Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mad Men, "Wee Small Hours": His master's voice

Spoilers for tonight's "Mad Men" coming up just as soon as I say "fresh towels" in Farsi...
"'I want what I want when I want it.' And you don't care what it does to the rest of us - like someone else I know." -Betty

"Fine. What do you want from me, love? Your work is good. But when I say I want the moon, I expect the moon." -Connie

"I don't know what you want." -Henry
How do you solve a problem like Conrad Hilton? Or Lee Garner Jr.? Or Betty Draper? How do our characters - particularly Don Draper, whom we've grown accustomed to as master of his own universe - deal when they have to accommodate the whims of fickle men and women of power? How do you give the person you're beholden to what they want when even they don't know what that is? What do you do when you're trying to satisfy grown adults who are as changeable and demanding as baby Gene?

Those are the big questions of "Wee Small Hours," as Don, Sal and Henry Francis all struggle to decipher mixed signals from, respectively, Connie, Lee and Betty. In the end, none of them manages to satisfy his demanding master or mistress, and the only one getting any personal satisfaction at all is Don, who finally gives into his attraction to Suzanne Farrell.

Having already given up the freedom to run from his life, Dick Whitman-style, thanks to the deal with Conrad Hilton, Don discovers that he has to give up his sleep as well. (Not that any new dad sleeps that peacefully, even in the '60s when Don wouldn't be expected to do much during the night.) In their late-night chats, we see why Connie so powerful, and also why he's a little nuts: he has a missionary's zeal to "bring America to the world, whether they like it or not." He wants his hotels everywhere, including the moon - a line that Don assumes is Connie using hyperbole to make a point, but which Connie is deadly serious about.

Yet for all the aggravation Connie has brought him, we see just how important this relationship is to Don - how much he admires Connie, a man from circumstances so much like his own, who didn't have to cheat to get where he is, and who seems to appreciate both the Dick Whitman and Don Draper parts of our hero's life and personality. When Connie likens Don to a son, Jon Hamm shows just how shaken and touched Don is by this. He's never had approval from a paternal figure before, but it matters to him - dearly. He can't get Archie Whitman to say he's proud of him, even in a delusion, but dammit, he can get Conrad Hilton to say it, and he's going to do whatever he can to stay in Connie's good graces.

The Don we see at the office throughout "Wee Small Hours" isn't the commanding figure we're accustomed to. He's tired, and he's desperate, and he's creatively blocked. You can see that Peggy (who wound up on the Hilton account, after all) isn't so much upset when Don belittles her work as she is worried about him. She understands Don so well that it's scary to see him this frayed; it's not quite as startling as when Don turned into Dick and asked Rachel Menken to run away from him, but this is not what Peggy expects or wants out of her boss.

In the end, Don comes up with a fine campaign, gives another vintage Don Draper pitch... and Connie couldn't care less, since Don neglected to include the moon in it. That it's an irrational request - even if Don were to do some sort of moon campaign, it would have to be its own thing, not part of a campaign for the terrestrial Hilton hotels - doesn't occur to Connie, nor does it matter when Don points it out. This is what he wants, and what Conrad Hilton wants, he gets. And so we see Don in the bizarre position of desperately defending his idea - "This is a great campaign!" - in a position where he would previously have acted as scornfully as he did when the Belle Jolie guys initially rejected Peggy's Mark Your Man campaign.

Much as Don doesn't want to hear it from Roger, he is in way over his head with Hilton, and with all the new responsibilities he's taken on in a post-PPL version of Sterling Cooper. He's in trouble, and we know that when he's in trouble, he runs. Between the baby and the contract, though, he can't run very far, and so finds himself giving into the attraction he's felt for months to the geographically-convenient Miss Farrell. This is not a mistake he would have made in an earlier era - even she can tell that he doesn't usually operate so close to home - and it's going to end horribly (Miss Farrell is a little too in touch with her emotions to go quietly when things inevitably get rocky), but Don needs someone right now, and we know that unfortunately that someone will never be Betty. He needs a Midge/Rachel type, and she's the only one within an easy driving distance. But he understands her only slightly more than he understands Connie, and I suspect she doesn't understand our two-faced protagonist any better.

As vulnerable and sympathetic as Don is in the "You're like a son" moment in Connie's suite at the Waldorf, he is as as cold and cruel as he's ever been when poor Sal comes into his office, hoping that Don his secret-keeper will save him from Lee Garner's petty wrath. And I, unfortunately, had the same expectation. Back in "Out of Town", I braced myself for the worst when Don and Sal were on the plane back to New York, and Don turned out to be mostly cool about Sal's double life. (Undoubtedly, he could relate.) And because of that, I assumed Don would be able to pull a rabbit out of his hat to rescue Sal. But this hasn't been a season of rabbits for Don. He couldn't avoid signing the contract, couldn't please Connie, and he sure can't fight Lucky Strike. And in his powerlessness, he unloads on Sal - who's already terrified for his livelihood, and for his public standing - and contemptuously suggests he should have whored himself to Garner to keep the client happy(*).

(*) Fun with hypotheticals time: put Peggy in Sal's position in this story, as Sal more or less tries to do. How does Don react when he finds out a client ordered her firing because she wouldn't have sex with him? Go.

"You people," he tells him, and it's a testament to Hamm's bravery as an actor that he doesn't in any way try to protect his alter ego's image in that moment. This is Don as complete and utter bastard, destroying Salvatore with two words, and not really caring. Even if his larger point is sadly correct - that the firm can't afford to lose by far its biggest client, and Sal therefore has to go - his presentation is beyond wrong.

And my god... Bryan Batt... what can you say about the guy after an episode like this? Salvatore episodes tend to be rare, and therefore a treat when they come up. Here's a character who started out as obvious (some would say too obvious) comic relief and has become one of the show's great tragic figures. Everyone on "Mad Men" suffers in some way (except maybe Ken Cosgrove), but Sal's burden is especially great, and Batt rises to the occasion every time he's called to show that burden with almost no dialogue. Sal dare not speak his problem's name, so Batt has to internalize most of it, play it with the eyes and body language, and the look on his face when Don turns out to be another villain, not a savior, is just devastating.

And that encounter in the editing suite was nearly as brutal. In the past, when Sal has been identified by a fellow traveler, it's in a personal situation, and Sal has a choice. He walks away from the Belle Jolie guy, and he lets the bellboy ravage him, but in both cases, it's up to Sal. Not here. Lee Garner Jr. wants what he wants when he wants it, and he's gonna take it personally when Sal isn't into it, even as he acknowledges that Sal may not want to do anything where he works. If this isn't Sal's worst-case scenario - that would be complete public exposure - this is pretty close, and he winds up out on the street, literally. He can't tell Kitty the truth, or even a fraction of it - How does he explain the firing otherwise? And wouldn't any version of this story finally give Kitty her Eureka moment, if she didn't already have it in "The Arrangements"? - so he has to pretend to still be employed, all while doing tawdry things with men in the park.

Betty's standards for assignation are higher than that - or, at least, they've gotten higher since the time she and Captain Awesome had sex in that bar's back office - and so she won't sleep with Henry in his office, or even at a motel. In the end, she won't sleep with him at all, to his - and, a little, to my - frustration and confusion.

Roman interludes aside, I've felt far more engaged by the show this season when it's at Sterling Cooper than when we're following Betty on her attempt to find fulfillment. And though an argument could be made that Henry is the powerful, confounding figure in this particular story, I think it's Betty who has all the power. Like he says, she's the married woman, so she has to choose to come to him, and she gets to choose to walk away from him. She's the one who decides to be his pen pal, the one who insists on going through with the fundraiser idea, and the one who throws the lockbox full of letters campaign contributions at him. Henry's all-in, and unlike Lee Garner, he's not going to force himself on the one he wants, so Betty holds all the power.

And because of that, Betty's story was the least compelling part of "Wee Small Hours." It's one thing to watch a character we know and care about like Don struggle to satisfy a bewildering master; it's quite another for the bewildering master to be someone we know and care about, and for the confused one to be the guest star. As written, and as played by January Jones, Betty is designed to be a frustrating, and frustrated, character. She's trapped in a life that should make sense but doesn't, with a man who professes to love her but only occasionally acts like it, with mixed signals coming from family and friends from childhood on. Of course she wouldn't know quite what she wants - might drop the idea of Henry in one episode and then decide to pursue him again in the next - but dramatically, it's not always that interesting, particularly when Betty's directionless quality is pitted against a relatively minor guest character.

Maybe that story is eventually going somewhere, I don't know. With only four episodes left in this season, I'm damn curious to see where all of this is going, particularly now that Sterling Cooper has said goodbye to both Joan and Sal, at the same time that Don is tied to the firm for another three years. I sure don't want to say goodbye to Christina Hendricks or Bryan Batt, but if Don isn't going to set up his own shop, how realistic is it to keep them as part of the narrative? Or will "Mad Men" increasingly spread its world beyond the walls of Sterling Cooper, as we see where the '60s take all of these characters, even if it's not together?

But I suppose it's no easier to decipher what Matthew Weiner wants than it is with Connie, or Betty.

Some other thoughts on "Wee Small Hours":

• This episode was the directorial debut for "Mad Men" executive producer Scott Hornbacher, who, like Weiner, used to work on "The Sopranos." I'm guessing, but don't know, that it was Hornbacher's choice to put Miss Farrell in the Bowdoin t-shirt, since it was one of the two schools Tony and Meadow visited in the famous "College" episode of "The Sopranos."

• So it turns out Don's "I want no contact with Roger Sterling" line to Cooper as he signed his contract in "Seven Twenty Three" wasn't about keeping Don away from Roger, but keeping Hilton away from Roger. That makes more sense, as I imagine trying to end all contact between the creative director and a founding partner (even if he's something of a figurehead now) is untenable. Also interesting to see Roger continue to be more passionate and invested about his job ever since his wake-up call in "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency."

• I want to be clear that at this point in the season, I'm seeing my episodes one week at a time, only a few days before you all, so when I joked in my review of "The Fog" that Chekhov had said, "If you put a drunk woman with a half-buttoned blouse and a dangling bra strap on screen in episode five, she's going to have sex with Don Draper by episode nine," I had no idea that the sex would actually first happen in episode nine.

• Unless he was using a pre-existing bit of music I didn't recognize, David Carbonara's theme for the Betty/Henry scenes was some of the lushest stuff he's yet composed for the show. It really sounded like something out of a '50s or '60s melodrama.

• Some "Mad Men" episodes cover the span of a day, others (most notably "Three Sundays") a much longer period. This was one of the latter, as it opens before the start of the school year and ends on September 17, the day of the funeral for three of the four girls who died in the Birmingham church bombing.

• Speaking of the bombing, I don't think it's a coincidence that Martin Luther King and the civil rights struggle are so prominent (on the radio, anyway) in an episode in which Carla gets stuck in the middle of the unfaithful Drapers. Carla's no dummy; you can see from the instant she walks in on Betty and Henry that she wishes she hadn't, and that she resents Betty's later attempt to get her to participate in the fundraiser lie to Don. And her brief conversation with Betty about the bombing underscores how difficult that working relationship must be for her. You understand where Betty is coming from when she suggests now might not be the best time for civil rights - it's the same patronizing attitude expressed by baseball people who weren't racists but were afraid Jackie Robinson would be in danger if the game integrated. But Carla doesn't want to hear that, even though she knows she has to hold her tongue and not tell Mrs. Draper what she really thinks (which is that change will never happen with that attitude, that the bigots will always win). If there's an area where Weiner has been consistently dinged even by ardent "Mad Men" fans, it's been how little the series has touched on the black experience of the era. I'm hopeful that's starting to change, and that whenever season four is set, black characters will be a significant part of it.

• Harry Crane, idiot. His plan to take a step back and do nothing turned out to be just as bone-headed as his usual impulse decisions. Had he gone to Roger, or even Pete, they might have been able to fix things - sent Sal far away for Lee's visit without firing him, or talked Lee out of it, or some other brand of client-cooling - but Harry's complete inaction ensured that things went down as poorly as possible. And I suspect Paul could have told him that, but chose not to because Paul would rather witness the carnage.

• After his spotlight episode last week, Pete largely recedes to the background here, but Vincent Kartheiser gets a choice gag to play, as non-smoker Pete spends the entire scene at the commercial shoot loudly coughing in the background after Lee forces him to sample the product. That's also another sign of what a bully the guy is, and how he's used to people doing what he tells them to.

Finally, we're going to stick with the slightly modified version of the commenting rules for these posts, so let me repeat how it works. Until we get to 200 comments (i.e., until the comments are split into separate pages), the original rules apply (skim everything before posting to avoid annoying duplication). After 200, if you're going to ask a question, or if you're going to suggest a theory or observation that you don't think has come up yet (i.e., "I think that guy Connie from the country club bar might be Conrad Hilton" or "Do you think Joan's bloody dress was supposed to be a Jackie Kennedy analogue?"), or if you want to answer or correct something from a previous comment, I want you to do a word search (every web browser has one, usually listed as Find in the Edit menu) for some possible keywords you might be using. (In those cases, try "Hilton" or "Jackie" or "bloody.") If you don't see any of your keywords - and again remember that Blogger splits the comments into multiple pages once you get past 200, so check 'em both - then ask/opine away.

It may seem annoying or laborious for you to do this, but I want everybody to show respect for - and not waste - everyone else's time and effort, and this seems the best way to do that.

Keeping that in mind, as well as the usual commenting rules (no spoilers, no talking about the previews, etc.), what did everybody else think?


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oSoFine said...

The article in the paper that Betty was reading in the morning was dated August 25 - yet wasn't King's speech delivered on the 28th?

Anonymous said...

You'll recall last season, after Don described his father to Bobby, Bobby replied, "We gotta get you a new Daddy."

Well, good or bad, Don's got one.

Garrett said...

This show is fantastic about reminding us occasionally what a bastard Don is. Not only did the scene with Sal undo the goodwill of the relatively enlightened "limit your exposure" conversation, but it was reminiscent of Pete's anger when Trudy didn't sleep with her ex-boyfriend to get his article published. And the way he forced himself into the teacher's apartment was shades of Pete and Gudrun last week.

Sheree said...

My heart is breaking for Sal. Damned if he does and damned when he doesn't.

Anonymous said...

I Sal and Joan are gone for good, I can't watch this show anymore!

CarolMR said...

So another man, Don, forces himself upon a woman. This is getting to be a theme.

Anonymous said...

I thought the metal box Betty tossed at Henry contained cash and checks from the fund-raiser. I like the thought that the box contained his letters, but I prefer to think that she kept them. It'd be a cliche for Don to stumble across the letters, but I'd like to see his reaction.

Anonymous said...

I'm just so unbelievably sad for poor Sal. Maybe because of what happened to Sal, I'm mostly just upset/disappointed that Don caved to his feelings for the teacher. The center is not holding - chaos is going to reign.

Anonymous said...

That should have been "if" Sal and Joan are gone, I can't watch the show anymore!

Anonymous said...

Every episode this season is more powerful than the one before it...Wow is all I can say to describe it.

This episode showed the absolute worst of Betty, Connie and Don. Don should roast in hell for the way he treated Sal...Poor Sal.

Nicholas said...

It was fitting to integrate the civil rights movement into an episode highlighting the problems of desires, both those necessary and unnecessary.


Zack Smith said...

-Don's losing it. Sleeping with Ms. CrazySauce is going to blow up in his face, big time. Everything that comes out of her mouth is tinged with nutso. Not sure what to make of her going to Bowdoin, as noted on her running shirt.

-Don asks Ms. CrazySauce, "Who are you?" He asked the same thing to Joy in "The Jet Set." This is the most self-aware affair he's gotten into, but it's not going to be nearly as convenient as his others.

-And of course, Don joins the Asshole Squad at work. He's nasty to his subordinates, whipped by Connie, and sells Sal down the river. This season has repeatedly shown us his old tricks don't work, and that came through again tonight. Roger's right -- Don's in over his head.

Yes, I just typed "Roger's right." I'm scared too.

-I don't want this Betty/Henry thing to be like THE SPORANOS, where Tony had all the mistresses he wanted, but Carmela mostly got longing, unconsummated flirtations. Betty deserves a straight-up break from Don.

-The dream at the beginning seemed to be Betty at first, but the editing suggested it was Don. It would make it only appropriate if Don dreams of what he already has, but can't posses.

-Also, I liked that the Drapers' bedside phone is seafoam-colored. Nice touch.

-The actress who plays Carla was very good this episode. The way she had to react to Betty's mess, and the condescending attitudes everyone had to the Civil Rights Movement were pretty heartbreaking.

-Ohhh, Harry. He's so terrible at being an actual executive. This isn't going to be the last time he gets bitten in the ass like this.

-Pete's cough was hilarious the way it just kept going on, and on, and on.

-Best for last: Poor Sal. Great work from Batt, but is this going to be the start of a long downward spiral for him? He's tried so hard, and now NOT giving in to his impulses is what brought him down.

Getting back to Don's firing of him -- Don might seem chivalrous, even progressive, but he's business first. He was damn condescening to Rachel Menken when they first met. Don's made some strong stands in Seasons One and Two, first against Pete, then against Duck. But this time, it's more and more clear the enemy is himself, and his life might not be the same once Season Four rolls around.

Nicole said...

I really hope there is a way to bring Sal in occasionally, but if not, I am really going to miss him.
I recall someone mentioning last year that Betty always liked the idea of an affair more than actually doing it. It's too much bother for her to make plans and sneak out, and she wants things done her way. Really, the affair was probably over the minute Henry didn't show to the fundraiser. Betty will probably never be happy with her life and she is unlikely to take steps to change it. She won't be a part of the feminist movement later on, because it is too hard, just as she views the risks happening to those participating in the civil rights marches.

Conrad Hilton may come from inauspicious roots, but he is certainly self-entitled. And I am sure his comment about Don being more of a son than his real one, is also a slag on his current descendants, who are all pretty much useless.

Anonymous said...

Roger Stirling isn't a founding partner of the firm, his father was. The name's on the door, sure, but it's just as much his father as it is his.

Roger's life as a country clubbing account person is probably a function of this. Schmoozing is probably the only skill he developed being brought up privileged.

--bad dad

word verification : porped. One having quill like protrusions from the feet.

Anonymous said...

What did Betty and Henry's letters to one another say? I couldn't make out the handwriting when they were on the screen.

Audrey's Mom said...

so much more to say what I think from this episode, but for now let me lead with feelings. Poor Sal. I felt his anguish being cornered by Little Mr. Lucky Strike, his temporary relief that his SC friends had his back (even without knowing the full meaning), and then his shock by Don's siding with the company and firing him after all.

The writing of this episode was masterful, leaving us with feeling Sal's loneliness and frustration in trying to protect himself, yet being persecuted even so.

Poor Sal.

gma said...

Another bullseye review, Alan.

Question -- in the pivotal scene where Don meet Hilton in the "middle of the night" and Hilton was telling Don his person views and vision of America - there was a painting prominently displayed smack behind Hilton. Knowing how specific the set decoration can be on Mad Men, I wanted desperately to know what the subject matter of that painting was. (art historically, in some Dutch genre paintings, paintings seen in backgrounds give you a visual hint or clue to a critique of the action in the scene). I couldn't see it well enough on my tv, and can't "stop" the scene to really look. Any ideas? or is it just me? Help, Alan???

Sheree said...

Not sure how you arrived at your conclusion, Carol MR. Don did not in anyway force himself on Suzanne Farrell. She was ready and willing, fully consenting.

Anonymous said...

RE: the initial exchange between Betty and Henry. I thought Betty's letter asked "Does anyone read this?" - meaning does he have underlings who will see his mail first? His response was basically no, he didn't have that sort of position. So the two of them were free to correspond.

laura said...

Mentioned along with the Birmingham bombings and the MLK speech were the Career Girl Murders.

"It has become infamous not just because of its nature but also due to a major miscarriage of justice in which a young African-American, George Whitmore, Jr, was accused of this and other crimes but later cleared.

The "Career Girl Murders" were only a part of the trials and tribulations of George Whitmore. The grossly improper actions of the police department lead Whitmore to be improperly accused of this and other crimes including the murder of Minnie Edmonds, and attempted rape and assault of Elba Borrer. Whitmore was wrongfully incarcerated for 1,216 days — from his arrest on April 24, 1964, until his release on bond on July 13, 1966, and from the revocation of his bond on February 28, 1972, until his exoneration on April 10, 1973.

His treatment by the authorities was cited as an example that led the US Supreme Court to issue the guidelines known as the Miranda rights. Also, the Whitmore case was considered as being instrumental in the restriction and eventual elimination of the death penalty in New York State.

Stephen S Power said...

I noted last week that there were two Petes: hair slicked back, Office Pete, and hair flopped down, Juvenile Pete. This shows that the hair flop generally indicates disorder. See Sal in the phone booth and Don when Connie wakes him up.

What a contrast between the teacher and Betty. The teacher has obviously banged enough fathers in town to know what they want and affairs with them will arc. She's wise enough to keep Don at a distance, and wise enough to know that will only tempt him more. Meanwhile, Henry is lucky to be rid of Betty. She's writes a teaser letter that would set off alarm bells if it were actually read, she sets up the fundraiser when she could have said it was cancelled, and in his office she's hot, then cold. Clearly she's a headcase, a recipe for public destruction.

Don displays his contempt for gays with "You people." I find it curious, then, that Don doesn't rip on MLK, but instead derides the entire idea of having a dream. Is Weiner saying it's OK for him to be a homophobe, but not OK for him to be racist, as if the latter alone would make him unsympathetic?

When Sal turned down Mr. Jolie, his reasons were understable: why risk a livelihood for a roll in the hay? But if Mr. Lucky is on the down low, Weiner seems to be suggesting that there's a whole world out there for Sal to explore, but he's wound too tight and too defensively to do so. He could, like Don, enjoy the benefits of a secret life, but he refuses to. Which is sad, but not as sympathetic as it might be.

BTW, so proud to live on Bowdoin Street tonight.

Captain Jack said...

Re: Don vs Sal:

Yes, that was Don being an ass, but the latter half of the little speech he gave, he was clearly saying "it's either this or you come out to everyone" not only was it a "business first" look for SC, but for Sal himself.

CarolMR said...

Yeah, Connie came off as self-entitled. I just realized he is the ex-husband of Zsa Zsa and the ex-father-in-law of Elizabeth Taylor.

cgeye said...

I think Conrad Hilton knows about Dick Whitman. Any man so imbued with his mission of bringing America to the world would at least have hired a private detective, and noted how the Draper trail has a splice during the Korean War. If Hilton's as much of a titan as Bert Cooper, he'd have the instinct to know his man completely -- a simpatico gained through a drink wouldn't be enough.

He at least knows that Don psychologically has a hole as big as a father in his soul, and that Connie's used to filling that space, to get his way. He might not be as bad as Archie, but note how skillfully he slams Don between "how do you decide?" and "so, you're a dog, then?" -- always forcing the shell of God, country, family on Don when if he actually gave a damn about those things, he'd let Don sleep and enjoy evenings with the family he's got.

Also, with that moon request, Connie should have been smart enough to suggest co-branding ideas with NASA, to prepare the PR ground for people to want accomodations on an American moon.

As for Sal? I wonder if all the apologists for Pete last week will think that what Lee did was OK, because Sal was in the exact same position as Gudrun. Both their jobs depended on accommodating a drunken man used to completing sexual assaults with minimal resistance, and both their bosses ignored the crimes either attempted or completed, in order to keep a business relationship going.

Sal's trip to the Ramble is the only puzzle. For a man so circumspect he never risked even a kiss before, when he seems to be picky concerning the men he likes, why would he choose then to risk arrest and ruin? *He's* the one who was assaulted; why would he choose that night to become promiscuous?

And where will he go, in the morning? If a major client ordered him fired, there's no law back then where SC was limited in sharing details with prospective employers. Depending on who tells, Sal could be blackballed from the industry.

Good God -- does that Duck has to seduce him, too? Just from writing that, I feel unclean....

Bobman said...

How do you solve a problem like Conrad Hilton?

HOw do you catch a cloud and pin it down?

HaroldsMaude said...

Another point of the class difference between Don and Betty. Betty stops the dalliance with Henry - considering an affair in hotel rooms, and probably not seedy ones at that. Don, when faced with the realities of snogging the teacher close to home where everyone and anyone might know their business - could care less.

Anonymous said...

"You people," said Don to Sal.

Wasn't that the same thing Betty said to Jimmy Barrett last season?

jamfan said...

When Bobby whines at dinner "I don't want salad!" and Betty tells him to watch his tone with Carla, saying, "She works for me, not you" -- damn. Smug, belittling, and hateful. This episode was about all the people with power seeing that power thwarted and then taking it out on someone with comparatively less power. Betty and Carla are at the tail end of that chain, with Betty having the least power of the "powerful" people and Carla having the least power, period. I thought that line was a perfect encapsulation of that dynamic -- Betty showing up an 8-year-old with her "possession" of the maid.

CarolMR said...

Sheree, I thought I saw Miss Farrell shirk away from Don when he began embracing her. It just reminded me of Pete and the au pair. Maybe I'm wrong; I have to watch it again.

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

The box Betty threw was the cash and checks from the fundraiser, not the letters from Harry.
I think Don has had no contact with Roger judging from his comment to Harry to get Don to fix it. I think Conrad leaving in a huff embolden Roger to throw Don's missteps in his face thereby showing Don that he (Roger) is needed around the office.

Hyde said...

I thought the Hilton pitch scene was one of the funnier ones in this season. That look on Don's face when he realized "Oh my...Hilton is just a little nuts, isn't he?" was priceless.

Apparently Sal's encounter in Baltimore lit a fuse, since we were led to believe that he had never physically acted on his desires before. One can easily see those park encounters not ending well either, given Sal's relative innocence and the police harassment of gays that was commonplace at the time.

The joke about Khrushchev seemed like a possible error, since he was still in power in 1963.

Unknown said...

I noticed that as all the housewives are lamenting about race relations in the south, Carla was dutifully cleaning up in the background. Weiner showing us little hypocrisy of the time perhaps?

Josh said...

I have feeling in the pit of stomach because was tonight was the first time that I really disliked Don. That "you people" was jaw-dropping and sickening. Struggling with the idea of watching a show where I can't really root for anyone.

Anonymous said...

The Kruschev Disneyland incident happened in 1959, so it was not an error on Connie's part to reference it.

Anonymous said...

