Tag Archives: Robert Morse

“Show me the MONEY!” – A Recap of Mad Men’s “Blowing Smoke”

LANE:    Don . . . about your . . . article in the Times.  I think we need to discuss some possible strategies for damage control.

DON:   Show me the money!  Show me the money!  SHOW ME THE MON-EYYYYYY!

LANE: *Stage whispers to Roger*  What’s he yammering on about?

ROGER:  Hell, if I know.  I don’t speak “Creative.”

DON:  Help me help you, Roger.  Help me help you.

PETE: *disgusted*  Don, are you DRUNK?

LANE:  I daresay he might be having a nervous breakdown.  Don, can you hear me?

DON:  You had me at hello?

ROGER:  If he goes nuts, I’m turning his office into a  massage parlor.

DON:  Come on guys!  Haven’t any of you ever seen Jerry Macguire?

LANE, PETE, ROGER: ???

They say mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery.  If that is, in fact, true, the folks who made Jerry Macguire must have been VERY flattered, after watching this week’s installment of Mad Men.

YEAH!  DON DRAPER IS THE MAN!  And Peggy Olson is a fellow Scientologist!

After all, if you recall, it was the titular Jerry Macguire who, after having a drunken career-altering epiphany, first wrote and published an “altruistic” manifesto on moral integrity and its relationship (or lack thereof) to marketing.  As a result of said manifesto, Jerry, like Don, found many of his colleagues questioning his sanity, his clients questioning his business acumen, and his competitors dancing on what they believed to be his gravesite.

Bob Sugar = Ted Chaough

Then again, Jerry Macguire was made in 1996, and Don Draper pulled his stunt in 1965.  So, who’s to say WHO is copying WHO?

For the most part, this penultimate episode of Season 4 of Mad Men consisted of two main plotlines.  We spent one half of the episode, watching SCDP fall apart, while Don went to increasingly desperate lengths to save it. 

And we spent the other half watching Matt Weiner’s spawn Glen  . . .

“Hi, I’m Chucky Glenny, WANNA PLAY?”

 . . . the creepiest kid on television today, channel all the creepy kids you’ve seen in horror movies for the past decade.  And this boy is FRIGHTENING with a capital “F.”  Forget that girl from The Ring.  How’d you like to have THIS KID crawl out of your television set?

“If I keep smiling like this, maybe he won’t chop me into little pieces and serve me to his dog . . .”

Oh, and we had some nice Neighborly Heroin Addicts thrown in for good measure . . .

No . . . not that kind of heroine . . .

That’s the one!

Let’s begin, shall we?

Smells Like Desperation . . .

“That’s not DESPERATION you smell.  I just tend not to shower after sex with random floozies . . .”

When the episode opens, Don is at the pitch meeting with Heinz . . .

 . . . which Faye scored for him the week prior.  Although Don handles the meeting with his trademark wit and charm, there is something a bit off about Don himself.  He’s talking a bit too loud, and too fast.  He’s jumpy, skittish, aggressive, and almost rudely insistent.  This alteration in demeanor is not lost on the client (who, by the way, gets major props from me for not even cracking a smile, while delivering his line about why commercials about BEANS shouldn’t be funny . . .).

“I bet I could get a f*ck from date with your mother now,” scoffs the arrogant bastard, noting Don’s desperation to get this account — which couldn’t have been any more apparent, if he came to the meeting wearing a red clown nose.

“Why are you looking at me like that?  Is there something on my face?”

After condescendingly telling Don to leave business relations to the “accounts men,” the prospective client tells Don that he will gladly meet with SCDP for a formal pitch in six months (IF the company is still around by then).  Sugar-coating aside, Don knows exactly what “See you in six months” is code for . . .

Dances with Creeps

“Do you like scary movies, Sally?  Are you even allowed to WATCH scary movies?  Because you are in one . . .RIGHT NOW.”

Back at the House-Formerly-Known-As-The-Drapers, Sally tries out her best Stepford Wife impression on Betty.

“When I grow up I want to have no earthly purpose but to please my husband . . . just like you!”

When Sally asked Betty if she could start eating her meals with Dull Henry, I honestly couldn’t tell if the tween had mastered the art of passive aggressiveness . . .

 . . . and was making a not-so-subtle comment about New Dad’s frequent absences from the family home, or if she had been lobotomized by Dr. Edna during therapy.

“It’s just a little snip.  I promise, you will barely feel a thing!”

Whichever it is, Betty is absolutely overjoyed by the “positive” change in her daughter’s behavior.

I am absolutely overjoyed by the positive change in my daughter’s behavior.”

But alas, all is not right in Sallyland.  Unbeknownst to Mommy Dearest, her darling daughter has forged an EVIL ALLIANCE .  . .

 .  . . with CREEPY GLEN!

First thing I wondered when I saw this image: Who the heck let this twerp on the football team?  Glen always struck me as more of the “mascot” type, or the Water Boy, or the kid who pees in the Gatorade. 

 And while, under normal circumstances, I hate to rank on a little kid, this little kid is plying Sally with cigarettes and spiked with Ruffies Coke.  He is also isolating the preteen from external influence, by telling the emotionally vulnerable girl he is smarter than her shrink.  As if that isn’t bad enough, he uses on her the “Everybody else hates me.  I have no one but you,” line, which just so happens to be the first sentence in the Psycho Stalker Killer Handbook.

From Psycho-Stalker to Psycho-logist

Fortunately, Sally has a more positive role model in her shrink Dr. Edna . . .

 . . . who kind of looks like Miss Garrett from The Facts of Life.

No wonder she’s so gosh darn likeable!

Miss Garrett Dr. Edna plays cards with Sally, and compliments her on her positive progress in learning to kiss her mom’s ass control her emotions.  She takes an interest in Sally’s schooling and social life, and wants to lessen her sessions so that she will have more time to spend with Creepy Glen her friends.  Most importantly, Dr. Edna tells Sally that she is proud of her, not once, but TWICE in a single session.

It is worth noting that this is more times than BETTY and DON have told Sally they are proud of her in FOUR SEASONS!

After Sally finishes her session, Betty enters Dr. Edna’s office to talk about herself ad nauseum and get free therapy discuss Sally’s progress.

When Dr. Edna discusses the possibility of reducing Sally’s sessions, Betty FREAKS OUT at the thought of not getting free therapy anymore halting Sally’s “excellent progress.”  Dr. Edna slyly reiterates that she is a child psychologist, and does not generally counsel adults.  Betty responds by sucking her thumb and wetting her diaper.  Dr. Edna agrees to resume therapy sessions with Betty to continue to discuss “Sally’s excellent progress.”

A Certain Kind of Girl . . .

“You’re a certain kind of girl, and tobacco is your ideal boyfriend,” says Faye’s despicable boss Dr. Atherton, about SCDP.

Translation: You (SCDP) are the nerd in the back of the classroom, with fish breath, parsley in your teeth, and elastic waist pants that go up to your tits.  Basically, no one in their right mind would want to have sex with you.  So, if you want to get laid,  you really should go for the dumb slutty boy, with loose morals, who smells like ash (Tobacco).

With Faye’s and Dr. Atherton’s help the firm gets an intervview with Phillip Morris for a new line of women’s cigarettes they plan to begin selling.  After thanking Faye profusely for getting him a date with the Class Whore, Don heads to the lobby where he encounters Old Flame, Midge.  Right away, I don’t trust Midge’s motivations.  Perhaps, this distrust has something to do with the fact that she’s a grown woman, dressed like an animated character from a series of children’s books I used to read .  . .

After confirming that Don is divorced and living in the village, Midge invites Don back to her place.  When he initially declines, she begs him to reconsider, giving off the same stench of desperation Don gave off in the episode’s first scene.  “But, I want you to meet my husband!”  She jabbers.

Ultimately, Don can’t resist Midge’s no longer existent charms.  After all, he is a certain kind of guy, and Midge is his ideal girlfriend (a.k.a. unrelentingly needy and majorly slutty).  When Don arrives at Midge’s and her “husband’s” (they are only married “for the bread”) hovel and apartment, he finds his ex-paramour’s “better half” to be even more persistent and grating than she is . . .

Mr. Midge aggressively pushes his and his wife’s ugly paintings on Don, not-so-subtly hints at Don’s massive dick wallet size, pawns some quick cash of Don, and heads out into the night.  Later, Midge admits that her meeting him in the lobby of his office was no coincidence.  She and her husband are heroine addicts.  They are low and cash, and need a fix.

Don, who only sympathizes with life-crippling addictions when they come out of a bottle, is totally turned off.

In fact, he is very eager to get back to his non-heroin addicted girlfriend, thank you very much.  And so, to solve this problem, Don decides to do what he does best.  Throw money at it.  He writes Midge a check for $300 for one of her ugly paintings.  But Little Miss Ingrate is apparently too strung out to walk across the street to a bank, so she asks for cash instead.  Don promptly rips up the check, and reduces the amount to $120.

“Do you think my work is any good?”  Midge asks.

“Does it matter,” inquires Don, as he stalks out of the stinky apartment.

“I went to a crack den for $120, and all I got was this lousy painting.”

“If you don’t like what they are saying about you, change the conversation.”

As it turns out, the Phillip Morris meeting ends up being nothing more than a ploy orchestrated by the company to score a meeting with a bigger advertising agency.

Now the executives at SCDP are forced to make some tough decisions.  In order to keep the firm afloat for another six months, they must reduce their staff by half.  Additionally, the main partners must each fork over $100, 000, with Pete and Lane forking over $50,000.  (No small potatos!  Especially not in 1965.)  The increasingly loveable Pete balks at the amount, and not because he’s being a cheap prick either, he REALLY DOESN’T HAVE IT.

On the sly, Pete attempts to secure a loan from the bank, but doesn’t think to leave them with his work number.  So, when the Poor Schmo comes home his Brand New Mother of a Newborn wife thinks they are getting a house, and she’s thrilled.

But Trudy’s mood quickly sours when she learns what Pete is REALLY using the money for.  She equates SCDP to the Titanic (and not because it’s VERY large, and has people of Leo DiCaprio-caliber attractiveness working for it, either).

“I’m the king of the WORLD!  Wait . . . what’s that big block of ice doing up there?  Is that part of the tour?”

Throwing back in Pete’s face that very same patronizing and condescending tone he has used with her on so many occasions, Trudy scolds, “You are forbidden to give any more money to that company!  And don’t think of asking my father for money, either!”

Pete’s manhood . . .

Back at the office, the tables have turned as well.  Don is asking Peggy for advice on what do to with his failing company.

Peggy smartly quotes Don’s own words back to him saying, “If you don’t like what they are saying about you, change the conversation.”

This little pep talk gives Don and . . .

He goes home to his apartment and immediately begins to write.  The next day, there is a full page article in the New York Times entitled “Why I am Quitting Tobacco.”  The article decries tobacco as a product that doesn’t NEED advertising, because all its clients are already addicts.  Oh, yeah, and smoking kills you too.  (Never mind that Don is SMOKING A CIGARETTE while he writes this . . . )

“OK, cigarette.  You and I are SO OVER!  But how would you feel about a nice goodbye screw?”

Don concludes the missive by announcing that SCDP will no longer take tobacco clients.  He then proceeds to list all the other agencies that WILL.

The article, understandably causes a firestorm, with most of the office looking at Don like he just killed their puppies (except, of course, for the ones that want to f*ck him).

Oh, and Roger’s not mad either.  He’s just happy there’s someone at the firm now that people think is a bigger screw up then him.

“You know, Don.  You should really try to be more politically correct, when making public statements.”

While Don is arguing with his colleagues about the merits of his “conversation changing” article, which he tauts as a “firm advertisement,” he receives a phone call from . . . Bobby Kennedy?

OK . . . now I was still a couple decades shy of being born when the Kennedy’s were in office, and I could tell that wasn’t Bobby Kennedy on the phone!  That was the WORST IMPERSONATION of a politician I have EVER HEARD!  And yet, Don, never a big one on humility fell for it hook line and sinker.  The call ended up being a prank one, made by Season 4’s apparent Super Villain, the EVIL Ted Chaough . . .

Once Don hangs up the phone, Bert Cooper throws a TOTAL TEMPER TANTRUM, calling Don impatient, childish, and not cut out for the partnership.  He then QUITS THE FIRM!

And, just in case you weren’t sure whether Old Bertie was SERIOUS about this, he asks Megan FOR HIS SHOES!

OK.  Now, I know he never has many lines, but I really can’t imagine this show without Bert Cooper and his shoes!  Then again, I couldn’t imagine this show without SAL either, and look what they did to him!

Bert Cooper, you will most certainly be missed!

To add injury to insult, Lane lays a pretty heavy guilt trip on Don, telling him that he moved his entire family back to the States, so that he could continue working at the firm (undoubtedly dumping his Poor Playboy Bunny girlfriend in the process).

“LOVE HURTS!”

Fortunately, for Don, SOME support comes his way, in the way of Megan . . .

 . . . who, channeling Rene Zellwegger in Jerry Macguire tells Don how much she would like to have a second go around with his Mr. Winky admires what he did.  Sure, she understands that this was all about not looking as though SCDP was “dumped” by Big Tobacco, but it was still brave, and sparked a conversation.  Megan . . . now THAT’S a girl who really knows how to grease a wheel . . .

Though not quite as effusive as Megan, Peggy .  . .

 . . . offers Don a sweet smile, and jokingly says that “she thought he didn’t go for such shenanigans.”  (Then again . . . she was probably just happy she wasn’t part of the half of the staff that got canned.)

Later, the third lady in Don’s life, Faye comes to tell him that her company has resigned its representation of SCDP, because tobacco is her “ideal kind of boyfriend.”  Speaking of ideal boyfriends, she still wants to bone Don on a regular basis.  And without work between them, it will be much easier to do so.

“Or will it?”

Caught in the Act

Back in the less interesting plotline Salllyland, Sally was trying to sneak off with Creepy Glen when Betty caught her and told her he was BAD NEWS.

“Is this just because I watched you take a whiz and asked for a lock of your hair to use in a human sacrifice ritual?”

At dinner that night, Betty announces to Henry that she is FINALLY ready to move out of Don’s old house.  Henry is overjoyed!

“I am overjoyed!”

But Sally is NOT.  In fact, she runs off crying, clutching that piece of twine Glen gave her when he vandalized her house a few weeks back.  Ladies and gentleman, it’s official.  Sally has VERY BAD TASTE IN MEN!

“I’ve Gotta Go Learn a Bunch of People’s Names Before I Fire Them.”

Apparently, this guy’s name was “Bill.” 

Was that in poor taste?

At YET ANOTHER staff meeting, the SCDP exec board (sans Cooper) learn that Don’s little stunt earned them the right to do a pro bono anti-smoking campaign for the American Cancer Society.  “Don saved the company, now let’s go and fire half of it,” Pete says snidely, as the meeting adjourns.

However, a few moments later, when Pete finds out from Lane that Don forked over Pete’s $50,000 share to the company, so Pete’s wife wouldn’t chop his balls off, he is forced to eat those nasty words.

Outside the office, Pete raises his glass to Don in silent acknowledgement that they have now both covered one anothers’ asses within the past few episodes . . .

This mildly happy moment is contrasted with the firing of half of SCDP’s staff, most notably the heretofore anonymous, “Bill,” and Little Danny . . .

We barely knew ye!

All in all, it was a pretty doleful episode.  Smart . . . but doleful.  I really hate seeing my Maddies so unhappy.  Here’s hoping things perk up a bit in next week’s Season Finale!  🙂

[www.juliekushner.com]

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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]

 

 

 

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“You’re no bunny, until some bunny loves you!” – A Recap of Mad Men’s “Hands and Knees”

“She stole my heart, and all I got was this RIDICULOUS HAT!”

If last week’s episode was about “The Beautiful Girls,” who define themselves by their relationships with men, then this week’s episode was about “The Beautiful Men” (some more beautiful than others) who lean on women, and need them for personal validation.

You GO girls!

Oh, and I almost forgot.  This was also the episode where all the main characters’ lives went down the toilet.

Let’s bring on the carnage.  Shall we?

Meet the Parents

For those of you who have seen the film Meet the Parents, Lane Pryce’s dad, makes Jack Byrne (the Robert DeNiro character) . . .

 . . . look like Mickey Mouse.

Speaking of Mickey Mouse, poor Lane had just purchased a stuffed version of America’s favorite cartoon character, as a present for his son, who was set to visit the U.S. that weekend.

But then he learned that his son wasn’t coming.

In his son’s place was Darth Vader his father .  . .

. . . who had flown across the pond, to take Lane home, so that he could “fix his marriage.”  Never mind the fact that Lane’s shrew of a wife  . . .

 .  . . LEFT HIM, not the other way around!  Taking his disappointment over his son’s failure to visit in stride, Lane commandeers his only best friend from work, Don, to come to dinner with him and his father.  Wanting to impress his dad, Lane arranges for the group to have dinner at the classiest restaurant in New York City . . .

Unfortunately, Hooters is closed.  So, Lane settles on the next best thing . . .

Apparently, Lane is a VERY GOOD customer at THIS restaurant.  They’ve even given him a V.I.P. pass.  (I guess that’s what happens when you are, in the words of Don’s lawyer, “schtupping the help.”)

When Lane introduces his father to Toni, one of the waitresses at the club, Mr. Freeze the old bugger is mildly polite, but clearly unimpressed.  Later, based on a conversation between Lane and Toni, we learn that the pair are actually in love.  Toni refers to Lane as “dashing.”  He refers to her as his “Chocolate Bunny” — a nickname that I would find mildly offensive, but Toni didn’t seem to mind.

Lane plans to tell his father the “good news,” before the latter returns to Great Britain.

The following night, Lane invites both Toni and his father to his apartment, and makes the appropriate introductions.  An awkward moment arises, when Lane invites the two to dinner, and his father declines.  Toni then quietly excuses herself, leaving Lane alone with Lord Voldemort his father.  Papa Pryce congratulates Lane on falling in love again, by giving him a friendly pat on the head . . . which would be nice . . . if he wasn’t using his own rather large wooden cane to do the patting . . .

Next thing we know, Lane is ON THE FLOOR, WRITHING IN PAIN!

And when he tries to get up, Lane’s father STEPS ON HIS HAND!

“Put your home in order, either here or there.  You cannot live in between,” seethes Lex Luthor Lane’s father, as he stalks out of the apartment building, slamming the door behind him.

Dr. Evil is impressed.

At the conclusion of the episode, an emotionally and literally, beaten down, Lane informs the rest of the partners at SCDP that he is taking a leave of absence for a month.  He then stalks out, before his colleagues have a chance to protest.

A Bun-ny in the Oven

If I’ve learned anything from watching television dramas, it’s that women ONLY get pregnant when they DON’T WANT TO BE.  Nevermind that Joan and Greg have been screwing like bunnies for months, prior to his deployment — trying to make babies together, to no avail.  All it takes is one post-mugging shag, up against a dirty piss – covered wall in a dark alley, for Roger’s Super Sperm to fertilize Joan’s curvaceous egg.

SCORE!  Take THAT Dr. McRapey!

Ever the gentleman, upon hearing the news, Roger replies with a host of sweet and wonderful words that every woman in this situation wants to hear. 

Here are a few of Roger’s most sincere offers of support and encouragement (Forgive me, if I have to paraphrase a few of them.):

“Are you sure it’s mine?”

“These things happen.”

“Maybe, I’m in love with you?”

“Oh no, I don’t want to raise it!”

“Hey, soldiers knock up their ladies all the time when they are on military leave.  Maybe no one will notice”

“Greg might DIE in Vietnam, anyway.”

“At least let me drive you there [to the abortion clinic].”

Roger Sterling – The Don Juan of Madison Avenue

Words of wisdom aside, the Gallant Roger does have enough sense to accompany Joan to HIS doctor.  (She can’t go to HER gyno, because HE has already given her other abortions and he’s a pervy asshole.)

“AGAIN, Town Strumpet?”

Like a disappointed parent, Roger’s doctor gives him a verbal smackdown for being so “irresponsible.”  (Imagine what this guy would say, if he found out the unwanted child was conceived in a dark alley!)  However, Doctor McJudgy eventually gets off his high horse, long enough to refer to Joan to a well-reputed abortion clinic.

At the abortion clinic, Joan encounters a rather young-looking mother, and her disturbingly young-looking child.

Is that really what 17-year old girls looked like in the mid-60’s?  Because, to me, the girl in this picture looks like she’d be more at home at a Justin Bieber concert, than at her senior prom.

When the child is called inside, her mother breaks down in tears, admitting to Joan that she herself was a mother at just 15, and doesn’t regret it.  And yet, it is still very hard to watch her daughter suffer through this at such a young age.  Ever the picture of poise and decorum, Joan offers words of support to the young mother — commenting on her daughter’s beauty, and telling her that everything will be all right.  The young mother (who is probably fairly close to Joan’s age) feels such a kinship with the SCDP office manager, that she asks Joan how old HER DAUGHTER is  . . .

Ummmm . . .

Without missing a beat, Joan replies, “15.”

The next day, Joan tells Roger that “everything is fine.”  “We have avoided tragedy” and “life goes on.” 

So, of course, we are to assume that Joan’s had the abortion.  But has she, really?

Un-Lucky Strike

Unfortunately for Roger, a prospective bastard bun in Joan’s oven is the LEAST of his problems.  At a dinner meeting with Lucky Strike Scion and MAJOR DICKWAD, Lee Garner, Jr., Roger hears news that, at BEST will make him completely insignificant to SCDP, and at WORST will bankrupt the ENTIRE company.  Lee informs Roger that Lucky Strike, which, last we heard, accounts for over 50% of SCDP’s business, and is Roger’s ONLY major contribution to the company, is pulling out and pursuing greener pastures.

“We’re dead.  You know that,” Roger explains morosely.

Roger begs Lee to reconsider, calling upon the D-bag’s supposed “loyalty” to the firm, after 30 years of representation.  But Lee is unmoved.  “It’s over,” he tells Roger repeatedly.

Roger loses his cool, banging the table with his fist, and knocking glasses over in his wake.  Once he sees that this is a lost cause, Roger ultimately gets Lee to agree to postpone going public with the move for 30 days.  Roger hopes this will give the company time to “get its affairs in order.”  And, maybe, Roger can snag a few new clients, before he has to break the news to the rest of the firm.

Later, we see Roger on the phone with old friends, calling in favors, and hoping something will pan out.  The problem is, Roger isn’t getting any younger, and a lot of his old advertising contacts are now six-feet under.

Roger’s Social Network

At the end of the episode, at a partner’s meeting, Joan asks Roger to provide an update as to the status of Lucky Strike.  In response, he laughs bitterly, and gives the thumbs up sign.

In the words of Don Draper, Roger’s totally “TOASTED.”

Don on the Run

All things considered, Don starts off this episode doing quite well.  He has formed what appears to be a healthy relationship with Faye . . .

He’s cut down on his drinking.  And he’s taking some significant steps toward being a better father to his children.  Don even gets an approving smile from the eternally “Nordic” Betty, when he calls the Francis home, to inform Sally that he has scored her tickets to the Beatles Concert at Shea Stadium.

Instantly forgetting all of her daddy-fueled angst and abandonment issues of the past week, Sally squeals with joy.  It is touching, but loud and extremely annoying, at the same time.  No wonder Don wants to wear earplugs at the concert!

Welcome to the world of fangirling, Sally.  You are officially one of US now!

At the office, Don and the rest of the partners meet with North American Aviation, who inform SCDP that it is getting into military defense.  As a result, the airline will be increasing its advertising budget to $4 million.

The problem, of course, is that, while the aviation company wants SCDP to create an advertising campaign that mentions its defense efforts, it WON’T allow SCDP to view anything about what those efforts actually entail, because all of that information is government classified.

In the next scene, federal agents accost Betty in her home, and interrogate her about her ex- husband, who they claim has applied for security clearance with the Department of Defense.

“So, Don is a Top Ad Exec AND a federal agent?  I smell increased alimony payments!”

Most notably, the Feds ask Betty, if she has “any reason to believe that Don isn’t who he says he is?”

After almost an hour of relentless interrogation, a stricken Betty calls Don at the office, to tell him what has occurred.

Don, who had no recollection whatsoever of applying for any sort of security clearance, immediately takes on the visage of a horror movie victim — specifically, those kids who get calls from the Ghostface Killer in the Scream movies.

“Do you like scary court martials?”

Immediately, Don wonders whether Betty sold him out the G-men.  “I didn’t tell them anything,” insists Betty curtly, expressing a fear that her phone is now being tapped.

Recognizing the danger of talking to his ex-wife on a public phone line, under the circumstances, Don quickly thanks Betty, and hangs up the phone.  He then asks his new secretary Megan what the HECK is going on . . .

Poor Megan!  She was just trying to help!  Pete had sent over the clearance application papers from the Department of Defense.  The papers requested some personal information, such as the party requesting clearance’s name, birthdate, social security number, etc.  Taking initiative, Megan completed the form, using Don’s employment records, and gave the form to Don, so that he could sign it (but not READ it, of course, because “Reading is Hard.”).  Upon receiving his signature on the document, Megan then immediately shipped it out to the Department of Defense, without Don even knowing what it was he signed.

Oops!

I bet Don is missing Miss Blankenship a WHOLE BUNCH right now!

Miss Blankenship would NEVER have completed forms for Don, without getting his approval first . . . because that would involve her actually DOING WORK.  (R.I.P. Miss B!)

Megan is extremely apologetic.  But apologies aren’t going to bring back those forms, which include a host of fake information about “Don Draper.”

Next, Don confronts Pete, who, as we know, is VERY aware of Don’s “mistaken identity” (He had even blackmailed the poor guy about it, a few seasons back.)  Initially, Pete balks at Don’s discomfort, believing that Don brought all this on himself.  But Don levels with Pete, telling him this could cause the agency, MAJOR problems, if the information was leaked.  Pete agrees to speak to his friend at the Department of Defense, to find out what information they have on Dick Whitman Don Draper.

Later in the elevator (where all the BEST Mad Men meetings take place), Don tells Pete to drop the North American Aviation account, and Pete basically tells him to, “Go f*ck himself.” 

“I don’t have to live with this sh*t over my head,” he remarks angrily.

Pete then reminds Don that, while he was gallivanting around L.A., Pete nailed down this account, and brought it from “just cocktails” to $4 million in advertising revenue.

I gotta say, Don . . . the Little Weiner has a point . . .

That night, Pete, looking absolutely ADORABLE in his Big Kid Footie Pajamas, cuddles on the couch with his VERY pregnant wife, Trudie, who’s nighty, though stylish, admittedly does very odd things to her third trimester figure.  So much so, that when I saw her, I couldn’t help but be reminded of this . . .

Seriously, who dresses these two?  Willy Wonka?

“Those Campbells look good enough to eat!”

“How is it that some people just walk through life, dragging their lies with them destroying everything they touch?  No one knows except the honest people, who have to pick up the pieces,” whines Pete to Trudy, as he mulls over the firestorm that Don’s secret will undoubtedly cause for the firm, and him, personally.

(Now, Pete.  You know that I love you, dearly.  And I have many wonderful words to describe you.  Unfortunately, “honest” is not one of them, Mr. Blackmailing Adulterer.)

Trudie begs Pete to unburden himself to her, regarding what is causing him so much stress, but he stays mum on the subject.  Across town, Betty is also keeping Don’s secret from new hubby, Henry Francis . . .

.  . . who can’t understand, for the life of him, why anyone would be anything other than overjoyed to be interrogated at length by FBI agents.  (It’s so much FUN!)

Back at the office, a frantic Don calls his lawyer, and asks that a trust be set up in his children’s name immediately.  This way, they will be taken care of “should anything happen to him.”  Don’s lawyer doesn’t like the idea of Don “running scared.” And yet, the attorney seems more concerned about whether Don is “New Secretary, Megan.” 

(It’s always good to have those priorities in order!)

By the time Faye visits Don in his office, he looks genuinely ill.

And, for a woman who claims not to be maternal, Faye sure takes on the Mommy role here!  She first feels Don’s head for a fever.  She then immediately takes him back to his apartment for a nap and diaper change.  In the hallway of Don’s apartment, two men dressed like Feds inquire as to the address of Don’s neighbors.  Don’s hands begin to shake, as he dashes into the house and rips off his shirt.  “I think I am having a heart attack,” Don wheezes.

Once Faye has assured Don that he is not, in fact, suffering from a heart attack (only a panic attack), the Dapper Draper responds by, yakking in the sink. 

And that, my friends, would be “Barf in Front of a Lady” #2 for Don this Season . . .

One more of those, and he will win a free bottle of toilet bowl cleaner from  Hurlers R’ Us!

Faye then takes an exhausted Don to bed . . .

There, to absolutely EVERYBODY’S surprise, Don, claiming that he is “tired of running,” confesses to Faye his whole sordid Dick Whitman tale.  And, you’ve really gotta hand it to Faye, because she seems totally cool with it.  “I’m glad you told me,” she says softly, before cuddling up with him in bed.

The pair are startled the next morning by a knock at the door.  It’s Pete.

“Well, good morning, colleagues that are obviously screwing one another!  Would you care for a jelly donut?”

After a humiliated Faye skulks out the apartment, Pete informs Don that his name HAS been flagged by the government.  However, if SCDP drops North American Aviation as a client, all investigations into the firm’s personal files will be dropped.  Don tells Pete that they are going to have to drop the account, and the latter storms out in a huff.

The next morning, during a partner’s meeting, a remarkably noble Pete takes FULL responsibility for losing the North American Aviation account, claiming it is the result of his having insulted one of the chairmen, by leaving his name off a document.  Knowing that without Lucky Strike AND North American Aviation SCDP is TOASTED, Self-Righteous Hypocrite Roger reams Pete a new one, for not being more politically correct, when dealing with his clients . . .

Well isn’t THIS the pot calling kettle, Blackface.

 Don makes a half-hearted attempt to stick up for Pete, but doesn’t do nearly enough to help the guy who has totally taken a fall for him, in my opinion. 

Superman, he AIN’T!

As if to further prove his douchebag tendencies, the end of the episode finds Don avoiding the loyal and faithful Faye . . . 

 . . . in favor of ogling the sweet and slightly naive, Megan. 

That final shot of Don admiring his secretary’s “fine form” reminded me quite a bit, of the way he leered at Sally Draper’s teacher, last season. 

And we all know how THAT turned out . . .

Poor Faye!  She thought that having Don confide in her would bring their romantic relationship to a new level of intimacy.  But Don has never wanted his lovers to KNOW the REAL him.  He’d much prefer that Dick Whitman stay dead and buried, FOREVER. 

Faye doesn’t know it, but she may have just become the new Anna Draper.  Could Megan be the next Betty?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Women are like soup? – A Recap of Mad Men’s “The Beautiful Girls”

Before we begin our regularly scheduled recap, I feel that it would be appropriate for all of us to pay our last respects to a very special woman.  She was a secretary (ahem, Executive Secretary – Thank you, Joan!), who in a very short amount of time, became an integral part of our Mad Men family.  With her cutting-one liners, and a sharp fashion sense that would inspire women (and men) for generations to come . . .

 . . . Miss Blankenship was always the Life of the Party.  ( I mean this was a woman who could HOLD her liquor . . . literally.)

However, because my own words will surely be inadquate to  express the true wonder that was Miss Blankenship, I have decided to let the SCDP staff eulogize her instead.  What follows is a portrait of the woman, in their words . . .

“She was born in a barn.  And died on the 37th floor of a New York skyscraper.  She was an astronaut.”  – Bert Cooper

“She went away . . . for awhile.” – Megan, Don’s new secretary

“I’d ask my secretary to do it, but she’s dead.” – Don Draper

“She died the way she lived.  Surrounded by the people she answered phones for.” –  Roger Sterling

“Hey, my mother made that! – Roger Sterling, again (regarding the blanket currently covering Miss Blankenship’s corpse).

Ahhhh, Miss Blankenship!  Always bringing the funny . . . even in death.  We’ll miss you, Girlfriend!

We now return to our regularly scheduled recap . . .

Sex Sells, and Don Draper Smells (like sex)

So, remember last week, when Don and Faye were in the cab following their first date, and Don turned Faye down for sex because he “wasn’t ready yet?”  Yeah . . . that didn’t last long.

The episode opens to lovely rhythmic sounds of SCDP’s favorite (and by “favorite” I mean “only”) Marketing Research Lady, Faye Miller, getting her hump on with the Dapper Don Draper.  Because this is AMC and NOT HBO, we didn’t actually get to see them do it.  (Although, honestly, I kind of WISH they DID show it.  Because it would have been a fabulous way to get the image of Steve Buscemi boning that slutty girl from Boardwalk Empire, during the previous hour, out of my head . . .  You guys saw that too, right?)

Don Draper

NOT Don Draper

Anyway, unfortunate PG-13 rating aside, we did get to watch a sweaty Don and Faye share a little post-coital pillow talk the morning afternoon after.  (Yes, these two took a LONG LUNCH together.)  The pair discuss their remaining appointments for the day.  For a change, it is Don who is more open about his upcoming afternoon, while Faye is more coy.  (Market Researchers have Confidentiality Agreements, perhaps?)  Faye gently asks Don whether she can shower first.  Don agrees to it, but only because HE’S NOT SHOWERING AT ALL!

