Category Archives: Mad Men Recaps

Mad Men Thread: Hair and Death

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The season premiere was called The Doorway and there were a
shitload of them since Matthew Weiner and company are deep into symbolism in a
rather unsubtle way. The doors had a lot to do with death and very little to do
with hair, which may be just a harebrained idea on my part…

On to random and discursive comments that may be even randomer and discursive
than usual. Dang, that was repetitive:

Hair and Harry: It’s finally the late ’60’s at SCDP and the
men’s hair reflected that. It is no longer difficult to spot the
difference between the creative team and the beancounters. The former are as
shaggy as all get out: Harry has stopped using greasy kid stuff and has sideburns,
and Stan has a full-tilt Jerry Garcia beard. Even Roger and Pete have
sideburns. The sole hold-out is our Dante’s Inferno reading hero, Don Fucking Draper
who looks the same as he did in 1960, only more pensive.

Don’s Inferno: Don had a rough episode. He was surrounded
by reminders of his own mortality from the beginning. I had a
brief Tweety-like tingle in my leg when I realized that Ray Abruzzo, Little
Carmine from The Sopranos, was playing the doorman who died briefly and was revived
by Don’s new frenemy Doctor Rosen. The latter doesn’t know the enemy part: Don
is porking the kindly Jewish doctor’s Italianate spouse…

I really loved the scene in the Honolulu bar where Don looked his past, and
perhaps his future, in the eye when he met the callow drunken private. Don’s
zippy Zippo lighter somehow got traded for the kid’s, which he’s trying to send
back via his secretary. I expect she’ll hear that he’s been KIA-killed in
action, not the Korean carmaker- when she tries to send it to his unit. Another
tailspin for Don, y’all.

Don Draper in a Frock: I’m talking about the Pegster,
y’all. It was great to see her thriving and in control at the new agency
complete with ex-Sterling Cooper dude Bert Peterson on the staff. He was last
seen pitching a fit after Lane and Moneypenny sacked him.

Peggy actually looked and acted happy. At Teddy Chaough’s agency, she’s no
longer the girl who used to be a secretary, which is why this was a good move
for her. In her dealings with her underlings, she was pure Don Draper in a
dress: barking orders, dismissing their ideas and demanding coffee. I hope
Teddy will continue to be a good boss so that we can continue to see 2, count
’em 2, Madison Avenue ad agencies in a time of social and creative ferment. Ferment? Sounds
like beer…

The Continuing Adventures of Roger Sterling: His mother
dies but he seems more upset by the death of his shoeshine guy. I think it was
the mere fact of seeing the man’s life work reduced to a box of rags laces and
polish. Our Roger seems reduced to being a figurehead at the office, and the bank of
Dad to his family. Time for another acid trip?

Roger does, however, take Don’s hurling at the wake rather well. Don was
drunk (shocked? I thought not) and had a hard time stomaching all the mommie dearest
chat since Don/Dick never knew his own mother. Don is spiraling, I tell ya. We
like it when Don spirals…

Brunette Betty the Social Worker: The weakest part of the
episode. It was motivated by a futile attempt to make us hate Betty less. Never
gonna happen, my friend. Her “rape joke’ will see to that. I did, however
get a kick out of the snippy hippie who used the word grok. Betty was, after all, a
Stranger
in a Strange Land
in that squalid Village squat. I grok that, man. Pass the
pork belly and the fiddle, please. At least Betty didn’t have to perform a
Heinlein maneuver on any of the grotty and spotty squatters…<rim
shot>

I think Sally’s pal is off to be a Manson girl but our Sally seems to have
developed a new way of dealing with her mother: ignore her. Probably a good
move, kiddo.

You say Megan, I say Corinne: The lovely and brilliant Ms.
Calvert is a minor soap opera villainess now. She was even recognized by a bun
headed woman from Minnesota in Hawaii. Ja, you betcha. I hope her fan won’t mind when she goes all Richard
Widmark and pushes someone in a wheelchair down a stariwell. That I want to
see…

Don and Megan are still together but my hopes that the love of a nice, intelligent, and
very fetching woman would make him a better man look hopeless. Don keeps proving that he’s incapable of love. Cheating on Betty was one thing but Megan
is a kindly, floral bikini-wearing doll. Zou bissou, bissou. That’s right,
y’all, Don is still in a tailspin:

Mad Men Thread: She’s the apple that goes in the pig’s mouth

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Thus spake Mere Marie (not to be confused with my friend Mother Mary) after her dinner with Herb the horrible (the Hagar of Jersey) and his twitty wife, Peaches. That’s right, ladies and germs, please give it up for Peaches and Herb:

Okay, now that I’ve had my little joke (very little, actually) on to a discussion of For Immediate Release, which is hands-down the best episode of season 6 so far. It fits the classic Mad Men pattern; nothing much seems to happen plot-wise at the start of the season and then WHAMMO. This season’s whammo occurred in episode 6, smack dab in the middle of the season.

Don Draper has his groove thing back and he shook it like a prideful and snarky baboon. The dinner with Herb was vintage Don Fucking Draper. He was insulted, returned fire and fired the fat fuck from Jersey. All without consulting with anyone. To paraphrase Joan, we is not in Don’s lexicon.

Okay, time to riff like a deranged Tom Servo:

Why Ken Cosgrove Doesn’t Fear The Bomb: I loved the scene between our boy Ken and malaka Pete Campbell about the latter’s seeing his father-in-law with the “biggest, blackest prostitute” in Noo Yawk. Initially, I agreed with Ken that this involved Mutually Assured Destruction since both Pete and Mr. Vick’s Hypocrite were whoring around. But Trudy’s father hit the detonate button and blew shit up like a rabid Wile E. Coyote. He expected Pete to uni-laterally disarm, but he did not. Kaboom in Trudy’s face. It all went kerbloowey and she threwy Pete out. So it goes.

Blowing stuff up was the unifying theme of the episode. That’s what happened when Don fired Jaguar, which prompted a hilarious Campbell tirade, “You’re like Tarzan swinging from vine to vine.” Pete is starting to remind me of a preppy Daffy Duck. How long until he tells Don that he’s despicable? I really need to stop making Looney Tunes references…

The Pegster’s Unfixer Upper: She and Abe bought a place in a “transitional” neighborhood per his desires. The Pegster is in hell with loud music above, junkies on the stoop, and human shit on her shoe. Yuck. It nearly led her into temptation when her sweater boy boss stole a kiss from her. Nothing happened but we’ll file it away under future attractions.

