WAY TOO YOUNG chick Don tried to hit on this season!

“The hills are alive, with the sound of Ste-phanie!”

When Don asks Stephanie if she is back at college, she replies that she is not.  “I have my whole life ahead of me,” she sing-songs.  “And so do you minus about twenty some-odd years.

Stephanie also takes the time to offer Don, Anna’s engagement ring from the REAL Don Draper.  “She wanted you to have this so that you can propose to your young nubile secretary, tomorrow morning.” Stephanie explains.

Don looks quizzically at the ring, before shoving it away in his pocket.  Meanwhile, Sally has noticed a very peculiar inscription on the wall of the house.  “Who’s Dick?”  She inquires innocently.

Kudos to Don for not peeing himself right there in Anna’s house.  “That’s me.  It’s a nickname I call myself sometimes.”

Way to GO DON!  Baby steps . . .

Having (sort of) freed himself of one of his many lies, and having received a bit of closure on the “Anna Chapter” of his life, a jubilant Don cannonballs into the hotel pool, while Megan and the kids look on with shock and Glee. 

“Pretty cool, Don!  But a belly flop would have been WAY COOLER!”

That night, Don stays home with the kids, while a hot-to-trot Megan goes out with her haughty-looking “French porn star actress friend.”  When the two stop by to say good night, Don looks at Megan like he wants to devour her whole.  Is it any wonder than, that a surprisingly shy and goofy Don, makes an excuse to pop by Megan’s room that night to go over “Disneyland plans?”

“Disneyland plans?  Is that what the Middle Aged Ad Execs are calling it nowadays?”

Before you know it, Don and Megan are out on the balcony, “looking at the stars.”  Then Megan starts talking about her “large but loveable” teeth, which Don takes as an open invitation to start cleaning them with his tongue.

DON:  My, what big incisors you have, Megan?

MEGAN:  The better to EAT YOU WITH!

Before you know it, Don and Megan are between the sheets, performing a Late Night in the Office, Part Deux.  And I’ve gotta say, in four seasons, I’ve NEVER seen Don so smitten!  “You don’t know anything about me,” muses Don, while thanking his lucky stars that this is, in fact, still the case.

“I know you have a good heart . . . and that you are always trying to be better,” replies Megan. 

(Let’s pause, while I write this down .  . . you never know when a line like that will come in handy . . .)

After that, Don TOTALLY goes all GIRLY MAN on Megan, and starts gushing over how majorly hot he is for her.  It’s sweet — and yet seems SO out-of-place coming from Mr. SUPER Emotionally Repressed!

Who are YOU?  And what did you do with the REAL Dick Whitman Don Draper?

Typically the guy who’s constantly keeping women at a safe distance emotionally, even while they are close to him, sexually, Don shocks us all, by asking Megan, timidly, whether she will ever make love to him again, or whether this will be — like their first fling in the office — a two one-shot deal?

Secretary Megan is officially my NEW hero!

Now, we all know Megan’s been scoring HUGE on this trip.  (In more ways than one!)  However, Girlfriend doesn’t REALLY cinch the deal, until the next morning at breakfast.  And it all comes down to one word:  “Milkshake.”

Sorry . . . I just couldn’t resist.

When Sally and Bobby start fighting, at whatever fast food joint the family is dining at that morning, they accidentally spill milkshake all over the table and, consequently, Megan’s dress. 

Possibly suffering from PTSD-esque  flashbacks of Betty going apesh*t, every time someone dropped a speck a salt in her lap, Don starts flipping the eff out!  But milky-dress Megan, like Monica Lewinsky before her, remains completely calm about her now-white stained frock.  “It’s just a dress,” she says, cheerily, as she mops up the liquidy goo.

So, OF COURSE, Don HAD TO PROPOSE the next morning!

Wait . . .  what?? SERIOUSLY?  That’s a joke right?  He actually proposed?

Yup!

“I keep thinking about you.  I feel like myself whoever the eff that is when I’m with you.  I’m in love with you,” Don gushes, as he take Dead Anna’s engagement ring out of his pocket.

“Do you have any idea how many things had to happen for us to be here in this moment?”  He asks.

Megan, for her part, looks a bit taken aback, but ultimately, agrees to marry the Poor Lovesick Schlub.  Immediately, Megan picks up the phone and begins excitedly babbling in French to her mother (who lives somewhere in Canada), undoubtedly giving her the news that precisely every mom wants to hear. 

“RICH!  RICH! Your daughter is going to be RICH!”

“What do we do now?”  Megan inquires.

“I guess we tell everyone,” says Mr. Usually Super Secretive.

(Seriously, this chick has magical powers!)

See?  I told you.  She’s TOTALLY a vampire!

“That’s Bullsh*t!”

“Hey Joan!  Do you want to start the “Guess the Divorce Date” pool, or should I?”

Back at the office, everybody politely feigns excitement and positivity, upon hearing Don’s “excellent news.”  But it’s Roger who wins the Two-for-One Special, for having both of the best one-liners of the scene.  Here they are, in order:

1) “Who the hell is [Megan]?”

2) “Let’s have a toast.  Megan, can you get us some ice?  Just kidding.  See, Don, this is how you are SUPPOSED to act, when your colleague gets engaged!”

Dear, Sweet, Roger!  You’ve been a total loser, ALL SEASON!  But I still love you!

When Peggy and Ken arrive to announce THEIR good news, Peggy is blindsided by Don’s.  The poor girl looks positively crestfallen.  I suspect the reason for this is three-fold. 

(1)  Don’s unplanned announcement TOTALLY pissed on her Topaz party;

(2) through all that has happened, Peggy always looked up to Don.  Now, by shagging YET ANOTHER secretary, and marrying her in record time, Don has let Peggy down, AGAIN;

(3) (subconsciously) Peggy has always been a bit attracted to Don, and somewhere deep down, probably hoped they would eventually end up together.

To add insult to injury, Don pulls Peggy aside later, and “thanks her for her concern.”  He also tells her that “[Megan] reminds me of you.  She has the same spark that you do.  She’s just WAY HOTTER!  She admires you just as much as I do.”

Now, in all fairness, I know Don was trying to be nice here, but TALK ABOUT A SLAP IN THE FACE!  Damn!

“I SO need to get high right now!”

In one of my favorite scenes of the night, Peggy pops into Joan’s office for a Girly Gab and B*tch Session.

“I just saved this company!”  Peggy gripes.

“It happens all the time.   They are always in between marriages.  [Don will] probably make [Megan] a copywriter,” Joan replies

“I learned a long time ago, not to get my only satisfaction from this job,” adds Joan cooly.

“That’s BULLSH*T!”  Peggy yelps, as the two erupt into uproarious laughter, as, I suspect, did many of us back home.

I really do hope we get to see more Joan and Peggy Bonding Sessions next year.  Those two sure have come a LONG way in their relationship, since Season 1 . . .

Speaking of “coming a long way” . . .

“When are you going to tell them YOUR news?”

Through a VERY LONG DISTANCE (How much do you think THAT cost?) phone call to Greg in Vietnam, we learn that Joan has, in fact, kept Roger’s bastard child, and is trying to pass it off as Greg’s.  And while Dr. McRapey . . .

(who looks so sweet and adorable sometimes – especially in that uniform – I often have to remind myself why I’m supposed to hate him)

 . . .  does show some initial concern as to why his Should-Be-In-Her-Second-Trimester-Already wife is “not showing at all” in pictures, he quickly forgets all logical reasoning (not to mention everything he supposedly learned in Med School), when she informs him that her ALREADY MASSIVE BOOBIES, have, in fact gotten bigger.

Um . . . yeah . . . good luck out there, injured soldiers!

Two scenes I honestly cared very little about followed.  The first was Don’s dumping of an understandably bitter, Faye.  “I hope [Megan] knows you only like the beginnings of things,” she pouts. 

(How very true . . .) 

The second was Don’s reuniting with Betty in their now-empty old house — a scene which I would have found nostalgic and sweet, had I not spent an entire season coming to DESPISE BETTY MORE THAN EVER BEFORE!

