Mad Men Thread: It’s a doggy dog world

Episode-12-don-painting

SCDP may be in deep trouble butMad Men bounced back big time after a rare off episode. The sense of desperation felt by Don and the gang is palpable: everything they do seems to backfire and every new client they solicit tells them to call back in 6 months. Why? Nobody expects them to make it.

On to the usual random and discursive thoughts:

Midge, the artist from the Village, who was Don’s season-1 chick on the sly returns. She appears in the lobby and claims to be looking for work from the Time-Life octopus. It turns out that she was stalking Don, hoping to put the bite on him. Midge has become a junkie: a far cry from the quirky independent spirit we met back in 1960. She’s down on her luck and like all junkies, needs a fix and needs it now. When Don writes her a check for the painting seen above, she says “What would I do with a check?” Back then it took 3 days for even local checks to clear so Don gives her cold, hard cash and skedaddles out of there.

The interplay between Don and Pete was classic as always. Pete is convinced that the collapse of the agency’s fortunes is all about him but correctly states that he’s the only one bringing in new business. It will be interesting to see how Pete reacts to Don’s kicking in $50K for Campbell’s share of the partners forced re-investment in the firm. The money, however, will only keep them afloat long enough to get to the season finale or next season.

I was struck with how pained everyone but Roger was over laying people off. Nowadays they fire people without regrets so it was refreshing to see some old school angst. As Danny put it before he was sacked: “It’s a doggy dog world.”

We took a refresher course at the Betty Draper school of bad parenting. Betty flipped out when she learned that our Sally and weird Glen had a secret meeting place. The local football team must be desperate to take Glen: he’s not exactly jock material, when he ran away from Betty he looked slower than the Saints Jeremy Shockey this season. And that’s slow.

The best Draper/Francis family scenes involved Dr. Edna who seems to have schooled Sally in how to deal with her batshit crazy mother. Placate, placate, placate. When Dr. Edna suggested that Betty see her own shrink, it was predictable that Betty wanted to continue seeing Dr. Edna “about Sally.” Betty is a child too or at the very least childish.

Finally, Don’s desperation move: a fulll page ad in the New York Times renouncing tobacco business. It’s a stunt intended to “change the conversation” about SCDP. Instead, it leads to bickering amongst the partners and a series of prank calls, the best of which was placed by uber-malaka Teddy Chaough doing a passable Bobby Kennedy impression. I bought it at first until he threw in the word “vigah,” which was a staple of all Kennedy impersonators. It remains to be seen if Don’s gambit will pay off but hopefully someone on the board of the American Cancer Society will send some work SCDP’s way. In that case, Don and Roger may have to quit smoking. If you believe that, I have some oceanside property in Nebraska to sell you…

I can’t wait to see what happens next week before we have to hurry up and wait for season-5. I can suddenly identify with Midge: I’m feeling withdrawal symptoms already.Mad Men is *almost* as addictive as heroin. I’ll let Lou Reed have the last word this week:

5 thoughts on “Mad Men Thread: It’s a doggy dog world

  1. Kevin says:

    The shitfit Betty threw at Glen wasn’t her only example of bad parenting, at least by 2010 standards. No doubt there were some 2010 helicopter parents (the kind who spend hours obsessing over every detail of a child’s lunchbox) having a meltdown at the site of Young Growing Bodies being fed boiled hot dogs…not to mention the practice of the children being fed dinner and packed away before Daddy comes home to his own dinner.
    Random note: Isn’t Sally too old to be playing Go Fish? Wouldn’t a 10-year-old consider that a “baby game”?

  2. Louis says:

    You reminded me of something I didn’t catch. Glen bends over as if he’s out of breath. I think he’s not really on a football team!

  3. Adrastos says:

    I noticed that on my second viewing. My hunch is that it’s a borrowed uniform.

  4. mothra says:

    I liked this past episode, but the “op-ad” bit was too implausible. I couldn’t get past wondering how in the hell Don got that placed OVERNIGHT in the NYT. Newspapers–even back then–generally had their ad copy placed and set and ready to print a day in advance–particularly the editorial section. Plus, these were the days when they actually did typesetting–no computers. Don’t know what the deadline would have been, but likely not any later than midnight and possibly before that. So how in the hell would Don get that thing in there overnight? We’ve not heretofore been shown that he’s great pals with the editorial staff at the Times, so it just falls flat there.
    Betty, though–goddamn she’s a bad mother. She’s always been nasty to Sally, but her move in announcing that she wanted to move at that particular moment, when Henry comes home to eat with the kids and it seems like things might be good–man, classic sadism on Betty’s part.
    Which reminds me of something old Miss Blankenship said last episode just before she croaked: when Peggy was coming out of Don’s office and she said “there’s only sadists and masochists in this office and I think you know which one you are.” HA! A line I plan to use at my office…

  5. MichaelF says:

    Creepy Glen’s football pants reach to around mid calf level, which suggests a borrowed or second hand uniform. He said the helmet was “practice,” which doesn’t really make any sense.
    My parents bought me a full football uniform, pads and all, when I was a child (about ten years after the Mad Men era) — I think they wanted me to wear it when out playing tackle football with the neighborhood kids. As if…
    As for Sally playing Go Fish, I remember playing cards at age ten, what with society just emerging from the Analogue Video Age to the glorious era of Pong and other such entertainment. But I forget if I’d moved from Go Fish to Gin Rummy by then…

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