Sunday, September 07, 2008

Mad Men, "The Gold Violin": For the man who has everything

Spoilers for "Mad Men" season two, episode seven coming up just as soon as I track down the original version of the Port Huron Statement, not the compromised second draft...

"I don't think it's supposed to be explained." -Ken Cosgrove
"I'm an artist, okay? It must mean something." -Salvatore Romano
"Maybe it doesn't. Maybe you're just supposed to experience it. Because when you look at it, you're to feel something, right. It's like looking into something very deep. You could fall in."-Ken Cosgrove

A part of me is inclined to take that exchange in Mr. Cooper's office as a meta commentary from Matt Weiner and company about how we should really view "Mad Men": not as a mystery to be dissected, one 2,000 word blog entry at a time, but as a deep emotional experience where we're supposed to simply fall in and experience it -- to paraphrase the words of the shorter Mr. Smith, to just be with it.

But if that's the case, I might as well run a photo collage every week, and where's the fun in that? So attempt to explain the unexplainable I shall continue to do.

There are three key images in "The Gold Violin," one described and two seen. The first is the violin that gives both the episode and Ken's latest short story their titles, and which Ken describes -- without irony -- as "perfect in every way -- except it couldn't make music." The second is Bert Cooper's painting, which everyone on the staff assumes says something about the old man's tastes, but is really about his bank account. The third is that long, lingering shot of the Drapers leaving their idyllic picnic getaway and casually leaving all their litter behind, in a tableau that would make Iron Eyes Cody weep if he ever found his way to Ossining.

The gold violin is aesthetically beautiful but doesn't serve the function for which it was designed. The hypnotic painting is just a means for Cooper to make some extra cash. The picnic seems so marvelous, but there's a literal trail of garbage underneath it. All throughout this episode, we see men who appear to have everything, but what they really have is either not as useful as it looks, or else there's a lot of trash lurking directly underneath.

Don's life appears to be in ascension, as he has the money to buy a top of the line Cadillac and the social clout to be placed on the board of what might be a prestigious museum. But the museum invite comes from a job where Duck Phillips did all the heavy lifting while Don fought him every step of the way, and as he shops for the car, he flashes back to his earliest days as Don Draper and we're reminded once again that his entire life is a lie.

Ken envies (at least a little) Salvatore's married life, but we all know it's a sham -- and in our first prolonged exposure to Sal's wife Kitty, we see that she at least suspects this.

Jimmy Barrett tells Don "Thanks to you, I got everything I wanted," but both men realize that he got it -- the TV show, a strengthened relationship with his sponsors at Utz, more money -- because Don is sleeping with Jimmy's wife.

"People buy things to realize their aspirations. It's the foundation of our business." -Bert Cooper

Of all the characters on "Mad Men," Don has come the closest to realizing his aspirations, and yet he hasn't realized them at all. He seems to have everything -- gorgeous wife, prestigious job, cute kids, new Coupe de Ville, etc. -- but he only occasionally enjoys any of them, in part because he knows it's as much of a lie as his name. The flashback was an opportunity for Jon Hamm to again show us how easily he can flip the switch between Don Draper and Dick Whitman (in 1952, he still hadn't perfected his new role yet), but also a reminder of his terrible secret. (As was Cooper's "Would you agree that I know a little about you?")

And it also acknowledged that there had to be more to the identity theft when we saw in season one. The real Don Draper was a successful, educated man, and an officer in the military -- there had to be someone in the world who knew and cared about the guy whose life our Don is now living. Don's life has been spinning out of control all season; is it just ennui over the life he has but doesn't really want, or is it guilt over some other dark secret in his past we're about to learn about? What exactly did he have to do to shake this woman loose without having to give up his new identity?

(And is there a chance that the 1952 blonde was the recipient of the poetry book? I was starting to worry that we wouldn't get any follow-up on that, but when this episode brought back Mr. & Mr. Smith after they were absent for five episodes, I felt reassured that the events of the season premiere actually happened.)

Whatever the reason for Don's downward spiral, it's going to get worse before it gets better now that Jimmy has confronted both Don and Betty about the affair. Along with the fate of Pete Jr., the question of what happened between the Drapers after she came back from her Thanksgiving trip in 1960 is the big mystery remaining from the 15-month gap. There have been hints here and there, like Betty saying Don promised he wouldn't "disappear" any more, but nothing beyond that. But as much as Betty hates to confront truths about her life, she can't hide from this one -- her vomiting on her blue gown was yet another of this episode's ugly blemishes on a postcard picture life. If we thought she was emasculating Don at the start of the season, what'll that relationship be like now?

Salvatore's spotlight in "The Hobo Code" was one of my favorite stories from season one, and after keeping the married Salvatore in the background (and the closet) for much of this season, his second spotlight was almost as wonderful as the first.

Sal's encounter with the gay cosmetics executive forced him to confront his sexuality, and it scared him -- a good Catholic boy who still lived with his mother -- into diving headfirst into a hetero lifestyle. But being gay is part of who Salvatore is, not something he can switch on and off through sheer willpower. And as he gets some insight into Ken Cosgrove -- part-time author and far more complex than he seems when he's (literally) pimping for clients or sexually harassing secretaries -- he can't help but feel attracted to him. He likes Kitty and feels guilty when he realizes how much he's hurting her, but I can guarantee you that he has never looked at her with the kind of ravenous expressions that he gave Ken throughout this episode. More great work from Bryan Batt, who, when given the opportunity, continues to do wonders with this character we all wanted to dismiss as a two-dimensional stereotype early in the series.

Some other thoughts on "The Gold Violin":

• What a magnificent bastard is Roger Sterling. The pretty new secretary comes crying to him about getting fired by his ex-mistress, and though he promises to take care of it, he doesn't bother to talk to Joan at all, because in any scenario, he wins. Either Joan realizes what's what and lets Jane keep her job (and therefore increases the odds of Jane having sex with him), or Joan boots her out a second time and then comes screaming to Roger, who clearly enjoys it when she's mad at him. One question: while Joan was 100 percent justified in firing Jane for that kind of insubordination, do you think she resents Jane because she didn't play the game that way when she was coming up in the steno pool, or because she played it exactly that way? My money's on the latter.

• Duck is absolutely drinking, maybe not all the time, and maybe not even in the scenes where we see him. But he's carrying himself completely differently -- far more outgoing and uninhibited than his previous appearance -- and we see him stare somewhat longingly at the wet bar after Don leaves his office. If I'm right that he's on his way out, it'll be not a minute too soon in terms of giving Roger something to do at work. Judging by how he had those sections of the newspaper spread out on his couch, he'd spent most of his day doing nothing but reading them.

• Don's the main character and therefore dominates every episode, but all the other characters fade in and out as needed. Pete's again absent (for what I assume are budgetary reasons), and Peggy's presence is minimal. But at least we see that Peggy is sticking with Joan's advice to stop dressing like a little girl. The checkerboard dress was far more stylish than anything we've ever seen her wear in the office before, while still making her look professional.

• Students for a Democratic Society, the group the Smiths' friend in Michigan belongs to, were arguably the most important organization in the New Left political movement that would gain greater prominence as the decade went along. Among the group's more famous members: Tom Hayden and Jeffrey Lebowski.

• At first, I was bothered by the fact that we haven't seen Smith & Smith since they were presumably hired after the season premiere, but then I realized that they're likely only working on this account for now, and that they would have no interest in socializing with the rest of the younger Sterling Cooper types (and vice versa). I do like how American Smith seemed unfazed by Don pointing out the hypocrisy of their working for an ad agency, and I'm damned if I can get their French New Wave-style Martinson's jingle out of my head.

• The series hasn't featured much casual anti-Semitism from the characters since the first few episodes with Rachel Menken, but Betty's "You people" comment to Jimmy -- whose real surname, Bobbie told us a few weeks back, is Bernstein -- was clearly her attempt to get out of an ugly situation with an ugly but veiled slur.

• I loved how the shot of the closing elevator doors transitioned into a shot of the Sterling Cooper building's exterior, which now resembled both the elevator and Mr. Cooper's painting. And speaking of the painting, from what little I've been able to gather about Mark Rothko in my internet travels, Cooper's belief that the painting will double in value is another sign of Sterling Cooper being behind the times, as by 1962 the art world was already moving away from Rothko and towards the pop artists.

• Another sign of the difficulty of embracing new ideas: Salvatore thinks these new disposable Pampers (which actually launched in 1961) are so expensive (at 10 cents, which would be about 68 cents in 2007 dollars) that you should be able to use them more than once, when in fact what you're paying for is the ability to not have to use them (or, more importantly, clean them) ever again.

• Interesting that Don now seems willing to offer up stories of life on the farm without prompting, at least to his family. Maybe the "We have to get you a new daddy" bonding moment he had with Bobby allowed him to let go of some small amount of paranoia about discussing that time in his life. And speaking of Bobby, my wife immediately went to the sad clown face when Bobby proudly announced that he had peed behind the tree and no one in his family even paid attention to him.

• The ABC exec's lack of interest in Bobbie's product placement concepts for "Grin and Bear It" stood in stark contrast to guys today like Ben Silverman whose primary agenda seems to be product integration, but was it accurate? There's the myth that network executives in the days before corporate synergy really only cared about programming and beating the competition, but product integration was just as important a part of television in those early days of TV as it is now, if not moreso.

What did everyone else think?


Baby's Mama said...

I seemed like the whole episode was the explore the worlds of all the sub characters.

My interest in Jane's blatant comment of how she could have stole the painting intrigues me.

Anonymous said...

This is the second time an Episode 7 of Mad Men has ended with vomiting. I wonder if it will become a recurring joke.

Craig said...

Not a great episode, but a good one with a couple of classic moments: the Draper picnic litter (which made me laugh harder than anything on TV this season, with the possible exception of zipper Mozart) and Betty puking in Don's car (which was a great shock coda). Garbage indeed seemed to be the theme, with Jimmy driving that home to Don. Not much else to add right now, other than to note that the first shot, with Don walking around the automobile, was very similar to the opening scene of Quiz Show.

Anonymous said...

I think Pete might've had a small subplot (or maybe just a scene) that got cut out of this episode. He's mentioned in the brief episode description on the AMC site.

Anonymous said...

I felt for Salvatore so much this episode, and watching him interact and flirt with Ken was cringe inducing for me. I wished it had been the Belle Jolie guy, Elliot, instead, because as least he was receptive to it. It just really hurt me to watch Sal be so happy, and knowing that it could never be, at least with Ken. And the actress that plays Kitty did a wonderful job of playing that scene. She looked perfectly hurt and confused.

Also, I love what a great husband Salvatore is. He genuinely cares about Kitty and wishes so much that this relationship wasn't a sham. Hell, I'll marry a gay like him, if only to have him cook the wonderful meal and decorate my apartment like that!

And I thought that the visual of Betty vomiting onto her perfect exterior, and Don's new car was a great way to end the episode, almost as a blatant visual of a theme that was hinted at throughout.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and judging from the previews, next week's episode looks AMAZING.

Anonymous said...

Jane has Joan's fire, but does she have the smarts to play it that cool?

She looked as if she was ready to be smacked down, when a big 'I'll tell boss/Daddy/next lover' move like that she pulled requires a stronger stomach than she seemed to have.

Joan's gift is being able to see two or three moves ahead in a small workplace. (Plus she must have a better league of informants than Vic Mackey or the STASI.) Jane, AFAIK, only sees one move ahead. If she had planned for Roger's neglect, she would have been in a stronger position to carry it off. Remember that through all this tsuris, no one told *Don* that his secretary was being replaced. For the entire weekend.

If she played it subtle, by either coming in Monday and privately begging Joan for her job back (showing her throat, to the alpha) or contacted Roger on the sly outside of the office (doing the freelance mistress thing), she would have been more sure that her aligning herself to power actually worked. Jane could have bounced back, been seen as a team player who was a bit impetuous, but now she has Joan as an enemy in a way Peggy never did.

This is a fire in which heroes or true scoundrels are forged. But in the next few episodes, this will play out like Thunderdome for chicks.

The litter kind of shocked me, but it was a motif established earlier with the Pampers. I was of the generation that first saw the anti-litter campaigns begin, and I can't describe just how ingrained it became compared to how it was before.

And, just when I thought Jimmy was a dumb putz, he turns out to be a most smart one. That kind of vengeance you can't get without using carbon dioxide blocks, kids, so don't try that at home.

But was Betty lying by saying 'you people' are ugly? No, if that set is composed of solely the Barretts. If Betty was Going There with the anti-Semitism, well, who's dark-haired whorechild actually got a couple of cars dirty, Mrs. Draper?

Like I said: Man.

Bobman said...

God damn is Salvatore a sympathetic character, and could not be played more perfectly by the actor.

Some of the episode seemed a bit heavy-handed but all in all still a some great stuff.

Anonymous said...

oh, and AH-HA!

YES, Quiz Show and the walking-around and the thing. No wonder it was familiar to me....

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the Mets reference!

Anonymous said...

I saw a South Korean movie around 1990 at the Boston Film Festival that had an ending almost identical to this one.

It was a crime thriller that featured a large ensemble cast (like Crash) but centered mainly on a young, female writer. She had become famous for her latest novel, but was married to an unimaginative corporate yuppie type who every morning woke up and monotonously did push-ups and sit-ups.

The main theme of the movie was how Korea had been overrun by American culture, to the point Korean culture was being pushed aside by slick American surfaces. One of the main ways this was illustrated was in he character of a police detective: he indulged a number of American TV cop affectations, like sunglasses and constantly chewing on candy (or gum, or something that was supposed to remind of a Kojak type character). He did it to feel like a tough guy American cop, but it was supposed to be jarring because it was such a departure from what would have been his origins.

Anyway, I don't recall the plot, just the very final scene. After a number of emotional trials, the young writer is back with her boring husband in their Western-style apartment. Supposedly relieved to be home, she wakes up int the morning, sees her husband doing his push-ups, and vomits. Fade to black.

This episode and that movie had very similar themes, and I'm convinced the producers of Mad Men had that ending in mind. It's just too weird a coincidence.

Anyone who can recall the name of that movie gets 10,000 internet dollars!

Anonymous said...

And being fascinated by someone you absolutely cannot be with, like the magnetic pole of the room shifts toward that person, yeah, I've been there. But thank God I never did that in front of someone I was supposed to love, honor and cherish.

For Sal, that was the equivalent in his life of Don-and-Bobbie-at-Lutece, with less icky/sticky. But at least Sal has the grace to know he was wrong, and change his behavior to show he cares for his wife as much as he knows how. This makes Sal a better man than Don, by a long shot -- even if that means Salvatore lives out the rest of his life without the love he really needs.

Such was the way for homosexuals in America then, and for most of the world, now. It ain't the past, folks. GLAAD should just give up already and make a Lifetime Achievement Award called the Bryan Batt, 'cause who's doing better, really?

Anonymous said...

I was also thinking about the Jimmy/Betty thing. Betty thinks that Jimmy likes her, but in actuality, he is just playing her to get back at Don. Don had Jimmy’s wife, but Jimmy can never have Don’s wife. If he can’t get back at Don that way, he can seduce Betty with the attention that he know she loves, and then burst her bubble of her perfect marriage.

Don got him everything he wanted, but he did it by screwing his wife. It’s not that Jimmy even cares that Don was screwing Bobbie, but he cares that he could never be like Don and do what and who Don does. He envies that. Like he said, he’s lucky he’s funny, or he would never have gotten anywhere or anything in life like he has.

Abbie said...

I thought Betty's "you people" accusation was more about celebrities than Jews. But I've been known to be oblivious to those kinds of things before.

Anonymous said...

I assume you just resolved the pun in your head, but the title of Jimmie's show is supposed to be Grin and Barrett.

And a quote from the uncompromised first draft of the PHS would have been less heavy handed and more entertaining. Such a missed opportunity.


pgillan said...

Some of the best bits of this show have been the small "I can't believe they actually did that back then!" moments, but the picnic scene rang hollow for me. While it was amusing to see them leave the trash all over the ground and drive away, it struck me as particularly smug about how much better we are now than they were, how much more enlightened we are about the environment. That may be true in many cases, but my grandparents were solid products of that period, and I know for a fact that they would never, ever have condoned that sort of behavior. If you made a mess, you were expected to clean it up.

Anonymous said...

With Jimmy, it was another side of the pure envy Pete Campbell had for Don, more than a mancrush, almost a stalkerish "I could never be you, so why not ruin your life" thing.

With Pete, he's never really encountered someone he's admired that he couldn't somehow discount by using his social status -- of course the golf pro is dashing, but I make more than him, dear.

Jimmy's whole life OTOH has been knocking the squares for a loop, because he *knows* they won't let him in their clubs unless he makes them laugh. That's why he makes 'em pay through the nose, and that's why he sticks with Bobbie, because she'll do anything or anyone to get him what he needs.

Jimmy could have guessed something went on with Bobbie and Don, but what cemented it for him? Only looking at their body language? I wouldn't put it past either of them to have come clean about all their affairs, as long as they stick together where it counts. I mean, those kids of Bobbie's probably aren't his, but they're neither the love of his life or an irritant. That's mighty big for a man, back then.

You're right, the single beer can tossed made the point. Betty going all out seemed excessive, especially for a family that made sure the kids' hands weren't sticky enough to mess up the car seats.

the AMC page no longer mentions Pete at all. What did it used to say?

Anonymous said...

It's still there. Look at the section labeled "episode preview" at the top of the page.

afoglia said...

It still mentions Pete. In the "Episode Preview": "Pete, Harry and Ken strategize to attract new business."

I'm not sure Kitty knows Sal is gay. She definitely didn't like the evening, and knew it was his fault, but she might be sheltered enough to not realize how much Sal was drooling over Ken. And, other than the repressed homosexuality, Sal's a good husband.

Sal said Kitty came up from Baltimore(?) with his mother. If his mother was living with him in "The Hobo Code", that would mean he already knew Kitty. I wonder what made Sal decide to date her.

Jimmy's actions towards Betty were partly based on his actual feelings towards her. Remember the dinner with the Utz owner and wife, where he practically ignored everyone at the table other than her. I doubt he suspected anything then. Now that he believes that Don and Bonnie are sleeping with each other, he views Betty as more than just a woman, but a conquest.

How did Don not know that Jane was fired? When she was fired, Joan said she was bringing a new secretary by that afternoon. I guess Don didn't come back to the office.

Joan might have played the same game a decade ago, but I'm sure she would have been less clumsy and more covert.

Anonymous said...

If Jane had copped to her mistake, didn't bat her eyes at the woman who perfected eye-batting in the office (seriously: Is any secretary allowed to be as sexy as Joan, ever?), say the boys made me (which Joan knew was a lie), she could have gotten away with probation and a few unflatteringly chaste dress choices. But no, she went all out with this: "I don't need a mother. I'm 20 years old."

This, after Joan's age was posted for all to see (and for all to talk about, to the New Girl). Once she crossed that line, it was war.

Nicole said...

Sal was killing me throughout his scenes with Ken. I'm always a sucker for unrequited love.

As for the litter, unless it's a comment that people of a certain class would do that back then, I don't buy it either. The pop can didn't seem out of place, but my grandparents were working class and my grandmothers in particular were clean freaks and did not leave a mess anywhere they went. They grew up in the depression and keeping things clean helped differentiate themselves from the "dirty" poor.

arrabbiata said...

The littering scene- seemed like it was included for shock effect, but damn if it didn't work. What I don't know is if it's about the pre-environmentalism time period, or if it was a kind of answer to the "are we rich?" question- having money means that you can get someone else to clean up your messes (and you can afford disposable diapers).

The "you people" comment- the racist overtones had occurred to me, but I think it could have also been specifically about the Barretts- Jimmy because of his crude nature and the suggestion he was making, and Bobbie because Betty found it all too easy to believe.

Rothko might not have been cutting edge in 1962, but he was still getting corporate commissions and being collected by the wealthy establishment, the kind of thing that would attract Cooper's attention. I can only imagine what he would think of Warhol.

Loved the opening scene- a car salesmen trying to smooth talk the best ad man in town.

And Ken telling Sal that his spaghetti sauce was better than you'd find in a restaurant. Many Italians would be insulted that you even considered the possibility that it wouldn't be.

The constant drinking and smoking certainly contribute to Don's high blood pressure, but I have to think that living so many lies and the possiblity that it can all come crashing down can't help. I'm surprised he doesn't have ulcers as well.

Anonymous said...

I didn't at all take Betty's "you people" as a reference to anything other than "you celebrity types." Does Betty even know Jimmy is Jewish?

Bryan Batt hit another homerun. Loved him in Hobo Code, loved him tonight. I wish Weiner and company would focus on Sal Romano more than one episode a season. Sal and Kitty each broke my heart in different ways.

Anonymous said...

I think the "you people" was meant as famous people/celebrities. At some point last season Francine made an anti-semitic remark and Betty chastised her (lightly, but still.) So I don't see that in her way of thinking. It wouldn't be polite and she's all about being polite.

I too thought the picnic thing was a bit heavy-handed. Had they done it and left quickly it would've been one thing, a cute joke or statement, but the length of the shot -- even in a show with slow pace -- was too long and deliberate. Annoyingly so.

If it wasn't a comment on how things are different now, and instead a comment on how Don and Betty's perfect life is actually messy and far from perfect, I guess I get it. But still heavy-handed for me.

And I think Jane knows exactly what she's doing -- in their final scene of the episode together, she told Joan info about what Sterling said about her (Joan) that she knew what piss her off. Joan realizes she's being replaced as Sterling's "hot young thing" and can't stand it. It'll be interesting to watch the fireworks.

And I do wonder if Salvatore and his wife ever sleep together? I had the feeling they don't. Or at least not often.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there was a lack of Pete due to any budget issue. Actors on series TV who are regulars get paid for every episode regardless if they're in it or not. I think it was just a desire to focus on some of the other characters for a bit. And I'm glad they did, as Salvatore especially has been under-served this season.

Anonymous said...

I could see all the guy's continuing to make plays for Jane, only to see her choose that super-young ad guy (Mr. Smith) with the scarf!

DarylO said...

It hadn't even dawned on me that Betty's remark could have been anti-Semitic. I am not of the opinion, either, that it was meant to be so. (I am of Jewish descent, myself, incidentally, but I was admittedly not raised Jewish, so I don't have the knee-jerk reactions that others might have.) Unfortunately, it seems that people are often too quick to accuse others of anti-Semitism, and I think that many times the accusations are just unjustified. On the other hand, there's a certain ugliness about Betty, so I suppose I wouldn't be surprised if she were a wee bit racist.

Re: Salvatore, he's probably the only somewhat-likeable character in this whole show, and one must definitely feel for him. I loved the scenes with Ken's cigarette lighter. Sal had obviously kept it because he wanted something that belonged to Ken. Sad ... and pathetic, actually.

SJ said...

"You people" was about Jews? Didn't seem like that to me.

I liked the response: "You mean comedians?" It's very Sopranos-esque humor.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I liked the response: "You mean comedians?"

And it's only because of that response that made me think Betty intended it as anti-Semitism -- or, at least, that Jimmy interpreted it that way. "You mean 'comedians'?" is Jimmy's sarcastic way of trying to soften what he took as a far nastier comment.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I don't think there was a lack of Pete due to any budget issue. Actors on series TV who are regulars get paid for every episode regardless if they're in it or not.

That's not always the case. When ER, for instance, had a cast that was getting too big, certain actors like Ming-Na would be signed to appear in a few less episodes than the full season order, and then you'd just have episodes where her character was on a different shift.

I honestly don't know whether Kartheiser's contract is similar, but both last year and this year, he's vanished every now and again, which you wouldn't expect from a guy who's arguably the third lead (after Hamm and Moss).

Alan Sepinwall said...

And a quote from the uncompromised first draft of the PHS would have been less heavy handed and more entertaining. Such a missed opportunity.

I tried to find one, but I was too busy mixing myself a White Russian.

Anonymous said...

I am so sick of seeing vomit on shows.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Drapers trashing the park was more a comment on them (than a reminder about today's environmentalism). These are people so phony and self-centered that care about keeping their car pristine -- but metaphorically shit and literally piss on nature.

That's why it was so great when Betty puked all over the car. These people are dirty matter how spit-shined they appear on the outside.

As far as the scene in the park, sadly, I don't think a lot has changed as far as trashing the environment. Anyone who lives by the Jersey Shore like I do knows that tons of self-centered jackasses continue to visit for the day and drop their trash anywhere and everywhere. It's pretty damn disgusting at the end of the day and I wonder why people trash public beaches and parks in ways they would never do their own backyards.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we Jews are just an oversensitive bunch but Jimmy and I both understood Betty's "You people" quite clearly to mean Jews. It isn't so much that Betty hates Jews. It is that she sees them as "the other." Jews are "you people" which is different from us people. Here here she says that "you people" are crude. Which Jimmy certainly is.

Peggy's dress is so cute! Thanks for pointing that out and linking to art!

Nicole said...

Like Alan, it was Jimmy's response of "you mean comedians" that made me think maybe Betty meant "you people" to mean Jews. It was a bit ambiguous, but considering Betty's past behaviour, not surprising for her to go there, especially since Jimmy was forcing her to take an ugly look at her marriage and perfect husband in a way she did not want too, especially because of someone on the outside.

Anonymous said...

The Accountant and The Artist.

Which one is the real artist?
Their whole conversation about the Rothko was enlightening. The artist looking for the meaning. The accountant just feeling it, and being able to give voice to that feeling.
Ken is the artist. Sal, baby, you are smart and cool, but you are an illustrator, not an artist.

I thought that conversation also dovetailed with the Young Guys saying we do not want to be sold, we want to be. Or feel.


justjoan123 said...

[i]And I think Jane knows exactly what she's doing -- in their final scene of the episode together, she told Joan info about what Sterling said about her (Joan) that she knew what piss her off. Joan realizes she's being replaced as Sterling's "hot young thing" and can't stand it. It'll be interesting to watch the fireworks.[/i]

Ah, but Jane didn't actually report what Roger said, did she? She threw in some of her own thoughts under the guise of repeating Sterling's remarks. To hear these bogus observations meant to be from her former lover issuing from the lips of her likely successor -- her 10 years younger likely successor -- must have been particularly galling.

Count me among those who read Betty's "you people" as an anti-Semitic slur. Any doubt was removed by Barrett's "comedians?" comeback, which a common form of response to such slurs.

Sal, Sal. His surreptitious pocketing of Ken's forgotten lighter was poignant, but I truly was waiting for him to return it during their subsequent office scene. That he did not, but rather kept it as a secret trophy, must come back to haunt him, and his marriage, at the worst possible moment later on. And how I feel for Kitty! She is so confused, yet I doubt she knows the true cause of her confusion. Yet. She adores Sal, and she seems to have accepted settling for less as the price she paid to land her prize. That line about going all-out to decorate "once they decided not to move" seems to indicate her acceptance that children are not in the picture, at least for now. Sad, sad.

Dan Jameson said...

Is it just me, or is Joan putting on some weight? Is that most likely a product of her engagement, i.e. she doesn't need to sell herself anymore?

Also, I agree with the comment about Don tossing the can in the park as being overt enough to make the point. Very different times, indeed.

Maultsby said...

The unexpected projectile vomiting (actually kind of rare, I think) reminded me of Adriana at the FBI table -- completely different stimuli and response. Have to say though, loved the Brenda Lee song "Break It to Me Gently," playing over the closing credits. Smiling to myself just remembering it.

Alan -- please write more not less!

Maultsby said...

I meant I think the projectile thing is rare in real life (for adults), not rare on tv or in film.

Anonymous said...

Was the blond girl during Don's flashback the same actress who played Svetlana on the Sopranos?

Anonymous said...


As near as I can figure out, the woman from the flashback was Melinda Page Hamilton, who was never on the Sopranos. (She's mentioned on AMC's website, not on IMDB.)

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one actually *watching* this show? It's clear what's going on:

Don Draper and Jimmy Barret are having an affair.

They met in the gap between the end of season one and the start of season two. Perhaps we'll see a flashback to their meeting -- the searing eye contact, halting words, trembling hands during an Utz chips presentation. Don's missive of the Frank O'Hara poetry at the end of episode one was sent to Jimmy as a signal that it's time to spring their trap on their unsuspecting wives. Once their marriages are over, they will move in together under the guise of swingin' sixties bachelors, while secretly indulging the love that dare not speaks its name. The Sal/Ken plot in this episode is the key to understanding all this. Sal is living in the old closeted world, falling for clearly straight men while rebuffing passes from gays. He's a counterpoint to Don/Jimmy, who are already in full Highsmith-mode. I expect that the rest of the series will show Don's metamorphosis from a self-loathing criminal gay man to full, open, healthy embrace of his sexuality. Perhaps he will redeem his cowardice on the battlefields of Korea by leading the charge against bigotry and hate during the Stonewall riots. (Jon Hamm in hot pants? Mmmmmm.) This being TV, though, he'll probably wind up with a young and gentle lover running a handmade pasta shop in Provincetown. Something like that.

Y'all have to learn to watch your TV more closely. You're missing a lot.

Unknown said...

I agree that Peggy's dress was an improvement, but she still needs a new hairdo. The bangs and ponytail are so high school.

Speaking of the ladies: great platform for my girl Joan! I think if I ever had to take a scolding from her I would just straight start crying. (Plug time: Joan fans will love this shirt.)

justjoan123 said...

"Break it to Me Gently" really takes me back! I was watching with my niece, who immediately called the music as an anachronism, because for her generation, the artist was Juice Newton. I explained that JM was covering Brenda Lee, whose song is completely contemporaneous.

Anonymous said...

What does this say about me? When Don threw his empty beer can into the field as they were leaving their picnic, I was horrified. But when Betty picked up and shook out their blanket, leaving all their trash behind on the grass, I actually felt ill. Thinks sure have changed (thank goodness).