Too close to home and the people who should be most worried are oblivious.

Both Rachel and Bobbi essentially told Don that they wanted him. Don told Miss Farrell that he wanted her. This is a significant difference- he is not in control. For someone who has mostly been able to take a step back and consider how he should act, recent events have Don reeling. Roger is correct, he is in over his head.

Unfortunately, Don is taking out his frustrations on those below him who are unable to protest. We call others in the show bullies, but isn't that what Don has become?

My spouse commented that Betty wants the romantic idea of an affair, without the complications. Calling the use of an office or hotel room "tawdry" was really her comment on the actual reality of having an affair. In addition, she also knows that Carla is aware of what is potentially going on and her knowledge may become a liability in the future.

Sal has become a tragic figure. It is ironic that when he did the right thing, he was forced to take the blame for not doing the wrong thing. Yet the real villian is Harry- what a dolt. As Alan pointed out, had he spoken up earlier, the crisis could have been averted. Don's treatment of Sal was shocking and despicable. But his suggestion that Sal should have done what the client wanted is consistent with Don's history. Don initially gave into Bobbi Barret when he was trying to get the Barrets to do what he wanted.

We knew that Don's knowledge of Sal's nature would be brought up again. We did not know that it would be used as a weapon. But as we saw 2 weeks ago, secret knowledge can be a very effective weapon and Don.

All in all a game changing episode. The last 3 of the season will be exciting to watch.

Misty Mays said...

This guy is a wacl job!

Jay Castle said...

The scenes between Don and Connie and later on, Don and Sal, were both profoundly sad, and beautifully rendered.

If anyone should be fired, it's Harry Crane. He's completely inept.

Stephen Power, I'm not so sure about your assessment of Sal being wound too tightly to enjoy a roll in the hay on the downlow with Mr. Lucky. Not only was the man clearly lacking discretion, it looked to me like Sal just wasn't attracted to him. Otherwise, he could have said "not here ... meet you later" etc.

Don's contemptuous "you people" is steeped in such hypocrisy and, frankly, irony, that it would be laughable if the consequences weren't so grim.

JoeInVegas said...

Of course Lee Gardner Jr wants Sal fired. This is 1963 and what would dad do if he found out that Jr was "queer"?

frabjous said...

It seemed to me that not only did Betty have a fantasy of what being with Henry might be like that reality could never fulfill, that fantasy was itself mixed up and confused.

Henry seems to like Betty because she's some feminine ideal - see the belly-touching and the fainting couch. But she likes Henry in no small part because she liked feeling like she was making a difference; she liked writing to him because it was a chance to communicate with someone not wrapped up in childrearing and family. She (and he) have no idea how to express those feelings in anything other than sexual ways.

After Italy, Betty was feeling totally trapped in her life - it's no wonder she wanted to reach out. But she recognizes that the only thing there when she reaches is another sort of trap.

Anonymous said...

On race relations, I took specific note (during the fundraiser scene) to the casual reference about how bad things were in the South, while the Drapers had a black woman serving them...the sad, but classic perspective of a Yankee.

Anonymous said...

With all the comments about Betty and Henry, has no one noted before that - immediately after her father dies, Betty is attracted to a competent - but definitely older - man? It's no coincidence that her affair is not with someone in her peer group. I'm not going to get all Freudian about this and her actions, but I'm sure her vulnerability to Henry's attention has been due in no small part to her father's death. But, of course, she wouldn't do anything "tawdry."

Andy Levy said...

Connie wasn't kidding about wanting the moon:

Anonymous said...

I think Betty's comment that maybe it was not the right time for civil rights was also her telling herself it was not the right time to have an affair.

Jape77 said...

It was very clear in Season 1 that Midge wasn't just Don's mistress, she was his Muse, figuratively and literally.

From the get-go with the teacher, my wife said she reminded her of Midge, and I suspect Don sought the teacher out tonight less for sex and more because his creative mojo was slipping.

Don desperately needed his Muse back.

Brandon said...

How topical, too, that the episode where Sal is fired, indirectly, for being gay is the one where Betty pulls out the old chestnut, "I'm not sure now's the time for civil rights." Not to mention the reference to how sad it is that the blacks had to march in DC to be heard, considering the events of this weekend.

Trying very hard to be apolitical, but that's just a comment about the episode's topicality.

Little Brown Mouse said...

Today was National Coming Out Day. Hats off to Weiner and company for reminding us all that nothing less than full protection under the law is acceptable for our homosexual brothers and sisters.

Mart said...

Is anyone else surprised at the way this show is interweaving actions from a real, non-fiction person (Connie Hilton) so intricately into this story? Is there no worry about it clashing with the real world.

Poor Sal. The swiftness and unfairness of his firing was breathtaking.

Anonymous said...

Sad about Sal, and his final scene is quite unbelievable. I find it hard to believe that Salvatore Romano would EVER lower himself to cruising in the Rambles. Anyone who has read Arthur Laurents' book knows that gentlemen of a certain stature would find other similarly inclined gentlemen on the Bird Circuit. Sal looked out of place in the park because he was out of place in the park.

Of course this could have been avoided if Harry had gone to his bosses with the problem...he's a bit to too old to be believable when claiming the defense, "The client told me not to tell!"

Lisa said...

We've now seen Joan and Sal exit, but these are not only strong actors and characters, they're strong archetypes for the show. I don't think we've seen the last of them. Also, I'm still wondering how the Peggy/Duck thing is going to pan out -- is there a remote chance that Peggy might still exit S-C herself?

Who knows, Sal might still excel as a director somewhere else -- and once 1969 rolls around, it would be interesting to see if Sal's sexual awakening and rage over his firing at S-C might put him in the middle of the Stonewall riots, or at least the Mattachine Society.

If so, as much as I like to see everyone toiling under one roof, we may see a parallel workplace situation emerging, which wouldn't be bad in my view. I think S-C is fast becoming a symbol of the past, not the future. The question is, will Don have to live out that three-year contact or not?

Other random thoughts:

I have to give Hamm props during Sal's firing scene. Don's treatment of Petty, Betty and now Sal shows a guy who's losing his mojo and is reverting to typical grey flannel suit behavior. On their trip, Don helped cover for Sal. Today, he buries him. He barks at his creative team for new ideas when he can't come up with any particularly good ones on his own. And Connie is His Master's Voice. I think we're watching Don's winning streak coming to an end -- and then what will he do?

I'm glad Betty's little fling with the Rockefellers is over because I got bored by it pretty quickly. Oh, and her asinine comment to Carla about the Birmingham situation was exactly what polite racist white people did supposedly not to upset the help. At the end of the day, Betty's a selfish and vicious empty vessel and January Jones plays her beautifully.

Oh, and Miss Farrell. I thought she had potential for real surprise -- does EVERY woman on this show have to fall into Don's arms? How boring.

