Sunday, September 20, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Anonymous said...

Phenomenal episode.

Anonymous said...

Amazing. In a dark way, Don has to be the luckiest man alive.

My personal favorite of this episode was Roger's casual brush-off. "This has happened somewhere else before." The man's delivery is flawless.

CarolMR said...

Apropos of the conversation two weeks ago about Peggy's Nordic Catholicism, Conrad Hilton was both Norgwegian and Catholic.

KcM said...

"It's notable for being the series' first mention of Vietnam..."

Yes and no. It's the first time a character has said the word "Vietnam," yes, but a mourning Sally watching the self-immolation of Thich Quang Duc two episodes ago was a pretty stark way of introducing Vietnam into the show.

Unknown said...

The writers on this show really keep you on your toes.

Anonymous said...

"unemployable outside the world of underdog sports movies"?

Garrett said...

I thought they were setting up some prime Don Draper discomfort with the repeated "I know everything about you." But even if that had happened, it wouldn't have cracked the top 10 moments in this episode.

Was the Don/Joan conversation sublimated desire, or just two people who recognize that the other is incredibly good at their job?

Crystal said...

Hope this doesn't make me seem evil - but I laughed out loud when I realized Sally would FREAK OUT when she thought the doll made its way back to her room.
And because I couldn't have imagined such a scene in this show before, the lawn mower accident totally caught me off guard - in a weird almost funny way.
Loved the line from Joan where she says something about how Life's like that. One minute you're on top of the world, the next you get your foot cut off by a secretary on a lawnmower.

Zack Smith said...

-I was bummed when it looked like Pryce might leave. Glad to see he's still on board -- and that he and Don might wortk better together in the future.

-The Brits were a bit broad, but this was a funny episode, so I'll give it a pass.

-Great call on the Connie reveal, board! But where will this relationship go, and how will Don use it?

-Betty and Don were great at dinner, but Betty remains a horrible mother to Sally, and Don's noticing. Her mother's death brought on a lot of her Season One problems, and Gene 1.0's death is exacerbating them. Part of what Don sees in her is the good mother that he never had; if she falters in this role, this might push him away...or at least into the arms of the hippie teacher.

-Hooker is approaching Season One Pete levels of obsequiousness; Guy could have gotten there if he'd stuck around longer.

-It was nice to see the chipmunks briefly reconcile after the meeting. For once, they're on the same confused page...though I'm not sure if Ken is in the lead or not in his competition with Pete. The lawnmower account was a big win; the accident was not.

-My GOD that was a Top 10 moment with the foot. So horrible, yet so awesome.

-Roger was on FIRE again this week. Great one-liners from start to finish. But will he bring his A-game in the second half of the season?

-During one commercial break, I flipped over to see Matthew Weiner accepting the Emmy for best writing in a dramatic series! And I just saw it won best dramatic series again, so congratulations to everybody.

-I was sort of hoping the episode would end with Joan coming home to find Dr. Rapist had killed himself. Well, there's seven episodes left in the season. I realize that's a nasty thing to wish on someone, but then again, fictional character.

-Seriously, that bit with the foot...damn.

shawna said...

I felt so horribly for poor Joan when they threw her the party in front of so many and she broke down. And then she was the one comforting her horrid husband, he cared nothing for how it effected her.

Don was so good with
Sally and I actually felt like Betty was better with Sally this episode as well, despite how she acted in the last scene (I laughed when Bobby said he was bored and Betty told him to bang his head againt the wall. my parents have said the same to me).

I hope Conrad Hilton has something to do with Don leaving Sterling Cooper. Things are going down in flames there.

Sonia said...

I am still laughing at your title, Alan...brilliant!

I agree wit the first commenter -- phenomenal. I'm going to watch it again.

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. God. I'm still reeling from this episode. And did anyone else catch Don's reaction to the Brits' easy dismissal of the young, rising star? He is still as bright, still as educated, still as talented--all the factors that made him a success remain intact--but his career is over. That's how capricious one's hold is on success.

Rita said...

Was it a sign of the times that PPL didn't think Guy could sell advertising with only one foot?
What happens to the Vietnam vets who come back with worse injuries?

Unknown said...

I was actually kinda glad that Lois was the one who caused the accident. I never really liked her, but she really irritated me when she helped the guys prank Peggy. I can't believe Ken was crazy enough to drive the lawnmower into the office in the first place (and let's face it, some really crazy stuff has happened at Sterling Cooper), but I really cannot believe anyone let that idiot Lois anywhere near it, let alone letting her drive it!! Thank goodness Joan saved the day.

Sloansy said...

Fantastic episode...I laughed more than I do when I watch most comedies. I thought it was terrific even though I didn't like the central event, the lawnmower running over poor Guy's foot. 1963 was a different time yes, but people weren't all magically idiots either...surely a drunker secretary on a lawnmower would have set of alarm bells before she cut off the foot of Mr. Cambridge and London School of Economics. (on the other hand safety equipment at the time was certainly not what we'd expect today, as my Grandfather has two missing fingers due to a landmower accident of his own).

Harry again showed that, while he is neither smart or hardworking, he hitched himself to the right wagon and its going to take him to the top. My favorite part of the episode was Don's befuddlement after the intial meeting with the Brit's followed by Roger's "the suspense is killin him." Ah Roger. May you never go episodes with only a single line again.

cgeye said...


That lovely exclamation from Mr. Hamm underscores the surprise this episode exploits in dismemberment. It's a motif.

Symbolic castration (Roger by Mona/Don - "I don't like being judged", Dr. Rapist by his boss, St. John's non-woo-woo-Indian decree) and the real limb losses of Papa Sterling and that poor Guy. I haven't seen the like since Miss Rosalind Shays took the express downstairs at McKenzie Brackman. And even more awesome that we only see the aftermath. Hope it doesn't affect Mr. Hilton's opinion of the firm.

(And Mercedes Benz finally got its plug. Awesome.)

As for Joan's husband, I know I'm supposed to feel sorry about the loss of his surgical career, but the longer that scene lasted the more my knot in my stomach grew. I was hoping for suicide -- a clean break, Joan getting the insurance proceeds -- but that punk too humbled to hit or harm will nicely do. The problem with cowards like this is that sooner or later the rage comes back. I only hope Miss Joan is far away from him when it does.

Did you know that while staying at the Hilton Family of hotels, one may watch a looping biography of both the conglomerate and Mr. Hilton? It's true. If anyone can find it online, it's now essential MAD MEN prep --


-- as I was saying, if the Hilton bio isn't online, trust that the chain will make it so. If they don't --


-- Hilton's PR department must have been run over by a lawnmover, or somethin'.

Stringer Sawyer Carmichael said...

Wonderful episode! I wonder if the Dr. Pepper machine was a chance for the show to get some advertising dollars. I grew up in Texas and would visit family in Boston as a child, as I remember as late as the early 90s, people in Boston having no idea what Dr. Pepper was. Surely the cutoff point for Dr. Pepper distribution wasn't NYC or somewhere north (but before Boston).

Anonymous said...


Cinnette said...

I teared up at the end. The sight of Don holding his infant son with Sally on his lap was beautiful.

Garrett said...

I also loved that Dr. Rapist was passed over for a promotion at least partly because he killed a patient, while Joan was praised for saving Guy's life. One more sign that she's being wasted both personally and professionally.

Anonymous said...

Thought Joan's bloody dress was foreshadowing of the Kennedy assassination.

KcM said...

I enjoyed Don's burst of patriotism -- doodling the Stars and Stripes -- upon hearing he wasn't getting promoted.

Very glad to see Lane Pryce got a stay of execution. I groaned aloud when it looked like they were writing him off and sending him to India. The now-one-footed "born Accounts man" ("he'll never play golf again") seemed far too close to Moneypenny to seem interesting as Lane's replacement.

What now of Joan? It's starting to seem like we'll soon be following another outfit alongside Sterling-Cooper: either the Draper spinoff that Alan suggested, or Duck's new home. If any of the mains find themselves switching teams, I could see them finding a place for Joan at the table.

Finally, with a mom like Betty, I can't say I'm surprised that Sally joined the Weather Underground. It's starting to play like a prequel to American Pastoral at this point.

berkowit28 said...


Everything happened this episode, and all at once. It's going to take some time to digest.

cgeye - did Mercedes Benz advertise on previous episodes? (Or what did you mean by "finally..."?) I couldn't help by being struck by the fact the MBenz got a placement plug on an episode where BMW had a commercial. I wondered whjether maybe BMW declined to cough up for a placement, so this was their "reward"...

Anonymous said...

Capitivating episode. Poor Guy. I am shocked at how easily the Brits dismissed him for losing a foot. Apparently, there is little regard during this period for people with disabilities...better not to be seen by clients I suppose is how they see it. I imagine that is the last we see of the dizzy secretary who ran over Guy's foot too - not doubt she is fired for running him over.

I was surprised at Don's reaction to Connie. The two of them bonded at the country club. Connie is a very powerful connection from a business person's perspective and yet Don was almost cold toward him.

Dr. Rapist didn't make chief of surgery but why can't he open his own practice or go to another hospital? Was he overreacting? Poor Joan. We have not seen the last of her but I wonder how they will continue her story at SC.

Anonymous said...

Oh...the bloody dress... Lactic's connection to Jackie hadn't occurred to me...but of course, this is a foreshadowing. It's summer of '63, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Notice that Joan is an amazing doctor -- unlike her would-be physician husband. And it's startling to be reminded of what it was like before the ADA -- when it was ok to put to pasture a "brain worker" who'd lost his foot...

MattB said...

No mention of how it was Joan, wife of the not-surgeon, who calmly and forcifully handled the situation with Guy's foot and wrapped the tourniquet?

Devin McCullen said...

One thing that struck me was Don's reaction when Connie said he should think bigger. His story about the snake was obviously Don in "pitch mode", but it was a pitch for not going too far. Once again, Don's essential conservativism comes through.

And as somebody who didn't want to see Conrad Hilton come back because I thought Don should have recognized him, I thought they did a decent job of dealing with that. Especially Don's evident confusion about why Conrad Hilton was calling him.

Nathan Melby said...

I got the feeling that not only was Don uncomfortable with baby Gene having grandpa Gene's name because of the rocky relationship Don had with the original, but Don's life has been lived through someone else's name and the prospect of his son having to do the same doesn't sit well. The nice words spoken at the end not only seemed to be a way of soothing Sally, but a reaffirmation to himself.

-Pete caught Peggy when she fainted at the sight of blood. It was good to see that even though there has been much friction between them, he still was there to catch her.

Stephen S Power said...

A few small observations:

Guy and the other Brits weren't wearing shoes when the went into Cooper's office. Executives thinking of trodding on the old regime wouldn't have done that.

I love Guy's line re accounts managers in the new org chart: "Mr. Cosgrove. And Mr. Campbell. For the present." Was he suggesting both are on the bubble or just the latter?

There's a lot of product placement in this show, but like Maytag not wanting their washing machines shown during a tv program about agitators, do you think John Deere actually paid to have their mower mutilate guy's foot?

I like the pecking order of the suits on the stairs, with St. John standing tallest, Ford and Guy next, then Cooper and finally Price lowest.

Dan said...

I love Lois and all, but you've got to think this is the last straw for her.

Anonymous said...

I actually thought Betty was being rather sweet to poor Sally, giving her the Barbie and encouraging her to be friends with baby Gene.

Garrett said...

Have we seen Sally with a Barbie before? After Betty's comments about Sally playing with tools like "a little lesbian," this could be her (sorry, baby Gene's) attempt at steering her to more gender-appropriate toys. Sally throwing away the toy might be as much due to that as her fright of the baby.

Ann T. said...

I knew something was going to happen when Ken drove in the tractor but I was completely flabbergasted by the dismemberment. The priceless moment was the blood splatter on the chipmunks. I think it was the chipmunks. I'll have to watch it again.
My hope for the rest of the season is that Don leaves Sterling Cooper to start a new agency, with Hilton Hotels as his main client. He takes Peggy, Joan, Ken, and Sal with him.

cgeye said...

oh, my god.

This is what happens when I turn away to the Emmys. WE SAW THIS.

Unknown said...

I'm just watching for the second time. What a wonderful episode. Pete just said his great line, "one more promotion, and we're all going to be answering phones."

Re this remark above:

***"He might lose his foot." -Paul
"Right when he got it in the door." -Roger***

In addition to thinking this was really funny, I immediately wondered if this was part of the "foot references" that began in episode 1 of this season with Don's bare feet. Then the hippie teacher's bare feet.

I too flipped over in time to see Weiner accept the writer's award, and again to see Mad Men take the big enchilada. Too bad neither Elizabeth Moss nor Jon Hamm won for acting.

Perhaps the utter chaos will be a motivation for SC's asking Joan to "come back." Sure hope so.

Sorry, but I hate the British, and that supercilious twit most of all.

Again, Slattery is priceless.

JT said...

Alan, no disrespect, but maybe you should refrain from proclaiming it "one of the best of the series" before it airs. I sat through the episode waiting for it to be amazing and it was just average great for htis show. still think lasy week's ep was the tits. To be honest, this was nowhere near the top, although I do agree it was wickedly funny and that guy's foot was the funniest thing I have seen in a while, or maybe it was the blood spray that caused me to have a heart attack.

cgeye said...

And Connie's scene was amazingly constructed. He knew the ad was bad, but he needed someone he could trust to critique it in private, because he had enough Yes men to deprive him of honest critics.

But Don also gets honesty, back. His under-ambition -- "you need to think bigger" -- doesn't look good to Connie, but Don didn't get where he is by not being careful.

[Oh, Bryan. Shit, you're good. The fight in triumverate -- Cranston/Hamm/Laurie]

shawna said...

"jasctt said...
Alan, no disrespect, but maybe you should refrain from proclaiming it "one of the best of the series" before it airs. I sat through the episode waiting for it to be amazing and it was just average great for htis show."

This is Alan's blog and he can express his opinion whenever he wants.

Anonymous said...

Also, this episode was the only time I wished Don and Joan were together.

gazpachotactics said...

The Floyd's Barbershop chain uses those massagers. Also, tonight's episode was like an episode of "I Love Lucy" directed by Sam Raimi circa 1987.

Anonymous said...

Christina Hendricks has an enormous amount of presence; I'm glad we finally got an episode this season that gave her a chance to show off.

lilcath said...

Loved the Brit's comment in explaining why Guy's career is over: "Doctor says he'll never golf again."

Groovekiller said...

A few questions/comments for the best 'board' in the biz:

1) Was anyone else worried that it was going to be Joan that was going to be hit with the mower? The cuts back and forth seemed to tease that notion.

2) Has Jon Hamm sat in that arm over the chair position (like in the pic above and the credits) in every episode this season?

3) I think it was a great moment when Joan made Don laugh at the hospital. Betty has never (in my memory) made Don laugh. When the Brits walk in, it's almost like Don and Joan were caught. However, not in flagrante delicto (and frankly, those two are so hot, that TVs across the nation would just burst into flames if that were ever to happen) but rather in the act of emotional and/or intellectual adultery.

Blair Waldorf said...

To quote a Gossip Girl ad campaign:


I just can't believe they went there. I saw the lawn mower. I knew what it could do. But the blood and the foot and the squeegee. Wow.

Lois, Lois, Lois. Will she be fired or given a promotion.

This was a creepy episode. I was totally creeped out by the snake in the box. It just got creepier with the lawnmower and finally the ghost barbie and Sally's blood curdling screams.

All this foreboding but most of our characters are mostly OK. For now.

Wooooooo! Michael Emerson's the man.

Anonymous said...

Somehow I get the feeling that Don is being written as this embodiment of perfection. Despite his little thing with the stewardess in the premiere, he hasn't really put down a foot wrong . . . so far. Weiner is even portraying him as a better parent than Betty, which has NOT been the case in previous seasons.

I hope this doesn't continue. Because if it does, I will begin to lose interest in him as a character. I can't stand characters who are perceived as perfect or right all the time. Which is why I'm having problems with Peggy, this season.

Alan Sepinwall said...

FWIW on Hamm and the Emmy, I still think he picked a bad submission episode. Not that "The Mountain King" is a bad episode, but that it's not really an ideal showcase for why Hamm is so wonderful, particularly if you're showing it to someone not familiar with the show.

Anonymous said...

Another Kennedy/Lawnmower thing: When Smitty first drove it out, Don's secretary was on the back, dressed in pink, waving to the crowd. Pretty sure we were supposed to see a connection.

Also: "Get in bed. I'll undress you." Ew. Ew ew ew.

cgeye said...

I'm not pissed about Hamm's losses, primarily because Emmys like Oscars are cumulative. You get it near the end of your run, like Cryer. It's like an award for being a good corporate citizen -- even Cranston's getting it partially because he rocked so hard in MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE.

Anonymous said...

@Crystal - I laughed so hard at that scene. I mean, can you just imagine waking up to find your recently departed Barbie sitting on your dresser, taunting you? I laughed too when she said baby Gene looks like his namesake - newborns do in fact look like wrinkled old men.

Kitty Sheehan said...

Amazing--all around.
Don't think anyone mentioned this: another stand-out Joan moment.
When Don walked around the corner to find her at the soda machine at the hospital, upon seeing the blood on her dress, he says, "whoa, Joan."
I assumed he was concerned about what she'd been through.
She assumed he was concerned about her dress: "I know, it's ruined."
The Brits, in their cold efficiency, of course assured her she'd be reimbursed.

whitey b. said...

The near-fight between Don and Betty at the end about the baby's name had me holding my breath. I feel like this season thus far has been building towards Don revealing something true about his past to his wife (something beyond his father beating him, as he explained to her last season). Betty is so sure that he rankles at the idea of naming their baby Gene because he hates the name/hated the man. When she tells Don that it's what people do, she has no clue how well he knows that. His mother named him after his father, so to speak, in the most spiteful, hateful way, and he has spent most of his life escaping that. Betty can't possibly know how much a person's name means to Don.

The fact that I could go on gushing about this 20 second scene for many more paragraphs is just one tiny reason Mad Men deserved the Emmy tonight.

Betty said...

I respectfully disagree with Juanita re: historically Don has not been seen as a better parent than Betty. Although, he isn't home very often (not a great dad) and he isn't a great husband, he has always been shown as tender toward his children. Remember (season 1, I think) where he told Bobby "I will never lie to you". Etc. I think they have always shown that Betty is a terrible mother.

Jeff said...

Was Joan more or less bloodstained than Jackie Kennedy?

lylee said...

Well, that episode just made my head explode.

Never thought I'd see blood spattered across the SC offices.

Those PP&L folks seem to treat their management like disposable diapers - first Duck, then Pryce, and now one-foot. Don better get out while he still can. Esp. if he's successfully hooked Hilton.

Christina Hendricks was luminous. Even more so than usual, I mean.

Betty's parenting: I give her credit for trying. But I can't deny Don just has better instincts. Too bad he's not around more to act on them.

(And Don, please, please, don't screw your daughter's teacher. That is NOT a good parental instinct.)

Am I a bad person for laughing out loud at Sally's reaction to the Return of Barbie? Mind you, I think dolls are creepy.

Anonymous said...

The scene where Don and Betty were fighting over Sally's reaction was probably the most honest I've seen both of them be towards each other in awhile.

Betty was always daddy Gene's little girl, and so it seems like Betty is clinging to daddy yet again by being so adamant about the baby's name.

"Somewhere in this business this has happened before."- Ah Roger. Out of all of the one liners, that one got the biggest laugh out of me.

Steve Ely said...

I, like Groovekiller, also wondered for a second if that lawnmower was coming for Joan. Too implausible, though. No way they'd take off her foot like they did Guy's.

Some anonymous person said Don's secretary was on the lawnmower with Smitty. I disagree. There were two secretaries in pink. I'm pretty sure Don's was on Ken's lap, and the woman with Smitty was the other. Kinsey's secretary, maybe, or Ken's or Pete's? I obviously need a DVR.

lylee said...

Ok, I now see that I wasn't the only one who laughed.

I still don't agree that Betty's a terrible parent. Just a very limited one, following a template we all now see as flawed.

floretbroccoli said...

What an episode!

I'm Bobby Draper's age and grew up in New York City. Dr. Pepper strikes me as a little early, but just because we never bought it until the later 60s (it was somehow a protest against Coke's support of The War, but it turned out that Coke was Dr. P's distributor in NY). It was kind of thrilling for me to see that particular Barbie. The black-haired, bubble-cut Barbie. It did come in that red bathing suit. While my sister (Sally's age) lost her Barbie, when it was given to our younger cousins, I was able to look over at my dresser and see my Barbie, Sally's Barbie, relaxing in a lovely hostess gown.

Flashman said...

It was pretty clear that something was going to go wrong with the lawnmower as soon as it was introduced, but that was still unexpected, to say the least.

They certainly did a good job of highlighting the uncertainty of all the characters by having Guy come out of nowhere to take over. Had it been Pryce it wouldn't be as off-putting as watching an unknown factor sweep in and take over

Unknown said...

Did anyone notice what Don was doodling during that meeting? It looked like a square with stick figures in them. Any thoughts on what that meant?

Also, I thought it was nice of Betty to try to connect with Sally with the Barbie, but the way she gave the gift and then just walked away without hearing Sally's feelings or explaining how Gene is just a baby and not a threat, was still so dismissive. I know it was the time, but she still makes no effort to truly connect with her daughter. Her scenes with Sally are in such sharp contrast with Don's, who actually asks Sally how she feels and acts affectionate. It's amazing that Don, who is not around that much, connects so much more with Sally than Betty, who is with her all day.

Loved Roger in this episode as others have said. I also loved Burt saying, "We took their money. We have to do what they say." Roger was so naive to think that he could sell the company and still be an authority.

I so hope Joan finds a way back to Sterling. Or takes off with some of the crew when Don starts his own shop!

Ann T. said...

@Carlanoodle On Mo Ryan's review she said Don's doodle was an American flag. I'm not sure where she saw it, maybe there was an extra scene in her screener DVD?

Lauren said...

Amazing episode.

Peggy's line, "I was just writing copy" reminded me of the "I carried a watermelon" line from Dirty Dancing.

I loved the ending with Don, Sally and Gene. Great Dylan song, too.

Such a brilliant show.

Mo Ryan said...

"those two [Don and Joan] are so hot, that TVs across the nation would just burst into flames if that were ever to happen."

You said it.

Sorry, at the Tom Sawyer reference my first thought was of Jeffster!

No idea how the guy playing St John Powell got through that line -- "Doctors said he'll never golf again" -- without ruining every take with laughter. I know, I'm pure evil for cackling at that line, but it just hit me that way.

I think the JFK parallels were definitely there. The handsome, promising young man, the sudden splatter, the woman covered in blood.

Nicole said...

I suspect that baby Gene will end up going by his middle name when he gets to school, especially if he goes to college (which will be in the 80s). So Betty will end up losing in her attempt to recreate her father.

I suspected something would happen when the lawnmower was brought in, a little because Alan hinted at it, and second, because driving a lawnmower in an office is a dumbass thing to do. Ken may end up getting in serious trouble for bringing it in. Joan should get fired because of this too, so she really shouldn't be sticking around. If this was today, there would certainly be a lawsuit, and considering Guy will now be out of a job, it may be something that comes back to haunt Sterling Cooper.

It was nice to see the Joan/Don scenes, and I certainly sensed some kind of longing between them. Joan is likely to return in some fashion, and will probably get Mr. Hooker's job.

Sally should just practice her bra burning now, because Betty has set up so many complexes in that girl that when the 70s roll around, Sally will surely rebel.

This was a really good episode and the lawnmower incident will most definitely be a water cooler moment tomorrow morning.

Mo Ryan said...

I added a screen shot of Don's doodle to my blog post, about halfway down. Looks like the beginnings of an American flag to me.

Verification word: Cracky

Unknown said...

Could anyone tell what song Paul was playing on his guitar as the Brits were touring past his office? I wonder if it was Guthrie/Dylan. I have actually been thinking a lot about folk music and its relationship to the era now being portrayed in Mad Men because with the passing of Mary (of Peter, Paul, and Mary) I have been seeing their 1963 rendition of "If I had a hammer". I was thinking about how incongruous that song seems with the world that Mad Men shows us...until tonight.

Side questions: Do you think Paul wanted to be "caught" playing folk guitar by the dignitaries? Either to "rebel" against Hooker's joke about shaving his beard or to show off his bohemian/creative side? Or is this Paul once again being clueless?

DMc said...

My 71 Year old dad laughed his head off when he saw those shoulder massagers in the Barber Shop. Though he was quick to tell my Mother and I, "they would only have one...and at most you got a couple of passes before they pushed you out of the chair."

Anonymous said...

The Barbie had a Jackie haircut...

Anonymous said...

Is a brunette Barbie really Barbie?

A lot of people were getting gifts they didn't want in this one: The Barbie, The Snake in the Box, The Cake, and Baby Gene......


Unknown said...

So, if that doodle was an American flag... How humorous and telling that the Brits swoop in on the day before the day to celebrate the 4th of July. They announce a new level of oversight and Don's immediate response is to draw an American flag? Another metaphor illustrating how much Don years for the past? Pre-British Invasion? (Although we have yet to see the true British Invasion on the show... Just you wait, Don!)

Unknown said...

Sorry, I hit publish too soon... And to add to my previous comment, Don was just fantasizing about living in London and taking the Brits by storm there. After hearing that Guy and the PPL folks have other ideas, he yearns for America after all.

Food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Is there no end to Joan's competence! What a great scene in the midst of the chaos there she is ordering people to get her the tourniquet & of course she knows right where it is!

Did anyone else notice the odd way Joan said she was going to turn out the light -"close the light," I believe. Is that a regional expression? I've heard "outen the light" (Pennsylv. Germans) before but never "close."

Also, I think Betty was trying to make a bigger effort with her parenting skills this episode -but with her usual cluelessness about Sally's needs. Odd how she called little Gene a "pig in a blanket" (slang for a hotdog)& ended her bonding scene with Sally by formally saying "& I appreciate you too," or something to that effect.

I felt that, despite the chemistry between two gorgeous actors, Don's & Joan's goodbye scene was clearly communicating their mutual respect for one another which had not been sullied by the normal office flirting/romancing.

Re: somebody's comment re: Sally & Barbies: When Betty shut Sally in the closet after catching her smoking, part of her threatened punishment was "no more Barbies," so I assume the doll was a favorite of Sally's.

Glad "Connie" was back -his brief exchange with Don at the Country Club seemed too good to be a one shot pairing.

Jape77 said...

Glad someone else got the blood-on-Joan's-dress/Kennedy foreshadowing.

I usually describe "Mad Men" to people who haven't seen it yet as "The Great American Novel ... but on TV" -- and this season in particular has been heavy on the foreshadowing.

The lawn mower accident presaged not just the Kennedy Assassination but Vietnam. My first though upon seeing Guy fall to the floor screaming (ok, ok, AFTER I laughed at the Chipmonks covered in blood) was that it reminded me of a scene from Platoon or Hamburger Hill or -- take your pick.

(In fact, I almost thought it was *too* heavy-handed coming mere moments after the first blatant mention of Vietnam on the show, but my wife didn't pick up on it, so maybe its just me)

One final note on foreshadowing, though of less the literary sort: wasn't it just a few weeks ago that Pryce was talking shop at dinner with Don and mentioned a rival ad firm opening a branch in Dehli? Just sayin'

Rich Walsh said...

Great episode throughout in every dimension with many plot thread choices available for the balance of the season.

So glad that antiquated notion of 'Deus ex machina' has been replaced by the much hipper conceit of 'Lois ex machina'. :)

Hyde said...

Oh...the bloody dress... Lactic's connection to Jackie hadn't occurred to me...but of course, this is a foreshadowing. It's summer of '63, isn't it?

Foreshadowing occurred to me too, but I thought more about Vietnam, especially since it had been mentioned earlier in that scene. What happened to Guy was the result of group carelessness and a collective refusal to sense potential danger, which is more like Nam than Dallas.

"He'll never golf again" as a serious reason why someone's business career is ruined is one of this show's alltime great lines.

Could the Brits really have been unaware that the U.S. has a national holiday on July 4, or was that more of their unsubtle message-sending?

J said...

"He'll never play golf again."

Really great storytelling - nudging the shoelessness of Cooper's office back in was a nice sort of foreshadowing of The Lawnmower Incident without telegraphing anything - but the best moments of this show have been less self-contained than this episode felt. I enjoy the apt, unexplicit parallels to larger societal roles and changes and am still waiting for this season to go there.

(Whatever similarities with the Kennedy assassination they might have grafted on to The Lawnmower Incident, it's not as if the situations were analogous.)

The ending's embrace of an undefined future made me feel like this ep was still more set-up than release. A lot of great internal drama and comedy; I feel like I'm still waiting for this season's first Wow.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful camera and lighting work this episode, even more so than usual. The Drapers' bedroom and Joan & Dr. Rapist in the living room in particular - on first glance, the shots looked so much like movies from the era.

I was surprised at Don's criticism of the Hilton ads. Sure, no one wants to think of mice in hotels, but I thought Mr. Aspirational's first criticism would be that no one wants to be thought of as a country mouse.

I'd like to get some more Ken backstory. Not that I think every character on the show needs to be fully fleshed out, but among the regular chipmunks, he seems to be the most one-dimensional. Or is that on purpose - is he really such a superficial character?

Anonymous said...

They call the lawnmower an "iron horse" in the first scene. That's the title of a Ginsberg poem about Vietnam. The phrase refers to trains. I think they also called the mower a "mastodon," the name of a famous train (thanks Wikipedia!). Not sure what to make of that, except that in Westerns trains symbolize the unstoppable and destructive onrush of modernity, etc.

Disappearing Atlanta said...

Sopranos Season 2, Ep. 1 was called "Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist's Office"

lespygirl said...

what a great blog and comments!

snakes -- are warnings, so we knew something was coming -- and perhaps still is.

Pryce knows where he stands now with the brits -- so maybe his allegiance will shift if he has to stay in NY now because of Guy's downfall. Think there is more to cpme of his relationship with don, and we really need to see more of his wife!

joan telling creepo hubby she'll undress him: yes its creepy, but it shows the role she's taking on, she is the one really in charge now, he's the child. lets hope he does do himself in, but you can bet he hasn't bothered to get insurance or think of her. i wish she wouldn't get her old job back, but realize her intelligence and go to school. what do you want to bet she was able to fix Guy's leg because she has been tutoring creepo hubby on his studies.

the blood on joans dress -- not just a foreshadowing of kennedy, or vietnam, but also the only place her pain and vulnerable side is made visible, she is so adept at hiding it, hiding her tears as though they meant something else, so touching at the end in the scene with don.

Anonymous said...

Remember, Ken wrote a story was published in "The Atlantic."

Anonymous said...

I know the Washington Post had a high ranking editor at that time (early 60's) who was a foot amputee..Two wars meant lots of amputees. A foot amuptation is pretty easy to hide for a man. You dont' even limp if you are not tired. So it would not really be a big problem with clients.

I think he could easily continue to work...But that doesn't mean the Brits would have let him.

Anonymous said...

The snake theme was fascinating. It reminds me of the ambitious Slytherins in Harry Potter (symbolized by the snake). The way I see it, the man who got the snake in the basket was called a "Snake Charmer" because he had set up his coworkers at the company for a con game of switching them around and playing them off against each other. And he realized immediately the disdain of the British management when they were going to send him to Mumbai/Bombay - perhaps foreshadowing something about fighting against British Rule as Gandhi did in India? When Guy gets run over by the lawnmower, justice is served that an iconic suburban status symbol destroys the "snake in the grass." Finally, Don's snake speech was amazing because he was setting limits on what he would do, even though he is just as dangerous a character as the British Management. It was awesome. :)

J said...

Snakes are, in most cultures, a positive symbol of change... though here the first snake is stuffed, Don's snake suffocates.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your well-written review. It was a pleasure to read.

I would also like to compliment the comment posters for their excellent spelling and diction. It's quite a rare thing in this age of internet posting.

Finally, I would like to say that "Mad Men" is a testament to intelligent writing, skillful acting and superb production. It completely disproves the notion of pandering to the lowest common denominator by television creators and producers. A giant Thank You to all involved!

wellhungatdawn said...

I got a massage like that at the health club in the Reno Hilton (from a guy who could have been either a barber or a boxing trainer) as recently as 10 years ago.

The Don/Peggy bit seemed like carryover from last week. To him she's not worthy of a higher salary and she also doesn't know what good champagne is.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Madison Avenue wanted to think about, much less hire, disabled war veterans. Kids graduating from top schools were unusually lucky in escaping the draft (this early, there was no lottery) by family pull, extended deferments, vague medical disqualifications and outright fraud. Any kid unlucky enough to get called up, and then serve on the combat lines instead of rear echelon, and then get themselves maimed would be a three-strike jinx. (Unlike World War II, where adults with established careers might be called up, or even volunteer, then return to their civilian careers.)

Anonymous said...

From Jan:

First of all, kudos to everyone who said that Connie was probably Conrad Hilton a couple of episodes ago. It made sense after reading all the comments, but I hadn't realized it while viewing the episode.

Second: My ex's family always said "Close the lights," so that resonated with me.

Third: I loved the humor--the ocmment about how his career was over because he'd never golf again, the squeegee and the blood, Sally screaming at what seems to be Barbie come back to life.

Fourth: I had another comment, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. If I think of it, I'll post again.

Jape77 said...

> To him she's not worthy of a higher salary and she also doesn't know what good champagne is.

Whoop, no, sorry -- that was clearly Don expressing his disdain for the Brits. No matter the quality, it couldn't be good champagne if it was handed out under those circumstances. His eagerness to flee the office for the meeting with Connie merely reinforced his feelings

Anonymous said...

Re "Do you think Paul wanted to be 'caught' playing folk guitar by the dignitaries? Either to 'rebel' against Hooker's joke about shaving his beard or to show off his bohemian/creative side?"

I took his guitar playing (office door open too) as a big "F You" to the visiting VIPs. He has no idea how affected he comes across. I think if I worked with someone like him, I'd have had a tough time not laughing every time he entered the room.

What a freakin' fantastic episode. So many revealing, enriching camera shots and as always, brilliant writing. Kudos to the prop master(s) too. And I thought the commercial breaks were much less jarring this week.

I concur with the others who were happy to see Connie Hilton again. The way I interpreted Don's behavior in their meeting was that he was setting boundaries and expectations -- letting Hilton know that he was neither impressed or intimidated by men like him. And that he wasn't about to give away the store. I respected him for that.

Based on the date of the Time cover story on Hilton, we're four months before the JFK assasination. I can feel the tension building and can't wait to see how this is handled.

The last time I bought a soda from a machine, it was $1.50 - and I swiped my credit card on a little reader attached.

Oh, and I'm glad I didn't buy that riding mower I was considering.

HaroldsMaude said...

The Don and Joan scene at the end totally made up for the lack of Joan time last week. I loved how their last gaze lasted...soooooo....long.


We wondered if Joan's calm heroism might deepen trouble with Dr. Rapist. That she can do what he can't; another threaten to his manhood. But the only way he'll hear about it is through Joan, and she'll play it down to be sure.

I ached all episode for her to spill the beans and ask for her job back. But it's more intriguing to wonder what will happen to her. Maybe that newly promoted head of media will need a crack assistant.

Simply: More Joan, please.

I knew exactly what Sally was getting - the Barbie box shape was very well known to us. And I loved the touch of Betty using comics paper.

And after the Betty and Don fight over Gene's name, I thought Don might tell Sally that they could call the baby Scott. But I guess he wouldn't do that unless Betty OKd it.

Boy, Pryce sure got lucky. I wonder if he slipped Lois some bucks to plow Guy down.

Deborah Newell said...

Some thoughts on the gift of the snake. It was no hunter's trophy stuffed snake--this was a snake-charmer's cobra. The practice of snake charming is most commonly seen in India, where they tell Pryce he'll be headed next (to Bombay, too, which would in later years become Mumbai). It involves playing an instrument to "hypnotize" the creature so it poses no threat. This is what wikipedia has to say about the snake charmer, the lifestyle of whom would appear to mirror, symbolically anyway, that of poor Pryce, the man who does as he's told, who works his magic on places like SC and brings them in line:

Many snake charmers live a wandering existence, visiting towns and villages on market days and during festivals. With a few rare exceptions, however, they typically make every effort to keep themselves from harm's way.

(At the above link, there's a photo of a snake charmer, and both the cobra and, especially, the basket look exactly like the one that St. John gave Pryce.)

Anonymous said...

If we get biblical, the snake is the creature that whispered in Eve's ear and implanted the idea to eat from the tree of knowledge.

made me think of Cooper's speculations and then later his apology for his imagination.

Jami said...

Lois's driving was anything but "w"reckless!

StickmanAZ said...

A thought about the historic accuracies... There are lots of repro Barbie dolls and boxes out there... and lord knows the LA "antique" shops are full of them... especially in Pomona. So the Barbie doll was not too much of a stretch.

But the overhead projector used in the re-org presentation surprised me. It looked much too 1970's to me (I used to manage classroom AV equipment delivery for a private college) But I may be wrong...

Still I noticed the Ritz cracker box in the Draper's kitchen and it's apperance made me again wonder to what extent the placement of products on screen (either as set dressing or as plot devices (Kodak, Pepsi, London Fog, John Deere) are merely set dressing/period accuracy or the degree to which they are product placement that help underwrite the costs of producing the episodes. For the most part we are seeing companies whose products are still produced and available.

Anonymous said...

A Guy Walks Into An Advertising Agency.
He doesn't walk out.

That's the pitch.

Did I mention another guy drives a riding lawnmower into an advertising agency.

Oh, and another guy lives in "The Bubble"

Manton said...

Good lord that blood spray was brutal. Great episode, almost felt like a season-ender, and it's just in the middle of the run. It's nights like tonight where I feel spoiled as a TV viewer.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the "underdog sports movies" comment, Chelcie Ross played Harris in "Major League." Remember the veteran pitcher who disrespects Pedro Cerrano's icon and pays the price?

Susan said...

My second favorite episode, second only to "Shoot." Fabulous showcase for Joan. When she began to! The scene with her and Peggy and the mutual respect these women have is great. Nothing sexual or romantic between her and Don, although it was cute how after she kissed him, she wiped the lipstick off. Gotta keep his record clean at home.

Juanita's Journal, I don't think Don is becoming perfect. Far from it. It was nice to see him come to Sally's rescue.

Anonymous said...

Great episode!

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

Anonymous said...


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

Hatfield said...

As soon as Lois got on the John Deere, I was worried that something even worse would happen. That was pretty bad, obviously, but I was expecting deaths.

I assume Alan meant to say "not unemployable" in regards to Chelcie Ross. I was about to point out his role as Senator Baynard in The Last Boy Scout, but then I remembered that movies primary plot revolves around football. And I don't know about New Jersey, but here in Long Beach, CA, I just had a straight razor shave, complete with hot towel, aftershave, and most importantly, neck and shoulder massage. The place even gave me a beer while I waited. I'm sure you can find something if you look.

berkowit28 said...

My barber in Santa Barbara, CA also gives the "vibrator" shoulder massage. Maybe it's become a California thing by now? (Doubtful.) I'd never seen it before I came here.

berkowit28 said...

cgeye, did you miss this, near the top:

cgeye - did Mercedes Benz advertise on previous episodes? Or what did you mean by "finally..."? I couldn't help by being struck by the fact MBenz got a product placement plug in an episode where BMW had a commercial. I wondered whether maybe BMW declined to cough up for a product placement, so this was their "reward"...

LA said...

By the time I watch the episode on the West coast, read the insightful review and the myriad comments, there's almost no stone left unturned upon which to comment.

So I'll just add that, Alan, yes, Kiernan Shipka has been listed in the opening credits all season. Much to my delight.

Fantastic episode. The "he'll never play golf again" line just killed me.

Hatfield, I'm next door in Seal.

Anonymous said...

Somewhere upthread someone mentioned Dr. Pepper. Dr. Pepper was always available in the North down in the South it suddenly turned into Mr. Pibb though it tasted the same.Boston and NY had Dr. Pepper.

Julia said...

Re: Gregg.

Surgeons are often thought to be the top of the pecking order (especially among surgeons), but there are most doctors are not surgeons. Gregg was a star athlete, probably with great large motor skills. Surgury requires fine motor skills - not everybody has those & it's no more Greeg's fault than having red hair would be.

He would likely deal with the wounded foot as well if not better than Joan. No fine motor skills required for that. Gregg could be an internist, a cardiologist, a neurologist, etc. etc. - of course, his surgeon colleagues would all feel sorry for him.

And, if anybody is going to go to Nam it's likely to be Gregg. I was a med student's wife about this time and almost 100% of the 1966 graduating class went into service after internship. Unlike regular guys, it didn't make any difference if you were married or even if you had kids. Uncle Sam was happy to give a deferment to get through med school b/c wars need lots of doctors.

Someone like Gregg with some surgical experience could be very useful in Nam - even if he just did meatball surgery or run triage.

Julia said...

Should have added:

It's not too unlikely that Joan could end up a war widow.

Gregg might see signing up as a solution to not knowing what to do next.

Elle Dee said...

Such great, laugh-out-loud dark comedy in this episode! The accident was horrific and disturbing, and yet it was the funniest episode of the series. I thought the actors handled the shifts in tone really well.

This week's "Mad Men" Haiku:
Bloody good party
Until it turned, well, bloody
No more golf for Guy

Deborah said...


I'm here on the West Coast and read your review and the comments first thing. I've been a lurker until now.

Wow, or should I say "Whoa!"

The building tension, the blood spray and Sally's scream brought to mind "Psycho" which I was surprised to learn came out in 1960! I thought it came out later.

I loved Roger's comment, "It looks like Iwo Jima out there." So many zingers.

I LOVE this show!

Unknown said...

Excellent review. I only have to take issue with one thing (which I tend to argue about in my other Mad Men groups as well): this loathing for "Greg, the rapist."

People who were not alive and/or sexually active in that time, have a different attitude toward what is rape. But setting aside our differences about it, can we at least agree that Joan, the character, did not consider it rape? In those days, she would not have, I promise you. And she went on to marry him, and it is a real marriage, whatever you may think about Greg's prospects as a doctor. She is really married to him and takes her role in that marriage seriously, as we saw last night. So can we drop the idea that he savagely RAPED her? I know the actress is on record as considering what happened to Joan "rape" but she is young woman of today, and in that, she is mistaken. In 1962-3, it was not possible to be "raped" by your fiance. It just wasn't! Bad date, yes, those happened. Borish, yes, but crime? No, not until the later 70's.

I thought it was touching to see Joan being real, alone with her husband. We caught more glimpses of the real Joan last night than ever before.

Doug S said...

The Don-Betty London scene reminded me again how much this show, great as it is, lifts from "Revolutionary Road." A commenter above described it as The Great American Novel on TV - that's why.

And Chelcie Ross' career begins and ends with his role in Hoosiers. He could've retired a champ right then.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Re: Underdog sports movies, Ross has been in Hoosiers, and Major League, and Rudy, and The Express, and The Last Boy Scout (a quasi-sports movie). He's obviously worked in a lot of other genres, but there are times when it seems like the casting director of any sports movie makes his very first call to Ross's agent.

Schticky Fingers said...

Glad I'm not the only one who noticed Pete catching Peggy. Could the meeting with Duck last week have broken the ice a little bit between the two of them?

In addition to the blood on Joan's dress being a bit of foreshadowing, it reminded me that her wedding colors were red and green. Brutal.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

Did anyone else notice that, after the meeting about the reorganization, Don was not wearing his suit jacket? I can't recall ever seeing him without it in the office.

Anonymous said...

Love the snake references. The injured foot of the Brit seems like a direct reference to the Gagsden flag --"Don't tread on me"

Tom said...

One precious moment in this episode: Roger's cluelessness as to what exactly an 'account man' is. He pouts that he's being punished for making his job look easy, but then admits that he doesn't know what it is he does. Cooper points out that an account man delays gratification in order to get what he wants, and Roger doesn't want to hear it. After all, his name is on the building.

The degeneracy of inherited wealth -- explicitly stated by jai a'lai boy's old man a few episodes back -- is a running theme on this show. I'll bet Roger's dad (severed arm and all) knew what an account man was. And when Perez checks into a Hilton, I dare say he knows that his name is on the building and he better get treated right.

Blair Waldorf said...

I understand what you are saying: that by society's values and the legal standards of the time, what Greg did was not rape. I understand that Joan, the character herself, probably did not consider it rape.

But the consequences of his violent sexual assault on her are the same, regardless of what society thought. Rape is about violence and power. By raping Joan in her office, her then fiance was setting up the power dynamic in their marriage. Though their marriage is real, and sometimes probably has its sweet and kind and loving moments, underlying all of that is the violence. Everything he says and does has an implicit threat: go along with this or I will physically hurt you.

So since we, the viewer, know about his underlying dark side, many on this board will continue to call him Greg the Rapist.

[Getting down off soapbox]

Michele said...

Even if Joan felt it was her duty to have sex with her fiance, she still felt violated, and it doesn't make it right or okay. And it was such a brutal scene that I can't drop the idea that he raped her. Every time I see him, I can't forget it. And I think others here feel the same way.

Unknown said...

Absolutely terrific ep - terrific review and comments as well. With the exception in my opinion being So can we drop the idea that he savagely RAPED her?

Uh, no - we can't because he did (unless you don't consider it savage unless he beats her too) She told him no she tried to push him off and I think yes even in that day and age she would consider it rape. But in that day and what recourse did she have? Can she go to the cops? Could she sue? no. She damn sure considered it rape but she also considered it the cost of doing business (Much like Cooper said last night - we took their money, now we have to do what they say)

Speaking of Joan - my thoughts on Don and Joan's look last night was that Don and Joan are very much two peas in a pod- professionally, emotionally, sexually - and they know it too. I could very much see the two of them together - happily - and that was a flame neither one wanted to get that close too. I think it was a look of understanding that unrequited love/lust.

Rob Biesenbach said...

Wonderful episode, post and comments. A few additional thoughts:

* In the squeegee scene I think Roger finally showed his value (and not just as comic relief for viewers). No matter what happens (account is lost or foot gets mowed), Roger is unflappable. He doesn't take things too seriously. And sometimes, in that business especially, people need to be reminded of that. That tomorrow's another day. It can be healthy.

* The scene toward the end with Baby Gene in the crib just before Don picked him up -- that baby looked REALLY creepy! The expression or the lighting or something. I totally got where Sally was coming from. I have to go back and see if I feel the same way, but wow!

* In the meeting with Conrad, somebody mentioned Don showing his conservatism. I agree. He's very much about process and the way things are properly done. You don't just meet someone at a party and then go over and casually give him advice on his ads. There's a process of a pitch and a creative brief and vetted concepts, etc. But that's the way the business will be going in the future. Also good that he was himself and didn't suck up to Conrad -- such a contrast to how most others in the office would have handled it. He set the relationship on equal terms.

* I didn't like Guy from the moment he walked in. I thought his flattery was false, slick and shallow -- telling people what they wanted to hear.

* Two great moments for Pete, showing both his weakness and strength. Guy showers him with flattery and all he can sputter is, "I wish I could return the compliment!" But then after the org chart meeting, he's the one who knows the score and has to explain it to Harry.

* I keep being surprised by Don this season. His "Whoo!" from the aftershave was so odd and uncontrolled. As with jumping over the bar and his jai alai faux pas. Don't know what it indicates. Is he gradually loosening up? Shedding his proverbial (snake) skin?

* Finally on the blood spatter. My dad taught me two things about mowing the lawn. Never do so with bare feet (like it would make a difference), and always, always, always use the bag to catch the clippings! Could have saved them all that cleanup.

Rob Biesenbach said...

Shoot. One other thing. The scene between Don and Peggy showed the continuing disconnect between them since the disappointing discussion she had with him about the raise. Don't disliking the champagne because he didn't get what he wanted from the Brits. Peggy thinks it's just great and is hoping under the new regime she'll get the recognition she deserves (since Guy went out of his way to compliment her). Her walking away from Don showed cheek.

Unknown said...

Two other thoughts I wanted to make but got thrown off by the rape apologist -

when Don is talking with Sally about Gene (a wonderful moment) I felt he was convincing himself as much as Sally. Because of the name he was -in his own way- just as stand-offish as Sally was to the little bambino. He was telling himself this is not the man "he hates and who hates him"

I think - for awhile anyway - we might see less British influence around the office. I believe the Brits have sufficiently pissed off Pryce and his reading of Tom Sawyer may very well have taught him the American way of pretending to get along while having complete contempt for your superiors.

CH said...

I find it incredible (and hilarious) that Don has more reservations cheating on his company than he does his wife when Connie asks for his advice.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Two other thoughts I wanted to make but got thrown off by the rape apologist -

Okey-dokey, cutting this off now. We can all argue about things that happen on the show - and, yes, that includes whether Greg's assault of Joan would have been considered rape at that time - but no attacking each other. Are we clear?

Anonymous said...

I think someone will break away from SC soon. Don? Peggy? Together?

The snake was used as a symbol for the American colonies under British rule (see the wikipedia link above on the Gadsden flag above). This is a quote from Benjamin Franklin taken from that page.

In December 1775, Benjamin Franklin published an essay in the Pennsylvania Journal under the pseudonym American Guesser in which he suggested that the rattlesnake was a good symbol for the American spirit:
I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shewn and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:—Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.—Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?

Is this not a picture of Don? Of the person Peggy Olson is becoming? Didn't she admit her envy of Don in the last episode? But Don lived through the bloodshed before to gain his independence. Peggy faints. I think the issue with Peggy is whether she has the nerves to do what Don did... Joan on the other hand jumped right into the carnage to do what had to be done.

Unknown said...

Sorry Alan - came off harsher than I intended ("I wish there was a sarcastic font")

I apologize to you and Trilby

Anonymous said...


As I was switching between the episode and the Emmys, something stood out as Matthew Weiner was giving his speech. Did January Jones look uncomfortable/fidgety behind him? It seems like everyone else was beaming and she felt awkward/tense. She forced a couple of quick smiles, but it was in stark contrast to everyone else on stage. Was it just me or did anyone else pickup on that?

groovekiller said...

I agree with the earlier poster who said that Joan was treating Dr. Badhands McRapesalot like a child. The way that she patted the seat next to her and essentially offered to get him ready for bed mirrored two other scenes in the episode: when Betty has Sally sit down next to her on the bed (the Barbie scene) and when Don tells Sally that he'll put her to bed.

As has been pointed out many times in these comments, Don & Joan could be a perfect match - two people who act as 'Don Draper' and 'Joan' both to hide their true selves and to fit what people expect of them - but they're both married to children.

Lastly, that picture that Alan has for this episode, (and this might not be the writer's intent since it's almost too on-the-nose), it has Don on one side and Joan on the other and literal baggage between them.

Unknown said...

Dr. Pepper was not available in New York until May 18, 1970. They had a whole radio campaign announcing that "Dr. Pepper is Coming to New York, May 18th".

The one exception was the Texas pavilion of the 64-65 Mew York World's Fair, where I first tasted it. But otherwise it was nowhere to be found in this area. I searched all over for it. Driving to Florida you would start to see it around North Carolina. But since at least the 1940's, it was not available, through vending machines or otherwise, until 5/18/70.

MM is usually very successful in being faithful to the details of era. And it was probably available in LA in 1963. But not in New York for another 7 years. I'm pretty sure that they missed on this one.

groovekiller said...

One other question and I am truly perplexed by this...

Don got angry at his British overlords for thinking small on the MSG deal so why was he so adamant on taking the opposite tack when talking to Hilton?

Is it just because Don wants to be always espousing the other stance? Or are the two situations that markedly different?

mook said...

I love Don's comment on the champagne.

Champagne is a microcosm of the time being had. If the events are celebratory, any champagne, even Korbel, tastes like bright stars. Conversely, if the event is as funereal as Lane alluded to, even Veuve Cliquot tastes like shit.

Anonymous said...

As has been pointed out many times in these comments, Don & Joan could be a perfect match - two people who act as 'Don Draper' and 'Joan' both to hide their true selves and to fit what people expect of them - but they're both married to children.

You forgot one other thing - both Don and Joan are also children. They're both good at projecting themselves at being mature. But they are no more mature than the two people they are married to. But . . . people do tend to judge others in a superficial manner.

Sarabelle said...

Love Alan. Love you guys. Love this show.

**When Don said he didn't like the champagne my immediate thought was "sour grapes". His, not the ones in the glass.

**My perception with Don and Conrad is that what Don does is worth something and he doesn't just give it away for free. It's very easy when you're in that type of business for people to pick your brain because they think that being creative is natural and easy should be shared without cost. Don is also letting Conrad know he doesn't mix business with pleasure.

**I believe Bert Cooper doesn't get enough recognition for his role in the company. An earlier poster mentioned that the Brits wouldn't have taken off their shoes in his office. Although I think we're missing Bert's back story (or maybe just I AM!) doesn't the Japanese decor and attitude imply that Bert has a military past worth respecting? World War II perhaps? I always enjoy thinking what Bert must be experiencing with the chipmunks running the seems like he'd be a fuddy duddy but I think he's cool.

Julia said...

A few have wondered about Don's reaction to Connie's request that he critique the planned Hilton ads.

How would a plumber or a doctor feel if called over by somebody they had met in a bar to give free professional advice? You just don't do that. It's like the people at cocktail parties who want to get free legal advice from a lawyer they just met there.

AnnaN said...

RE: Greg and his ability to find work as a surgeon post-residency.
He pretty much won't be able to. He's unskilled enough to have killed a patient and the director of the residency program voiced his distrust of Greg's skills. Though doctors will NOT trash another in writing, it is easy to read between the lines of any letter of "recommendation". Greg could choose not to include a letter when looking for work, but it would be such a glaring omission that he wouldn't get hired any way. I liked the suggestion of the poster above who thought Greg would be drafted by the Army. Entirely possible - no job prospects, an approaching draft, and an excellent way to bring Joan back into the S&C fold.
Also wanted to comment about Betty being a "horrible" mother. As far as I can tell, she is not intuitive, it is not her first inclination to show compassion and her worries/concerns take precedence over her children’s’. But that only makes her fallible. She's not uncaring and does love her children. Betty was the one with the truly horrible mother.

Alan Sepinwall said...

doesn't the Japanese decor and attitude imply that Bert has a military past worth respecting?

Cooper's much too old for that. Roger fought in WWII, and Cooper is a contemporary of Roger's father.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

Did anyone else think it was odd that Conrad Hilton was staying at the Waldorf-Astoria?

SixtiesKid said...

To follow on Anonymous' comment on the lawnmower as a train/Iron Horse of Vietnam: the lawnmower was essentially a vehicle of change, representing the Vietnam era. It introduced a new loud, smelly element into the safe world of SC and the American suburb. Toward the end of the episode we see it bringing destruction, maiming and confusion, taking its clueless rider for an out-of-control spin. Did anyone think that its crashing into the glass wall symbolized a shattering of the status quo and the American psyche? Or is this just too deep for a Monday morning?

chris said...

Great recap (as always).

One small detail that I haven't seen mentioned but may be worthy of bringing up because of foreshadowing.

When Guy gets his foot chopped - it is Joan who comes to the rescue. Moneypenny shows up all disheveled with a secretary as if he was off in an office having a little afternoon delight. Putting this rooster in charge of the henhouse is sure to end badly. He's sure to screw up - opening the door for a "boy how did we ever get along without her" return for Joan.

Dr Linda said...

Loved that they kept some post baby weight on Betty.

Did you notice that the 2nd English guy wouldn't let go of his shoes - he was holding them in his hand (kind of like they were a snake that was going to bite him) standing in Bert's office.

Mr. Hooker was on a roll (not a very good one) - first he told the staff to listen up because it was not going to be repeated (and then Pryce said that wasn't true). Secondly Hooker "blurted" out the surprise party info to Joan - whether she knew or not wasn't the point - now she couldn't even pretend to be surprised (and gracious). I also consider the lawn mower to be more his fault then Joan's - Hooker made it clear that Joan was out the door and that he was now the office manager ("this is Mrs. Harris, she was the office manager before me"). Hooker was also kissing a secretary (in a pinkish dress) in the entrance to the kitchen (I think) as Lois drove the tractor.

The guy in the glasses with the round face whose name I can't remember (and Alan mentioned he couldn't remember his name either) anyway - I loved the look on his face as he got sprayed with blood (while eating cake) - Harry and Paul (and the girl) are recoiling in horror as he stands with a "of course this happened to me" nonchalant look.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this an amusing coincidence - if you click on the link to see Conrad Hilton's original Time Magazine cover, you'll also see the current Time cover on the top right. It's a picture of Glenn Beck. And what does the title say? "Mad Man".

Anonymous said...

Remember the episode in which Kinsey comes up with the ad campaign for the bra -- that every woman is either Marilyn Monroe or Jackie Kennedy? Joan has always been the ultimate Marilyn, but last night, with the blood on her dress, she became a Jackie as well.

Blair Waldorf said...

Man-Eater Lad,

According to the Hilton website, the Waldorf is in the Hilton family. Not sure that was always true but that might explain it.

I thought it was weird when he said the kitchen was so great. Perhaps it was then. But I've been to a lot of dinners there and the food was uniformly awful.

Never had the Waldorf salad though.

SixtiesKid said...

Matter-Eater Lad: the reason Connie is in the Presidential suite of the Waldorf is historical. From a Waldorf-Astoria Collection website, this note connects it to Hilton:
"In 1932 Conrad N. Hilton wrote "The Greatest of Them All" onto a photograph of The Waldorf Astoria in New York City. It was his dream to own this hotel and include it in his prestigious collection of hotels. In 1949 he realized his dream and extended his version of "the light and warmth of hospitality" to the legendary New York landmark."
Connie had achieved his dream and by 1963 was sitting on top of his world.

shara says said...

Juanita's Journal said above that Don and Joan, in addition to both being married to children, are both children themselves - I respectfully disagree. Don and Joan share a strength, capability, intellect, and maturity that neither of their spouse appears to possess. Both put on a front for the world, and then go home and have to play a false role there as well, keeping up appearances so that their spouses don't see how unsatisfied they are. They are mature enough to find strength to do what they don't want to do (for the sake of others, or of appearances, or of just getting by) whereas their controlling spouses are often capable of some level of selfish cruelty, and look to them to hold things together. Both Joan and Don would definitely be happier if they could get free from all that - it appears that their practice of hiding everything and putting on a front can be pretty self-destructive and unhealthy. But childish? Not a chance.

word verification: triachiz

Duvall said...

Did anyone else think it was odd that Conrad Hilton was staying at the Waldorf-Astoria?

Hilton bought the Waldorf-Astoria in 1949.

wendy said...

I liked the contrasts and connections between the office party in this episode and the one from the election returns office party in S1's Kennedy vs. Nixon episode. That S1 episode made the rowdiness of that office party seem glamorous. This party was bloody (and funny). Peggy was the buzzkill of that party, and in this one she enjoys the champagne. I have to go back and watch that S1 episode and last night's episode, but I believe that it was Allison (Don's secretary) on Ken's lap in last night's episode. If I recall correctly, she was the secretary that Ken chased after in the S1 office party to find out the color of her underwear.

I've been a lurker, and I love your blog Alan, as well as the great comments it elicits.

Anonymous said...

Joan and Don would be a very unlikely match.I don't think she sees Don that way at all. She likes boyish men- Roger, Kinsey and the doc are all petulant, for some reason she's into it.

Anonymous said...

Here's a question the episode left me with: When Conrad Hilton told Don that he needed to think bigger, what else could Don have asked for besides a shot at Hilton's business?

Unknown said...

"But in that day and what recourse did she have? Can she go to the cops? Could she sue? no."

Um, she could have NOT MARRIED THE GUY, if it was indeed such a horrifying and degrading experience! No really! Explain to my why she went ahead and married him if she, the character Joan, had felt THAT VIOLATED! Answer: she didn't.

You, in 2009, have a different take on it. You are much more irate than the character Joan was. That in itself, is thought-provoking and conversation provoking. But I assure you, women in 1963 were sometimes forced into sex by a man they were on a date with and did not consider it "date-rape." That was not yet a viable concept. This is totally true!

I guess I am older than all you guys. I had a couple of "bad dates" myself in my day. You learn from them and move on.

But never mind. You guys will never understand. You had to be there.

Annie Bulloch said...

Way up there, anonymous asked if the brunette Barbie was really a Barbie. I posted this elsewhere, but thought it may provide insight:

It's hard to tell from what we saw, but I believe the Barbie doll Betty gave Sally was actually this doll:

If so, that's not Barbie herself, but Barbie's best friend...Midge. When I was little, I had one of my mom's old Midge dolls, so I thought of that toy every time they mentioned Midge's name in Season 1.

I remember my mom's Midge had dark hair, and I also had a case for Barbie's clothes and accessories that had illustrations of blonde Barbie and brunette Midge on it.

Jape77 said...

I've been thinking for a couple of episodes now that if anyone from this show logically had to go to Vietnam, Dr. McBastard would be it ... and now that Greg is all washed up as a star surgeon it is far more likely.

One can only hope that he gets killed, but since that's what the audience WANTS the chances of the writers giving us that are the same as Greg ending up pregnant with twins.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog and its readers as much as I love the show. All incredibly smart!

Just two points to add:
--I find it very interesting that Betty can only relate or reach out to Sally with a gift of some sort. Think back to the episode when Don was away and Betty put Sally in the closet. She made ammends by buying the riding gear. Very much the same in this episode.

--Also, was a gray suit considered the power suit of the time? I expected everyone to be sporting a dark suit. Instead, Don, Bert and Roger were all in gray... as was Guy.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Trilby, just as I don't want other people to resort to name-calling, I don't want you to resort to "you had to be there." That kind of attitude ain't flying around here, and I had to ban a guy a couple of weeks ago who got increasingly strident about proving that because he lived through the era, he was more qualified to analyze the show than the rest of us.

I think we're splitting hairs here, though. Yes, in 1963 it was called a "bad date." And in 2009, it's rape. And we're watching it in 2009. It was also considered okay in 1963 to drink and smoke while pregnant, or for Ken to wrestle secretaries to the ground to get a look at their panties, but "Mad Men" viewers are still allowed to react to those images through a present-day lens, you know?

Anonymous said...

Shara, I think you need to take a good, long look at Don and Joan.

First of all, there is Don who gets into an argument with Betty over their new baby's name. BOTH are being childish, by the way. Betty clings to her determination that their child will be named after her father. And although Don claims that the kid's new name is disturbing to Sally, his real beef is that the kid is named after a man who disliked him. That is Don's real beef and he was pretty childish in the way he had expressed that. Sally's problems had nothing to do with his dislike of his second son's name. This reminds me of the S1 episode, "Red in the Face" in which Don accused Betty of being a child, yet managed to act pretty childish, himself. Like Betty, he's trying to cling to this ideal of family bliss . . . and he's still a phony. He's still using an identity that he had stolen to avoid fulfilling his Army service.

And then there is Joan, who married a man that had raped her two months before the wedding. Why? Does she really love him that much that she would go through with such a marriage? Like Don and Betty, she's trying to cling to this ideal of wedded bliss. She seemed to believe that she has achieved all that she needs by marrying a doctor. And despite Greg's claim that she might have to stay at Sterling Cooper a bit longer due to finances, Joan expressed reluctance to do so. This is a woman who is not really suited for marriage or motherhood, yet has allowed society pressure into believing that she is. Joan is wallowing in her illusions and I am waiting for the moment to arrive when she realizes that her illusions are keeping her stuck within her own immaturity.

None of those people are mature. None of them. And that includes both Don and Joan.

Anonymous said...

"We love you Conrad
Oh yes we do
We love you Conrad
And will be true
When you're not near us
We're blue
Oh, Conrad, we love you
We love you Conrad!
We love you Conrad!"

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julia said...

"Betty was the one with the truly horrible mother."

Great observation. Sometimes it seems that people in Betty & Don's generation are being singled out for being reserved and unfeeling. These folks learned this behavior from prior generations.

If I was just reading the script, it could have been my mother saying Betty's words. Parents thought you shouldn't spoil and coddle your children.

What distinguishes Betty from all the mothers I remember from back then is the petulant, hang-dog look on her face. Reminds me of Joan Crawford.

You may recall, Crawford's daughter in "Mildred Pierce" is coddled and turns out to be a horrible person.

In spite of Dr. Spock's 1946 revolutionary childcare book, his advice on more nurturing parenting was not mainstream for some years afterward. And the truly touchy-feely stuff didn't come at least until late 1960s-70s.

Here's the Dr Spock Wikipedia entry:

"Previously, experts had told parents that babies needed to learn to sleep on a regular schedule, and that picking them up and holding them whenever they cried would only teach them to cry more and not to sleep through the night. They were told to feed their children on a regular schedule, and that they should not pick them up, kiss them, or hug them, because that would not prepare them to be strong and independent individuals in a harsh world."

Check it out on wikipedia. I think Betty is meant to embody this more reserved norm of parenting.

pantone_290 said...

Who says nothing ever "happens" on Mad Men?

Regarding Don and Conrad Hilton, my take on Don's reluctance to "play the game" is that he tries so hard to keep his old life away from his new, especially his work life. He confided in Connie (because to Don, talking about his former life is confiding) and now he is face to face with his casual confidante at work. That is going to affect any relationship they have.

Anonymous said...

Read somewhere that the new NY Hilton opened the summer of '63 - could be Connie's in town to oversee final construction.

Doug S said...

Here's a question the episode left me with: When Conrad Hilton told Don that he needed to think bigger, what else could Don have asked for besides a shot at Hilton's business?

My thought was that Connie was disappointed Don didn't ask to work for Hilton directly.

x-acto said...

First of all, Alan (and all the commenters), this blog is amazing. Love it.

Random comment: When the kids come in to tell Betty they are bored, she says "go bang your head against the wall." Now, that is something my mom and grandmother used to tell me....b/c its a translation of a Yiddish expression! Something that perhaps Matthew Weiner heard as a kid...but I am doubtful that its something Betty would have actually said. Unless its also an American expression. It just made me smile :)

AnnaN said...

Oh - snakes!

At first, I thought it heavy handed that the writers had pointed out how appropriate it was that the British invasion of PPL was interrupting the Independence Day Holiday.

And then snakes. In conjunction with the British, it could have two different meanings: referencing either the Gadsden Flag ("Don't Tread On Me") or Franklin's "Join or Die" snake which exhorts the colonies to band together and survive as a new nation or die under continued British rule. If it is the latter, then perhaps it presages individuals at Sterling and Cooper leaving and banding together as a new advertising entity with Hilton as its first major client.

If the snakes reference the former (Gadsden Flag), Guy in his inattention to where he was treading/usurping and lost his foot in the process. Oh, oops.

AnnaN said...

Gah - my apologies to those above who already pointed out the two snake analogies. Next time, I'll read the comments more carefully. (And learn to proof my comments).

Anonymous said...

Um, she could have NOT MARRIED THE GUY, if it was indeed such a horrifying and degrading experience! No really! Explain to my why she went ahead and married him if she, the character Joan, had felt THAT VIOLATED! Answer: she didn't.

Are we really supposed to believe that ALL women before the 1970s couldn't tell whether they had been raped or not, when the perpetrator was a fiancĂ© or husband? I find that hard to believe and a little insulting. Was Matt Weiner trying to say that Joan didn’t know she had been raped?

CarolMR said...

I've lived in Brooklyn all my life and my family has always said "close" and "open" the lights.

shara says said...

@Juanita's Journal - I definitely agree that both Don and Joan have made bad decisions, and was definitely not saying that they're perfect adults (the fact that they keep up appearances of idealized versions of their unsatisfying lives could, I guess, be construed as childish). As I said, I believe their behavior is relatively self-destructive. But they have a very "adult" way of facing the reality of a situation and figuring out how to make the best of it, and charge forward whether they get what they want or not. Their spouses apparantly don't. They each have to be the adults in those relationships, because their partners are epic failures at being grownups. That's all I'm saying - not that they're perfect, but that they've found themselves playing the adult role in relationships with people who are much less adept at facing reality than they themselves are.

Julia said...

Re: "rape"

In the early 60s there still wasn't much public talk about "rape" - it was a crime that happened to other people - and perpetrated by strangers. The word "rape" would not be used on TV newscasts and there would never be a headline about such a crime in the paper.

After a "difficult date", you might tell a friend that a guy was trying to get you to go all the way, but you would never think or say that he tried to "rape" you or actually did "rape" you.

There was a real stigma to being a "rape" victim - it supposedly ruined your life and nobody would want to marry you. Being a "rape" victim was considered much, much worse than simply no longer being a virgin.

It is very interesting to see the vast sea-change between 1963 and today in the way the Joan-Greg encounter would be described - by the parties and by others.

Susan said...

Julia, great idea that we could see Dr Harris go to Vietnam.

Trilby, Mad Men is awesome at showing us life as it was back in the day. I believe without a doubt that Greg raped Joan. Sad but true that it would not have been viewed as such in the early 60"s. And I believe Joan did not view it as rape intellectually, but her body and her emotions processed it as rape.

Bryan, yes, great observation that Don and Sally both viewed Baby Gene negatively because of his name. It was cute when Bobby asked his mom if he could "pet" the baby.

Peggy thought the champagne was good because she has never had good champagne. Don has had good champagne and he knows the difference.

Anonymous, I love your observation that Peggy fainted and could not deal with the blood. Peggy still does not have much of a stomach for what it takes to succeed. She will in time, but I liked seeing her weakness since she is normally portrayed as strong.

Shara, I think both Joan and Don are adults. For all their flaws, they are grown up. Both are married to children. We saw the tenderness of both characters...Joan caring for
Greg and Don with Sally. Betty once told Dr Wayne that Don was kind and that is true. Joan can put people in their place with a few calm, well chosen words, but she is at her core a kind person.

groovekiller said...

Here's a question the episode left me with: When Conrad Hilton told Don that he needed to think bigger, what else could Don have asked for besides a shot at Hilton's business?

Well, this is just a guess, but each time a big new hotel opens, it needs marketing & advertising.

Connie is hinting at a chance to be global that Don thought he would get from PPL. It was probably for the fact that he did dream so big about the potential NY/LON role and was subsequently so crushed when it didn't happen that he decided to take baby steps with Hilton.

Maybe this episode is really about the things that you hope for or against not turning out to be true - but the fact it didn't turn out that way being the best thing that ever happened to you.

Maybe Don with his new think-small attitude gets Hilton to sign on, maybe Dr. Asshole not getting the Chief position leads Joan to finally leave him...

To paraphrase the Stones, you can't always get what you want, but sometimes, you get what you need.

Hannah Lee said...

Don got angry at his British overlords for thinking small on the MSG deal so why was he so adamant on taking the opposite tack when talking to Hilton?

Is it just because Don wants to be always espousing the other stance? Or are the two situations that markedly different?

I think they’re different. The MSG deal initially only involved helping the client with PR to win support for their plans; all the grandiose business Don talks about would, hopefully, follow. Don viewed it as an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of MSG. He wasn’t thinking small, but he also wasn’t biting off more than SC could chew.

Plus, on the MSG deal, he was speaking for SC; here, apparently, he’s speaking for himself. Given what he’s hiding, Don tries to keep a low profile personally even while building a strong reputation professionally. (Remember how upset he got when Bobbie told him about his reputation among NYC ladies?)

Given that, Conrad Hilton’s appraisal of Don and his reputation was interesting. Connie said he’d told people he’d had a long conversation with someone at SC, and learned that Don isn’t known for having long conversations with people. You wonder if that’s part of what piqued Connie’s interest in him.

Anonymous said...

Did I miss something?? When did the Draper's get a dog? What kind of dog did Duck have?

Maura said...

People who were not alive and/or sexually active in that time, have a different attitude toward what is rape. But setting aside our differences about it, can we at least agree that Joan, the character, did not consider it rape? In those days, she would not have, I promise you. And she went on to marry him, and it is a real marriage, whatever you may think about Greg's prospects as a doctor. She is really married to him and takes her role in that marriage seriously, as we saw last night. So can we drop the idea that he savagely RAPED her? I know the actress is on record as considering what happened to Joan "rape" but she is young woman of today, and in that, she is mistaken. In 1962-3, it was not possible to be "raped" by your fiance. It just wasn't! Bad date, yes, those happened. Borish, yes, but crime? No, not until the later 70's.

Whether it was legally defined as rape is irrelevant. Everything was there, including the look on Joan's face when it was happening. That was not the look of a woman who was having consensual sex with her fiance.

I think the bigger point is, even if she didn't, or couldn't, define it as rape, it got the message across. Notice how she treats Greg. She coddles and pampers him, she sympathizes with him whenever he fails, she swallows her anger. She treats him like a child, but she's also behaving the way a woman behaves when she's walking on eggshells because she never knows when the other shoe will drop.

That said, I think she really cares about him. I would love to see her leave Greg, but I think she's in it for a good, long while.

For the record, I was alive during that time, and was a grown woman before marital rape was finally considered a crime.

Hatfield said...

@Groovekiller, can you clarify your comparison of the Madison Square Garden deal and Don's reaction to Hilton? The fact that he's cautious with this may just be because he's doing it on his own, and maybe he's thinking of making a big splash so he doesn't wanna mess it up. Or maybe he's trying to get a sense of who Hilton really is and what he wants. Anyway, I'm curious about the connection you made.

@LA, well, hello neighbor! Seal Beach is home to my favorite BBQ place, Beachwood BBQ on Main Street. I'd suggest Mad Men viewing parties, but I have a feeling my girlfriend would raise an eyebrow or two at my meeting women on a blog. ; )

@Anonymous, Don brought the dog home in Season 1. Duck's dog was an entirely different breed.

Wes Covington said...

I think Guy would be removed from a position of prominence at the agency because there would just be a stigma about him. Clients would notice a prosthetic. They would know he was too young to have lost it in World War II. They just would have asked questions.

Although the United States has often considered to behind the times in viewing certain social trends (race, sex, religion for starters), America has usually been a bit more accepting of the disabled, even before the adoption of the ADA.

One of the biggest Oscar winners ever was "The Best Years of Our Lives," which prominently featured amputees.

The "One-Armed Man" (character name Fred Johnson) would turn up on "The Fugitive."

This is not to say the United States was perfect in this regard then or now.

Although I haven't traveled much in England, I don't recall seeing as many people getting around in wheelchairs as they do here. In countries like Japan, finding a person in a wheelchair is very rare.

Susan said...

Anonymous, Don got Sally a puppy for her birthday back in Season 1. This is Polly, a golden retriever. Duck's dog Chauncy was/is an Irish Setter.

ml said...

Defending date

groovekiller said...


In the post that you're referring to, I was confused as to why when Lane pulled the plug on the MSG deal, Don got upset at the Brits for not looking at the big picture; however, when Don was meeting with Connie, it was Don who was accused of thinking too small.

I was confused by the change in Don's attitude & outlook but after having thought about it, I posted my revised thoughts (at 12:07).

I now feel that since Don had just had his dreams of global power crushed by the re-org, he either saw the benefit in or he was too gun-shy to do anything but taking baby steps with Hilton.

Whether or not this is the right approach remains to be seen...

Speaking of that, is this the first time that one of our fictional Mad Men characters has interacted with a "real-life" person?

oSoFine said...

Another great blog, Alan!

I did my best to read through all of the wonderful comments, so hopefully I'm not repeating what someone else said.

I did *not* see the blood on Joan's dress to be a mere foreshadowing of the JFK assassination. I saw it far more as a symbol of the demolition of Joan.

That green dress that Joan chose to wear to work that day was the ultimate, perfect "Joan" dress. I wish I had the past seasons on dvd (though along with reading the posts, it would take up an enormous amount of my time, lol) to check to see in which episode Joan wore that green dress - because she has absolutely worn it before! She knows that it is her most complimentary dress - it's shape is perfect, and the color punches up the red in her hair. Seriously, contrast that dress with the awful blue one she was wearing the day before!

When I first saw her wearing it at the beginning of "Brit Day" - when she seemed to be trying to suddenly out-do her "replacement" with theatre tickets, reservations, etc. (basically looking her best and showing off her competency and charm - presumably with the hope that she can worm her way back into her job without even having to directly ask for it (which I don't think she could face doing).

So when, at the end, when Don meets her at the hospital and says, "Your dress..." and she replies, "It's ruined," I felt that she was referring to more than the dress being ruined - her hopes, dreams, even the job that she was so good at - everything was ruined, including the "costume" that best brought out her "Joan-ness". (All season I've been a bit disturbed by her wardrobe - far less flattering than single-Joan. The green dress, however, was classic "pre-marriage to Dr. Rapesalot", confident, Joan.

The whole thing with Joan was incredibly heartbreaking to me.

@gazpachotactics - I LOL'd at your comment about I Love Lucy directed by Sam Raimi circa 1987! I'd love to see a cameo (or better yet, a full character) played by Bruce Campell. Yes, there are those of us who will always see "Ash", but he is still unknown to enough people to not stick out too badly (except for his chin, of course! ;>).

I don't know if I actually posted what I meant to last week... (sincere apologies if I'm repeating myself!) During last week's scene where Pete was called in to be dressed down by the bosses for his "integrated" ad pitch, and the comment from Pryce that although he was a "Stranger in a Strange Land" (which made me wonder if had read Heinlein's book - he certainly seemed to "grok" the situation better than the American's) he believed that there really was something more to "the negro issue" than Rodger and the old man realized. [Note: it also brought me back to ambiguous comment that Pryce's wife made about being close to the U.N. and having so many "Negros" around. It's very possible that she is pro-integration and equal rights...]. Anyway, I instantly had the chorus of Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man" stuck in my head: "Because something's happening here, but you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?"

I was disappointed when I checked and found out that the song wasn't published until '65 (thereby making it un-usable at this point in the show), but was pleasantly surprised to hear Dylan singing over the credits of this episode!

One last note, and I'll leave it alone - I practically snort-laughed when the french guy (can't rem his name at the moment - though I was so happy to see him again! That actor also looks so much like Jude Law!) asked innocently, "Does he'a shoot the peoples?" LOL! Perfect first line back!

Anonymous said...

Bunch of cut ups at Sterling Cooper.
anyone noticed the spot on James Mason accent of one of the British guys? Good call on the foreshadowing of JFK , Vietnam, civil rights.
Love redheads in green dresses.

oSoFine said...

Another thing: I wonder if Dr. Spock was the one with the idea to give older siblings gifts "from the baby". While Betty doesn't seem to follow Spock too closely (or at all), I could see her looking up "sibling rivalry" or "new baby" while trying to get Sally to "stop making a fuss". I'm wondering that because my own mother used Dr. Spock as a reference (along with other books), and I have very clear memories of getting quite a few gifts from my first sibling in the late '70s. Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of Spock's book on hand. My parents must have gotten the idea somewhere - and as they were both the youngest children in their families, they could not have been relying on their own experience.

The difference between my experience and Sally's is that the gifts started before my brother was born - once the nursery was set up, I would come home from school each day to find a "puffy sticker" for me in the crib, leading up to Barbie-sized Luke and Leah dolls that appeared after the birth but before my mother and the baby came home. While my parents were concerned about the transition for me while still pregnant, Betty seems to only "try-out" that idea after Sally's bad reactions to the baby become an annoyance to her mom. Also, I was only 5 and knew full well that un-born babies don't shop, but I was more than happy to get the gifts and associating new baby = presents for me probably did help smooth the transition. Trying to convince a 10 year old that "fairies help babies" shows how little Betty is in touch with her daughter. (Whenever she orders the kids to "go watch tv!", I cringe!)

Kate said...

Two comments:

1) On Joan's rape: I would go even farther than Alan does and point out that as people who live in our present with our mores and understanding, we pretty much have to view what happened to Joan through the lens of how it would be viewed now. Sure, it's important to understand how the characters would view the events--otherwise their reactions make no sense--but there really isn't a way to totally remove our modern view from our conclusions regarding what happened. Just because Joan doesn't view it as rape (and I agree that she doesn't), that does not mean that we should excuse it as not being rape. Our society rightly views what happened as a rape (regardless of how society viewed it then), and there is no way to totally remove that reaction from our viewing experience.

2) As some other have already mentioned, I disagree that Don and Joan are children. They have many faults, but they both chose to be the caretakers rather than those being taken care of (even if Joan thinks she wants that "ideal"). Look at their spouses--Betty is really just a grown-up-looking eight-year-old, and by the last scene in which we saw Joan's husband, she was getting him dressed for bed because he couldn't do it himself. I would posit the idea that Joan, who loves to be in charge but thinks she wants to be traditionally cared for, unconsciously chose a doctor (traditional!) with a personality that she could in most cases dominate. His physical aggression toward her after seeing Roger last season only points more specifically to a deeply insecure, childish personality.

Hatfield said...

@Groovekiller, thanks! I think I missed your second one. These things are so long this season it can be hard to read every single one.

@oSo Fine, that's Kurt, the guy responsible for Peggy's new 'do. I think he's German though

arrabbiata said...

When St John and Harold tell Lane that his transfer to India is also a promotion, my instinct would have been to ask how it was a promotion. My thinking is that Lane didn't ask because everyone in the room knew it wasn't and this little lie they all agreed to would let him save some face.

I knew that Don putting the doll back on Sally's dresser (bringing forth memories of various Twilight Zone episodes) would freak her out, but I figured she wouldn't see it until the morning. However, I like the way it played out.

As soon as Lois got on the lawnmower it was obvious that someone was going to be hurt or killed, and as a few commenters previously mentioned, the scene editing had me fearing it would be Joan. (though I was thinking more of someone being crushed against a desk or slammed into a wall than being chopped by the blades) I very much enjoyed seeing her conversation with Peggy and how it sets up their future relationship.

Knowing (from this blog) that Conrad Hilton on the phone for Don was the Connie he met at the club took away some of the surprise that I might have had as a viewer when Don arrives in his office. But I have to think that by now Matthew Weiner knows how fans pick apart every reference on this show and he left enough clues to Connie's identity that we would know before Don did.

The North Jersey barber who gave me most of my haircuts from age 4 until my late 30's always had one of those massagers hanging at his work station, though I only saw him use it on occasion. Maybe it was something you paid extra for, or was something that had to be requested. A classic Italian barber shop- he was an immigrant and the place was staffed with older (often non-English speaking)barbers he'd bring over from Italy. One year around Christmas he poured me some homemade wine a regular customer from Newark had dropped off as a gift. Unfortunately, a few years ago he sold the place to a local chain and retired. My current barber does fine cutting my hair, but it's not the same.

mook said...

As another example of the snake motif in this episode, I was thinking of Joan in her green dress. The way she moves around in the office always reminded me of slithering - and not in the negative way that the word connotes. If you think about what Don said about a snake so hungry that it chokes on its first bite of food, it is similar to what's happened to Joan lately. Since the pilot, she has been open about her desire to land someone like a Dr. Greg; however, as she finds out, once she has him, it's slowly killing her.

Julia said...

"Our society rightly views what happened as a rape (regardless of how society viewed it then), and there is no way to totally remove that reaction from our viewing experience."

Nobody is excusing what Greg did to Joan, but it is a presentation of the early 60s. People are wondering why Joan went ahead and married Greg - her generation thought differently than us about many things.

On Mad Men we have seen smoking and drinking during pregnancy, drinking at work, a 10 yer old being allowed to drive, secretaries being demeaned, trash being left behind by picnickers, etc. etc.

Nobody's excusing any of that by observing and remarking that people looked at things differently than we do now. Isn't that one of the main themes of the entire series - how people are going to change during the 60s and become more like us ?

In 46 years, some of the attitudes we take for granted now will seem appalling to our great-great grandchildren.

Unknown said...

Date rape did not even exist as a term, phrase or otherwise until the 1980s. Yes, the 1980s. Rape crisis centers didn't exist until the 1970s.

I didn't see anybody here "defending" date rape just interpreting what happened. To me it's no different than understanding that not everyone performing in blackface was a bigot; it's just a fact, minstrelsy was a genre.

Yes, we watch and are amazed at How Different Things Were. In my view, though, that should not include imposing our own values on those characters.

I don't think Joan felt much more than annoyance. She went out to dinner immediately after. I also didn't see what happened to Joan as "savage." Date rape and rape of all kind is still terrifically underreported so we should also not kid ourselves at How Different Things Are, either.

I do think Joan is dissapointed in her husband's shortcomings, but I see zero evidence that she's walking on eggshells except to avoid upsetting his fragile ego. She doesn't seem scared of him. A scared woman's first line wouldn't be "where the hell have you been?" and then contradicting his excuses.

Nicole said...

The more I think about the possibility of Dr. Greg going to Vietnam because his career as a surgeon is over, the more I wonder if Mad Men writers come on this blog to give us little hints about the future. It's a brilliant way to resolve the whole Joan situation, because the only other option I was thinking of would be for her to get a divorce, sometime in the 70s when that became more common.

As for Joan's rape, and actions thereafter, I think that as Weiner is writing this from the present, we are meant to view Dr. Greg's behaviour as reprehensible and as a means to control Joan (which is at the core of all acts of rape). Just because Joan later married him and tries to care for him, does not undo that act, and her actions, as stated by posters above, are much less confrontational than when she is at the office, almost a battered woman syndrome effect, another concept that was not defined until the 80s, but yet still existed prior to then.

I don't think that I would agree with the assessment that Don and Joan are both children, but they certainly are emotionally stunted in their own way. (and Betty as well).

I am glad that Mad Men won best drama because how many shows can be taken apart like this after every episode? It's the sign of something special.

Anonymous said...

For convenience's sake I'll probably just be Anonymous, but please think of me as DoubleLifeofaSalesman, which was how I thought of this show -- until this very episode.

I like this blog so much that I think I'll be sticking to "cumulative" points occurring to me over three or more seasons, since everyone else usually nails any specific point I'd want to make, and very well. So here goes:

1. This one episode has shaken me from my "Double Life of a Salesman" (Arthur Miller inverted) take on it. Now I'm thinking that it's really about Joan and Peggy. Imagine for just one minute what you would have if you could somehow unite the two in one person. Ye gawdz, you would have Diana Prince. By all rights they should go off and form Holloway-Olson.

I have, of course, always been enchanted by Joan, but Peggy's been another matter. She reminds me of Meryl Streep: I admire her, I root for her -- but it takes a true oddity like "Defending Your Life" before I can simply warm to her and like her. Someday it may happen for me, someday I may finally "get" her -- while I'm politely exasperated with Joan, wishing she could at least marry better.

This episode made it Joan/Peggy for me because it struck me as a cosmic conspiracy to keep them from bonding straightaway. The bizarre accident takes place AT THE EXACT MOMENT Peggy is really trying to relate to Joan. I think somewhere between the two is an interesting feminine compass. I hope they meet again. They'd better.

2. I KNEW it I KNEW it I KNEW it -- I ALWAYS thought there was some Don/Joan thing going on, perhaps whole years before the show's window on the firm starting in 1960, and I'm so glad that looks confirmed in that waiting room scene. I'd KILL (not literally, but still ... ) for a Don/Joan flashback.

3. I share the weird feeling cited above, concerning Don becoming a better dad to Sally. I'm so used to Stony Aloof Don that I don't know how to take it. In the first season, I thought Don's best feature was his taste in mistresses; now, he's starting to go all Atticus Finch on us. I'm not buying it just yet.

4. Speaking of mistresses, AMC's own site bugs me. It prominently features Midge Daniels and Rachel Menken from the first season, and this at the expense of Robert Morse, John Slattery, Mark Moses ... the priorities seem off, unless "Mad Men" is specifically atrracting actresses hoping to roll around in bed with Jon Hamm.

Meanwhile, I have to wonder what will become of Joan, and my heart aches watching Maggie Siff on "Sons of Anarchy." Somehow, this show really needs to hang on to its ultrafine women.

5. VERY glad to see Chelcie Ross back as Conrad Hilton. He's one of those many B-list character actors whom you can't help but notice. The man survived playing an old CIA buddy of STEVEN SEAGAL, for crying out loud. It's high time he got to play Connie -- and I'd love to see the show be able to provide more such roles for such talent.

I shall return.

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
belinda said...

I've never felt so bad laughing so hard in an episode before. This is awful, but fantastic.

- I hope for Guy's sake he's compensated for his foot. Are lawsuits of this nature common in the 60s? Count me in as people who did not expect that tragic end to Guy's foot. Tarantino must love watching Mad Men this season with all the blood and feet.

- Re: Snakes. Stretching, but the symbol for medicine are also snakes - two serpents entwined on a rod. Not sure if this would apply at all, but I think the symbol means peace.

- There's definitely a look shared between Pete and Peggy after he catches her and right when she recovers. I'm not sure what it means yet, but I'm inclined to think that there will be something, romantic or otherwise, brewing there.

- Lane in the red chair. Hee!

- During Guy's meeting, it seemed like Ken is the 'official' head of accounts, while Pete is "for the present", is cohead of accounts for the time being.

- I wonder if the question of "who's leaving Sterling Cooper, and what will happen to them?" would be the 'mystery' of this season. Joan's out already (and gosh, I'm dying to find out what happens with Joan) and with what we've seen so far, it seems almost inevitable that either Don, Pete, or Peggy will be leave for greener pastures by the end of this season.

- Who's more oblivious - Harry or Roger?

- Thanks again to those pointing out Connie in the previous episodes. You guys are awesome! Does anyone know if those mouse for the hotel were ever a real ad campaign?

- Yup. Totally enchanted by Joan and Don scene. What a scene. I guess we'll always wonder if they ever did something in the past.

berkowit28 said...

I'm also wondering what Hilton thought Don should have asked for, thinking bigger.

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

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

CarolMR said...

Was Conrad Hilton really referred to as "Connie"?

Anonymous said...

*I was surprised at Don's reaction to Connie. The two of them bonded at the country club. Connie is a very powerful connection from a business person's perspective and yet Don was almost cold toward him.*

We know Don HATES that people gossip about him and he can't control which people will connect with which people and exactly what impression and information. He KNEW he should have known who Connie was and is very put out to not have his thumb- added to the loss of hope he already had for the day.

*"Mr. Cosgrove. And Mr. Campbell. For the present." Was he suggesting both are on the bubble or just the latter?*

I think Pete was asking that same question with the expression on his face, I don't have an answer.

*2. I KNEW it I KNEW it I KNEW it -- I ALWAYS thought there was some Don/Joan thing going on, perhaps whole years before the show's window on the firm starting in 1960, and I'm so glad that looks confirmed in that waiting room scene. I'd KILL (not literally, but still ... ) for a Don/Joan flashback.*

Looks confirmed what? I think Don and Joan always had a higher appreciation for how business REALLY works and how it didn't matter what they did as long as they both got to save face. The same way I cover my boss' ass when he does something stupid or untoward. I think perhaps they COULD have sometime gotten more intimate together, but I think their interlude showed much more than they did NOT actually do it because they work so well as they are now.

- I did not like the loooong Sally screaming scene because it spooked my kitty who was napping happily on my lap


Rob Biesenbach said...

To anonymous who posted this:

--Also, was a gray suit considered the power suit of the time? I expected everyone to be sporting a dark suit. Instead, Don, Bert and Roger were all in gray... as was Guy.

My understanding is that it was very unusual in those days for a man to wear a black suit, especially during the daytime. Black suits were for funerals.

In fact, I even recall in the '80s looking for my first "interview" suit and being counseled to go with gray or navy, (which connoted sincerity) but not black (which would have been both unusual and too "slick").

Liam said...


The rape happened before Joan and Dr Rapist got married. It was rape in legal terms. But it would not have been prosecuted, because Joan's sexual history would have been admissable as (dubious but successfully inflammatory) evidence in those days. And Dr Rapist knew that.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Jennifer, one of the aforementioned Commenting Rules is "no talking about the previews for upcoming episodes."

Liam said...

A couple of other things:

1. A transfer to Bombay might have been a promotion in one sense: if Pryce was being paid a London-oriented compensation package, Bombay would probably result in a net increase in money after costs compared to NY.

2. I thought we weren't supposed to mention the glimpse of coming attractions....

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