Sunday, August 03, 2008

Mad Men, "Flight 1": I know now why you cry, but it is something I can never do

Spoilers for "Mad Men" season two, episode two coming up just as soon as I check the real estate listings in Montclair...

"What does one do?" -Pete Campbell

These things did happen: In real life, American Flight 1 did crash into Jamaica Bay on the same day that John Glenn got his ticker-tape parade through the streets of New York. In real life, Christopher Allport, who played Pete Campbell's cold, disapproving father Andrew in season one's "New Amsterdam," died in an avalanche during a ski trip earlier this year.

Given that Allport only appeared in one episode last year, and that Pete and his father's relationship was clearly so strained, Matt Weiner certainly could have written around Allport's untimely death. Instead Weiner and Lisa Albert took that tragedy and incorporated it into a "Mad Men"-era tragedy to give us "Flight 1," which is less about death than it is about how we're expected to react to a tragedy -- or a birth, or any number of universal social situations -- versus how we actually respond to them. As Weiner described it at press tour last month,
The second episode to me is about... how you should react to anything and what you were told you should do, and I think the word "should" is used probably like a hundred times in that script. To me, we're always torn between the way we are supposed to be feeling and what we actually feel. You know, I can say, just as being a father four times, you know, that when you take that first baby home from the hospital and -- at least for me, maybe I'm a monster I don't know -- the experience of looking at a newborn for a Dad can often be a very strange experience. It's like you're not breastfeeding, you're not doing any of these things. So you should feel something and yet you don't always feel that, and it takes time. At least it did for me. That is sort of what the tension is for me in that, and it's for Pete. It's for Don. It's for Duck. It's for Roger in that episode, for Peggy. That's where that episode lives emotionally for me.
During season one, I occasionally complained about the mannered nature of Vincent Kartheiser's performance, how he often seemed to be trying too hard to seem of this era in a way that Hamm or Slattery or Michael Gladis didn't. Even at the time, I was willing to concede that this sort of fit the character -- that Pete is an empty suit playing at being a man -- and an episode like "Flight 1" (where I thought Kartheiser's shiftiness was perfect) supports that. Pete has the blue-blood bonafides, but nobody seems to have raised him, to have taught him a moral code or basic standards of behavior, and so he latches onto the behavior of those around him and does his best to copy it. (Note that his morbid Flight 1 joke follows several others.)

Even here, after this world-shattering moment, which Pete is surprised to discover doesn't feel so shattering, he has to look for other men to model himself after. Whatever past scuffles and disgraces he's suffered with Don, we know he admires the way Don carries himself, and so he turns to him for guidance. (Note that right before he goes into Don's office, we see Pete from the back of his head, a shot that the series has previously reserved for Don.) And Don, briefly, is willing to play father figure to Pete. Don himself is a faker, a man who's adopted a role not his own. He's just very good at it, and as an outside observer to how normal people are expected to behave, he can tell Pete how to act. But then when Pete has the poor fortune to enter Don's office at a moment when Don's mood is sour over the Mohawk/American situation, Don unloads on the kid, and in turn sends Pete scurrying to gain the approval of rival father figure Duck instead. (Or maybe Don's the angel on Pete's shoulder and Duck the devil?) In "New Amsterdam," Pete's father accused him of being a pimp. (He was sitting in the chair where Pete sits while his mother babbles about funeral arrangements and ceramic elephants, in fact.) Now, to gain the approval of Duck, Pete is pimping out his father's death to get an account. Seems about right.

Getting back to Don, just because he's good at simulating polite behavior doesn't mean he completely understands it. In many ways, he's sold himself on the American dream that's featured in his campaigns, rather than the American reality that Roger and Duck and Bert Cooper know all about. Don can't fathom the idea of ditching a loyal, happy, well-paying client like Mohawk for a wink from American, while they can't believe he would be so naive as to risk losing out on such a huge windfall. Roger knows how decent, polite people are supposed to act in this situation; he just doesn't care.

Peggy, meanwhile, continues to chart a course that's very different from what's expected of a woman her age in this time and place. You can tell how much she's enjoying her life as a single career woman -- note the pleasure on her face when she turns down Paul's college buddy, so delighted is she with this unexpected power -- and here we discover the Faustian bargain she made in order to keep that life. After leaving us hanging last week about the fate of the baby she delivered in "The Wheel," here Weiner fills in many of the blanks. Peggy was committed, however briefly (remember, the obstetrician called for a psych consult when it became clear how in denial Peggy was about her pregnancy), and now her sister is raising the boy as if he were her own. Peggy has no apparent affection for her son -- she only looks into his room at her sister's prompting, and looks more scared than anything -- and doesn't seem to have much of a relationship with him, even as his "aunt." (When sis hands her the kid at church, he immediately starts crying; obviously, every baby is different, but if Peggy was holding him a decent amount over his 15 months of life, he would likely be less agitated to be placed in her arms.)

Peggy's choice is the starkest version of the career-vs-family dilemma that women face even today. I'm curious to find out more of the backstory. I know that families sometimes do exactly what Peggy's sister is doing, for a variety of reasons, but you would think her mother would show more disapproval towards her over it, even a year late, as opposed to mild concern that Peggy doesn't go to church enough. In some ways, it feels very appropriate that this is Pete's baby, as we're reminded in this episode that both he and Peggy don't feel the same tug of the family ties that other characters might. The difference between the two is that Peggy has figured out what she wants from life and, for now, has been very successful in getting it, where Pete mostly stumbles through, relying on his connections and the beneficence of others to keep traveling on a path he doesn't even understand that well. I'd feel sorry for him if he wasn't such a weasel, you know?

Some other thoughts on "Flight 1":

-We open the episode with another of the series' signature long party sequences (this one runs about 7 minutes, an eternity for most drama series), as we visit Paul's new apartment in Montclair, NJ. Today, Montclair is a very desirable place to live, enough of a city/suburb mix of space and culture (for most of my life, it's been the only place in north Jersey to see art-house movies). Most of the people in the newsroom I've asked about the state of Montclair circa 1962 aren't old enough to remember the town back then, so I have no way of knowing if Paul's boasts about the place's rich cultural scene are accurate or more of his self-aggrandizement. But the sequence provides opportunity for another salvo in the war between pretentious lout Paul and woman scorned Joan. When Joan psychoanalyzes Paul in the Sterling-Cooper bullpen, her barbs couldn't be more accurate. At the same time, she's quite awful to Paul's girlfriend Sheila, even if she's arguably doing Sheila a favor by chasing her away from a guy who's using her for street cred.

-After watching the scene where Don teaches little Sally how to mix a Tom Collins, my wife warned me not to get any ideas about our own daughter. As priceless as that sequence was, I was even more struck by the later shot of Sally and Bobby sitting on the steps, not wanting to go to bed and fascinated by what they could make out of their parents' conversation with Francine and Carlton, simply because it was something being done by grown-ups. Again, we're still in a period where youth wasn't the be-all and end-all of culture, and the idea of adult conversation being exotic and powerful still lingered. My daughter is growing up in a time where the entire culture caters to her in one way or another, and while she loves and respects us, I imagine if she came down from her bedroom while we were entertaining company, it would be with a request to watch PBS Kids On Demand.

-So what are we to take of Don's contemplation of the waitress' offer? He and Betty seem to have reached an agreement -- unspoken or not, we don't know yet -- to get along better. (Note Don telling her he'd say whatever she wanted him to if it would avoid an argument.) But we also know that he has another woman in his mind, one he sent that book last week, and he doesn't immediately dismiss the waitress, implying that he might have taken her out if he wasn't so busy beating himself up for ditching Mohawk. If nothing else, she seems to tick two of Don's boxes, as an assertive brunette.

What did everybody else think?

84 comments:

Sarah said...

In keeping with the people not feeling the way they're "supposed to feel" theme, I think Betty is a good example as well. She does not really seem to have much "motherly" affection for her children and when she calls Bobby a liar, I think Don is taken aback by her harshness. This not the type of mothering that I think Don would like his children to have. Don wants to see the best in his children and Betty wants to see the worst.

pdf said...

This episode had me gasping out loud, and laughing out loud, at several points. I think it did an amazing job of balancing the "big" male arcs - Pete and his dad (and his brother) and Don vs. Roger and Duck - against the "smaller" female plots - not only Peggy and her son, but Joan vs. Paul, and Betty vs. Don. The impotence in episode 1 was only the beginning, it seems to me, of Betty's slow 'n' steady coup against her husband. Don Draper being the one willing to say anything to avoid a fight? That was quite a moment. But for me the highlight of the episode was definitely Joan ripping Paul from ankles to ears in, like, five deft sentences.

Pamela Jaye said...

I was even more struck by the later shot of Sally and Bobby sitting on the steps, not wanting to go to bed and fascinated by what they could make out of their parents' conversation with Francine and Carlton, simply because it was something being done by grown-ups

this reminds me of my childhood somehow (i was born in 59). perhaps in the way that the grownups in my family were *always* far more important than the children. I hear nowadays of people not wanting to move, not wanting to tear their children away from their friends, and I'm surprised. My parents never would have cared (my mother might have cared but had no control and would have just said "that's life. life is tough.")

the thing about the ep that threw me was the use of the song Sukiyaki, which was a hit in 1963 (a date pulled out of my head but verified) in an episode that took place in early (March of) 1962 (googled plane crash). Did the restaurant in question get it earlier since it was a Japanese restaurant?

I wasn't clear that that was Peggy's sister (so thanks), and does anyone know who Gertie was in last week's ep? The credits said Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar? I come from Trekkers, though I am not one. I did notice Vaughn Armstrong as the guy from American)

BigTed said...

The waitress wasn't just an assertive brunette, but, as an Asian woman in 1962, would have been considered "exotic" -- like his previous girlfriends, the Jewish woman and the artist/beatnik, and very much unlike Betty.

But it was another hilarious moment when we saw Don as lady-candy yet again. Unlike all the on-the-make guys on this show, all he has to do to pick up a beautiful woman is sit there, and then decide if he's interested or not.

JD said...

This show is so impeccably detailed. During the scene in the Catholic church with Peggy and her family, the crucifixes are covered in purple cloth, which only happens during the Lenten season. When I watched it, I immediately had to Wikipedia the date of Flight 1's crash to see if it took place during Lent, almost hoping that the creators were savvy enough to catch that little detail. Much to my amazement, they were spot-on--the crash happened on March 1. Great drama aside, sometimes it's the little details that really impress.

Also, for any other Catholic out there, did you notice how Peggy did not get up to receive communion? For all of her modernity and career advances, she still acknowledged the Catholic belief that an unwed pregnancy was a sin, thus eliminating her from receiving the sacrament. It's very much in keeping with the religious beliefs of the time.

Somebody on the Mad Men writing staff is reading their Catechism.

Nicole said...

I was wondering if the waitress was more than just a waitress because it seemed awfully forward for a woman, especially in that time, to suggest that she could do more than just get him drinks. Don Draper is hot and everything, but it made me wonder just what kind of place he has planned the meeting at.

I laughed and yet cringed at the revelation that Joan was 31 and somehow over the hill. Paul was behind that one.

I suppose that I should not have been surprised that Pete would eventually use his father's death to help land an account, but yet I hoped a tiny bit that he wouldn't have fallen for Duck's ludicrous plan.

As for the kids wanting to stay up with the adults, I think that it's something that will continue to happen, because kids want to know what adults do when they go to bed, I was born in the late 70's and if my parents had people over, I always wanted to know what they were doing.

Nicole said...

I don't think Peggy not going up for communion was as much as acknowledgment on her part that she was in a state of sin as much as her mother wouldn't allow her to go because I presume she hadn't been to confession since the birth. Had Peggy gone to confession, there wouldn't have been a problem as that particular sin would be absolved. Her mother didn't seem to have any problems lying about everything else she did.

Joel said...

Another interesting coincidence: the performer of Sukiyaki, Kyu Sakamoto, was also killed in a plane crash in 1985.

R.A. Porter said...

After watching Don with Betty tonight, I better understand her renewed interest in dressage. He's not just broken, he's looking to her to see which way she's going to pull the reins.

I don't think she meant to geld him, though.

Pamela Jaye said...

Another interesting coincidence: the performer of Sukiyaki, Kyu Sakamoto, was also killed in a plane crash in 1985.

I wasn't even aware of this till I wikipedia'ed him to verify the date of the song. Good catch, Joel


(from the girl who has grabbed lyrics from the web and attempted to sing that song)

so - what was the other foreign language song to hit #1 in 1963? ;-)

Pamela Jaye said...

guess what?

wikipedia says:

The recording was originally released in Japan by Toshiba in 1961. It topped the Popular Music Selling Record chart in the Japanese magazine "Music Life" for three months. [in 61?] In 1963, the British record label Pye Records released a cover version of the song by Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen. They were concerned that English-speaking audiences might find the original title too difficult to remember/pronounce, so they gave it the new title of "Sukiyaki'". This title was retained when Capitol Records in the United States, and His Master's Voice in the UK, released Kyu Sakamoto's original version a few months later.

BigTed said...

Hey, and score another one for Don: He immediately saw what an icon John Glenn would be. "I think he's a winner. Square jaw, false modesty -- he looks like he just took off his letterman jacket."

Nicole said...

When Don described John Glenn, I immediately thought - well isn't that the same as Don? He knows what works.

Elsie Ethrington said...

The Singing Nun and "Dominique"?

Myles said...

I love the duplicitous nature of Duck Phillips: maybe I was just naive, but I didn't immediately realize why he was asking Pete to join onto the AA pitch with such earnest. I thought he was just being nice, kind, considerate to someone in need; instead, as became clear later on, he was just trying to force Pete to pimp out his tragedy in order to drive business.

If there was ever any question of whether I was willing to root for Don's traditionalism in the face of Duck and embracing the future, this decides it: screw the future, at least Don's not a total douchebag.

Rest of the episode, as has been discussed, was immaculate and fantastic.

Pamela Jaye said...

way to go, Elsie!

Pamela Jaye said...

as for Peggy and mass,

I thought her comments (something like - I can make my own choices, and It doesn't mean the same thing to me that it does to you) meant that being a big girl in the city now, she didn't believe in going to church anymore. (another good reason not to take communion)
of course that "it doesn't mean..." could have also applied to what her mother's friends were saying or asking about her.

the thing I *don't* get - if she's living in the city, why would she be in her mother's ...um... parish, anyway? she could have been going to a catholic church in Manhattan... (though I honestly don't believe she is (was, whatever)

Anonymous said...

I laughed that Don basically ondoned his son's "lies." I guess somone who has lied about his entire identity shouldn't care about an art project fib.

And, while it was clear that Duck had an agenda when he approached Pete, he certainly knew that playing to Pete's vanity was the best approach. "I dont think he's our best, I think he's the best"

Pete seemed thrilled to finally be validated by a boss. (even if it meant his dad was dead.) Pete knows that Don would never give out a compliment like Duck did. So, Pete pimps out his Dad's death because he wants to be vital to someone at Sterling Cooper.

Anonymous said...

"condoned his son's fib"

not ondoned. Sorry

LA said...

I kind of thought Don turned down the waitress because he wasn't sure if he'd be struck with another case of impotence. Watching his face, it was like he was considering it and then thought better of it.

God, I love this show.

Jake said...

I think you are spot on, Alan, about Vincent Kartheiser's performance tonight, I think it might have been his best of the series. That he could actually make my heart break for Pete, Pete for crying out loud, upon Don's rejection, was impressive. The character development we got from Pete was great as well. Of course he went to help Duck, there is nothing that Pete wants more than a father-figure that approves of him, and after Don's rejection, I knew Pete would come to the pitch for AA. But there was so much more to Pete tonight, he seems totally unconcerned about the financial situation of his father's death, or at least far less than we would expect when in season 1, Pete called his father's money his.

I also liked quite a bit that Pete seemed hesitant to believe Don in saying he would go back to his family if his father died. Of course Don wouldn't, he would run, because that is what Don does. That Pete can see that really strengthens the tie between the two I think, and with Pete becoming attached to the AA account, more conflict between the two must abound, at least in the way that the two attempt to market the brand.

I didn't read into Don's rejection of the waitress what all of you did, I felt it was simply a way of communicating to the audience that, despite the fact we see his woman as someone who would be appealing to him, Don no longer engages in such behavior.

And, as said, the Paul/Joan action was very fun, and overall I was very happy with the episode, far more than the premiere which I felt was somewhat disappointing.

R.A. Porter said...

@anon, I'm not actually sure Bobby lied. Recall that the book from which Betty *believes* Bobby traced his picture of Washington was at home. She then starts spinning out theories that perhaps the very same book was at his school.

Far more likely to me, especially considering how poor and disinterested a mother Betty makes, is that Bobby's actually got talent and reproduced the drawing from memory and without aid. How would she know her son can draw? She doesn't even take the time to feed them. That's the help's job.

In case it's not clear, I think Betty is just about the least defensible person on this show (tho' January Jones seems nice enough.) I would rather hang out with Pete and Paul for an evening of Poser and the Pissant.

Brian said...

Up until the last scenes, this episode went out of its way to humanize Pete and garner audience sympathy for him, only to finish off with another classic Pete-is-a-sleazeball move (whoring out his father's memory).

Neat little trick they pulled, there.

I'm very curious as to what exactly went down between Don and Betty in the time between seasons. We still don't know if Betty made it known that she got wise to his infidelity...

Brian said...

In Paul's defense...do we know for sure that he's using Sheila as a prop/statement? My reaction to Joan's little diatribe in the office was "damn, Joan is one racist b**ch," not "ooo, she nailed Paul good." Maybe that's just me though. I like Paul, pipe and all.

Mo Ryan said...

Poser and the Pissant. Perfect!

Nice that we got to meet Harry's wife, Jennifer. And see a little more of Kitty Romano -- Sarah Drew from Everwood. And yeah, that geeked me out almost as much as seeing Tasha Yar -- sorry, Denise Crosby -- in the credits last week as Betty's riding instructor. Hope we see more of all three.

as for Betty being "harsh" about her son's alleged tracing of the drawing, I think she was basically taking Don to task for his own lies. A lot of her dialogue with him wasn't really about him, but there was a subtext of scolding him or holding him accountable for his behavior. He's clearly still making amends for something -- does he know she knows about the cheating? Presumably the shrink filled him in on that score. I have to wonder if there was an actual blowout and she confronted him about it. I'd bet not -- she's just getting her pound of flesh a quarter-ounce at a time.

I loved the daughter mixing the drinks. We had the first wet bar of our subdivision, with leather barstools and all. I loved looking at all my dad's weird liqueur bottles and different glasses and bar fixings. I think we had the same bottle of Grenadine for about a decade.

Kinsey with an ascot. Too awesome.

Joan, ending her dissection with "Go ahead, what part did I get wrong?" Wow.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe the actor who plays Pete didn't get nominated for an Emmy. So good!

And I LOVED the line of Pete's wife saying that she wants to go to the party for the benefit of the people who work for Pete. Which is of course what he told her they do.

Also, was this the first time we saw Harry's wife? Be nice to see him get a little more storytime as he's one of the more likable characters on the show.

Anonymous said...

So is it me or does the show itself look darker this year? I mean the lighting and way it's shot.

Odd.

Anonymous said...

I kind of wish Weiner hadn't given his take on the episode. I thought it was more about the relationship between parents and their children. And how those relationships (or lack thereof) make us who we are.

Peggy and her dead father.
Betty and her son.
Don and his son.
Pete and his dad.
Pete and Don (father figure.)
Pete and Duck (his new father figure.)
And finally, Peggy and her son.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I kind of wish Weiner hadn't given his take on the episode. I thought it was more about the relationship between parents and their children.

The great thing about art is that the artist's intent only goes so far. If you feel the parent/child thing was the most important part of the episode, then it was -- for you. And that's enough.

Artemisia said...

I loved this episode - so many interesting details fleshing things out - Harry's unpleasant wife, Peggy's mom and sister (aha, that's where the baby went), Pete's older brother and his dingbat of a wife (aha, Pete's the unwanted late in life baby), his father's spending all of his mother's money.

And some hints at things to come. Was I the only one who noticed last week when Betty announced to Juanita that she had a daughter, and then mentioned her son as an afterthough? And then her nastiness this week about Bobby copying a picture he'd seen and, god forbid, accepting praise for it? What is the kid, six? I think her hostility towards her husband is going to hit her little boy hard.

I wonder if her attitude towards the kids is forcing Don to pay more attention to the family to protect them.

Meanwhile, I can't believe how much I like Pete in this episode, even at the final pitch. He's just looking for a mentor/father figure. I loved when he said to his brother about the money "we were never going to get that." He's faced some facts in the last year or so.

Karen said...

This was a really smart episode, I thought, and I have been a reluctant hanger-on on the Mad Men bandwagon.

Nice that it wasn't just that Pete was pimping his father's death for his own career ends--rather, it was his ultimate revenge on a scornful father who hated his life in advertising. A father who, it turns out, for all his talk of their family's social and economic standing and how Pete was betraying it, was flat broke.

Alan, great catch on the significance of the shot of Pete leaning on his windowsill. I had assumed at first it was Don, since that's "his" shot, and was surprised to see it was Pete--but hadn't through through the why.

I agree that kids these days are less interested in what their parents and their parents' friends are doing, because the culture is so skewed to them. I, too, can't imagine my 10-year-old twin nephews coming down from bed and expecting anything other than being the center of attention.

The Don/Betty relationship has gotten quite ugly. Whether it's parenting, friend-assessment, or whatever; they are NOT in harmony. I notice that, in these first two episodes, he doesn't call her Birdie anymore.

Oh, and I also thought the woman in the restaurant was a hooker. That was just WAAAAY too blatant.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree that Betty is unable to see that her son has real talent, but is using his perceived failings as an attack on Don.

Also interesting, Pete's throwing in with Duck. Obviously, Duck was floundering with his AA contact until Pete showed up and "pimped" his father's memory. Of course, this al fits in with the firm's conception of Pete, leveraging his access to his father's world of clubs and patronage.

All I could think about, was what sort of settlement Pete could get out of the airline. Ah, such a less litigious age!

Puff

zodin2008 said...

At some point, the Don-Duck rivalry is going to build and build and build and eventually explode - maybe by the end of this season.

It's blatantly obvious that Duck is trying to undercut Don, regularly, push him out and steal his job. And Roger and Bert Cooper seem willing (for now) to really listen to Duck - more ruthless than Draper.

In watching Bert in that scene where Duck is clearly manipulating Roger and Bert, you see Bert sitting at his desk, looking glum but nodding in agreement with shady Duck. I almost wonder if that scene late in S1 where Pete exposed Don and Bert supposedly dismissed it, has remained etched in Bert's mind and it now leaves him with doubts about Don one day being a leader for Sterling-Cooper.

Pete's big act of rebellion seemed to backfire, but you wonder if a seed was planted and something is growing that could lead Don to be an outcast.

My sense is that Don is eventually going to really see what Duck is all about and is going to be forced - almost like a mob war - to take Duck out before Duck takes him out. There may also be a battle for Pete's soul in the process and Pete will have to decide which side he's on.

Roger and Bert? They will simply go with whomever looks like they can make better leadership decisions for accounts.

Tom said...

Best episode yet.

I agree with Karen re: the 'waitress.' That was some shady restaurant. Don wasn't the only guy in a business suit drinking alone there.

As for Joan's evisceration of Kinsey, I didn't leave that scene thinking her barbs were accurate and the maybe she had done his girlfriend a favor. I was wondering how much of that sort of crap Obama's mother must have put up with.

Vive le difference!

ant said...

Wow, awesome catch Joel.

This episode was great. Everyone's arc was heartbreaking, even if for no other reason than they've chosen to do the wrong--petty, mean, weak-- thing.

This episode also showed that Pete's dad didn't give him the money for a condo last year as much because he was broke as because he doesn't approve of Pete. Just like with Pete and the AA pitch, it was both distaste for his son's decisions and economic reality. I'm also really worried about Cooper--his hands were shaking in the first scene. Never thought I'd love a character who loved Ayn Rand.

Finally, can I think that Joan was exactly right and racist?

Clareon said...

What a great episode. I loved the development of Pete, Peggy, Paul and Joan. But the Don/Betty (or should I now talk about Betty/Don?) scenes were fascinating to me. Betty seems to have a real man-hate on. I agree with other comments about the possibility of Bobby having real talent instead of being the liar that his mother labeled him. Betty has taken charge--notice how she took out the garbage?

Also, Carlton is wearing a fat suit. Do you think he's pregnant?

Karen said...

Something else just struck me about the Don/Lamont scene. Don was being completely sincere as he told Lamont that he didn't agree with the decision to drop Mohawk, and that he had wanted Mohawk and S-C to grow together. And Lamont responds, with some embarrassment, that Don had fooled him. Don, who has spent his entire adult life in a lie, trying to fool people into believing his new version of himself, is called a fake at his one moment of purest sincerity. That had to hurt, huh? Talk about the boy who cried Wolf!

Matter-Eater Lad said...

"Was I the only one who noticed last week when Betty announced to Juanita that she had a daughter, and then mentioned her son as an afterthough?"

Not only that, but last week we never saw Bobby until Don came home. While Betty was there, he was out of sight and thus, for her, out of mind.