Interesting read on Betty's "you people" line. The anti-Semitism angle never occurred to me, I thought she just meant "show-biz people." Jimmy's response ("What people? Comedians?") was hilarious either way.

Anonymous said...

I think Jane is there to pose a threat to Joan. Joan has always been untouchable and in total control of the women in the office, but now Joan is getting "old" (the girls know she's 30, thanks to the Xerox machine), is (presumably) getting married, and is vulnerable (Roger's comment about things changing for her post-marriage). Jane is a direct threat to all that Joan is (or was): young, pretty, self-confident (if only outwardly), and powerful (Jane is Don's secretary, and now has Roger's eye). I'm hoping to see Joan get the BIG come-uppance that she richly deserves.

DarylO said...

Yeah, considering the "You mean comedians?" remark, I suppose the writer did intend to indicate that Jimmy had taken Betty's remark as an anti-Semitic slur. It's possible, though, that the writer was merely indicating that Jimmy was hypersensitive. It's funny ... I hadn't caught the Bernstein comment in an earlier episode, so it never occurred to me that Jimmy was Jewish, although now I don't understand why I didn't see it before (perhaps because Bobby comes across to me as a shiksa). This might have been discussed before, but does anyone think that the character of Jimmy might have been inspired by an actual comedian from that era?

Anonymous said...

Alan, how about a picture of someone other than Don for the leadoff next time?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, how about a picture of someone other than Don for the leadoff next time?

I did a couple of other characters (Pete one week, Peggy another) earlier in the season, and I thought about doing Salvatore here, but Jon Hamm always has at least one scene every week where the look on his face is just about perfect, and the thing I'll remember most from the episode. Plus, in a way it makes me feel like these blog entries are slowly charting the crumbling of Don's perfect life.

But if there's a perfect shot of someone else next week, I'll try to lead with it. And you can always blow up one of the other photos this week by clicking on it.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Is it just me, or is Joan putting on some weight?

Looked that way to me, too. Christina Hendricks has definitely not put on weight, so either it's a case of the dress not fitting her well and making her look heavier one time, or they're giving her the Peggy treatment.

Anonymous said...

While Jimmy's response does tend to indicate anti-Semetic intent by Betty, back in Season 1 during the Babylon episode, she said she had kissed a Jewish boy in school. And as an earlier poster noted, she objected when Francine made an anti-Semitic comment.

Anonymous said...

re: Joan's weight, I think it's the necklines she's been wearing. She's been wearing a lot of higher necks lately (possibly because of her engagement?). That tends to make women look heavier. Even if it's not a plunging neckline, a slight v neckline will make a woman look slimmer (I saw this on BBC's "What Not to Wear").

Anonymous said...

Selling the Feeling:
No one seems to recall a speech that Don gave to Peggy when she was being to clever with a campaign. "You're selling the feeling. That's what sells." He was thinking ahead of his time -- or at least his generation -- that day. Really, Don's always been savvy to this - the psychological aspects of the job.

Joan's zaftigheit:
I don't think she's putting on weight. It's just there are fewer women on the show to contextualize her figure: Peggy, Betty and now Jane have the more slender "girlish" (rather than womanly) figures that will only become more and more the standard of beauty in the 60s and going forward. Before, there were more women floating around the office who off-set Joan's curvaceousness.

"You people..."
We don't know if Betty ever knew that it was Rachel that Don was having the affair with. Maybe she's got some built up resentment there. Personally, I thought she meant "entertainment types / people in show business," which I suppose might have been code for Jewish.

Previews of next week's episode that have me intrigued:
That shot of Pete in the doorway of Don's office looking defeated.
That shot of Peggy in the bathtub looking like she's coming apart.
And Fr. Tom Hank's Jr. is back.

Can't wait.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Guys, no more talking about the previews. The above comment isn't so far over the line that I'm going to delete it, but that's it.

Anonymous said...

PS - I love anon.'s (sept 8th, 10:42 AM) queering of the text. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Alan: Your bolded text suggests you've made a request about keeping mum on (esp. overly speculative) comments re: previews before, which I must've missed. Mine weren't speculative, just relishing the shots. I see how that could open the door though. Anyway, apols.

Relative newcomer to your blog, where I find the conversation on _Mad Men_ more stimulating than other places on the web.

oSoFine said...

The litter after the picnic wasn't about how we're better now about littering than they were then and somehow better, it was about a disposable culture.

If "Mirrors" was the word of the day in last weeks episode,"Disposable" was the key concept in this one.

Disposable diapers, littered picnic spots, a Rothko that was purchased simply as an investment to "dump" when it's price went up, disposable children ("go play with Bobby" at the picnic. I'm on the phone: "Go!") [See also, or rather, we should have seen, Peggy's baby], disposable wives, husbands, girlfriends...

Disposable secretaries (Of course Don didn't know his secretary had been fired - as it's been said many times, "Don always gets the new girl" - how many "new girls" do you think Joan has given him over the years? Do you really think Joan would call him to tell him over the weekend? It's not his job to hire them - though of course he has the power to fire them, but if he was unhappy with one he'd just have Joan take care of it - he doesn't care about them (except Peggy, who he promoted because he saw her latent talent", as he doesn't sleep with his secretaries because he needs them to cover for him.)

Disposable morals, disposable etiquette*, disposable income*, disposable identities, for crying out loud!

*To the anonymous poster (2:37 am) who remarked,"...last season Francine made an anti-semitic remark and Betty chastised her (lightly, but still. )So I don't see that in her way of thinking. It wouldn't be polite and she's all about being polite." :

I think her comment to Jimmy was anti-semitic (or, at the very least, Jimmy thought so due to his comeback about "comedians" - if he thought she was just referring to the Barretts, it wouldn't make sense, as Bobbie isn't a comedian, and her earlier comment about being "nervous" around celebrities was obviously coy and flirtatious.), but even if it wasn't, it certainly wasn't polite.

* ibid: "If it wasn't a comment on how things are different now, and instead a comment on how Don and Betty's perfect life is actually messy and far from perfect, I guess I get it. But still heavy-handed for me." I agree that it was not a comment on anything to do with how we now treat the environment better because we don't *litter* as much (LOL!), but a symbol of Don and Betty's entry into higher class in which nothing need be saved because they can always afford more (a rather nouveau riche move, as well). It also exemplifies the goal that Sterling Cooper, and all (M)ad agencies, aim to achieve - a consumer culture that buys disposable goods - those products that need to be re-purchased again and again and which pad their clients' profits. It goes back to Sal's misunderstanding of marketing when he says, regarding disposable diapers, "At 10 cents a piece, you'd think you should be able to reuse them". Betty is a perfect example of the demographic that would buy up Pampers (if Bobby weren't already potty -or tree, LOL - trained) by the case. (Though, to be fair to Betty, most mothers fall into that demographic! I am reminded of one of my favorite Erma Bombeck quotes, from her Feb. 8, 1990 essay, "Disposable Diapers", "As a mother, I'd rather do away with foam cups and have hot coffee poured into both of my hands and drink fast than do away with disposable diapers.")

I would alter the sentiment that this is "a comment on how things are different now" to say that this is a glimpse into how, during that period (which started in the 50's actually) we changed as a society from that of a Depression or Wartime culture (that was so intensely portrayed in Don's first season flashbacks to a life when children couldn't play because they had to work - whether their father was an alcoholic or not) into the "consumer culture" which became and still is so pervasive. I didn't think the post-picnic scene was heavy-handed at all. (But maybe I viewed it the way Ken viewed the Rothko, lol!)


On another note, I also thought the scenes with Sal were great! I loved seeing him watching tv at the end and listeneing to the dialogue about a father's (or any man's) role in a household! Can anyone identify what show he was watching? [I started this in the middle of the night, so please forgive me if I have repeated or ignored posts that went up after around 3am!]

Thanks again, Alan, for a great column!

-oSo- (Samantha Fine)

Anonymous said...

I thought "you people" was absolutely anti-semetic. It's the type of childish insult that Betty would throw out there when she had nothing else to say. And I'm not even remotely Jewish.

I also thought Kitty was too knowing. Today, if someone's husband brings a co-worker home and spends the night flirting with him, I can see her thinking "he's gay." But I don't either of those things would have occurred to a nice Italian girl in 1962 - and that's what kept happening across Kitty's face. Shouldn't she kind of expect to blend into the background when the co-workers were talking (not that it's right but that it's expected)?
I did feel so sorry for Sal, though. Ken's going to break his heart.

Anonymous said...

PS - I love anon.'s (sept 8th, 10:42 AM) queering of the text. LOL.

Swingin' for swinging. Maybe that's just David Simon upset that people weren't *watching* and missed a secret gay affair on his show.

At least Simon created a gay character who wouldn't be at home on BRAVO. Interesting to discover that in simpler times a stereotypic effete homosexual male like Sal could pass as straight. Gaydar's come a long way.

Anonymous said...

Curious, and I don't think this has been directly answered, but whereabouts do you think Sal lives? Ken mentioned getting back to Manhattan, I'm guessing Brooklyn?

Did anyone else notice who I assumed to be Sal's mother asleep on the sofa next to Kitty as she was doing her needlework and Sal watched television?

Alan Sepinwall said...

When I was researching my story on the production people responsible for the look of the show, the set decorator, Amy Wells, told me that Sal's apartment is supposed to be in (on?) Staten Island.

Alan Sepinwall said...

That line about going all-out to decorate "once they decided not to move" seems to indicate her acceptance that children are not in the picture, at least for now.

That's a very good catch, by the way. The deeper meaning of that line eluded me.

MadMeme said...

Samantha -

I didn't think the post-picnic scene was heavy-handed at all. (But maybe I viewed it the way Ken viewed the Rothko, lol!)

Great comments - I loved your observations. I would only layer on top of that the cherry of the golden violin - the object that has been aestheticized beyond all functionality - as the closeted step-sibling of the modern notion of the disposable.

Anonymous said...

Re: disposable diapers, it took awhile for them to gain mainstream acceptance. When I was born (1966), my mom didn't use them at first, partially because of expense & partially because there was a belief that "good" mothers didn't use them. I don't know how common that view was (we were living in outerborough NYC and blue collar). Of course, reality set in & my mom eventually started using them with me. When my brother was born in 1969, she went straight to the disposables, no cloth. I'm guessing the time I tried to "help" her by rinsing out my diaper in the toilet and flushing it (which caused a flood) probably had something to do with her embrace of the disposables! :)

So I'm guessing that for appearances sake at least, Betty wouldn't be eager to embrace disposable diapers.

Wow Sal's in Staten Island? That has to be some commute! Did they have express buses back then or does he take the ferry/train/bus? I live there now and it's hard to get Manhattanites to visit. Maybe he's requiting Sal's crush on him! :)

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, just answered my own question about the express buses. The Verrazano Bridge wasn't opened until 1964.

Anonymous said...

That final punchline, with Betty puking, Don recoiling in horror at the spoiling of his new car, and the sudden cut to black had me screaming "Holy shit!" in laughter at the screen.

Anonymous said...

I also liked Jimmy's line that went something like, "here we are at the children's table."

Perfect for Betty, who continues to be talked about having the maturity of a child, and Jimmy who is the l'enfante terrible.

And yes, there is no doubt in my mind that Betty's "you people" who are "ugly and crude" was meant as a swipe at the chosen people. Grin and Barrett indeed.

Marengo Main Street said...

When Jimmy called Betty to invite them to the party, he told her (not sure of the exact words) that he needed her there to "save me from these people."

I wonder if she was referring to that with her "you people" line.

And FWIW, I don't know that Joan's put on weight as much as she's put on boobs. Not sure what's up with that.

Nicole said...

I think it could be the foundation garments making Joan look top heavy. I've seen recent pictures of Christina Hendricks and while she isn't flat chested, she doesn't look quite as top heavy in modern attire.

What doesn't help is that the actress playing Jane is Hollywood thin because she has the extreme clavicle look in her low cut sweaters. Unfortunately that seems to be the norm for actresses in television and movies.

Anonymous said...

The Martinson Coffee song was VERY similar to a song called "Couleur café" (literally, "Coffee Coloured") by the French singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg.

"Couleur café" first appeared on record in 1964, FWIW.

Anonymous said...

Like brainy, I don't think you can fully separate Betty meaning show biz types by "you people" with her meaning Jews. Even today I feel like people still use the former as code for the latter sometimes. Back then, someone like Betty wouldn't be hob-nobbing at the Stork Club with Jews who weren't in show business. (It certainly seemed rare last season for any Jewish people to be clients or employees, but no one bats an eye at the "talent" being Jewish). I also like the idea that she found out about Rachel and maybe let that bring out a prejudice that wasn't there before. She seems immature enough for that.

For the record, my train of thought was "You people? Does she mean Jews? I guess Jimmy's probably Jewish. But would she know that? Maybe she just means the Barretts. But then the comedian comment doesn't make much sense." Then I gave up trying to nail it down.

Anonymous said...

Re: "You People"...Wow it didn't even occur to me that it was anti semetic. I had assumed Betty was referring to the people on the "business side" of Don's life.

Re: Jane & Joan: I think it is more about the Queen bee knowing she is getting older and trying to swat an up and coming queen bee before she gets too powerful

Re: The casual littering. There has to be a "Wow, well I guess it *was* the '60s" momment every episode :-)

PamelaJaye said...

I have an odd, out of seqence comment - regarding Flight 1. I was recently watching a - probably made for TV - movie - that I watched last year, about Linda McCarney. It seems her father died on Flight 1.

Anyway, I didn't read this post last night (wanted to get to sleep) so I will probably do that now. (unless I can find something else to do, and leave the savoring for a future time :-)

Capcom said...

Apologies if someone mentioned this already and I missed it, but did anyone catch the West Side Story reference, and know what it meant? I think that it was in one of the conversations between Sal and Ken. Tx.

Unknown said...

Regarding Joan/Jane.

So much of Joan's power has always been in the fact that she was single. Yes, she rebuffed most of the advances from the men in the office, but the guys were still free to want her. Even to this day, the sexiest woman in the room has the most power. She wielded that power expertly. Now, she's trading that power by becoming unavailable. Her conversation with Jane made her realize that.

Anonymous said...


Has there ever been anything on this show that teaches the viewer that being married and working at an office in Manhattan = sexually unavailable?

I really think it's just an age thing - old queen, new queen, like anonymous above said. The most cutting remark of Jane's to Joan in their little confrontation: "I don't need a mother." I think Jane is more shrewd than some here are giving her credit for. She plays naive, but she knows exactly what she's about. Not that she should be commended for it, but let's not write Jane off as 3-steps behind Joan in terms of strategizing, just yet.

Anonymous said...

>>>When I was researching my story on the production people responsible for the look of the show, the set decorator, Amy Wells, told me that Sal's apartment is supposed to be in (on?) Staten Island.<<<<

The cookie jar on top of Sal's fridge is the same cookie jar that we had in my house growing up (I was born in 1965). I loved that thing! I periodically check on eBay for it (it's kind of tough to do a nicely targeted search for it, since it's a cookie jar decorated with cookies).

I had to watch this episode again tonight because I got so distracted by the fact that those fiendish "Mad Men" people had gotten their hands on *my* cookie jar!

So I can vouch for the authenticity of this very, very minor piece of the set, these folks are really good.

Unknown said...


I see your point of view, but are there any other married women working in that office?

The closest examples (in the show) that I can think of are 1. Rachel who admitted that she preferred business to marriage in her conversation with Don suggesting it was one or the other (granted she IS married now, but we the audience have not yet seen how this may or may not have affected her pursuit of career) ...and 2. Joan and Roger's conversation in his office sort of hinted that "things must change now" and while he'll always be a flirt, it just won't be the same knowing it won't go anywhere.

... but I could always be wrong. :)

Anonymous said...

I think Joan is truly shocked by Jane's lack of respect for the decorum of the office, and that this, in addition to any competitive energy, is intensifying her dislike of Jane.

I also think that Jane is extremely shrewd. The way she attempted to involve Roger in the firing would have worked if Roger cared about anyone but himself, but her skillz seem to have worked in deflecting Joans anger from her to Roger.

This was a terrific episode, but I'm among those that felt the picnic trash scene was perfect at the can toss, and overkill with the rest of it.

Anonymous said...

Betty said "have a nice day". That comment would not have been said during those years. I've been looking for any mistakes like that during this series and this is the first one I've caught! Pretty amazing. I love it.

Anonymous said...

Top heavy? Woo cares, Joan is a goddess and any man who thinks not must be a "Sal." I LOVED this ep, this show is hitting its stride on all fronts. One of the great thignsi s gettign to watch Jon Hamm react to everyhting and everyone around him. His face is just so fascinating to watch. the immediate shame he feels in front of Jimmy, so unable to hide, feels connected to the "slap" he gets when that woman tells him h isn't really DD.

I think we are watchign the downfall of Donald Draper and I have to wonder if the show will end with him dropping his name, and reclaiming "Dick."

Anonymous said...


Well there's Bobbi, for one. She doesn't work in an office, but she is a married career woman. Jimmy's little monologue to Don suggests that even among cads, there is a code of honor (I'm suppressing a laugh here) about laying married women. Even many viewers of the show seem particularly hard on Bobbi for doing the same things that Don does. I take your point about Sterling and Joan's conversation apropos of her engagement, but the reason she'll stop sleeping w/ him isn't that she'll be married - it's that she'll no longer work there, repairing to a nice house in the 'burbs or the like.

Mo Ryan said...

I loved this episode. It was expertly paced and every time a commercial break came up, I was sort of surprised. I love that, when I'm so involved with what's happening that I sort of lose all track of time.

Lots of the good surprises that MM does so well-- Sal's growing attraction for Ken, Ken's surprisingly perceptive mind and true artistic sensibility (I have to agree that dear Sal is an illustrator, not an artist, if he thinks everything has to have a meaning), Bobby's slow-roasted revenge plot vs. Don and Betty. Perfect stuff.

Fantastic evisceration of both Don and Betty, great work again by Fischler as Bobby. It brought me back to the first episode, when Rachel "saw" Don, she saw him for the outsider and mimic and faker that she was. That affair was about two outsiders finding each other. The scene with Bobby and Don was the flip side of that first major scene with Rachel. Bobby absolutely "sees" Don for what he is -- garbage (like the stuff he left by the side of the road).

Once again, Don was utterly flabbergasted that someone saw through him so well. When he encounters someone on whom his facade doesn't work, he's completely disarmed. Wonderful work by Hamm.

I may have said this before, but I feel as though Weiner is setting up some major revelations late in the season. He's laying track for Pete, Peggy, Don and Peggy, especially. Even Duck. I predict major fireworks in the next six eps. Can't wait.

I think what Whitney said about Joan is absolutely true:

Even to this day, the sexiest woman in the room has the most power. She wielded that power expertly. Now, she's trading that power by becoming unavailable. Her conversation with Jane made her realize that.

Joan is getting married, and she's smart enough to know that having an affair at the office is probably too risky for a married woman (a married man -- no prob). She's not willing to risk her position as queen bee -- being a married queen bee having who's an affair would make her vulnerable, and she can't afford that, given that her power is reduced because her affair with Sterling is over.

That Jane-Joan scene was masterful (I *love* the way it looked as though Joan was going to shoot lasers out of her eyes). But Joan is nothing if not practical. She may be able to deal with Jane but there will be others like her, beta females who sense that the apex of the alpha female is past. That's why she had to deal with Jane so harshly -- putting down even the tiniest shred of insurrection is crucial to her at this stage. But it won't work long term.

That's why I think Joan will break off her engagement. She's done it before. Being queen bee of Sterling Cooper is something, and there's no way she'll give that up easily. Roger really gets her, and understands that suburban life is not for Joan. One meeelion internet dollars to you all if Joan actually gets married and stays faithful.

OnlyMe, I didn't find Kitty too knowing. I think she didn't (and wouldn't ever) suspect Sal's gay. I think she just knew she was being excluded and didn't understand why. She was hurt. But I'd be she's a long way from realizing her husband is attracted to men. I thought Sarah Drew played that scene perfectly. I do wonder, though, if Ken's quick exit was due to the undue interest Sal was showing. Is he smart and worldly enough to see that attraction, or was he just sick of the married folks?

Before we all nominate Sal for sainthood - and I love the guy -- but how perfect is this domestic setup for him (in some ways)? His wife was the companion for his mom, it sounds like. My guess is, he paid for his aging mom to move up to NY. Kitty came along to be mom's companion. He eventually marries Kitty (it would make Mama so happy!), and thus has live-in help for his mom. Not a bad setup for him.

My only criticism of the ep is that we only got that one half-flashback. I kept expecting more from that story line. It seems Weiner's back to doling out Don's flashbacks piecemeal. I can understand him not wanting his show to become Lost (next up: Dick Whitman's high school prom and how that affected his daddy issues!). But that flashback felt like half of an arc that we didn't get to see the other half of.

Also, just generally, I want more meaty stuff for John Slattery. He's great as the occasional comic relief, but he can do so much more. I really want him to be back in the swing, as it were, and hope Duck's downfall (tragic as that will no doubt be) brings that about.

Just how horrible will Betty be to poor Bobby Draper now? uuuuuuughhgh.

Mo Ryan said...

oh and one more thought -- Don's obviously being pushed by Cooper and Sterling to join the NY elite. Perhaps he's more likely there to meet someone who knew the real Don Draper?

Pure speculation on my part (I don't even watch previews), but I wonder.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to give quick praise to Sarah Drew, who I thought was excellent as Kitty. If I hadn't seen her name in the credits, I'm not sure I would have recognized her. Great to see an Everwood alum with a nice role.

The season is really hitting its stride. Crazy to think we're on the "back nine" already.

Anonymous said...

Abbie, I agree with you; Betty's comment was more towards celebrities - she said earlier they made her shy.

I also think the Gold Violin isn't about Don, because if you have no peace with your past, you cannot have "everything." Rather, I believe that it is about Betty. She's the gold violin, the beautiful fragile instrument, that can play no music.

I also am thinking of the entire culture at the time. We're in the Cold War, but still so isolated, secure, and we can litter because, innocently, we don't realize that it's our responsibility to "Keep America Clean."

Also, in a broader sense, since it's prior to the assassination of JFK, we as a society are living the life, the lie, of The Gold Violin. Beautiful lives, beautiful cars, beautiful wives, and we haven't a clue what's going on or what's going to happen tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Is he smart and worldly enough to see that attraction, or was he just sick of the married folks?

I thought Ken was getting a little uncomfortable because he could see Kitty's own discomfort with the situation (that is, that she was being left out of the conversation). That, and Sal kept staring at him.

Anonymous said...

I think Sterling and Cooper have pushed Don to be part of that higher order ('cause they don't seem to have any patience with it). We could almost see the hiring of Duck as a goad to Don to step it up as a manager and person of influence. (Note that Duck finally landed a great account since being hired close to two years ago... and Don gets all the perks. WTF?)

Jimmy's a lot smarter when we first saw him, which makes me think his attacking Mrs. Utz was a deliberate attempt to either get the 25K, or to break his contract for something better. It was only happenstance that Bobbie was able to negotiate something better for them both.

I'll reserve judgment on Jane's smarts til later. I still think she's a Princess Bee trying grownup wings, and that if she could get caught doing something so blatant and unprofitable and high risk, she's still learning what risks are worth it, and which ones aren't.

(and with all that funny 'queering of the text' talk, no one has suggested that Ken's aggressive and loud heterosexuality could be a cover for the stray bisexual longing? Gotta wonder about guys who brag and whore around if they ever practically limited their sexual tastes... or one could be uncharitable and ask just how he earned so large a salary as one so young...

Anonymous said...

from comments at The House Next Door:

"More importantly, (Jimmy's) behavior at the club was most certainly NOT a needless extension of the storyline; it was one of the most critical events to happen in the series so far this season. This is the first time in the entire run of the show (and, as far as we know, in Betty and Don's life) that either one has been confronted with the impact and effect of Don's womanizing on other people. To me it felt like an earthquake, compared to mild tremors from Don's previous pangs of conscience. If there aren't serious after effects from this episode, I will be disappointed in Weiner and Co."

YES. This is the first time someone has confronted Don about his Marilyn side of life, as he's unable to shield Betty from the truth.

Bet that puts all those wasted hours on the couch in perspective. Or, not. Knowing Don, he'd just as buy her a Nice Gift, and never speak of it again.

Pamela Jaye said...

testing 1 2

Nicole said...

The only married career woman is Bobbi and she has been portrayed as pretty despicable. In the 60s a woman in a middle or upper class setting would have stopped working, not because she was forced to legally, but socially. It would have been a comment on the man's ability to provide for his family, and seeing as Joan's ring was substantial, presumably her husband is rich and would not want her to work as a secretary once married. I think Joan will break off the engagement because if she does not, she can't realistically keep working at Sterling Cooper based on the mores established by the show.

Pamela Jaye said...

my last attempt at posting from this device didnn't go, so....

i was surprised by the Pampers

i thought they were new when they mistakenly turned up, unbidden, on our doorstep in '66. they were actually for the neighbor. her son was a year younger than my brother.

i'm guessing my brother isn't even aware of how our mother met Edna. now he can read it on the 'net :-)

(still reading the post)

Matter-Eater Lad said...

"Interesting to discover that in simpler times a stereotypic effete homosexual male like Sal could pass as straight."

Based on Ken's comment at the office after dinner, Sal's being Italian seems to provide a lot of "cover" for him -- displays of emotion, helping with cooking dinner, etc. would be seen as a result of his ethnicity rather than sexuality.

Anonymous said...

Re; pamelajaye stating - I have an odd, out of seqence comment - regarding Flight 1. I was recently watching a - probably made for TV - movie - that I watched last year, about Linda McCarney. It seems her father died on Flight 1.

Actually, Lee Eastman died in 1991. But maybe it just took 30 years to catch up to him.... :)

Anonymous said...

Re; pamelajaye stating - I have an odd, out of seqence comment - regarding Flight 1. I was recently watching a - probably made for TV - movie - that I watched last year, about Linda McCarney. It seems her father died on Flight 1.

Actually, Lee Eastman died in 1991. But maybe it just took 30 years to catch up to him.... :)

Anonymous said...

Another reason for Ken's early departure may have been the commute (if Sal & Kitty are living on Staten Island). It's a weekend when he's visiting. Don't know about the 1960s, but the ferry schedule is limited to only once every hour at certain times. And he would have to take a SIRT or a bus to the ferry, take the ferry and then catch a subway or bus in Manhattan to his place. I'm suprised Sal doesn't have a car if he lives on Staten Island. Usually when friends & family without cars visit, it's customary for people with cars to pick them up/drop them off at the ferry to save them time.

Anonymous said...

I think Jane knows exactly what she's doing. She's bold (and careless) enough to suggest breaking into Cooper's office, and to comment on how easy it would be to steal the painting. She's smart enough to go over Don's head directly to Roger. She's anxious about what she's doing because she's in the real world now, not in some little high school clique, and hasn't faced such a formidable opponent as Margo Channing...uh, Joan Holloway.

Someone mentioned the neckline of Joan's dresses as the culprit for her looking like she's gained weight. I agree. She dresses differently now because it's no longer proper for her to look like a sexpot. Even her hair looks more prim than last season, and she's already looking a little matronly.

I loved seeing him watching tv at the end and listeneing to the dialogue about a father's (or any man's) role in a household! Can anyone identify what show he was watching?

osofine, I think it was the Donna Reed show. It sounded to me like Donna Reed's voice.

Anonymous said...

Bet that puts all those wasted hours on the couch in perspective. Or, not. Knowing Don, he'd just as buy her a Nice Gift, and never speak of it again.

Don is the proto-Kobe? ;-)

I'm sure he'd rather buy her a nice gift and forget it all, but I don't think Betty will let him. And as someone mentioned earlier, poor little Bobby will probably be the one to bear the brunt of Betty's wrath. I wonder if Betty didn't even want to have a second child? She sure acts like it sometimes.

Anonymous said...

First time reading the blog - it's excellent.

Maybe a completely novice opinion but I was thinking that the book was sent to Rachel. I feel like we're going to learn more about what happened with them in the intervening 14 months between 1 & 2; there had to be some desperate pleading from Don.

Of course, that may be wishful thinking on my part, as I thought Maggie Siff was fantastic and was sad to see her character gone.

I absolutely love the friction between generations which, while I thought was well reflected in the Smiths storyline, was also amply represented by Jane's great line (paraphrasing here), "you can't tell me what to do, I'm twenty years old." The myriad small (and simultaneously massive) tensions are what make this show so addictive.

Also love the creeping 60's and how well that's being handled. (Take any past TV attempt to encapsulate this chaotic period as an example of what NOT to do; American Dreams anyone? "The 60's", anyone? Jerry O'Connell in a bad mustach doing Tom Cruise doing Ron Kovic is absolutely cringe-inducing.)

Can't wait for the impending seasons: Kennedy assasination, British invasion, Vietnam, Summer of Love, MLK and RFK... Just excited to see how these characters deal with the oncoming turbulence.

Keep up the good work. Looking forward to reading future entries - and combing the archives.

Anonymous said...

Maura said: "She dresses differently now because it's no longer proper for her to look like a sexpot. "

Actually, one of the things I like about the show is that you'll see Peggy and Joan repeat outfits at the office, like women do in real life. So, in fact, we have seen Joan in that purple number with the built-in ascot before. All we need is a screen shot from one wearing of the dress to the other for a comparison about how "matronly" she's looking these days. (Um, pshaw.) Dressing business-sexy is a fine line to walk and Joan stays *just* this side of inappropriate. How? One word: tailored.

Rachel said...

Actually, Joan has definitely repeated a few of her outfits from the first season -- the pink and purple number she was wearing in the final confrontation with Jane is the exact same dress she was wearing in "Babylon", in the first scene we saw her with Roger. That was definitely a callback.

Joan looks comparatively heavier because of her really high necklines, as noted above, and probably because she's not using sex appeal anymore. She's wearing the same outfits, but except in the scenes with Paul, she's never turning it "on".

To be perfectly honest, the scene where Jimmy Barrett told off Don was possibly the most satisfying three minutes of television I've ever seen. I have despised Don for his catting around with Bobbie, and despised Bobbie in the arc for every minute that she's been with Don -- when she isn't with Don, she's surprisingly tolerable, but when she's with Don she's utterly focused on him. Seeing Don being told exactly what he was was well-earned catharsis.

Kitty didn't sense that Sal was gay, though some of the cuts may have looked that way -- it was very much, "I am being ignored, I am not being included, I want to be included, darnit, why doesn't my husband care about me?" I couldn't tell if Ken got any of the crush-vibes Sal was throwing at him, but he definitely realized that his presence was a bit of an irritant to them, which is why he tried to smooth it over later.

I can't stand Pete as a character, but I do miss him when he's not around. Though it's good for the chipmunks to be able to flesh themselves out a bit more.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Over at the version of the blog, Helga13 made a very interesting observation on the Joan weight thing:

A thought on the running theme here of new vs. old. For the first time Joan's physical appearance looked unflattering to me, even dowdy, in the scene where she confronted Jane at her desk. I don't think Twiggy entered the scene until the mid-60s, but the contrast of the new office siren's slender body type with Joan's more voluptuous form made me wonder if this was another demonstration of changing times and trends.

Mo Ryan said...

Oh, to address what cgeye said about Jane and her being a "princess bee" -- totally agreed. I agree with those who think that Jane may have taken on way more than she can handle by directly challenging Joan. She caught Joan unawares this time, but *that* will not happen again. If Joan declares all out war, I have a feeling she'll win (especially since Christina Hendricks is in the opening credits ;) So yeah, I think Jane knew what she was doing, that time, and Joan backed down -- for now. I do look forward to the fireworks to come if Joan decides to take Jane out. Should be delightful.

God, that makes it sound as though I'm looking forward to catfight. Which I kind of am, truth be told. I'm not looking forward to hair-pulling, just a storyline that will have about 100 layers and meanings and interesting implications -- and which will also be enjoyable purely as a catfight.

I also thought Ken might be bi or have a little more experience in such matters than he'd ever let on. I think there's a lot more to Ken than he usually lets on. But I also think MM would never go down that path, probably rightly. And yeah, I think he left because he could tell Sal and Kitty had a weird vibe going on and he just wanted out of there.

Totally agreed that the last scene in Gold Violin was an earthquake. I guess I said it seems liked a lot of big stuff is teed up for the major characters -- but actually, that stuff started to happen in the last 3 minutes of the episode. It was absolutely a huge deal, as I think about it more and more.

I also wonder if it was Rachel he sent the book too. As my husband pointed out, he only really committed to the affair with Bobbie (inasmuch as he committed at all) after running into Rachel at the restaurant. He probably still thought he might have a shot with her, and seeing her married just shredded him. Hence the option of "feeling nothing" with Bobbie seeming as the best of an array of bad options.

Ironic that he'd be "outed" as an adulterer with someone who meant nothing to him, as opposed to Midge or Rachel, women he really cared about.

Continuing my line of pure speculation -- what if the woman he met in the used-car lot in 1952 is someone he meets again in NYC in 1962?

Anonymous said...

Concur, Alan, with your poster from the site. In fact, it's what I said yesterday re: changing standard of beauty in a post here about the perception of Joan's "Zaftigheit."

Anonymous said...

Mo, great observation - from you and Mr. Mo Ryan. I think it's right on.

"As my husband pointed out, he only really committed to the affair with Bobbie (inasmuch as he committed at all) after running into Rachel at the restaurant. He probably still thought he might have a shot with her, and seeing her married just shredded him. Hence the option of "feeling nothing" with Bobbie seeming as the best of an array of bad options.

Ironic that he'd be "outed" as an adulterer with someone who meant nothing to him, as opposed to Midge or Rachel, women he really cared about."

Capcom said...

Bumper, were you commenting that "American Dreams" went sour because it began to dwell too much on the negative aspects of the '60s? If so, I agree. That was a great, fun, retro experience until it was all of a sudden nothing but the horrors of the era. At least Mad Men gives us comic and fun plot breaks in between all of the heavy duty topics. :-)

Anonymous said...

It was Linda McCartney's mother Louise who died on Flight 1, not her father.

Anonymous said...

I love the irony of Betty having to check the cleanliness of the children's hands before they were allowed to get in the car and that she later vomited in it. Appearances are everything to Don Draper. Fingerprints can be cleaned but that stench is going to linger for awhile...

Quick question: Was it the champagne or the confirmation of Don's infidelity that made her vomit?

Karen said...

contrast of the new office siren's slender body type with Joan's more voluptuous form

Huh. And what I was thinking, as I watched that scene, especially as we saw Jane in Cooper's office, was, "Did women really have that kind of body in 1962?" I was more impressed with the country club models and the strippers last week as representative of early-60s womanhood.

The line that had me barking with laughter, and which no one appears to have commented on yet, was when the Caddy salesman said to Don, "You look like a man who's comfortable in his own skin." LAUGHABLE. And it was then that Don got edgy and left.

I snorted with laughter when Don threw the can, but I thought that Betty shaking ALL the garbage on to the ground was a little bit of overkill. This was, of course, before Lady Bird's "Make America Beautiful" campaign, but Betty seems like she's wound a little tight to have been that cavalier.

About the "You people.." line: well, I'm Jewish, and I wondered if it had to do with anti-Semitism. But only because the line itself--"You people...are ugly and crude"--reminded me of lines from the novel Gentleman's Agreement, in which even some of the "tolerant" characters note that it would be easier to tolerate the Jews if we weren't all so crude and vulgar: too much makeup, too loud, etc. It's not as clearly drawn in the film version, but it's very explicit in the book, and the language is very similar. So, I found myself wondering. I also agree that "show people"--then, even more than now--can be a euphemism for Jews. So, while I don't think it was blatantly anti-Semitic, I think it evoked anti-Semitism.

I didn't recognize Sarah Drew at ALL in Kitty, and I'm sorry I deleted the episode from my DVR, because I want to go back and take another look! I don't think Kitty suspects that her husband is gay, by the way; I think she just thinks he leaves her out. I'm not sure Kitty would even understand why.

It was a great, powerful episode. I wasn't crazy about the vomit at the end--if only because I, like others, am bloody sick of vomit in movies and TV shows--but I thought it fit well with the theme.

Alan Sepinwall said...

The line that had me barking with laughter, and which no one appears to have commented on yet, was when the Caddy salesman said to Don, "You look like a man who's comfortable in his own skin." LAUGHABLE.

Thanks for bringing that one up, Karen. I took special note of each time I watched the episode, and I somehow still forgot to include it anywhere in the review. The salesman misread Don because he only saw the facade Don presents to the world, when we know he's about as uncomfortable in his own skin as a person can be.

And it was then that Don got edgy and left.

No, he hung around for a few minutes more, looked at the other car shopper, had the flashback to 1952, and then left the dealership. The skin line certainly didn't help the British guy close the deal, but it wasn't what chased Don off; it was Don thinking back to his own days as the guy trying to sell the cars.

Unknown said...

Watching Joan and Jane talk on Monday morning was like watching two samurai duel.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was interesting that in a previous episode Peggy warned Don not to throw up in her BIL's car, and in this episode Betty threw up in Don's brand new Caddie.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I just wonder about the depths of Joan, roommate to a lovesick lesbian, office manager to a crew of women who mostly fear her, college graduate, kind of friendless. What would it take to be the type of woman who wouldn't need to be overthrown by a Joan-in-training? What kind of power would Joan have had, if she hadn't slept her way not to the top, but just to *working* for the top man? By BABY FACE standards, Joan Holloway is no Lily Powers, but then Lily Powers never settled for just being someone's piece of ass. Girlfriend got *jewels*, yo....

As for Betty, she protested when Jimmy gave her a drink, after she said explicitly that she'd had too much. If this broad's the type to manifest psychosomatic illness when she's unsupported for her grief over a complicated mother/daughter relationship, then I wouldn't have been surprised if she'd gone into a fugue or fit, instead of simple acute nausea.

Betty was never cured, was she? She was pacified, and bought out with horsies, and lied to, but never cured of her main malady: Her husband's indifference to her life.

As for Ken, if anyone's gonna come out of the 60s smelling like a patchouli or Hai Karate-drenched rose, it's him. He'll have his own cult by the time Nixon resigns....

Anonymous said...

Huh. And what I was thinking, as I watched that scene, especially as we saw Jane in Cooper's office, was, "Did women really have that kind of body in 1962?"

Well, sure, just like there are lots of women now who don't look like whatever is considered representative of womanhood in the early 21st century.

Actually, one of the things I like about the show is that you'll see Peggy and Joan repeat outfits at the office, like women do in real life. So, in fact, we have seen Joan in that purple number with the built-in ascot before. All we need is a screen shot from one wearing of the dress to the other for a comparison about how "matronly" she's looking these days. (Um, pshaw.)

Heh. I didn't say she was entirely successful in looking matronly. :) But she does look different, even though she's wearing some of the same clothes (which I know she and Peggy do, although I couldn't have identified what clothing has been repeated). I will put that down to Hendricks' ability to tell us something without the benefit of accoutrements.

I'm totally on the "no more vomit scenes" train. Please, I can take just about anything (I can even eat while watching CSI), but that's where I draw the line. I don't care of it's supposed to be a metaphor.

MadMeme said...

I disagree with others about the vomiting - it was a perfect finish.

The episode began with the beginning of that 'new car' smell - and it ended with the ending of it. And I suspect some other things might be ending as well.

And I disagree with people saying that this or that (e.g. vomiting) has been overused in TV or film. Folks, there's nothing new under the sun - let the writer's use any device to express their creative vision.