Note:  I had some really solid sex smell jokes (most involving fish and cheese) to insert here.  But I think including them would be a serious betrayal to my fellow ladies.  Plus, I imagine you could figure them out . . .

Not only is Dirty Don totally cool with going to the office smelling like a Marketing Research Lady, he’s also surprisingly copacetic with Faye staying in his apartment, after he’s left for work.  He even LEAVES HER HIS KEY!

Wow, now that’s trust!  Guess this means he left his Big Ole’ Box of Secrets over at Betty’s house . . .

When Faye expresses the same surprise as the audience about Don’s unusually permissive behavior, Don replies lasciviously, “I’m taking all the interesting stuff with me.”  (He then seductively zips his fly over his sex-drenched undies .  . .)

“All the Interesting Stuff”

Rubbing Joan the RIGHT way . . .

Admittedly, the usually poised, polite, and utterly controlled Joan has been a bit prickly and excitable of late.  So, when she snapped at Roger’s typically adorable attempts at not-so-harmless flirtation, I didn’t really think much of it at first.  But Roger, who apparently didn’t watch last week’s episode of Mad Men (because he wasn’t in it AT ALL), was taken aback and a little hurt by Joan’s rebuff of his advances. 

Roger quickly consulted his secretary for guidance.  She informed him of something that all Mad Men fans knew was coming, we just weren’t sure when, or how it would be brought about.  Of course, Joan’s husband Greg will be shipped off to Vietnam immediately after basic training. 

He will not return home in between.  He will not pass Go.  And he will not collect $200.  Joan, who was just getting used to the idea of having him away for a few weeks, understandably takes the news badly.

Feeling guilty for his insensitivity, Roger hires a troop of pretty ladies with heavy Eastern European accents (all of whom he has probably banged at one time or another) to come to Joan’s house and give her a massage, manicure, and pedicure.  When she approaches his office the next day to thank him, Roger cleverly replies, “I knew I was rubbing you the wrong way.   So, I thought I would have someone rub you the right way.”

(OK.  That line was a little creepy.  But the gesture was definitely sweet.  And the whole thing was so VERY Roger Sterling.)

“Oh, yeah!  I’m the MAN!  You TOTALLY want to rub me now, don’t you?”

And yet, Roger screws things up AGAIN when he immediately asks Joan out, making the latter feel like the whole “massage thing” was just a ploy to get her back into bed with him (which, let’s face it — it probably was).

Lick me Peggy, one more time!

While Roger’s come-ons to Joan may have been a bit crude, they were NOTHING compared to the ones Joyce tried on Peggy.  Face-licking?  Seriously, Joyce?  Who taught you that was an appropriate way to romance a straight lady?  Fido?

When we first see Peggy, Joyce has stopped by her office unannounced, AGAIN (What’s the matter, Joyce?  Isn’t there a phone on your desk, amidst all those Naked Lady Pics that you were carrying around, when we first met you?)  “Peggy, your boyfriend is here,” snorts Art Director, Stan. 

(You know, I hate to say it, because he’s SUCH a MAJOR TOOL.  And he’s DEFINITELY no SAL ROMANO!  But, this guy is starting to grow on me.  I think its because of the adorable little crush he’s developed on Peggy, ever since he saw her nude, and got a b*ner from it.  Sure, he has no shot in heck of ever getting anywhere with her.  Yet, it’s still oddly endearing.  Stan is like the little boy in first grade, who pulls the little girl’s pig tails, and throws paper airplanes at her, because he can’t think of any other way to let her know he likes her.)

When both Peggy and Joyce seem unamused or affected by Stan’s mildly humorous lesbian jokes, he changes tactics.  “You [Joyce] can NEVER do for a girl [Peggy] what a guy [me – Stan] can do,” Stan insists.  (Awww, way too obvious, kiddo!)

Joyce responds by licking Peggy’s face (which is TOTALLY something that any guy – and any K-9 — can DO, by the way, not that they would all want to).  The whole exchange was admittedly pretty funny.  But what really made the scene, for me, was Stan’s facial expression, as he watched Joyce orally remove the blush from Peggy’s cheek . .  .

Ummm . . . yeah, Peggy.  If you want your face licked, than Stan probaby isn’t your guy.  Peggy and Joyce, ultimately, make plans to meet for drinks.  They then leave Stan alone to LICK his wounds, and his . .  .

Honest Abe strikes out . . .

It seems that Stan isn’t the only one having a difficult time getting inside the Peggy Olson Pantalones.  Peggy’s new suitor, Abe, though he got off to a promising start, isn’t fairing much better.  Apparently, Joyce, despite obviously being just as in love with Peggy as Stan, had a fairly altruistic reason for inviting Peggy out for drinks.  The whole outing was just a ruse to reunite Peggy with her cute makeout buddy from a few episodes back, Abe.

The date starts pleasantly enough.  However, when Abe starts moving the discussion over to the Civil Rights movement and the evil of corporations, the typically well-spoken Peggy, suddenly, finds herself at a loss for words.  Apparently, Peggy only watches the news on television to see the commercials, and only reads newspapers for the advertisements.  She simply had no idea that one of the companies SCDP worked for, Fillmore Motors, refuses to hire black people.

The discussion quickly morphs into a heated debate about corporate responsibility versus personal and ethical responsibility.  Peggy wisely analogizes the Civil Rights movement with the then-fledgling Women’s Rights movement.  She argues about how difficult it is for women like Peggy to break through the corporate glass ceiling.  And yet, she did it.  She, therefore, wonders, why other oppressed minorities can’t work to do the same thing.  Abe discounts the analogy offhand, mocking the absurdity of a “Women’s Rights March.”  This offends Peggy, and causes her to promptly excuse herself from the bar.

And yet, Abe is not one to go down without a fight.  He arrives at Peggy’s office the next day, unannounced.  (AGAIN?  Seriously, what is with these new hippies?)

But Abe has not come empty handed.  Apparently, he has written a poem to Peggy, and he would like her to read it immediately, while he waits in the office for her reply.  Intrigued by the gesture, Peggy dashes off to read the poem, which she secretly hopes will go something like this:

Roses are red,

violets are blue,

Civil Rights are sexy,

but not as HOT as YOU!

Unfortunately, Abe’s doesn’t say that at all.

And, while we don’t get to read it, we are led to believe that it makes some sort of comparison between SCDP and Nazis?  “If anybody saw this [poem], I could get fired!”  Peggy exclaims, ripping it to pieces right in front of the Poor Sap, before storming off AGAIN!

TWO!

And yet, despite outward appearances to the contrary, there is evidence, during the second half of the episode, that would seem to suggest that Abe HAD changed Peggy’s mind about Civil Rights, Politics, and the ways in which the two sometimes conflict with the corporate world.  Well . . . if not changed her mind per se, at least opened it to new possibilities.  

This becomes evident when the SCDP crew is trying to come up with a song to play in the background of a Fillmore Motors TV and radio commercial, and Peggy dryly suggests a song by Harry Bellefonte.  When she is promptly shut down by her colleagues, Peggy innocently inquires, “Why are we working for a client that refuses to hire [black people]?”

To this, Don replies, “Our job is to sell our client’s products, not to make them like [black people.]”

When Peggy’s coworkers tease her about this, Peggy storms out of the office, for about the 80th time this season . . .

When Faye met Sally . . .

Don is at a client meeting with Fillmore Motors (they of the Racist Hiring Practices), when he gently interrupted by Receptionist -Soon-to-Be Don’s-New-Secretary Megan, who informs Don that his daughter is at the office .  . . along with some random elderly looking woman, who wears a very large hat, which, to me, looks a bit like this:

Apparently Random Elderly Woman in Hat found Sally hiding from the conductor on her train.  “I wanted to see you, but I didn’t have enough money,” Sally says sheepishly.

The admission causes Don’s face to look like this:

Things get even worse, when Random Elderly Woman gets a little bee in her bonnet (no pun intended), about what crappy parents Betty and Don are. She lets Don know her feeling in no uncertain terms, when Don tries to pay her for her time and trouble.  After Random Elderly Woman in Hat leaves, Don calls Betty .  . .

Oddly enough, this screencap DID NOT come from this episode.  Apparently, Betty spends a lot of time on this show on the phone (usually with Don), looking severely pissed off.

When Don tells Betty that she should come pick up her daughter, who was wandering the NYC train system alone, Betty . . . couldn’t give two cr*ps.

In fact, she refuses to pick up Sally until the following day.  “You think it’s so much fun to be her parent, you do it,” she yells

(Golly gee!  What a nice thing to say about your kid!  I’m so glad Sally has two parents that really value the time they spend with her.)

Don gives Miss Blankenship three instructions before heading back to his meeting: (1) watch Sally; (2) answer the phones; and (3) don’t say anything.  She does only one of those things.  And, considering that she died right around the time Betty called (Apparently, that shrew’s voice could kill ANYONE), you can probably guess which of the three tasks Miss Blankenship was able to follow.  When Peggy tries to talk to Miss Blankenship, the poor old lady KEELS OVER, RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER!

Peggy screams, and Don is interrupted from his meeting once again.  He walks into this scene:

Sally is tucked safely in Don’s office at the time, and sees nothing.  This is good, because if any child can’t handle witnessing more traumatic moments, it’s Sally!  As is common during situations like this (and they happen quite often among the SCDP folks) .  . .

Joan offers to take care of the situation — contacting the coroner, having a blanket in Roger’s office (“My mother MADE me THAT!”) draped over Miss Blankenship’s lifeless body, and sneaking the corpse out the back of the office, so that the sight of her won’t disturb the client meeting already in progress.  (Unfortunately, Don and Faye get ringside seats to the whole thing from where they are seated in the conference room .  . . and so do we.)

After the seemingly interminable meeting, a frantic Don asks Faye to take Sally back to Don’s apartment and watch her until he arrives home.  “Me?”  Faye asks incredulously.

“Well, I would ask my secretary to do it, but she’s DEAD!”  Don replies, matter-of-factly.

(Good ole Don — always bringing the funny, even in times of crisis.)

“What do I tell her I am?”  Faye inquires.

“You are Faye,” Don answers exasperatedy, wondering for a second, whether he should have picked a SMARTER girlfriend, like Bethany, or Doris the Waitress, or that prostitute that liked to slap his face during sex.  (Hey, it worked in Pretty Woman!)

To further prove her intelligence, just moments after Don introduces Faye to Sally by name, Faye tells Sally, in a ridiculously childish voice, through which each word is painstakingly enunciated, “Hello . . .  my . . . name . . . is . . . Faye.”

But, this is what Sally heard . . .

. . . and rightly so!

Yet, surprisingly, things go pretty A-OK for Sally and Faye back at Don’s apartment.  In fact, when Don comes back, Sally is in a pretty jubilant mood, considering all that happened.  After Faye leaves, the pair order pizza. 

“Are you going to marry, Faye?”  Sally asks inquisitively, between bites of pizza.

NO DON!  If you know what’s good for you, you will stay single for a LONG, LONG, TIME . . . or at least until after that long stint in rehab.

Don says, “No.”

To Don’s surprise (and mine), when Don asks Sally in turn if she likes Faye, Sally says, “Yes!” (apparently, ANYONE would be a better mother than Betty . . . even this monkey)

That night before going to bed, Sally asks if she and her brothers can come live with Don.  “I’ll be really good.  I will take care of my brothers,” Sally pleads.

Don, who is watching his sex life go out the window, remains calm on the outside, but inside he is pooping a brick.  “Good night, Sally,” he says ignoring her.

He can’t get out of that bedroom fast enough . . .

Midnight Mugging in NYC – The ULTIMATE Aphrodisiac

Back at the office, Roger and Joan are still very freaked out by the untimely death of Miss Blankenship.  “She died like she lived, surrounded by the people she answered phones for,” mused Roger.  “I DO NOT want to die in this office.  I almost did.  TWICE.”

Roger begs Joan to go out for coffee with him, for the third time in this episode.  Except, this time, Joan finally agrees.

The married couple (as in both are married, just not to eachother) have a great time on their date, reminiscing about the past.  “Everytime, I think back, all the good stuff was with you,” Roger insists.

On the walk home, Joan notes how much the neighborhood has changed.  And, as if to prove that point, Joan and Roger are held at gunpoint and mugged.  Fortunately for Joan, Roger doesn’t try to play vigilante or hero.  He calmly hands over his own wallet and watch, as well as, upon request, Joan’s purse.  The mugger’s request for Joan’s wedding ring elicits tears from her, but she ultimately complies.  Then, thankfully, the mugger leaves.

Relieved, terrified, and wrapped up in the emotional roller coaster of the past few days, Roger and Joan embrace.  And then they do more than embrace . . .

When Roger begins to pull away, Joan whispers, “Don’t stop,” and so he doesn’t . . .

(Now, while it was nice to see these two crazy kids doing it again, I couldn’t help but notice they were SCREWING IN A DIRTY DARK ALLEY KNOWN TO BE FREQUENTED BY MUGGERS WITH GUNS . . . just saying.)

The following morning, Bert struggles to write Miss Blankenship’s obituary.  He doesn’t want Don to do it, because Don is kind of an asshole didn’t know Miss Blankenship very well.  “She was born in a barn, and died on the 37th floor of a New York skyscraper.  She was an astronaut,” offers Bert morosely.

Joan is called in to finish the job, and does so with an appropriate, if rather impersonal, obituary statement.  But before she can leave, Roger corners her.  “I feel something for you,” Roger proclaims.  “Tell me that you don’t feel it too.”

“I’m not sorry for what we did,” replies Joan.  “But I’m married, and so are you.”

Not that insignificant details such as these have stopped Roger before . . .

Nothing says loving like rum in your French Toast . . .

The next morning, Don awakens to the less than familiar sound of puttering in the kitchen.  Apparently, Sally has decided to cook Daddy breakfast.  Doing a disturbingly accurate impersonation of Betty at her most seductively kittenish, Sally struts into the living room of Don’s apartment carrying two trays.  “I hope you like French Toast,” she offers.

Don DOES like French toast.  Except this French Toast tastes funny.  “What’s in this?”  Don asks.

“Poison Miss Butterworth’s” Sally replies.

“Show it to me.”

Sally gets the bottle from the cabinet.  It looks like this . . .

“That’s rum.  Learn to read labels,” Don says gruffly, as he continues to eat.

“Does it taste bad?”  Sally inquires nervously.

“Not really,” answers the ALCOHOLIC.

Using her best Betty-pout, Sally commandeers Don into a morning at the zoo.   “You finish eating.  I’ll get ready,” she instructs.

The father / daughter pair have a great morning — such a great morning, in fact, that when it comes time for Betty to pick Sally up at the office, she doesn’t want to go home.  “I want to stay with you.  I hate it there [at Evil Betty’s House].”

When Don tries to reason with Sally, she throws a tantrum.  So, Don requests Faye’s help once again.  This time it doesn’t go so well.  Sally lashes out at Faye, and dashes off screaming down the hall.  Sally then trips and falls on her face, in front of the entire secretarial pool.  Fortunately, the surprisingly maternal Megan is there to save the day.

Megan gives Sally a sweet hug.  “I fall down all the time,” Megan offers gently, comforting the young girl, like a natural mother would.

When Betty arrives at the office, Sally obediently takes her hand, “Goodbye, Daddy,” she says solemnly, as if it will be the last time she will ever see him.

Back in Don’s office, Faye is PISSED at Don for putting her in the situation he did with Sally.  “I’m not good with kids.  I’ve made that sacrifice in my life.  I don’t consider it a failure,” insists Faye.

Fortunately, for Faye, neither does Don consider it a failure.  (After all, clearly he’s not good with kids, either.)  The two end the episode in a sweet embrace.

Chicken Soup for Peggy’s soul

“I don’t know what the heck that girl is talking about!”

Back in Peggy’s office, Joyce has returned to get the details on Peggy’s argument with Abe.  “Men think that they are like soup . . .” Joyce offers randomly, upong getting the 411.

“Women are expected to be the pots.”

“Abe is a good soup.  But I think women can be soup too,” concludes Joyce.

Ummm yeah.  All I got out of that, Joyce, was “Peggy, I want to sleep with you.”

Joyce asks Peggy out for more face licking drinks again, but Peggy declines.

“Are you angry or lovesick,” Joyce wonders.

“I don’t know,” says Peggy, before seeing Joyce out.

Peggy then heads to the elevator herself, where she converges upon two other women, Faye and Joan.  These three very different women, are obviously headed in three very different directions.  The question is:  Where are they going?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday Night’s All Right for Fighting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unfortunately, he was fully clothed, at the time.