Peggy declared to Abe that she hated change. It’s a pity because there’s much, much more change to come but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Fly Me, I’m Roger: Speaking of comebacks, the silver tongued acid head is back on his game at long last. He seems to be employing what could be described as the Playboy business plan: shtup lovely stewardess, get her to call when a live business prospect shows up at the airport, and then head out to land a client. It worked when Roger got an appointment in Motown from a drunken Chevy executive to pitch on a new top secret account. Others are reporting that it will turn to be the Vega, which is sort of a comedown after all the chatter about the Mustang but, still, it’s a car and it’s GM. Baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet, y’all. And Ted Chaough’s turtleneck?

The Big Bombshell: Tarzan Don swung into Detroit and not only landed a car account but merged the firm with Teddy Sweater’s agency. Details continue to elude Don’s notice, Roger is the only SCDP partner who knows as of episode’s end. I hope the others don’t read about it in the Daily News before hearing it from Don. I cannot wait to see how Bert, Pete, and Joan react next week. Suffering succotash…

The scene in the bar between Don and Ted hearkened back to the one in episode-1 between Don and the drunk Private. That led to Don’s presence at the soldier’s nuptials. This time, Don is the groom and Ted is the bride or something like that. Btw, Ted wore 2, count, em 2, sweaters in that scene: a turtleneck under a cardigan. He looked like the Beaver and Wally’s mom had dressed him…

The merger thing makes perfect business sense as a way to prevent another ketchup fiasco where the two little guys lost out to the big agency. It will be even better for the show as we watch the two agencies try to come together, right now, over me...

I am simply Jonesing to see the next episode. I’m hoping to see more interaction between Roger and Ted’s partner Jim Cutler who is played as a smarmy lounge lizard by Harry Hamlin who is best remembered from LA Law. Hmm, I wonder if he’ll wear a bunny suit when he hits on Megan?

There’s much more I could say about this episode but it’s Mother’s Day, and I have to wrap a present for Sylvia Rosen who Don couldn’t unwrap because her boy was home. Don was kinda busy plotting with his frenemy anyway…

Mad Men Thread: Jesus Had A Bad Year

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Don Draper has finally lost his shit. He’s been teetering on the edge
forever, but the meltdown happened in the season 6 finale, In Care Of.
Don’s gotten very drunk many times but he’s never gotten in a bar room brawl
and ended up in the drunk tank before. It wasn’t even the point where Don hit
rock bottom. Crash. He’s consumed with guilt over Sally walking in on him and
now she’s showing signs of alcoholism as well. Hell, even Betty is more
sympathetic than Don right now and I’m a confirmed Bettyphobe. Like his mentor, David Chase,
Matthew Weiner is fearless when it
comes to letting his main character be unsympathetic. It took Gandolfini a stupidly long time to win his
first Emmy. Here’s hoping that this is Jon Hamm’s
year.

California Dreaming: Everybody wants to move to California.
My boy Stan Rizzo kicks off the
bidding and Don soon steals everything but his awful outfit. In Anna Draper’s
day, California was Don’s happy place but it’s not to be. Megan is thrilled at
the idea of moving and becoming a movie star, so she quits her her job at the
soap. Big mistake. Don giveth but
then taketh away from Megan while
handing the California office off to Ted. Confused? I am. I’ll deal with Ted
next.

The Turtleneck As A Metaphor? It’s fall on Madison Avenue
so Ted re-embraces his turtleneck fetish. He also finally, finally re-embraces
the Pegster. He sticks his neck out,
as it were, and then self-decapitates by pledging his troth to Peggy and ultimately
withdrawing the offer. It was sadly predictable, y’all. Peggy told Ted she
wasn’t “that girl” and he proves her right.

Don initially refuses to let Ted take his place in LA, but changes his mind
after the disastrous Hershey meeting, which started out as a classic Don Draper
pitch until he melted and went Dick Whitman on their asses. It was like
watching a slow motion car wreck, but my heart still went out to Don when he
told his hooker related story about his love for Hershey bars. Hamm ripped my heart out and put it back in
again.

Lost At Sea: Don isn’t the only one losing his shit. It was
a tough episode for Pete Campbell as well. His dotty mother Dotty goes on a
cruise with Manolo, gets married to the blighter and goes overboard. Splash. Accident
or murder? It’s unclear. Pete and his uber
preppie brother Bud decide not to
pursue it. Wise choice. The Campbells
have major issues with transportation and should stay off planes and ships.

As always, Pete has to find a scapegoat. This time it’s Bob Benson. Bob
brought Manolo into Pete’s life so it’s his fault. Bob’s sly Draperesque side comes into full view when
he punks Pete in Detroit. Pete barely knows how to drive, so when he’s offered
the chance to play with a muscle car in Motown, Bob insists that he take up the
Chevy guys challenge with disastrous and hilarious results.

Pete was in full-tilt Daffy Duck mode the entire episode: sputtering,
flustered, angry, and ridiculous. Or as Daffy himself would say,
“preposterous.” In the end, he’s kicked off the Chevy account and
makes plans to join Ted in the brand spanking new California office. In 1968,
California was the place you went for second chances. My parents arrived there
in 1963, fell in love with the Golden State, and saved me from growing up in
Utah. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Firing Or Intervention? My money is on the latter even if the
term wasn’t in common parlance in 1968. Don is a partner and would have to be bought
out of his contract. The partners really had no choice after a string of bad
and unprofessional actions by Don with the chocolaty
Hershey meltdown as the cherry on the shit sundae.

Don may have lost Megan as well. It looks as if she’s the other California
dreamer in the ensemble. She appears determined to move to LA without Don,
which means that he’s lost everything. The loss of his job however temporary is
the big blow. Don Fucking Draper is an ad man through and through. It looks as
if he’ll need to get in touch with his inner Dick Whitman if he’s finished at
SCP. Stay tuned.

One thing that Don *should* lose is his insatiable thirst for liquor. It
looks as if he’s trying but we don’t know what effect the meltdown at SCP will have on his tentative efforts to
be sober. I really want to see Don at an AA meeting. The mere thought makes me a
bit giddy. Hey, if he keeps it up, he could be Christopher Moltisante’s sponsor down the road…

The final shot gives us some hope. Don and Sally exchange knowing looks
outside the former whorehouse. Here’s hoping that he tells her the whole story.
It will come in handy when she writes her memoir of her crazy upbringing and becomes
the Frank McCourt of suburbia.

Heavy Handed Symbolism Alert: We see Peggy wearing trousers at the agency
while checking out Don’s office at the end of the episode. Guess that means
she’s wearing the pants. D’oh.

Duck and his headhuntee
arrive as Don departs and the latter says “going down?” as Don approaches
the elevators. Enough with the elevator imagery, guys. It’s time for it to go
and time for me to go as well. I’m already experiencing withdrawal symptoms and
am jonesing for season-7.

Finally, time to circle back to the post title, and let the Byrds have the last word:

Mad Men Thread: Weird Glen Returns

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I love it when characters from past seasons return to Mad Men. The minute Sally was under pressure by her putative school mates to come up with something, uh, groovy, I turned to Dr. A and said, “she’s calling Weird Glen for help.” Irony abounds, of course, because Betty *loathes* Glen and even fired Carla the awesome nanny/housekeeper over allowing Glen into the Draper home after he’d skeezed Betty out. Glen keeps bouncing back as does that dog abandoning shit, Duck Phillips. It’s time to bring back Salvatore Romano to give Bryan one more time at Batt…

The Quality of Mercy is another strong episode that revives some themes from past seasons and shows what a joyless fuck Don Fucking Draper is. Not even sabotaging his frenemy Ted gives Don any pleasure and he did so twice in the episode. First, SCP winds up with Don’s juice not Ted’s.Now that Sunkist is suddenly a much bigger account, Cutler helps Don in cutting Ted off at the knees. Second, Don insinuates himself into Ted’s dealings with St Joseph’s aspirin and deals a double low blow. Don claims that the Rosemary’s Baby idea was the late Frank Gleason’s thereby sawing at the Pegster’s legs as well as Ted’s. Don is one diabolical motherfucker, y’all.

Okay on to a few random comments:

Bob Benson International Man Of Mystery No More: In a word, Bob is a fraud, impostor and hayseed. Okay, that’s several words, so sue me. Pete decides that he’s the second coming of Dick Whitman but he handles this situation differently. When Pete learned Don’s secrets, he went to Bert Cooper and tried to get Draper/Whitman discharged. It failed so Campbell tried a different tack 8 years later. He confronts Bob but decides to use what he knows about the former “manservant” against him by holding over it his head. Pete has learned to play firm politics at last and now he’s on the Chevy account. Be careful of what you wish for, Pete.

It was great to see the seething rage beneath Bob’s sunny and obsequious mask. The scene where he rants at Manolo over the phone was chilling. When repressed anger comes out, it can be a scary thing indeed. I wouldn’t, however, be surprised if Benson bides his time and turns the tables on Pete somewhere down the road. He’s a canny and savage infighter who may still take advantage of Pete’s entitled and petulant nature.

Poor Kenny Cosgrove: I nearly plotzed when the poor bastard was shot in a hunting accident by the bozos at GM. He’s having a tough year. The eye patch, however, may give him a shot at becoming a star Hollywood director like such one-eyed wonders as John Ford and Raoul Walsh. If nothing else, he may work harder to sell out and write something egregiously commercial so he can quit the ad game.

Secret Agent Sally: Sally may look like her mother but she’s all-Don inside: manipulative, devious, and brilliant. She told everyone what they wanted to hear in this episode and came out on top. I no longer think that she’s going to become a Manson girl, she’s too smart to end up as a homicidal hippie. I’m not sure what she’ll be running some day but I think she’s going to be a mogul of some kind. It’s in the blood.

Peggy’s Got The Rosemary’s Baby Blues: Ted and the Pegster were busted at the movies by Don and Megan. This where Don realizes how attached Ted is to Peggy and he used it against both of them as I mentioned above. The Pegster may finally be finished with mentor-1 but we shall see.

Featuring a Polanski classic is bound to have the “Megan is Sharon Tate” claque’s antennaes tingling. It’s just another example of Mad Men honcho Matthew Weiner being as devious and manipulative as Don Draper himself but not as suave. Who is, after all? Other than Cary Grant, that is…

Swell Dialogue: Don to Harry the nudge on the phone: “Did you finally find a hooker that takes traveler’s checks?

Weird Glen and his punching bag Rolo on arriving at Miss Porter’s, “Nice digs.”

Sally’s hazer (hazette?) “Call your mother and tell her you’re useless.

It was a great penultimate episode complete with a Shakespearean title, Dot Campbell being dotty, Joan imitating a little old Jewish lady, and a closing tune by the Monkees from their psychedelic cinematic opus, Head. I’ll end with this on uh, porpoise:

Mad Men Thread: Let the wig do the work

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The classic Mad Men pattern reasserted itself with this week’s episode, The Better Half. After a clinker/experimental episode, this one moved quickly and was full of surprises, Don, Peggy, Betty, Pete, Roger and Joan. It was a good ‘un, so without further ado, here we go:

Torn Between Two Mentors: It was tough to be the Pegster, both at the office and at home. Don and Ted continue to circle one another like tom cats but at least they skip the spraying and butt sniffing. They both did some hissing at the Pegster over the margarine account. She tried to stay neutral, which leaves both of her mentors unsatisfied, especially-surprise, surprise-Don Fucking Draper who gives her one of his most withering looks.

Meanwhile at home, Peggy and Abe are clearly not cut out to be urban pioneers. There’s vandalism, violence, and more of Abe’s inept handyman routine. He’s no George Utley, y’all. He’s also a classic lefty radical circa 1968. It’s not fascist to give the cops a description of your assailant, dude. Peggy is horrified by the stabbing, becomes increasingly scared, and takes to wielding a spear as a self protection device. Abe was, quite literally, hoist on the Pegster’s petard when she accidentally spears him like a swordfish from Brooklyn but Abe is no prize. She feels terrible, apologizes, and he dumps her for being THE MAN. She’s well rid of Abe since he values his political purity more than their relationship. I will, however, miss seeing him melt down when Tricky Dick wins the election.

Meanwhile back at the unnamed agency, Peggy has two-count em two-private encounters with the artist formerly known as Teddy Turtleneck. Ted makes it clear that the smacker he placed on her was a mistake. Peggy is not happy, especially when she informs him of her breakup and he’s disappointed, not opportunistic. Ted continues to be the anti-Draper. Don would have pounced on Peggy like a coyote on a pork chop in the same situation. I really hope that Peggy and Ted do not go bump in the night. It’s far more interesting that way, but if they do, I hope margarine is not involved…

Duck and Recover: Pete Campbell remains whiny and petulant over his uncertain place at the unnamed agency. He meets with that dog abandoning motherfucker, Duck Phillips, who is now a head hunter but not one of Herbie Hancock’s band of that name…

Pete is no longer hot shit so Duck mentions a job in Witchita. I expected Pete to stroke out, but he survived. Pete is still sniffing around Joan but she continues to, quite wisely, keep him at arm’s length. She does indirectly help him with his crazy mother problems by letting them slip to the man Roger calls Bob Bunsen. He does have a burning desire to fluff his bosses, so it’s apt. Or is he just as nice and dull as Megan?

Speaking of Roger, he continues to screw up. His attempt to play Disneyland Grandad backfired when he took the kid to see Planet Of The Apes. His daughter was not amused, even by Roger’s impish impression of the apish Dr. Zaius. She bars him from solo grandparenting, so he turns to Joan and Kevin. Joan tells him where to put his lincoln logs and reiterates that he cannot see his bio-kid. She figures if wee Kevin has to have an unreliable father, a “war hero” beats a raffish account man any day. Poor Roger,she even prefers the company of Bob Bloody Benson to his. Context is everything.

Megan Has The Twin Sister, Sapphic Pass Blues: Megan continues to have the mopes, and who can blame her? She’s married to Don Draper who is distant and detached, and her new job isn’t going so well. Her co-star/boss comes over, hits on her and tells her she’s okay. Okay is the best that Megan’s character is ever going to be. Nice people are undramatic and boring and she’s trapped in a sweetheart loop with Don. The only way for her to win him back is to dump him as we shall see below…

Betty Is Back: She’s got her figure back and she’s enjoying the attention of some GOP fat cat, which in turn turned on Senator Wannabe Henry.Then, there was the rural grease monkey who leered while “giving her directions” to Bobby’s camp. Enter Don, moth meet flame. Don always wants what he cannot have, so he winds up in the sack with Betty. Big mistake, dude. Don is usually the predator, but in this instance, he’s the prey, and Betty will make him pay. That’s what he gets for being a walking cliche by sleeping with his ex-wife. In contrast, Ted resists clichedom by not bonking his protege.

Damn, that last paragraph was sing songy, so it’s time to end this post, but not before posting this musical tribute to Don and Roger who were clearly not made for 1968:

Mad Men Thread: The Crash

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Style and substance go hand in hand in the best episodes of Mad Men. It is *always*stylish in a variety of ways and sometimes style overwhelms substance, The Crash is one of those episodes. It’s made up of some great moments:Kenny Cosgrove tap dancing and pretty much everything involving my boy Stan. BUT it didn’t hold up that well on a second viewing as the best episodes do.

The style was trippy, man. The shots adminstered by Cutler’s Doctor Feelgood got them fired up and ready to go. Without Joan and Ted in the office, there was no adult supervision so it was anything goes writ large only without a glimspse of stocking, which come to think of it, would not be shocking in 1968.

In the spirit of the episode, I’m writing in short bursts and may not even proof read. You’re probably asking, and that’s different, how? On with the show this is it:

This is your mind on drugs: The Mad Men labored all weekend and produced gibberish. Ted was disgusted that they even misspelled Chevy. But Ginsburg was sober and his work sucked too. So it goes.

Slow train to Snoozevile: I’ve never been a fan of the Draper flashbacks and these were pretty boring. Also, neither Dr. A nor I think that that kid is handsome enough to be Don Fucking Draper. Enough with the heavy handed hooker analogies. Oy.

Stalkers and Peepers: Don is stalking Sylvia and littering outside her door. Of course, some smokers don’t consider their butts to be litter. They’re wrong. The Pegster catches Cutler watching Stan and Gleason’s hippie daughter having at it. It’s his partner’s kid. Gross.

Are we negroes? Bobby had the best line during the bogus Grandma Ida’s crime spree in the Draper’s luxury digs. This was entertaining but Sally was wasted. More and better Sally and now, Mr Weiner. I expect to see her smoking weed with Weird Glen some time soon…

Mother’s little helper: Betty is blond and has shed January Jones’ pregnancy weight. I wonder if she got some help from Cutler’s quack?

Culture watch: The Draper younguns watched The Prisoner while Megan donned her go-go boots. Hmm, I wonder if she knows how to ride a unicycle?

The manic style of the episode was entertaining, but it was really much ado about nothing other than Gleason’s passing and Don’s foisting the Vega campaign on Teddy Turtleneck.

What a drag it is getting old:

The Mad Men meet the Chevy Vega

It’s always good to have talented readers. An email from Alex Smith made its way into my in-box the other day:

I’ve been following your Mad Men episode recaps/photo gallery posts all season and have really enjoyed them so I thought I would share something with you.

As
you briefly noted this week, there was a potentially huge teaser on
Episode 6 of Mad Men that revealed the new account they’ve landed for
Chevy’s “secret” new car which is identified as the XP-887. I quickly
Googled “XP-887” and found out it is actually the notorious Chevy Vega.
Seems like a pretty huge development since it is their biggest account
(ever maybe) and the Vega turns out to be a total lemon/bomb.

My
friends and I did some quick photoshopping to a (public domain) Chevy
Vega ad from the 70’s, added the cast of the show, and changed the copy
to match the developing story line. Since you’re into Mad Men as well, I
wanted to share the finished product with you.

The image is posted with even more information at Cantmisstv. I’m not sure, however, that it’s a good idea to let Stan Rizzo drive:


Images via CC BY-SA 3.0 &CC BY 2.0. Additional data from Wikipedia and DirectSpecialTV. CMT loves Mad Men.

Mad Men Thread: A Rap Session About Margarine

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The merger of SCDP and CGC is on, but the new agency remains a horse with no name. Hold on, that’s a Seventies song. Never mind. The overall theme of Man With A Plan was power. Don started the episode busting Ted’s sweaterless chops. Then he re-enacted the Story of O with Sylvia, but he ended up looking like a lost little boy who grew up in a whorehouse. Except for Sylvia’s breaking if off with Don, that whole storyline left me cold even if she did look fetching in that red dress, a color that is associated in Don’s mind with hookerdom. The whole thing was a skeezy trip to Snoozeville.

My bromance with Ted Chaough: I’m falling hard for Ted. He may hate being called nice but he is. Did you notice how stunned Ginsburg and Stan looked at Ted’s suggesting a “little rap session about margarine?” They’re not used to having a boss who sits down in the writer’s room with the creatives instead of summoning them to the Draperdome.

Don may be able to out drink Ted, but the latter has his own plane and aviator glasses to boot. Ted really one-upped Don when he flew them Upstate to meet with Mohawk Air. Hmm, I wonder if Stan will get a mohawk soon? If not, I can see Bobby Draper with one in 1977 at a Clash show…

The biggest contrast between my boy Ted and Don Fucking Draper is that Ted knows who he is, and is comfortable in his own skin. It may bother Petulant Pete that he doesn’t have a chair at the meeting but Ted shrugs and gives up one to placate the preppie pissant.Ted also has at least one close friend, his dying partner Gleason. He advised Ted to rope-a-dope Don and wait him out. Excellent advice. Ted’s presence at Gleason’s bedside is in stark contrast to Don letting his only true friend, Anna Draper, die alone.

I love Ted’s Gilligan’s Island formula, which baffles Don who is stuck in the 1950’s. As applied to Mad Men, I see Don as the skipper, Ted as Gilligan, the Pegster as Mary Ann, Cooper as Thurston Howell, and Joan as Ginger. Yeah, I know, Don looks nothing like Alan Hale Jr but he did treat my little buddy Ted as *his* little buddy. Bottoms up.

Bob Benson: International Man of Mystery- Bob came into somewhat sharper focus when he took Joan to the ER and finagled her a Doctor. It’s the first time he did someone a solid that was more than just brown nosery. I’m still unsure as to what he’s really up to-my guess is that he’s undercover and plans to write a tell-all book-but he’s up to something. It would be interesting if he turns out to be our Joan’s new love interest. I’m afraid my friend Kevin might get jealous if that’s the case but he’ll just have to suck it up…

My mother can go to hell and Ted Chaough can fly her there: Nobody does petulance as well as Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell. He seethed with insecurity, jealousy and childish rage for much of the episode. Dealing with his demented dipsomaniacal Mother brought out the worst in Pete. I halfway expected him to kill her and stuff her body in his clothes hamper. The old girl is not as far gone as her son thinks: she noticed he had too much laundry for his crib to be anything but a fuck pad. Pied a terre, my ass.

Historical references: Who knew that margarine was invented for Louis Bonaparte aka Napoleon III? I did not. Btw, my mother was the daughter of a dairy farmer, so margarine was verboten and derided in our household as the devil’s spread.She’d have been down with Ginsburg on that subject…

The most interesting parts of the tedious Don-Sylvia scenes were her reference to her son’s presence in Paris during the days of rage, and the fact that Don confiscated her copy of The Last Picture Show. McMurtry denial could be a capital offense in some parts of Texas. Big Sam is not amused…

I loved the way they slid Bobby Kennedy’s murder into the end of the episode.Using Pete’s demented old bat of a grande dame mother as the messenger added an element of black humor to a grim situation. Pete assumed that the Kennedy boy they killed was Jack and went back to sleep.

Do It Again: Roger didn’t play a large part in the episode-John Slattery directed it-but his one big scene was a doozy. He fired Burt Peterson again or is that re-fired? It gave me an earworm, which is why I’ll give Steely Dan the last word:

Instant Mad Men Analysis

I spent a long day Jazzfesting, so I’m not alert enough to write a complete post BUT I was blown away by the HUGE plot development this week. Sweater wearing Teddy Chaough and Don Fucking Draper as partners? Holy fucking shit. It’s as if Batman and the Joker went into business or something.So much for ennui in the Mad Men punditocracy, they’ll all be jumping out of their skins. I know I am.

More tomorrow. This is an episode I cannot wait to watch again.

Mad Men Thread: The Flood

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I seem to be in the minority among the Mad Men punditocracy, they’re all like meh about The Flood, and I loved it. It’s
partially because I lived through that period as a wee laddie, the murder of
MLK was all everyone talked about for at least a week, including those who
hated and feared what King stood for. It was before he became the “unifying
I have a dream guy” as opposed to the rabble-rouser who was against the
war, and supported the Memphis garbage men. Even then, of course, he was both,
as we saw through the eyes of the Mad Men. Okay, time to ramble and natter:

There’s a first time
for everything:
I actually *liked* Pete Campbell in this episode. I
recalled his earlier maladroit attempts to tap in to the “negro
market” so it wasn’t shocking that he called Harry Crane on his malakatude.
BUT I was shocked at how human the weenie little bastard was during the entire
episode. I never once wanted to punch him in the gob. Also, the look on rabid right-winger
Bert Cooper’s face after his effort to end the Crane-Campbell hurly burly failed
was classic. It was the look of a man whose time has passed, who neither likes
nor understands the new order of things.

Mr. Pegster:
Peggy’s shaggy left wing journo boy toy Abe was put to better use in this
episode. We learned that Abe envisions them having a future that includes
little Jewish-Irish-Norwegian kids. The look on Peggy’s face when he mentioned
that was priceless. Abe had one of the best lines in the episode when Peggy
urged him to be safe before setting forth to cover the melee: “Too late
for that. I’m going to Harlem in a tuxedo.”

You were the future
once
: I’m borrowing a line that David Cameron fired at Tony Blair during PM
Questions when the former was the new leader of the Tory Party. As much as I
hate to compare Peggy to the Posh Boy, Don is increasingly an aging golden boy
whose star is fading or, more accurately, imploding. I had hopes in season-5
that we’d see a new Don Draper, but he’s been the old Don this year and somewhat
to the show’s detriment. His free fall, however, was arrested, by of all things,
taking Bobby to see Planet of the Apes.

Everybody likes to go
the movies when they’re sad:
Thus spake Bobby Draper to the
African-American usher who was morosely cleaning the movie theatre after a
showing of Planet of the Apes. It
scares me that I’m old enough to remember ushers and smoking in movie theatres.
I loved the former, hated the latter. Anyway, Bobby’s awkward attempt at
connecting with a stranger touched his unemotional, closed off father so much
that he even discussed it with Megan. I’d like to see more of the Draper kids
even if Sally is a snarky teen and Bobby has OCD. I’m also old enough to
remember when Don was a better parent than Betty. Horrible husband, but decent
father. The show is quite simply better when we have *some* hope that Don will
grow even if we know deep down that he won’t.

Oy, such a father:
I’d forgotten what a kick I get out of Ginsburg’s father. The old boy had
several of the best lines in the episode as well as the best reaction to the
news of Dr. King’s death; he pulled his blanket over his face and sighed. Who
wouldn’t sigh if your son were as inept a “lothario” as Michael?
Never tell a chick you’re still a virgin on a first date, dude. It only works
in Woody Allen flicks, boy chick.

Senator Henry: We
learned that Henry Francis has not only become more of a father to the Draper
kids than dear old drunken dad, but that he’s disillusioned with handsome and
feckless Mayor Lindsay. Lindsay was riding high at the end of the episode but
Henry was dismayed at the price paid for peace in the Big Apple. It will come
back to bite Noo Yawk in the ’70’s.

Henry is ready to jump the Good Ship Lindsay to become a
Republican State Senator. I am also old enough to remember liberal Republicans
like Lindsay and moderates like Henry. Holy extinct species, Batman. Betty’s
already trying on new frocks to wear on the trail with her hubby. She should,
however, ditch the black hair, she looks much better as a “bottle
blonde.”

