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: