Tag Archives: Trudy Campbell

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

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

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

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

DON:  You mean, so far?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

“I think I just peed . . . “

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Happiest Place on Earth?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m BAAAAAACK!”

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

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

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

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

“I’m the fairest one of all!”

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

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

OOPS!

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

“assuming Romeo was MAJORLY Creepy . . .”

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

 

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

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

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

(1) “Why do you hate me?” and

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We landed a new account!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Way to GO DON!  Baby steps . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

MEGAN:  The better to EAT YOU WITH!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Secretary Megan is officially my NEW hero!

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

Sorry . . . I just couldn’t resist.

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

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

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

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

Yup!

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

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

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

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

“What do we do now?”  Megan inquires.

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

(Seriously, this chick has magical powers!)

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

“That’s Bullsh*t!”

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

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

1) “Who the hell is [Megan]?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I SO need to get high right now!”

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

“I just saved this company!”  Peggy gripes.

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

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

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

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

Speaking of “coming a long way” . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

(How very true . . .) 

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

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

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

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

[www.juliekushner.com]

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“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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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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