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.”