In the end, I enjoyed episode’s focus on the gang’s reaction
to the murder of Dr. King, including the weird acid head who pitched the
preposterous Molotov cocktail ad to Don and the boys. Hey, at least he didn’t
have white liberal guilt like Joan whose attempt to hug Dawn went over like a
turd in punch bowl as the wags used to say. Speaking of wags, time to waggle my
way out of here and stop typing like a meth-addled monkey…

Okay time to visit the psychedeli and post some Jefferson
Airplane. They knew from LSD, man:

Mad Men Thread: The Prestige That Comes With Ketchup

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Even by Mad Men standards there was a whole lotta sneaking around going on in To Have and to Hold. If he could pass a background check-and we know he couldn’t-Don should have volunteered his services to Richard Helms or James Jesus Angleton of the CIA. The ketchup skulkathon, of course, turned into a fiasco with SCDP losing Heinz beans without gaining “the prestige that comes with ketchup.”

The episode as a whole was a bit of a breather after some of the heavier goings on in the first 3 episodes. It mixed hilarity with hypocrisy and was mercifully light on some of the heavy handed symbolism that I complained about last week. I think Dante’s Inferno has been consigned to the outer edges of purgatory for now; at least I hope so. Time for a few comments:

Et tu, Pegster: Stan Rizzo had several star turns in this episode. First, by getting his Draperness to smoke weed and laugh. Don has been a dour boy all season so it was a relief to see him smile however briefly.

I also grooved on Stan’s Roger Daltrey/buckskin fringe jacket. I halfway expected him to swing a microphone and belt out See Me, Feel Mealthough A Quick One might fit the mood at SCDP better.

A highlight was the bar scene after the meeting with Mr. Ketchup. Stan flipped Peggy the bird and Kenny Cosgrove glared at her after bitching out Don and Pete. I suspect Stan will not be talking shop with the Pegster for awhile, which is a pity because those two have real chemistry.

Peeping Don: Don continues to be Mr. Voyeur. He spies on Megan/Corrinne on the soap set and eavesdrops on Peggy’s presentation to Monsieur Ketchup, which was pure-d Double D except for the fact that it didn’t work. Don himself is on a losing streak with clients and with everyone except for Sylvia Rosen who is the only character who’s a bigger hypocrite than he is. She’s praying for him? Really? I thought she was shtupping him while claiming friendship with his wife.

Joan’s Not Wild About Harry: We got to see more of our Joan this week: on the town with her friend Kate, yelling at secretaries, and scrapping with the preternaturally pompous Harry Crane. I’ve been waiting for Harry to start lobbying for a partnership, which he may deserve on the merits but will never get by dissing Joan to the other partners. She took a particularly nasty bullet for them and they’d rather not be reminded of that fact even if they have a habit of treating her like a glorified secretary.

I did, however, get a kick out of the whole Dow Chemical Presents Broadway Joe On Broadway scene. Escapist entertainment was what 60’s teevee was all about, after all. That and napalm…

Don’s Dawn: I remain disappointed in how the show’s only regular African American character is being used. The scenes between Dawn and her friend were kinda meh and only of interest for her perception of SCDP as a joyless, hard drinking work place.

Fleeting Pop Culture References: James Garner. Joey Heatherton. The Smothers Brothers. Speaking of the latter, here’s the Who on their show essentially demolishing everything in sight. It was the smashing ’60’s as far as Pete and Keith were concerned:

Mad Men Thread: Munich, Roosters, and Tet

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The Collaborators take place with the Tet offensive and the Pueblo crisis as the backdrop. They were dark days for the US and A and the crisis with North Korea fits our own dark times as well. That was an acutal crisis featuring Kim Jong-unfunny’s grandfather Kim IL Sung as opposed to a repeat of the same old “North Korea has nukes, the sky is falling” crisis we’ve lived through before. Kim shoulda let Rodman write him some new material instead of just copying the Worm’s bad hairdo…

The whole episode is about crossing lines and bringing betrayal uncomfortably close to home. The Don and Sylvia affair will inevitably blow up and cause a shitstorm on both the 16th and 17th floors. I’m going to put on my Carnak hat and predict that Dr. Rosen will find Don in the saddle, our hero will have a heart attack and the good doctor will save him. At least that’s what I’d like to see. If it’s good enough for Little Carmine, it’s good enough for Don Fucking Draper.

It’s random comments time. They’re bound to stray and betray, and you’ll have to, uh, jump to read them anyway:

Mad Men Thread: Joan Goes Rogue

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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:

Mad Men Thread: The Phantom

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Season 5 of Mad Men was a wild ride but the finale was a bit of a soft landing. I say that not as a criticism, I disagree with the members of the MM punditocracy who think it was a let down after the previous two uber eventful episodes. How could they have possibly topped Lane’s suicide, Joan’s acceptance of the indecent proposal and Peggy’s departure? They could not. Instead, they summed up the season and circled back to the premiere. I, for one, was captivated by this coda.

On to my usual random and discursive comments:

The Title: There were *many* phantoms in the episode. Don kept seeing his brother Adam complete with neck ligature as a reminder of the guilt he felt over Lane’s choosing the same exit strategy as Whitman the younger.

Another phantom was Lane himself. Joan remains stunned by his death and did a fine job of channeling Lane’s penny pinching style at the partner’s meeting. I loved, loved, loved the scene between Don and Rebecca Pryce. He was somewhat proud of himself for delivering the $50K check, which Rebecca accepted but sneered about: nothing, of course, could replace her husband. The best moment of the scene belonged to Rebecca when she denounced Don for putting ambitious ideas in the head of a man in a gray flannel suit such as Lane. How very British circa 1967. As far as she was concerned, Lane should have known his place and remained a functionary and minion. Did ambition really kill Lane? His Tory wife thinks so but Don knows that it was his sticky fingers and stiff necked pride.

Marie Calvet swooped back onto the show and declared Megan’s ambitions to be-you guessed it-a phantom. I’m not sure: we haven’t seen enough of Megan’s acting chops as opposed to her rather large choppers. I do, however, know a bitter person when I see one and Marie is as bitter as rhubarb. Megan collapses into a ball of defeat whenever she’s around so perhaps Marie should stay with Roger the heavy breather the next time she invades Manhattan.

There were so many phantoms in the episode that I halfway expected Duck Phillips’ abandoned Golden Retriever to find his way to the office…

You’ve Come A Long Way, Pegster: Glad to be right that our Peggy is not off the show. I loved seeing her barking orders to her male underlings whilst wearing an awesome red Chanel power suit. She’s definitely missed at SCDP (soon to be SCDC?) where a client lamented not having a “girl’s perspective.” Don should hire a chick copywriter: If things don’t work out Megan could be available.

