It happened again:Mad Men has followed up a shitty episode with an hour of awesome. Roger’s good acid trip and exit from his bad trip of a second marriage have restored the twinkle to his eyes and the bounce to his step. It’s a pleasant curveball thrown at us by Matthew Weiner’s merry band of scribblers or is that scripters? Whichever. Here are a few random, discursive and arguably pertinent comments about an episode that could have been calledFamily Affair. It was, however, more like the Sly song and less like the sitcom with gruff Brian Keith and his relentlessly cute adopted kids:
The Return of Weird Glenn: Our Sally is growing up. She went to the ACS shebang sans boots and makeup but in a glam dress and with her hair up. She’s looking more like Betty every day but mommy dearest would be horrified to learn that she’s forever on the phone with Weird Glenn. This is apt to result in Sally surrendering her virtue to the big goober and/or a meltdown with Bets. She could do better but the show could not. Hey, she’s already seen a public blow job so what’s a phone conversation with a pantsless boy?
The Quebecois Are Coming: We finally met Megan’s parents. Her snooty Marxist academic father hates Don and what he stands for but likes his snappy digs. Anyone surprised that Megan has a hot mom? I thought not. Marie spent much of the episode flirting with Don and Roger and fighting with the aforementioned intellectual snob. It explains why Megan not only hates fighting with her spousal unit but freaks out when it happens. I’m not sure if Don reflects her rebelling against dear old dad or she has a raging Oedipal complex; either way it’s, uh, complex…
Beanless Pegster: Peggy’s off the Heinz account but was more of a character and less an archetype this time around. She continues to be as bad at her personal life as she is good at her job. I gotta admire her guts for not only shacking up with Abe the ham loving Jew but telling her virago mum the truth. I expected Mrs. Olson to be more overtly anti-Semitic than she was but that was a subtext of her “he’s using you” rant.
Major Draper Win: The dinner with the pain in the balls Heinz dude was the highlight of the show. Megan was more Draper than Don as she fed him cues and riffed her way to closing the deal. Megan continues to be a pleasant surprise as a character: she’s like Faye Miller only she’s good with kids. A winning combination but her father will never like Don, his money or his “studied” manners.
Confederacy Of Hypocrites: Don’s award dinner turned out to be a bummer for everyone but Roger. Hummer would be a better description of what happened to the bow tie wearing motherfucker; Roger notThe Wire’sBrother Mouzone. I’m not sure that the “they’ll never hire you because you bit the hand” thing will stick. All it will take is a few successful campaigns and they’ll forget that Don kicked back at Lucky Strike after they kicked SCDP to the curb.
Speaking of hypocrisy, that ball room looked like the proverbial smoke filled room that gave us President Warren Gamaliel Harding. I’m hacking just thinking of it.
Finally, all the Francophone flirtation made me think of (what else?) Ronnie Lane’s great tune, Ooh La La: