Mad Men Thread: Sally Can’t Dance


Actually, I have no idea whether or not Sally Draper can dance but how could I resist the Lou Reed reference? All the good Mrs. Blankenship jokes were already taken, after all. Sally did, however, have a post temper tantrum pratfall or is that face plant? Ouch, kiddo. Anyway, I love young Kiernan Shipkpa who plays Sally: she has the potential to become one of the great child actresses; she just might be a Margaret O’Brien or Tatum O’Neill in the making. She not only looks eerily like Betty but has her mannerisms and vocal inflections down pat. Kids often sound like their parents: I know I did when I lived with mine and perhaps even now. Don’t ask me, ask Dr. A. Better yet, don’t ask…

The best thing about Sally’s appearance in episode-9 was that she ran away to Manhattan to see Daddy Don so we got to see her at SCDP. Don was not amused but was, as always, clueless how to deal, not only with children, but with the other gender. He passed the buck: Hey, Faye, you have a vagina, so you talk to her. No, Don, Sally ran away to see you, not to talk to a stranger who you think is more perceptive because she wears a frock. (I love the word frock and rarely get a chance to use it. Frock off.) Poor Sally, her mother hates her and her father doesn’t know how to love her even though I think he wants to. Uh oh, that sounds suspiciously likeJesus Christ Superstarand we’re not going there…

Gender politics, both professional and personal, permeated the episode. I’m not sure if I want the Peggy-Abe thing to blossom: he adds New Left political ideas to the brew but is something of a didactic twat. He did, however, give Peggy such a case of white liberal guilt (hereinafter WLG) that she suggests Harry Belafonte to sing a jingle for the Pep Boys-like dudes from Boston. Fat fucking chance.

I wish they hadn’t brought Joan and Roger together again. I suppose it was inevitable given that neither seems to have any friends and that Christina Hendricks and John Slattery have big time chemistry. Still, they’ve been there done that and I hope they don’t repeat it but suspect that they will. TheMad Menwriters seem to be Joan-Roger junkies and I think they need a 12-step program or something to quit bringing Big Red and the Silver Fox together again. Hmm, sounds like a circa 1967 psychedelic pop combo or a shitty detective show circa 1984. I love the word circa too.

Finally, Ida Blankenship’s passing. It was grist for the black comedy that Matthew Weiner and company do so well. It was a beautifully constructed sequence from Peggy finding her dead and screaming when Ida’s head hit the desk to Harry’s complaining that they covered the corpse with a quilt his mother made. Great stuff. I’ve watched that sequence 4 or 5 times now and it’s worthy of Billy Wilder, which is high praise indeed. The chatter between Bert and Roger is also priceless: Mrs. Blankenship was an astronaut who answered phones. Who knew? I thought she lost messages and brought Don his whiskey bottles.

Okay, now that I’ve given my rambling thumbs up to the episode what did y’all think? I bet Lou Reed liked it; especially Abe’s leather jacket and the fact that:

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7 thoughts on “Mad Men Thread: Sally Can’t Dance

  1. That was a terribly sad, terribly beautiful episode. Kiernan Shipka gave one of those performances where kids really act and display complicated adult emotions. At times her speech patterns were just like a miniature Betty, as much as she hated her mother.
    Miss Blankenship went out like she came in, the pioneering feminist only Joan and Bert Cooper could recognize. She was a “career girl” who kept her job even as two more generations of younger, more beautiful women came in, and rose as high as it was possible for her to rise. Plus she was a hellcat in her day and gave her all for her career, avoiding the husband-and-kids route. At the end it was only Cooper who was old enough and knew her well enough to say, “She had a niece,” but Joan made sure her obituary said “executive secretary” — she knew what Blankenship had done. She was an astronaut, like Joan and Peggy.

  2. That was a terribly sad, terribly beautiful episode
    yeah, Kevin, wasn’t it?
    The comedy of errors around Blankenship’s death had the same taste as the John Deere tragicomedy.
    The writers aren’t bringing Roger and Joan together for the chemistry. Roger exudes irrelevancy like bad cologne. He’s very likely doomed to either stroke out by season’s end or join Bert on the couch in his sockfeet. Don- and Joan- can still go through the changes and keep up, but Roger = old school, unlikely to change. With respect to business or women, he’ll keep trying the same moves. Joan’s gotten ahead doing things the old-fashioned way so Roger is easy to go back to when things get difficult. But they’re headed in different directions.

  3. i loved the final scene with the lesbian getting on one elevator and all of the other women in the episode getting on the elevator at the opposite side – with Peggy saying, “hold that”

  4. The people expecting Mad Men to maintain a 1960 vibe in 1965 remind me of those who expected Harry Potter to be a childrens’ story in Book 7.
    Of course it’s going to evolve. This is Pygmalion in 8 seasons people. Dan Draper isn’t the lead character. Peggy Olsen is. And this is one of the first hints of that.
    She knows more of the audience than he does. She’s more in touch with the times. She’s even more of a Nixonian than he is — she’s self-made. It has to come out gradually, bit by bit, year by year. Because that’s what actually happened. Mary Wells Lawrence

  5. @Dana. Peggy *is* increasingly the lead character. I’ve missed the arch malaka Pete the last few weeks. Talk about a proto-yuppie and likely 1972 Nixon delegate.

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