BTW, Laura -- fascinating summary on the Career Girl Murders. Proves how you really need to listen hard to what's going on in each episode -- everything's connected.

dubiwag said...

I don't know why, but I have a feeling that Sally's going to be the one to bust Don cheating with the teacher. The writers have been so careful to develop her character, and I think it might be to bring her more directly into the Dick/Don story.

Also, remember when Bobbie & Don were in bed last season, and she told him she had heard all about him from other women he'd had as clients & slept with? He was none too happy at being labeled SC's manwhore...that's when he tied Bobbie up & left her in the bed. Wonder if he was doing then what he advised Sal to do with Lucky Strike, Jr.?

dylanfan said...

At least the fainting couch is moved away from the hearth ...

I'm still wondering about the title, Wee Small Hours" -- had expected to hear Frank Sinatra. Was the closing music from that album?

Chedda said...

I thought the box was filled with money from the fundraiser as well. The coins were jangling in the box when she tossed it at Henry. Also, I'm surprised that someone who tweeted his complaints about the phrase, "pushing the envelope", would use the phrase , "could care less".

Anonymous said...

YOU PEOPLE.....only two words but they cut like a knife.

ela said...

All episode, Don was teetering towards a point where he needed some release. Each night scene with Don, he's getting less and less sleep. The first time his sleep is interrupted, it's 4am. Then, Connie calls at 11:30. Finally, we see him arrive home, take off his jacket, sit on the edge of the bed - and get right back up again. Then, after sex with the teacher, he sleeps.

Repetition said...

During this whole episode, I kept having a feeling of deja-vu. Eventually I noticed that a lot of small moments actually happened twice in this episode.
-Connie called Don at night twice
-MLK speech was heard twice
-Don came home and went straight for the bottle twice

I'm sure there were more. Not to mention the deja-vu of Teacher-lady having the SAME vocal inflection as Rachel and the Bohemian (can't remember her name). All of this makes me think that the episode was largely about unbreakable patterns.

Also, no one has discussed the closing song tonight. What was it? I loved how the opening phrases, which played during the last shot of Don and Teacher-Lady in bed, were extremely dissonant, like a horror soundtrack. Then they resolved into a more sedate ballad.

Repetition II said...

I also liked how the man from Lucky Strike actually called Sal Sally! Interesting, in light of all the punning between the two Bobbies in Season 2.

Anonymous said...

Great comments tonight.

Mine is just a now vs then:

Don's befuddlement at Hippie Teacher's morning run.

And no sports bras in '63.


jmc said...

I didn't really buy Ms. Farrell's acquiescence. By that I simply mean that while she may be attracted to Don, she has also clearly indicated she knows what type of guy Don is. She's having an affair with a dad a few blocks from his home while she works at a school where all the other dads have hit on her and all the moms treat her with disdain and/or suspicion as a result. So the notion that she's suddenly swept off her feet (literally) and not only sleeps with him but allows him to sleep in (won't he be even more obvious leaving her garage doorstep during morning rush hour?) seemed implausible to me. Ms. Farrell isn't constrained the way Betty (or Bobbie Barrett, even) is -- she's a pretty young teacher in a town that surely has _some_ eligible bachelors. Don's a pretty guy, no doubt, but I don't see how he's worth the risk.


Max said...

I wonder if Don had a "type" before he married Betty. Every girl he's ever had an affair with is a brunette, and a much more outspoken independent woman than Betty; basically the exact opposite of her. I liked all these women much more than I did Betty--especially Rachel--but of course she's his wife/mother of his children.

This will probably end badly for Don, you guys are right. However, wouldn't it be ironic if Don's wife left him because of an affair with a younger girl, and even more so if he left Betty. After all one of the reasons why his relationship with Roger is so icy is because Don was so upset with Roger leaving his wife. Don will probably never physically leave Betty (although we know he's been checked out for a long time) but that would be pretty intense.

Yeah what Don did was despicable, but only a part of me thought he'd do the right thing. Don has taken some stands before, but all in the gentlemanly sort of manner. Don is a "gentleman," and what gentlemen did back then was love women. Don's stood up for women, but I couldn't see him take a stand for gays, or understand the need to defend a homosexual. People don't even do that all the time now.

Rob Biesenbach said...

Good point about the "you people" callback to last season. Just as Jimmy Barrett responded, "What do you mean, 'you people?' You mean comedians?" Sal should have said to Don, "You mean Italians?"

I think the "mojo" argument is a good one for Don's going over to the teacher's place. But I also think it's desperation. The same with Sal cruising at the park. When you're backed into a corner and beaten down you're just looking for an easy out, or a few moments of pleasure. Something to make you forget for a little while.

Stephen S Power said...

Jay Castle: I agree that Sal was definitely not attracted to Mr. Lucky--in addition to being thuggish, he's pretty homely--but it seemed to me that Sal, as before, was rejecting not him but the idea of him. Mr. Lucky, like the teacher, has been down this road before, and he knows the way; he's timed the editor's absence, he's locked the door, he knows how to approach Sal, and he's gotten ginned up first to free himself of his own inhibitions, just to start. But Sal refuses to go there, knowing how terrible the penalties can be, but not facing the fact that someone like Mr. Lucky would be discreet and not explode someways down the line like Betty surely would have with Henry. (I agree that Betty likes the idea of an affair much more than the actual affair, just as she probably likes the idea of civil rights more than actual civil rights.) I would also agree that Don did couch his dismissal in more mercenary terms: Sal v. $25 million, but still. Sal's sexuality is clearly something he can't abide. The hypocrisy is rich.

The more Dick is getting trapped into being Don, the less both of them are becoming likeable.

I really don't see how Sal's talk in the phone booth would suggest he was in some sketchy pick up area for gay men at night. For one, the Ramble is a bunch of isolated wooded hillocks in the middle of Central Park; there are no pay phones. In addition, many men, unable to tell their wives that they've lost their jobs, pretend they are still going to work. I see the scene as speaking to his isolation. Sal has no one now.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I'm overwhelmed. I've seen every episode, but this one crushed me. Sometimes the pain delivered by Mad Men makes me wonder if it's worth it.

RIII said...

SPS- I was unsure about the payphone scene too, but I watched the episode again and now I'm certain that we're supposed to think Sal has gone to the park to hook up. There are some sketchy dudes in the background of that shot; sorry, but that's undoubtedly Hollywood shorthand for "gay pickup zone." And it makes sense when you think about Don's desperation; they have their confrontation and end up in roughly the same emotional place.

Anonymous said...

I still think deep down Don is ok with Sal's sexuality. Don seems to be pretty open minded...he promoted a girl to copy writer, he was clearly disgusted at Roger's black face, and he was fine with Sal's homosexuality when it didn't hurt the business. I think that because Don is under so much pressure he doesn't want to put forth the effort to save Sal so his comments to Sal was just his way of rationalizing the firing to himself.

christy said...

If it were the exact same situation--I mean exact--but with Peggy instead of Sal...My gut tells me there's no reason it wouldn't have turned out exactly the same way. Without the "you people," though. Maybe he would have found a different epithet.

The way Don treated Sal here was very similar to how he treated Peggy a couple episodes ago. Cruel and bigoted.

Man, this is a good show.

Anonymous said...

My jaw dropped when Sal was shown the door and Don let it happen. I agree with Alan that at that point Don was powerless to do anything different.

The "you people" remark was because Don thought Sal came on to the client and to answer Alan if it were Peggy and the situtation the same (Harry didn't tell anyone and the client left in a huff) she would be knocking on Duck's door looking for a new job.

The client wants what the client wants and if you can't provide it then they go else where.

Imagine Sal's shock when one time Don tells him to stay in the closet and now he should have let the client use him.

It really does seem the signs are looking toward Don not being at SC much longer especially if they seem like they lose another client. Especially if Roger is gunning for him now.

christy said...

There was a leather guy in the background. It was a hook-up spot.

That scene reminded me a lot of the one in Angels in America, where the Mormon guy calls his mom from a payphone and then finds his own leather guy.

Anonymous said...

Hypothetically, if Peggy was the one in Sal's place with expectations that Don would take care of the situation of her being fired, Don would be the same "Dick" expecting her to do what she had to in keeping the client happy. When Sal asked what if he was a woman in that position, Don said it depended on the woman and what he knew about her. Well he knew Peggy had a baby out of wedlock and was giving it up to move on with her life. He would have expected her to do what she had to do to save the account...her job.

Aside from the fact he's in a pressure cooker with the Hilton account and with no help coming from the "account man". He's on edge.

Anonymous said...

I really can't wait for the season finale, when Ken Cosgrove tells us in voiceover that 1963 is the year everything changed, turns off his monitor, and goes outside to play with his kids.

cgeye said...

a) Central Park does have payphones.
b) Even though the Ramble wouldn't even be near many streetlights, I can accept the fictional convention that a payphone would be near a place where
c) Leather boys and rough trade would be directly behind Sal, cruising.

The point here being the leather boys, et al., CRUISING BEHIND SAL.

Or mebbe a fey motorcycle gang just decided to hang out in a park?

Anonymous said...

I was really thrown off when Don said "Let me think on that". Was that phrase at all in existence in 1963?

KeepingAwake said...

I don't agree that Sal's job would have been saved if Harry had intervened sooner. Mr. Lucky Strike Jr. is also closeted (note he is also married)and there is no way he would abide Sal's remaining at Sterling Cooper. What story could Sal have come up with that would ever seem proportionate to Lucky Strike Jr.'s anger? There isn't one. Don is the only person he could have told the truth, and Don didn't want to be involved.

Harry could have handled things better, yes, but I doubt the outcome would have been significantly different for Sal. Lucky Strike Jr.'s ego was hurt, his closeted status was at risk, and he had the $25M to make SC accede to his whims.

dubiwag said...

Last season, when they flashed back to Dick's interaction with the real Mrs. Draper--he was so earnest and sweet. It's always seemed to me that Dick is the good, albeit weak, side of Don. It's former hillbilly Dick who tries to give a chance to the underdogs like Sal (at least until tonight)& Peggy, somewhat the way he was given a shot at a new life by Mrs. Draper.

But his "Don-side" expects them to take the chance and do whatever it takes to get he did. If they appear to be underperforming after he extends his help, he has zero tolerance. Hence his really shoddy treatment of both of them in the past two episodes. He's infuriated when he thinks he sees his own weakness (or when he sees Dick Whitman/human side peeking through the facade) reflected in them.

I have never spent this much time dissecting a TV show in my life. I need help.

Anonymous said...

Suzanne Farrell couldn't have graduated from Bowdoin; the college didn't go co-ed until 1971.

mlg619 said...

This is my first post…have followed avidly for two years.

I think Allen is brilliant, but disagree with him tonight about Betty’s story being least compelling.

Tonight for the first time I really thought about Betty’s background. This woman was raised in the forties and fifties.
we in 2009 are often harsh as we judge her parenting skills and world view, particularly about race. She is what she is and what she was contemporary to the times, ignorant about other races, not a deep thinker about nurturing, trying always to be the ‘good daughter’ to her internal values as she was raised. She looks good, dresses great, married well economically, and finds herself (as I think the majority of women in that time may have) intellectually unfulfilled. But tonight, in ending the affair before it began with Henry she did the right thing. I also think Betty, in saying the times weren’t ready for civil rights, was reacting like people of the status quo do, (think of those who said our current president should wait to run)…they counsel patience to those who are suffering out of their fear of upheaval, but not out of malice towards underprivledged.

Don didn’t do the right thing. As Bookworm Rach says, Don escapes and is nihilistic…he does anything to get a fix of something that feels good and like he’s in control when his life stresses him…and tonight, after the diss from Connie and Roger, he is feeling powerless and so does what he can to give himself back a rush of satisfaction of any kind and doesn’t care about the outcome down the road. Truly immature in all ways.

Like Betty, Sal does the right thing too, listening to his inner moral voice, and like Betty, it does not get him a just reward. Betty’s husband betrays her, Sal’s boss betrays him, as do the times.

The old order of the 40s and 50s are unraveling…Weiner is making this clearer and clearer. And …

In the wee small hours of the morning
While the whole wide world is fast asleep
You lie awake and think about the girl
And never ever think of counting sheep

When your lonely heart has learned its lesson
Youd be hers if only she would call
In the wee small hours of the morning
Thats the time you miss her most of all

I think Don dreams of a girl he will never have, but it will be Betty he misses when his lonely heart has learned its lesson, and Betty dreams of a man she hasn’t even met yet.

PanAm53 said...

People get fired every day of the week for far less than $25 million.

Given the circumstances, Don had no other choice but to fire Sal.

It really has nothing to do with homosexuality.

The customer is always right!

I personally know of many nursing personal who were fired because of an insignificant complaint by a patient or family member. Nothing life or death, just comments that were perceived as rude.

If a $25 million client wants someone gone for any reason what so ever, that someone will be gone!

oSoFine said...

I suppose I should clarify my comment/question. (I got a bit excited about being first to post!:P)

The show opens with Don leaving in the middle of the night to drive to work, and on his way out of town runs into Miss Farrell who is out running. When she steps into the car, a recording of MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech is on the radio and she asks Don not to turn it off, and tells him she is going to read it to her students on the first day of school.

