Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mad Men, "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency": Today's Tom Sawyer, mean, mean ride

Spoilers for tonight's "Mad Men" coming up just as soon as I never play golf again...
"What are you afraid of?" -Don
"Afraid of what's going to happen when you turn off the lights." -Sally

"He might lose his foot." -Paul
"Right when he got it in the door." -Roger
When I interviewed Matthew Weiner before the season began, I asked whether there would be any big mysteries this year like Don's identity or Peggy's baby. "Things get chaotic so quickly," he replied, "and there are so many more immediate problems. There is a high level of tension pretty soon."

Watching the season's early episodes, I kept wondering when the chaos and immediate problems would begin. Now, having watched "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency" - the highlight of season three to date, and one of the best "Mad Men" episodes ever - I know. If we're going to consider, as I suggested last week, the first four episodes to be an extended prologue, and "The Fog" as the unofficial start of season three's storylines, then "Guy" is when all those storylines go insane, quickly.

I loved "The Fog," which was very Don-and-Betty-centric, but seeing all the Sterling Cooper shenanigans in this one made me realize how much stronger the series is when Don's work life has at least as much emphasis as his home life, if not moreso. Don's wife and kids are a key part of the fabric of "Mad Men," but Sterling Cooper offers so many additional characters and conflicts that episodes set largely in the office always feel richer. Don's struggle to play this role he doesn't really want as a husband and father is always interesting, but given the choice, I'd much rather see him argue with Roger, you know?

I'm struggling to think of an episode of the series that has made me laugh as much as this one did with all the twisted jokes about poor Guy losing his foot (including not only Roger's line quoted above but the janitor squeegeeing blood in the background of the scene where the chipmunks yell at Smitty and the episode's title itself), or the shock value of the lawnmower accident itself(*). Yet "Guy" was also a dramatic marvel, somehow providing even greater depth to characters like Joan, Roger, Bert Cooper and Lane Pryce, and upending nearly every relationship at the agency even as the status quo was (mostly) restored by the episode's end.

(*) A week after I made a joke about Chekhov's Gun in relation to Miss Farrell, the show gave us a much more immediate example with the lawn tractor. You drive a thing like that into an office in the first act, you know it's going to cause something bad by the last. And of course it was Lois at the wheel. Is there anything she doesn't manage to massively screw up?

The driving forces here are fear and anticipation. Characters are afraid of, and/or excited about, what they can't see, and what they don't know will happen next. Most of all, they fret about being replaced, or thrill to the idea that they might be replacing someone.

Sally is afraid of the dark, but really she's afraid that her baby brother is the haunted reincarnation of her dead grandfather. (And with a mom still trying to tell her fairies are real, can you blame her?) Lane fears being judged harshly by St. John, and is horrified to learn he's being "rewarded" with a transfer to the Bombay office. Joan is prepared to leave Sterling Cooper forever, to let the hateful Mr. Hooker succeed her, and to be a stay-at-home wife (and maybe mother?) for chief resident-to-be Dr. Greg, who has considered his promotion in the bag forever. Don lets Cooper talk him into the idea that St. John Powell is coming to New York to hand him the keys to the PPL kingdom, while Guy knows that he's the true crown prince.

"I bet he felt great when he woke up this morning," Joan will later say of Guy, and at various points in the episode, we see characters lying in bed, eyes fixed on a lamp (on or off) as they consider the possibilities and pitfalls of what will happen when they wake up.

In the end, everyone's hopes and fears turn out to be mostly wrong. Baby Gene is just a baby. PPL has no interest in Don beyond keeping him at his current station - though unexpectedly, Conrad Hilton(**) shows up to make Don's day end better than he had thought. Greg doesn't get his promotion, and in fact learns his surgical career is at a dead end in New York, and still needs to rely on his wife as the bread-winner. But Joan has too much pride to ask for her job back, even when given a golden opportunity after her quick thinking saves Guy's life. Guy's brilliant career is over before it really gets a chance to start, and Lane in turn is allowed to remain in charge. And Roger, who had no opinion one way or the other about what the British wanted, gets slapped across the face with how irrelevant he's become - and Guy's maiming perhaps gives him, like Lane, a second chance to show his relevance to the company.

(**) Hearing the words "Conrad Hilton" made me irrationally happy, because it meant all the commenters who guessed that "Connie" from "My Old Kentucky Home" was actually Hilton (based primarily on the birthplace of San Antonio, New Mexico) were correct. It's nice to get such a blatant reminder of how smart this show's viewers are.

I'm writing this review in advance of the Emmys, so I have no idea if Jon Hamm got the trophy this year (or Elisabeth Moss, for that matter). But while he was winning or losing an award on CBS, he was giving one of his best performances so far on AMC. When a show is at the age "Mad Men" has reached, and has a cast this good, the relationships are so well-established that the writers can lay off the exposition and let the actors tell us how their characters relate to each other. Hamm shows us a Don Draper who's actually a pretty good dad to Sally when he's around; a Don who can be magnanimous in presumed victory and make peace with Roger; a Don who for once seems totally happy and at ease with Betty (and vice versa) as she serves him leftovers; and a Don who understands and appreciates Joan more than anyone else at that shop. And because we know Don so well, and Hamm is so great at economically showing what's going through Don's head, we can quickly see him establishing the rules of his new relationship with Connie Hilton.

I could easily write an entire review just about that Don/Joan scene at the hospital, where these two say so little and yet say everything about their feelings for each other. Christina Hendricks kills it throughout the episode, but it was stunning to see the exhaustion on her whole body as she stood there in a blood-soaked dress, and to hear what I have to assume is her real speaking voice(***), without a trace of the breathy sexpot tone we know so well. Joan isn't just a character Christina Hendricks plays; she's a character Joan plays. And when we see her at the end of this very long, bad day - the culmination of a pretty terrible period in her life as the wife of a rapist, who isn't even going to offer her the upward mobility she thought she was signing on for - we see what an effort it is for her to make everything look so easy. And we see Don, at the end of his own long, strange day (albeit one that was vastly more successful, career-wise than Joan's) appreciating this woman who, if circumstances were different, and if he wasn't so pathological about keeping his life compartmentalized, might have been his perfect match. I have to believe that the plot will conspire to bring Joan back into this world - either usurping the bumbling Hooker at Sterling Cooper, or perhaps joining Don if/when he decides he's had enough of British rule. But as far as Joan knows in this episode, this is the end of her story at Sterling Cooper, so she can drop her guard a little - call Mr. Draper "Don," give him a friendly kiss on the cheek, etc. - before she heads home to pick up the mess she made of her life by choosing to be with, and stay with, Dr. Greg.

(***) I've actually interviewed Hendricks several times, and she sounds like Joan, which suggests she's acting with the press a bit, too. Not that we're complaining.

And it's a credit to Matt Weiner and Robin Veith's script, and to the performance that director Lesli Linka Glatter got out of Sam Page as Greg, that for a split-second or so, I actually felt sorry for the SOB. (Then I thought of this image, and went back to my hate.) He's a rapist and a bullying control freak, but he's also been struggling to stay afloat in the deep end when he only looks like he can swim. He's no doubt glided through life to this point on those looks, that smile, and everyone's assumption that he'll be a brilliant doctor. We saw in "My Old Kentucky Home" that he was capable of worrying about his career, but still, he expected to succeed in the same way that he always had. Losing out on chief resident - and, worse, having his alleged mentor dismiss his surgical aspirations altogether - utterly destroyed him, in the same way that Lois's wreckless lawnmower driving destroyed Guy. Greg may still have all his fingers and toes, but his life has been derailed nearly as much as Guy's.

Roger, despite his heart attacks, is also a man who has spent most of his life getting what he wants, when he wants, which is why he remains so baffled at his current social and professional standing. He resents Don and everyone else who won't automatically congratulate him on his mid-life crisis marriage, and he expects to be an important man at the firm just because his name is on the door, even though he sold out to PPL months ago. He still won't acknowledge that some people have a right to be mad about the marriage (in their barbershop summit, it's Don who has to make the concessions), but seeing his name left off the new flowchart - and, worse, seeing Harold Ford scrawl it on the page as a patronizing afterthought - finally opens his eyes to what's happened to him at work. And the accident which leaves Guy hobbled puts an added spring in Roger's step. When he tells the chipmunks, "Somewhere in this business, this has happened before," it could sound like he's giving Ken and Smitty a pass because he no longer feels invested in the company, but instead comes across as Roger being thankful their massive snafu has given him an opportunity to re-establish himself.

Then there's Lane Pryce, who has once again turned out to be PPL's second choice to oversee their grand American experiment. (Remember: Duck was supposed to run the company until he got out-maneuvered by Don and lost his cool.) His trepidation about St. John's visit, and then the way St. John and Harold talk to him - "One of your greatest qualities is you always do what you're told" - suggests that he's used to being a cog in a machine. He's the guy they send into a hopeless situation to fix it, but he's not held in high enough esteem that they allow him to reap the rewards after. A week ago, he was railing at Don about expense reports and wasted man-hours; how, if at all, will the experience of attending his own metaphorical funeral, Tom Sawyer-style, change him?

And after all the sick comedy (I love how easily St. John and Harold dismiss Guy's career prospects) and tragedy at Sterling Cooper, we return to the Draper house for some more wonderful Don and Sally bonding. Don messes up by putting the discarded Barbie back on the dresser, not realizing how much this will frighten Sally when she sees it, but he finally stands up for her with Betty, and he gets Sally to look past her fear about baby Gene sharing so much (a name, a room, a face) with Grandpa Gene. In a way, the baby is there as a replacement, but only in the way all babies are here to replace us one day. And Don, at the peak of his word power in this episode, finds a way to remind Sally, and us, that fear of the unknown, and the knowledge that a replacement is coming, isn't so terrible, by telling her, "This is your little brother. He's only a baby. We don't know who he is yet, nor who he's going to be. And that is a wonderful thing."

Some other thoughts on "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency":

• The closing credits are accompanied by Bob Dylan's "Song to Woody," which was his tribute to Woody Guthrie. Given how the folkies considered Dylan to be Woody's successor (until he plugged in, anyway), it's an ideal song to fit with the episode's themes.

• Cooper's "Everyone wants Martin & Lewis" line is a reference to Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, who were a beloved comedy team in the '50s before professional jealousies split them up. Each did just fine without the other, but they spent the next few decades fielding reunion questions.

• Here's a link to the Time cover Connie shows off to Don. I'm glad we're going to have Chelcie Ross around a while yet (and to see that he's unemployable outside the world of underdog sports movies), and to see Don try to play at a much higher level than he has before.

• Again, that Don and Betty kitchen scene was remarkable. Though the end of "The Fog" suggested Betty was still in the prison of marriage to a man who doesn't love her, we see in this scene that there are times when the Drapers are capable of being relaxed and even flirtatious around each other without anything bad happening. It helps that Don's mind is dancing with visions of a promotion, but still - I can't think of a time on the series when they seemed like more of a functional couple than they do as Betty cracks open Don's beer and Don asks her about London.

• Before season two began, I did this feature on how the "Mad Men" production team makes the show look so authentic. Sometimes, it can be dangerous to know how the sausage gets made, but when I saw that Barbie doll - and, specifically, the box it came in - I was only briefly distracted by the thought that the prop master must have been very excited to find that box.

• Kurt makes his first appearance of the season, in the middle of a conversation with Smitty and that guy with the glasses whose name I always forget. It's notable for being the series' first mention of Vietnam, though the US involvement there is still so slight that even Smitty, with his finger allegedly on the pulse of the youth movement, thinks going into the Army is a fine idea.

• One name I couldn't help noticing on Guy's new organizational flowchart: Adam Rowe, copy chief, serving directly under Don and parallel to Sal. Have we met him before? The name comes from someone who in real life works in the "Mad Men" art department.

• And another organizational question: if Harry is getting promoted to run both TV and media, what happens to the oft-mentioned but never-seen Mitch, who was Harry's boss in media and resented (we were told) his ascension in TV? Of course, in typical Harry Crane fashion, he's the only one in the meeting to have no clue that he's also the only one in the meeting who got a promotion. Perhaps the only man with less self-awareness at that office is Hooker, who is going to absolutely flop trying to fill Joan's shoes.

• It was nice to see Peggy and Joan have a moment, for Peggy to refer back to their conversation in the pilot, and for the two women - who have very different views on the world but admire things about each other - to make an accord on what I'm hoping isn't their last day ever as co-workers. And we saw in Peggy's fumbling attempt to get in on the cake, the gift, etc., that she's still caught in that weird limbo between the chipmunks and the secretaries, not really included in either world.

• Meanwhile, when Peggy walked away from Don when he complained about the champagne at the party, it was a rare scene where Peggy found somebody else to be too much of a buzzkill.

• Because the screeners I get sometimes have incomplete credits, this is the first I've noticed that both Jared Harris and Kiernan Shipka are being listed as guests in the opening credits, just as John Slattery and Robert Morse were in season one.

• I imagine this is the last we'll see of poor Guy - and what kind of prosthetics would be available to him in 1963? - but I couldn't help wondering how successful he would have been in the long haul at this place. Yes, he was young and vibrant and charismatic, but there was also something very rehearsed about him, like the way he tended to repeat the same phrase (calling both Pete and Peggy very impressive, telling different groups of people about the thousand questions he expects they have for him), and I suspect they would have sussed him out as an empty suit sooner or later.

• When Joan cuts down Hooker with a comment about British politicians and prostitutes, she's referring to the Profumo scandal of 1963, the basis for the movie "Scandal," which I'm troubled to see came out 20 years ago.

• In addition to the lights being turned on and off, there was also a bit of a snake motif, with Lane getting a stuffed snake as a present for the Bombay gig, and then Don invoking snakes in his speech to Connie. Anyone have any thoughts on how snakes apply to the themes of the episode?

• Good lord do I want to get my hair cut at a place like Angelo's. The stinging aftershave might not be fun, but those electric massagers look great. (Something tells me the look on Hamm's face in that sequence was not acting.) In fact, my shoulders are feeling pretty tense from all this typing, so I'll wrap this review up.

Keeping in mind the usual commenting rules (no talking about the previews, make an effort to at least skim the previous comments so you're not asking something that was already asked-and-answered, etc.), what did everybody else think?

403 comments:

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Danger Boy said...

Not being in that world, I'm curious whether any in-house position at Hilton Hotels relating to advertising or PR would be a step up from being Creative Director and partner-level at a significant, if not biggest, Madison Avenue ad agency. Wouldn't it have to be a real executive position, head of something, or a some sort of under vice president sort of position, for it to be a big step up? And that would be quite a leap to "ask" for from a guy you met at a party who likes you and wants to help.

I'm just curious what people think Connie might have had in mind. Director of PR for Hilton? Assistant Assistant Director?


First off, Connie's a smart guy. If he's been asking around, surely he knows Sterling Cooper had been bought up by the Brits and the NY office downsized. He might even have heard scuttlebutt that implied Don was unhappy with the bean counters in the new regime.

Beyond that, moving over the to client side, especially for a high-prestige company like the Hilton could be considered a step up. I'm guessing the type of title would be VP or Executive VP heading up the Marketing (not PR) operation worldwide for the Hilton organization, which again would be a significant step up for Don.

As for Connie contemplating such a role for a guy he only met at a party, again he did his homework and asked around. Don likely has a, ahem, "sterling" reputation around town. Also, guys like Hilton (at least according to the myth) always say what separates them from ordinary leaders is their ability to follow their gut in making decisions. (See Trump.) Connie trusts Don because they had that moment between them and some common touchstone -- feeling out of their element at the country club.

Anonymous said...

Weiner's choice to use animatronic mannequins rather than live actors was inspired. It completely fits the cliched characters and banal writing of his melodrama of mannerisms. The Cindy Brady mannequin had me on the floor in tears. The Barbie Doll seemed in comparison jarringly life-like and out of place.

Liam said...

Btw,

Conrad Hilton's father, Gus, was killed in a car accident while Conrad was in service in World War I (and Connie was discharged from Fort Dix). More small resonances.

Juanita's Journal said...

They each have to be the adults in those relationships, because their partners are epic failures at being grownups. That's all I'm saying - not that they're perfect, but that they've found themselves playing the adult role in relationships with people who are much less adept at facing reality than they themselves are.


Again, I disagree. Because in this last episode, I saw Greg playing the adult role, when he made it clear to Joan that they could not afford to live on one paycheck. And instead of realizing this, Joan balked at the idea of begging for her job back, due to her pride and the possibility of her shattered illusions. And this is not the first time in the series that Joan has engaged in immature behavior.

And once again, Don's immaturity is reflected in his treatment of his children. He had more or less ignored Betty's comments about Sally's aversion to baby Gene, forcing her to deal with the matter. Granted, she failed to discover the real reason behind Sally's behavior, but she tried. Don didn't do a thing . . . until Sally woke them up screaming in the middle of the night. When it came to disciplining his children, Don tend to avoid it, until Betty forces him to confront the matter.

For the past three seasons, I can recall both Don and Betty assuming the role of the adult in their marriage. In the case of Joan, I believe I have witnessed Greg assume this role for the very first time.

I simply don't agree with the assessment that Don and Joan are the ONLY ONES who assume the role of adults in their marriage.

Anonymous said...

Chaos indeed. It seems everything was tossed up in the air and then came down not quite back to the same place.

Guy's assention seemed to be the impeteous for events at SC. The characertisation of Guy reminded me of the actor that played James Bond's nemesis in Die Another Day. Other than his fake happy Brit demeanor all we found out about him was that he had studied key people at SC very closely and had an impressive resume. Both Powell and Ford said several times how much Guy had studied the output of SC to discern how American Ad copy was different than what they were used to at PPL. If you purchased SC because they were good at what they do and Lane Pryce was doing such a good job running it, why would you try analyse every detail ? My thought is with Guy in place, presumably capable of doing as good a job as Don, Peggy, Pete etc, then Don, Peggy, Pete etc become redundant. Guy's assension starts the clock ticking on the departure of others. Except for Harry, everyone realised that they had been demoted...

Lane Pryce is making a sincere effort to learn how Americans think. His reading of Huck Finn is a good example, not only does it touch on race relations (which will become more important), but it is considered by many to be the quintisential American Book. With the assentian of Guy, Lane finds out that London holds the same opinion of him as they do of SC. With circumstances having caused him to be left in charge, he has essentially been absorbed into SC. His final scene with Don- offering to buy him a soft drink- maybe was his way of offering an olive branch to create a way to work together. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but I think Don and Lane will get along much better going forward.

Poor Joan; she got her golden violin and found out it wasn't what she wanted. Only now it may be too late to turn back. I am sure that the events that occured at SC so drastically changed the expected future that she will be asked back, if only to restore some sense of order and competance. It was telling that Joan was the one to tend to Guy, while Hooker was caught with a secretary. I am sure this will not have gone unnoticed by Lane and others. Twice we have seen Lane abruptly correct Hooker when he felt Hooker had acted or spoken out of turn. Was this a hint of what Lane thinks of Hooker ? What better way for Lane to solidify his absorption into SC than for him to insist that Joan stay on ?

Betty's reaction to baby 'Gene is starckly different compared to how she reacts to Sally and Bobby. Regarding 'Gene she is more nurturing and protective. On the other hand, she tolerates Bobby and is dismissive of Sally. Sally is still grieving and has transfered some of her trauma to her feelings towards the baby, which Betty is oblivious to. Don doesn't like the legacy of Gene, but correctly states that the baby's future is unknown. As a father he is shown to be a much better parent than Betty. He deals with the issues his children raise instead of trying to buy them off or ignore them. Will this be another wedge between Don and Betty ? In "The Fog" we got another strong hint that Don and Miss Farrell may have a relationship. When and if it happens, Miss Farrell will no longer be Sally's teacher. Sally is in the summer break between 1st and 2nd grades, haveing graduated from Miss Farrells's class.

Wes Covington said...

As for Guy's compensation, I would assume that SC (and it's parent company) has insurance to cover such hijinks.

I'm sure his medical bills and rehab would all be paid for. Suing people for having your foot cut off accidentally wouldn't be unheard of in that day. People would have done it in 1863. And 1763.

Anonymous said...

In regards to Joan The Efficient: She was wrong about the politico's title concerning the Profumo Affair and she got the Brits tickets to Oliver! which was originally staged on London's West End and they probably had already seen. Although they may have been interested in seeing the American version. Meaning Joan makes mistakes like everyone else, especially concerning the Brits.

Lovely irony: the newest Brit threat to SC is "cut down" by an All American lawn mower during the height of summer (July 3rd)

Also Pryce may have read Heinlein but "Stranger in a Strange Land" IS a biblical quote, and Heinlein's allusion to such...

Puff

Susan said...

Two moments that I loved in this episode that I don’t think have been mentioned yet:

• When the Brits first show up at Sterling Cooper, Hooker is eager to assert his authority and start their tour. However, Joan smoothly tells them first that she’s arranged for a dinner reservation and theater tickets. It’s a small moment that shows how natural and good she is at her job compared to Hooker’s trying so hard.

• When the Brits are showing the organizational flow chart in the meeting and Sterling is annoyed that he’s left out of it, one of the Brits (Ford?) reaches over with a pencil and adds Sterling’s name to the flow chart in sloppy handwriting. I had to rewind it to catch it - it cracked me up.

@Trillby: to answer why Joan married Greg even after the rape, I think you need to look at the history of the character. She’s always seen the secretaries use their jobs to meet a man and get married, and she’s always stated that after she gets married she would leave her job. She’s always been incredibly competent at her job and takes pride in it – she’s someone who wants to save face. And she was horrified that her real age (31, I think) was broadcast to the office, because she should have been married by then. So I think she’s someone who really *likes* to work, and knows that she’s good at it, and would probably much rather play the field than get married, but she feels incredibly constrained by the social norms of her time period to get married, stop working, and have children. Peggy is the one who’s breaking those norms, but Joan is sticking to them. So when her fiancé rapes her, no way she was going to back out, not after flashing her ring all over the office, telling everyone she was marrying a doctor, saying all of those “I’ll be glad when I’m out of here” statements, and not knowing – god forbid – if she could find someone else to marry her at the ripe old age of 32.

Girl Detective said...

Oh, the agony. I read all the comments, wrote a lengthy comment, tried to post, and lost it. Argh!

Can we please agree to disagree about the rape and see it for what it is: a scene that establishes characterization: Gregg's bad for doing it, and it's telling that Joan marries him anyway. Probably not for "his heart" as she said in this ep.

Snakes: One snake, not two snakes, is on the symbol of medicine, the Rod of Asclepius. A caduceus has two snakes, and is the symbol of Mercury who is the god of, wait for it, sales and marketing and trickery! Showing two snakes instead of one is a common mistake, eg the current ads for House MD.

I haven't yet seen anyone comment on my favorite Joan moment: she knew where to find Don to notify him of the accident, when he disappeared from the party, and probably told only his secretary, if even her, where he was going. Joan may have only had the phone call from Conrad Hilton via the secretary to go on.

Re: whether characters are children/adults, or good/bad parents. They're complicated. They're both. Betty is more childish than Don, but as many have pointed out, he can be childish too. It's a credit to the show and the acting that these characters aren't either/or, or even on a continuum; they're three dimensional.

A few other things. Betty gets Sally a Midge doll; Midget was the short-haired brunette "doll" mistress of Don in S1.

Paul is definitely playing the guitar on purpose; he's a poser.

I keep hoping that Joan will become Peggy's roommate. I keep hoping that Peggy will follow a Mary Wells-ian career trajectory.

Thanks for all the comments. I get so much more out of these great shows from reading here. (And am going to copy my comment before I try to post it.)

Kate said...

While I agree that we can view the things that our society doesn't accept while not imposing our values on the characters (in my earlier comment I mentioned how it is important to realize the the characters would view events, and that's more or less what I meant by it), that doesn't mean that the society was not wrong in having those values. Joan was violated. Even if Roger didn't "mean" it that way, his blackface was a way of marginalizing black people, and therefore a symptom of a societal bigotry. Just because blackface was more normal then, and not the same sort of specific choice of a statement that it would be now doesn't mean that it was ok, any more than Joan's rape was ok. To pull out a very loaded example, for most of human history slavery of various sorts were considered completely fine--and people in a story set at those times would either also do so or be absurdly enlightened. We can both enjoy their characters and the story on their own terms *and* judge them by modern standards, and we should do both things. I react very differently to Joan than I would to a woman in a modern story who had the same thing happen to her--and I react differently to her husband. Of course Joan stayed with him and married him. That is entirely consistent with both her character and the time period. That doesn't mean I don't wish she would leave him, or wish that he would get some other sort of justice.

Anonymous said...

Trilby, you need a serious reality check. Sure, at the time it wouldn't have been considered rape. Does that mean it WASN'T? People in colonial America thought slavery was just dandy. Doesn't make slavery okay, then or now.

Whether it's 1963 or 2009, Greg raped Joan. End of story.

Rachel said...

To the people who insist that because Joan married him, it couldn't have been rape, as obviously she didn't mind it that much:

Feminist rants aside, of course Joan married him. She'd announced she was going to, after all, and there wasn't a good reason she could give for breaking it off. It's not about what she privately feels -- it's about what other people would think.

Above all, Joan has established A Face -- and that's what she presents to the world. She can't beg for her job back, because that would require admitting failure on her part -- for selecting a guy who wasn't a success. She can't admit to Harry Crane that she wants that job back, or to Peggy that Peggy's making good decisions, or to Don that she desperately, desperately needs her job to continue. She has too much pride -- and derives that pride externally, just as much as Betty thinks she's "earning her keep" as Don's wife when she notices men are attracted to her.

When the British guys announced it was her last day, and sent her off so grandly and kindly -- my heart broke, because it just became so obvious that Joan could never go back after that. She could never say, "I changed my mind," or "it's too much fun here," or "I just can't say goodbye yet, maybe when the baby's born." Joan defines herself through other people's expectations: she can't, can't, can't change that.

Julia said...

I actually noticed the two snakes thing, too, but lost my post.

The AMA and a long list of medical organizations and most med schools use the Rod of Asclepius with one snake and no wings. It has been replaced in the popular imagination by the caduceus with two snakes and wings - probably due its having been used it as the US Army medical corps insignia. Maybe it was seen on MASH a lot?

Here's wikipedia quoting Stuart Tyson in Scientific Monthly about confusing the two symbols:

"The caduceus is sometimes used as a symbol for medicine or doctors (instead of the rod of Asclepius) even though the symbol has no connection with Hippocrates and any association with healing arts is something of a stretch;[15] as the symbol of the god Hermes, its singularly inappropriate connotations of theft, deception, and death, as well as the confusion of commerce and medicine in a single symbol, have provided fodder for academic humor."[16]

hmmm Maybe the confusion about snakes and commerce and deceptions and medicine and the military fits the chaos of this past episode.

K. said...

SixtiesKid: I, for one, did NOT find your analogy of lawnmower-in-the-office to Vietnam too deep for a Monday. In fact, it’s pretty damned insightful. Both of them bloody and horrific; both of them eventually going out of control. Both of them resulting in painful lessons about the consequences of hubris.

x-acto: My grandmother, a mother of seven and grandmother to 17, had a similar phrase: “Go play on the freeway.” (She lived in Milwaukee, within sight of a six-lane highway.) Still makes me smile whenever I remember her saying that.

On the topic of Don and Connie’s meeting: When Connie told Don “Next time you’re asked this question, think bigger!” I actually gasped, and reran the scene just to hear him say it again. I took it as him letting Don know that between the two of them – who both came from rather humble roots, and had already let their guard down with one another once before -- the usual rules didn’t need to be followed. Connie hadn’t been afraid to dream big, and achieved his success because of that. Perhaps he saw in Don a younger version of himself. I can’t wait to see how their relationship develops.

On the topic of why Joan married Greg, despite the rape: If anyone could do a shrewd cost-benefit analysis of her situation, it would be Joan. Whether she actually used the word “rape” when thinking about what happened on the floor of Don’s office misses the point, I think. What happened was clearly not in keeping with the dream she had been sold – the societal ideal for single women, to be engaged to a handsome, successful doctor -- and of course she knew that. It was only one of the first chips in the flawless diamond, that societal ideal, she thought she was achieving by marrying a doctor: First was his discomfort about her sexual awareness, followed by the rape, and eventually her discovery that he wasn’t well-regarded by his peers and that his surgical skills weren’t enough to get him up the career ladder. It seems a bit inconsistent to argue, on the one hand, that things were more complicated back then about whether a sexual assault was even considered a sexual assault, while on the other hand, arguing that if Joan believed she was raped she simply wouldn’t have married the guy. What’s important to me in this particular scenario isn’t the legal terminology Joan used to think about what Greg had done to her on the floor of her boss’ office. It’s that she knew this was wrong, this was NOT part of the dream she had bought into, but she had to make a decision about the price she was willing to pay to achieve this cultural ideal -- whether she could live with the memory of this incident at the hands of her husband. She decided to pay this price, but I don’t think in doing so she decided Greg hadn’t done something unspeakably wrong.

Joan’s story is a study of a woman balancing what she’s been taught to want versus her gradual discovery of what she really wants. In fact, that’s true for each of the main characters and even many of the supporting ones. Along the way, choices must be made, sacrifices must be rendered, painful truths discovered. It’s a messy process. Matt Weiner has chosen to explore this against the backdrop of advertising, which is all about selling us what we think we want. Brilliant. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.

Puff: Joan may have missed the detail of Profumo’s title, but the Brits sure knew what she was referring to, and the insult hit its mark. Oh, snap! I LOVED that moment.

Girl Detective: Amazing catch on the caduceus-with-two-snakes as the symbol of Mercury. Such depth in the attention to detail on this show.

Oldmandeac said...

I saw the Joan to the rescue scene as a continuation of the pattern with Joan all year:

She came to Peggy's rescue with the roommate note;
She came to her husband's rescue with the party/accordian;
She came to Guy's rescue with the quick thinking and know how...

Yet, she can't come to her own rescue. She needs her job back and yet, with the accolades of ALL of the people in the position to make such a thing happen, she says nothing. We've never seen her assert herself on her own behalf (being passed over for placement of ads/reading scripts for example)

Imamarilyn said...

Don wasn't cold to Connie. Don seemed impressed with Conrad Hilton wanting to meet him when he rwceived the phone call, but he doesn't grovel and he doesn't fawn. I think he also keep his expectations low, after allowing Bert Cooper to get the high (London) then being let down.

I also at first took the statement about Pete being head of accounts for the time being to mean Pete was iffy. But I don't always get the Brits' inflection. (Roger!)

laura v. said...

i think a lot of why hilton trusts his instincts about don stems from how don never asked him what he did, why he was at the wedding, and wisely, never touted that he was at sterling cooper either. he left their conversation simple, and took his own advice to campbell of not throwing your business card at anyone.

re: joan and her marriage….regardless if she feels she was raped or not, its probably a consensus amongst many that if she would have broken off her engagement to her fiancé, she would then have had to tell people why. can you imagine the looks on the faces of the secretaries at sterling cooper if joan told them the reason she wasn’t getting married was because her fiancé raped her? they’d have thought she was crazy. while she would have been perfectly justified in calling off her marriage because of her fiance’s unspeakable act, the truth of the matter is, she would have been laughed right out of sterling cooper, or at the very least, been chastised til the day she retired. there are women in 2009 that don’t break up w/ their boyfriends or fiancés or husbands when they know they have been raped by them. i imagine it would have been a million times more difficult in the 60’s. and in joan’s mind, appearances are more important than anything else, so it’s easy to see why she went ahead and married him. and it’s easy to see why she went ahead with quitting her job even though she knew her husband wasn’t getting the residency position. it wasn’t about being immature, it was about saving face and keeping up appearances. it’s why everybody loves joan….she’s cool, calm and collected and doesn’t let what she sees as minor insignificances ruin the appearance of being put together.

christy said...

Hold up everyone, all this talk about Vietnam just gave me the most brilliant idea.

So I was sitting here daydreaming about how awesome it would be if the rapist went off to Vietnam and never came back. THEN I started thinking about how it would be EVEN better if he could be CAPTURED and TORTURED. And then the words “Hanoi Hilton” popped into my head.

Did Hilton have any PR problems when that nickname popped up? Apparently the first American POW to go to that prison was in 1964...maybe Don will be helping Connie through that problem next season, eh?

Wes Covington said...

The term "Hanoi Hilton" was used by the POWs. And for most part, they didn't get released until the early 1970s.

Liam said...

Ding Dong!

Bell just went off!

This was the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg (and Vicksburg). July 3rd was the centenary of Pickett's Charge being mown on the field of battle.

christy said...

For the record, when I say the word rape, I mean that he forcibly penetrated her against her will. No amount of discussion of semantics or legalities will convince me that's not exactly what happened.

There's a lot of gray between the black and white of "the rape destroyed her" and "she married him so obviously it didn't bother her in the least." I think it's clear that Joan's experience falls somewhere in between, and the truth is that almost all women who are raped regardless of the time period react and think about it in their own unique ways as individuals. There are certainly women who married their rapists right now in 2009. Doesn't make those guys not-rapists.

Do I want to hear Joan or other Mad Men characters say the word "rape"? No. Do I still want--nay, require--Dr. McRapey to have an unimaginably horrible ending in this story? Oh...oh, yes. I don't really see what's wrong with calling a rapist a rapist, even if that particular word wouldn't be used in his time.

K., I love everything you said about this subject. I totally agree.

Imamarilyn said...

I don'r believe Joan married Greg to save face or because it was too late to back out. It's obvious to me she loves him.

JanieJones said...

Alan,
Wonderful recap!
The comments have been insightful and thought provoking as usual.
It was a wonderful episode.
I don't really have anything to add as it's already been said.
Interesting thoughts regarding the snake and its' representation and interpretation.
I was touched, in the end, when Don picked up the baby, sat down and encouraged Sally to come forth.
I definitely had a few laughs during last night's episode.
I'm hoping that Joan finds a way to make herself happy. Christina Hendricks was fantastic in this episode.

Jennifer said...

Yes, Alan, I am sorry. I was so excited I had a thought that wasn't expressed here already - I should have realized the reason was not my originality!

Mea culpa.

JanieJones said...

Alan,
Wonderful recap!
The comments have been insightful and thought provoking as usual.
It was a wonderful episode.
I don't really have anything to add as it's already been said.
Interesting thoughts regarding the snake and its' representation and interpretation.
I was touched, in the end, when Don picked up the baby, sat down and encouraged Sally to come forth.
I definitely had a few laughs during last night's episode.
I'm hoping that Joan finds a way to make herself happy. Christina Hendricks was fantastic in this episode.

Melissa said...

Another interpretation to the champagne exchange between Don and Peggy: despite her accomplishments, and her desire to make something of herself, Peggy is still incredibly inexperienced. It probably was the best champagne she'd ever had. Don knew it was cheap. (I also like the deeper interpretation of the scenes posted by others.)

Count me among those that would love for Don and Joan to set my tv on fire. Does anyone really doubt that will one day happen?

I loved everything about Christina Hendricks in this episode.

Julia said...

Christy: Among other things, a woman in the early 1960s and earlier would not, not, not want to think of herself as a rape victim. That was a shameful thing. There's a reason why media never named rape victims.

We are not so far away from the mentality of honor killings as we like to think. Rape victims were certainly not killed in the US in the 1960s, but they certainly would be stigmatized as having lost their "honor".

Joan would have had a very hard time telling even a best friend about what had happened. And she would have done painful mental gymnastics in her head to get past it.

We have come a long, long way since then. Nobody is saying it wasn't a horrible thing; they are observing how Joan would have had to dealt with it.

in 1963 Gloria Steinem wrote her expose on Playboy Bunnydom, but she didn't become a national feminist leader until @ 1970. You paid penalties for speaking up about mistreatment of women, including yourself. There was no support system for women.

It isn't just a matter of whether something is legal or illegal. There is also the presence or lack of community/family support and understanding if you identify yourself as a victim. In 1963 support for Joan would have been close to zilch. Even other women would mostly have thought she should have kept it to herself.

Aimeslee said...

Hi there. I lurk here and at TLo's. I'm wondering what anyone/everyone thinks about two things that kept bothering me today:

1. My dad watches MM too and asked me last week after we watched The Fog episode if I thought that Betty might be suicidal. I told him oh no. Then last night I see in the teasers for next week some woman asking her if she has ever been! So, do we think she is? And, was her mother's cause of death ever definitively stated? Wondering if she was...

2. The Don / Joan farewell. A lot hit me about this scene, not one of which had anything to do with sex between them. It struck me how similar his acting was here to his scenes with the first Mrs. Draper. I thought perfectly plausible that they had a completely professional relationship and would say good-bye that way. She was his perfect secretary when she filled in, plus I'm betting it did not go unnoticed by Joan how judgmental Don has been about Roger and Jane (with good reason IMHO). I read that into her silent eye contact, appreciation. She's a stickler for etiquette and to her Don is, too.

Well, that's all. I enjoy reading everyone else's takes. :-)

xoxo,
Aimeslee

Caveat Bettor said...

I've only been a reader of Alan and his band of commenters this season, and regret what I've missed the last two. Since the Dr. Greg and his rape is still such a resonant arc for folks here, I wanted to link you to what I had observed last October:

I'm surprised that I did not see mentioned in the comments the prior interaction between fiance Greg and boss Roger, which was a catalyst to the date-rape. Greg, who earlier in the episode rebuffed Joan's advances at home, appears compelled to reestablish his sexual dominance in the office. Why the change of libido?

Roger escalates the tension of ego after being introduced to Greg, by telling Greg information about Joan that Greg doesn't know (that Joan dislikes French food). Greg is visibly thrown by this, and then leads Joan into the office.

Clearly, Joan is the powerless victim here. Unfortunately, the history of sexual tension in her relationship with Roger is a factor, which Roger selfishly exploits, and impacts Greg's descent into hell.

As much as this is about feminism, it's also about the masculine competitive drive taken to its logical destructively darwinian ends.


http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/10/womens_lib.php

chris said...

One other thing - in the episode just previous to this one Paul Kinsey was hoping he would be able to get rid of Lois as his secretary once Joan was gone. In that episode she had caught her scarf in the Xerox machine while changing paper. This episode's accident was a bit worse than that.

I found it amusing.

Jessamyn said...

I have a number of disparate remarks:

1. oSoFine, I appreciated your thoughts about the dress being an outward manifestation of Joan's pain.

2. Of course the grey suit was the uber business suit of the time. Does no one remember The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit?

3. One of the things that really struck me, early in this episode, was that Peggy as usual didn't know what was going on. But wait! Her secretary says, "I told you." Here we've been thinking that everybody's excluding Peggy. But at least sometimes, apparently Peggy's too wrapped up in her own work to notice what's going on around her.

4. I just realized something about Roger and his sense of entitlement. Can you imagine what Pete would be like if he were also tall, handsome, and incredibly smooth in addition to his wealthy upbringing and stately name? Pete wants everything good now, and I think Roger pretty much has had it that way. It's a real shock to him that his golden touch isn't quite so golden, at last.

5. Having gone through a window myself, I was a bit disappointed that Lois plowed through one and it turned out to be safety glass. Um, no. There would have been horrible huge shards lancing down into her arm and shoulder. Not that I wish that for her, mind you, but unrealistic glass behavior is one of my Hollywood pet peeves, and Mad Men is usually much better about things like that.

6. I was really happy about the Don-Joan scene, but not because of any fireworks. I think both of these sexpots need people they can be real friends with, where sex isn't really on the table. In fact, I was thinking that what Don's really lacking is a sister. The first Mrs. Draper is like one, but his contact with her is so limited. His brother (really half-brother) was not his equal in any way, and all they really had in common was a crappy upbringing (and Don's was even much crappier). Still, Don tried to reach out to him. How great it would be for him to have someone who understands him, can work shoulder-to-shoulder to a certain extent, and doesn't really want anything from him. Everybody wants something from Don except Joan. I understand why some people would love to see them have sex, but I for one hope they can build on the friendship.

CarolMR said...

Jessamyn, did Don try to reach out to his half-brother? As I remember it, Don paid him to get out of his life. And then the brother committed suicide.

KarenX said...

I can only add a few things right now, until I've processed this episode (and the comments!) more.

1. Re: Guy's career-ending disability. He can't play golf. This is a company, apparently, that needs executives to play golf. It's less true now than it used to be, but if he can't meet clients on the course, he can't meet them at all.

2. Sally's Barbie tumbled from her upper-story window just like Don tumbles in the credits of each episode. I'm not going to make too much of the observation, but it startled me when I stuck around through the closing credits to catch the immediate rerun of the show on AMC so I could watch a scene I'd missed at the beginning.

3. Conrad Hilton = money and power American style. He could not have been more different than the PPL executives, and I kept thinking of them the whole time I was at the Waldorf with him. I was fascinated by his scene with Don, but I think for a completely different reason than everyone else. I didn't see Don as refusing to be taken advantage of by Hilton; I saw him as genuinely confused and really not sure what was going on. Don should have recognized Hilton at the party; Hilton had a reasonable expectation that Don was coming over to do business. Asking him for input for free is not the same as asking for an ad campaign for free. Don had no reason to be so guarded. His actions in this scene made me think that he can suppress his rural, frugal, stingy upbringing and he can pretend to be a man of power and move among them, but he really lacks an intuition about money and power that men like Conrad and the British executives have. It's like in those Edith Wharton novels when Old New York goes on and on about an outsider's lack of breeding.

I didn't get at this very well, I don't think.

It won't matter in the long run, but if Don feels enough like an outsider he'll leave. I hope! That would be exciting. I too have my list of people I'd like to see go with him.

4. Joan is too mortified and proud to ask for her job back, but I'm not so sure there's a part of her that wants a fresh start. She'll never be anything different at Sterling Cooper because she is an institution there, and she's already had a taste with the TV advertising gig of what new work is like. I can easily see her being asked back, but I can easily see her not sorry to work somewhere else, too.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of Greg going off to Vietnam to enhance his education/resume, & not returning, as Joan's way of regaining her freedom. Intriguing possibility....

Since it is now established that job security has decreased for everyone at SC, I wouldn't be surprised if Joan returns to replace one of the chipmunks in a non-secretarial capacity. If she had stayed on in her current position, it would've been a stretch that she could've ever moved up -after all SC management would've been shooting themselves in the foot to consider losing one of the few people who actually excelled at her/his job (& ran the office).

I really disagree with the posts that characterize Don as a bad father. I grew up in a NYC suburb (during the 60's) & it was very common (probably still is, for some)for kids to only see their fathers on weekdays for about 30 minutes before bed. Whether commuting dads travelled by train or car -they often got home, frazzled from a long day in the city, as late as 7:00 pm. It was very much an expected duty for wives (as well as babysitters & nannies) to have kids bathed, fed, & PJed so that fathers could come home & kiss their clean sweet kids goodnight, watch the evening news/read the paper, & then have a quiet adult dinner with the wife after kids were in bed. I find that, throughout the show, Don has shown an unusual connection with his kids for a man of that generation. We have often seen him check on them when he gets home, sit & read or watch TV with them, or sit down at the table while Sally & Bobby are eating dinner. Furthermore, he was clearly uncomfortable with the role of disciplinarian during the limited time he got to see them. These were still the days when children were expected to be "seen & not heard" -at least when dad was home.

I believe that of all the changes in our culture in the last 40+ years, the shift from fathers as distant providers/disciplinarians to involved, loving co-parents is the most profound. My mother used to say that none of the men she knew had ever changed a diaper. How any adult living in a house with 6 or more kids could have avoided that chore is beyond me!

Anonymous said...

Ironic that Harry got the bump, and the only reason he's in that position is because Joan was so BRILLIANT at it!

Hatfield said...

Ahh, the growing pains of the newbies not yet comprehending the rules about previews.

Don definitely didn't reach out to his brother; his coldness toward him was part of why the brother killed himself.

Jessamyn, while I understand your gripe, if they made it look the way it should, the actress playing Lois could actually be hurt. However, having been eye-witness to a lawnmower/foot accident (it wasn't a John Deere, but same idea), I can say that looked pretty much exactly right.

Chris Littmann said...

The infamous lawn mower GIF: http://i34.tinypic.com/1230ihj.jpg

Jessamyn said...

Carol, remember how Don found out about his brother's suicide: he pulled out the box of photos his brother had mailed to him, looked through some of them, called up the hotel to ask for him - and was told he was dead.

Scott Hollifield said...

Jessamyn: Yes, Don tried to reach out to Adam at that point, but as was seen, it was a day late and a dollar short. If Don had really wanted to bond with his long-lost brother, he'd have done so during Adam's multiple attempts to reach out to HIM.

But to address your larger point: I think it's a bit of the show's wish fulfillment that we'd all sort of like to see Don have someone to unload on, that he keeps himself so guarded that the scenes where he does share real confidences are the ones that pop out. However, for Don suddenly to have a good, close friend would, in my mind, essentially be the game-ender for this character and this show. One likes to believe that this is where he will end up by the show's ultimate finale. For right now, Weiner et al have made it pretty clear that Don can only have these kinds of bonds with either women he has affairs with, or random strangers like Connie.

The fact that Connie is no longer a random stranger is a thread I hope the show continues to do more with.

Imamarilyn said...

I don't think Joan is too proud to ask for her job back. The conversation with her husband ended before she could get all her questions answered and I think she wants to br certain what's going on with him first.

Betty likes to have the illusion of perfection and she told Don the baby was perfect all day. I thought she would be rejecting of this inwanted baby boy, given her attitude toward Bobby. I am glad I was wrong.

Anonymous said...

I'm probably close to the same age as Sally, and though I grew up in the Bronx where everyone said "shut the lights," my father and his family, who originally hailed from Brooklyn, said "close the lights." My aunts and uncles from that side of the family still do.

Though I didn't routinely see Dr. Pepper served as a kid in my old neighborhood the Bronx, where people were generally first generation NYers or immigrants, it was available in vending machines and luncheonettes/candy stores in Manhattan, where there tended to be more people who moved from other parts of the US, esp. the South & Midwest.

I've worked in advertising for over 30 years, and I'm not surprised that Conrad Hilton would value Don's honesty about the spokesmouse, which was also derivative of Disney. Notice that within the bounds of the agency in the last few episodes, he told Peggy to go along with the client's "Ann-Margaret" ripoff, telling her they don't always want what's best, though he did very honestly try to kabosh the Jai-Lai wackiness.

About names and advertising - Roger is the son of the original Sterling (and I suspect what ad people refer to as the "lucky sperm," while Cooper is the founding partner, who presumably earned his stripes. And Cooper was the one who defended Don when Pete Campbell spilled the Dick Whitman beans.

Paul Kinsey probably wasn't just singing folk songs - he was most probably putting on a show of writing jingles (which were the most popular form of music in advertising at the time) or choosing background music. Even if not, it has always been OK for creative people to do stuff that inspires them - like watch "Bye-Bye Birdie."

Harry Crane, who might seem relatively clueless, was savvy enough to point out that Sterling Cooper needed a TV department in media at a time when even Don didn't realize how important TV would become (he turned his nose up the TV oriented job at the he was offered in Season 1). If I remember correctly, in episode 1 of this season, Sterling Cooper's billings have grown to about 2/3 TV. At the time, the primary source of revenue for ad agencies was the 15% they made off of their media billings. TV/media buying services were still a ways off. While the creative and account people need selling skills - including the ability to make clients love their work, media buyers/planners concentrate on negotiating skills - they choose and bargain for the best rates, positioning in commercial pods, magazines, newspapers, outdoor boards - the choices were a lot more limited in those days and the bargaining very concentrated. Success demanded a different type of savvy, one that Harry clearly demonstrated when he wanted the lipstick account to buy time on the episode of a show about abortion. He also encouraged Pete to pitch Admiral on a media schedule that included magazines and local ads focused on Afro-Americans - again, quite visionary. Media people do have to sell clients to sign off on schedules, but this usually happens after the ads are approved.

LA said...

I agree with Shara. Both Don and Joan may be flawed, but I wouldn't describe either character as childish or immature.

Hatfield - No worries, just wanted to say hello to a neighbor.

Has anyone else noticed that Chelcie Ross bears not only looks like Conrad Hilton but is also a dead ringer for US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger who landed that flight in the Hudson last winter?

Margaret Evans Porter said...

I don't think Weiner & Co. had any trouble finding their Bubblecut Barbie. Apparently it was just re-issued for the 50th Anniversary.

Bubblecut Barbie Repro

Another website claimed this brunette version was intended as an homage to Jackie K.

A member of my family had this exact doll, in the original. Probably worth a fortune now--except it was well-loved.

Jessica said...

Sally forget about ghost Gene! Your Dad has ghost James Mason in his office!

Anonymous said...

One thing I liked about the fight over the baby's name is that Betty was right, or at least wasn't wrong. It is what people do. Babies get named after grandmothers and grandfathers, especially recently departed ones.

The other thing I noticed in the episode is how unprepared Don & Betty seemed to be for the baby - I'm not sure if it's "normal for the time" or more of a statement about the Drapers. But for kids of that SES being born now, the name is picked out months in advance (if the parents know the gender, they know the name. if they don't, they've picked out two names "one for a boy, one for a girl."), the nursery is set up, painted, the kids have been thoroughly briefed on what it means for a new sibling to show up. etc.

IIRC, Don didn't even bring out the crib until after Gene died - and there seemed to be no plan as to where the baby would go if Gene had lived. No one had talked to the kids. If Betty's dad hadn't died, I'm not sure they wouldn't have taken home "Baby Boy Draper" They hadn't bothered to arrange for substitute housekeeping (if Betty needs help with just two kids, how is she not going to for the same two kids and an infant?) they just seemed incredibly unready for a new baby.

Hatfield said...

@LA, of course, just making a joke in case she reads this post. I feel your three hours behind pain though; getting here even at 11 Pacific time is already late.

I forgot to throw this out earlier, but has anyone noticed how they've changed Cooper? Last season he seemed to be getting senile at times, but now he's extremely with it. Not that I'm complaining; Robert Morse is great.

Meg said...

Visiting the snake theme again, I just tweeted this @sepinwall, but I'm dipping my toe into the comments here to see if anyone else picked up this vibe.

The snake thing really reminded me of the Ouroboros, for a couple of reasons, although the "Don't Tread on Me" nod is also fantastic.

Trying the snake references into Ouroboros gets into a start/end/cycle bit: not only with Lane being asked to pack up and start all over again in India, but Don's comment about a snake suffocating itself by biting off more than it can chew = SC is eating itself as well, a more literal visual of the Ouroboros.

The plot line involving Baby Gene and Grandpa Gene also gets into this a bit, with the end of Grandpa Gene and the start with the baby - and since I was too lazy to look for more information past Wikipedia, here's something from that:

The Jungian psychologist Erich Neumann writes of it [the Ouroboros] as a representation of the pre-ego "dawn state", depicting the undifferentiated infancy experience of both mankind and the individual child.

I think it ties in well to the themes of S3 so far.

Toby O'B said...

"Anyone have any thoughts on how snakes apply to the themes of the episode?"

Great examples of what the snakes could symbolize. For me, it always goes back to TV and I was thinking of the opening credits of 'I, Claudius'. And that led me to think of the backbiting and rivalries in the Roman mini-series as being echoed in the offices of Sterling-Cooper....

Scott Hollifield said...

I didn't have the chance to think this through when watching the show, but Anonymous' comment above about Disney freed up the thought in my head: the cartoon mouse featured in Conrad Hilton's ads would almost have to be Jerry, from the 1945 Tom & Jerry MGM cartoon "Mouse in Manhattan". I remember seeing that one a few times as a kid; notable because it was a solo Jerry cartoon that didn't feature Tom, and also because, despite possible appearances, it was not really an adaptation of the old "City Mouse and the Country Mouse" fable since it only involved the one mouse.

Also, an aside for the argument of who was wrong over naming the baby Gene: that's one of the wonderful things about this show is that neither character has to be completely wrong, or completely right. Both Don and Betty are each coming from a place that is understandable for their current situation. The fact is that sometimes Don's reactions are indirectly based on his particular upbringing, and hence in some sense on his own secret past, is what gives these conflicts added dramatic weight.

Anonymous said...

Insightful recap and comments as usual!

I thought that it was funny that Joan got the Brits tix to Oliver as well. :o)

Re, lawsuits for accidents; in 1966 a model (Nell Theobald) paid to pose with a lion got mauled. After filing a $3mil suit (against BMW, Grey PR, Dawn animal agency), she got originally offered a $240 check which was turned down, and then came a jury voting for a $500,000 settlement, which the judge considered exessive and reduced it to $250,000. Not exactly the same as poor Guy's accident of gross drunken negligence with a dangerous motor vehicle in an enclosed work area though, but of the same era.

I thought for sure that was a black haired bubblecut Barbie. In '63 Midge had the longer flip, and sort of looked like Howdy Doody, but then apparently got a shorter cut in '65.

http://www.dollreference.com/midge_doll.html

Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog about The Great American Novel on TV. Thank you, AS and posters. Half the fun of MM is coming here the day after!

And count me among those who appreciate the good spelling and grammar.

1. Did anyone else notice the look on Peggy's face when she first saw Guy coming her way (and after)? She looked dreamy-eyed, even dazzled.

2. My imagination was running overtime last night after the show (does anyone else find it hard to fall asleep on Sunday nights?).

I kept envisioning scenarios in which Joan (who saved him) and/or Peggy (who has sensitivity toward the ill and pathetic, as seen in her protecting Freddy Rumsen when the chipmunks made fun of his alcoholism) would volunteer to be a friend and helpmeet to poor Guy, stranded alone in America, jobless and crippled.

After all, Joan is now jobless -- she needs something to do with herself. And Peggy may be one of those women who can only fall for a fixer-upper.

I do not think we have seen the last of Guy.

BTW, didn't Don's mother die in childbirth? Couldn't that explain some of his evasiveness with the prison guard during The Fog? The guy kept talking about losing his wife -- not something Don wants to think about.

And re: Joan's rape scene. My take-away from that scene was different from what I've read here. What I noticed was how resigned and remote she looked as it happened. Her facial expression was passive and blank for the most part.

Huge red flag for childhood sexual abuse. She'd have learned how to compartmentalize and accept such treatment. I'm surprised no one else picked up on that.

Danger Boy said...

I had another thought about the Don/Connie meeting. I remember thinking this at the time of their initial meetup when people said he might be Conrad Hilton and, if so, we'll probably see him again. And I thought, wow, Don is (on one hand) gonna be so screwed if that happens. Didn't he reveal some details of his background that he's never shared with anyone at SC?

Maybe that's why there was a bit of awkwardness on his part. Don was freaking a little bit, thinking, "Crap, what secrets did I tell this guy? What does he know and how can I keep a lid on it?"

Chris said...

I just rewatched the end of this episode and I think they use of Dylan's "Song to Woody" was absolutely perfect. It's a milestone as far as Dylan works are concerned because it's the first major work he penned himself.

Outside of that it can almost be foreshadowing. It's Dylan's acknowledgment of his influences and his mentors. Within a couple of years he had already shed those influences and moved on to something else entirely.

I see Don as something of a Dylan-esque character in that he moved to New York and invented his own past. He adopts a persona in order to get what he wants from the world. Robert Zimmerman became Bob Dylan just like Dick Whitman became Don Draper.

I think Don'll be having the ad agency equivalent of a Newport Folk Festival moment here soon. Draper goes electric.

Deborah said...

Anonymous said...
edit:

And kudos to Joan for being at least a quarter CENTURY ahead of time when she utters the phrase, "Knock yourself out!" to Peggy at the office party.


"Knock yourself out"
Zora Neale Hurston's Glossary of Harlem Slang has the phrase in use in the 1930s. Joan was ahead of her time in many, many ways, but there was definitely no anachronism in her use of the phrase!

Imamarilyn said...

Anonymous, I would disagree that Joan's blank stare during the rape means she was sexually abused as a child. On another note, Peggy also turned her head to the side with a blank stare when she had her pelvic exam.

Anonymous, I disliked my MIL and the feeling was mutual. (Not sure I would use "hate" the way Don did to describe his relationship with Gene.) I would have not liked having my child named after. A good compromise (as other posters have already said) would be for the child to be called by his middle name, Scott. But Don and Betty aren't really good at compromising, as we have seen. It was much more common during the Mad Men era for children to be named after relatives than it is today. Lots of men of my generation are named after their fathers, for example.

Hatfield, I think Bert Cooper is typical of many people of that age. They have times where they are very sharp and other times when they seem to show their age. I love Robert Morse in this role.

Imamarilyn said...

Danger Boy, I don't think Don revealed anything to Connie in the conversation at the bar that would damage his image at Sterling Cooper.

chris said...

OK - one last observation.

Guy is done as an account man because he'll never golf again. Isn't it a bit ironic that Don Draper will probably get tapped to fill that leadership role?

Don Draper doesn't golf.

Wes Covington said...

"Don Draper doesn't golf" will probably not overtake "Charlie don't surf" in the pop lexicon.

RachelP said...

If so, that's not Barbie herself, but Barbie's best friend...Midge.

Oh, it was a Barbie, all right. It was a 1963 brunette bubble cut (she also came in "platinum blonde" and "titian).

I'm excited that I actually have something to contribute to this discussion.

Michelle said...

More on the Kennedy assassination foreshadowing . . . There's an amazing article in this month's Vanity Fair about William Manchester's fight with Jackie Kennedty to publish an account of JFK's assassination she and Bobby financed: http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2009/10/death-of-a-president200910

Much like Guy entered the home turf of a suspicious, anti-Brit crowd, many people feared for Kennedy's life in Texas--rabid anti-Kennedy country.

AG said...

Fantastic episode, even taking into consideration one's expectations from not only Alan's advance praise but of the 'Guy Walks Into A...' title. Am I the only one who saw that on the schedule and thought it resonated with the title from a significant episode at Weiner's last gig? (Which, hey, hard not to think about The Sopranos after last week's dream sequence...)

Julia said...

"I don't think Don revealed anything to Connie in the conversation at the bar that would damage his image at Sterling Cooper."

Not too sure Don would want anybody knowing about his job parking cars at a roadhouse and peeing in folks' car trunks.

Imamarilyn said...

Margaret, thanks for the info on Bubblehead Barbie. I thought there were Barbies who were not blonde. I look forward to the bubblehead and bouffant hair dos soon on the Mad Men women.

Julia, that was a funny story Don told. But I don't think it's a secret. He can (and does) let some of his past out without revealing Dick Whitman. Come to think of it, Pete told Bert Cooper Don's secret and Bert said, "Who cares?"

chimezatmidnight said...

I'm sure that it didn't go unobserved at the time of that episode's first airing that Greg's real desire was a wickedly insane and jealous one: to mark Joan's territory of Sterling Cooper as his own. His delusion about his "guaranteed" position as chief resident surgeon hadn't realized its honor, power and glory yet... and there he was with Joan in the office building where she was not only Don's knowing and respectful secretary and office manager, she had been Roger Sterling's lover.

Sterling Cooper was gloriously messed up and creatively antediluvian, blahblahblah... but its standing and history were all real.

Given that Joan was its resident manager AND goddess was too much for his inner lack of reality to sustain.

Greg's emphasis was not on "making love" to his beloved Joan because passions overtook him in Don's office. Nothing suggested anything of the erotic or seductive in his approach; instead, he did what an insecure little boy or adolescent would do... he needed to drop his pants and mark Joan's life and territory as absolutely, totally his.

...just as in that subjective, insecure way Greg felt Joan diminished A Future Chief of Surgeon by climbing on top of him in bed the night before (because she could dine on a plate of stale Ritz crackers and call it a love feast only so many times.)

He violated everything in her life at once -- her less than sanguine romantic feelings for him (aside from what his false confidence suggested to her about his assured future), her essential, even organic place in the life and success of her company... and her status as a woman to be hungered for -- but who knew how to keep the yearning for her love and respect so strong, no sane man would attack her for sex only.

(How many of you suspect that his false confidence about becoming Chief Surgical Resident was the key element in his courtship of Joan? Confidence like Roger's was as unearned as Greg's -- but unlike Greg, Roger Sterling inherited both his confidence and his position.)

Which only reminds me of the ugly words he spoke before he assaulted her... that she should make believe he's her boss. Even if she had not told him about Roger, a man as insecure as Greg attached to a woman as charismatic as Joan is going to be a walking petri dish of weird sexual inferiorities all his life.

What had been Joan's professional sense of what stays private then went beyond sophisticated discretion and into the personally damaging realm of suppression.

My question to everyone may have a plain spoken answer I don't remember (hey, I had another seven hours of chemo today) -- do you feel Joan confided things from her life at Sterling-Cooper to her fiance?

My own cheery weird fantasy about Don and Joan Together At Last in that hospital's waiting room is this --

It is Joan who is the next generation of woman life meant to have for him -- a more evolved Anna who would be less of a mother and more of a partner (in work, in bed or in life) to him.

Funny coincidence -- Anna confronted Don in his used car sales office in flashback and then embraced him as someone to care for in the same episode that Greg, uh, embraced Joan in Don's latter day office.

Anonymous said...

BEST EPISODE TO DATE. It just had it all. Well done Weiner and Co.

I loved how Don and Betty each reacted to Sally's screams. "She's a CHILD,Don. She'll get over it!"
Years of therapy in Sally Draper's
future! Don proving that in spite of his own terrible childhood,he is a GREAT Dad. I was sort of hoping he would tell Sally that they would call the baby Scott.

Excellent,excellent episode.
Congratulations to all at AMC for the big win last night.

RachelP said...

Okay, I'm sorry, I just have to add this, because I'm a Mad Man fan and a vintage Barbie fan and how often are these two topics topics going to intersect: Sally's Barbie was the real deal, and not a reproduction.

Ah, Mad Men! As if I needed another reason to love you!

Jayne said...

My take on that last moment between Don and Joan is that Don is breathing a sigh of relief that he is getting away without having had an entanglement with Joan, which would have been trouble for him, given her penchant for finding people's weak spots and exploiting them. And Joan's face betrayed a glimmer of regret, not that he was the one that got away, but that in the end, she never did get the cool medium to bend (to her will) and finally had to reach up to him to plant a kiss on his cheek. She blinks, Don wins, although it was more from his instinct for self-preservation.

The last exchange between Peggy and Joan actually seemed to be the meeting of those who'd met their match; Peggy having succeeded at the office on her own terms, and Joan, who showed some of the same acumen ast Peggy for the craft (recall her job performance in the TV department), but feeling forced to validate her earlier aspirations by 'marrying up' with a person who in both personal and professional arenas is her inferior. To me that is the reason she follows through with a marriage she knows will shortchange her. She is still fixed in her idea that this is the only way to succeed in the world.
I was in college the decade after this, and there were still many young women who were only in school and/or intended to work only until they caught a husband.
At the same time when I was in school, my sister worked in an office, but had to leave when she became pregnant; it was a given at the time that of course you would no longer work. But in the decade before that, even marriage was a reason to leave employment, and only divorce, widowhood, or as Joan was doing, putting your husband through med school was viable reason to stay.
I don't agree with any of these practices; in fact as I saw my sister shown the door before her pregnancy even showed, it motivated me to finish school and break away from having life choices forced on me.

Anonymous said...

I was also like to add that I too am finding the hatred of Dr. Greg in these comments to be annoying. He is a complex, flawed character like almost all the characters on this show. Its like if you are watching a movie about Thomas Jefferson and immediatley hate him because he owned slaves. Something that is in our times, reprehensible and of course illegal. But if you only look at that fact, you do not recognize the man's greatness and complexity . In many ways, Thomas Jefferson represents the United States itself. Aspiring to greatness, but full of contradictions.
I am also annoyed with the love affair commenters have with Don Draper even knowing so much of his history now. He is the ultimate hyppocrite and pretender and this will catch up to him. The man should be prison for what he did. I find what Dick Whitman did much worse than what Dr. Greg did.

ZoeCat said...

Someone earlier said that Ken was one-dimensional. I have to disagree - I think he's the most interesting of the chipmunks. Pete is an amazingly lifelike robot, Harry is clueless and Paul is a buffoon.

Ken is a country boy who is tickled to have gotten where he is. He doesn't play the game or take any of the others very seriously (and he published a story in the Atlantic). His dressing down Smitty about how the lawnmower is a tool to be respected and is perfectly safe when used properly (I'm paraphrasing here) shows you can take the boy out of Vermont, but you can't take Vermont out of the boy.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I was also like to add that I too am finding the hatred of Dr. Greg in these comments to be annoying.

How many times do I need to say this? Talk about the show, not about each other. If you can't do that going forward, your comment gets deleted.

gladly said...

This blog has such good commentary on almost everything else that the one-dimensional criticism of Betty is really fascinating. I mean, we've known for 65 years that many women didn't flourish when they were confined to their houses and limited to overseeing their children and tending their husbands. In fact, it was 1963 when another Betty wrote a book identifying exactly this and changed the world.

So, 65 years after The Feminine Mystique, we're still looking at Betty Draper and lamenting her failures as a mother? And we're complimenting Don's fifteen minutes of tenderness? Has anything changed at all? We really can't look at Betty Draper and see that she's been made into this isolated, depressed person by her marriage?

Betty is exactly the kind of woman that Betty Friedan was writing about. Weiner's taken three seasons to show us how her individuality has gradually been lost. Have we seen Betty outside the Draper home at all this season when she wasn't Don's appendage? Have we seen her interact with another adult when she wasn't being Mrs. Draper? Just one that I can think of--her father. Hardly an improvement.

In this season, Weiner is showing us that Betty has no life other than as Mrs. Draper. She's a wife to a man who lies to her about everything important and is unfaithful nearly every chance he gets and mother to three kids who are more her prison than her salvation. She could have left Don last year (though I doubt she would have)--but after she discovered she was pregnant, she really had no choice.

Remember Betty knows now that Don lies to her. She knows that her marriage is based on lies--and she doesn't even know the extent to which everything she believes about her life with him is a lie. I just can't believe that we're still concentrating on Betty as only a bad mother, but we can see Don as much more interesting, multifacted character even though he's a shitty husband and an absentee father.

I think it's time for Betty to get out the gun again.

Anonymous said...

Midge - marketed as Barbie's best friend - usually had red hair and always had freckles. A much more wholesome looking female, she was a deliberate reaction to the criticism that Barbie was too sexy for little girls. I had a Midge, was never allowed a Barbie for that reason. So Betty definitely bought her daughter a Barbie. Not like my mother. But no, I'm not bitter. Honest.

matty said...

for a second i was thinking (hoping?) that betty's gift to her daughter was a carton of cigarettes. the box was the right shape.

Roger said...

Patio Girl is to Ann-Margaret as Guy is to Don Draper. You can't imitate the real thing. Veiled shot at AMC by Matthew Weiner for them trying to get a new show runner before they settled on his contract?

greytone said...

Alan, since you asked....The spectacled 'chipmunk' (who whisked Lois away after the accident) is named Dale (no last name) and is played by Mark Kelly. He has been appearing in this infrequent role since Season 1.

To all those who feel Sally's gift from baby Gene was not a true Barbie I can attest that my first Barbie was a brunette with a short bobbed coiffure just like the one Sally recieved. I loved her and made a cosmetic case full of clothes before I gave her (and her trousseau away when I married at 18 years old). What a waste...I should have left the husband and kept the Barbie!...

Did anyone question the fact that someone was told where to reach Don when the accident happened? It seemed odd that he left word where he was going and they knew where to reach him right away.

My father-in-law had a similar lawnmower accident while attempting to push the mower over a sidewalk hump while wearing sneakers (and not steel toed boots). The grass was wet and instead of moving forward, his foot slipped underneath the mower. He lost several toes at the advanced age of 81 and didn't do too well after the accident. Please...don't try this at home...

Is anyone surprised that baby Gene's room is so undecorated? It looks more like a storeroom than a newborn nursery.

The Best: Roger's line to Harry, "Sit down sissy Mary, you're pale...." SC wouldn't be the same without Roger....

This is the best Mad Men blog and is moderated expertly. Thanks for hosting us....

The Scrappy Bee... said...

The Barbie Sally received was a brunette "Bubble Cut" Barbie. They were made from 1961-1965, and the hairstyle was clearly ala Jackie. This model came after the original ponytail Barbie and before the "American Girl" Barbie - a more "mod" style. The Bubblecut was re-released as a collector's edition in in the 90's with and exact replica of the original box - most likely this is what Sally received.

That was truly one of the funniest scenes of the episode. When Don found the doll in the shrub and placed it on her dresser, you just knew what was going to happen!

greytone said...

Forgot to mention to those who have forgotten....the Draper's dog is named Polly.

Imamarilyn said...

Gladly, did you have a chance to read last week's blog and comments on "The Fog," which had lots of Betty in it? There was good discussion about Betty as a very real three dimensional character. She is my favorite; so complex.

Betty does occasionally make efforts to be a better mother. The scene with the Barbie in this week's episode ended with Betty reassuring Sally.

sandiegomike said...

Alan,
Would there be any chance of adapting the commentary software to number the posts? i like to check in every day and read the new posts. With Mad Man comments running two to three hundred a week, it's cumbersome to find one's place each day.

berkowit28 said...

sandiegomike, why don't you just use the last date and time, shown at the end of every comment, as a marker?

Rick said...

How long has it been since someone other than Don or Burt responded to Roger? I just noticed that the first half of the episode is very Sixth Sense-ish with him- neither the Brits nor the Chipmunks react directly to anything he says.

Anonymous said...

one of the brits made an interesting comment when Joan told them she had tickets to Oliver "my favourite tragedy - one with a happy ending", which is quite relevant to many at SC - hopefully Joan, too.

Anonymous said...

I apologize if this has been brought up someplace before, but has the constant use of the statement "that's true" in the show's dialogue been discussed?? I notice that the usage is being played with lately, as in, "I don't know if... that's true." The remark is used multiple times in each episode, and often as a punchline.

KarenX said...

1. Harry Crane's wife worked while pregnant. Granted, she was a switchboard operator or something (non-public), but she was working. I always liked how Harry was partnered with a fully employed wife.

2. I don't think that Don left word about where he was going, but his secretary did know that Conrad Hilton had called for him. I'm sure with a man in the office bleeding and headed to the emergency room, and if Joan approached the secretary in her Joan way, the secretary would have immediately spoken up. All Joan had to do was figure out where Conrad Hilton was and call his assistant.

jazzfan360 said...

Harry kinda reminds me of Bobby Bacala...a gentle, sorta simple and earnest guy who hangs in the background and quietly, but very solidly delivers every time he's called on. Very early in The Sopranos' run I told my friends to watch Bobby because the mafia's built on the backs of guys like him and I had a feeling he'd really rise in the ranks... I think Harry's that guy here at Sterling-Cooper.

Maura said...

gladly said: So, 65 years after The Feminine Mystique, we're still looking at Betty Draper and lamenting her failures as a mother? And we're complimenting Don's fifteen minutes of tenderness? Has anything changed at all? We really can't look at Betty Draper and see that she's been made into this isolated, depressed person by her marriage?

gladly, thanks for your entire post. I love Betty, even when she's miserable and mean. I don't always like her, but I think she's a great character, and my heart hurts for her.

She is kind of a bad mother, but I think she doesn't know any better. She also doesn't know herself, and refuses to admit there are problems in her life. How can she question her life when she doesn't know what the questions are?

I hadn't thought about how isolated Betty has been, but it's true. The more isolated you are, the more isolated you become. She's been paralyzed for months. We didn't even see Francine until "The Fog". Where has she been? No matter how awful Francine is, she's always been a good friend to Betty.

The much-predicted postpartum depression hasn't set in, so I assume Betty is at least safe from that. She's still living in a dream world of sorts, but at least she's trying to be happy. Her attempt to reach out to Sally might have failed, but she did what she knew how to do. There was no bribing that girl anyway, but at least Betty tried. She was very kind to Sally, and I loved her line about babies getting fairies to do things for them.

Betty's never going to be a touchy-feely mother. That she was able to control her frustration when Sally woke up screaming, waking up the baby in the process, was pretty remarkable, IMO.

As for Don and Sally, I'm going to be happy for any warmth and love those poor kids receive. I think the difference between Don and Betty is Don's childhood taught him what not to do. Betty hasn't figured out a better way yet.

I can't condemn Betty for being a bad mother. If I were a mother now, I probably wouldn't be any better. It's the reason I have cats.

Julia said...

"Is anyone surprised that baby Gene's room is so undecorated? It looks more like a storeroom than a newborn nursery."

People back then didn't decorate nurseries like they do today. One reason was not wanting to jinx a good outcome to the pregnancy.

Just occurred to me that "Oliver" has that awful song where Nancy sings about Bill Sykes, who routinely beats her and will end up killing her: "As Long As He Needs Me". Even today, people will ask for that to be sung at their wedding!! Lots of women make the same deal as Joan regarding abusive men.

Just looked at an earlier ep and noticed several things:

The Jai Alai guy's dad said that he and his wife didn't know what kind of son they had when they set aside that fortune for him as an infant. That must have made an impression on Don.

It was Betty's father who died. Back then it was thought that kids shrugged off and didn't understand death. The thought was that Sally, a grandchild who mostly lived in a different city and state than her grandfather, wouldn't have had nearly the pain of loss as Betty. It would have been strange to tend to a grandchild's feelings instead of the man's actual children. Possibly someone not so close to the death might have comforted Sally, but her mom was too dumbstruck and her dad was tending to Betty. No grief counselling back then. Kubler-Ross and all that was in the future.

Also noticed an offhand remark about "Bridge Over the River Kwai" in the context of a discussion about those crazy Brits and what they want from CS. Very funny.

Pegleg McKendrick said...

Joan's a better doctor than her husband Greg Marmalard.

She should be the one working and making the money, while trophy husband Marmalard stays home and acts pretty, since that's all he's good for.

Joan, Don and Peggy should start their own agency, they'd put Sterling Cooper out of business.

Imamarilyn said...

Julia, good perspective on how death was viewed back in Mad Men times, especially as it related to a child. I found it interesting that Betty talked of fairies then Don said there were no such thing as ghosts. Points to Betty for remaining calm when Sally came in to apologize, even though she said everything is fine when it was not. Poor Betty, always needing for everything to be perfect and fine but having no idea on how to improve anything in a real way. I am one who predicted post-partum depression for her and that is not the case.

Anonymous said...

It might be too good to be true for Greg to become MIA in Vietnam (but a nice idea) I know people would like to introduce him to bamboo Canes. I think Joan is going to have to assert herself/confide in someone in order to return to SC or the world of work.
I was thinking that Duck could be the vehicle for people to leave SC he first gets Peggy and Pete. Greys do some work for Connie so he finally gets Don and then Joan or even Guy. At that stage Don leaves Duck out in the cold - just like Duck did Chauncy !

Jed said...

I thought it was interesting that Pryce wasn't arround brownosing at the hospital. Possibly he felt that he couldn't compete with Joan, but having her as the only one at SC at the hospital was somewhat telling. I guess it is possible that he also saw "his own funeral" and wasn't so happy with the brits or was put to work firing off telegrams or other damage control due to the accident. Of course it sets up Joan and Don.

The exchange between Don and Lane in the waiting room also leads me to wonder -- I never saw Lane as an accounts man but an accountant and liaison with the British office. With Duck you needed someone to moderate between Don and Duck so there needed to be a head, but other than MSG it doesn't seem to be a conflict between sales and creative that needs this -- has Roger and Bert not been pulling their weight in terms of new business that they need a point man. When is Don going to realize that Duck was right in some respect that creative will always take a back seat to accounts?

What does Don want? What does Betty want? I think Betty is shooting herself in the foot... She is still mad at Don (which she has a right to be) but if she holds onto this and doesn't acknowledge how hard he is trying to move forward and be a better man (husband and father) she's going to make it easier for him to justify not trying.

Poor Sally, Poor middle kid, sorry he's been so marginalized that I can't remember his name, you think Sally has it bad...the middle child between the oldest girl and the youngest boy, named after her father. The whole naming of Eugene is typical Draper childish
behavoiur -- sure you name knids after relatives, but reasonable people would have worked out a compromise -- not just doing the paperwork behind your husbands back. I would think Scott Eugene would have helped both Sally and Don, and should have satisfied Betty but ....

Lisa said...

Just got around to watching the episode last night, and reading most of the great comments here -- great thinking, people.

* I was amazed at all the little twists and turns going on with the pecking order at Sterling Cooper until the foot went flying. Don's momentary jet-setting promotion, Roger Sterling literally falling off the management tree, milquetoast Harry Crane literally being the only one in ascendency for those few brief, shining moments, until....SPLAT!

* They cannot kill off or fire Roger Sterling. Not after the way Slattery sold that "Iwo Jima" remark. My sides are still hurting.

* So, is John Deere's marketing department happy or sad this week? You have to wonder how that product placement conversation actually went, but I still can't believe that FedEx went along with "Castaway," so what do I know?

* Yup, lotsa JFK assassination foreshadowing in this episode. I found myself thinking this happy thought -- maybe Joan will get to be a widow herself when Dr. Rapist/Loser tosses himself off a hospital ledge for screwing up his career. We can only hope.

* Oh, and whoever noted how much Sally's Barbie looked like Jackie? Brilliant.

* BTW, someone needed to hand Christina Hendricks an Emmy after that late-night scene with Dr. R/L.. What a ridiculous sob story from a weakened bully. I loved her line, "get over here" -- delivered more like an angry mother disciplining a kid than a woman comforting her husband after a terrible disappointment. So here's the question -- does Joan stay with him and literally kick his ass into success? Does she dump him? Does he jump, as I hope? More important, how will she make her way back to Sterling Cooper? Will Peggy rescue her? Or does Roger?

* I love January Jones more every week. Expect the systematic destruction of her daughter to become more focused as Don takes over from Gene as Sally's biggest ally. The only thing I regret is that this show supposedly will end in 1970. I want to see how Sally gets back at her mother as a teenager -- that would be a fair fight.

* The Brits' reaction to the severed foot was comical, but not far from the truth. Disabilities were devastating to men back then, and Don's reaction was another sign of how out of step he is with the rest of the world. It's interesting how they use Don's reactions as a running commentary on where the world might be going.

While I've been amused by "Mad Men" in the past, this is the first episode where I've actually laughed out loud. Incredibly funny, scary and poignant. This one's definitely in my Top 5.

Julia said...

Just realized who St John is - the dad in "The Nanny".

CarolMR said...

It's interesting that with all this talk about how things were in the 60s for women and how it will soon change, Maureen Dowd on 9/20 wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in which she wondered whether feminism actually benefits men more than women.

John Coulter said...

As much as I loved the lawnmower scene, anyone that has driven a riding lawnmower knows you have to engage the actual blades by lowering the deck. And on and old lawnmower like that, it actually takes quite a bit of strength, to engage it. Its a little hard to tell if they deck was actually engaged, from when Cosgrove was driving it, but if it was, it would have been blowing papers around. I'm just saying....

Anonymous said...

*do you feel Joan confided things from her life at Sterling-Cooper to her fiance?*

I'm sure she confided things, but not such things as her desire to become a more permanent out of the infrastructure position like Peggy. I don't think she's even really been able to confide those thoughts with herself yet.

-EmeraldLiz

Mrs. H. said...

I thought the same thing with the mower scene. I mow our lawn with a 1980's John Deere tractor that looks very similar to the one in the ep and you have to turn on the blades. Also the deck arm that would lower the blade looks like it's raised.

To continue to split hairs, when Don goes into Gene's nursery, Gene is on his back. The back is best movement is fairly recent. My mother thought I was bananas for putting my little boy on his back to sleep because babies just tend to sleep 'better' on their tummies. I think Betty would have put Gene down on his tummy -- he's still too little to have rolled over. (Back is Best has shown to reduce greatly SIDS in the past 10 years. My ped told me I could let my son nap on his tummy if I was nearby but to check on him.)

By the third child and after the death of a family member, I'm not surprised that they just whipped out their old crib and stuck it in that mysterious spare bedroom. A room that I first took to be a mudroom then and attic room. Trying to figure out the layout of the home - where is that darn room and why don't they have a guest room? Not that everyone has a guest room but I'd imagine one for Betty's sewing machine and a spare bed.

When Betty tells Don that Gene was perfect I totally understood her sense of pride in that. Those rare cry free days with a newborn are precious. An overtired mother of 3 would certainly brag about her baby being perfect just as she would complain were he a constant crier.

I liked how excited both Don and Betty seemed about the thought of London. A fresh start is what they both need yet he's stuck as head creative guy and she's been thrown back to SAHM mode. At least last season she was able to ride and seemed very happy to be doing it.

I thought that the disintegration of the party was a little fast. Don had only 15 minutes to get to the WAH and in that time, secretaries were on laps, nookie in the back room and the lawn mower was brought out raging. On the other hand, when we had a party at the end of the day in the Ad Dept of a big publishing house in NYC, we surly threw back the champers and got rowdy. Not so much of the nookie, though... Not in 2001.

I loved the cheap champagne - it is another smack at SC. Like the brits are saying; Let's celebrate your restructuring, this new "Guy" who's going to replace some of you and the departure of your Marilyn with some crap booze --- all while we go off to one of the most expensive and powerful restaurants in NYC. Ta ta.

Finally, Oprah had January Jones and John Hamm on yesterday during a 60's themed show. It was a fun segment. January Jones addressed the formality of the costuming -- down to the undergarments -- for the women. Also she mentioned that (paraphrasing here) Betty is a Bryn Mawr graduate who was a model and has travelled the world. The writers and actors obviously think that's very important back story on Betty just as Peggy's secretarial degree is part of her fabric. And Don's complete lack of formal education, I'd imagine.

Wholi said...

Loved the dark humor throughout the episode.

Great to see Don being a father - sad seeing Joan coming to the realization about her husband.

Alan - nice Rush reference in the title of the post!

Bam Bam Funkhouser said...

I believe Paul was singing a hymn called "And did those feet in ancient time" based on a poem by William Blake.

According to wikipedia it's a patriotic song and the "tune is so well liked that the song is...sung in many schools, especially public schools in the UK" So St. John and company (public school boys to a man) would most likely recognize it.

They walk by just as Paul is singing "Walk upon Englands mountains green." So it was probably not an "F you" to the Brits, but Paul towing the company line in his own "creative" way.

I recognized it from watching Eric Idle sing it over and over in this MPFC sketch.

Miss Heather said...

I have a question for other viewers. As I understood the situation, the Brits were to arrive on Wednesday, July 3. I also understood that the staff was disappointed because the office had been scheduled to be closed that day. Why would the office have been closed? Would Sterling Cooper really have given their employees TWO paid holiday days, the 3rd and the 4th, only to return for Friday the 5th? Normally one only has the 3rd off if it falls on a Friday.

Maybe I misunderstood the situation... any responses?

Bam Bam Funkhouser said...

@Miss Heather: Lane says they will arrive tomorrow (Tues, July 2) and the evaluation would continue to the next day (Wed July 3) when they had been scheduled to close.

Lawnmowerman said...

I am enjoying Alan's Blog...just found it...and some very interesting comments also.

This was a great MM ep. The John Deere model 110 lawn tractor that Ken rode in on WAS first offered for sale in 1963! When one of the guys in the office mentioned "mastadon" I think he meant that Ken was preening like some prehistoric hunter who had just brought down some big game as indeed John Deere was as a client.

Imamarilyn said...

Anonymous, I don't think at least up to this point, Joan had any aspirations for any other position at Sterling Cooper than what she had. At one point she even told Peggy as much, as Peggy was venturing into the man's world. She would have talked about work to Greg, but being the astute person she is, never would have revealed anything that would have upset or angered Greg unnecessarily.

Garrett said...

Another neat parallelism: We started with a joke about a secretary caught with a hooker and ended with a Hooker caught with a secretary.

I wonder if Matthew Weiner thought ahead to the Profumo Affair when he named that character? It's not quite "My turn to be Omar!" but it's not bad.

Scott Hollifield said...

Miss Heather, apart from being one day off on the date of the Brits' actual arrival (they arrived on July 2 with a two-day stay planned), you understood correctly, and I also was a little thrown by the fact that Sterling Cooper would be closed on both July 3 and 4, when both days were in the middle of the week. Not sure if that's something more companies did back then, but it may have been just a concession to narrative concerns; the audience would be expected to feel even more hostile towards the Brits if they'd asked SC employees to actually work on the 4th itself.

Blair Waldorf said...

NYMAG's link to the best Mad Men thing ever.

Mad Men GIF

Thank me later.

cgeye said...

Remember when I wondered whether Hilton's PR dept. was on the stick in re Connie?

I should be ashamed I doubted them:

http://hiltonworldwide.hilton.com/en/ww/promotions/hf_madmen/index.jhtml

"To enter the Live Like a Mad Man Sweepstakes, book online at the Mad Men rate and stay with any participating Hilton Family hotel worldwide between August 16 and November 15, 2009, and you'll be automatically registered."

K. said...

OMG, Blair ... that's like watching a train wreck! It really is hard not to look! (shudder, guilty laugh)

I just had to add one more comment about the scene near the end with Joan and Don in the waiting room, my favorite moment of the episode. There's no doubt each is attracted to the other, but they both know that to ACT on it would only mess up their relationship. I've certainly had a few friendships in which there was definitely a physical attraction there, but the POSSIBILITY of sex was just more fun (and way less complicated) than the actual sex would have been. Maybe that's why I smiled all the way through their scene together, especially when they were laughing and had to quickly clam up when the Brits walked in! I didn't pick up on any "She kissed me first, so I won" vibe from Don, nor any "Damn, I wish he would hit on me" from Joan. Just two people who think very highly of each other, and who just GET each other. I really enjoyed watching the two of them in action when she was his temporary secretary -- they just clicked so well. They make a great team professionally, but I think would somehow be jeopardizing their mutual respect if they were to become a couple. (Although I wholeheartedly agree that if they did get together, televisions across the land would explode from the heat! Yowza!)

CarolMR said...

Does anyone know why the office was scheduled to be closed on Wednesday, July 3rd?

Jessamyn said...

Funkhauser, thank you so much for ID'ing Paul's song! You made it even that much funnier for me. I must admit, I really liked Paul at first and was disappointed when he started getting made fun of, then even more disappointed when I realized he deserved to be made fun of - but now I just find him totally hilarious. For me, that guitar-playing moment was such a payoff for his escalating pompous artsy socialist nonsense. Way to strike a pose, Paul!

Mark Gould said...

A little thing, but grating for this Brit. As Moneypenny was showing the visitors round, he said, "on with the threepenny tour." A great line, but pronounced wrongly. My guess is that the actor is just too young to know that threepenny is pronounced "thrup-nee" (or "thrupenny" at a pinch). The threepenny bit, which was removed from circulation after decimalisation in 1971, was one of the most unusual coin ever minted, having 12 sides.

Anonymous said...

Just an idea how Joan could go back to her job. Have the rapist/doctor drafted and sent to Viet Nam as a MASH physician (where he could hone his skills). Not being able to afford their Manhattan apartment on Greg's Army allotment alone would open the door for her return to Sterling Cooper while saving face.

The Rush Blog said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Rush Blog said...

Why did you delete two of my posts that criticized Don's behavior in this episode?

dez said...

For me, that guitar-playing moment was such a payoff for his escalating pompous artsy socialist nonsense. Way to strike a pose, Paul!


I was waiting for Bluto to come in and smash the guitar to bits :-D

Alan Sepinwall said...

Why did you delete two of my posts that criticized Don's behavior in this episode?

Because I asked you to leave the blog and not come back after you were repeatedly rude to people in a Lost discussion last season.

The Rush Blog said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan Sepinwall said...

Rush Blog, I've been deleting every comment you've posted here for months. This is just the first you've noticed it, apparently.

The Rush Blog said...

No you haven't. You haven't deleted any of my posts for a long time. Not until today. Why?

The Rush Blog said...

You know what? Forget it. Just forget it. Apparently, you've decided that you can't be honest with me.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I've been doing it for months, Rush Blog. I invite you to go back and look for any old comments from that period, cause they're not there. (and if a stray one survived, it's because I may have lost track when discussions get real long.).

Once again, I'm going to ask you to leave because of how you behaved in the spring. This is the last I'm gonna respond to you. All future attempts to comment will once again be deleted.

berkowit28 said...

The name of that Blake poem is "Jerusalem", set to music by Sir Hubert Parry and, yes, it is considered a very patriotic song in England. It's sung (spontaneously, by the crowd) at all England soccer matches, cricket wins, "Last Night of the Prom" (I think even back in the 60s), and so on. I sure didn't catch that's what Paul was singing. That means he was sucking up to the Brits - or just possibly poking fun at them.

And, yes, I too was shocked that a real Brit said "three-penny" rather than "thrupp'nny" bit. Obviously the actor is far too young to have known the real thing but he surely has heard the term before. And there were lots of older Brits onstage, plus people they must have to check these things. That really jarred - a real goof.

Dan said...

That GIF is an all-timer. Kinsey's spastic reaction compared the bespectacled dude on the left who barely flinches...classic.

I have to join in with the defend-Betty/knock-Don crew. Not that it's the point of this show to have definitive villains, as opposed to showing the lighter shades of gray of which we're all comprised.

But Don isn't any better or worse than Betty is as a parent, in my opinion.

Just because he's been a bit more involved this season, and cooked his daughter some late-night hash, and comforted her after a screaming fit, doesn't mean he's a good dad.

Just remember -- cheaters don't just cheat on their spouse, they cheat on their children, too. Amd for all Don's interaction with Sally this season, don't forget his son still goes patently ignored.

And that's not to defend Betty, who is still as cold and judgmental as ever. But I guess I have sympathy for her, and women of her era, who were boxed into a corner by circumstances that looked good on the outside but, upon further inspection, weren't really all that appealing.

Joan's a victim of the same mirage of fictional white-picket bliss. In my opinion, she is rapidly turning into the most tragic character on this show, even more than Don. Granted, she's the victim of her own choices, but still.

Watching her dominate one gig, then get completely overlooked for another that would have been absolutely perfect for her, then get wrapped up in this shallow, flimsy facade of a marriage to Dr. Rapesalot (I like that moniker)...it just doesn't seem fair.

But then again, that's life -- a reality this show does such an exceedingly good job of exploring.

Thanks too, Alan, for the great insight. Your blog takes my understanding of this wonderful show to a totally new level.

happyfeet said...

It's taken me several days to get through the comments properly. A lot of fantastic insights, some analysis that really articulates ideas I share, and some lovely period factual detail contributed.

I'm British and initially found the British characters portrayed in rather a broad fashion... however, on reflection, thinking of 60s tv programmes here and in the 70s on the BBC - doesn't seem too far off!

I also loved this episode more for the laugh-out-loud moments (first time for me with MM) and sheer shock value. I was NOT expecting the amputation-by-garden equipment and it took me a few seconds to realise what was happening. That doesn't happen often - and I'm a psychiatrist!

A few points I wanted to make:

Don-Peggy versus Don-Joan versus Don-Betty:
At the party seeing Peggy and Dan stood side by side - the image of them like that ostensibly as equals felt odd in the light of comments previously on this blog about those two becoming romantic matches for each other perhaps years in the future. I'm not sure that would happen, but it is interesting to consider Peggy and Joan as many this week have considered the Don-Joan dynamic. It would be interesting to note others thoughts on this.

Betty is coping with the newborn:
Happy to see it hasn't descended into post-partum depression though my-goodness she certainly very vulnerable and at risk. How mental health problems were dealt with in the 60s would have been interesting to see (leaving the dalliance with psychoanalysis in season 1 aside).

Emerging themes of parenting in the 60s and the impact on the next generation of this generation's behaviour:
Hinted at in earlier seasons but really flagged up in the last few episodes. Lots of focus on Sally, and differing attitudes to dealing with major life events such as death. Allying Don more with talking through emotional crises thematically draws him closer to the Miss Farrell - and supports my current pet theory about a future extra-marital relationship there.

Push and pull:
Last week forcefully introduced the idea of other companies in the MM world, namely Grey, and pulling our well-known characters away (by Duck). This week showed more push away from Sterling Cooper, building on themes of uncertainty and fear about no longer having jobs-for-life. If things are precarious for Don, then noone is safe. This episode also introduced more 'pull' with Connie Hilton alluding to sweeter pastures abroad. In some ways, the loss of Joan is also a push factor.

And interestingly, while last week Peggy expressed slight interest in looking elsewhere, Don does also, this week. His delight in considering London reveals his dissatisfaction with his current place of work. He may not have gone anywhere yet, but perhaps he only just realised himself with the thoughts of London that he isn't happy at SC.

The very fact that the many of us have discussed 'a new company' and mass exodus really show how this theme has ignited over the past episodes.

I can't wait for next week - and well done to the team for the much-deserved Emmy. It's great that Matt Weiner retains so much creative control over this show - long may it continue!

Anonymous said...

You are in advertising. You are being transferred from New York City to a city in a third world country. That is a propotion . . . how?

Aimeslee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan Sepinwall said...

I'm not able to go thru over 300 comments right now.

Then, unfortunately, you can't comment. I know the number of comments keeps rising and rising, and perhaps we can come up with a solution for future weeks, but I mentioned the rules upfront.

AG said...

Apropos of nothing, or at least not apropos of a specific moment in this episode: With the Brits wandering around and the baby-naming discussion and whatnot, I'm wondering about something that caught my end in S.1 -- the name "Dick Whitman" itself. It's awfully close to "Dick Whittington," the folklore character based on an actual Lord Mayor of London who brought himself up by his bootstraps from humble origins with the help of his rat-catching cat. Back in S.1 I just assumed the similiarity was some random coincidence, especially since I didn't see it mentioned anywhere, but with recent developments I am reminded that making assumptions in a Weiner universe is foolish behavior... Any insight from commenters whose analysis fu is stronger then mine?

(And apropos of nothing again but in a meta way, my sympathies re comments administration right now, Alan. This can't be fun.)

Imamarilyn said...

happyfeet, I don't see Don becoming romantically or sexually involved with either Peggy or Joan. He respects these women (perhaps the only two women in the world he respects) and that is precisely the reason why he won't ve involved with either one. Don has an underlying disrespect for woman in general, his wife in particular and it all goes back to his mother. All his intimate relationships have the element of disdain for the woman.

Pamela Jaye said...

My first Barbie was turned in at Child World (not sure where precisely - don't think we went as far as Dedham, we were in West Roxbury at the time) for a new Barbie.
I remember that. I don't remember if mine was an original - I don't think they gave Barbies to newborns. But she was definitely an early Barbie. My Ken (1, I have two) is a very early Ken - his hair is molded and he's hard plastic. His arm comes off if you try to dress him.

I had other Barbies over the years, as well as Dawn dolls, and Jan (of Heidi and Jan) who was lost when she parachuted over the bar in our basement, never to be seen again.

Sally's Barbie looked like a Midge, to me. Never had one of those but I did have Skipper and the younger sister, and little Kelli. I never did get my dollhouse though. Later, when i was 40, I went out and bought rooms of Barbie furniture, which I still have, still in the box. The bookcase I planned to use for a house is filled with VHS tapes.

And I still want my Barbie house. I don't like 1' - 1" scale, I want 11" doll scale.

I also, somewhere, have my Donny & Marie dolls, and

more pertinent to this show: my Chatty Cathy. If you pull her string, she makes a whining noise. Her teeth went up into her head. Her hair is a mess, she's lost a leg, and she's held together by bandage tape around her middle, but I've had her since I was 4. She's a 46 year old doll.

Scott Hollifield said...

@Dan: You said, "Just because [Don's] been a bit more involved this season, and cooked his daughter some late-night hash, and comforted her after a screaming fit, doesn't mean he's a good dad." True enough. He's far from being a truly hands-on parent, but this season at least shows that he's trying. However, it would be borderline shocking if Betty had even tried ANY of those things. She's been pointedly non-sympathetic (meaning the way she herself feels) towards her children in virtually every scene this season, coming the closest when she tried to placate Sally with the Barbie (similar to, as some have pointed out, her hollow gesture with the riding boots a while back). Let's not pretend that she and Don are equivalent.

By the way, p.s. Alan - this blog is a marvel and your commenters are mostly terrific. You have way more substantive feedback here than all of the major corresponding pro TV bloggers put together (at least the ones that I follow, i.e. Poniewozik, Ryan, Slate, etc.) and they are clearly following your lead. Good work, friend.

jenae said...

Joan told Peggy in season one that she Don had never come on to her. I take that to mean they have no sexual history together. She seems to have to speculate about what he's like when it comes to making sexual mores on women. She said he's so handsome, he doesn't need to use the captive audience of women at work to look for lovers, adding "most of these guys aren't".

(Hope this doesn't display an ignorance of previous posts. i try to skim all, but my brain doesn't really have a skim setting. it's read or don't read.)

happyfeet said...

@Imamarilyn: Hmm yes, I don't think that Peggy and Don would ever have a relationship, nor do I think Joan and Don have or would either (I recall Joan saying that Jenae). I think that's wish fulfillment as audience members of a tv programme and is an impulse best resisted by the MM crew.

I suppose what I was hinting at more was comparing the interactions between Don and Peggy/Betty/Joan over this and the last episode. I think it's revealing in terms of the level of respect he may hold for each one and what it means to him.

I'm not sure that Don had disdain for Rachel (though I'll admit he did with Midge and Bobbi) and I think if he did hold the opposite sex in that view he wouldn't be capable of connecting with other women or respecting them in the way he does with Sally, Joan, Peggy and the first Mrs Draper. I think despite overwhelming societal mores, he STILL hasn't a problem with strong independent women and I can't feel the disdain there. The cruel and throwaway attitude he does show is to both men and women - for him I think it does depend on the person and not their gender.

jenae said...

I'm looking for the answer to a question I posed, but the discussion is so long now, I can't find my way around. Was my comment, with my question, deleted perhaps? In a posting that included this comment:

"I loved Rachel. I liked her not-standard-American beauty—Betty epitomizes all American beauty in a very vulnerably girlish mode; she’s extremely lovely too, in the opposite way—I liked that Rachel shared painful events from her past with Don right away. Her pain is part of her self-concept and part of her understanding of how intimacy evolves."

I asked this question: "Just reviewed the rules. Does no spoilers mean no predictions? I was so impressed with f_l’s insight into what would happen next with Sally, I’m tempted to share something that I predict might happen with a different character. But I will keep it to myself until someone clarifies whether predictions are spoilers."

If I was deleted, please let me know why so I can comply with the rules. Also, assuming this gets posted, I'd like to add about Rachel: unlike what some have said of Betty and Don, I don’t think Rachel is incapable of happiness. She’s integrated her pain into who she is. Don hasn’t managed that yet; his pain is a hidden wound that drives his marriage-and-family damaging behavior.

Again, as I can not find the posting in which I praised Rachel and asked for clarification as to what is a spoiler (is expressing a hunch a spoiler?) I am gonna assume it got delted, so Alan if you would please enlighten me that would be great. Is there a search function on this site? (Don't see one.) That would be helpful.

jenae said...

re: search function, oops, there it is. maybe that will help me see if there was a reply to my question.

jenae said...

Search for sentences in my first post brings up nothing, so I take that to confirm it was deleted. Please let me know why? Too long? Typos? Too many allusions to previous episodes?

jenae said...

Actually, the search function doesn't work. Words definitely in here bring up nothing...

Imamarilyn said...

Don has a disdain/disrespect for Rachel. First time he met her he said he wasn't going to let a woman talk to him like that. He met her later for a drink to mend fences and she rightly deduced he did it because, as she put it, he "got in trouble" and was ordered to do so. (By Roger IIRC,)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Jenae, based on your multiple comments, I'm guessing you're not going to see this one, but I haven't deleted anything you've written. You just can't find them because when the number of comments for a post goes over 200, Blogger starts splitting the comments into multiple pages, and yours are showing up on the "Newest" page.

And yes, speculation/guessing is fine, so long as it's not supported by things you've seen/read elsewhere. Like, a number of people have suggested that Dr. Greg might wind up in Vietnam, and that's cool, but if people were doing it because they'd read a (hypothetical) interview with Sam Page (who plays Greg) where he mentions Vietnam, it would be a no-no.

Scott Hollifield said...

@Imamarilyn: Having just recently rewatched the first season, I'm pretty sure Don's disrespect/disdain for Rachel only extended up until that first drink out they had together. During that meeting, Rachel effectively parried Don's semi-boorish observations about love and advertising, and at the same time displayed some vulnerability that Don seemed to wind up identifying with, which is what ended up drawing them closer together. I think it's pretty clear from their subsequent romantic scenes that Don quickly came to respect Rachel as well as develop strong feelings for her.

while Don still played his cards close to the vest, it was apparent that the initial chill was

Scott Hollifield said...

Oops, please ignore that final fragment... (hate it when that happens...)

Melissa said...

Lois's driving was anything BUT "wreckless."

Anonymous said...

Did it bother anyone else that Roger was nowhere to be seen during Joan's goodbye festivities? Or that he didn't comment on her departure at all in the show?

Anonymous said...

I think that it's a bit simple to reduce Don & Betty's parenting to good/bad. I find their parenting one of the more fascinating things in the show and I'm going to predict that it's baby Gene that leads to the eventual demise of their marriage.

Like Sally, Don is looking for things to love about the baby, but he fears the baby really is Gene over again. He points out to Betty that he and Gene hated each other. Betty is idolizing baby Gene the same way she idolized her father. Betty is unable to relate to Sally and prefers her obedient and out of sight. As Grandpa Gene previously said, Sally is Betty's mother over again.

Don can't really parent his sons - he's too wrapped up in being Don and not Dick, he can't model manhood when his own manhood is under constant revision. Sons are a mirror he finds painful to look in, even as he realizes he is failing Bobby. (the scene in the delivery waiting area where he admits he doesn't play enough ball with his son). How can Don relate to Bobby when every experience Bobby has must be an emotional trip wire for Dick?

I think the parenting in this episode was about the past informing our present relationships without our understanding why. Don knows he has a problem with the baby already, and Betty is making up for not wanting this child by transferring her father's soul into his small body.

Julia said...

Betty is a Bryn Mawr grad and it's assume that Dick Whitman stopped at high school. But Dan Draper was an officer, right? That must mean that he was a college grad? Is Don pretending to have that college background?

I've gone over the first ep of this season numerous times and still can't figure out Don's parentage. I know his biological mother died in childbirth. I've seen some comments that seem to imply that Don's biological father was the adoptive mother's wife or something like that. In the episode you can't see the trick's face and he isn't mentioned by name and he seemed much younger than the adoptive mother's husband Archie.

Moving on, the adoptive mother dies and Don ends up with the adoptive and/or biological father's new wife Mahitabel or something like that. So he's had 3mothers - biological, adoptive and step. How many fathers? One biological and one adoptive (Archie) or were they the same person?

I've not seen this laid out in any comments.

Maybe even Don doesn't know?

Suzette said...

Not much comment in the reviews I've read, on Betty's ongoing horrific parenting of son Bobby. That poor kid is definitely going to be showing up in a belltower with a shotgun.

Unlike everyone else in the Draper family, who always look so pristine, he shows up in clothes that are outright dirty. He's bored -- "Go bang your head on a wall, only boring people are bored" says Mom Betty. You wonder how much of this is just a general hatred of males, or whence it derives in her makeup... and how soon before she starts mistreating baby Gene as well.

And you don't see Bobby having any tender interaction with Dad Don either; at least Sally gets that.

Another thing: Sally looks SO much like my little sister at that age (and approximate historical-period), that it completely freaks me out. I get time-warpy watching her!

Jessamyn said...

I'm not particularly a Betty apologist, but I think she should get more credit for the riding boots. Those weren't just riding boots - those were an invitation to her daughter into Betty's world. She was saying, I'm going to stop excluding you from this thing that I love.

Now, whether she followed up we didn't see, but I think the gift was a weighty one.

Imamarilyn said...

Jessamyn, the riding boots were significant; I agree. Sally had asked to go riding and Betty refused. So it was a big gesture on Betty's part. When Sally was smoking, Betty threatened to take Barbie away and Sally wailed a protest. So Sally loves Barbie and Betty giving her one from the baby was also significant. Betty does try on occasion.

Anonymous said...

I dunno, I guess I wasn't as crazy about this episode as everyone else. What was the point of introducing Guy, just to dispatch him by episode's end? Nothing seemed to change. The only developments I could see justifying this is a) a significant change for Lane, having attended his own funeral or b) Guy actually sticking around, to become Peggy's love interest. Also, I felt like the timing of the whole Hilton meeting was a little contrived/convenient.

baggsey said...

Great episode - a couple of observations:

- The comment about Guy being fired because he could not play golf seems reasonable (albeit humorous). If you cannot schmooze a client on the golf course where many deals are made, then leading account sales is not an appropriate job.

- With the exception of Lane Pryce, the Brits are depicted as caricatures and 2-dimensional, and bring stereotyping and unrealism into a show which strives for verisimiltude. I presume that its done to draw a distinction between Lane Pryce and his old team, as Lane takes on the ethos of his colleagues at Sterling Cooper. I'd like to know if its deliberate on Matthew Weiner's part.

Also the name of Lane's boss "St John" is jarring. "St John"(or sinjin) is a not uncommon family name, or part of a surname, in Britain, but the only usage I'm aware of as a first name is the fictional "St. John Rivers" from Jane Eyre, a zealous cleryman.

Is there any relevance here?

dez said...

^Apparently, there was a St. John Ellis who played rugby...with a broken leg! Not sure if there is any significance, but there ya go.

happyfeet said...

@baggsey: St John as a first name is as fitting for a public schoolboy educated British man at that time as 'Lane' would be - in fact more so I reckon.

I'm British and initially felt the characters were a bit of a caricature (as I said in a post upthread) - but tbh they aren't benefiting from the character development that other MM characters have had as they are bit parts. I think Sal, Betty, Roger could all have been seen as extremes, as caricatures but the depths and multilayered background have come out over time.

If these people were drawn in a modern programme like this, then yes I'd say it was 2 dimensional and obvious for everyone to think that British executives speak with BBC English and went to Eton, but in a period piece they probably all did.

I don't know, somehow looking back these characters do seem weird and extreme - at first glance.

Any other Brits have an opinion on this?

Jude said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
berkowit28 said...

happyfeet,

Do you think it's even possible that the flaw some of us found in the "three-penny" pronunciation over the correct "thrup'ny" might have been intentional, as a sort of translation for better comprehension by the Americans? (i.e. the American characters, not just us the audience.) I suppose it's just possible, if unlikely.

LA said...

Julia -

Dick Whitman was fathered out of wedlock by Archibald Whitman who was married to Abigail at the time of said conception and birth. The midwife gave newborn Dick to Abigail late at night shortly after Dick's birth after his prostitute mother died in childbirth. Abigail raised him but never let him forget that he was a "whore's son." Archibald died in an accident when Dick was (8? 10? do we know. If memory serves, Archibald died while Abigail was pregnant with their son Adam.

meopta - Greatly appreciate your thoughts on the complexity of Don and Betty as parents. To add to that, I wonder if Anna Draper being the first "family member" Don/Dick had who made him feel loved has an impact on Don's parenting style of Sally? Based on The Mountain King last season, Dick and Anna appear to have a big-sister/little-brother vibe to their relationship. Dick positively thrives under her nurturing. I wonder if Don shows kindness to Sally because he sees her as a "big sister," a role he cherishes. Just thinking out loud.

jenae said...

Thanks again Alan for your answer and clarifications.

I'm repeating that here cause I realize now that, due to my lack of Internet savvy no doubt, I have been posting on the "Fog" discussion when I meant to post this week on the "Guy Walks in" discusion. (God that title is a sick joke; and yeah, the lawn mover fulfilled it's Chekhovian destiny very rapidly. --I think that's how you were spelling Chekhov; I've seen different spellings.)

Will post my prediction--drawn solely from intuition and observation--when I get to my other computer.

I love the no spoilers rule. The creators themselves ruined the ending of 6 Feet Under for me by putting spoilers on the commentary!! Speaking of which: Did any one hear Vince Kartiser (that is the wrong spelling) who play's Pete's comments to the finale of season 2? It was a *fake* spoiler of evil genius dimensions. (His real personality seems to be quite hip, slightly bad-boy, or maybe more than slightly.)

He was able to describe how a certain shot would be reversed by M.W. in the first episode of season 3, creating a horrible outcome for Pete--and it was totally fake!! Thank God, I thought they'd done it to me again.

M.W. must read this blogg, right? No spoliers Matt!!!

chris said...

Just a note to the folks asking about the lawnmower's blades being engaged - Lois lurched forward and engaged the blades by accident during the first cut of her riding.

Pamela Jaye said...

I'm *still* reading comments, and I probably will be till the end of time as I'm not halfway down page 1.

I was noticing the person who complimented us on our "excellent spelling and diction." And I was all with him/her, until I realized she wasn't listening to us. Our grammar and vocabulary is pretty good though ;-)

and I have no idea if anyone caught the person who said that Dr Rapist was going for Chief of Surgery, when he was only going for Chief Resident. Perhaps it was long ago and different, but by the time he's had enough years to be chief resident, shouldn't he long since have realized that he was not cut out for surgery (oh dear - pun unintended) and switched specialties?
I know - too many medical shows - especially ER.

I loved the scenes of Don with Sally. I don't remember him being a good dad before (unless it was in that hotel room and I missed it)

Also, there's a marathon of Season 3 this weekend. I think it's Sunday but i'm not sure.

Finally, I will be watching Mercy (still haven't made it thru Hawthorne) even though I don't have to. Years ago, I watched Nightingales - Chelsea Field was in it (not my reason), I watched Nurses till I couldn't take the silliness anymore, I even watched STAT. Remember STAT? I have a question related, but I'll try to find a place to post it. (hey, how about the Mercy review?)

jenae said...

LA, I agree about Dick and Anna. M.W. said something about she and Betty both being ideal mothers to Dick, but to me it was a big sister / little brother vibe.

(Perhaps sometimes the actors are more in control than even M.W. of what is true for the character. I heard him defer to January at one point, asking her what Betty was feeling during the Heineken joke part of her dinner party scene.)

Don has that wonderful model of supportive and nurturing empathy and communication (his bond with Anna). If only he could recreate that in his other adult relationships.

Imamarilyn said...

Pamela Jaye, thanks for telling us there is a Season 3 marathon this Sunday. Woo hoo! I checked it out and found AMC will run all six episodes of Season 3 beginning at 10 am Sunday.

Don has stepped up in the parenting department this season, but I think he has always shown more warmth to the children than Betty does. But yeah, he's definitely better this season.

Dan said...

Jess, Marylin --

That's the point I was getting at. In her own way, Betty is trying (albiet mostly failing) to be a decent parent. Just like Don is trying. I just don't think she gets as much credit for it.

For some reason, it's the same overall attitude I can sense on another good Mad Men blog. At the risk of generalizing, people just seem more tolerant of Don's flaws than Betty's.

Meopta --

Great post. You summed it up like I was trying to.

My whole take is that Don and Betty do try, but they're both pretty much failures at parents.

I'd just like to see Betty get a wee bit more credit, as she isn't significantly more flawed than Don is in my opinion.

jenae said...

Since f_l’s prediction was so amazing, I’ll go out on a limb with one I’m less confident of. I have an inkling Jane may get sick (or rather, is already sick and it will become apparent later). When visiting the office she told Joan Roger was re-sizing her ring. “I keep losing weight,” she said, more to herself than to Joan. And she made a face like “what the ****?” Unlike women today, Jane has no reason to want to “reduce” those perfect curves she was showing off while she was still a secretary (the under-buttoned blouse).

(Jon Ham noted in the commentary of that scene that all the women are exploring their power, in Jane’s case very effectively—I ended up renting the DVD’s cause I wanted to bring my husband up-to-speed, he had missed so many episodes, and in the process I caught some I’d missed!, and got to hear great comments, especially from M.W.; but I’ve been watching the broadcast since the beginning)

—So, oh, yes, Jane clearly was not happy to be losing wait. She’s got no reason to want to change that fabulous body and more than that, she looked startled and worried. Why is this happening? Either there’s stress in her marriage (that happened to me, being married to someone with more power, and trying to find your place in a complex family in which adult children have unspoken issues they need to air with their dad, the situation I found myself in—thanks God no one blasted me with Margaret like hostility, more like I found myself in the role of facilitator to a troubled dialogue between my spouse and his kids—all that can be very stressful and in my case cause dramatic weight loss for a time)—

But I don’t see any stress between Roger and Jane other than Margaret’s intense rejection (understandable as a gesture of loyalty to her mother; Roger made that transition way too fast and impulsively for my taste; you don’t just bail on a marriage over-night without warning, especially at the moment when the wife is of an age when she will have the most difficulty finding someone new)—again, back to my point, I think Jane may be sick. Just a stab in the dark.

Since Roger seems to regard her as the embodiment of youth, it would be interesting to see how he’d react to that. The mega stereotype would be that she saw Roger, an older guy with a heart problem who’s also rich and thought “cha-ching.” But Weiner’s already said he doesn’t see her as a gold digger (I was wondering, as she certainly does seem to like to use the power of her beauty, lies pretty readily, and has an impish willingness to break roles and take risks, as with the Rothko)—so what do they have in mind for this couple?

Anyway, it may be a totally-off surmise, but I noted that look on her face regarding the weight loss. (Maybe there’s too much resemblance to the movie “Autumn in New York” in my guess? I only caught the end of that movie on TV but I think it was about an older man in love with a dying young woman.)

M.W. and others have said they have a rule, nothing goes into the show that is not real. One of the writer’s mothers, for instance, actually shot the neighbor’s birds! (Remember that thrillingly, bizarrely surreal image of lovely, delicate—and proper!—Betty with the rifle and the cigarette hanging from her lips? Maybe that shot shows the individuality some here say her housewife life is slowly draining her of.) Whatever the writers do, it won’t be some other movie warmed over.

It would be interesting to see how Roger would deal with the illness or even death of his bride. It would upend his expectations and force him to develop the reflexive capacity I’ve been hard on him for lacking. (Though I don’t think he fetishized my youth to the same degree as Roger, it was an adjustment for my husband to realize I’m not an especially healthy person. He knew before, but somehow thought it was just stress and it would all go away because we were together. I’ve seen, in a few instances, the necessity to nurse the woman he loves bring out the best in a man who is otherwise prune to skip across the surface of life or be too driven.)

Anonymous said...

LA - I actually missed The Mountain King (I know!) I've got the box set on my list, but it's not come home yet. I've been dying to see it - it seems to have really been a pivotal episode.

Dan - In a sense Betty is doomed in fandom. Because Don is the emotional core of the story it is harder for people to see what a train wreck he's made of Betty's life. Plus, women rarely get the same slack as men in episodic television. Somewhere I read a quote from January Jones that went something like "I think Betty really is in love with Don, but he just loves the idea of Betty." I sort of feel Betty gets that from fans too! Her life is so constrained and empty, focused around a man who doesn't really see her. She should have a serious drinking problem by now!

jenae said...

More on Roger (I wrote this all last night but waited for an answer re: spoilers; sorry for the deluge): I was interested that imamarilyn gives him credit for knowing how to be happy and “going for it.” (That’s a refreshingly non-judgmental take; my take on R is a tad judgmental.)

I think it’s good that we learned more of how he and Mona grew apart, “…she started judging people.” Roger’s take on how to be an important and successful person is very playful, it’s all about pleasure and wit. Mon seems to have evolved into a more conventional society matron. The irony is that being his wife probably if not imposed that role on her, at least strongly influenced her in that direction. The actor who plays Roger (name escapes me at the moment) and actress who play Mona went to the Emmy’s together. Too bad Mona the character couldn’t have evolved into a playful and witty 50-something woman, the female counter part of roger. Then not only might he have stayed with her (contenting himself perhaps with an occasional Joan like fling)—but they would have been a gas to have at a cocktail party. (!)

We haven’t seen much of Mona, and she certainly was loyal when she chewed Cooper out royally after the second heart attack, but I think R’s complaint that she became judgmental is believable. In that staid world of wives of powerful businessmen (and Roger is kind of old money, right?, a very staid world), it’s not unlikely one would change in that way.

I do think Don is at times a beautifully-tuned in dad. (The person who said he waits until there’s a crisis has a point though.) That ending was really lovely. I wonder if one day he’s going to look at Betty, as a mother, and realize she is not the “…beautify, kind” mother he has idealized her as being. When he and Sally are sharing pregnant looks about what an unfeeling and unkind bitch Betty can be… (She does try, but as has been said, empathy is not her first impulse. Or even her second sometimes.)

Meanwhile, since it’s such a controversy, I wanna say I continue to find Betty touching, I think there is an evolving person in their (some think devolving, hmm, maybe, but she may break out of that), not as superficial as she may appear (yes, she laughed at the black face while Don was disgusted, but she also opened up to her black housekeeper—I wish she would bring her to her home to help now that Carla and Gene are gone!! —and in her “Fog” dream, she seems to almost identify with Medger Evers!! She’s being a mal-content according to the standards she was raised with, and her points out Eggers to warn Betty what happens to people who voice discontent. And mom tells her to close her mouth, which is like saying, “be silent.”

I think Betty unconsciously identifies with M. E., in the very basis sense that she is not satisfied but her internalized authority figures tell her that to be dissatisfied is to be a dangerous radical. And consider the feminist movement brewing on the horizon, they are right. (In a book by Nora Ephron I read recently how women in the 70’s bragged of leaving their husband and children…and children. A total over-compensation. Radical change was coming. Betty as many here have said is the woman for whom Betty Freidan wrote. I don’t always identify with that part of her story—and I’m grateful that I never had to, thanks to Freidan and other feminists.

Anonymous said...

Jenae -
I think R’s complaint that she became judgmental is believable.

I found your assessment of Roger interesting, but I'd add one point - I have often heard people use this to mean 'she stopped adoring me'. I don't know if Mona changed, or if she just stopped seeing everything Roger did as adorable as a natural result of her disillusionment. I'm actually thinking right now of several people I know who have deeply wronged someone then accused them of being 'judgmental'

For support of that I'd use the scene where Roger makes an uncomfortable display of himself in blackface at the country club (wonderfully shocking to modern senses) and Don can barely watch. Roger mentions how he tried it out at home and Jane so loved his clowning that he decided to perform in public. I think a huge part of her attraction to him is her willingness to adore anything he wants to do - he's a man of ego who desires full indulgence from others. He's a child in many ways.

dc said...

Excellent work, everyone; I suppose people could keep commenting on this well into next week if there weren't another episode to grab our attention. Thanks to Alan and everyone for the great discussion.

Some (belated) thoughts:

-- As someone who had a (much less dramatic) ankle injury a couple of years ago, I probably experienced the lawnmower scene a little different from everyone else, but I actually felt it was pretty horrifying. Even the gallows humor in the subsequent scenes couldn't absorb all of the trauma; in that sense, I see the scene as a pretty blunt indicator of how different the Tet Offensive 60s are going to be from the beehive hairdo 60s.

In my view, the fact that this is probably the single most outrageous scene in 3 seasons of MM shows us how disciplined Weiner has been. It's like he's showing us that -- like the 60s themselves -- he's been holding off until now, but things are going to get really turbulent really fast.

-- I liked the details here, even some of the less obvious ones, like the brief scene showing both Don and Sally lying awake: Don with eager expectation, Sally with dread.

-- On the Don/Betty parenting issue, I find myself ambivalent. It's clear from season 1 that Weiner et al. are smart enough to point to Don's behavior as a crucial factor in Betty's infantilization. There is a great scene in one of the early episodes where the director shows Betty suffering from her loss of motor control with her hands, and then fades slowly into Don in post-coitus with Midge. Betty the Bryn Mawr, globe-trotting fiance has given way to Betty the abandoned, emotionally empty suburban mom, and the show makes it clear that Don is at least partly responsible.

However, this season, it's kind of easy to forget the relatively sympathetic Betty of either seasons 1 or 2. We felt bad for Betty in S1 because it was clear that Don was, at best, a neglectful husband and father, and we feel empathy for Betty's more assertive independence at the close of season 2. This time around, though, we're obviously being shown that Betty is not connecting with her daughter, but Don is portrayed in such a sympathetic light that we forget his deceptive antics in the earlier seasons.

So my thought is this: I think the problem with Betty is not that she's insufficiently interesting, but that her portayal relative to Don this season is inconsistent with either of the first two seasons of MM. Even in "The Fog," we did get a lot of Betty, but the dream sequence (for my money) made her seem kind of ridiculous. And she was so petulant with the nurse that it was difficult to feel bad for her, even when she went through the nightmare of "twilight sleep."

I'd personally like to see Weiner give us just a hint of the humanity that Betty's character showed us in S1+2.

Scott said...

@jenae: The actors who play Roger and Mona (John Slattery and Talia Balsam) not only went to the Emmys together, they go home together most nights. They're married. (Ms. Balsam is also George Clooney's ex-wife.)

I'll also take a step back from my earlier characterization of Betty's riding boots gift as "hollow", and chime in that Betty does occasionally seem to try to be a good mother. But her moments like that have been few and far between this season, whereas Don's are trending upward. (Also, did Sally ever actually get to go riding?) dc, I wouldn't agree that this depiction of Betty is "inconsistent" with past seasons, but rather that it has evolved as Betty has suffered under the weight of her role in the Draper household, finding out about Don's dalliances and nearly leaving him until her new pregnancy made that choice less feasible. Those things have taken their toll on Betty, and I believe we're seeing the result of it in her increasingly chilly parenting style.

Paul B. said...

Is Don pretending to have that college background?

I do not think it was ever mentioned one way or the other. I am hoping we see more flashbacks this season.

Jed said...

Well if you are allowed to guess/predict...

My questions are as follows:

Will Sterling and Cooper use Hilton to buy out the Brits?

What can they do to get Joan back -- loss of her husband? major screw-up by Hooker? Would probably have to be sold as some sort of promotion -- we can't live without you for her to come back. Will Don hear of her looking via a reference and get her a position?

What does Lane need to do -- think he needs to do? get more accounts -- Stand up to London more... Seems he's the odd man out -- obviously hes not a Guy or St Johns (more of a accounts man) and he's not creative, so where does he fit. How can he keep from being sent off? Thought it was telling that there weren't complaints, possibly he needs to let them know about Bert peterson's firing. They might have seen some of that with the clapping on no more reductions. What about Ken -- sure he broung in John Deer but that comment to lane about sorry to see you go with his smug little smile might not have been the best idea, he didn't have any qualms about rushing out of the meeting with the Brits...

As for Betty -- who knows .... if she would grow up ... I personally can't figure out why she isn't happy (ok Don's a cheat -- so is every other husband she knows) If she's that unhappy leave him. She's got money and if she pushed she could do lots of things in her community, join the country club (I'm sure Don could be sold on the Business benefits of this even though its not his kind of place), or possibly on the board of some charity in the city (again using Don's connection with the museum board or whatever he was offered). So there is no reason for her to feel so trapped.

Wonder if we'll see the Priest again? kinda doubt it but who knows.

Oh well... now that things are moving along can't wait for Sunday.

Dan_Scriptomatic_Cinematic_Telematic said...

Nice recap, Alan. I like to play with screen captures from the show and fool around a bit more in my reviews, for anyone who's into that...
http://wp.me/pCufw-4a

Imamarilyn said...

Jenae, John Slattery (Roger) and Talia Balsam (Mona) are married in "real life." She is also the daughter of Martin Balsam. In this season's episode where Roger's family shows up at his office to talk wedding, Mona looked smashing and had a date for their daughter's wedding already lined up. She seemed none worse for wear.

Imamarilyn said...

Jed, Betty leave Don? Oh no. Helen Bishop was a vivid illustration for Betty of the life of a divorcee. Betty pitied her and she and the other women tore Helen to bits while the husbands assumed she'd be loose. And Betty's third pregnancy was the last nail in her coffin. The illusion of perfection is too compelling for Betty to end her marriage. Way too much stigma in 1963. Later maybe, but for now Betty is stuck.

KarenX said...

Maybe we'll see Joan working for Hilton in some savvy NYC secretary PR sort of way.

Anonymous said...

This has always stuck with me, and has me waiting for trouble with Roger and Jane - after Marilyn died, Roger found Joan in his office. He chastized her for having feelings about Marilyn' s death to which she replied 'someday, Roger, you will lose someone you love' (and then you will understand? - can't remember if that was included).

Paul Outlaw said...

Now that a few people have tossed out a few predictions and speculations, I thought I would consult Wikipedia for some info about what actually happened between this episode and the Kennedy assassination:
* July 26 – NASA launches Syncom, the world's first geostationary (synchronous) satellite.
* August 5 – The United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union sign a nuclear test ban treaty.
* August 8 – The Great Train Robbery of 1963 takes place in Buckinghamshire, England.
* August 18 – American civil rights movement: James Meredith becomes the first black person to graduate from the University of Mississippi.
* August 21 – Xa Loi Pagoda raids: The Army of the Republic of Vietnam Special Forces loyal to Ngo Dinh Nhu, brother of President Ngo Dinh Diem, vandalise Buddhist pagodas across the country, arresting thousands and leaving an estimated hundreds dead.
* August 21 – Cable 243: In the wake of the Xa Loi Pagoda raids, the Kennedy administration orders the US embassy in Saigon to explore alternative leadership in South Vietnam, opening the way towards a coup against Diem.
* August 28 – Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his "I Have A Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to an audience of at least 250,000, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
* September – Marvel Comics releases the first ever X-Men comic book.
* September 15 – American civil rights movement: The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, in Birmingham, Alabama, kills 4 and injures 22.
* September 18 – Rioters burn down the British Embassy in Jakarta, to protest the formation of Malaysia.
* September 29 – The second period of Second Vatican Council in Rome opens.
* October 1 – In the U.S., the President's Commission on the Status of Women issues its final reports to President Kennedy.
* October 4 – Hurricane Flora, one of the worst Atlantic storms in history, hits Hispaniola and Cuba killing nearly 7,000 people.
* October 8 – Sam Cooke and his band are arrested after trying to register at a "whites only" motel in Louisiana. In the months following, he records "A Change Is Gonna Come."
* October 10 – The second James Bond film, From Russia with Love, opens in the UK.
* October 31 – 74 die in a gas explosion during a Holiday on Ice show at the Indiana State Fair Coliseum in Indianapolis.
* November 2 – 1963 South Vietnamese coup: South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem is assassinated following a military coup.
* November 6 – Vietnam War: Coup leader General Duong Van Minh takes over as leader of South Vietnam.
* November 6 – Laura Welch (later Bush) causes a car accident that results in the death of Michael Dutton Douglas in her hometown of Midland, Texas.
* November 10 – Malcolm X makes a historic speech in Detroit, Michigan: "Message to the Grass Roots."
* November 22 – The Beatles' second U.K. album, With The Beatles, is released.
* November 22 – Writers Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis die.

Interestingly, Wikipedia doesn't mention: ""Hilton International began on a comparative shoestring, with $300,000 in preopening money and an offer from the Puerto Rican government that Conrad Hilton could not refuse. With no further financial support from the parent company, a small staff expanded judiciously using profit-sharing leases and, later, management contracts. Each deal had to make sense on its own, and the company was ever sensitive to the potential impact on its good name of a bad deal. Cut loose from the domestic Hilton organization in 1963, Hilton International is now a multibillion-dollar company. In addition to pioneering leases and management contracts, the firm created an employee-development institute in 1968 that was instrumental in developing its key employees, which is one of the major contributions a management firm can bring to a hotel deal."

happyfeet said...

@berkowit28 - Hmmm, well the writers put the phrase thrup'ny tour in the script - where did they get the term from? If it was from reading then perhaps they didn't realise the pronunciation. If (as is more likely) it was from hearing the phrase used then they must have know how it should've sounded. Perhaps they didn't put it in the script phonetically and therefore the actor just said it how it was written and no-one picked up on it.

I echo a previous comment that it's odd that a British actor didn't know how to say it. I don't think Mad Men is the sort of show that would change pronunciation for the US audience. They use someone with the name St John (Sinjon) for goodness sake. Why even bother with a colloquialism otherwise. I think they know we'd look it up if we didn't get it! I suppose there is a possibility that Hooker the character deliberately pronounced it differently, but again he was talking to other Brits taking them on a tour of the office.

Julia said...

Hmmm From somewhere I thought "three penny" was pronounced:

thru'pence

Perhaps a song:

I've got thrupence,
jolly, jolly thrupence
I've got thrupence
to last me all my life.

Do I have it wrong? I've got a couple of those funny looking coins from a trip in 1964.

Julia said...

Should have put the apostrophe after the "p":

thrup'ence

Julia said...

Here's what Wikipedia says:

The threepence or thrupenny bit was a denomination of currency used by various jurisdictions in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, until decimalisation of the pound sterling and Irish pound in 1971.

Before decimalisation brought about a new currency with new coinage, the sum of three pence was pronounced variously "THROOP-ence" "THREPP-ence" or "THRUPP-ence" reflecting different pronunciations in the various regions of Great Britain. Likewise, the coin was usually referred to in conversation as a "THROOP-nee" "THREPP-nee" or "THRUPP-nee" bit.


I guess we are all partially right.

Sidney said...

I was hoping that the tractor was a John Deere so that it might be reversed to read Dear John, given the fact that there were so many relationships getting the heave ho. But alas my wife tells me it was International Harvester.

mmjoan said...

Jed,

I have learned that only women whose lives revolve around their husbands (intentionally or otherwise) can truly understand women like Betty.

It is easy to say she has no reason to be unhappy or feel trapped. It is easy to suggest she get involved in the community or on a board via the help of her husband as a means to stay busy and feel useful. But it is never that simple.

Of course Betty feels lonely and sad. Her whole life revolves around Don. Yes, when you get married that tends to happen. But Don goes to work and is surrounded by people who respect him. He eats nice meals and has adult conversations. And in previous seasons he even hops in the sack with a mistress. All while Betty is home raising his kids and preparing his meals.

My heart broke for her when she convinced him she wanted to work as a model again for the coke ads. Finally, she had her chance to accomplish something separate from Don (or so she thought). And then he took that away from her, even if she doesn't know he's the reason they fired her.

In S2 she took up riding and it was obvious it gave her something to look forward to. When she was finally assertive enough to tell Don to leave and considers a life after divorce like Helen Bishop's, she gets pregnant. Once again, the decision is made for her. You can say she could have left him anyway, but that is completely unrealistic.

Betty has so many reasons to feel isolated, depressed and trapped, I could write for pages listing them all.

Imamarilyn, you were right on. Betty cannot even consider leaving Don right now.

Imamarilyn said...

mmjoan, great thoughts on Betty. To me, she is the perfect example of the unhappy, trapped housewife of her day. January Jones does such an awesome job portraying her. Another poster a while back said Don and Betty share an inability to be happy and that is so true. Don said in Season 1 that he thought only people who were unhappy went to psychiatrists, then asked Betty if she was happy. Betty replied something like of course, I'm happy, look at all this. She does indeed have many things she could be happy about...beautiful home, beautiful children, lots of money, successful husband, she is physically gorgeous, she has lots of leisure time, she can engage in an expensive hobby like riding, Don is at least making an attempt to be a better husband. Even if Don became the faithful, perfect husband it would not make Betty happy, because she is at her core an unhappy person.

She is a very intelligent woman (while being a child emotionally) so at an intellectual level even she thinks she should be happy. She has the money to go to a psychiatrist, something other women of lesser means could not do, and that imo only increased her unhappiness. She was in so much denial that when Dr. Wayne touched on one of her core issues -- "you're angry at your mother" -- she accused him of "provoking" her. She was paying him to help her and when he actually started with something that would have been helpful to explore, she became defensive and shut him down.

Dan said...

"Betty has so many reasons to feel isolated, depressed and trapped, I could write for pages listing them all."

I suppose that's why I sympathize with her so much. Her plight seems to resonate with me on some level, more than any other character on the show besides Joan. She's very much a product of her upbringing and conditioning. So is Don, but as a man he has much more freedom and opportunity to pursue his wants. Not so for women at that time -- which is what makes Peggy's arc interesting. She is part of a movement to break those constraints that, for various reasons, Betty and Joan either couldn't or wouldn't dream of joining.

jenae said...

**Mathew Weiner will be on NPR's "Fresh Air" tomorrow.**

Re: Dr. Wayne, it may be true that focusing on Betty's mother would have been fruitful, but I was struck throughout his appearance on the show by what a condescending and wooden posture he took. I think he typifies Freudians of that era. My husband was educated by such men (he's a psychologist), and it lead him to rebel and join the 60's movements for change. (He was appalled by how one psychiatrist teacher operated at home with his wife and kids, talking down to everyone.) Those Freudian analysts were all-too-often condescending and oppressive.

When Wayne got excited by Betty's revelation of Don's infidelity, I thought maybe he was realizing he had failed to comprehend Betty's life and he was going to forget his orthodox Freudian protocol (only early childhood matters), but we never saw more from him, so...?

Maybe I'm over-generalizing about Freudian therapists. I read "In the Freud Archives" and was appalled when a group of Freudians tried to convince Jeffrey Masson that whether a child is actually sexually abused by an adult, or has only had an illicit fantasy about sexual contact with an adult, from the psychological point of view, it makes no difference. That's as inane and appalling as saying that a rape fantasy has the same consequences as actually being raped. They were really trying to tell Masson that if someone was abused as a child, it's not particularly important. Only ideas in the mind matter, and fantasies are the same as real events.

Anyway, enough of me ragging on the Freudians; I'm sure there have been and are some good ones. Is it a gap in the show's narrative that we never find out why Betty left Dr Wayne? Or was that explained and I missed it? It would seem an important question whether he failed her, or she, as imamarilyn is suggesting, couldn't handle examining her life. (Maybe it was both.)

Imamarilyn said...

Jenae, maybe we will learn at some point what happened with Betty's analysis. I often wonder about something on Mad Men and then it comes up again and the mystery is solved. Don was unhappy with the lack of progress (I believe he told the doctor Betty was becoming more unhappy) so maybe he stopped if. I would be interested to know if the doctor spilled the beans, which was Betty's intention.

Alan said...

Drake Lelane got me thinking along these lines. The writers always seem to group plot elements in an episode.
http://drakelelane.blogspot.com/2009/09/mad-men-guy-walks-into-advertising.html

For instance --

Replacement Theme

1) Guy MacKendrick will replace Lane, who is rewarded with a new job in Bombay. After reading some of “Tom Sawyer”, Lane remarks, "I feel like I just attended my own funeral. I didn't like the eulogy."

2) Roger Sterling doesn’t get a eulogy – he just gets left out.

3) The new management structure for Sterling-Cooper pushes almost everyone down a notch. "One more promotion and we're going to be answering phones," quips Pete.

4) Joan leaves her job as office manager, to be replaced by Mr. Hooker.

5) Baby Gene replaces Grandpa Gene, as Sally learns.

6) The episode ends with Bob Dylan’s “Song to Woody”, Dylan being the folk music heir-apparent to Woody Guthrie.

Hey, hey, Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song
‘Bout a funny ol’ world that’s acomin’ along.
Seems sick an’ it’s hungry, it’s tired and it’s torn.
It looks like it’s adyin’ an’ it’s hardly been born.

Reversal of Fortunes Theme (“’Oliver!’ – a tragedy with a happy ending.”)

1) Joan’s husband isn’t going to become a surgeon;

2) Instead of retiring, Joan learns that she’ll be looking for a new job;

3) Don and Betty aren’t going to move to London;

4) Guy MacKendrick isn’t going to replace Don Draper and will need to pursue other work, apparently because a good account man must be able to play golf;

5) Lane won’t be leaving Sterling-Cooper for Bombay.

6) Roger learns that he can’t do as he pleases anymore. “We took their money,” Cooper reminds him. “We have to do what they say.”

Unwanted/Unappreciated Gifts Theme

1) Lane doesn’t want the stuffed cobra anymore than he wants a new assignment;

2) Sally doesn’t want the Barbie doll anymore than she wants baby Gene in the house;

3) Joan doesn’t want her retirement party cake;

4) Don doesn’t like the champagne;

5) Conrad Hilton doesn’t seem pleased with the free advice he solicited from Don.

6) Bobby doesn’t appreciate his mother’s advice on how to deal with boredom. “Go bang your head against the wall,” says Betty.

Snake Analogies

Sometimes snakes represent change or an event that brings about change.
Pryce is assigned to Bombay, where the snake-charmer plays a flute to get a cobra to dance to his tune. As the man who does what he's told, Pryce works his magic at businesses like Sterling-Cooper to bring them into abeyance. In Greek mythology Mercury is the god of trade, profit, merchants, travelers and deception Two snakes form a caduceus, Mercury’s trademark emblem.

A serpent’s image appears in "The Cask of Amontillado", Edgar Allen Poe’s tale of petty and bitter vengeance. The vindictive Montresor displays his family coat-of-arms to his intended victim: "A huge human foot d'or, in a field azure; the foot crushing a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel." The family motto, “Nemo me impune lacessit” means “No one attacks me with impunity.” Poor Fortunato has no idea that Montresor hates him, doesn’t see vengeance symbolized in the coat-of-arms, and literally walks into Montresor's trap.

Likewise Guy MacKendrick has no idea that Sterling-Cooper employees are anxious about his visit Several are distressed to learn that the British are coming, an invasion which threatens the July 4th Holiday and compromises Joan’s going-away party. MacKendrick’s stricken foot may allude to the coiled snake on the Revolutionary War flag and its motto, "Don't tread on me".

Donna said...

I was surprised by how evocative that Barbie box was. The shape and size of that iconic box wrapped in the "the jokes" (as we Chicagoans used to call them)pointed to only one possible present. Over forty-five years later, "the box" still resides somewhere in my gray matter. Pretty scary. A kind of 60s madeleine.

berkowit28 said...

So having been alerted by someone (jenae) here yesterday, I eagerly turned on NPR at 11 AM (where I live that's when Fresh Air first airs on NPR) to hear the interview with Matt Weiner - only to discover that he had been transmogrified into Jane Fonda. One day too late. The interview with Weiner - which was actually a repeat and first aired a year or two ago - was on *yesterday*, not today.

However, as of today, indeed, it's available online at npr.org. So since I never heard it a year or two ago, I'll go listen to it now. It should remain up there for several days.

Julia said...

MacKendrick’s stricken foot may allude to the coiled snake on the Revolutionary War flag and its motto, "Don't tread on me".

Brilliant! That'll learn 'em.

Anonymous said...

By far the best show on TV. Besides the obvious tremendous characterization, the attention to detail really impresses me.
I grew up in the 60s and I can't tell you how many times my mother told me to go bang my head against the wall.

Also, when Betty gave Don a can of beer, she used a can opener to pierce two holes in the top. Flip-top cans did not become popular until (I think) the late 60s. I remember using a can opener for soda when I was a kid. I love the attention paid to little stuff like this.

jeff allen said...

Lets talk about Betty, and consider the time and where's shes from.
I was born in 1960 and as the oldest of a 20 year old I can recognize Betty as a mother. First she barely went from her fathers house to her husbands. Betty isn't invested in being a "good mother" the way women are today. Back then, you got married to leave your parents home. Children were something that happened as a result of this transition. Something expected. I think Betty see's being a mother the same way she she sees being a homemaker/wife/friend/daughter/sister/and even a woman. She really doesn't understand her own emotional immaturity. Remember there was no Oprah, internet groups, or even college educated peers. These women became mothers without planning, or consideration of the impact they might have on these future people. Raising children was another "chore" like housekeeping, cooking, dressing nice, and getting along with their husbands coworkers and their wives. And so children were treated as chores, either easy or difficult. Kids weren't treated as people, and certainly not people in the making. I don't believe Betty even considers that her relations with her kids now will have an impact on who they become, she is not that mature. Betty thinks about what is easy and what is hard. what makes her feel good and what doesn't.
This is the brilliance of January Jones and Matt Weiner that have captured what these mothers were really motivated by. Come on, these women could not have been happy. their husbands off to work daily, interacting with other adults, stimulated by adult competition, situations and constantly driven to challenge. The mothers on the other hand were left with the boredom and frustration with the keeping of the house and raising of children. In other words, left without stimulation and faced with "chores", frustrating, unpleasant, lonely work. So not only were they unfulfilled, but they had no support. Husbands refused to see how empty this work could be, and the women felt frustrated, trying to live a life in which your daily interaction was with children, children that offered you nothing in an adult sense and often only disapointment in their ability to fufill any companionship sense. It's not surprising that during this time, housewives turned to their doctors, tired, depressed and were treated with drugs, stimulants mostly.
I think January Jones has done a fantastic job in capturing the difficulty and depressing effects of growing into womanhood with only children around to validate or acknowledge the growth of that time.
Mothers were not possessed with the knowledge and support in the 60's that they have now. And there are quite a few of us that know that from experience. I applaud Jones and Weiner for trying to show something that is difficult and unattractive today

Jessamyn said...

Just to beat "thruppence" into the ground a tiny bit further:

Threepence (pronounced thruppence) is what you pay, as in "I paid thruppence for that tour."

Threepenny (pronounced thruppenny) is the adjectival form, as in "I gave the boy a threepenny bit" or "I took the threepenny tour."

It's equivalent to the difference between "ten cents" and "ten-cent." Consider "I paid ten cents for that tour" vs. "I took the ten-cent tour."

berkowit28 said...

Ah, well. Didn't quite make it to 400 and a third page.

Imamarilyn said...

jeff allen, you bring up some very good points about Betty and motherhood then versus motherhood today. Mad Men is unerringly accurate in its portrayal of life in the eay 1960's. I was born in 1958 and had my children in the 80's. Moms of my generation were different from women of Betty's generation, and I see how different moms like my daughter-in-law today are from us. But even by the standards of her day, Betty is imo quite cold toward her kids. When she was playing bridge with Don, Francine and Carlton last season, she said Bobby was a little liar. Francine said the book said they tell fibs at that age and Betty replied she didn't need a book to tell her whar little boys are like. Even her best friend Francine seemed shocked.

Pamela Jaye said...

I made it thru the first two hundred comments...

Anonymous said...

Its Sunday - wonderful that AMC is re-showing all
episodes from Season 3 .....getting us ready for
tonight.....cant wait.....

Pamela Jaye said...

There were a couple of things in the first few posts that I wanted to reply to, but only made it to the beginning of page 2 in reading.

About Perez Hilton going to the Hilton or somesuch: I looked him up in wikipedia, and it's just an assumed name. He's not actually a Hilton.

the other must have been me: thinking how much Betty is doting over Gene. Remember how badly everyone thought she treated Bobby? That she had a thing against boys? (it *was* Betty wasn't it? Not Kate Gosselin, who is currently backpeddling on that as fast as she can)
I guess since he's named after her father she can react differently to him, although it was she who did the naming. I've never seen her with a baby, so I don't know how she usually is with them. Did she dote on Bobby till he grew out of baby cuteness? Or did she always dislike him.
Close the lights - I've heard it somewhere. Pet the baby - interesting wording.

I missed that Midge was Don's first mistress (during the show).
And I'd forgot Francie, apparently, in my listing of Barbie's "family" and friends.
Thanks for the barbie collector link. I don't, but I do have some of my childhood ones.

Pamela Jaye said...

and drat, now I see someone noted the difference in Betty's treatment of Gene to Bobby and Sally.
Oops.

Pamela Jaye said...

darn, one more - BMW. was it implied that they didn't get an advertisement in the show? I mean that they didn't advertise on the show. I have seen a lot of their ads in the breaks. It's a big deal as my brother has an old BMW - it's always pointed out. (I have a Saturn... but those didn't exist back then)

The "jokes" - we called them "the funnies"

Alan Sepinwall said...

Oops.

And that, Pamela, is why I ask people to make an effort to at least skim the previous comments, so they're not wasting their own time, or the other readers', or my own, by repeating things that have already come up.

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