It's also important to note that her story about Bobby tracing the picture doesn't really hold together -- he could have copied it, which is still impressive for a kid that age and a perfectly good thing for a young artist to do, or remembered it, or maybe the picture he drew of Washington looked like the book's picture of Washington because they're both pictures of George Frakking Washington.

Anonymous said...

Re: Don and the waitress- I took it as the bookend to the "what does one do?" question- Don thinks of himself not as a guy who does the right thing, but as a guy who knows how one is supposed to behave in certain circumstances. When the waitress (?) propositioned him, he considered how one might best respond (especially considering his newfound domestication), showed the proper amount of delay in responding (so as not to insult the woman), then did what one is supposed to do. Decline. Exit. Mirrored perfectly by Peggy, in church. What is one supposed to do? Decline communion. Hold the baby. Satisfy mother by appearing in church. But of course, she can't do the one thing that is expected, which is show some affection toward her baby. Lovely!

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm missing something, but why does Duck seem like he's Don's boss, instead of the other way around? Isn't Don now a partner? But Duck carries himself (and addresses Don) as if he was his superior. I understand Duck's arrogance, but wouldn't Don stand up more for himself? Or am I misreading the whole situation?

Alan Sepinwall said...

why does Duck seem like he's Don's boss, instead of the other way around? Isn't Don now a partner? But Duck carries himself (and addresses Don) as if he was his superior.

For all we know, Duck was also made a partner when he was hired. But even if he wasn't, it's been established that accounts is considered more important to the business than creative, so even if Don technically outranks Duck, Duck has the more influential position.

virgil said...

I agree with your take on Vincent Kartheiser's mannered speech patterns. It bothered me last season that he was (in my opinion) the only person who was visibly acting, but watching him with his family, it becomes clear how stilted all of their communication is, and how Pete has no idea how to speak to another human being. (I think he's something of a sociopath, and in this regard I think he may be outdone only by Peggy.)

That Campbell family scene, and the one between Pete and Don as Don advises Pete to go home to his family, were bizarre, and perfect, with a deadpan oddity that reminded me a little of Hal Hartley's first few films.

LA said...

It may be 14 months later, and Jennifer Crane may be pregnant, but Harry's still in the dog house.

Anonymous said...

Just a reminder to the Sopranos - not sure if Weiner wrote this story line, but Paulie Walnuts was also raised by a woman who he later discovered to be his aunt (his mother was a nun), similar to Peggy's child.

Marlark said...

Another nuanced triumph. I thought it fitting that the cruelest of downed airliner jokes came from Pete (i.e. “so many dead golfers went into Jamaica bay the water turned plaid”) who received the ultimate comeuppance.

I agree with your assessment of Pete. He’s not just callow, he’s hollow. Even his “mantasy” of dragging home a carcass to have his woman cook it for him was only a reaction to his emasculating wife. He is only as deep as his self-interest allows.

Duck plays him and manipulates him through overt flattery and subtle inducements. I’m not sure that Don’s dismissive reaction alone pushed Pete under Duck’s wing – I think Pete would’ve ended up at the club anyway (with Star Trek Enterprise’s Admiral Forrester, cool!). Pete will, in fact, sell out those nearest him to accomplish his goals: be published, be promoted, be prime on American Airlines.

At first I thought Pete’s line readings were incredible bland and amateurish. Then I realized that the words sounded bland because his emotions were. He was stating facts about emotions without the emotion. It was terrific.

A few other notes:
I also vividly remember sitting on the steps halfway to our bedrooms listening to the conversations of my parents’ company when they had their cigarette-fueled parties. Running in and sneaking a handful of peanuts from the many snack dishes placed throughout the downstairs was a particular act of reconnoitering I excelled at.

So far, the indignities and (mis)treatment of African-Americans by the main characters of Mad Men are equaled by their common sense reactions. Don’s housekeeper wisely turns down a liquor-fueled ride home to the train. Paul’s enthusiastic date quickly discerns and deftly sidesteps the racially charged innuendo from Joan (The smile vanishes from her face and finally she lights up and says, “I like your purse!”). Let alone the disgust of the cleaning man during Pete/Peggy’s early morning tryst.

I also liked the nice fade from the cross design within the lamp at the “Pearl Harbor” restaurant to the cross in Peggy’s mother’s church, each with their own cross to bear, no doubt

Lastly, I almost had an out-of-body flashback when Paul’s date said she worked at Food Fair. That was a grocery chain reaching its zenith in the mid-60s. My dad was a buyer for Food Fair in those days (HQ’d in Philadelphia) and just hearing its name brought back all the rec-room, Dick Van Dyke, and tail-fin glory of my earliest memories.

cgeye said...

"Nice that it wasn't just that Pete was pimping his father's death for his own career ends--rather, it was his ultimate revenge on a scornful father who hated his life in advertising. A father who, it turns out, for all his talk of their family's social and economic standing and how Pete was betraying it, was flat broke."

HELLS YEAH. Pete really couldn't get revenge any other way -- the family will keep their insolvency secret; his mother will never face the truth; Pete will have to earn his living for the rest of his life, after decades of being put down by a man so contemptuous of his family that he spent riches that weren't his own.

Duck gave Pete the perfect frame: He knew Pete didn't worship his dad, since he wasn't in contact with him enough to even know he was on the plane. Duck also gave Pete the perfect entry to spill his feelings ('when my dad died I went on a bender for a week'), and Pete obliged by sharing his distance from his dad. Duck kept on saying the right things, down to the 'oh, I know he love*s* you' bit, but he came into that office ready to tear that lil' buckaroo down, to make him his own man -- and incidentally cement Pete into place as a bulwark against Don's power plays.

Don's gonna regret that Duck and Pete have bonded, yessireebob.

And as for the ST All Star Players non-latex/jumpsuit rehab program? Nice to see those actors in normal clothing, and nuanced roles.

SR said...

Great episodes, and great comments from everyone so far.

I'd like to offer another angle on Duck. We as viewers are so tied to Don and his POV that it's natural to perceive Duck as the enemy. But if Duck were the star of the show, we'd be viewing his actions in a very different light.

Certainly he's not wrong about the youthquake that's about to hit American culture. If his clients are asking for younger writers, it's his job to recommend hiring some.

And it's clear that he's much more ambitious than Don. I loved Roger's line about Sterling Cooper becoming the kind of agency "where everyone has a summer house." I'm not sure I agree with Duck that tossing Mohawk overboard is a great bet, but he is single-handedly trying to pull SC out of the minor leagues. And I believe that Duck was being sincere when he was praising Pete. Heck, sincere flattery is the most effective kind of flattery.

Moreover, as much as we may dislike Pete, he is one of the more forward-thinking SC staffers. Sure, he's an entitled little weasel - but, as Weiner has pointed out in interviews, he's often right. (Volkswagon, Nixon)

Which brings us to Duck's little heart-to-heart with Pete. If you see Duck as a hero trying to make SC a world-class agency, you might forgive him for taking advantage of a tragedy. But we all know Pete wasn't so much in mourning as in shock, and the best thing for Pete's career prospects would be to help land the AA acount. Plus, he's desperate for a father figure - he visibly perked up after getting a compliment, like an eager boston terrier. If Duck can be his new mentor and role model, who's to say that's worse choice than the man who calls himself Don Draper?

Sure, it's sleazy to use Pete's personal loss as leverage. (As a viewer, I didn't totally buy how well that worked.) But I see the same type of thing happen so often in the real world that it hardly seems like much of a stretch here.

And it's worth noting that though Duck is certainly working at cross purposes to Don, he's always gone through proper channels. Don's real problem is that Bert and Roger agree with Duck time and again.

A footnote: ten years after the events in this episode, the real-life Mohawk Airlines was bought out by Allegheny Airlines. Forty years later, American is still around.

R.A. Porter said...

@sr, interesting insights. I think you've got something there. Except I have to disagree with one thing. I'd say Pete visibly perked up like a French bulldog.

;)

cgeye said...

Pete's first real affair -- with an assertive woman who'll see him as an equally assertive man -- will turn on his lights.

For now, he lives for praise like an adolescent, in a world that accepts him as an adult when he does not feel that yet. A woman so dazzling that he has no room to doubt himself regarding her desire for him would change him more than 10,000 compliments from Duck. A man that cruel to Peggy is a man begging to have someone else take the reins of his life, but in a way that enhances his status in the world of men.

Gina Lollabrigida should do.

cgeye said...

Oh, yeah -- Paul stealing a typewriter and a girl almost getting fired for it? That's the type of sin in my eyes I do not forgive.

He's rich enough to go slumming, but not rich enough to go hunting for a girl working for IBM and who'd get an employee discount? Cheap bastid...

cgeye said...

"I know that families sometimes do exactly what Peggy's sister is doing, for a variety of reasons, but you would think her mother would show more disapproval towards her over it, even a year late, as opposed to mild concern that Peggy doesn't go to church enough."

Alan, to answer your question, Ms. Maureen Ryan:

"How about the serious guilt trip that Peggy's mother laid on her about Peggy's dead father wanting her to go to Mass and "light a candle" for him. "She's not going to be here forever," Peggy's sister said after their mother left the room, adding another dollop of guilt."

It's a tag-team deal: You can bet that all the drama you don't see between them happened through those first three months when Peggy was on leave, then to a lesser extent for the year beyond that.

Having seen such trouble, it doesn't take long before everyone gets burned out yelling at each other, and they decide to get down to business, once everyone accepts that nothing is going to change.

If the state and her doctors couldn't swing her around to be a decent mom, why would her family push her into possibly a psychotic break? *That's* the undertone, here: If Peggy was mentally ill enough to require state intervention, her folks would be walking on eggshells, making sure she checked in with them, not allowing her much room to do anything else impetuous. That's why her sister asks about attending church; I bet it's for more of the routine of it than Peggy's expression of faith.

Pamela Jaye said...

as I watched the ep for the third time tonight, something someone said reminded me of the fact that Don, last year, turned down a job with a much larger company - perhaps because he believed SC was a family, or ethical, or at least the kind of company that the guy from Mohawk thought Don was representative of.
And this is how Roger thanks him for his loyalty?

having said that, it's interesting that a man whose entire identity (to the world at least) is based on a lie, is so committed to being... honest, sincere, committed to the little guy, at the expense of great financial gain and prestige (Mohawk vs American).

What Mohawk guy said was correct - what you see in Don is what SC is all about - but apparently the tide has turned. And Don gave up a very big career move out of loyalty to people who are now in no way loyal to him or his valued clients.

KLE said...

And didn't the company that was courting Don boast that they had AA and that he could take it over if he joined them?

Maura said...

If the state and her doctors couldn't swing her around to be a decent mom, why would her family push her into possibly a psychotic break? *That's* the undertone, here: If Peggy was mentally ill enough to require state intervention, her folks would be walking on eggshells, making sure she checked in with them, not allowing her much room to do anything else impetuous. That's why her sister asks about attending church; I bet it's for more of the routine of it than Peggy's expression of faith.

I think Peggy's sister was saying that Peggy had broken her mother's heart once by having a child out of wedlock, and her not going to church was breaking her mother's heart again.

I don't think Peggy is or was mentally ill. The doctor, the state and possibly her family decided she was. I'm assuming the baby was taken away from her, although I doubt that caused her any problems. If she'd had a choice, she would most likely have placed the baby for adoption anyway.

What is causing her problems is having her son in the family. I can't help but think that her family had punishment on their minds when she was made to give the baby to her sister.

R.A. Porter said...

@maura, mentally ill, probably not. But being in denial about being pregnant as you're giving birth is pretty questionable. I could see a doctor today having her doubts about Peggy's mental health.

Wordnerd said...

JD (and others), I caught all the Catholic accuracies -- spot on! I didn't finish all the comments, so someone may already have made this point, but I'm thinking even if Peggy had gone to Communion, and even IF mom had allowed it, the priest may very well have refused to offer it.

Also, I wish I could have high-fived Joan after her tirade -- I didn't see it as racist; indeed, it was a different time -- she nailed it.

KC said...

I know I'm insane for saying this: but Pete has always been my favorite character. And I've always found him more likeable than Don.

This episode though, is probably my favorite Mad Men so far, as you get a bigger picture of where everyone is currently and the Pete storyline was amazing, and very true to his character.

As for, Peggy and whether or not she has a mental illness. I would definitely say yes. Between, not knowing you were having a baby, as you were having a baby, and her actions now. I'd definitely peg her as mentally ill. (I'm leaning towards depression.)

Maura said...

But being in denial about being pregnant as you're giving birth is pretty questionable. I could see a doctor today having her doubts about Peggy's mental health.

I can't argue with that. I just don't think she needed to be committed for three months. However, that could be how they handled such things back then.

Lastly, I almost had an out-of-body flashback when Paul’s date said she worked at Food Fair. That was a grocery chain reaching its zenith in the mid-60s. My dad was a buyer for Food Fair in those days (HQ’d in Philadelphia) and just hearing its name brought back all the rec-room, Dick Van Dyke, and tail-fin glory of my earliest memories.