In Betty defense, she was much more gracious, upon hearing news of Don’s impending nuptials to Megan, than Faye was.  Though, of course, given that she is married to Dull Henry, she really has no reason whatsover to weigh in on Don’s personal life.  Nonetheless, given the “come hither eyes” Betty was giving Don, throughout the scene, and her admission to him that “things aren’t perfect,” between her and Henry, I suspect we might find her divorced yet again, next season.

The final scene of the episode features a contemplative Don, spooning with a sleeping Megan in his dingy apartment, while staring up at the night sky into his  . . . Great Big Beautiful Tomorrowland?

So, there you have it folks, a poignant end, to a VERY poignant season of Mad Men.  What did you think?  Are you planning to enter Joan’s and Lane’s Guiess the Divorce Date pool?  Or do you think Don and Little Miss Sound of Music here are going to make it for the long haul?

[www.juliekushner.com]

7 Comments

Filed under Mad Men

Bad for Business, Good for your Sex Life – A Recap of Mad Men’s “Chinese Wall”

“Every time something good happens.  Something bad happens right after,” notes Peggy, upon hearing the news that SCDP has just lost its biggest client.

As luck would have it, Peggy utters the above line just mere moments, after enjoying a morning of crazy hot Morning Sex with her new boy toy, Abe.

Breakfast in bed just got a whole lot yummier!

And yet, to accurately describe this episode, Peggy probably should have said, “Everytime something bad happens, somebody gets screwed.”

Because, for, for better or worse, that was what “Chinese Wall” was about:  Bad News and Good Sex, with a heaping helping of Betrayal thrown in for good measure.  So, without further adieu, let us separate those who got “Lucky,” from those destined to “Strike” out.  (No pun intended.)

(Who am I kidding?  My cheesy puns are ALWAYS intentional.)

“Lipstick on Your Teeth, Told a Tale on You”

Usually when guys want to get my attention, they just smile or wink.  But I guess this works too . . .

When the episode begins, Peggy and Joyce have just finished a relaxing afternoon swimming and getting toasted at Jones Beach. Then, who should “just happen” to appear requesting a ride home?  THIS GUY . . .

It’s ABE!  Mr. “I Wrote a Poem about How You are Employed by Evil Capitalist Pigs, But Only Because I Think Your Sexy!” 

But, let tell you!  Taking an episode off has done WONDERS for this guy’s sex appeal!  Abe went from Sir Crash and Burn to Don Juan in just a few scenes!  It all started when Peggy was “forced” to sit on his lap (crowded car and all).  After Peggy apologized to Abe for any “discomfort” he might be experiencing as a result of said lap sitting, he replied.  “You weigh like a pound, relax!”

Guys?  Don’t let any girl tell you differently.  This line WORKS, and it WORKS WELL!  I got goosebumps just hearing it, and he wasn’t even talking about ME! 

As if that wasn’t enough, Abe starts gently rubbing Peggy’s arm, and making mildly suggestive comments about her love of the water and . . . ahem . . . getting wet.  Is it any wonder that, after that long car ride, she took that Sweet Talker home and had hot sweaty sandy sex with him, multiple times?

Yes, call home and cry to Mommy, Mark, because YOU’VE just been replaced.

The following morning, Abe lingered in Peggy’s bedroom, not sure whether to stay or go.  In a surprising move, Peggy made an “Executive Decision” that he should STAY, reigning him in for an rollicking pre-work roll in the hay!

Now either our girl has become significantly more self-assured and confident in her “old age,” or Abe is a real ROCKSTAR in the sack.  Because Peggy takes the news of Lucky Strike’s abandonment of SCDP remarkably in stride.  “Should I be worried?”  She asks Don innocently, when he calls her into his office, after the staff meeting, during which the news was announced.  “Because you seem like you have things under control.”

When Don tells Peggy that he is counting on her to land the Playtex account, rather than being daunted, she seems entirely open to the challenge.  And by open, I mean really HORNY!  Back in the office, Peggy proposes an almost X-rated latex glove campaign to her colleagues Fred and Barney Flintstone Stan and Little Danny.  Never have ugly yellow gloves, commonly used to clean toilets, seemed so sexy!

Playtex Gloves and Condoms . . . both made out of Latex.  Coincidence?  I think not!

Stan, who no longer seems to be able to look at Peggy, without picturing her naked  . . .

Ahhh, memories!

 . . . is NOTICEABLY aroused by Peggy’s little speech.  (In fact, he immediately places his hands between his legs and squirms about, like a little kid who has to pee.)  Of course, being the “humble” guy he is, Studly Stanley becomes immediately convinced that Peggy has become “sex-crazed” as a result of SCDP’s impending closure, and, therefore, wants to jump his bones.

“In the words of Right Said Fred, ‘I’m too sexy for my shirt’ . . . and for this hideous lime green jacket the wardrobe department dressed me in.”

Stan’s convictions are further strengthened (hardened?) when he catches Peggy banging the delivery guy in her office, a la Samantha Jones in Sex and the City.

“Talk about FAST SERVICE!”

As it turns out, Peggy is not quite as slutty as Stan thinks.  After all, the “Delivery Boy” is someone she knows quite well . . .

“Please accept my large package.”

 Later, while a stressed out Peggy is doing some last minute preparations for her Playtex pitch, Stan offers to help her relax . . . by groping her like he’s a monkey, and she’s a banana tree.

Peggy handles the situation calmly, treating Stan like she would any disobedient dog, using firm and brief commands.  “Stan, NO!”  She enunciates.

Cool off, Hot Dog!

“Why do you keep making me reject you?”  Peggy inquires brusquely.

After minimal protest, Stan backs off.  After all, by getting Peggy riled up and angry, he did succeed in making her less nervous for her pitch.  “Everything good?”  Peggy asks tentatively, worrying that their little encounter will adversely impact their working relationship.

“Absolutely,” says Stan with a little gleam in his eye.  (Already, you know he’s up to something.)

Peggy’s pitch, for all intents and purposes, seems to go quite well.  Of course, she dials the sex aspects down a bit, from the initial pitch she suggested to Stan and Danny.  However, the basic idea is still there.  Playtex even seems amenable to the advertising concept, calling it “romantic.”  The only problem is . . . the client keeps making weird faces at Peggy.

“You have lipstick all over your teeth,” Harry tells Peggy, after the clients have left.

Peggy immediately makes eye contact with that dirty dog, Stan Rizzo.  And this is what she sees . . .

Sorry, Peggy!  You can’t give a guy like that these TWICE . . .

. . . and NOT expect him to take some kind of revenge. 

To Peggy’s credit, she handles the little prank quite well, even managing a toothy, lipstick-covered smile, when she finds out.  It just goes to show you, there’s nothing like a good boinkfest, to put things into perspective.  A little lipstick never hurt ANYONE!

Thanks Abe!

“So Much for my Happy Ending . . .”

When we last left Roger, he had thirty days to break it to his firm that he had lost the ONLY account he had brought in, an account that just so happened to  make up the bulk of SCDP’s business – Lucky Strike.

What Roger didn’t count on was that Lucky Strike’s new firm would start talking out of school.  While at dinner with his new wife, Alex Mack . . .

(Please tell me I’m not the only one who remembers this show . . .)

. . . and her father, The DEVIL!

(a.k.a. Ray Wise from The CW’s Reaper — Mad Men’s guest cast is quickly becoming a Who’s Who in cancelled television programs.)

. . . Ken learns from a competitor that Lucky Strike has jumped ship.  Ken rushes to the hospital to alert Poor Pete Campbell . . .

(You’re going to need a lot more than that one shot to handle this news.)

. . .  whose wife is just hours away from delivering his Baby Girl.  Pete immediately calls Don, who has been too busy screwing Faye, and having paranoid freakouts about his “secret identity” to hear about any of this.

“Why does this sh*t keep happening to me?”