It was swell seeing Don be gracious to Peggy at the movies. Looks like his Draperness misses her and would love to have her back but she’ll need to experience more of Teddy Chaough before coming home.

Pete’s Punchable Face: Yet another phantom was the post-shock “treatment” Beth. Pete may not be in love but he *was* all shook up to be forgotten so quickly. It led to a classic Pete pout where Beth’s being McMurphyized was all about him. Her hubby Howard is indeed a disgusting creep but so is Pete. Pete continues to be the world’s worst fighter but Howard was nearly as bad. The conductor was the only one to land a solid punch. It was Pete at his worst: sneering contemptuously at a “little person.” I was raised to think that one can judge someone’s character by how they treat the “little people” and Campbell consistently fails this test. Heaven help him if he ever runs into Game Of Thrones’ Tyrion…

Whither Don and Megan: I’m still pulling for them, There’s been a fair amount of chatter about whether the last scene of the season means that Don is about to resume tomcatting around Noo Yawk. I not only hope not but think not. Why? It’s too conventional for Weiner and his merry band of pervs. My money is on Megan straying if she ever makes it to New Haven for a play tryout thingamabob. (Btw, did anyone else think Megan had an inner backstabber before this episode? She knifed her friend Emily as part of her campaign to get that, uh, part. Ouch.)

Windows: Cast members staring out windows was a recurring and very cool motif that has bupkis to do with Bill Gates or the pearly gates for that matter. The picture at the top of the post begs to be on one of Season 6’s promo posters. We also saw Roger’s butt as he looked out the window during the sequel to I’m Roger, Fly Me. An even funnier image was Peggy seeing Richmond street dogs fucking outside her hotel window. Since it’s Richmond, the pooches probably had a smoke after doing it doggy style…

Finally, I’m already experiencing withdrawal symptoms now that Season 5 has concluded. Presumably, we won’t have to wait as long as we did after Season 4. The soft landing that I referred to at the beginning of this seemingly endless post has me hungry for more. It reminds me of musicians who end their sets with something languid and tranquil to send the punters on their way wanting more. Frank Sinatra loved to close with the torchy saloon song, Angel Eyes.Since a Nancy Sinatra song ended the season, I’ll end this post with a quote from Angel Eyes:

Pardon me but I got to run
The fact’s uncommonly clear
I got to find who’s now the number one
And why my angel eyes ain’t here

Excuse me while I disappear.

Mad Men Thread: Catching Up

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I’ve had a case of writer’s block the last few weeks but Season-5 of Mad Men continues to be exceptional so I’m going to throw some verbiage against the wall and see what sticks. First, a few comments on The Other Woman aka Campbell’s Indecent Proposal.

Pete The Pimp: Not only is Campbell sleazy, he’s a slippery weasel. (Apologies to A’s weasels.) The way he circled back to pimping Joanie was nearly as bad as the idea itself. Lane, however, had a better pitch and helped to finally land the Jaguar account as well as landing Joan in bed with that odious car dealer dude.

The reactions of the partners were quite interesting. Don was outraged and dismissive but didn’t stand and fight. The most horrifying reaction was that of Roger who claimed to be against it but in the end signed off if he didn’t have to pay. Don’s reaction at the end of the episode is less about morality and more about wanting to land the account because of the work and his pitch.

Joan will eventually rue the day she made what she considered to be a pragmatic decision. It’s bound to leak out and it will lead to her being treated as someone who slept her way to the top. The double standard is still alive and well in 2012 and it was much worse in 1967. It’s particularly unfair as the account guys have taken clients to brothels and strip clubs before. What is it with the Jaguar people and nookie?

Exeunt Pegster: She did the right thing. Don has been taking her for granted for quite some time. I’m glad she was reminded that Don was not the one who gave her her first chance: it was Freddie Rumsen. Don may have been her mentor but Freddie is her Dutch Uncle. I’m hoping that Ms. Olsen isn’t leaving the show completely but joins the ranks of recurring characters; especially since she’s gone over to the enemy. I always enjoy seeing Don’s nemesis, Teddy Chaough. He makes the Draperman look good, after all.

Okey dokey, on to the most recent episode, Commissions and Fees:

Lane Pryce, R.I.P. This was simultaneously stunning and unsurprising. The superficially unflappable Brit has looked and acted increasingly desperate since the embezzlement. Many Mad Men pundits have blamed Don’s reaction for Lane’s death. They *could* be right but in the context of the time, Don’s reaction was compassionate as well as self-interested: it was his autograph that Lane forged so his neck could have been on the line as well.

Lane’s decision to kill himself makes me wonder if this is the *only* time he has stolen money from SCDP. He immediately fessed up to Don about the forged check but declined to answer when asked if this had happened before. He could have just been overwrought but Don’s decision to cover up the theft gave Lane a chance to land another job and start anew. Of course, we’re not all as tough as Dick Whitman…

I’m sure I’m not the only one who enjoyed the sick humor of Lane’s failed attempt to top himself via carbon monoxide in his new Jaguar. I knew someone who had a Jaguar and every time I saw him I asked “Is it in the shop?” The answer was often yes. Some things never change.

In the end, it was better that Lane killed himself at work so his wife didn’t discover the body. It didn’t make it any easier on the SCDP gang though. Apparently, the Mad Men actors did not see Jared Harris hanging on the door until the scene was shot. Mr. Weiner and his merry band of pervs wanted to get their spontaneous reaction. They did. Pete was totally flummoxed but combat vetereans Don and Roger have dealt with death before. Hell, Don has faked his own death…

I’m interested to see how Don deals with Lane’s suicide in the next episode. It’s bound to conjure up memories of Adam Whitman’s hanging himself way back in Season-1 after being rejected by the man who used to be Dick. We saw the old ruthless Don in his dealings with the napalm gang but the new Don is apt to be devastated and blame himself for Lane’s death. Me, I think that Don was partially responsible but Lane was the one who couldn’t face recreating himself. I guess that Lane took literally Scott Fitzgerald’s aphorism about American lives not having second acts. Don never has: he’s Gatsby, after all.

Parenting Tips with Betty Francis: We saw Betts at her worst and best in the same episode. The worst: dumping our Sally on Don instead of “ruining” her ski trip complete with the classic line about locking Sally in the trunk. The scary thing is that I can imagine her doing it.

