Mad Men Thread: Go Chase A Hearse


I have high expectations when I watchMad Men. I expect them to blow my socks off every week. This time around my socks didn’t even slip and fit as snugly as a Playtex glove. I thought that they advanced the meta-storyline of the possible demise of SCDP fairly well BUT there were a series of misfires along the way. This episode was good whereas most of this year has been great. Oh well, nobody’s perfect…

I’m not crazy about the whole Peggy-Abe thing. It feels like the longest meet-cute in Hollywood history, which makes it cliched and I’ve rarely used that word about anything to do withMad Men. This whole thing of hating the one you love is trite and, hopefully, if they insist on keeping Abe around, they’ll do something more interesting with them as a couple. I must admit that the thought of Peggy bringing a Jewish boy home to her virago mother is most amusing.

I enjoyed the other Peggy elements of the show; especially her successful presentation to the Playtex people. That scene contained this week’s funniest moment: when the Playtex guy licks his teeth to warn Peggy that she has lipstick on her choppers. Peggy and us viewers initially think that the dude is making like Stan and picking up on Peggy’s sexytime vibe. The usually clueless Harry interrupts his celebrity reveries and tells the Pegster to her relief and our’s.

Another scene that I’m lukewarm about was the Don-Meghan tryst. It felt forced and implausible. We’re supposed to believe that Don would let her stay for a lesson on how to be a mad man when his firm is teetering on the edge of a catastrophe? I, for one, don’t buy it. Yes, Don is major horndog but he’s too clever to make this same mistake again. Hell, he’s able to get Faye to sell out her principles so he should stick with her if he’s capable of doing so. But that remains doubtful: Don lives on the cheating side of town, after all.

The once dapper Roger Sterling continues to unravel. He’s acting like a 7 year old whose mother ran off with the mailman. Is it just me or did anyone else wonder why nobody in Roger’s office noticed that he wasn’t actually calling the feckless and faithless Lee Garner Jr. It looked pretty obvious to me but perhaps they’re saving that for later. Roger looks more and more like a potential suicide. They may not go there but something horrible is bound to happen to Roger. His delight in a rival ad man’s demise may be foreshadowing or it could be a red herring worthy of Ngaio Marsh. But something’s got to give.

My favorite moments of The Chinese Wallinvolved Pete Campbell. Vincent Kartheiser is such a wonderful actor and he excelled this time around. While everything else around Pete is dying, the plucky Trudy gives birth and shortly thereafter Pete toddles off to the shallowest memorial service I’ve ever seen. The room was full of mad men trying to vulture accounts from the corpse’s firm. They’re not the only vultures circling: uber-malaka Ted Chaough shows up at the hospital dangling promises of partnerships and Alfa Romeos to Pete. I think Pete is quite right to think that Ted’s sole aim is to bust Don’s chops. It’s not much of a hobby but it’s Ted’s.

I’ll let Trudy’s father have the last word this week: “There’s no business in here, son.”

7 thoughts on “Mad Men Thread: Go Chase A Hearse

  1. I was so pissed at Don when he slept with Megan. Faye is such a better woman. But I think it also shows just who weak Don really is. One thing that I think that Feminist movement showed us is just how fragile men’s egos are. How they need to be propped up. How a woman who is their equal (or better) ends up “emasculating” them instead of empowering them.
    (I always think that it is interesting what the phrase emasculation means says about the people who created it.)
    Envision Don and Fay as partners, THEY could take the agency to new heights. And actually that IS what happens in the real world. Science and creative are blended in the ad world. Lots of attempts to get into the heads of the audience and do stuff like VALS work.
    Of course some of it is BS misguided stuff to convince the client to spend more money or to justify weak creative, but it still exists.
    I saw the same thing in PR and internet SEO, “We can measure what works! Let us prove we are helping” but creative doesn’t always flow from research. Especially creative that is breaking new ground.
    On the other hand in PR (and in some ad works) going back and focusing on the audience and the story often works. I hammer that idea hope to people and they get it, but they also what the excitement of flash! Visuals! Gimmicks! Those all have a place, but often part of a narrative structure.

  2. Is it just me or did anyone else wonder why nobody in Roger’s office noticed that he wasn’t actually calling the feckless and faithless Lee Garner Jr. It looked pretty obvious to me but perhaps they’re saving that for later.
    Roger putting his finger over the phone button to keep the phone from dialing while he made his phony phone call was such an obvious cut-in that I thought the implication was that every character in the room saw it just as much as we did — and I was prepared for Don, Bert, et al. to call him on it. But they didn’t. Are we expected to believe no one else in that small room saw him perform such a transparent maneuver?
    I’m with you on the rest of the critique. Maybe the worst episode of the season, full of implausible moments — Ally McBeal 1965. Megan’s seduction of Don at the end made no sense. Even if we were supposed to be seeing a different side of her character, it didn’t add up with the other glimpses we’ve seen of her so far. Dr. Faye’s character also seemed to have been written on the fly this week.
    And it turns out that Peggy and her paramour are just as boring as Don and his schoolteacher paramour from last season.
    My favorite part was the portrayal of how casually childbirth used to be treated among working men. Pete saw his wife in the hospital, then went to work. Midway through the day, a secretary popped in to tell him the hospital called and the birth went fine. Everyone told him congratulations, and then they all went to their next business obligation.
    I was born around that time and my dad went to work while my mom was in labor. They called him when it was finally happening and he drove over to the hospital.

  3. Well, remember, Don thinks that Faye is totally pissed off and maybe even won’t see him anymore. So, Meagan sidles in and Don figures, what the hey. He already had some thoughts–was it earlier in this episode or the week before in which there is a scene of Don ogling Megan? He has zero idea of coaching her to be a Mad Woman–he’s just exploiting the situation. If not for the full show, for the flirtation. To make himself feel better. I did like the classic scene of the office staff dealing with the dead Miss Blankenship while Don, et al. were putting on a presentation for the customers. Was it cliche? Yeah, a little, but it was still pretty funny. Some bits always work.
    I’m just sorry Miss Blankenship was sent off so early. She was a hoot.

Comments are closed.