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

Duck, Duck, Goose-d!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Art of the Backhanded Compliment

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

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

Worse, is Pete’s wife,Trudie . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

Short Fuses and Broken Engagements

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

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

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

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

But he didn’t . . .

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

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

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

Don’t you wish you were there?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 .  . . and the sexy lady behind it ALL!

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

Both of those questions were answered tonight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Date with Don Draper

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Potty Time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baby Duck

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

“Oh no, he didn’t!”

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

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

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

The End of Innocence

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

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

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

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

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

“Someone very close to me has died.”

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

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

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

A Brand New Day

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

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

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

[www.juliekushner.com]

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DUCK Don! – A Recap of Mad Men’s “The Rejected”

 

When someone throws a ceramic paperweight at your head, that’s probably a good sign the relationship is over . . .

Poor Don!  He seemed to be the only character not having much fun in this episode.  Then again, his secretary  his f*ck buddy Allison probably wasn’t having all that much fun either . . .

And yet, what could be more fun than throwing a hard round object at your (sort-of-but-not-really) ex-boyfriend’s head?  I mean, the way I see it, Don got off easy.  After all, Allison could have had access to a John Deere tractor . . .

 . . . and that would have made things considerably . . . messier.

But before I get started on this recap, a tribute must be paid.  Did you know that John Slattery, the guy who plays Roger Sterling, directed this episode?

Pretty impressive, right?  Here’s to you, Roger  John, for a job VERY well done!

Let’s begin, shall we?

What the world needs now is more little Campbells . . .

If the kiddies ask, tell them that this is what the act of procreation looks like . . .

“That looks fun, Mommy!  I want to procreate RIGHT NOW!”

When we first see Pete, he is dealing with some bad news.  You see, Sterling, Cooper, Draper & Pryce has recently landed the lucrative Ponds Face Cream account.

Unfortunately, the acquisition conflicts with the company’s, slightly less lucrative, Clearasil account, a company which just so happens to be headed up by Pete’s father-in-law.

Therefore, it is up to Pete to effectively dump his wife’s Daddy, on the company’s behalf.

So, Pete meets his stepdad at a bar — undoubtedly, hoping to soften the blow a bit, by getting his Pops all liquored up, before he delivers the bad news.

“How dry I am!  How wet I’ll be, if I don’t find . .  . the bathroom key!”

But Pops already knows what Pete has to tell him, or at least he thinks he does.  Not realizing that his daughter hasn’t told Pete yet, Trudy’s dad accidentally spills the beans that Trudy is pregnant.  Pete is THRILLED!

This has NEVER HAPPENED TO HIM BEFORE . . .

 . . .  well . . . it’s never happened before, on purpose.

In fact, Pete is so overwhelmed by the good news, that he completely forgets to tell his stepdad about the BAD NEWS.  At home, Pete and Trudy rejoice over the upcoming new addition to their happy family. 

This pair is so genuinely sweet, and the warmth and chemistry between them so intense, that it almost makes me feel guilty about secretly rooting for a Pete and Peggy repeat hookup in the future . . .

. . . ALMOST!

Ever the ideal housewife, Trudy isn’t even mad, when she finds out about Pete having to dump representation of her father’s company.  In fact, she offers to drop the axe on her Dad, HERSELF! 

Woah, talk about whipped!  Pete must be a STALLION in the sack, to merit this kind of selfless behavior, on the part of his wife.  Then again, maybe he just has a really big . . . GUN.

Pete Campbell and Ken Cosgrove: Reunited and it feels so good!

“Hey, Pete!  Mr. Rogers called.  He would really like his  sweater back . . .”

Good news notwithstanding, Pete had another problem to cope with this week.  Namely, his frenemy / former nemesis, Ken Cosgrove, was getting married to some filthy rich trust fund baby, and wanted to meet Pete for lunch.

Remember when Pete punched Ken in the face, because Ken had called the secretly pregnant Peggy, fat?  Good times . . .

At the lunch, after a few moments of awkward silence, Pete and Ken air out their respective beefs with one another.  Ken calls Pete out for talking smack about him behind his back — a charge which Pete vehemently denies, despite it obviously being TRUE!

“Now Ken, you know I would never say anything to your face, that I wouldn’t say behind your back.”

As for Pete, he finally rids himself of the nagging notion that Ken is a better person and account manager than he (which he totally is, by the way!).  He does this by shamelessly bragging about his being able to become a Dad before Ken does.

“You can’t have one yet!  Nah-nah, nah-nah, nah, nah!”

Later, Ken expresses his frustration with his new advertising firm.  (Apparently, he left the former Sterling Cooper, shortly after Don & Co. defected).  Specifically, Ken gripes about his firm’s representation of only Mountain Dew, as opposed to ALL Coca Cola products.  “What’s the point of having pieces, if you can’t have the whole pie?”  Ken argues, more or less.

“See what I just did there?  That’s called Business Strategy . . . and I’m GOOD at it!  This is why you have to have me back on the show working for Sterling, Cooper, Draper & Pryce . . . I’m also kind of hot . . .”

Ken’s rant gives Pete an idea . . .

That night, at dinner with his step-parents, Pete corners Trudy’s dad and more or less bullies him into giving Sterling Cooper Draper & Pryce the opportunity to represent ALL of Vicks Chemical (except for Clearasil, of course).  The new account will be worth $6 million to the company (quite a bit of cash, by 1965 standards).

 “Every time you try to offer me something, I lose more and more respect for you,” begins Pete,  who is always a real “PRO,” when it comes to buttering up a prospective client.

“You’re also ugly, stupid, and smell bad.  So, pay me NOW, Daddy-O!”

Poor Trudy’s dad!  Still warm from the glow of impending grandfatherhood, he is shocked, and a little hurt, by his son-in-law’s callousness in handling the situation.  “Are you mad at me?”  He asks, adorably, like a toddler who’s just been put in Time Out by his parents.

Yet, only moments later, things begin to come clear, for the Patriarch of Vicks Chemicals. . .

“You’re a real son-of-a-b&tch, you know that?” Trudy’s father posits bitterly about his son-in-law.

A photograph of Pete’s mom . . . the B*TCH.

Peggy Olson: Party Girl Extraordinaire?

We always had HIGH hopes for you, girlfriend!

While Pete was busy making babies, making amends, screwing over his stepdad, and doing other Boring Adult Stuff, the formerly Square Peggy was FINALLY learning to act her age . . . twenty-something!

It all started, when she met an enterprising young art editor from Life magazine, named Joyce, while riding the elevator to work.

Joyce (who had enterprising business woman / hippy dippy, feminist lesbian written all over her, from the moment she stepped on screen) titillates Peggy with some decidedly risque nude model pictures that her magazine had recently rejected.  Appreciative of Peggy’s wit and moxie (and wanting badly to get inside the Olson pantalones), Joyce invites the young copy editor to an art exhibit / party at an abandoned sweat shop in the village.

At the party, the typically socially awkward Peggy does surprisingly well!  Like a true Party Pro, our girl mingles effortlessly with the artsy-fartsy crowd, smokes some grass, graciously deflects insults about her “working for the man” and “not being a real writer,” just because she’s in advertising.  She also pretends to enjoy a lame and pompous installation art video that looked suspiciously similar to the “brainwashing video” the Others used on Lost.

F.Y.I, that’s Peggy’s loser boyfriend, Mark, or, as he was known on Lost, Dead Karl . . .

PEGGY:  “I don’t know what it is about this film, but I suddenly have this overwhelming urge to fly Oceanic Flight 815.” 

JOYCE:  “Is this a 60’s flashback we’re in now, or just Purgatory?”

Peggy even deftly avoids an awkward moment when Joyce, not surprisingly, tries to plant a big wet one on her lips.  “I have a lame and annoying boyfriend,” explains Peggy politely.

“He doesn’t own your vagina,” replies Joyce.

“Yeah, but he’s renting it,” retorts Peggy.  Touche!

(OK.  So, when did this stop being an episode of Mad Men, and start being a reenactment of The Vagina Monologues?)

Eventually, the party gets raided by the police, and everyone has to dash .  . .

During the escape, Peggy has a close encounter and locks lips with this cute artsy activist who, maddeningly enough, was not credited on the IMDB page for this episode.  (Neither was “Joyce,” actually.  Weird.)  However, he KIND of looked like Theo Alexander, who played Talbot on True Blood. Therefore, to represent this guy, I’m going to use THEO’s picture, instead . . .