Anyway, it's all a matter of usage and context - and this context (which fit the opening and the theme so well) was new for me.

PamelaJaye said...

Apologies on the Lee Eastman thing.
It was Linda's mother, who died. At least according to this (detailed enough to believe)post

I'd read Mo's (?) article, but i'm still reading the comments to this one.

btw, is Barrett a Jewish name?

I was mentioning earlier that we've never seen the fallout on the Draper family side (okay, he's a hero, and he's not dead - so where *is* my son/husband/etc) and yes, I too expected that was part 1 of as least a 2 part flashback. darn.

Have a nice day. It became a catch-phrase later, but I have trouble believing no one ever said it back when (and the Staten Island Ferry was running in 1817). I *think* at some point, someone offered food or ddrink may have said "I'm good" which would much more anachronistic - at least to me. But I'm not sure that was on Mad Men - it's just that I can't remember having watched any other "period pieces" lately.

And finally (for now) it was a movie about Linda that I had *recorded* a year ago - not "watched." oops. (not that anyone would care but me)

still reading...

jana said...

What I think is good about the end when Betty vomits in the car is how it contrasts with the other time the two of them were together in the car, also after dealing with the Barretts. Sorry for the run-on sentence. At the end of the Benefactor when they were on their way home, the romantic light from the dash board, her head on his shoulder and nice music accompanied the tenderness of Betty and Don realising that they made a good team. That image was completely flipped over with the starkness of them both in their respective seats, not talking, know what.

PamelaJaye said...

A thoughton Joan's rewearing of her clothes. Normal as noted, but a dress from *two years ago?* Admittedly, I have clothes much older than that (and some of those still fit. the ones from thhe late 80's with the fitted bodices, not so much).

How long would a woman working in a city that has to have been the height of fashion, wear the same dress? In the 60's.
Obviously Peggy was.

I wore a lot of "little girl" dresses, as Peggy has. Only in the past 5 or so years have I found any "grown-up" looking dresses that I actually liked. My ex-husband was pleased when he saw them. I knew he would be, though I don't know why I cared. (how about "yes, I finally dress like a woman - now go home to your wife." Perhaps it was to show hin what he tossed away. th again, at the time, he was trying to crawl back - while still re-married)

So Jane is "a college girl" at 20?

Sadly, 1963 being an off year, it won't be one of those the sereies covers (though the assassination was in November...) I was reminded by, among other things, the mention of American Dreams, which started right then. American Dreams also, ultimately, made me understand "the awe and wonder" of going into space for the first time. Enterprise tried - but I couldn't understand it. Going to the moon was something that happened when I was 10, and after that, I stopped caring. But Enterprise seemed to always have this "awe." It never made any sense to me till I saw JJ Pryor figuring out a way to make the astronauts' gloves workable.

Anonymous said...

I'm just gonna say it: Don Draper is the most blazingly sexual, vulnerable and fucked-up character since Dr. Christian Troy.

Only difference is that Dr. Troy knows his abuse made him the crass, sexually-compulsive and unloving person he is, and that he exists in a culture that embraces his jerkiness... as long as he stays pretty. Don can't even begin to have that level of self-awareness, because he stripped himself of his past, which means he'll always be respond to that past returning like he got a slap in the face. N/P showed its, er, hand, with their 25-years-in-the-future show, but the jury's still out whether these men can redeem themselves without destroying their respective families.

In terms of the cringing comedy of manners of MAD MEN, only NIP/TUCK comes close to that sense of laughing sexual dread -- we just don't usually compare the two because N/P is seen as a street-walking slut with lesions in unmentionable places, while we pretend along with MM that social diseases aren't caught by good people.

Man, the paper someone could write with a dual series compare-and-contrast....

Anonymous said...

"So Jane is "a college girl" at 20?"

Could be a secretarial college (though, in that office, she'd have been better served by going to bartending school). Wonder how many WPM she types? :)

Anonymous said...



Capcom said...

You all make really great points and observations here! It makes watching the show even more enjoyable.

One thing I would like, is to be able to plunk down $6500 dollars for a top of the line car, like Don did. :o) Of course back then that was around twice the yearly salary for the average Joe.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice the heavy use of BLUE and RED in this episode?

If so, any theories as to what they symbolize?

Anonymous said...

"So Jane is 'a college girl' at 20?"

Associate's Degree. Back then, it was perfectly normal for women to go to a two year college and get an Associate's Degree. If you grew up thinking you'd get married and be married forever and your husband would support you, you'd see no reason to get a full four year degree.

PamelaJaye said...

If you grew up thinking you'd get married and be married forever and your husband would support you, you'd see no reason to get a full four year degree.

I did grow up believing that. My mother was married till my father died. That was... 43 years. I never went to college. My mother never graduated from HS (come to think of it, neither did my father - he ran away from home and joined the Navy in WW2)

oh well.

Anonymous said...

After all these amazingly insightful comments I'm going to add a less than intelligent post to balance things out a little. I don't know where I was when the Smiths were originally introduced, but I'm confused by them. Did they first appear in the season premiere? One is French, but they're both named Smith? Is that somehow supposed to be funny? The French one's accent is so strong that you can't understand him but that's also funny I guess? Hmm...

Thanks for clarifying who they are!

PamelaJaye said...

I believe it was the season premiere: For Those Who Think Young.

I have no clue about the rest of it, and I wasn't aware they were "hired" till they showed up again. Or perhaps they are just "consulting?"

I don't know why one seems French, I can't remember if they explained it.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure no one's reading this any more, but you have to be kidding me if you think Betty's "you people" meant "celebrities" and not Jews.

For crying out loud, (1) the concept of celebrity didn't even exist in 1962, and more to the point (2) NY business elite was completely anti-semitic at that time. My grandfather was invited to a dinner at one of the tonier city clubs in that era, and a total stranger seated next to him turned to him at one point and said apropos of the open dinner table discussion, "Thank goodness there are no Jews at the ____ Club."

Needless to say, Grandpa's a Jew.

DarylO said...

<< For crying out loud, (1) the concept of celebrity didn't even exist in 1962 >>

Wow ... obviously you're not even a tad bit informed about the scandal rags that were so popular in the 1950s ... magazines like Confidential that preyed on 'celebrities'. People were as fascinated with celebrities then as they are now. No concept of celebrities in 1962? Uhh ... I'd have to disagree.

Anonymous said...

"I thought "you people" was absolutely anti-semetic. It's the type of childish insult that Betty would throw out there when she had nothing else to say. And I'm not even remotely Jewish."

It scares me--yes, scares--that so many people did not. As a black man in this society, I've always been amazed at how willfully people turn blind eyes to obvious acts and expressions of bias. Worse, they insist the targets of bias give the offenders every benefit of every possibel doubt. Sometimes I think that, if a cross were burning on my lawn, well-meaning people would assure me those nice hooded folks had just dropped their keys and needed the extra light.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that the lady in car dealership flashback somehow fills Dick/Don in on the real Don's life?

Anonymous said...

For PamalaJaye and Ascot...

This from Wikipedia on American Airlines Flight 1.:

Among the victims were multi-millionaire oilman W. Alton Jones (who was flying to meet former President Dwight D. Eisenhower for a fishing trip) and Louise Linder Eastman (whose daughter Linda Eastman would later marry the Beatle Paul McCartney).

Also on board were retired Admiral Richard L. Conolly, president of Long Island University and two-time Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, film producer (The Guns of Navarone) Irving Rubine, and millionaire realtor Arnold Kirkeby, former head of the Kirkeby chain of luxury hotels, and whose residence was used as the Beverly Hillbillies mansion.

The crash, coincidentally, occurred at the same time that U.S. astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr. was being honored with a ticker-tape parade in lower Manhattan for his successful manned space flight aboard the Mercury capsule Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962.

Anonymous said...

The trash or litter (depends on how old you are) at the picnic was so perfect. I just would like to know how many people were shocked by that scene. No... many, because I am 61 and it did not shock me at all, it was how it was. I can remember people shoving paper bags of garbage out of the windows of moving cars... ALL THE TIME, EVERY DAY.

Anonymous said...

I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter what Betty meant. It matters what Jimmy thought she meant. And he thought she meant Jews.

But I wouldn't say that there's something wrong with anyone who didn't interpret Betty's comment as anti-Semitic. Because she could have meant anything from the Barretts to rich people to Jews.

Anonymous said...

The Martinson's jingle is a reworking of a Serge Gainsbourg song, "Couleur Cafe". You can catch the tune on, where I blog some of the music and poetry heard on Mad Men.

Raffaella Arnaldi said...

And Ken telling Sal that his spaghetti sauce was better than you'd find in a restaurant. Many Italians would be insulted that you even considered the possibility that it wouldn't be.

No, that's a stereotype. Homecooking is homecooking, a restaurant's chef is always supposed to be better. People are flattered if you tell them their food is better than in a restaurant. (Are Italians supposed to be that touchy?? :))

Steve-O said...

Sorry for chiming in so late. Just catching up on old episodes & found the "you people" comment really stood out.

As Karen points out, it was definitely a reference to Gentleman’s Agreement:

Maura makes a good point. The sarcastic “you mean comedians?” response clarified what Jimmy thought. That doesn’t mean he was right.

Have we established that Betty knew Jimmy was Jewish? She didn’t seem the least bit ashamed about the fact that her first kiss came from a Jew.

Betty can be racist. But she isn't terribly invested in blacks v whites, Christians v Jews, Republicans v Democrats or even men v women. Her world is shaped by the domestic/public divide. Fellow housewives, children & maids are her confidants. Working professionals are the “people” she finds so repulsive.

Jorelson said...

Something I'm surprised that nobody else noticed. In Jane's conversation with Joan on Monday, she includes comments from Sterling that did not occur in his office the previous Friday. Methinks that Roger may have paid a visit to Jane St. over the weekend to further console the young woman. With his penis.

Also, Betty's comment toward Jimmy was definitely meant to be anti-Semitic. While Barrett isn't a Jewish name, Jimmy has Catskills-summers written all over him. Betty herself may not be anti-Semitic, but her outburst certainly was.