The best: Betty consoling Sally about having her first period. Of course, she can’t resist taking a shot at Don’s “child bride” by triumphantly telling Megan that Sally needed her mother. Once Betty finds out that Weird Glenn was on the scene, she’ll revert to form but let’s celebrate her acting like a decent human being for a change.

Finally, I *loved* the ending with Don letting Glenn drive himself back to school. It was Mad Men at its best, which sums up Season-5 as a whole. I’m alternately looking forward to and dreading the finale. It’s bound to be awesome but it’s the end of an exceptional season. Hopefully, the wait won’t be so bloody long this time…

Mad Men Thread: Hare Kinsey

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I loved the latest episode, Christmas Waltz. It had a Season1 or 2 feel with the return of Kinsey and the flirtfest between Don and Joan. All it lacked was the return of my homeboy, Bryan Batt, as Sal. I have renewed hope that he’ll be back, perhaps in time for the company Easter egg hunt or something…

Lane Returns: I’m not quite sure what to make of this sub-plot. I know he has that stiff upper lip thing going on but if he’d gone to Don or Roger, he might not have had to resort to embezzlement. Hell, Roger has been the personal banker for half the cast this season. The skill that Lane showed whilst tracing the Draper autograph gave me pause. Has the seemingly mousy Brit stolen from work before? He *was* so mistreated by his former employers that he ripped off the old school tie and joined the SCDP uprising, after all.

Roger and Joan: I’ve been surprised that more of the Mad Men commentariat haven’t focused on the news that Roger knows that Kevin is the fruit of his loins as it were. They keep teasing us with Roger and Joan and we saw, that despite the obvious chemistry between them, it’s over between them. I guess Joan doesn’t approve of Hawaiian shirt wearing men who get bombed on Pearl Harbor Day. Banzai, Roger.

Don and Joan: This was one of the best Mad Men sequences ever as Don rescues Joan from her rage over Dr. Dick’s dumping her. Don also saved the dingbat receptionist from the wrath of Joanie. Fly little birdbrain fly…

The interplay between Don and Joan at both the Jaguar dealership and the bar was in a word, scintillating. Don was at his suavest and Joan at her most fetching. The air crackled with sexual tension, which led nowhere. Good. I would hate for them to get horizontal. The tease is much more fun than the consummation on a teevee show like this:Moonlighting anyone? Also, if it happens Megan will throw more food against the wall and that would be wasteful. Temper, temper. Don hasn’t fallen off the fidelity wagon YET and I, for one, hope he doesn’t. If someone in Draperville cheats, I hope it’s the Missus…

Hare Harry, Hare Lakshmi: I halfway expected Kinsey the pot smoking boho/beatnik wannabe of Sterling Cooper to turn up with as a radical lefty with hair down to his ass. But that would have been too predictable. Instead he was a shaven head, tambourine banging Krishna motherfucker. Brilliant. I laughed for at least 2 minutes when I saw him looking like an Ivy League Buddha.

The episode showed the best and worst of Harry Crane.Harry may be a jerk but he’s a good friend to Kinsey. SCDP’s bumbling media maven handled his old pal with exquisite tact and consideration. Except, that is, for boning Paul’s beloved Lakshmi on his desk. Bad boy, bad move. That was one thing that didn’t ring true in this episode: if Lakshmi was trying to manipulate Harry, it would have been more effective to string him along and tease like the latest incarnation of Blaze Starr. She was a Hindi Goddess, right? Maybe not. I did, however, enjoy the solid punch Mother Lakshmi landed to the Crane jaw. Ouch.

I’m not sure if Kinsey will ever sell a script to Star Trek but I’m glad he’s fled the Hairy Fishnuts. They’re creepy and annoying. He did, however, look pretty good with the shaved head and pony tail thing; not everyone can pull that look off…

I’ll let George Harrison have the last word: Hare Kinsey, Hare Harry.

Mad Men Thread: Dark Shadows

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Dr. A and I saw the Burton/Depp Dark Shadowsreboot on the very day th is Mad Men episode aired. The movie had 2 good acts and a semi-crappy third act but how can one not love a movies that uses Jeepster? This may have been lesser Tim Burton but lesser Burton is still pretty good. I’ll let him keep his troll doll…

Mad Men’s Dark Shadows had considerably more depth and showed our man Don at both his best and his worst. Roger’s comeback continues and he had the best line about the Manischevitz people: “Fiddler on the Roof: audience or cast?” Yeah, it was ethnically insensitive but it was better than when he loudly berated the Japanese car people. Oy such a kamikaze…

Okay on to a bit of commentary laced with a bit of hilarity:

Betty’s Back: The character I love to hate tried to make like Governor Deadeyes and divide and conquer Sally and Megan by bringing up Anna Draper. Betty assumed that Don hadn’t told Megan about his Dick days and his first wife but Don is a reformed deserter and Megan is in the know.

In dealing with Sally, Megan yet again showed her phenomenal people skills: she figured out how to handle Sally and convinced Don that Betty *wanted* an angry phone call from him. Don. I’m not sure if Betty is having a case of divorce remorse or second wife envy but she wants Don to notice her. Not a good thing in my book,

The scene where Don explains the whole Anna thing to Sally is the old maestro at his best. He treated her like a “young lady” and not like a little kid. It’s what Sally responds to even if Don forgot to buy the colored pencils.

The Sno Ball Affair: This bit of business chicanery was Don at his worst. He could have and even should have pulled rank and told Ginsburg: “You work for me and we’re presenting my sinfully devilish pitch.” I objected more to the sneakiness of it all, if that’s the worst thing that one of Ginsburg’s bosses ever does to him, he’ll be on easy street, y’all. Hey, at least Don didn’t steal Ginsburg’s work and claim it as his own. Bosses have been doing that sort of shit for time immemorial. Instead he left it in a cab to be found by Alex Reiger or Iggy…

I have a confession to make. I dislike Ginsburg. He’s a snide little shit. He has a preposterously high opinion of himself and I thought he was patronizing Don when he praised him for shaking off his copywriting rust with his sno balls chance in hell idea. Ginsberg got a stern look and an eye roll from Don well before the latter’s mendacious “I don’t think of you at all.” Don thought about Ginsburg a great deal during this episode, which is why he put on his copywriting fedora and came up with a saleable idea

Now for a few theoretically concise comments: I’m beginning to think that Pete Campbell may die in a car wreck with some nuble Nutmeg Stater (nutmegger?) attached to his, uh, peter. There wasn’t as much foreshadowing in this episode but things are adding up: his recklessness, references to his insurance policy and his very bad driving. Will Pete be featured in the next version of Red Pavement? Beep, beep.

Finally, where have you gone Lane Pryce? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Ooh, ooh, ooh or is that woo, woo, woo?