Don calls the rest of the partners, including the sartorially brilliant Bert Cooper, who arrives at the office, still clad in his polka dot P.J.’s.  (Aren’t old people adorable?)

The crew meet up in Cooper’s office, looking as if someone just murdered their puppies.

Roger arrives last.  When confronted with the news, he feigns outrage and disbelief over the loss of an account, despite having known about it for almost a month now.  In a pathetic gambit to save face, Roger fakes a phone call to Lee Garner Asshole Jr.’s home to “confirm the rumor.”  He then offers to go down to North Carolina, himself, in order to save the account.  He doesn’t go.   Instead, he holes himself up in  New York hotel, where he propositions Joan for more back-alley, baby-making, sex.

“Soy un perdedor.  I’m a loser Baby!  So, why don’t you kill me?”

When Roger’s offers of Hot Pity F*cks, with the man who may have single-handedly run SCDP to the ground, don’t make Joan come running naked into his arms, he decides to come to her.  And boy, does this guy know how to turn on the charm.  “Is that what you wear to bed now?”  Roger inquires, scoffing at Joan’s admittedly frumpy housedress.

“Only when I’m pregnant with your bastard child,” replies Joan.

Taking cues from Blue Ball Champ, Stan Rizzo, Roger then throws himself at Joan.

(Now THERE’S a lady who’s NOT enjoying herself!)

When Joan inquires as to why Roger feels the need to squeeze her like an almost empty tube of toothpaste, he replies, seductively, “Because I feel like sh*t and you care about me.”

Oh Roger!  You had me at ‘sh*t’!”

Joan pushes Roger away, sadly, saying, “I’m not a solution to your problems.  I’m another problem.”

She’s right.  Now Roger has this problem. . .

Roger and Joan hug “goodbye.”  And then, after sadly confirming that the couple’s tryst in the dark alley will be their last lay EVER, Roger trudges out of Joan apartment, like a man walking toward his death . . .

Our tragic anti-hero doesn’t fare much better at work, when Don and Pete gang up against him for muscling Pete out of Lucky Strike, and then ultimately losing the account.  Don tells his partner, in no uncertain terms, that Pete would have handled Lucky Strike more professionally than Roger did.  When Roger turns to Bert for support.  Bert surprises him by saying, “Lee Garner Jr. never took you seriously, because you never took yourself seriously.”

It just goes to show you, you should never underestimate a man who wears polka dot pajamas . . .

The end of the episode finds Roger at home with his wife, flipping through copies of his recently published memoir Sterling’s Gold.  However, based on the way things are going in Roger’s life now, he may have to retitle it this:

(Now, at least we know who will be playing Roger, in the movie!)

Don Draper:  He’s Bringing Slutty Back!

I’ve got so many notches on my bedpost, it’s starting to look like Swiss Cheese!”

Don is getting some loving from Faye, when he first hears the news about Lucky Strike.

However, the bad news, soon puts a bit of a damper on the fledgling relationship, when he asks her to use inside information she has received from other advertising firms, to help SCDP land accounts with their unhappy clients.  Faye is insulted that Don would even think of using her in this way, and can’t believe her new boyfriend would expect her to jeopardize her own career just to help his.

When Don loses the Glo Coat account, for which he won the Cleo, Don’s mood really goes south, and he starts taking it out on . . . get this . . . soon-to-be-Papa- PETE!

Talk about biting the hand that saved you from an oncoming freight train!  To Pete’s credit, he doesn’t use that opportunity to throw Don under the bus for single-handedly losing the North American Aviation account for the company.  Instead, he simply says, “Just who do you think you are talking to?” which shuts Don right up.

(Unbeknownst to Don, Pete is currently being courted by D-Bag ,Ted Chaugh and his agency . . .

If Don doesn’t straighten up and fly right, he could lose his best account executive for good! )

Speaking of things done in poor taste, just moments after learning that Pete’s wife gave birth to a baby girl . . .

. . . Don and the gang head off to a former competitor’s funeral . . . in hopes of POACHING THE DEAD GUY’S CLIENTS!

“You stay classy, Don Draper!”

Meanwhile, Don’s new secretary, Megan . . .

. . . is working late to get inside Don Draper’s Drawers make sure Don doesn’t exceed his three-drink limit.  She has also busied herself repairing the Cleo Award that Don, in a fit of anger, tossed at the wall, upon losing the Glo Coat account.  Performing this service makes Megan stand out among Don’s previous secretaries (like Allison), who preferred to BREAK items in Don’s office, as opposed to repairing them.

Late at night, after the rest of the office has gone home, Megan asks whether Don needs any sexual favors help.  Megan tells Don that she is a stripper artist, with a strong desire to eventually become the next Peggy Olson or Don Draper.  Yet our suspicions of her true motives are immediately peaked when Don agrees to “teach” her the ins and outs of advertising, and she immediately rises to LOCK DON’S DOOR, despite the fact that the office is EMPTY.

“Business talk” only lasts a few moments, before Megan is shamelessly flirting with the Dapper Don Draper, telling him how much she “admires” him, and how she “can’t stop thinking about him.”  Megan then pretty blatantly propositions Don for sex.  He is initially hesitant.  However, after Megan insists that she won’t end up crying over him the next day, like SOME people .  . .

 .  . . THIS happens . . .

(Well, Megan . . . I guess that’s one way to get A HEAD in business . . .)

After their “tutoring session,” Don arrives back at his apartment (still reeking of Megan), when he learns he has a visitor . . .

As it turns out, Faye has decided she is willing to jeopardize her career for Don the Schlong Draper after all!  In fact, Faye didn’t just tell Don that Heinz Ketchup was upset with its current firm representation, she went as far as to set the company up to meet with SCDP, herself.  (Faye is an IDIOT!)

But, hey, without SCDP, there’s no Mad Men, so . . .

Any “IDIOT” who can keep SCDP in business, and, by extension, Mad Men on the air, is OK in my book . . .

[www.juliekushner.com]

 

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Mad Men

Swimming with Sharks – A Recap of Mad Men’s “The Summer Man”

Anyone out there who thinks that the writers of Mad Men don’t care about their fans, clearly hasn’t watched the show’s last two episodes.  Last week, Matt Weiner & Co., showed their love, by offering up one of the best-written, most hilarious, and most poignant hours on television of all time.  This week, that same group of writers chose, as a framing device for their episode, the image of a half-naked Jon Hamm, swimming laps in a crystal clear pool.

It just doesn’t get much better than that, Folks! 

Tonight’s installment of Mad Men was, more or less, split into three distinct storylines: (1) Don Draper’s first brave steps in the Wonderful World of Relative Sobriety, and his attempts to “tame” the three blondes in his life;

(2) Betty’s temper tantrum, as a result of seeing Don out with another woman, who is basically her doppelganger (minus a few years);

(3) and Joan’s struggles with her her husband leaving for Vietnam, and with office bullying.

So, what are we waiting for?  Let’s dive in, shall we?

The Often-Unappreciated Art of Navel Gazing

Dear Diary,

Sometimes, I find it a curse to be so damn attractive.  For example, this morning I was two whole hours late for work — all because  I couldn’t stop staring at myself in the bathroom mirror.  And all those WOMEN!  And all that SEX!  A guy can only have so much sex!  You know, I’m not in my twenties anymore.  I often have nightmares that, one day, the darn thing will just shrivel up and fall off . . .

“When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him,” Don writes in the opening moments of the episode.

As he ruminates on the meaning of life, we are treated to alternating shots of our Sexy Scribe: alone in his apartment; swimming laps at the local pool (yay!); and taking a few moments to bask in the summer sun, on his way to work.

Given the vast amount of guffaws and snorts he and Peggy had at Roger’s expense last week, I would hate to think Don is hypocritcally self-indulgent enough to draft his own memoir.  (Although, admittedly, THAT would probably be a pretty juicy read.) 

No.  I actually think Don’s daily journal writings serve much the same purpose as his daily visits to the pool.  They are meant to re-instill in his life a certain amount of discipline, and to help him organize his recently liquor-clouded thoughts. 

 “They say, as soon as you have to cut down on your drinking, you have a drinking problem,” Don posits, via voiceover.

Admitting THAT to himself, must have been a real punch in the face . . .

Through Don’s narrative, we not only learn how flowery his writing can be, when he’s not pitching advertisements, we also learn that he never graduated high school.  While it is obvious that this is a source of embarrassment for Don, and yet another skeleton in his closet, upon learning this, I couldn’t help but once again be impressed by how far Don came in life, despite such vastly humble beginnings.  “Drinking Problem” or not, you can’t take that away from him.

But, alas, it is tough to be sober in an office full of drunks  — particularly when you have an enabling secretary, like Miss. Blankenship.

Since she has started working as Don’s secretary, regularly refreshing the Executive’s booze supply, is probably the ONLY task she HASN’T screwed up . . . unfortunately.

“I’m set!”  Don growls, as Miss Blankenship offers him what looks like the entire top shelf of the local sports bar, thereby threatening to erase ALL the progress Don exhibited during the aforementioned earlier scenes.

“You are . . . and then you’re NOT,” retorts Dame Edna, fresh off a cataract surgery, which, if it is at all possible, seems to have left her even blinder than before, despite her claims to the contrary.

“Bring that stuff back to the store, and get me some cigarettes,” demands Don.

Ahhh, spoken like a true AA member . . .

And yet, unlike the members of that organization, Don has NOT quick drinking cold turkey.  To do so at a place like SCDP would, at best raise eyebrows, and, at worst, isolate Don from his colleagues.  (Speaking of Outcasted Sober Dudes, where has Freddy Rumsen been lately?)

Singing karaoke at the local cabaret, perhaps?

Don’s daily battles against the All-Mighty Bottle were perhaps best exhibited in a scene where he, Peggy, Ken and Stan were ironing out a new pitch idea for Mountain Dew.  The world literally went silent for Don, as he stared at Peggy’s pouty lips.  In all my naivety, I initially wondered whether the Dapper Don had recently fallen for our Peppy Peggy, as a result of their intense bonding session last week . . .

 . . . but then, when he started eying Ken’s and Stan’s lips too (as well as the ice clinking against the inner rims of their scotch glasses), I knew I had been mistaken.

Meanwhile, Don learns that Baby Gene (Toddler Gene?)’s Second Birthday Party is the upcoming Sunday, and Papa D is not invited.  In fact, he has been explicitly dis-invited,  both by Betty . . .

My people are Nordic.

 and Betty’s new husband, the increasingly dour, Henry Francis.

My people are A**holes.

To Don’s credit, rather than stewing over this, he spends his evenings dating people who look suspiciously like Betty . . .

“Every time I go out with you, it feels like we are on a first date.”

“Which one are you again?”

To help refresh Don’s memory as to who she is, Bethany does something to Don in the backseat of the cab that I can’t really tell you about here.  This is a Family Blog, after all.  I CAN show you, however.

Just substitute the bottle for an overused part of Don’s anatomy . . .

“To be continued,” coos Bethany lasciviously, as she crawls over Don to get out of the cab.  (Good lord!  I hope she didn’t leave any “unfinished business” behind!)

Sexually satisfied, but clearly unimpressed, Don writes in his diary, “I bet she spent all night coming up with that line.”

Then, just to show he’s a “true gentleman” with “no ill intentions” he finishes off the entry with a wishful thinking passage about Bethany’s bunkmates at the Barbizon hotel “touching themselves to sleep.”

Yeah . . . you stay classy, Don Draper!

Also touching herself to sleep, while dreaming of Don is THIS LADY . . .

. . . who I’ve referred to only as “Marketing Research Lady” since this season began; because, honestly, she never seemed all that important.  However, now that she has officially become Don’s Next Conquest, the character will hereinafter be referred to by her REAL name, Faye.  Don and Faye are working on something together in the office (But I don’t know what, because I’m still not 100% clear as to what exactly it is this woman DOES), when he suggests they relocate to a restaurant somewhere nearby.

Having struck out quite a few times with Faye in the past, Don knew he had the Green Light this time, because he overheard Faye breaking up with her boyfriend because . .  . she doesn’t cook.

(Hey Don!  I don’t cook either.  Would you like to go out with ME? :))

“Just so we’re clear here.  You are asking me out to dinner?”  Faye inquires, in a thick New Jersey Mob Princess accent that would make Carmela Soprano proud.

“Oh Donny!  This one’s a REAL KEEP-AH!”

Don admits that, yes, he is asking her out on a date.   So, Faye suggests something a bit more formal, and non-work related.  That night, the pair go out someplace fancy.  And I’ve gotta say, if Don’s and Bethany’s dates always seem like first, Don’s and Faye’s first date seemed much more like a THIRD, if you know what I mean. 😉  The two engaged in genuinely intelligent conversation, both revealing bits of their personal lives to one another.  Don even discussed his guilt over not being able to attend Baby Gene’s birthday.

In the taxi on the way home,  like Bethany, Faye also started getting VERY friendly with our Don Juan Draper.

Well . .  . maybe not THAT friendly.

Unlike Bethany, however, Faye doesn’t seem to be the “To Be Continued” type.  Instead, she immediately asks Don where his apartment is . . .

And he DENIES HER!

Remember, this is a man who, last week, probably wouldn’t have denied sex to a Friendly Armadillo . . .

Don tells Faye that he’s going to just walk her to her door.  “Because that’s all I can do right now.  I’m not ready to say Good Night, yet.”

Awwww!  Look who’s being a Real Gentleman for a change!  YOU GO DON!

These actually belong to Faye . . .

In yet another mature moment for the episode, Don cathartically tosses away the items he had in storage in Betty’s garage . . .

 . . . and attends Baby Gene’s Birthday Party!

That’s a WHOLE LOTTA self improvement, for a guy who, just last week, was puking on himself, and losing fist fights to Duck Phillips!

Baby Betty Needs a Bottle

“But Dad HENRRRRYYYYY!  You said we could go to the CANDY STORE after dinner.  I WANT CANNNNNNDDDDY!”

The Honeymoon Period is SO over, at the Francis / Draper residence!  This fact becomes more than evident, when Henry takes Betty to a business dinner with an important political consultant, and the group has a run-in with Don and Bethany . . .

AWKWARD!

Betty basically flips out.  She’s uncommonly icy (even for HER) to Henry’s important dinner guest, drinks gimlets like a fish throughout the meal, and then rushes off to hide in a bathroom stall, until the meal is over.  In the car on the way home, Henry spanks Betty and sends her to Time Out accuses her of being a child, a wino, and a drunk, who is not over her first marriage.  (Awww, how sweet!) 

The next morning, a very hungover and bleary-eyed Betty apologizes profusely for her bad behavior.  Henry accepts the gesture, but still seems kind of pissed.

And yet, Daddy Hubby looks on with pride, as Betty gallantly hands Baby Gene over to Don at the tot’s birthday party, a moderately believable plastic smile pasted on her face the whole time.  When Henry asks her if she is OK with Don’s presence, she replies in the affirmative.  “We have EVERYTHING!”

But do they, REALLY?

The VERY Brief Rise and Fall of Joey Baird

It looks like we’ll have to wait until they put you on another TV show, before I get to see you shirtless again.  Dammit,  Matt Long!  Why did your character have to be such a DOUCHE!

*Winks and waves at Shirtless Joey*  “CALL ME!”

*Squeals with joy at the news that SCDP now has a vacancy in its Art Department*

When the episode opens, Ken, Stan, Joey, and this random no-named new guy, who seems to have magically appeared during this episode, and yet everybody on the show acts like he’s been there the whole time . . .

“Who the heck are you?”

 . . . are loudly bucking the office vending machine, which somehow ate Joey’s watch.  “I feel like I’m Margaret Mead,” jokes Peggy, as she observes the male species in its natural habitat, hunting for a Rolex.

Then Joan, who I normally adore, but, in this episode, at least, was somewhat of a, to use her own words, “humorless b*tch” (not that she didn’t deserve to be, under the circumstances), storms outside to yell at the boys to keep it down.

