Mad Men Thread: Did you get pears?


Mad Men went back to the office in episode-4, The Rejected.That’s how I like it: even the personal stories spun off from the workplace. Here are a few rambling and discursive observations:

  • The focus group scenes went on a bit too long for my taste. They were only interesting for what they eventually revealed about how Don’s now ex-secretary, Allison viewed Peggy. Allison was under the impression that Peggy had slept her way to her job as a copywriter. That led Peggy to heatedly say: “My problem is NOT your problem.” Hey, at least Allison didn’t throw a paper weight at her…
  • I got a kick out of the Bohemian sub-plot involving Peggy and Joyce who’s an artsy fartsy type who works for Life Magazine. Joyce seems to be developing quite a crush on Peggy, which could take us to some interesting places when she makes a move. Btw, Joyce is played by Zosia Mamet who is *that* Mamet’s daughter. Perhaps she’ll unleash a string of Mametian profanity at some point…
  • Pete and Trudy Campbell are expecting and the unctuous Pete was able to pry some more business out of his father-in-law because the latter let the “stork is coming” cat out of the bag. Pete is a tricky son-of-a-bitch and well played by Vincent Kartheiser. He was born middle aged and in a blue suit to boot. I always enjoy seeing the spunky Trudy and every time I see them together I say: “He is not worthy of her.”

Okay, that’s my brief take on the episode. The post title comes from the ending when an old man in Don’s building keeps asking his wife “did you get pears.” There was, in fact, a whole lot of pairing in the episode although I didn’t see a paring knife. Hmm, were the pears Bosch or what?

For more coherent musings aboutMad Men, check out theTV Club at Slate. Julia Turner has been on a roll thus far this season whereas I am merely a nattering nabob…

UPDATE: In the comments, Virgo Tex quite correctly points out that Joyce has already made her first move. Joyce also has eyes for SCDP’s receptionist.


12 thoughts on “Mad Men Thread: Did you get pears?

  1. I’m finding myself disappointed and confused in this season of Mad Men. The thing that always appealed to me was the “retro”ness of the show and its characters — the self-indulgent white male dancing on the edge of his privilege: the world is about to change and he doesn’t even see it coming. That’s what made the blatant sexism/racism/hetero-ism and other -isms appealing to watch, the fact that these people didn’t even see the sand shifting beneath their feet.
    Sorry to mangle the metaphors. You get what I’m saying.

  2. I get what you’re saying but the whole of Mad Men is always better than the individual episodes. I’m enjoying how it’s unfolding and how the retro-guys are starting to collide with the Beatles generation.

  3. I really liked this episode; it was looser, goofier, swingier.
    As far as the cultural sands shifting — it’s well underway. Draper’s interior world is disappearing spiritually (he’s a drunk and disrespected by the office’s young pups), disappearing careerwise (the psychological future of advertising is here and he’s resisting it), and disappearing in every other way.
    The new office is, quite literally, a glass house. Nowhere to hide.

  4. good eye Kevin. Exactly, re Don being last year’s model, or maybe even year before last’s.
    Emphasized by Cosgrove’s reference to him being an ‘old man.’

  5. Kevin nailed it (again).
    The sands are already shifting and Don’s not faring well so far. I loved Alison’s parting words (paraphrasing), “You’re not a very good person,” and left the episode wondering what she was going to do when she got home, fearing a repeat of what happened with his brother. I’m restating the obvious and am late to the party so forgive me if this has already been said, but Don’s slide is pretty profound. His earlier sex slapping seems downright jolly compared to where he is right now. As painful as his illicit moment with Alison was to watch, his pretending not to remember what happened was so much worse and his final inability to tell her he was sorry was downright gut-wrenching. He deserved the battle-ax secretary who won’t be a temptation and serves as a neon sign to all flashing, “This jerk can’t keep it in his pants.” He’s gone from elegant hero client-slayer to ghetto office joke in a very short time. It’s sad. There buzz in my office about this season being disappointing. I think it’s just that it’s so dark.
    I loved also loved Peggy’s adventures, and thought they really captured the mood of the time, as I remember it (I was VERY young;), and I think Peggy’s bi-curiosity was so well done. She had moments with both a man and a woman as close together as possible without them being simultaneous, and seemed to come away from it interested in both. It also gave us the best (at least most fun) dialogue of the episode (again paraphrasing) with Joyce’s retort to Peggy protesting, claiming to have a boyfriend, “He doesn’t own your vagina,” followed by Peggy’s “Yeah, but he’s renting it.”
    I didn’t get the energy between Pete and Peggy when she learned he was going to be a father (again). It seemed incongruous and out of place, given the length of time they’ve been working together since their affair. I had an interesting conversation with a hard core Mad Men fan who pointed out to me that we don’t really know for sure that Peggy’s sister is raising that child, although I’ve assumed that she was. Apparently it’s been much debated on fan message boards.
    Finally, I have reached the point that I’m disappointed when Rubicon ends and Mad Men starts. I DVR them both but watch Rubicon again (but not until I’ve seen the True Blood I miss, watching Rubicon – OH, MY!). There’s just too much good TV packed into those two little hours on Sunday night. Life is grand.
    Thanks for doing this, y’all.

  6. Pete and Trudy were made for each other. In fact, she was always the practical one, ready to press any advantage. It has just taken Pete a bit of time to catch up. I actually like the way he’s been growing up. He always seemed a bit too eager to please, generally out of fear.
    I loved the focus group scene. Faye was a really smooth operator, great to watch. I loved the bit with her ring. As for the advertising, I’d still put my money on Don. By the mid-1960s it was a bit too late to do the “use Ponds, catch a man” play without being insulting. If you remember, there was a change in how cosmetics were sold in the 60s. It used a lot more indirection.

  7. @ Kaleberg. I liked the focus group scene much more on second watching.
    @ Soph Mom. Treat this as an open thread from now on. I’ll just natter a bit and y’all join in.

  8. Don is going to have to think quick if he doesn’t want to become Freddy Rumsen, whose idea of appealing to young women involves using a movie star who was 20 years past her prime at that point.
    I think he can do it, but that apartment isn’t helping matters. Still, one day he’s going to wake up and realize he needs to remain competitive with an office full of bright young men (and, now, women) who don’t see him as an obstacle — in fact, they barely see him at all.
    But before he does, I hope he goes out and gets loaded with Kinsey and Romano, who are probably both working at some longhair boutique ad agency where they all wear turtlenecks and smoke cigarillos.

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