Mad Men Thread: Joan Goes Rogue


Episode 10 is titled, A Tale Of Two Cities, but I would have added Chicago to New York and LA and made it a troika. See, I can be as pretentious as Matthew Weiner when I try. Actually, I think it was a very good episode but the Dickensian borrowing was a bit heavy handed for my taste.

LA used to be Don’s happy place but this trip was different. Nothing much went right. Don got wasted on hash and did a Joe Gillis into a pool at a Hollywood shebang. Things weren’t so great for Roger either. He ran into former Sterling, Cooper copywriter, Danny Segal, who is now a minor Hollywood luminary. Danny is almost short enough to play Tyrion Lannister, so Roger mocks him and gets punched in the bollocks for his trouble. Ouch. At least Roger fished our boy Don out of the pool.

Don was so stoned that he was hallucinating. First, the soldier he met in Hawaii in episode-1. He appeared missing an arm and informed Don that he was dead and that one’s appendages don’t reattach when you die. Bummer, man. Speaking of reluctant appendages, Megan appears to Don at the party looking like a hippie chick and tells him she quit her job and did an “I’m preggers” belly rub. The conspiracy buffs out there are going to revive the Megan is Sharon Tate meme after that scene. My money is against it, but Weiner is giving us a head feint in that direction. I’d love to see Harry Crane rubbing shoulders with Charlie Manson. How about a little helter skelter, douchebag?

Okay, let’s line up a few balls and putt them in the hole or something like that. That’s how I sound after being exposed to Roger Sterling:

Ginzo On The Knife Edge: Ginsburg is not a happy camper. He rages at the moon over the yippie/police riot in Chicago. Then, he gets into it with Cutler, calls the slippery accounts man a fascist and is generally mopey albeit in a frantic way. I guess he never had another date with that nice Jewish girl. Oy, such a pity.

What’s interesting about the convention riot discussion is that both sides were right. The police went way too far but that’s what Abbie Hoffman and his cohorts had in mind by throwing rocks and chanting “pig” and “the whole world’s watching” over and over again. The cops broke the monotony and a few heads while they were at it…

Cutler’s Sleight Of Hand:I’m really loving Harry Hamlin as the slick and souless Jim Cutler. His accent is prep-o-licious and every word is tinged with condescension, especially in his scenes with underlings Bob Benson and Ginsburg. Cutler seems to have a plan to take over the agency and the new name-Sterling, Cooper & Partners-is part of his maneuverings. It makes Cutler look modest when he’s really out to knife everyone he can somewhere down the line. I think it might work: Don has checked out and only Pete Campbell suspects what’s going on. And who’s gonna listen to the Daffy Duck of Mad Men? Sputter, sputter, sputter.

Avon Calling: Cutler is not the only one making a move. Joan is ready to move on to bigger and better things. She cut Pete out of a meeting with a guy from Avon without telling her wingchick, Peggy. The Pegster was not amused, which led to an awesome recapitulation of their history. These two are the ultimate frenemies. They really cannot decide whether to be friend or foe.

Just when we thought the Pegster was turning against Joan, she fakes a call from the Avon man (not, Avon Barksdale, different show) that makes Joan look good to Ted. Pete is left sputtering ineffectually, so, in classic 1968 style, he grabs Stan’s joint and takes a toke. That’s joint as in reefer, not the other kind of joint, although Campbell does have a phallic name so…

Conclusion: I’ve got nothing profound to add. I’m not really sure where this season is headed, it may be going to hell in a bucket, but at least I’m enjoying the ride:

3 thoughts on “Mad Men Thread: Joan Goes Rogue

  1. I thought “Harper Valley P.T.A.” was an odd song choice for the L.A. moneyed-hippie party. It was certainly a popular song in ’68, but there’s no way those people would have been listening to Jeannie C. Riley, and it didn’t seem to have much comment on what was going on.
    The Joan/Peggy stuff was great. There are the office scenes and office politics, and then there is… everything else.
    And we’re getting into seriously ugly wardrobe. Might be period-perfect, but it’s part of the reason that wasn’t a perfect period.

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