“Yes, MOM!”  Joey yells out after her.

Enraged at the part-timer’s sheer disrespect, Joan calls Joey into her office to let him know that she “has a problem with him now.”

“What do you do all day, besides walking aroun this office, like you’re trying to get raped?”  Joey inquires.

Oh, he did NOT just say that!  WHO says stuff like that?  What were you, raised in a BARN?

When Don asks Joan to switch Joey over to full time so that he can put in some extra hours on an important account, Joan bristles at the thought of seeing that goat chew cud around the office Monday through Friday.  So, she stretches the truth a little bit.  “I’m not sure he’s the right fit.  I’ve been hearing complaints.”

“From who?”  Peggy inquires, having at least started the season being fairly tight with Joey Goat.  (Remember the whole John / Marsha bit, from Episode 1?)

“OK.  Let’s hear one dirty story,” suggests Don, gamely.

But Joan refuses to reveal a “dirty story” about Joey Goat, and Peggy becomes suspicious.  Later, she pulls Joey away from a Casting Couch session with Harry . . .

“Oh Joey!  You’re so handsome.  Do exactly as I say, and I can make you the next Jed Clampett . . . *points to autographed picture on his desk*

“He can play my pet goat!”

 . . . and warns him to lay off Joan, who clearly has it in for him now. 

“Listen, every office has a Joan.  My MOTHER was a Joan.  She even even wore a pen around her neck, so everyone would stare at her tits,” Joey retorts

(WOAHHH, Nelly!  Oedipal Complex much, kiddo?  The only time you should be staring so intently at your mother’s rack is when your breast-feeding.  After that, it’s just icky!)

But office Bully Goats are the least of Joan’s problems.  At home, she is faced with the lingering threat of her husband dying in the Vietnam war.  In a feeble attempt to be helpful, Dr. Greg suggests that Joan won’t even miss him while he’s gone, because she will be so busy hanging out with “all her friends at work.”

(No wonder you were such a bad surgeon, Dr. Greg.  Your timing SUCKS!)

Joan, of course, bawls at this comment, thus closing off any chance Dr. Greg ever had of getting laid that night.

Lots of these going around tonight . . .

The next day, Joey Goat and his Goat Posse . . .

. . . are targeting Joan once again.  But this time, they use artwork . . .

. . . specifically, “artwork” which suggests that Joan is doing THIS  . . .

 . . . to Lane . . .

“Oh my!  Who knew my Beefsteak Belt Buckle would be put to use again so soon!”

Peggy is in Joan’s office, when the picture is discovered.  So, she is understandably horrified, on Joan’s behalf.

But Joan just calmly walks outside and tells the artists, more or less, that she doesn’t like them, and hopes they all die in Vietnam.

“So . . . in other words . . . you DON’T wanna sleep with us?”

Peggy, in a rare attempt at sisterly solidarity, approaches Don about Joey’s bad behavior toward Joan.  While Don agrees the cartoon is reprehensible, he encourages Peggy to handle the matter on her own, so as to gain the respect of her peers.  Peggy pulls Joey Goat aside and insists that he apologize to Joan.  “That’s what I hate about working with women.  They have no sense of humor,” remarks the Tool.

Unable to reason with the bastard, Peggy fires his ass.  Off walks Joey Goat into the sunset, teeny tiny tail between his legs.  “Party’s over, boys,” he brays to his entourage, fielding one last invite for “drinks etc.” from Harry, before shutting the door on SCDP for good.

“That was Baaaaaaaaaaad!”

In the elevator on the way out of work, Peggy encounters Joans, and eagerly gives her the good news, about how she single-handedly sent Joey Goat to the Glue Factory.

But Joan is unimpressed.

“I defended you,” Peggy pouts.

Joan claims she was handling the matter in her own way, by meeting with the client at issue, and quietly having Joey taken off the account.  “It’s the same result,” Peggy mumbles. 

“All you’ve done is prove to them that I’m a meaningless secretary, and you are just another humorless bitch.  Have a nice weekend, Peggy.”

That couldn’t have felt good . . .

While Joan’s prophecy is quite possibly true, her nastiness to the woman who could have one day become the lonely office manager’s ONE female friend in the office seemed unnecessarily harsh.  It couldn’t have been easy for Peggy, who has always wanted desperately to be “one of the boys” to fire a former friend, and risk being ostracized by her co-workers, as a result. 

This elevator exchange further delineates the different paths these two women chose, in creating their futures: Joan representing the more traditional early 1960’s woman, both cunning and overtly feminine; and Peggy representing the New Feminist, independent and career-oriented.

So, what did you think of “The Summer Man?”  Do you believe Don will stick to his strict regimen of swimming, writing and drinking in moderation?  Is Faye a Keep-ah?  How long do you give Betty before she’s embroiled in a second divorce?  Can Joan and Peggy ever truly become friends, despite their differences?  Would you ever watch a television show produced by Harry Crane and starring Joey Goat? 

[www.juliekushner.com]

 

1 Comment

Filed under Mad Men

A Lesson in Etiquette from the Cast of Mad Men and the Mister Men Series – A Recap of Mad Men’s “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword”

“A lesson in whhaaaat?  From the cast of whoooooo?  DON, this damn phone don’t work and neither do I!”

Whether we are still kids, or just kids at heart, there are times in all of our lives, when we could stand to be reminded of the importance of minding our proverbial “Ps and Qs.”  And in this most recent Mad Men episode, EVERYONE fell a bit short on the Etiquette Scale. 

Let’s revisit, shall we?

Lesson One:  When you have nothing nice to say, it’s best to say nothing at all . . .

In the opening moments of the episode, Don receives a phone call from the New York Times.  Apparently, one of Don’s competitors at another advertising company(Cutler, Gleason, and Chauough), has been talking smack about him. 

(Riiiiiight! Because THAT’S what top New York Times reporters cover on the front page of their paper, Word Wars between anonymous Ad men.) 

The reporter wonders whether Don has a response to his competitors’  snide remarks.  If Don was POLITE, he would simply say, “No Comment.”  However, because Don is . . .

 . . . he, instead replies, “Never heard of him.” 

Lesson 2 – Be flexible.  There is no shame in compromising to get the job done.

“Compromise is for pussies!”

Later, at a meeting of the SCDP partners, Pete mentions that he has scored a meeting with Honda, where SCDP will have the opportunity to pitch the well established Japanese corporation a campaign for their motorcycle account.

Rumor has it that Honda is dissatisfied with their current representation by Massive Ad Agency, Grey.  The “catch” is that each competing agency will get just $3,000 to create a mock pitch for Honda.  Most of the partners are THRILLED . . .

. . . but Roger is NOT!

A World War II vet, who lost a lot of friends to the Japanese war effort, Roger REFUSES to represent a Japanese company, no matter how lucrative such representation could potentially BE for SCDP.  This is because Roger is . . .

“Why don’t we just bring Doctor Lyle Evans in here?”  Roger quips.

“Huh?”

*         *         *           *

Please forgive me this slight departure from your regularly scheduled recap, while I wax poetic on Roger’s so-called “historical reference.”

Who the heck is Doctor Lyle Evans?  If you didn’t catch the reference, fear not, because the rest of the staff of SCDP didn’t either.  Seeing as I was still about two decades away from being born, back in 1965, I just shrugged the name off, assuming it referred to some villainous doc, who worked for the enemy back in World War II.  (I was never exactly what you would call a “History Buff,” anyway . . .

But, apparently, there was much more to it than that.  You see, the interesting thing about Dr. Lyle Evans, is that he DOES NOT EXIST! 

OK.  There’s probably SOMEONE out there named Dr. Lyle Evans, but he’s certainly not a historical figure.  Evidently, Matt Weiner dropped the name into the script to have a little fun with those crazy Mad Men fans who like to look up every single historical reference they hear on the show.  It WORKED!  Google and Twitter trends for the mysterious “Dr. Lyle Evans” went through the ROOF, Sunday night!

Tsk, tsk, Matt Weiner!

I hearby dub you . . .

We now return to our regularly scheduled recap . . .

*      *      *      *

Lesson 3 – Before making drastic changes to your appearance, always consult with your elders . . .

Felicity’s Keri Russell learned THIS lesson the hard way . . . So did Sally Draper.

OK.  I REALLY don’t like this Nurse Phoebe chick!  I didn’t like her when she was Reed on Grey’s Anatomy . . .

 . . . and I DON’T like her now!  Apparently, neither does Sally Draper.  Because when Nurse Phoebe was babysitting the little Drapers, over at Don’s house, while Don was out on a date, Sally did something to ensure that Phoebe would NEVER be invited back into Don’s apartment again!  She did THIS . . .

She then asked Phoebe whether she and Don were doing The Nasty together.   Well, if they WERE, they won’t be NOW! 

When Don got back from his Dull Ass Date with Boring Bethany at Benihana’s . . .

 . . . (where he learned that his advertising rivals from Cutler would be competing with SCDP for the Honda account), he fired Nurse Phoebe on the spot!

Lesson 4 – Use your words, not your fists, B*tch (especially on YOUR KIDS)!!!!

The SLAP heard round the world . . .

While Don blamed Nurse Phoebe for the whole “Sally Hair Fiasco,” Betty blamed EVERYBODY BUT HERSELF!  Poor, poor, Betty!  Apparently, the whole world is conspiring to make your life miserable.  Your daughter’s rebellious actions have nothing to do with her inner turmoil over her grandfather’s death or her parents’ divorce, they are all about YOU.  Everything is about YOU!  YOU, YOU, YOU!

“Me?  Ahhh, my favorite subject.”

Betty slaps Poor Troubled Sally so hard, it looks for a moment like her teeth might fall right out of her mouth!  And although Hen-pecked Henry and Disaffected Don look appalled by her behavior, both do astonishingly little to help the crying ten-year old, whose just been physically abused.  “Betty,” Henry whispers half-heartedly.

“Well, gosh, I’d love to help ya, Sally.  But I don’t wanna get beat up by a girl . . . AGAIN!”

Sally dashes to her room, and Don scampers out the door like a coward.  Then, Betty, clearly the wronged one, whines to Henry about how much she wants to MURDER Don!

WOAH!  Take it easy there . . .

Lesson 5 – Be respectful of that which makes others “different”

“I really don’t understand why people think I’m racist.  Can’t a guy wear a mud mask without ridicule?  I hear helps clean the pores!”

The time has come for the men of SCDP to hold their meeting with the good folks at Honda.  Preparations have been made.  “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword” has been not read.  White flowers (which signify death in Japanese culture) have been hidden.  Gifts have been purchased, including expensive bottles of booze.  Old Fogey Roger has been sent off on a loooonnng lunch, and told precisely nada about what is set to occur.

Things go pretty well . . . at first.  Pleasantries are exchanged and translated.  Joan’s assets are admired.  “How does she not fall over?”  One of the business men inquires “cutely” in Japanese.

“Actually, sir, I fall over all the time.  That’s why I always try to have Japanese business men in front of me, to break my fall.”

But then Roger comes, and screws everything up.

Pissed that he’s been lied to, and that his opinion has been blatantly ignored by his colleagues, an uncharacteristically belligerant Roger starts hurling insults at the Japanese businessmen, left and right.  “They won’t know it’s over until we drop a bomb on them . . . twice,” jokes Roger, insensitively.

“We don’t want your JAP CRAP!”  He says later. 

Now, Roger, there’s no need to be . . .

After the meeting ends abruptly, Roger whines some more about the Japanese and World War II.  Don berates Roger for acting unprofessionally, and killing the Honda account, all for something that happened twenty years prior.  Pete takes the lecture session one step further, accusing Roger of being . . .

 . . . and sabotaging Pete’s ability to gain accounts, so that Roger can maintain financial supremacy over the company.  Roger tries to deck Pete, but Don intervenes. 

 Sure, Don!  NOW YOU INTERVENE!  What about when the recipient of the fist was your own DAUGHTER?   You weren’t so tough then, were you?

Lesson 6 – Keep your hands to yourself, but not IN yourself . . . At least, not when others might see you do it.

For actress Kiernan Shipka’s sake, I’m hoping she’s too young an actress to think to ask what her “motivation” is for scenes like this one.  I’m also hoping that when she’s a teenager, Kiernan’s friends never dig out DVDs of this episode for blackmail purposes . . .

Speaking of Miss Sally Draper, she’s up late at a sleepover party, watching what looks to be the LEAST sexy television show on the planet . . .

I don’t know, Sally.  These guys just don’t do it for me . . .

 . . . when she starts digging for gold underneath her nightgown. 

She doesn’t find any.

(OK.  I’m no Betty prude.  I get that kids Sally’s age experiment with their bodies.  I also get that it’s normal and natural for them to do that . . . hopefully, IN PRIVATE.  But I REALLY didn’t need to watch this, and would have preferred the producers opted not to show it.  It made me feel uncomfortable, and dirty, in a way that soap can’t wash . . .)

Apparently, Sally’s friend’s mom felt the same way, when she walked in on Sally’s “Gold Rush.”    After having a little freak out, the lady immediately drove Sally home, interrupting Betty and Henry’s own sex session, to inform them that their kid was a sexual deviant.  As per usual, Mommy Dearest makes this all about herself.  After threatening to chop Sally’s fingers off . . .

How pleasant!

 . . . Betty moans to Henry in bed about how UNPOPULAR Sally’s actions are going to make Betty with the other mothers.

“Now I’ll NEVER be prom queen!”

Concerned that Sally’s willingness to play fast and loose with her flower, might ultimately result in her becoming . . .

. . . Betty reluctantly considers Henry’s idea that Sally start seeing a therapist. 

“My daughter MUST be certifiably insane!  Where on Earth would she learn to pleasure herself on the couch?  Who DOES that?”

Ultimately, Betty suggests the therapy idea to Don, and he eventually agrees to it. 

Then, of course, when the therapist calls Don to confirm Sally’s appointment, the Lovely Miss Blankenship greets him, in his small office, with the paper thin walls . . .

 . . .  screeching, “DON, YOUR DAUGHTER’S PSYCHIATRIST IS ON THE PHONE!”

Oh, Miss Blankenship . . . You are most certainly . . .

How Don hasn’t fired you yet, is BEYOND ME!

Lesson 7 – Honesty is always the best policy . . . unless you’re in advertising.

Just when it seems as though all hope is lost for SCDP to win over the Honda campaign . . .

Don reconsiders his newfound knowledge of Japanese business, and comes up with an idea to sabotage his competitors, while, at the same time, potentially saving the account.

Recognizing that neither SCDP nor its main competitor, Cutler, have the funds necessary to produce a full advertising campaign for Honda, Don decides to make Cutler THINK that SCDP is breaking Honda’s rules and paying for a television campaign out-of-pocket.  The underlying assumption is that, by doing this, SCDP will goad Cutler into breaking the rules, thereby, shooting themselves in the foot.  Not to mention, potentially bankrupting themselves.  A few “clandestine” meetings, a fake filming session, and some carefully placed words later, the trap is set. 

 On the morning of the presentations, Cutler, as expected, goes forward with presenting Honda the television campaign, in violation of the prescribed rules for the advertising competition.  When Don enters the office, he expresses feigned outrage at Honda for entertaining such a blatant rule violation, and returns the $3,000, refusing to make any sort of presentation at all.  Interestingly enough, the Honda CEO likes Don’s attitude, he, himself, being somewhat of a  . . .

And so, even though Honda ends up keeping their motorcycle account with Grey.  They ultimately decide to throw SCDP a bone, by allowing the agency to represent their “small” car business.

Well, played, Don!  You . . .

The episode concludes with, among other things, Don sharing some Sake with the joyless Marketing Research Lady . . .

