Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mad Men, "Six Month Leave": Be careful what you wish for

Spoilers for "Mad Men" season two, episode nine, coming up just as soon as I give blood...

"She was a movie star who had everything, and everybody, and she threw it away. But, hey, if you want to be sad..." -Roger Sterling

All throughout "Six Month Leave," characters wonder how Marilyn Monroe, the most famous, beautiful, successful, lusted-after woman in America, could have come to such a terrible, early end. As Roger says, she had everything and it still couldn't make her happy. If Marilyn couldn't be happy with everything, what chance do the rest of us poor slobs have?

Of course, with the benefit of history, we know that Marilyn only seemed to have everything, that she was treated badly by men throughout her life, that she was a very damaged creature who was almost certainly going to have a bad end. She got everything she ever wanted, then found out it wasn't nearly as wonderful as she had hoped -- just as so many of the "Mad Men" characters find out here.

Don and Betty have already realized that the marriage they both thought was going to be so perfect has been anything but. Roger, who has been complaining about his marriage forever, finally works up the nerve to leave Mona for the much younger and (to his eye) more interesting Jane, and realizes after the ugly scene in front of Don's office that this won't be the perfect escape he expected. Similarly, Jane gets rich and powerful Roger to leave his wife, then has to be confronted by the reality of that. Peggy gets another promotion, but in a terrible way where she'll never be able to feel entirely good about it.

And, in the episode's biggest tragedy, Freddie Rumsen realizes that Sterling Cooper isn't the alcoholic haven he thought it was, and is cast out into the world without a safety net.

There are a lot of parallels between Freddie's situation and Don and Betty's marriage, and not just because Freddie and Betty both wind up passed out drunk on a couch at roughly the same point in the episode. Everybody at Sterling Cooper knew exactly who and what Freddie was, but they didn't care so long as he could function just enough to do the job. And even when he was on the verge of wetting his pants, soaked in sweat and barely able to stand, you saw that he was still able to deliver the Samsonite pitch perfectly from memory. This is who Freddie is; no one had illusions about it. When Roger calls the pants-wetting incident "conduct unbefitting," Don, in disbelief, asks, "Of Freddie Rumsen?" But that urine-soaked pair of pants was a visual reminder of what everyone at Sterling Cooper tried so hard to ignore, something so obvious that Roger finally felt compelled to act.

In a similar way, Betty has always known, deep down, that Don wasn't faithful to her, but until Jimmy Barrett grabbed her by the arm and forced her to take a long hard look at her husband and his wife next to each other, she could pretend everything was okay. Once she saw Don and Bobbie's connection -- as clear to her as Freddie's pants were to the secretarial pool -- she had to act.

Freddie's firing led to one of my favorite "Mad Men" scenes of all time, as Don and Roger try to break the news to Freddie as gently -- and drunkenly -- as possible, and Roger offers a counter to every one of Freddie's attempts to save himself. Everyone starts off telling the common, silently acknowledged lie that this will, in fact, be the six month leave of the title, that Freddie will be paid in full for his time away and be given the chance to come back. Freddie, appearing to take this all remarkably well (though we'll find out later how well he isn't taking it), good-naturedly insists he can do better; Roger shuts it down with his brilliant, "There's a line, Freddie -- and you wet it" joke. Freddie tries to change the subject to Roger's father (who founded the firm with Bert Cooper), hoping to play on nostalgia and Roger's awareness of his own father's excessive drinking to keep his job, but Roger just uses that as an excuse to distract Freddie with compliments about his war heroics. And then, when Freddie starts to make peace with the situation, tries to sound optimistic about life on the road by tying it into his childhood as the son of a traveling salesman who moved the family from city to city, Roger doesn't even let him enjoy the moment with his curt, "Meanwhile, here we are: New York." It's just a masterfully-written scene by Matthew Weiner and Andre and Maria Jacquemetton.

And after an interlude at an illegal underground casino where Don gets to take a swing at Jimmy (more on that in a bit), Freddie has to face up to the reality that this is likely the start of a long downward slide for him. He can't stop drinking, doesn't want to stop drinking, and lucked into working for years at a place that enabled him, provided him a safety net and didn't seem to care that he was three sheets to the wind half the time. Freddie's question about who he is if he doesn't go into that office every day could be uttered by anyone who just got fired, but to someone who suspects he's about to be unemployable, it's a much scarier notion. His insistence on telling Don "good-bye" rather than "good night," and the look on his face as he said it, makes it clear just what Freddie thinks of his future.

Don can be a bastard in many ways, but he has this uncanny knack to feel empathy for other people's pain so long as he didn't cause it. He doesn't feel bad for what he's done to Betty, but he does feel for Freddie. He tries to save Freddie's job, and when that fails, he at least chews out the chipmunks for their (accurate) Freddie Rumsen impressions. Again, Don has a loyal streak (see his attempt to save the Mohawk account), but he also despises gossip -- particularly since he knows there are so many things that people could say about him behind his back, if they only knew. Note that the breaking point between him and Bobbie was when she let him know that she and other women swap stories about his cocksmanship; he doesn't want to be talked about, and therefore gets upset when he discovers a man somewhat like him getting the same treatment.

Don also feels, oddly, for Mona -- or, at least, he's too surprised by her appearance, and her accusation that he told Roger to leave her, to go into denial mode the way he always does with Betty. Roger used him, both in getting with Don's secretary and in making Don the excuse for walking out on Mona, and so I imagine Don will continue to be inclined to feel bad for Mona while also feeling furious with Roger. You don't cross Don Draper and come out unscathed. Last time, Don was content just to make Roger puke; what'll he do this time?

There were several sly references in the episode to Rachel Menken -- Jane buys Don the shirts from Menken's, and Don takes the name of Rachel's husband as his pseudonym at the casino -- to remind us how much she's still on Don's mind. In many ways, Rachel (the woman Don truly wants) is to Bobbie (the pale imitation Don settled for) as Joan is to Jane. And I wonder if, for Jane, Don is the one she really wanted. It's clear that she's buying him the shirts as something more than a secretary, and yet the episode's climax also makes it clear that she's been sleeping with Roger for a while (probably going back to when he saved her job). So is she just hedging her bets by cozying up to the married guy who's already separated from his wife, or would she rather have the younger, more virile Don to the guy with two heart attacks on his rap sheet?

While all this drama is going on at Sterling Cooper, Betty's wandering around Casa Draper wearing one of Livia Soprano's old housecoats while she self-medicates with wine. She looks at the kids like they're not even hers, obsesses on the one locked drawer in Don's desk (knowing Don, the only thing in there is money, but nothing to incriminate him in adultery), and is so eager to be rid of riding pal Sarah Beth and her talk of marriage that she maneuvers her into a lunch date with young Arthur Case. As far as Betty's concerned, a Sarah Beth/Arthur affair would be a big win for her: it keeps Sarah Beth from bothering her and it allows Betty (who has contemplated affairs but never goes through with it) to feel moral superiority over both Sarah Beth and Arthur.

Like Don, I'm wondering how long this is going to go on. Not to bring everything back to "The Sopranos," but when Carmela threw Tony out of the house, they stayed split up for about a season before Carmela realized she had no other option but to take the cheating SOB back. But from a storytelling perspective, at least Carmela was firmly integrated into Tony's world in such a way that they could tell stories about her even when she wasn't interacting with Tony himself. Betty is so far off to the side on "Mad Men" (January Jones jokes that she only ever sees the other actors at awards shows and press conferences) that it's hard to see her remaining a vital part of the series if she and Don stay broken up. And yet watching that scene in the foyer, when Betty finally recognizes how easily and how well Don lies -- "Jesus, did you just think that up?" -- makes it hard to imagine her taking him back anytime soon.

Finally on our list of people finding out success isn't all it's cracked up to be, we have Peggy, who has now leapfrogged all the other junior copywriters (it's clear from that final scene with Duck that she now outranks Paul), but in a lousy way. Freddie, as she reminds Pete, is the man who plucked her from secretarial pool obscurity, and now she gets to continue her climb up the ladder at Freddie's expense. Peggy has obviously been paying attention to her lessons from Don -- when Freddie tries to apologize for the pants-wetting incident, she tells him, "It's over. There's no reason to talk about it." -- but she still retains enough humanity to feel guilty about this.

(Not feeling any humanity at all? Pete, who continues to be less a person than an incredible simulation of one. Note that, in the dress rehearsal for the Samsonite meeting, Salvatore asks "Boy or girl?" as a genuine question, but Pete's response -- "That's good!" -- shows that he just views it as a strategically useful bit of small talk. And what is small talk, after all, if not imitation human behavior?)

And now that Peggy has continued her rapid ascent, from Don's secretary to the number two spot in Creative in less than two years, how happy will she be? She had just started to achieve some equilibrium with the boys in recent episodes; are they going to wind up resenting her just as much as the secretaries do?

Some other thoughts on "Six Month Leave":

• You know I've been complaining about the lack of Roger all season, but we got him back in a huge way here, with more Slattery goodness and one-liners -- "Many's the time I dreamed of finding you like this" -- than the rest of the season combined, it seemed.

• I had been assuming for a while now that people around the office, or at least Don, knew that Duck was a recovering alcoholic, based on both his refusal to drink and all the rumors about his career meltdown in London. But, no: they think he's a teetotaler. Interesting, and of course that means Don didn't really appreciate Duck's comment about how covering for Freddie isn't helping Freddie.

• Do you think Weiner had Peggy replacing Freddie planned all along when he introduced Freddie last year and made him the one to recognize Peggy's talent? Seems too perfect to be an accident.

• Could anyone make out the title of the book Betty was reading before she passed out?

• Patrick Fischler hasn't been given a lot of actually funny things to say whenever Jimmy is supposed to be "on," but I did like his attempt to recover his dignity after Don's punch by asking Floyd Patterson how well he took it. (For what it's worth, by the way, Roger was right and Freddie was wrong about Patterson's boxing career; in less than two months after this episode takes place, Sonny Liston would knock Patterson out in the first round to become the new heavyweight champ, before eventually losing the belt himself to some guy by the name of Clay.)

• Marilyn Monroe died on August 5, 1962. The movie version of "Gypsy" didn't come out until November of that year, so presumably Sarah Beth's aversion to white gloves comes from having seen the Broadway version, which debuted in 1959.

• A nice touch in an episode with so many Marilyn Monroe references: when Don and Roger are drinking at the bar after their casino escapade -- right before Don, drunk, lets down his guard enough to mention his father's name and to reveal his "move forward" life philosophy to Roger -- the camera lingers for a moment on the JFK bust at the end of the bar.

• Poor Sally and Bobby. Poor, poor Sally and Bobby. That is all I have to say about that.

One potential scheduling note before I turn it over to you smart people: I may be taking a few days off early this coming week, which may in turn throw the rest of my schedule off enough to prevent me from getting next week's review done in as timely a fashion as usual. At worst, hopefully, I'll have it done by sometime on Monday.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

The book was "Ship of Fools" by Katherine Anne Porter.

Stef said...

This is the first time I've actually watched an episode "live," rather than on DVD or recorded. It's quite odd to see it with commercials, even of SC's/MM's clients/sponsors. A little jarring.

My thoughts on Freddy's firing? More than anyone else, Don Draper believes in second chances. I think that's why he was so reluctant to force Freddy's leave. And his protege, Peggy, is right there behind him -- also thinking the punishment was too harsh and feeling guilty for benefiting because of it.

I hope this isn't the last we see of Freddy, I liked him. And I had no idea he was supposed to be a generation older than the rest, so hearing of his 30-year-old daughter and his war stories were a surprise.

I thought it was quite telling that Don mentioned Archibald Whitman... there are cracks in that Draper armor, and I hope he can start to reconcile the 2 sides of himself better as the season goes on. Otherwise, he'll never make it work with Betty and the kids.

And, I know there were clues... but I guess I'm a naive romantic (in a way that condones tv adultery), cuz I really hoped Roger was going to end up with Joan. The fact that he's with Jane, a poor, poor imitation, is disappointing.

Anonymous said...

It was another great episode. I never saw it coming with Roger and Jane and totally thought it would have been "Red." Wait until she finds out! She will blow her lid!

Anonymous said...

I also liked Roger's send off line to Freddy about teaching the music lesson by unzipping his fly- nice callback to Freddy's serenade a few episodes back.

Anonymous said...

The Jane thing blew me away. Why did I think Roger had been faithful since his heart attacks? I like conniving young Jane, the little I've seen of her.

I didn't watch the Sopranos but felt sorry for Betty drinking and knocking around the house with nothing to do. It's a sad comment on her life that she has nothing of interest to do once she's not putting on a show of perfect housewife for Don.

afoglia said...

"they think [Duck]'s a teetotaler. Interesting, and of course that means Don didn't really appreciate Duck's comment about how covering for Freddie isn't helping Freddie."

Not only that, but we suspect that, after hearing about his ex-wife's remarriage, Duck is has fallen off the wagon again. I wonder if our suspicions are wrong, or Duck is going to slow down his descent.

I'm surprised that Peggy now outranks Paul. A few episodes ago, we were told Peggy hasn't worked on many projects that aren't targeted at women. Plus she'd go from sharing an office with the copier to having her own private office and secretary.

Pete's a jerk for trying to get her to congratulate him.

(PS: Can we delete the "first" posts? I hate them everywhere else, and I hate to see kneejerk clutter like that appear here regularly.)

Anonymous said...

I'm still sort of collecting my thoughts on the episode, because there was so much to take in.

Roger knew about the separation not because of his new work schedule, but because Jane told him. This makes sense now. And of course Don wants her off his desk-- she has the opportunity to know too much about Don if she stays on it and she will just run and tell Roger.

The first scene I saw with Betty I thought, "Now that she doesn't have a man, she doesn't feel pressured to look pretty and perfect all the time." That was before I realized that she really is depressed and sad.

Sarah Beth's diagnosis of "boredom" and Betty's character in general keep making me feel like there will be a Feminine Mystique reference soon. I didn't really get her reasoning for setting Sarah Beth and Arthur up (and I feel like Betty is the one who really wants Arthur and who Arthur really wants. Like Roger really wants Joan but settles for Jane and Don really wants Rachel but settled for Bobbie).

I, too, noticed all of the Rachel hints and hope that she will be back soon.

Freddy's "Who am I?" and ominous "good-bye, Don" make me feel like he will meet a tragic end.

That was a lot, but all I have for now. I think!

Oh, but how GAY did Sal look coming out of the break room after giving blood? The limp wrist was great!

Anonymous said...

There's one aspect to this episode that I don't quite get, how exactly did getting rid of Freddy net peat a raise? Pete's an account executive and Freddie's a copywriter, so how would Freddy's presence effect Pete's status in anyway? Since the show seemed to be saying that Pete was being ambitious and getting Freddy out of his way, I'm kind of bothered by this.

Nicole said...

I thought it was a nice touch that the comment about people hiding in plain sight was said by the black elevator porter. It also seemed like Carla the maid had more to say in this episode then ever before.

In a weird way I too was hoping that it was Joan and not Jane that was chosen, but then she is still engaged so she probably wouldn't give that up now.

I wonder if Peggy will now wear suits now that she is a full copywriter. She is still dressing like a secretary and wears her hair like a little girl. Even now, women in male dominated professions are encouraged to adopt the male uniform of the suit, especially in the beginning, when competence has not yet been deomstrated

Nicole said...

"demonstrated"... I hate that I can't edit comments.

I also didn't get why Pete would benefit from this.

Maultsby said...

I'm watching again now to see if the wallpaper in the kitchen has changed by the time busy homemaker Betty takes the phone off the hook ...

Anonymous said...

My previous comment should of course say "Pete" and not "peat." God, that's the most hideous typo I've ever commited.

Alan Sepinwall said...

(PS: Can we delete the "first" posts? I hate them everywhere else, and I hate to see kneejerk clutter like that appear here regularly.)

Way ahead of you, Anthony.

Pamela Jaye said...

Mad Men vs Brothers & Sisters means I'll be back in a bit

Anonymous said...

Dylanfan: I think Betty was lining drawers with the wallpaper, and not redoing the kitchen.

Nicole said...

Pete/peat isn't a typo but an excellent Freudian slip...

Anonymous said...

Also - can I just mention how much I'm enjoying the annoying Bobbie being off the show? Yuck. I loved watching Don with Rachel and Midge, but Bobbie made me cringe.

I also don't get why Betty is setting Arthur and her friend up. The vicarious thing makes more sense than what is on the AMC site, which is January Jones explaining that Betty is "testing" them and they both disappoint her. WTH????

Batesy said...

Well, now Don knows that Jane has spilled his personal business to Roger. Roger was egging Don for info at the bar b/c he obviously had been given some dirt from Jane.

Anonymous said...

Another great recap Alan. As always you bring us a lot to think about. We'll miss the prompt recap next week.

One thing though, I disagree about the Betty/Sarah Beth/Arthur lunch date.

I think Betty intended on going to the lunch. Notice she finally gets up and puts on makeup to see him at the stables. I think having Sarah Beth come along is her way of convincing herself that she's not cheating (especially, since Sarah Beth also likes Arthur). It also assures her that she cannot acutally do anything with Arthur with Sarah Beth there (this reminds me of Carmela taking A.J. along on her visits to Furio's home).

I think in the end that she just chickened out. However, she can still live vicariously through Sarah Beth without the guilt of having a real affair.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I think in the end that she just chickened out.

I don't think so. Her behavior when she casually takes the phone off the hook doesn't suggest to me someone who wimped out, but someone who had a calculated plan that she was still in the middle of pulling off.

Anonymous said...

So was this the first appearance by an actor-portrayed historical figure (Floyd Patterson) on the show? Seems that before now we've only had archival footage.

Anonymous said...

Also, re: Betty. She has been angry all season, and it has been building. But she was angry last season, too. She has been for a long time. Remember when her therapist accused her of being angry at her mother last season and she got all defensive? But she was angry at her, for not teaching her what else her life should be about. She got the man and the house, now what?

And now we see that without her husband home, and without her (as she was taught) “reason for being,” she doesn’t know what to do with herself. Yes, she is depressed and angry with Don, but you can see that without him she doesn’t know what to do with herself and her life. Because her mother told her that she needed to be pretty to get a man, that that was her life’s purpose.

Now what? She is lost, beyond being heartbroken at her damaged relationship.

Anonymous said...

The incident with Freddie being vey familiar to me equals vey real scenes that were seen tonight. I can relate to that by saying it happened to me and Freddie , his lines, were spot on . Great episode .. Just great !

Anonymous said...

I think Jane has either the motherwit or the decency to cry during this situation. Note that Mona didn't flash on her -- she probably thought as well that if Roger would leave her it would be over Joan. Now *that* is a deep trip; Mona was never a dummy, and due to Roger's doghouse comments, knew he strayed more than once. The marriage was the key to her; that roof over her head, that status, that gold-plated watch and life insurance policy and at least the illusion of partnership. Now, tawdry, and gone.

She wasn't sad, mind you -- she was angry Don pushed Roger into it, apparently. That wasn't a woman confronted like Betty, for the first time, that her man strays; that was a woman whose peace within herself about her husband's nature has been violated. She didn't even say 'I'll see you in court', she simply mentioned their daughter, and what a convo it will be when he introduces the next wife, younger than her. Man.

Glad Betty's feeling her feelings; even glader Carla's getting uppity, and that lovely phrase "I've been married 20 years". Even the elevator boy waxed poetic, as if the turning topsy world gave them an opening to be seen as more than sub-human.

Note the other mention -- Roger mentioning "BBDO hired a colored boy". Big push for Paul and his colored girl storyline, I tell you what -- will they mention civil rights? Heaven forbid. But never fear, seeing Don in his undies will Set Things Right.

Anonymous said...

I was really struck by the black elevator operator opining freely about the death of Marilyn Monroe. It was an interesting contrast with the train porter from the pilot who was castigated by his overtly racist boss for daring to converse with Don (unaware that it was Don who had chosen to engage him rather than vice versa).

It was a nice subtle indication of times starting to change.

Helene H. said...

I don't think that Jane was at all upset over the Mona/Don confrontation, but just being her usual conniving self, attempting to gain sympathy and attention. And Mona didn't seem to know it was Jane who was the cause of the breakup, otherwise I think she would have been included in Mona's confrontation. And of course she was making a play for Don earlier in the episode. The Joan/Jane showdown should be a doozy! But who's Margaret? Is that Roger and Joan's daughter? I also think that when Pete told Peggy that she had him to thank for her rise in status, she did seem to have this "light dawning" reception to the idea.

Helene H. said...

I meant to say Roger and Mona's daughter. Duh. It's late!

Shawn Anderson said...

How appropriate to see the trailer debut of 'Reservation Road' during the episode. The original Richard Yates novel of is a big influence on Weiner and 'Mad Men, and seeing DiCaprio in Don's grey flannel suit was kind of a thrill.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts..

Pete went to Don after he told Peggy that they could handle it without Don. It bothered me that 1. Peggy didn't tell Don she had wanted to tell him and 2. that she didn't call Pete out of this.

I can't wait until Joan finds out about Jane. I think that Joan will have an interesting storyline.

Wallace Stroby said...

I hope we haven't seen the last of Freddy as well, though I fear we have. He's been one of my favorite characters since last season. I've been reading some WWII memoirs lately and Roger's off-hand comment about Freddy being in charge of "killing Germans" made me realize that Freddy is one of those guys: A war hero who - like many of those who saw the most intense fighting - came back with more than his share of baggage. And then found himself in an upwardly mobile America, years after war's end, where no one really cared that much.

Pamela Jaye said...

I never saw it coming with Roger and Jane

I was utterly clueless, both that Roger was leaving his wife, and who he was leaving her for. Not to mention that he was using Don's comments for cover. I had no idea that he was sleeping with Jane. And I thought his comments in the bar (or wherever) were just generalizations born of a life of cheating on his wife.

Has TV actually made me this stupid? I usually see things coming.
Seriously - things are always happening on this show that I neither expect or am even aware of having happened. I feel as if I'm in over my head - but I like the show, and am not inclined to leave.

But really - is it just me? Or would a college degree help? This seems beyond obscure, to the point of a word that means "more than obscure" which I know but can't remember at 1 a.m.

Peggy - I was with her all the way. Not to the point that Freddie should have no consequences (I would have gone for the sending him to dry out, if he would have gone) but everything else, from the guilt, to the anger at Pete. And I was sad that Don reamed her for not telling him. I'm not even really sure why Don was not present. Just cause it was not a *big* client?
Even I remember Samsonite (do they still exist?) I remember their gorillas...
If I were Peggy, I might have told Don, but in such a way as to say - he needs help. But considering that Don is who Don is, I probably would not have. (Almost any of the bosses I have had over the years, I would have, though).

Perhaps I'm just no good at politics.

Oh and Pete just continues to be scum. Perhaps he thinks he can score points with someone for ratting on Freddie. (I've never seen anyone fall apart in the way Freddie did. I've been stunned to hear someone raise their voice at co-workers in an office setting. I guess I've lived in a cocoon)

I'm also curious as to whether people in offices in 1962 actually cried about Marilyn - at work.
But I'd have to find someone who is 20 years older than me to ask. I don't get the impression anyone here is that ..experienced.

I decided to watch Brothers and Sisters first, as the "clean up" on Mad Men always takes longer (reading blog and comments, making comments).

I didn't realize you had "first post"ers, but I'm glad they are gone as well.

I also appreciated the input from the "colored" characters.
I was totally unaware of things like "colored water fountains" till we were taught about it in *English* class in Jr High - at exactly the time forced busing started in Boston. My teachers got to me before my father (in his bigotry) did, thankfully.
I do remember asking a black taxi driver in Boston about his freckles when I was very little. I don't remember an answer but I think my mother was embarrassed. The street I grew up on till we moved to the suburbs when I was almost 6 was filled with Arabs and Italians (and us: the English, Scottish, German and more than half Irish - but (pretty much) middle class. My father once yelled at me for asking if he was "blue collar" - apparently, he was just north of it and obviously touchy)

Anonymous said...

I never saw it coming with Roger and Jane

I was utterly clueless, both that Roger was leaving his wife, and who he was leaving her for... I had no idea that he was sleeping with Jane.

I was not at all shocked by the revelation that Roger was sleeping with Jane (he hit on her all the time and got her her job back, so maybe she thought she "owed" him). I was, however, shocked that whoever (presumably Jane, possibly Joan) he was sleeping with/in love with was someone he cared enough about to leave Mona for, and it was the first we knew of it.

But remember:
a) no one's name was ever mention. Just "a secretary." We see Jane cry, but maybe she liked Roger or it is in a reaction to something else. It could be Joan, or someone else (though i don't know who) and
b) it is said that Roger is "in love with" this secretary, but sex isn't explicitly mentioned. Maybe Roger hopes something will happen, though nothing has. Or, even still, he wants Joan back.

This story line may not be as obvious as it seemed at first glance.

Anonymous said...

Pete went to Don after he told Peggy that they could handle it without Don. It bothered me that 1. Peggy didn't tell Don she had wanted to tell him and 2. that she didn't call Pete out of this.

To be fair, Pete didn't actually go to Don. He went to Duck, who went to Roger, who brought Don in.

Mo Ryan said...

Speaking of nice touches - and I missed the JFK bust in the bar, thanks for pointing that out-- was it just me or was one of the women in the gambling club a dead ringer for Marilyn? You could see her in several shots -- platinum hair, curvy, "Some Like It Hot" style dress...

A great episode. I loved the dialogue throughout, definitely in the Freddy-Don-Roger restaurant scene, also in the bar and gambling den scenes between Don and Roger. So digressive yet so on point as well. Don't know why, but they reminded me of my favorite scenes in "Local Hero," where Peter Reigert's character is getting drunk with the inn owner. Genius stuff.

Just loved this episode. More earthquakes, a la Jimmy's confrontation of both Don and Betty. Everything that happened makes me long for next Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Re: alcoholic vs. teetotaler.
It seems to me that the men in this world use a more strict definition of the latter, as in "teetotaler" = someone who does not drink AT ALL. They really don't bother thinking too deeply about the reasons behind it. I remember (as you mentioned Alan) that there was some pretty open discussion at the end of last season about Duck's issues/meltdown in London, so I think everyone is aware of it. They are just not self-aware enough to realize that some people (alcoholics) cannot just "cut back" - pointedly, in Roger's comment about his friend who went to Hazelden and "only drinks beer now". They could handle and even adjust to someone whose drinking habits are a modified version of theirs, but someone who abstains completely is both disturbing and throwing their own habits into sharp relief.
Just my two cents. (BTW, I also realize Duck may be back on the sauce in secret.)

arrabbiata said...

Freddie's dismissal makes me sad. We all knew this day was coming, but when Duck fell off the wagon a few episodes back, I thought that he might hit bottom first, since it was implied that he lost his previous job due to alcohol. (I have it in my head that Don knew about his previous alcoholism, so maybe his comment about Duck's sobriety was him covering for Duck, honor among men with secret lives.) I could have seen Freddie coasting for a few more years, with good people under him and his ability to remain relatively coherent until the moment of passing out. It doesn't look good for him now.

I'm glad that Peggy has the humanity to feel guilt over how her job came at the expense of one of her benefactors. Loved her confronting Pete about it. I had assumed that moving past the pregnancy had cured her of her interest in Pete, but the look she have him when he touched her arm confirmed it.

I though it interesting that Peggy was the first to ask Freddie if he had spare trousers, since she herself needed a change of clothes once last season.

Pete's raise? Maybe he's expecting something in exchange for his service to SC in saving them from a potential incident involving a client. At least that's how he'd justify it, though we know he'll do anything to get ahead. Or maybe he just hasn't thought this through, as with his attempt at blackmailing Don, and he'll be very disappointed.

I have to wonder how much Betty, Peggy, Freddie, Duck, Roger, etc would benefit from playing all this out in the 21st century, where the average person has a lot better understanding of all their various issues, and more willingness to confront the people in their lives. Don, I think, would remain just as inscrutable in our time as his.

Mo Ryan said...

Maybe Pete thinks that he's done a service to Duck -- saved SC's bacon, in a way. A Freddy who is a drunken loose cannon will not help them land big accounts. So maybe Pete thinks that this development helps him get further into Duck's good graces? It's a stretch, I grant you. I'm not really sure how any of this gets Pete a raise, but maybe he's thinking down the road...

It's interesting how they have Peggy going back and forth with her clothing - sometimes she looks professional, and other times she looks like a little girl. I think if Matt Weiner ever lets her wear her hair down, there will have to be some truly seismic event in Peggy's life.

I'd bet Peggy is not senior to Paul. Wouldn't it be more true to the times for Peggy to get the job itself but not the same place that Freddy occupied in the hierarchy? Essentially she'd do his job, but without necessarily the rank and the pay? Hate to sound like Pete here but a little part of me wanted her to ask someone how much she'd be making in the new job. I bet 5-6 years into her career at SC she'll still be making half what Cosgrove ("that hack") makes.

Anonymous said...

It's so hard for me to watch now because Betty's treatment of her children is all too familiar to me.
My mom is a combination of the woman on the show: she had a career in the 60s, married in her 30s because she was getting "old" and people were talking, decided it wasn't for her, and restarted her career.

So when I see Sally Draper, I can't help but see myself...
Episodes like tonight just leave me feeling so hollow

Brandon Nowalk said...

One thing I haven't seen mentioned is how many characters--Betty, Don, Pete, Joan, and Freddy sort of--were sleeping and suddenly woken up. Apparently nobody's sleeping well, but more importantly, it's a sign that they're all being forced to confront reality finally. I should have seen Joan crying about Marilyn coming, but I half expected her to be second-guessing her engagement.

Anonymous said...

I should have seen Joan crying about Marilyn coming, but I half expected her to be second-guessing her engagement.

She could very well have been crying because of her unhappy engagement. If she were unhappy do you think she would admit it to Roger?

pixelwax said...

Was not Don saying teetotaller sarcastically?!

I'm still enjoying the show and the story lines are not surprising me at all. Which is something I really enjoy. The stories are telegraphed (well, subtly they are) and the show actually follows up on what was foreshadowed rather than go the "twist" route. MM doesn't resort to tricks but just delivers good scenes and dialogue. One of these days MM may pull a page out of the soap opera script with the dramatic, intentional mislead. If so, I just hope it does it with creativity and grace along with a nod to viewers.


P.S. My word verification is "mufckr". Who's the wise guy coder at Blogger?

Mo Ryan said...

One thing I haven't seen mentioned is how many characters--Betty, Don, Pete, Joan, and Freddy sort of--were sleeping and suddenly woken up.

Nice catch! Yep, the last part of the season is about everyone waking up to the reality of their lives... I have no idea what they'll do now that they're "awake."

oSoFine said...

I was also pleased to catch the trailer for 'Reservation Road' while watching - can't wait to see it! To Stef - they don't seem to do it as much this season, but when they aired the first season, every single commercial was preceded (or maybe it was after) by a screen with trivia pertaining to the advertising history of that particular brand or product - it was actually really interesting and some were very amusing - it was also a brilliant way to get viewers who normally FF> though commercials to stop and watch them!

Reading everyone's comments about how they thought Roger would have left Mona for Joan rather than Jane - my impression during Season 1, before his coronary, was that Roger did try to get Joan to commit and was willing to leave Mona for her, but that Joan was the one who wanted to keep their relationship status quo. I seem to recall a scene in a hotel room where Joan just left Roger hanging "afterward" to go out with friends, even though Roger had ordered up room service and wanted her to stay (or maybe I dreamed that?). While it could be said that Joan knew that playing cat and mouse was a way to keep Roger chasing her, I actually think that if Joans goal was to get Roger to leave Mona she could have accomplished it a long time ago (especially now that we know Jane could get him in a wink).

Of course Joan will probably find a discreet way to snap Jane like a twig anyway.

I still don't get Joan's engagement, though... and while I did have a theory that she is pregnant, after not watching for two weeks (during which I've been very busy with other things) I forgot to check out her figure (*slaps own forehead*). Anyone else notice? Also, how much time has passed since the last episode? Has anyone made up a "Mad Men" timeline anywhere? I'd do it, but I don't have Season 1 handy - or the time right now. It would be really handy - especially next to a historical timeline. (Someone's done this haven't they? This can't be an original though!)

That's all I have at the moment... Thanks again to everyone for another week of insightful writing!

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that Joan's tears weren't highlighted more, here.

I mean, when have we *ever* seen her show deep emotion? Laughter, out loud? A shriek of surprise?

And since when does she get a refuge, when most of the girls can't even cry without being told on, in the lav?

What did Marilyn mean to her? To the girls? Did women actually cry, then? There's decades of crap conspiracy theory separating us from how people actually responded, back then, so I have no clue if those responses -- notice no man dare make a caustic joke in front of the secretaries, about her -- are historically correct.

Shawn Anderson said...

Mo - nice catch on the Marilyn lookalike.... fittingly enough, the song that ended the episode was Marilyn as Sugar Kane (Some Like It Hot) singing "I'm Through With Love". Great way to end it.

And, in case anyone had doubts that Betty was setting up Sarah Beth and Arthur, they linger extra long on 'the stirring of the pot' that Sally does for her mother as they make cookies.

daniel said...

Scattered observations:
--I felt kind of cheated by Peggy's "You couldn't keep your mouth shut" line, which -- at least the way I viewed it in weeks before -- AMC used in its previews to make viewers believe Peggy was confronting Pete about their fling.

--Nothing about Pete seems real. His dialogue is unusually stilted compared to the rest of the characters on "Mad Men," which should be saying something, given that this is an ad agency we're talking about.

His angry remark to Trudy about him being glad they didn't have children because the children would have to hear this "donnybrook" seemed especially awkward. I'm not even sure I believed his grief after his father died in the plane crash.

His act is incredibly annoying, but at the same time, it's pitch-perfect. I feel like I've known people like Pete at every job I've ever had. They're walking advertisements for themselves, 24/7, especially when management is around.

--A pattern of images that stood out for me -- lots of characters in this episode laying down, then being forced to sit up when someone walked in on them. Mona and Jane walk in on Don; Roger walks in on Joan; Peggy walks in on Pete. Not to mention, of course, Betty and Freddie waking up after passing out on their sofas.

--I love that Don's philosophy toward advertising is selling the idea of happiness and that he's basically perfected his craft, just not at home. His job is to tell other people what they want, but he doesn't have the answers when it comes to his wife, to the point that he's resorted to asking her, "What do you want?"

Betty, and perhaps Pete, may be the only ones on the show telling Don, "The jig is up."

--Peggy's last exchange with Freddie was just heartbreaking, the way she was exaggerating her smile in an attempt to make him feel as if things were OK, then changing face as soon as he walked out. Nobody at Sterling-Cooper was willing to dish the truth to Freddie that he was finished.

--That musical selection Betty is listening to after switching off the news report about Marilyn Monroe is the second movement to Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto, which was repopularized in America in the late 1950's after Van Cliburn when the Tchaikovsky competition. No significance at all, I don't think, just thought it was an interesting choice.

Anonymous said...

"Ship of Fools" was published in '62, so it was probably too new for Betty to realize it was too deep for her tastes until it put her to sleep.

The book is a satire of people's frailties and prejudices (and an allegory about the rise of Nazism). I'm not sure if it's supposed to mirror the themes of the show, or if it's just an example of a book that came out that year.

Alan Sepinwall said...

It's interesting how they have Peggy going back and forth with her clothing - sometimes she looks professional, and other times she looks like a little girl.

I made this same observation to my wife an episode or two back, and she said, "Peggy doesn't have enough money to buy a completely new wardrobe." Maybe with these new responsibilities, she will.

I'd bet Peggy is not senior to Paul.

Duck asking Peggy if she was on board with Paul's idea suggests that she is.

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that what some interpret as Jane making a play for Don -- buying him shirts -- is probably instead meant to signal that she is sleeping with (and spilling secrets to) Roger. Roger, having been down this road before, would know that Don would need shirts. And he also knew Don was at the Roosevelt, but he let Don reveal that on his own terms.


Anonymous said...

Regarding the locked drawer that we saw Betty picking at again this week; does anything else think it might hold Don's set of Whitman family photos that his brother sent? I'm sure Don wouldn't throw them out after learning of Adam's suicide, but after Campbell's intrusion I doubt he'd leave them in the office either.

Either way, it would be a pretty great catalyst for Don and Betty to reevaluate their whole marriage (so I bet no-one goes near the drawer until the end of the season).

Mo Ryan said...

Duck asking Peggy if she was on board with Paul's idea suggests that she is [senior to Paul].

Could be. But I think this promotion could end up being a "careful what you wish for" situation for Peggy. There's a difference between getting a promotion and being accorded the respect and deference (and money) that the position should bring (or would bring to a man, in that situation/era).

I'd bet the chipmunks do end up resenting Pegs. And as we've seen, even before the promotion, they didn't go out of their way to include her in what was going on -- inside or outside the office.

She's going to have to walk an incredibly fine line when it comes to asserting herself in her position. She's already had to do that at SC, but that balancing act -- being assertive without being regarded as a rhymes-with-rich -- well, it's going to be exponentially harder in the future.

Walking that line and staying human -- that won't be easy at all.

Anonymous said...

Joan is Roger's secretary and girlfriend. Jane is Don's new secretary. Seems they're being interspersed here.

Question: Why do you think Don told Roger to get Jane "off his desk" at the end? Because she's too emotional? I didn't quite get that.

KendraWM said...

Another wonderful episode.

I don't think Joan is pregnant, she is way too in control to allow that, she was the one who took Peggy in Season 1 to the doctor to get the pill.

I think she might just be packing on some pounds, either out of being engaged or because she is unhappy.

I am trying to think back but didn't she get engaged not long after the driver license on the bulletin board?

I think Betty also is testing her friends, to see if they will cheat with each other and in her mind basically cheat on her. Yet another way she had/will be let down. I think we will see that Betty will play the victim role quite well.

Well thats all my brain can handle, stayed up way too late cleaning up Tivo last night. So I can get ready to do it all over tonight.

Mapeel said...

"If I stay with the clear liquor I know where I stand." Words to live by, from Roger Sterling.

Also, re the JFK bust in the bar, I thought there was a Marilyn poster in the background, seen across the room.

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness, what an episode. My jaw was on the floor when Jimmy Barrett showed up at the underground casino, and when Mona revealed that Roger was leaving her. Can't wait to see what happens when Betty finds out that Roger and Mona are getting divorced.

Freddie's firing seems worse when you realize that he's the same age as Roger...even if he can dry out, it's going to be hard for him to find work in such a youth-oriented profession.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if this came up in the comments (had to skim thru) but I really thought the episode, which began with the suicide of M.M., was going to end with the suicide of Freddie. He really let on that he is no one if he doesn't work, and the 'goodbye' instead of 'goodnight' really hinted at that.

Really liked the 'hiding in plain sight' by the elevator operator. Great moment.

Kiersten said...

I only have time to skim the posts, so forgive me if I'm redundant here. This is the first episode I've watched all season and Mad Men fills my DVR right now waiting to be seen. Your posts have kept me up-to-date, but it was good to get back into SC last night.

I noticed the Marilyn look-a-like in the gambling den too. Also how the camera emphasized Joan's curves even more than usual as she and Roger discussed MM's death.

I pinged on the fact that the elevator operator seemed comfortable enough instigating a conversation with Don and Peggy. I thought it a sign of changing times too, but also a commentary on his status with Don and Peggy in particular. Remember, he was involved in Don's revenge on Roger (I think it was the same man) and Don always greets him directly and by name, never with any discrimination. It makes sense that a man with Don's poor background would be more comfortable conversing equally with him. Notice that Peggy wasn't at all surprised by his candor with the two of them either, suggesting that it was a regular thing.

Did anyone notice protege Peggy telling Don how it was good that Platex didn't go with the Marilyn/Jackie campaign and what consequences SC would have faced if they had? I loved Don's slightly surprised and assessing look at Peggy as he realizes that one of her first (and rather cool and professional) thoughts was how it could have impacted SC and what would have had to happen if it did. He watches her as she splits from him and walks down the hall until she's out of sight, as though amazed, pleased, and slightly stunned/afraid of this executive he's created in his image. I rewound it twice to watch all the nuances. One of those great almost thrown away scenes that Mad Men excels at.

Anonymous said...

If this was already noted I must have missed it, but did anyone else worry someone might commit suicide?
The episode starts with Don seeing the Marilyn news in the paper, and his expression made me think about Betty.
Next they show Betty looking horribly depressed watching her kids from the top of the stairs.
Don mentioned how "disturbing" suicide is, and then we see Betty in her depressing housecoat making preparations (that I didn't get at first because, but yes, it ended up being a domestic chore of some kind. Still, it freaked me out for a sec).
Then towards the end when Don is putting Freddy in the cab -- he just seemed so depressed and when he asked who he would be if he wasn't coming to work at SC (nice tie-in with Don's issues too, there) there seemed to be a threat lurking.
I know this show doesn't do what we expect it to, so I should have known there'd be no character suicide, but it sure seemed to have some hints in that direction.

Susan said...

Anonymous, I think Don wants Jane off his desk because it's clear that she *wasn't* being discreet - she was sleeping with Roger and most likely telling him Don's secrets. Also, after being confronted by Mona, Don feels bad for her, and doesn't want to work with the enemy.

Alan, totally agree with your wife about Peggy's clothes - she's bought a couple of new dresses, but obviously can't afford to replace all of the button down shirts and plaid skirts. Yet.

And thanks for your great analysis of Betty's actions in this episode. It took me a while to figure out why she did what she did with the lunch date, but now it makes perfect sense. Especially after the scene in her bedroom with Sarabeth, when Sarabeth talks about how sweet her husband is and how he's so easy to please... you could see the resentment boiling up in Betty. She would just love to hurt that marriage the way hers has been hurt.

I don't think Peggy got promoted above Paul, or at least that doesn't make sense to me. I think that Peggy's Samsonite pitch was so good that in the last scene, she's getting new respect for her skills.

Boy, Don's mention of his father threw me for a loop. Definitely an opening of the armor, a bit. But I didn't even catch that he used Rachel Menken's husband's name in the casino. Great catch, Alan!

Anonymous said...

They got the reactions to MM's death completely wrong, starting with the headline in the newspaper ("Murder or Suicide") -- no one thought it was anything but suicide until the later elaborations of Kennedy conspiracy theories got started, years later. And she was considered a major public screwup/annoyance, along the lines of Brittney Spears today; she had made previous, highly publicized, suicide attempts. Her death was treated as an inevitable punchline, not a national tragedy, until Mailer's reassessment of her appeared nearly a decade later. So I found the secretaries' tearful reaction (as distinct from an excited, gossipy one) to be a little strange.

Also, Ship of Fools was on the bestseller lists for about 6 months around that time, so Betty may just be reading what she's supposed to read.

I'm loving Peggy's reactions as she moves up the ladder, but would she have been so very stupefied by the news of Freddy's firing that she forgot to ask whether she would be getting a raise?

Mo Ryan said...

Thanks for everyone for their thoughts on what Betty is up to. Interesting stuff. She may be even more screwed up than Don. To get payback for her bad marriage by messing with Sara Beth's? That is twisted. That is Vic Mackey twisted.

But I'd bet her effort fails. Sara Beth enjoys flirting with Arthur, she enjoys the attention of a younger man. But that's about it. Betty can't see that Sara Beth is far too mature and cares too much about her husband to do anything with Arthur. Betty is once again using the logic of a five year old and can't see how anyone would behave any differently.

She's grown up, in one sense - she kicked Don out. In so many other ways, she's still just a child, and that's why it's sad to see her flail for a solution to her problems. Finding one may be beyond her.

Anonymous said...

Susan .. thanks. I think I missed the fact that Jane was sleeping with Jane. I knew he'd flirted with her, but, hey, he'd flirt with the cleaning woman if he could watch her skirt on the way out! Have they actually shown them "together" .. if so, I missed an episode.

So another reason for her tears would be that he chose Joan over her?

I appreciate the insight into Betty's setting up of friend and horse guy. Wow that is sick.

Anonymous said...

Oops .. meant Jane sleeping with Roger.

StickUpKid said...

Another great episode. I haven't been this eager for Sunday to come since the Wire went off the air. And that was an excruciating 2 week layoff but it was well worth the wait.

I loved Don's rihgt hook to Jimmy's chin. As soon as I noticed Jimmy with his back turned sitting next to Freddie I just knew he was going to go over there and ring his bell. But even when it actually happened I jumped up in excitement.

One question. And maybe I'm just being dense on this, but why was Betty putting a bowl of boiling water in the freezer? Forgive me if this should be an obvious answer.

Anonymous said...

Stick up kid .. I think it accelerated the defrosting process. Boy I remember my mom doing that awful job.

Anonymous said...

Re: boiling water in the freezer. Older refrigerators didn't defrost on their own. You would have to defrost them. Boiling water would help speed the process vs. just shutting off the power to the freezer, which would take longer. I had an old fridge & once used a hairdryer to defrost it.

Shawn Anderson said...

She was defrosting the freezer...

... and potentially also reminding us that white hot revenge is a dish best served cold (?)

Shawn Anderson said...

wow... that was a question I didn't think so many would rush to answer!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I thought Betty sicced Arthur on Sarah Beth because she imposed on Betty's funk, bringing her cheer and news of her wonderful marriage in on a situation Betty couldn't open up about. If Sarah Beth can be fooled about Betty's 'not feeling well', I betcha Betty now considers herself in Don's realm of everyday deceit and manipulation.

Of course, she's no good at it, or she'd just get cash out of the bank and have the locksmith come over when Carla and the kids are out, and get that drawer unlocked the professional way, and have a key leftover if/when he returns. But no, she's sloppy, and her resentment for Sarah Beth turns into using Arthur to disrupt someone whose life, on the outside, is better than Betty's. Arthur Case has become the Heineken in the grocery aisle. Makes sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your Mad Men posts and the comments of your other readers for a long time - this is my first attempt to join in the dialogue. Everyone else has mentioned all the things I picked up on in this episode except for one - was it just my imagination or was Don's coughing more persistent and pronounced last night? I'm starting to cringe everytime he lights a cigarette.

Pirate Alice said...

I saw Betty setting up her friend, Sarah Beth, as a distraction from the fact that Betty decided not to show up for lunch. It could also be a way to test and see if they'd have an affair. But what better way to keep your friend from asking why you didn't show, than to have a man that your friend is interested in show up in your place?

As for Roger being "in love" with Jane. I don't think Roger knows what love is. I think he's fooling himself and using that as an excuse to divorce Mona. I think he doesn't care at all for Jane or whatever secretary he's having an affair with at this time.

I love this show, there's just SO MUCH in each episode.

Anonymous said...

Betty was 'defrosting' her freezer with that bowl of boiling water. I know when my life feels out of control I go on huge, deep cleaning binges and clearly Betty is doing the same thing. Organizing the kitchen drawers, relining them with shelf paper(coving up with fresh, new paper!),defrosting and cleaning out the fridge. My favorite line of the episode was Carla's, "splash some cold water on your face and go outside; you'll see everything is right where you left it". Nice...just like "hiding in plain sight".
All of these people are hiding in plain sight.

Anonymous said...

I got thru most of the comments but didn't read them forgive me if I may have missed any comment like this but I think that Joan knew about Jane and Roger. When she was crying in his office about MM, it seemed that she was also shedding a tear for Roger. Then she said something like he will know what it's like to loose someone he loves someday. That interaction seemed deeper than just Joan crying over MM. And of course, Roger's initial comments about how she (MM) had kind of seems like he was indirectly speaking about himself.

Maggie said...

Anonymous -- the headline is actually "MM: Accident or Suicide?" not murder. But to me, the saddest part was the "body lies unclaimed" subheading.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice protege Peggy telling Don how it was good that Platex didn't go with the Marilyn/Jackie campaign and what consequences SC would have faced if they had? I loved Don's slightly surprised and assessing look at Peggy as he realizes that one of her first (and rather cool and professional) thoughts was how it could have impacted SC and what would have had to happen if it did. He watches her as she splits from him and walks down the hall until she's out of sight, as though amazed, pleased, and slightly stunned/afraid of this executive he's created in his image. I rewound it twice to watch all the nuances. One of those great almost thrown away scenes that Mad Men excels at.

I noticed it, and it was wonderful.

My heart broke into pieces when Freddie said, "goodbye, Don."

For what it's worth, I think Peggy's at a higher level than Paul now, too.

As usual, I appreciate and enjoy the comments here that enrich my viewing of this fantastic show. Can't wait until next week.

Anonymous said...

I was struck by the first mention of Monroe's death: a newspaper headline that read "MM: Accident or suicide?" Could "MM" also mean Mad Men and is this foreshadowing a death of questionable circumstance later in the season?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there were rights issues regarding using Marilyn Monroe's name or likeness and that was their cheeky way of skirting around it.

I don't think I heard the name 'Marilyn' uttered once during the episode.

Of course, I could be wrong. They did close with her singing. Perhaps the movie studio who owned THOSE rights was more cooperative than the Monroe Estate.

--bad dad

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to be an idiot but I'm new to this and thought other people might need to know as well. What the hell is a "first" post?

Anonymous said...

A "first" post is where someone posts just to say he or she has posted the first comment. Usually just the text First! Sometimes they're not even the first post, as the real first post hasn't shown up yet when they post. When blogs were being debated as a Root of All Evil on Lewis Black's show, they had a scenario where The Declaration of Independence was posted on a Blog. The various first posts & the personal attacks on Jefferson et al convince them to give up & remain a British colony

Anonymous said...

I really thought the episode would end with the gang at SC finding out Freddy had killed himself.

Altho it's been obvious all along that Roger is deep in midlife crisis and wanted out of his marraige, I dont think Jane was his first choice. Joan is his great love, and while she was willing to have an affair, breaking up a marraige was somewhere she was probably not willing to go. Jane is definately a poor substitute for Joan. He'll be sorry tho, and go crawling back to Mona.

Pete went to Roger and Duck to rat out Freddie, not for concern about Freddie, or SC, but to win oints for himself. You can be sure Pete is always looking out for number One.


Mo Ryan said...

He'll be sorry tho, and go crawling back to Mona.

And Mona will be mighty disinclined to take him back, if I read the situation correctly. This is not the first time Roger has stepped out on her, and he's been exiled to a hotel at least once before in their marriage.

To have nursed him through two heart attacks (not to mention previous "take me back" groveling), and then he does this again? Roger and Mona are through, I think. That's my 2 cents, anyway.

Anonymous said...

What struck me most was the scene in Roger's office when Don said "I don't think my contract gives Duck the ability to fire someone in my department" to which Roger replied "you don't have a contract. and I can fire anyone I want"

It's obvious that this exchange leaves Don frustrated, but he hides it well at the time. I think without this bottled up anger, he probably would have handled the encounter with Jimmy differently.

Don shutting the door in Roger's face at the end and demanding a new secretary suggests both continuing frustration with Roger and the possibility that Don may try and move his creative group to another firm, such as Rogers & Cowan.

but Cooper and Pete know of his past, and both seem potentially willing to use their information to sink this potential move. so Don will have to decide "how to move forward" and gain the autonomy he craves without losing everything in the process. he would conceivably need to come clean with Betty, Crab, and others to do this. I'm not sure he's up to the challenge, but I'm really looking forward to the next episodes. It seems extremely unlikely/impossible from a TV production standpoint that Don would leave SC, but the tension in that possibility could open up some interesting moral choices among the characters, especially Don.


Alan Sepinwall said...

"I don't think my contract gives Duck the ability to fire someone in my department" to which Roger replied "you don't have a contract. and I can fire anyone I want"

That's also a callback to season one's "Shoot," where Don gets a raise to keep him from taking a job at the bigger ad agency. Cooper and/or Roger complain about Don's refusal to have a contract, which we're supposed to assume comes from his innate Hobo-ness.

Anonymous said...

My response to Anonymous at 11:33 AM is that I remember being devastated by Marilyn Monroe's death
shortly after I graduated from high school. In searching for the general reaction, I discovered
an essay by Ayn Rand - another author featured on
Mad Men. She indicates that the world was shocked.
In my opinion there is no comparison in any way of
Britney Spears to Marilyn Monroe. Monroe was truly
talented; plus she was 36 at the time of her death, while Britney is not considered by the MSM to be a true
talent at her current 26 years of age. Link to Ayn Rand's essay in Voice of Reason..

Anonymous said...

Yes the one real comment I was going to make is how they follow up Don's smokers cough here from a few episodes ago and Betty now also. The blush is definitely off the 50s bloom here.

Matty said...

I have been reading your comments for weeks and really enjoy all your insights. MM is such a complex, multi-layered show and it is great to read everyone's reaction.

That being said, I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Don's response when Roger asked him how he felt about his breakup with Betty and Don said "relieved". I was shocked. All this time I felt that Don really wanted his marriage and family (especially that one lonely Thanksgiving) and here he is actually relieved to be out of his marriage. Wow, I didn't see that one coming at all, although in hindsight it should not be a surprise. It's obvious, as others have mentioned before that he's been playacting at being a husband and father and now the pressure is off. Amazing.....

Anonymous said...

It might just be that's a common experience- you may want a relationship to be better, you might fight for it and be committed to the end, but at some point you're just releieved to be done of the burden. He doesn't have to make strained half-truth phone calls to Betty on where he's going after work because she doesn't want to hear from him.

I don't think he's happy, and I'm sure he convinced himself that this would work as much as Betty did, but I wasn't all that surprised when he was relieved at this point.

Anonymous said...

"He'll be sorry tho, and go crawling back to Mona."

-I was wondering if anything was going to come of Joan's foreshadowing to Roger of how he'll feel to lose someone someday. Perhaps Mona's loss will really hit him when/if his impulsive decsion to be with Jane doesn't pan out.
-What a great, great episode. For those expecting a suicide, i felt Freddie's storyline, which was laden with finality, had the tragic effect of one. As the song goes, the whiskey's quicker and "suicide is slow with liquor", eh?
-And how annoying was Pete taking credit for Peggy's promotion when it was he who objected so strenuously to Don putting her on his father-in-law's Clearisil account at the end of season one!! Typical.
-This being Groucho Marx's birthday week, did they slip a "horsefeathers" reference in there with that swordfish password?

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking about this episode and the significance of Marilyn Monroe’s death. It truly is a changing of the guard for women.

It just occurred to me the significance of Roger choosing Jane - not Joan. Previously we have mentioned that Jane represents the new kind of woman. The hourglass bombshell (Joan) was losing it's appeal. And Jane, who is physically different and not playing by the "rules" (e.g. going into Cooper's office, telling on Don)is gaining power. Now the death of Marilyn Monroe sealed this. The bombshell is officially gone and this is echoed by Roger choosing Jane.

In addition, by acting like they are in control and have exactly what they want, the hourglass bombshells don't get what they really want or need. They don't demand it and the men (judging from Roger's comment) don't think they want/need a thing. I'm sure Roger thought Joan was enjoying the casual affair just as much as he was and didn't want more. Similarly, Harry thought that Joan was content to give up the script reading assignment to return to her secretarial duties. The new women, Jane and I include Peggy, push for what they want and need. Jane is getting Roger (though arguably she pushed for Don and moved to Roger when she couldn't get what she wanted/needed from Don). Peggy has pushed for a job, to be included with the boys (at the strip club) and pushed for equality with the other men from Don (by calling him by his first name).

Am I reading too much into it? What do yall think?

Anonymous said...

Remember that divorce was much more serious (& rare) in that era than today. It was a source of shame and disgrace for family members & a topic of gossip and judgment for everyone else. You were just supposed to stay in an unhappy marriage no matter the cost. I will be surprised to see Mona give up & let Roger go ... it was just not done in "good" families.

Anonymous said...

Why are we assuming Roger is leaving Mona for Jane? Jane says she cries all the time, maybe she was just crying to get attention or to play the "pitiful me" routine so Don wouldn't get mad that she let Mona barge in. Roger just touched Jane's shoulder, perhaps his comment about explaining was to explain why he used Don as the catalyst to leave. It was mentioned a few times in other episodes that Don can't keep a secretary and he was clearly annoyed at Jane buying him shirts.

purplejeep said...

thank you all for your comments. there is always so much to chew on during each episode. Here's something I don't think I've seen mentioned: Sal laughing at Freddie. Sal lost a lot of points as a human by being so insensitive.
Also, Betty is smart. Maybe she's reading the book to remind herself of that and it was the wine that put her to sleep-not the book.

Mo Ryan said...

Anna, interesting stuff. I don't think you're reading too much into it. There's definitely a changing of the guard going on. For both genders, actually. A genial drunk like Freddy is out, while the cutthroat Pete still has a job. An era is certainly ending, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

How do we know for sure that Roger is leaving for Jane, not Joan?

it was insensitive of Sal to laugh, but i thought he was laughing at the horrible black humor of the situation. Sal also gave a great look when Freddy poured him an overly large drink

Pamela Jaye said...

excuse me if anyone has thought of this -i haven't caught up on the comments since last night.

"One day you'll lose someone who's important to you. You'll see. It's very painful" Joan said to Roger, with a look in her eye.

Did she *tell* Roger's wife about Jane?
She has reason to hate Jane and she knows that at least Jane and Roger have spoken to each other (without her)

Shawn Anderson said...

Pamela - it seems pretty clear that it's Roger who tells Mona, basing his decision on his discussion with Don the night before. He even went so far as to cowardly frame it that Don's advice is the reason for him making the move.

In regards to what Joan said, when she says "One day you'll lose someone who's important to you," it's not Joan you should be looking at, it's Roger. The look on his face, and the direction to stay on it, tells you he already lost someone who's important to him... Joan.

Chaz said...

Interesting to note that Don's sympathy for Freddie after the pants-wetting may tie into his own incident during the war. When he pissed himself then it led to a man's death of his superior officer and the "death" of Dick Whitman. (I should say that a friend pointed this out to me, I missed this potential tie-in)

KendraWM said...

Divorce was much more of a stigma back then, my friends parents were divorced in 1974 and she still remembers bot being allowed to go over to some friends houses because of this fact.

I really do not see Don and Betty headed for a divorce, I think once she stops self medicating she will realize that in her mind she has too much to lose.

Remember how the new neighbor was treated in season 1, Betty is still way to absorbed in her world of horseback riding and country clubs to risk being an out cast.

As a child of the 70s and 80s it would mean nothing to me, but as a women in the early sixties, to be divorced was to be a social pariah. My grandfather was married in the 20s and got divorced, she actually moved away and told people she was a widower so not to an outcast. His first wife would bring the daughter to him he was not allowed to visit her for fear of blowing her story.

I know the hardest part I have is looking at Betty's actions through 1960's eyes and not 2008 eyes.

Pamela Jaye said...

having defrosted a few freezers in my time (yes they had frost free when i was an adult, but I was poor and the apartments I lived in still that the type that made a good housekeeping activity on the hottest August day in Boston)..

the thing i noticed the second time she did it was that she was using a glass (pyrex?) bowl.
I've never defrosted a freezer with pyrex but I have blown up a glass pie plate in a microwave (actually two - hint: don't use them to *elevate* anything). And all I could think was - boiling water, glass dish, in the freezer.

I've never experienced the joy of putting a hot glass dish into a cold box, but that's only cause my home ec teacher told us what would happen if we did. (unfortunately my Spanish teacher didn't warn me about tossing hot oil (from the churros) into a skin with water in it. And then she dared to make sure I was all right In Spanish.
Could we suspend class for a minute while I try not to get second degree burns? maybe?)

boilng water
glass dish
in freezer

next thing you know she'll be letting the kids like the beaters before unplugging the mixmaster. (I finally got a stand mixer when I was 42. I figured after all the years of wanting one, I might as well)

and no, I never expected anyone else to commit suicide - I read the episode title, though.

And re a possibly pregnancy for Joan - they are whipping right thru 1962 (almost everything that happens is on a date you can verify)
And it's August now, (I think) when in ep 2.02 it was March

Pamela Jaye said...

re: Peggy's awesome Samsonite pitch - wasn't she just performing Freddie's copy?

Anonymous said...

Really excited to see how they work the Civil Rights Movement into the fold. Love that Carla and Hollis had some lines this episode and we got to learn a bit about their characters.

The other thing I cant wait to come full circle is the Joan/Jane storyline.

I'm over Betty and her whole story. the passive aggressive way she set up her friend makes me even more unsympathetic to her.

an will we ever get any resolution with the Peggy/Baby story?

wjm said...

I wonder if "Ship of Fools" is, in any way, an extension of the "Night to Remember" metaphor?

Pamela Jaye said...

the thing that strikes *me* about MM: Accident or Suicide is the fact that they had to abbreviate her name.

I took precisely *one* journalism (mini)couse in Jr High. I learned two things:

Always get the correct spelling of people's names. For all you know, your subject could be named Jon Smythe


Article headings must fit the allotted space. Which leaves us with fun headlines, the only one of which I can remember is

Pope prods Reagan on Arms

(I know what it meant, but the visual was a lot more fun)

(oh yeah, i also learned the 5 W's)

Pamela Jaye said...

Drake, darn! You're right. I forgot.

and btw, I meant a "Sink" with water in it

sometimes i typo, and sometimes i just disengage brain before disengaging fingers.

Pamela Jaye said...

and finally (for now)

They say the internet has a bad effect on TV ratings. (I think they say that)

at the moment I'm living proof, as I meant to watch Chuck, but ended up reading all the comments here instead (and, okay, rewatching the ep)

Anonymous said...

1. With the news of MM's suicide and his "Goodbye, Don" from the taxi looking hang-dog as hell -- not to mention the sad tale of his father, the traveling greeting card salesman from a bygone era -- I don't think we needed to see Freddie actually turn a gun on himself to know he's probably going to pull a Willie Loman. Very sad.

2. Loved the scene in the underground casino. Great observations about all the wandering Marilyns and the JFK bust. Such nice touches. I cracked up when Roger remembered the password in the elevator, $30 too late.

3.I don't think Betty is setting up the affair out of spite; I think she's trying to prove something to herself, setting up a little experiment. OK, maybe there's a twinge of jealousy and the desire to break something wobbly -- like that dining room chair -- when she sets up the lunch date for her friend who doesn't seem to appreciate her own loving husband. Maybe Betty's getting a little weird sense of payback thrill. Mainly, though, I think she just wants to test whether everyone cheats, or just Don, so she puts the balls in motion.

4. Notice how Mona immediately throws up their daughter as an intermediary when Roger wants to speak to her, calm her down and she says, "Talk to Margaret!" At least, that's the only sense I could make out of that line.

Josh said...

Regarding the connection between Freddy and Don re: wetting their pants and paying consequences: It's also interesting that when Don is attacking the boys at the office for making fun of Freddy his last cutting line is (don't remember the exact words) something about how they're ruining his name. Particularly since Don's pants episode led very directly to someone else's name becoming Dick Whitman's.

Anonymous said...

I am hoping the secretaries cut Peggy some slack, since Pete's secretary witnessed Peggy chewing out Pete and echoed her, saying you told on Freddy?! So they were on the same side then.

However, if Peggy gets Freddy's office and "girl," things may get uglier between Peggy and the other women.

Anonymous said...

don't see Sal's laughter as being cruel. People didn't know much about addiction back then. One of the first big public recognition of it was when Betty Ford came forward about undergoing treatment for alcoholism. People actually thought, like Roger that switching to beer instead of hard liquor would help.

And it's a hard drinking enviornment, so he probably saw it as just another day at Sterling & Cooper. He didn't rat Freddy out.

As for Betty setting up the affair, well her Sara Beth & Arthur are both adults with free will. They can choose not to have an affair (though that may not do much for the plot).

Anonymous said...

oops left the I out. I'm saying I don't see Sal's laughter as being cruel. Didn't mean to command others not to see it as cruel! :)

Dennis said...

I can't really be sure what Betty's motivation is for setting up her two stablemates but I want to believe that she wants to live vicariously through an illicit affair just to see what it might feel like.

I can see how devastated she'd be by Don's betrayal because if she's been lead to believe that all she needs to do to keep a husband is be beautiful, then really who's more beautiful than Betty Draper and what has it gotten her in the end?

And given Polly Draper's early hints towards promiscuity and her ability to mix cocktails (remember she asked Paul if he "lay down on top of his girlfriend, she told Joan she had "big ones" and we've seen her mix drinks for her Dad) something tells me she will fully embrace 1968 and what will be the beginning of the last season of Mad Men.

Finally, Peyton List is like a younger and curvier Debra Messing.

Allow me to go back to the 60's and exclaim, "Wowza.";)

Anonymous said...

Just thought you'd be interested in today's Dear Abby column. It's all about girls and women not knowing they're pregnant.

Unknown said...


A quick comment: EM touched on this... but I've always loved that Pete's secretary (the few times we've seen them interact) treats him with a slight tinge of disdain. She sees him for what he is and knows he's a jerk and is not falling for his schmarmy schtick.

You know he's sunk even lower now that she's heard Peggy's accusation.

Anonymous said...

I compared the "girls" reactions to the MM death to the reactions I witnessed when Princess Diana died. I don' think there is any connection to B. Spears.

Anonymous said...

And given Polly Draper's early hints towards promiscuity

Pardon my nitpicking, but Polly is the Draper's dog. Sally is their daughter.

And I think it's a huge stretch to see early hints of promiscuity from an eight year old girl.

Whitney, I've always loved the way Hildy treats Pete. I think she'd smack him if she thought she could get away with it. I'm surprised she doesn't regularly pull pranks on him just to torture him. She'd never be caught. He would assume it was one of the guys.

Dennis said...

I don't think it's stretching at all. It looks like she's gonna have Daddy issues and I don't think anything's for nothing in this series so I look back at the ep where she went to the office with her Dad as a precursor to her future.

Anonymous said...

Look Ma', another mind-boggling obscure but strangely just right reference!

Jimmy calls Don "The man in the gray flannel suit" before Don socks him, which likely refers to this Gregory Peck film (which itself is based on a fine, kinda forgotten novel):

Graig said...

I know I am very late on this, but I didn't get around to watching the episode until tonight. Did anyone else notice the elevator operator's Invisible Man reference? I don't remember the exact dialogue now, but he clearly stated something about people existing but not being noticed. The camera lingered on him for an extra second.

Jeremy and Lisa Roberts said...

Someone may have already mentioned this, and if so, I apologize, but to add to the suggestion/thought that there may be a suicide ahead: after Roger dismisses Joan's emotional response to MM's death, she says something like, "Someday you'll lose someone close to you. You'll see." I don't know - maybe I'm reading too much into things, but I felt that line was intentionally ominous, and I'm curious to see what/if that means for what happens ahead.

I also love all of the irony in the episode - Duck is all over Freddy's firing because it's "conduct unbecoming," yet we know he's off the wagon. And Don scolding the guys for laughing at Freddy - "it's just a man's name" - yet it's okay for him to parade around with an identity he's usurped?

LOVE THIS SHOW, and love reading the smart things you all have to say, too!

Deseree Eve said...

I love the show and all of the comments!

Quick question, what was the deal with the woman in the green dress that lingered, staring at Roger and Don in the casino? I just can't figure it out...

Anonymous said...

I know, this is drunk logic, but what if when Joan admonished Roger for being so callous, he had the idea in the back of his head that "I know what'll make you feel better, doll -- a wedding proposal".

and once he went on the town with Don, that idea just wouldn't leave his head....

Until the next day he calls Mona in and tells her he's leaving her for "his secretary".

Even though he's schtupping Jane, Roger could, yes, still consider Joan his, and that if he makes the grand gesture in time, he wouldn't *lose* Joan, he wouldn't have to mourn something else he's lost (like his youth, faith in marriage if any, etc.). It's a cockeyed scheme, but if Roger's hungry for drama after being shunted to the side like Cooper due to alterkockerness, then why not start it up at work, and see what happens?

It's better than being bored and waiting for the next heart attack.

Anonymous said...

cgeye, I think Roger absolutely still thinks of Joan as his. Joan knows it too. Would any other woman at SC even consider going into his office when he's not there? Other than Jane, of course, but she's a nervy little thing. She didn't even start lower on the food chain the way Joan did with Paul. She went right for Roger. No matter what her current status is with Roger, she doesn't have what it takes to be his girl forever. Not that I think being Roger's girl forever is a prize. The man is schmuck of the first order.

The scheme you propose might be cockeyed on Roger's part, but your theory isn't. Roger's desperate, so I imagine that nothing seems too crazy to him right now. I'm long past making assumptions about Mad Men.

Dennis, if Sally hadn't just recently walked in on her parents in bed, I might be less skeptical about her showing early signs of promiscuity. No doubt she'll have daddy issues, but what woman doesn't, no matter what kind of childhood she had. I saw her question to Paul as inappropriate but innocent. Or maybe I'm just weirded out at the idea of Sally losing that innocence so soon.

Tom said...

Great episode.

As for speculation that Freddie Rumson may kill himself...I dunno. Oddly enough, he seems like a remarkably self-aware, well-adjusted alcoholic wreck. Not depressive at all. His wondering who he is without the office to come to seemed more like genuine existential bewilderment, not despair. Maybe it's the actor's performance, but it seems to me that Freddie's more likely to end up sleeping under a bridge than hanging from a light fixture.

Betty, on the other hand....

Anonymous said...

*Alan, do you read comments? Do cast members/show creators?
*Every scene, line, shot means something.
*Surprised Peggy said, "I love Freddie." Will she help him as Don came to the hospital and helped her?
*Peggy has shown little emotion all season. Last season, feelings would cross her face - gifted actor. Ingrid Bergman was described as doing this, too.
*I think the book Don mails at the end of Season 2, Episode 1 went to Rachel.
*Pete is one of my faves. When his dad died, he asked Don what to do; like most people, he wants to do what is expected, but doesn't know what that is.
*What happened to that little boy in the first season that was the only person Betty could confide in? I miss him. Not like this show to drop a storyline like that. Hope he comes back.
*Best Wishes, Francine

Pamela Jaye said...

someone just had a mind-glitch. Polly Draper was on 30something. I knew it sounded familiar, and there are cery few people I'm aware of that are named Polly.

Personally, I know a guy named Peter Benson. Lo these mant years later, I have to stop and make sure I don't refer to him as Peter Benton.

Anonymous said...

I'm late and I don't have time to read through all of the posts, so I apologize if this has already been mentioned. Two of my favorite piece of dialogue from the Roger, Don and Freddie night out: A) When they're talking about getting sober and how one guy "only drinks beer now" as if that equaled sobriety. B) When Roger needs $5 to give to the doorman, he turns and without really looking and asks Freddie for $5. Then he realizes it's Freddie and says, "Umm, not you" and then turns to Don.

Great touches.

wjm said...

Re: "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit," I caught that one too. Great movie.

My immediate question was, if it was intended as an inside wink to those in the blogosphere who were speculatin' hot & heavy last year about whether Don's big secret was that he's Jewish.

Anonymous said...

Betty and the whole SB/Arthur set up: I think this was a case of shit or get off the damn toilet seat.

1. SB talking about how she dreams of Arthur is not the first time she has mentioned this. Almost every time she is with Betty she mentions how interesting Arthur is or how she has dreamed about him.

2. Betty can see through Arthur's game. He reminds a bit of Pete being the unsatisfied playboy about to marry some girl for her money. However before going down the aisle he is eliciting from all the "profoundly sad" and "bored" housewives (note how Betty sees him being flirty with some chick before calling out to him(

SB come over and talks about her easy marriage, her boredom, and them mentions Arthur. Betty tells her it's a switch you can turn on and off (we all get tempted, but in the end it's a choice). She sets up SB and Arthur to test if SB is going to be faithful to her husband or choose to cheat. From it SB will see something that shows her she must stay away from Arthur, or cure her boredom with an affair. Either this would most likely lead the two out of Betty's life, which I think right now is what she wants.

blogward said...

Wow, a long thread for a rich episode. Just chipping in that Pete pointedly cut Don out to Peggy when they needed to deal with the Frddie situation; he's just making power plays against Don, which expecting a raise is part of. Pete will never undervalue himself. Can't wait till he meets Peggy's kid...

Tully Moxness said...

Wow, I don't normally get emotional over TV shows, but I was on the verge of tears throughout this episode. Mad Men is often criticized as depressing, but I think 'sad' or 'tragic' is a better description. This episode was both; from Marilyn to Freddy to Roger - these are all people who the life and times of the era caught up to and overwhelmed. I've liked Joel Murray's work on the show, but that last line, 'Goodbye Don', broke my heart; I've seen others fall to pieces in the same way, and watching Don put him on the cab to his eventual slow-burn to suicide hurt too much to watch.

This show is incredible, and though I enjoyed the first season, this one is right on par with Season 2 of The Sopranos for best season of any show, period.

PS Betty is punishing Sara Beth's husband by setting her up with Arthur; according to SB, he's perfect, and Betty sees herself as the perfect wife. Her destructive streak is far too big to be contained solely within her own household - she can feel better about her situation by wreaking havoc on other 'perfect' families, too. Betty is becoming my favorite character on the show, although she's a bit too much like Carmella on The Sopranos (another monster who stood by on the sidelines and silently judged others while often being far worse than the ones she was judging).

Anonymous said...

Deseree Eve - I kicked myself for missing the significance of that woman in the green dress. It should have been obvious that something was up when Roger didn't respond to her at all. He usually would have been all over that and the fact that he wasn't interested makes sense now that we know about Jane. Subtle foreshadowing? Love this show.

Toby O'B said...

Seemed like an empty Wednesday night of TV (after 'Pushing Daisies' and 'Bones' [recorded]), so I watched "Six Months Leave" again.

A lot of comparisons for this series with 'The Sopranos', understandably, but with this episode I was put in mind with another mob story - 'The Godfather'. All through the scenes in which Freddie was being shipped out by Roger and Don, I kept thinking of Clemenza taking Paulie for that last ride. This was the ad men's version of it, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Hey to drake leLane: I'm so glad someone brought up a Richard Yates reference to this show because all along, especially the 1st season, I've noticed the comparisons (down to the emotionally disturbed boy next door who connects with the vulnerable wife). But just a small correction...the novel is "Revolutionary Road" and has nothing to do with the 2007movie "Reservation Road."

Shawn Anderson said...

yeah, you're right... typo on my part. The trailer shown was for Revolutionary Road, based on the Yates novel, not the inferior but similarly named Reservation Road.

Quantum said...

The "Yellow Wallpaper" that Betty puts up is a reference to a famous proto-feminist story "Yellow Wallpaper" written in 1892 by Charotte Gilman:

The narrator is a woman whose husband — a physician — has confined her to the upstairs bedroom of a house he has rented for the summer. She is forbidden from working and has to hide her journal entries from him so that she can recuperate from what he has diagnosed as a "temporary nervous depression — a slight hysterical tendency;" a diagnosis common to women in that period.[1] The windows of the room are barred, and there is a gate across the top of the stairs, allowing her husband to control her access to the rest of the house.
The story illustrates the effect of confinement on the narrator's mental health, and her descent into psychosis. With nothing to stimulate her, she becomes obsessed by the pattern and color of the room's wallpaper. "It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw — not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things. But there is something else about that paper — the smell! ... The only thing I can think of that it is like is the color of the paper! A yellow smell."[2]

Anonymous said...

I gotta' commend you on your work with these blogs. You must really sit down and give each episode the proper thought to churn out such great write-ups.

I'm working through the second season as we speak and I've found myself instinctively googling your blog entries for each episode I watch. It's always enlightening and helps me catch things that I wasn't immediately privy to.

Pamela Jaye said...

why didn't i think of googling???

i was just so thrilled to have the episodes retagged by season (thannks Alan) I have to start season 2 of HIMYM (with bloggage)

Anonymous said...

I would venture that the woman in the green dress is a prostitute, and dropping in on Don and Roger to see if they're interested in her services.

Dan Stewart said...

I'm just working my way through the second series on DVD before the third starts on BBC ... might need to get a move on as it begins tonight!
Just wanted to say, as no-one appears to have spotted it, that Don's anger with Roger at the end is not just because he used him as an excuse to break up with Mona. Roger manipulated Don into opening up. Jane, the one person who knew about Don's marriage problems, obviously told her lover Roger, who in turn used the information to open Don up. And Don doesn't like being opened up by anyone.
I just think it's great there's a TV series with such rich characterisation, and where the audience has to do at least some of the work itself.
p.s. And obviously, given the theme of living alone, the ad campaign was for Samsonite. However did Don think up the tagline "you're never alone with a Samsonite," you wonder.