Tag Archives: Freddy Rumsen

“Something beautiful you can truly own” – A Recap of Mad Men’s “The Other Woman”

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“At last, something beautiful you can truly own.”

These haunting words comprised the tagline for the Jaguar pitch Don Draper made at the climax of the tour de force hour of television that was “The Other Woman.”  On the surface, they speak to human nature, and its often unquenchable desire to seek spiritual fulfillment through superficial means, be it wealth, material possessions, or physical attractiveness.

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However, “The Other Woman” takes this deceptively simplistic concept to a much deeper level, by posing to viewers a very serious question, one which we are all destined to face in our lives at one time or another.  Namely,  what price are you willing to pay to get what you want out of life?  And is there ever a point where the personal sacrifices necessary for achievement outweigh the rewards?

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Let’s review, shall we?

“Let them eat lobster.”

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Last week’s “Christmas Waltz,” ended rather triumphantly, with a newly re-energized and determined Don rousing his battle-weary troops, inspiring them all to work as hard as they could, and do whatever it took to win the Jaguar account for SCDP.  He described landing the account as a “defining moment for the agency.”  (Little did he know how prophetic those words would end up being.)

By the time we return to SCDP this week, it’s evident that some of the inspirational luster of Don’s speech has already started to fade.  The ad men are tired, restless, and growing increasingly jaded about their prospective client . . . a car that, though admirably beautiful and enviably expensive, has so far proven to be woefully unreliable.  In short, a Jaguar is the kind of date you wouldn’t think twice about inviting into your bed.  But you probably would hesitate, before bringing it home to meet the parents.

(Speaking of price tags, I wonder how much Jaquar paid for the product placement it’s received these past two episodes.  Whatever it was,  I’d probably ask for my money back.)

Hungry and tired, the ad men are thrilled when a massive order of lobster arrives in the conference room to provide them with some much-needed sustenance, after a hard day’s work.  But not Peggy.  She doesn’t get any lobster, because she’s working on  SCDP’s 25 or so other accounts, and NOT Jaguar.  She gets a two-day old tuna sandwich from the nose-picking street vendor downstairs.

(I don’t know.  This part seemed a little heavy handed for me.  I mean, it’s not that big of an office.  And, from the looks of it, about 7/8ths of the entire company was working on the Jaguar Account.  How hard would it have been to offer a little lobster tail to the 5 or 6 people still working on other accounts?  Also . . . um . . . isn’t SCDP a bit cash poor now?  Wouldn’t it have made more sense to forgo the lobster, in exchange for those “Christmas Bonuses” that Lane won’t shut up about?)

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“I sure would like the opportunity to get to know her better.”

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While the working stiffs at SCDP were busy eating lobster, Account Men, Ken and Pete were forced to shovel down some serious crow, when they learned that their ability to land the Jaguar account had less to do with their firm’s advertising prowess, and more to do with what was underneath Joan Holloway’s dress.  Jaguar’s pudgy dumpling of an executive definitely made no bones about what and who he needed SCDP to do in order to gain his business.  (And, honestly, if that’s how Jaguar makes its business decisions, it’s no wonder the cars are “unreliable.”)  Poor Ken Cosgrove!  The look on his face, when Scummy McScumbag proposed he be allowed to boink Joan, as a “perk” of using SCDP to advertise his product, was like someone had just clubbed a baby seal right in front of him . . .

Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that Kenny Cosgrove is actually the moral compass of Mad Men.

This would explain why he hardly ever has any lines . . .

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Pete on the other hand has never been one to look a pimp horse in the mouth.  So, of course, he only feigns mild distaste with the idea, when he not-so-tactfully broaches the subject with Joan in her office, the following day.

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Like the seasoned pimp that he is,  Pete blustered his way toward Joan’s desk, boldly demanding that she name her price, without the slightest hint of hesitation or remorse in his voice.  He does so in a way that drastically downplays the extent of what he is asking her to do, and what her agreeing to do it would say about the company for which they both have chosen to work.  “We’re talking about a night in your life. We’ve all had nights in our lives where we’ve made mistakes for free,”  Pete reasons.  (How very Indecent Proposal of him.)

And lord knows, if anybody knows a thing or two about making “free” mistakes it’s Pete Campbell . . .

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What’s depressing is that the moment Pete broaches this subject with Joan, he has already singlehandedly taken his firm down the path to moral ruin.  Regardless of what comes after, SCDP has just become the kind of firm that’s willing to entertain these kind of offers to obtain business.  And Joan, who has spent over a decade of her life working tirelessly for the company, will never again be able to shake the fact that her bosses and colleagues value the almighty dollar over her self-respect and well-being.

In short, not all rapes happen in the bedroom . . .

But we’ve all come to expect this from Pete.  What was more disturbing, to me anyway, was the way the other partners reacted, when Pete broached the subject with them.  Bert Cooper, who, in the past, has often chastized his fellow co-workers for the ways in which their own greed and selfishness have negatively impacted the business, only uttered a few feeble words in protest, before following the herd.

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Roger Sterling, who — many times in the past, has claimed to “love” Joan, and whose modus operandi all season has been to throw money at any and all problems that stand in his way — only seemed interested in whether he would be the one to have to pony up the payment for Joan’s Jaguar prostitution fee.

Shameful!

And then there was Lane, who gamely proposed that Joan request a partnership stake in the company, as opposed to the $50,000 lump sum initially offered by Pete . . . not because he truly cared about Joan’s well being . . . but because he knew the large payment would bankrupt the already over-extended firm, while exposing his own criminal actions in the process.

In fact, Joan’s only champion at the executive table seemed to be Don, who stormed out of the meeting in a huff at the suggestion, wrongfully assuming that his obvious refusal to consider the matter would be enough to put the subject to rest.  He wouldn’t learn until later on in the episode just how wrong he truly was . . .

“You wanna go to Paris?”

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Elsewhere at SCDP, Peggy displayed her penchant for Don Draper style extemporaneous brilliance, when she came up with a new winning ending to a struggling ad campaign, off the while on the phone with the clients.  The advertisement was meant to be shot in Paris.  And Peggy, as originator of the idea, in the first place, rightfully requested the right to make the trip.  Don balked at the idea, claiming that the account was Ginsberg’s, and he would be making the trip in her place.  When Harry, Ken and Peggy urged him to reconsider, Don rudely tossed a wad of cash in Peggy’s face, inadvertently treating his erstwhile protege like the call girl, he so valiantly refused to allow Joan to be.

Oh, Don!  When even HARRY CRANE thinks you are treating women badly, you KNOW you douchedom levels have just reached Mach 5 . . .

Always the gentleman, Ken Cosgrove rushes to comfort Peggy, even going as far as to offer to leave the firm with her, if Don doesn’t reconsider his treatment of her.  But Peggy refuses to be comforted by her friend and colleague.  After all, there’s only one person’s approval she’s always been seeking at SCDP.  And it’s not Ken Cosgrove’s . . .

Don’s and Peggy’s relationship has always been complex, with Don’s treatment of the younger woman alternating between shockingly callous (“That’s what the money is for!”) and remarkably kind (“I will spend the rest of my life trying to hire you back.”)  In some ways, I think the familiarity that has developed between Don and Peggy over the past few seasons, coupled with Don’s at-least-to-some-extent rightful belief that she owes her career to him, are what has led to the gradual souring of their relationship this season.  Don often thinks of Peggy like his own daughter .  . . a daughter, who he can scold, chastize, and challenge, in ways that he can’t with other colleagues, because he knows deep down they love one another, and can relate to one another on a more personal level . . . also . . . quite frankly, he signs her checks.

But what Don never really understood about Peggy was that it was never about the money, or even about being the boss’ fair-haired girl.  For Peggy, what truly drove her at SCDP was a genuine love for what she was doing, and the drive to obtain the respect and recognition for her work, she felt she rightfully deserved.  Each time Don took Peggy’s talents for granted . . . each time he passed her over for an opportunity, or slighted her good work, brought her closer and closer to the decision she made at the end of the episode.  But ultimately, it was her old pal Freddy Rumsen, the first man at the firm to truly recognize her talents, who made her realize just how valuable of a commodity she had become in the industry, and what opportunities might become available to her, if she only had the courage to pursue them.