During this meeting, he learns that she is NOT married, and is only pretending to be, because, OF COURSE, once men learn Marketing Research Lady is single, they DEFINITELY won’t be able to control themselves around her. . .

I think we all know where THIS is heading . . .

Here we GO AGAIN!

Also, Betty speaks briefly with Sally’s new therapist, Dr. Edna  . . .

.  . . who seems pretty cool . . .

 Betty even agrees to visit the therapist, herself, a few times, in accordance with Sally’s “treatment.”

At the very end of the episode, Sally, accompanied by the Most Fabulous Housekeeper / Caretaker who ever lived, Carla . . .

 . . . heads off to visit Dr. Edna for the first time.  We’re rooting for you, Sally!  Because the world REALLY doesn’t need ANOTHER Betty Draper . . .

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this episode, folks!  Special thanks go out to Roger Hargreaves, and the spectacular Little Miss and Mister Men series, for helping me to illustrate this recap.

See you next week!

[www.juliekushner.com]

Leave a comment

Filed under Mad Men

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]

Leave a comment

Filed under Mad Men

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]

3 Comments

Filed under Mad Men

Welcome Back, Mr. Draper! – A Recap of Mad Men’s Season 4 Premiere Episode “Public Relations”

You’ve been missed . . . you sexy Mad Man, YOU!

Hard to believe, it’s been a FULL YEAR since those crazy cats at Sterling Cooper up and left the agency that still bore THEIR OWN NAMES, to start a brand new one.  (Actually, it’s EASY to believe.  Every day away felt like pure torture to me!)  But, hey, the past is in the past, right?  It’s a new year (1964), and our Mad Men have a shiny new logo, and a brand new office, to call “home” . . .

Pretty snazzy, right?

So, pour yourself some scotch, light up a ciggy, and practice your “John’s” and “Marsha’s,” because it’s time to start recapping!

” . . . so cheap, they couldn’t afford to get us a whole reporter!”

“We’re crude, inappropriate, mean-spirited, and make fun of cripples.  But you love us, anyway!”

When the episode begins, Don is seated at a coffee shop, enduring a tedious interview with a bland journalist from an advertising rag.  The purpose of the interview is to drum up business for the still fledgling Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce advertising agency, which, a year after it’s inception, is still just finding its sea legs.  “Who is Don Draper?”  Bland Journalist inquires, ironically echoing nearly the exact sentiments of practically EVERY newspaper / magazine that has covered Mad Men in the past three years.

Others who have reviewed this episode found Don’s reply to this question, obnoxious.  I, however, felt it was entirely understandable, if not exactly polite or appropriate.  To me, “Who are you?”  is the autobiographical equivalent of that all-too-familiar job interview question, most feared and despised by prospective employees the world over:

“Where do you see yourself in ten years?”

There is absolutely NO good way to answer a question like this succinctly, without sounding at best, trite, and, at worst, like a total tool.  It’s a stress question, pure and simple.  Bland Journalist himself  all but confirms this, when Don challenges the nature of the inquiry.  “How do people respond, when you ask them that question?”  He scoffs.

“Usually they think about it for a moment, and then say something cute.”  (That’s right, because “cute” and “trade magazine” are clearly synonymous with one another).  Nevertheless, here are some examples of answers Don COULD have given:

“I am the walrus.”

Who am I?  That’s a secret I’ll never tell.  XOXO, Gossip Girl.

Instead, Don simply replies that he’s from the Midwest, where he was taught that it is impolite to talk about yourself.  He’d much prefer to talk about his new ad campaign for his client, Glo- Coat, but Bland Journalist isn’t biting.  He’s got all the information he needs.  “It’s only a couple hundred words, but, with any luck, the picture will be bigger than the article,” concludes Blandy.

Good call, Ad Age magazine!  VERY good call!

To make things even more awkward, Pete and Roger arrive on the scene, crowding Bland Journalist with their good natured butt-kissing, and shameless self-promotion, respectively.  “Here’s my card.  You’ll probably want to write an article about me when I finish my book,” offers Roger, completely without irony. 

Bland Journalist is apparently so excited by this prospect, that he knocks into the table and twists his leg around . . . his wooden leg, that is.  Awkward apologies are muttered all around.  And with a “sincere” thanks from Pete for his service to his country (turns out Blandy’s a Korean war vet), the Journalist is on his not-so-merry way. 

“Would you look at that?  [Ad Age] is so cheap, they couldn’t even afford to give us a whole reporter,” quips Silver Fox, Roger Sterling.

Pretty harsh, right?  In his defense, this isn’t the first time Roger’s dealt with the extremity-challenged, in a business capacity.  Perhaps, you recall last season, when this . . .

 . . . let to this . . .

 . . . and, subsequently, this . . .

So, coming from the guy who once did THIS . . .

 . . . I’d say Roger was surprisingly well behaved.  Wouldn’t you?

Is it any wonder Blandy ends up writing an article that makes Don look like a total prick, putting the company in jeopardy, and forcing clients to seek representation elsewhere (including Harry’s precious Jai Alai)?


“I’m trying to be an adult about this.   But it’s just SO HARD!”

Next stop for the trio is an impromptu meeting with Jantzen, a swim suit company, that wants to advertise bikinis (I’m sorry, TWO-PIECE SUITS), without resorting to any sex appeal whatsoever.  They justify this by claiming to be a “Family Company.”  Yeah . . . You know who ELSE is a “Family Company?”  Hooters . . .

“Give me my Ham (and my Jon Hamm!)”

Disgruntled that “Family Companies” like Jantzen are the kind they now have to beg for business, the Hot Trio heads back to their “new” office . . . well, it’s new to us anyway.  While bemoaning it’s small size (Employees have made a habit of lying to clients, and pretending it has a second floor . . . It doesn’t.), Scrappy Curmudgeon, Bertram Cooper, unwittingly gives us a nice tour of the place. 

During that tour we learn that Joan FINALLY has her own office . . .

And Peggy has a new part-time assistant / art guru.  The bad news is, it’s not Sal . . .

The good news is, this New Guy is pretty cute too!

Nice butt!

The character’s name is Joey Baird, and he’s played by Matt Long, who you may remember from the recently cancelled series, The Deep End, or the not-so-recently cancelled series, Jack and Bobby, or (blushes) the movie Sydney White, starring Amanda Bynes.

Wait  . . . that’s not a good picture of him.  Let me show you a better one . . .

You’re welcome!

When we first meet Joey, he’s playfully enjoying a little inside joke with our favorite Secretary-turned- Senior Copy Editor, Peggy Olson.

Love your newfound spunk, confidence, and laidback attitude, Peggy!  Not so crazy about the new ‘do . . .

Throughout the episode,  the two coo “John” and “Marsha” to one another repeatedly.  I’ll admit that, while I thought the whole bit was cute and amusing, I didn’t get the reference at first.  Upon further research, I learned that “John and Marsha” was a comedy sketch originated by a man named Stan Freberg in the late 1950’s.  If you are curious about it, you can find it, here.  However, it’s more or less what you see on the show.  Namely, lots of different variations on ways of saying the same two names, OVER and OVER and OVER again . . .

Along with the always adorable Pete Campbell (who I’ve majorly crushed on for three seasons straight, DESPITE his evil tendencies and smarminess; and who was unusually sweet, polite and altogether smiley, in this episode) . . .

I LOVE YOU . . .

 .  . . even though you might KILL ME!

 .  . . Peggy and Joey devise a cheap and easy way to advertise for one of their smaller clients, Sugarberry Ham.  The “advertising” will involve paying off two actresses to viciously fight over the ham in a grocery store, on the day before Thanksgiving.  Knowing that Don will likely disapprove of the stunt, they decide not to tell him.  Initially, the plan seems to go off without a hitch.  The “fight over the ham” makes headlines, and Sugarberry increases their advertising budget, as a result.   But then, one of the actresses charges the other one with assault, and an arrest is made. 

So, on Thanksgiving morning, Peggy has to call Don, with her tail between her legs, so that the actress in question can make bail.  Don initially balks at the request.  However, eventually, Don recalls that very special time when Peggy bailed HIM out of jail for drunk driving, while he was schtupping that comedian’s wife during Season 2 . . .

That is NOT Betty Draper . . .

He ultimately relents, allowing Peggy to come to his apartment to retrieve the cash.  Afraid of getting reamed a new one by her boss, Peggy brings her new boyfriend (fiance?) for protection.  Unfortunately, New Beau Mark doesn’t look like he could protect Peggy from a frisky kitten, much less Don.  Mark is played by Blake Bashoff, who Lost fans may remember as Dead Karl.  He looks like this . . .

 . . . only a bit older, and less bloody.

Mark does manage to let it slip that Peggy is his fiance, an admission which raises Don’s eyebrows, and which Peggy denies vigorously.

The next day at the office however, Don DOES ream Peggy a new one, for not informing him sooner about the stunt, and for jeopardizing the firm’s reputation.  But New and Improved Peggy more than holds her own in the Lion’s Den, arguing that the stunt DID in fact increase profits for Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce.  “Our reputation is pretty much where you left it,” retorts Peggy, not so subtly hinting at her boss’ Ad Age snafu.

Peggy also calls Don out on being spiteful, when he tells her she can’t take part in the Jantzen pitch meeting.  “You know, we’re all here because of you.  Everyone just wants to please you,” Peggy concludes matter-of-factly, before turning on her heel and stalking out of his office.  You GO GIRL!

Bitch Slaps and Girl Trouble

But Peggy isn’t the only lady giving Don Draper “girl trouble.”  He’s also coping with the fact that his wife is currently living in HIS marital home with the Deadly Boring Henry Francis, while HE keeps paying the mortgage (more on those two in a bit). Unaccustomed to seeing Don Draper NOT getting laid on a regular basis, Roger decides to set him up with cult leader Sarah Newlin from True Blood one of his tartlet new wife’s friends, Z-list actress, Bethany Van Nuys.

Bethany kind of reminds me of a slightly younger version of Betty Draper, on uppers.  She twirls to show Don her borrowed dress, and bemoans the sorry state of the world.  Later, on the taxi ride home, Bethany lets Don make out with her, and feel her up a bit, but will not let him walk her back to her apartment, “I know that trick,” she whispers coyly.

When he declines an invitation to spend Thanksgiving with Roger and his wife, Bethany offers to see him again on New Year’s Eve.  “We’ll see how things go,” she concludes, nonchalantly, before leaving Don to nurse his blue balls . . .

Unable to get a proper FREE lay, Don is forced to resort to paying for one.  In a slightly disturbing scene, Don invites a hooker to his shabby apartment, and instructs her to slap him in the face over and over again, with increasing force, as they screw.  I haven’t felt this uncomfortable watching Don Draper, since last season, when he picked up those hitchhikers, took some hallucinogenics, danced seductively with that teen from the kid show, Zoey 101, and passed out on the floor . . .

Now, I know there are a lot of powerful CEO types who enjoy being dominated in the bedroom, as a change of pace from their day-to-day lives.  But Don Draper has been SO emasculated, in practically every way possible, in recent episodes, that it’s a little surprising that HE, of all people, would be into this sort of thing. 

When Don picks up the children, the tension between him, Betty, and Henry is palpable.   To make matters worse, when he drops them off, Betty has intentionally stayed out past curfew.  He is, therefore, forced to wait alone in the dark of his former home, watching television, waiting for the inevitable confrontation to ensue . . .

In Evil Wench and Mr. Boring News . . .

Yes, that’s how I feel about them too, Sally!

When we first see Betty, this season, her and two of her three kids (What happened to Baby Gene?  Who stole Baby Gene?) are spending Thanksgiving with Henry’s family.  Clearly acting out, when Henry’s mother (who sort of didn’t look OLD enough to be his mother?) asks Sally Draper if she is enjoying the food, she poutily replies, “No.  I’m not hungry.”

In response, the kindly Betty shoves a heaping serving of marshmallows in Sally’s mouth, practically choking her own daughter.  Taken by surprise, Sally gags and spits up pre-chewed food all over the fancy table.   Betty then roughly drags Sally out by her arm, her long nails clawing into Sally’s wrist.  “You’re pinching me!”  Sally yelps, for the whole dinner table to hear.

Between this exchange and Betty’s later, “Don’t tell your Dad how mean I am to you” – threat in the hallway, late at night, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a movie I caught on cable recently.  Here, let me show you a clip . . .

“Well, she’s absolutely right!  Wire hangers ruin EVERYTHING!”

Seriously, could Betty BE a more hateful mother to her kids?  Fortunately, Naive and Not-Too-Swift, Bobby Draper, has, so far, gotten himself through this whole ordeal mostly unscarred.  But Sally?  That girl’s got “join a Doomsday cult” written ALL OVER HER!

“Time to drink the Kool Aid!”

Even Henry Francis’ cold shrew of a mother thinks Betty sucks at parenting.  “I’ve raised raised a few children in my day.  And those kids are terrified of her,” she cautions.

And the SECOND Worst Mother of the Year Award goes to . . .

“I see what appeals to you about her, and you don’t need marriage to get it.  She’s a Silly Woman, Henry.  And why are you still living in that man’s dirt?” Betty’s Monster-In-Law-To-BE continues.

“Because I’m a pig.  Oink, Oink!”

Clearly affected by his mother’s speech, sniveling rat, Henry, refuses to stick up for Betty, when Don confronts her about their not moving out of the house.  “He’s right, you know!  You haven’t even started looking,” whines Henry.

(Whatever happened to the guy who said, “I’ll take care of you, Betty.  I don’t want you to OWE [Don] anything, Betty?”  Has Mommy Dearest, Betty, sucked THAT out of him too?)

And you know what the ABSOLUTE WORST thing about this couple is?  They keep THEIR DOG CHAINED UP OUTSIDE!

FOR SHAME!

Don throws a temper tantrum, then FINALLY RE-grows a pair, and saves the day . . .

This picture has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with what I’m about to tell you.  I just really like it is all!

In the last few moments of the episode, Don and the rest of SCDP meet with the holier-than-thou Jantzen Swimsuit execs.  Don responds to their request that he keep their advertising pure and clean by . . . NOT LISTENING TO THEM AT ALL! 

 “So well built, we can’t show you the top floor,” Don pitches, showing the saintly wing nuts a highly suggestive (especially given the times) photograph of a woman wearing only a bikini bottom, and a white band across her boobs, so that you can’t tell whether she’s wearing a top, or not.

For whatever reason, Don’s advertisement kind of reminded me of THIS.

Well, the Jantzen people are appalled.  You can almost see their panties getting tied in a knot over the thought of this “lewd” picture representing their “Family Company.”  When they politely protest, Don berates them for their prudishness, and violently kicks them out of the office.  “Get me an interview with The Wall Street Journal,” he barks.

“And I thought I was the baby of the office!”

The Season Premiere Episode of Mad Men ended much as it began, with Don Draper being interviewed by a journalist, this time a slightly less bland one from The Wall Street Journal.  Here, a newly animated Don (humbly) touts himself as the driving force behind SCDP.  He then launches into the story of how SCDP got started, which is basically the same story that made up the Season 3 Finale.  A very exciting tale indeed!

So, there you have it, the Season Premiere Episode of Mad Men.  So what did you think?  Was it everything you hoped it would be?  Do you hate Betty and Henry as much as I do?  Do you think I’m weird for crushing on Pete for as long as I have?  Important questions . . . all. 

But before you go, I have something you might want to try . . .

It’s a little quiz from AMC’s website, in which you “interview” for a job at SCDP.  The first time I took it, I got “Secretary,” which, I have to admit, bugged me a bit.  Apparently, I’m a bit too nice for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce . . . So, I “interviewed” again and got “Account Manager.”  Much better .  . .

You can try the quiz, here.

[Watch Mad Men Sunday nights, at 10 p.m. on AMC.]

4 Comments

Filed under Mad Men