This is just to give you an idea about how much HOTTER Artsy Activist Guy was than Peggy’s Lame-o Current Boyriend . . .  It’s also because I’m still mad that they killed off Talbot on True Blood . . .

You Stay Classy, Peggy Olson . . .

Now, I know you’re not real used to the late night party scene, yet, Peggy.  But, just so you know, banging your head against your desk?  Not a great cure for a hangover . . .

The next day, while Peggy is working on a new advertising campaign, one of the office secretaries  hands her THIS card to sign . . .

And it is by reading this card, that Peggy first learns that Pete and Trudy are having a baby, which, unlike Peggy’s illegitimate child with Pete, the couple will KEEP and RAISE.  Poor Peggy is ambushed.  Fighting back tears, she quietly excuses herself from the room, heads to her office, and closes the door. 

Peggy then attempts to forget this whole thing ever happened.  (“It will amaze you how much it never happened,” said Don last season. — LIAR!)  She does this, by wisely trying to knock the newfound information out of her brain, by ramming said brain into her wooden desk.  When this doesn’t work, Peggy does the mature thing, and congratulates Pete, in person, on the upcoming new addition to his family.  Well done, Peggy!  Cheers to you!

Near the end of the episode, Peggy heads out to lunch with Joyce and her new artsy friends, while Pete prepares for a business lunch with the principals of Sterling, Cooper, Draper & Pryce, his stepfather, and other executives from Vicks Chemical.  On the way out of the office toward their increasingly divergent futures, the erstwhile couple share a look that is equal parts approval, respect, admiration, and wistfulness for a shared moment in time that has passed . . . at least for now.

Another One Bites the Dust . . .

Goodbye Allison!  We will surely miss you.  But fear not about your future . . .

I hear THIS GUY is hiring.  He can sympathize with what you endured.

And your “virtue” is most certainly safe with him.

Poor Don couldn’t keep a secretary, if she was attached to his belt buckle . . . and most of them are!

Let’s see . . . Don’s past secretaries:  Peggy moved on to bigger and better things, Jane moved on to Roger’s bigger and better pants, Lois was a moron, and Allison . . . well that’s a whole other story entirely . . .

It all started when Market Research Lady . . .

Does anyone else find this shrew as annoying and unlikeable as I do?

 . . . decided to conduct a focus group, using Sterling, Cooper, Draper & Pryce’s most youthful secretaries, to determine an appropriate advertising campaign for Ponds Face Cream.  (Ummmm yeah . . . a bunch of attractive single white women of the SAME age, who live in the SAME city, and work in the SAME office . . . in advertising . . . as secretaries . . . now THAT’S a “diverse and representative” sample of the nation’s shoppers, if I ever saw one.)

 “I could have chosen a more appropriate sample for this group . . . and I’m a monkey.”

Not only does Market Research Lady do a TERRIBLE job chosing a sample to test her product (which the girls NEVER actually test, by the way), she also does a TERRIBLE job ascertaining their feelings about beauty.  This is probably because, in her attempt to be, “just one of the girls,” Market Research Lady comes across as so patronizing, arrogant, and phony, that she makes me want to VOMIT . . .

My sentiments exactly!

Within moments, Market Research Lady’s horridness has infected the secretaries.  One of them is bawling her eyes out about how she feels that her boyfriend rejected her, because she wasn’t pretty enough.  Watching from a nearby “observation room” (a.k.a. Joan’s office) the SCDP execs are uncomfortable, yet oddly captivated, by the soap opera unfolding in front of themthat is except for Peggy, who has begun absentmindedly trying on Market Research Lady’s wedding ring (Now, who in their right mind would MARRY Market Research Lady?); and Don, who is WATCHING Peggy try on the wedding ring, with a smugly paternal look on his face.

“Aha!  I KNEW IT!  I CAUGHT YOU!  You wanna get married, you wanna get married . . . you wanna get . . .”

“Shut the f*ck up, Alchy!”

Meanwhile, the other secretary’s cryfest has started to remind Allison of her little “encounter” with Big Don’s Big Dong, and her waterworks start flowing too! 

(Market Research Lady takes all this crying to mean that young women of the 60’s could care less about beauty regimens, unless they think it will help them land a husband.  She therefore suggests, much as Freddy Rumsen did two weeks ago, that the Ponds campaign be based around marriage proposals.  Don thinks THAT idea is a bunch of old-fashioned, uncreative, Bull Crap, and so do I!)

When an anguished Allison rushes out of the focus group, Peggy, ever the “Fixer Uppper,” offers to go after Allison, and see what’s up.

Initially, when Peggy thinks Allison is just crying over how incredibly LAME the focus group was, she is remarkably sensitive.  “People cry at these things all the time!  I’ve seen GROWN MEN cry at them . . .”

 . . . and whiny twenty-somethings playing teenagers.

However, when Peggy learns that (1) the REAL reason Allison is crying is because she has slept with Don; and (2) Allison believes PEGGY had once done the same thing  (Peggy actually DID try to seduce Don in the pilot episode, but he rejected her.), Peggy is significantly less sympathetic.  “Your problem is NOT my problem,” seethes Peggy at a bawling Allison, horrified by the notion that people at the office assume she has slept her way to the top.  “And, honestly, I think you should just get over it,” concludes Peggy, with all the coolness and sensitivity of a porcupine in 95-degree weather.

An X-ray of Peggy Olson’s heart  . . .

(We can almost hear Don’s words echoing in Peggy’s head, as she berates Poor Allison. — “It will amaze you how much it never happened.”)

So, PETE she forgives without question, but ALLISON gets relentlessly chewed out and crapped on?  What kind of “feminist” logic is that exactly, Peggy?

Later, when Don goes to check on Allison, she closes the door to his office, and confronts him about their indiscretion, forcing Don to acknowledge its existence, for the first time.  Allison then calmly explains that she has found another job opportunity, and would like for Don to write her a recommendation letter.  Don agrees to do so, but deflects any personal responsibility for the document, suggesting that Allison write it herself, and he can just sign it.

Now, personally, I would JUMP at this opportunity.  After all, Don Draper may be “Mr. Creativity” when it comes to advertising, but, lets face it, he’s a total ZERO when it comes to emotionally connecting with other human beings.  People like that make TERRIBLE recommendation letter writers.  This way, Allison has the executive of a company right where she needs him to be.

He is obviously feeling guilty about his past actions, and, therefore, highly willing to agree to anything she wants him to put in that letter.  The possibilities are ENDLESS.  Here’s just one example . . .

To whom it may concern:

Allison is the best secretary on the face of the Earth . . . no .  . . the GALAXY!  She is a genius, unbelievably talented, hard-working, dedicated, and drop-dead  gorgeous!  In fact, I am wholly convinced she is descended from gods.   She is also an absolute lioness in the sack.  Hire her, or I will hunt you down and kill you.

                                                                                        Very truly yours,

                                                                                        Don Draper, Executive

                                                                                   Sterling, Cooper, Draper & Price

Allison, however, took complete offense to the fact that her boss, a man she once admired, slept with, and obviously still had feelings for, couldn’t be bothered to come up with a single original word about her merits as a secretary.  Furious, Allison lifts up a paperweight from Don’s table and thrusts it against the wall, shattering a glass picture frame, in the process . . .

Strike three, you’re out!

Of course, Don copes with Allison’s outburst and subsequent departure the same way he copes with everything else, by getting sh*tfaced . . .

Be careful how much you drink, Don!  Little Sister is watching . . .

To Don’s credit, he is not a total heartless pig.  And, despite Allison’s destruction of his office, he STILL feels bad about what he did to her.  In fact, Don even expresses a willingness to have Allison come back and work for him, until Joan silently convinces him that this would send a “bad message” to the rest of the company about what happened between them.  Later that night, in his lonely apartment, Don starts to type up an apology letter to Allison, but, ultimately, loses his nerve . . .

Never one to be accused of not having a sense of humor, Joan has an ingenious idea of who to hire as Don’s umpteenth secretary . . .

It’s DAME EDNA!

OK .  . . It’s not. But she TOTALLY looks like Dame Edna, doesn’t she?

And she’s a TERRIBLE secretary too — with all the class and customer service skills of a wet dishrag!

(I’m still not entirely certain that Don WON’T try to sleep with her, anyway . . .)

[www.juliekushner.com]

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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.]

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