I loved that. My parents did most of the food shopping at Food Fair. It was a great little detail.

PaulRW said...

I did not see Don's reluctance to ditch Mohawk being so much about loyalty: it was another strike against him as an aggressive "manly man" -- in this season, he's wimped out in much of his life, and others sense it.
The partners were willing to gamble the loss of Mohawk for a chance at American; Don was not up to the risk.
But it was not loyalty -- he stressed that Mohawk was a 'paying client.' It was bird in hand.
If AA had offered a sure thing, Don would have pushed Mohawk out the door himself.

However, I don't think Sterling-Cooper will get American Airlines: the point of the show is that they are a third-tier agency, and such a huge client would change everything. They'd even have to upgrade all the sets!
Plus, dramatically it would mean that Don has pretty much lost completely; without it, we have a season's continuing struggle, made more desperate by the fact that SC no has no airline client.

dsilver415 said...

Great episode and a great discussion on this board.

Following up on the thread about this episode being about parent/child relationships and how they mold us for life, I agree that Betty's attitude toward her children, the son especially, has pulled Don in closer. Or at least made him more aware. Aware of the importance of his "role" at home. And even if he is just acting, doing what people do, he now seems to know that his performance has real consequences on who his children will be.

With all the warning signs about eminent change from the last episode, coupled with a few diverted crisis from last season (Don being courted by the bigger agency, his wanting to flee with Rachel), the question of whether Don will remake himself again, is now being challenged by the question of: will he stay and fight for what he has?

Also think that this episode cements Don's afiinity with Peggy on a personal level. They both had to re-invent themselves. Only Peggy is still surrounded by her former life...

barefootjim said...

As usually, way late to the party, but just wanted to add that my best friend's son is pushing 11, and for the past several years, he's always been interested in what was going on when my wife & I were visiting.

Now, of course, he's getting to the age where he just won't care, but I think that there is still a fascination with seeing your parents with friends because it one of the few times you get to see them being something besides parents.

jana said...

"Plus, he's desperate for a father figure - he visibly perked up after getting a compliment, like an eager boston terrier."

More like an eager French Bulldog.

JustJoan said...

So much content! It's Tuesday and I still am digesting it all. A couple of psychological points:
-- I don't think the Japanese hostess was a hooker, I think she was genuinely attracted to Don. What interested me more is that he wasn't buying, yet she has many things going for her: attractive, openly available without the probability of a follow-up, and exotic enough to counterbalance any shadowy concern about impotence.
-- Peggy appears to be in a semi-fugue state, possibly dating from her third trimester. She exhibits no outward emotion connected to the birth, and reserves all her feelings for work and achieving sex on her terms.
-- Joan is not, IMO, a racist; she is focused on getting back at Paul with surgical accuracy. That she does so by hurting his girlfriend is a byproduct of that strike. In military terms, the gf is collateral damage.
-- Betty may be exhibiting symptoms of what will later be called a borderline personality. I shudder for the future of those children.

Tom said...

So Joan is 'getting back at Paul with surgical accuracy'? Refresh my memory -- what, exactly, has he done to deserve this retribution?

She shows up at his party, sees he's dating a black woman, insults the woman with snarky condescension. Joan then lies by saying white-negro-wannabe Paul was never 'open minded.'

Later, when Paul calls her on her awful behavior, Joan mocks his interracial dating by accusing him of having no real interest in Sheila outside of her value as hipster arm-candy. Neither she (nor we) have any real basis to assume her assumptions about Paul and Sheila are correct.

Okay, maybe Joan's not racist. She's jst a mean bitch who uses race-baiting to score points off of an ex. That'll do till the real racists come along.

R.A. Porter said...

@tom, I would have thought the 'previously on' was enough information to remind you what Paul had done. He's got a big goddamn mouth. He's not just an ex, he's a blabbermouth.

Joan is ever consistent: her personal life is hers alone and she doesn't want it to be shared around the office.

JustJoan said...

@tom, Paul's previous actions and behaviors show that Joan's assessment of his motives is probably correct. After all, as a former lover, she knows how he operates, who better to know how pretentiously he behaves? I have no problem believing that he chose to date his new girlfriend based on her ethnicity, which is pretty shallow, not to mention despicable. As for saying that if Joan is not racist she will do until one comes along, I think you are taking what she said as a reflection of what she believes. Her target was Paul's posturing as a sophisticate, not his poor girfriend. Of course, as JustJoan, I must stand by ThisJoan.

Pamela Jaye said...

wow! just so much going on on so many levels.

I remember a young girl on ER denying having a baby just after she gave birth. I don't think we saw her give birth.

I'm as curious now about Borderline Personality Disorder as when Rebecca was "diagnosed" with it on Grey's.
Does anyone know what it is? I've read wikipedia, but I've also read Mount Misery (by the author of The House of God) and some say there's no such thing. Besides the fact that "borderline" doesn't mean ...well anything. Narcissistic means something. (I can't think of any other genres of PD's)

Does it mean she almost has a personality disorder (if so which one?) or that she almost has a *personality*?

(was that too deep a question?)

and what in heck went on with *her* parents? (I see Pete's, Don's...)

LA said...

I think Peggy suffered an adjustment disorder, nothing worse than that. Of course, psychiatry was a different animal in 1960, but this is what I'd call it by today's DSM-IV criteria.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adjustment_disorder

Whether Joan is racist or not is unknown to me, but her target was Paul, not his girlfriend. I believe she sized Paul up accurately, and I agree with justjoan's analysis.

Tom said...

Okay, Paul is a pretentious douche and Joan's break-room assessment of his motives for dating 'his baby' Sheila may be dead-on. (On the other hand, we can't at this point know for certain.)

But really, there is no excuse for Joan telling Sheila that when she and Paul dated he wasn't 'open-minded.' Paul may be a cringe-worthy faux hipster, but you couldn't call him close-minded. The point of Joan's comment was to signal to Sheila that a white man needs an open mind to date a black woman.

Even though I see (and enjoy) the personal interplay between Paul and Joan, I also saw the real pain in Sheila's face when Joan sticks in the knife. And that's the point of the scene, I think.

Jim's Library said...

I was thinking more about Peggy's pregnancy and 3 month absence. I wonder if Pete covered for her. Perhaps she called him, and it'd be in his best interest to keep his love child under wraps. It could also explain his quick dismissal of her absence with his "Fat farm, I thought we had confirmation?" comment, trying to keep it under the rug...