“I haven’t decided if you are really ambitious, ballerina, or if you just like to complain?”  Freddy muses, while at lunch, with a highly distraught Peggy.  Sometimes it takes the people who know us best, to show us what’s been in our hearts all along.  When Don Draper’s slimy adversary Ken Chaough courts Peggy with 1,000 more than her asking price, and the much coveted title of “Copy Chief,” I think Peggy is less wowed by the financial sum she is offered, and more enticed by the prospect of working for someone who sees her not as a protege, or even a beloved child, but as an intellectual equal, and smart business acquisition to boot.

Speaking of smart business acquisitions . . .

“She just comes and goes as she pleases.”

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Don is both shocked and more than a bit hurt, when his wife fails to consult him about taking an audition which, if she gets the the part, would require her to live apart from him for months at a stretch.  Later she goes on to say that, if he told her she couldn’t take the job, she would turn it down, but would probably hate him for it.

Megan continues to prove that she’s the one wearing the skinny jeans in the family, when she arrives at Don’s office in search of a quick pre-audition quickie to “up her confidence.”  (Interestingly enough, it’s Megan’s sex kitten-like brazenness that ultimately inspires a morally aghast Ginsberg to come up with the tagline for Don Draper’s ultimate Jaguar pitch.)

But then, it’s Megan’s turn to get her ego taken down a few pegs, when she arrives at her audition, and the men on the other end of the casting couch are more interested in what’s underneath her dress, than the words that are coming out of her mouth . . .

“You’re one of the good ones, aren’t you?”

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A little older, and substantially less naive about the inner desires of men / the ways of the world, Joan Holloway seems to have reached her decision regarding the Indecent Proposal made to her earlier by Pete, and somewhat seconded by Lane.  With an air of confidence that belies the inner turmoil she is obviously feeling, images of her repeated mistreatment by her soon-to-be ex husband ripe in her mind, Joan demands her five-percent stake in the company.  Pete’s response is smug and self-satisfied, with just the slightest hint of remorse.  “He’s not that bad,” Pete offers, wrongly assuming that Joan’s suitor’s lack of total hideousness will somehow soften the blow of what she’s about to do.

“He’s doing this,” Joan replies, matter-of-factly.

When Don hears that the rest of the partners went behind his back to orchestrate this agreement he is horrified, particularly in light of the tender moments he and Joan shared the week before.  With a sense of purpose, and a surprising amount of concern for his colleague, Don rushes to Joan’s home, begging her not to go through with this, telling her that he was 100% against it from the beginning, and that sacrificing her own integrity and the company’s for a single account is simply not worth the price.

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There’s a wistfulness in Joan’s face, as she listens to Don’s words that makes more sense later on in the episode.  For a woman who has been used and mistreated by men her entire life . . . a woman who has been taught by her own mother, that a woman’s greatest ambition should be to be “admired,” Joan is seeing, for the first time, a man who truly cares about her . . . someone who is willing to go to the mat for her . . . to fight for her . . . to put his own career and financial security on the line for her well-being.  She’s touched, honored, and impressed by this man with whom she’s never had a romantic history, but with whom she shares a history nonetheless . . .

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We don’t get to see the aftermath of that scene . . . how Joan responds, after Don walks out that door.  Instead, we are treated to an interplay between Don’s riveting, and yet, slightly disheartening, in light of recent events, Jaguar pitch about man’s elusive desire to “own” unattainable “beautiful things,” be them overpriced unreliable cars, or strong smart single mothers, who are willing to do what they can to provide for their children, even if it means sacrificing their own sense of self . . .

As a viewer, it’s incredibly hard to see Joan make this sacrifice . . . a woman who has always been the steadfast and sturdy rock, of SCDP . . . the unofficial mother of the gang.  She put her trust in her colleagues, and they let her down, by putting her in the position to entertain an offer she simply couldn’t refuse.  Of course, it’s even more heartbreaking, when we learn the truth about Don’s last ditch effort to get Joan to reconsider her decision.   Through a series of flashbacks, we learn that he was too late . . . that by the time Don arrived on Joan’s doorstep, the deed was already done.  Joan just couldn’t bring herself to tell him.