Alan Sepinwall said...

I wonder if Pete covered for her. Perhaps she called him, and it'd be in his best interest to keep his love child under wraps.

That doesn't work with the scene in the premiere where Pete asked Peggy if she was ready to have kids yet. Pete has no idea.

ascot said...

One thing no one has commented on - was Cooper supposed to seem so old and out of it in the AA meeting (hands shaking, commenting on Don's quip out of nowhere), or is poor Robert Morse just...well, old and out of it? If Cooper's old and out of it - that dynamic would change the whole office, leading Duck to an even more powerful position within the company, and moving Don down the work ladder even more. Or maybe Robert Morse has had better days.

dsilver415 said...

One last thought with very, very minor reference to Generation Kill, episode 2 (in case you don't want ot read this).

Due to my little son's schedule, I am watching my favorite shows when I can, often now weeks after the fact. As it turns out I watched this Mad Men episode at about the same time I saw Gen. Kill, ep. 2. And I was immediately struck by 2 extremely paralleled scenes:

Mad Men: Pete, shocked after getting the phone call, wanders into Don's office in a state of confussion, not being sure how he is supposed to act. Emotionless.
Don tries to comfort him.

Gen Kill: Colbert sees movement in a nearby field, and investigates. There he finds an unfortunate soldier who has survived intense fighting that apparently most, if not all, of his fellow soldiers seemingly did not. The man is shocked and distraught, and Colbert feels for him and tries to reach out to him to see if he can help.

The similarities go further in that, up until now, both Draper and Colbert have seemed unemotional and detached from feelings themselves. But yet here, in each instance, I believe that each man can barely hide his basic human nature and compassion. This is evidenced by watching each of their faces, complete with moistened eyes.

In Mad Men, this, coupled with Don's sensitivity to his son's condition at home, made me re-examine my thoughts about who Don is.

And in Gen. Kill, this was a first glimpse and an early establishing scene, that these guys are just people in a very bad situation, regardless of any of their outward appearance.

JustJoan said...

Some assorted stuff:

About Joan and racism, I think what I have been trying to do is see these people and their attitudes, as much as possible, as they are in terms of the times they inhabit. It may be easier for me than most because I am of that period. I came to New York in the early sixties, straight from a college where I always say I majored in picketing. I well remember that then, I was frighteningly sincere about my liberal code of ethics, and I am proud of much that I did and said. But I also confess that a little of Paul's posturing cuts uncomfortably close to home, because I was very proud to have a "Negro" boyfriend. And proud that I shocked my family by doing so. So I try very hard not to apply today's more politically correct mores to that less-enlightened time.

About Peter and Peggy and who knows what. I agree with Alan that Pete is clueless, and I'll go further. I believe Pete is being browbeaten, ever so nicely, by his in-laws into taking responsibility for the lack of children running around his tastefully furnished apartment. If his wife turns out to be infertile, that may bring Peggy's farmed-out child back into focus. I think that Don knows some, if not all, of Peggy's situation. As the person she reports to and the one who would have had to sign off on an extended leave, Don either knows she had an unplanned pregnancy or some sort of breakdown. I suspect the first would be easier for her to return from, work-wise, than the latter, in the early 60s.

Finally, Betty may nor have crossed the border into borderline personality syndrome, but there is some serious and ugly stuff underneath that pretty blonde 'do of hers. Whatever happened after she sent a message to Don via her shrink, she is becoming quite the homemaker/ballbreaker. And what she says to her children makes me fear that I might add sociopath to the mix. Come to think of it, she did harm small animals last season. Remember the birds?

Bob in SA said...

Betty has freaked me out ever since she shot the birds with the .22 in her nightie. What I can't understand is why Don is still hanging around. She has become the uber-b*tch. I still don't see him having the kind of relationship with his kids that would keep him at home. Run away Don, while you still can!

Kinny said...

the thing I *don't* get - if she's living in the city, why would she be in her mother's ...um... parish, anyway? she could have been going to a catholic church in Manhattan... (though I honestly don't believe she is (was, whatever)

Because she's clearly not going for herself, but to appease her mother. Going to a church in Manhattan and telling her mother about it later doesn't quite have the same effect.

Girl Detective said...

Finally watched it. What was up with Peggy's vacuum cleaner? Was it just a symbol of the domestic ties she has to her mom, and how her mom guilts her--food, church, emptying the vacuum bag?

I know it's unlikely,but Peggy's sister said the stuff about the state once mom left the room. Could Peggy's sister have covered it up from the mom?

And I took the comment about the state and the doctors to mean that Peggy hadn't wanted to give up the child. I think there's a lot of interesting detail to be filled in, here.

Anonymous said...

About Peggy's salary...I earned $0.75 an hour in 1953 at a summer job in Cincinnati($35.00 a week). I don't believe someone would be earning quite so little in 1961 especially in NYC.

Juanita's Journal said...

Why is it so hard for fans to accept the possibility that Joan might be a little racist? If we can accept the sexism of the other characters - including Don, who has been sexist toward his own wife and Rachel Menken - why is it difficult to consider the possibility that Joan might be harboring a small case of racism?

Joan had plenty of opportunities to call out Paul on his pretentiousness . . . including the time when she and Sal acted out his play in "Nixon vs. Kennedy". She had even suspected that Paul and Peggy were interested in each other by mid Season 1. Yet, upon meeting Sheila, she decides to be bitchy toward his current squeeze?

The Chasing Iamb said...

This is an incredibly late comment on Don's daughter mixing drinks. But I can't resist. There is a bit in Mary McCarthy's Birds of America (set in the 1070), where the protagonist, a newly divorced woman, says she disapproves of the parents of the time who commonly asked their children to mix their cocktails for them.

When I watched this scene I was very struck by it and reminded of the book.

The Chasing Iamb said...

ummm... that should have been 1970 not 'the 1070'

Castaway said...

I'm a latecomer to Mad Men, having watched the first season and now catching up on the second season via the reruns. It's a great show---I love the attention to detail, and the actors are excellent. Thanks to Alan for his great recaps and to everyone for their insightful comments.

AaronM said...

Fantastic writeup, Alan.
BTW, the great song in the credits: George McGregor & the Bronzettes - Temptation Is Hard To Fight.

mommacharbear said...

Everyone raves about how accurate the show is about 1960s culture but what about ETHNIC culture?

Did anyone else notice the glaring mistake that while Don was in a Japanese restaurant, the waitress was wearing a Chinese dress?