Had Don arrived earlier, would it have made a difference in Joan’s decision?  Perhaps not.  But now viewers will inevitably always be left wondering, and so will Joan . . .

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 “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”

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Learning that SCDP landed the Jaguar account is a highly bittersweet moment for Don, particularly when he learns, based on Joan’s sudden presence at the partner’s meeting, what she sacrificed to achieve it.  Now, he’ll never know whether he could have won the account on the merit’s of his pitching skills alone.  Far from being in the partying mood, Don finds himself surprisingly eager to engage in a personal conversation with Peggy, the only woman remaining in his life, who he truly believes he understands.  Little does he know that Peggy is about to turn his world upside down.  “You really don’t know when things are good, do you?”  Peggy inquires, clearly talking about more than the landing of the Jaguar account.

Anyone who’s ever left a job before, can relate to Peggy in this moment . . . the mixture of fear,  guilt, excitement, and sadness, coursing through her veins, as she thanks Don for seeing something in her that no one else did . . . for changing her life . . . and, finally, for making it possible for her to chart out a new path for herself.  At first, Don can’t take Peggy seriously.  This is the one woman Don thought would never leave him.  Once again, he wrongly assumes that this discussion is about money, as he blithely asks Peggy to name her price, echoing Pete’s discussion with Joan earlier in the episode.

But Peggy can’t be bought or swayed.  Her decision is final.  And when Don realizes that, his reaction is surprisingly emotional.  In fact, the only time we’ve really ever seen Don get this emotional was when he learned that Anna Draper died, last season . . . Ironically, Peggy was with him in that moment too . . .

On the surface, Don is his cocksure self, telling Peggy not to bother with her two week notice, since there are tons of freelancers out in the hall waiting to take her place.  But all that bluster falls away, when Peggy goes to give him that final handshake.  Barely concealed tears welling up in his eyes, Don grabs her hand, and kisses it repeatedly, refusing to let go, as Peggy looks away tearfully, both embarrassed and touched by this show of emotion by her father figure, her colleague, and the man who was once her hero.  For Don, the act is one mixed with emotion, caring, and just a hint of desperation.  It harkens back to the pilot episode, in which Peggy grabbed Don’s hand, in a feeble attempt to seduce him, and he brutally rebuffed her.  It also harkens back to that moment in “The Suitcase,” when Don grabs Peggy’s hand, while she offers him solace after a long and difficult night.  Like Joan’s hand on Don’s cheek, earlier in the episode, the hand kiss is a simple gesture.  But one that is frought with so much history and meaning.

On the way out of the office for the last time, Peggy catches Joan’s eyes, and the two share a meaningful look.  Here are two strong, very different women, having recently both made bold and life-changing decisions, ones that will inevitably lead them down very different paths.  Then, Peggy sighs and turns toward the elevator, waiting to take that final step.  When she does, she smiles, ready to face whatever comes next.  And despite all the tragedy, turmoil, and disappointments that filled the episode, how could you not root for an ending like that?

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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]

 

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

“Ho, ho, ho!  Don’s a ho, ho, ho!”

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

First, there was Freddy Rumsen . . .

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

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

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

“That’s my boy!”

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

His talents include trying to rape Sal . . .

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

Other non-human returnees included:

Peggy’s virginity . . .

But it left a few minutes later . . .

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

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

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

The Case of Creepy Glen and the Phantom Phone Calls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Insert maniacal laughter here.)

“Mark” Your Man?

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

I rest my case.

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

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

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

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

Ahem.

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

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

Freddy Rumsen Doesn’t DO Santa Claus!

(Insert sad zipper music here.)

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

 Just ask THIS GUY . . .

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

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

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

So NOT cool!

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

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

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

 . . . and REALLY likes to hunt!

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

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

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

Not THAT wasted!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need I say more?

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

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

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

 Good for you, Freddy!

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

Don (Juan?) and Roger Claus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUCCESS!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I understand,” says Don.

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

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

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

Bad Don!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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