In the next scene at home, Carla arrives and brings with her the newspaper, and comments that Mr. Draper usually brings it in. Betty explains that he left early. She then looks down at the "Goldwater in '64" article on the front page, which is dated (as far as I could tell - and I rewound it several times) August 25. That would place the front page article three days before the speech, which doesn't make any sense, does it?

This was a searing episode, with some amazing and devastating scenes (I am heartbroken for Sal, and furious with Don!), so this small error is just that - small. However, because the camera lingered so long on the article, I found it a jarring and confusing beginning to the show.

[Note: I found it!! I searched and found this:

MANY IN G.O.P. SEE GOLDWATER IN'64; Most Experts in Party Now Writing Off Rockefeller's Chance for Nomination

By CABELL PHILLIPS Special to The New York Times

August 26, 1963, Monday

Page 1, 1078 words...

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25--A substantial number of Republican party professionals, perhaps a majority, regard Senator Barry Goldwater as the almost certain nominee of their party to oppose President Kennedy in 1964.

It would have cost $ for the entire article, but this preview was available! So, that means that although the article was written on Sunday the 25th, it was printed for the morning edition on Monday the 26th - still two days before MLK's speech, right? I also looked up the front page headline article about the march on Thurs. August 29th - the day after the march and speech.]

Thanks to Laura for explaining which murders they were also discussing on the radio! I was curious about that.... From clicking on her link, I see they also occurred on the 28th!

I guess I answered my own question - however if anyone else noticed this or can think of a good reason for the continuity error, I'd love to hear it! :)

Anonymous said...

CGEYE- yes the parallels with Pete/Gudrun and Sal/Mr. Lucky Strike were heavy to me as well. Now we see what happens when good people say no to drunk people who have power over your livelihood who want sex. What could be more freely consensual than that?

I also thought it was a bit much for Sal to be immediately cruising in the worst way already, but it made a strong statement, I guess when you get that far down, it doesn't seem like a big leap.

Maybe it was a bit too obvious for this crowd but the fundraiser talk about the South still being in 1863 and ending segregation with zero people of color attending and Carla only as the help was biting and perfect for me.

And I'll poke at the Is Betty a Good Mom topic again- while I generally think the modern day mother as exhausted zombie deal is a modern creation and not a necessity, it is in the little consistencies that I really think Betty does just the minimum and generally tunes all the actual mothering out unless the mood or force strikes her.

Dallas keeps getting mentioned, thanks for the tip a few weeks ago!


Lilithcat said...

I got a bit of a chuckle from the ad suggestion for the Athens Hilton, showing a view of the Acropolis. When I was in Athens back in the '60s, the joke was that people stayed at the Hilton because it was the only place in Athens from which you couldn't see the Hilton.

I'm scared for Sal. He's so innocent. He knows now what he wants, and he's out looking for it, but he doesn't know how to get it safely.

Anonymous said...

The customer is always right?
The customer always wants the Moon, and at cut-rate prices!

Although Hilton hasn't gotten to the Moon - yet, it did get to the Orbital Space Station in Kubrick's 2001 A Space Odyssey. In memorable product placement, Hilton, Bell Telephone and Pan Am were all featured in the midddle section of that 1968 film. Kubrick was criticized for it, but it was a sly comment on the empirical aspects of modern Capitalism.
As Connie points out to Don tonight, the spread of capitalism (and the Hilton brand)is a mission and almost a religion, especially when opposed to those Godless Communists.


Manton said...

Great comments, as per usual.

I thought Sal would be going out the window after going through some of the previous ad campaigns he had a hand in. Sadly, out with the closeted and self-hating homosexual and in with the new, foreign, out art director. The times, they are a-changin. There is a bit of me that fears that Alan might have to bring back one of his Wire standbys, a detailed moment-by-moment run though of minor events leading to a giant tragedy. I really hope Sal gets through this, but I'm bracing for the worst....

Betty's been described as a child before, and tonight she became petulant. I would assume that her opening dream would be with her fantasy hookup, and not with Don, as mentioned earlier. And when she didn't get the imagined romantic escape (unlike when she was in Rome, for example), she lashed out, even when she was clearly in the wrong and has no real idea how to carry on an affair (letters?! EVIDENCE?!?!). Another thing she and Don don't have in common.

What a spoiled brat. I'm really starting to dislike her as the episodes roll forward.

Finally, don't get your hopes up about Harry Crane going anywhere. He is the perfect "yes" man, is just anonymous looking enough, and is only destined for great things. There was an interview with on the show (maybe even here?) where it's brought up that people in Harry's job eventually ran TV networks. Let's evaluate Harry's work attributes since receiving his job:

-Little real initiative
-Wants to excel more than do good work to get there
-Desperately worries about keeping his job paramount to all else
-Does nothing and keeps his job while an underling is fired
-Laments how he missed the commercials, and is now forced to watch the actual entertainment.


Also, according to the Shazam app, the closing song is "Prelude To A Kiss" by Nnenna Freelon, which is not a cut off of Sinatra's In The Whee Small Hours. A shame, as that's a great album.

And no, that song is not available on iTunes :)

Karen said...

When Connie kept calling Don in the middle of the night, and Don kept getting up to go meet him, I found myself thinking, "This is exactly like Don having an affair, only it's all out in the open." You can imagine how hard I laughed when Don used the fake excuse of a call from Connie to go out and visit the teacher.

I know Harry Crane isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I can scarcely believe that he thought having Sal present at the Lucky Strike client meeting was the right decision. He's the one who deserved to get fired, although it was clear, under the circumstances, that Sal had to go. I, too, was hoping that Don could pull off some sort of miracle (I thought he'd do it with Connie and the moon, too), but when a $25 million client says a guy has to get gone, he has to get gone. That's just business reality.

Betty's story was interesting to me--even as much as I can't stand her character--because it was such a flip side to Don. It IS different for the married woman. Her recognition of the sordid reality as opposed to the romantic fantasy was inevitable. She doesn't have the freedom to walk out of the house at any time, like Don has. And a woman with Betty's sensibilities isn't likely to warm to the kind of planning an affair entails. Her spur-of-the-moment clinch with Awesome was different--the spontaneity was part of the thrill. But an affair with Henry would have no spontaneity--she can't excuse it to herself as being swept up in the moment--and that's tougher for her to swallow. So to speak. What will be interesting to see now, is how Betty will deal with the frustration and the longing for attention. Will she become even more bitter?

Nicole said...

I think we have viewed Don's earlier positive behaviour toward Sal and Peggy as a sign that he held our modern opinions regarding women in the workplace and homosexuals in general. However, his recent taking down of Peggy and his dismissal of Sal tonight indicates that he was probably thinking more that they are useful to him and that is why he encouraged them and/or protected their secrets. When it became difficult to deal with them, he did not step up, but thought of the bottom line (not giving Peggy a raise that she would have deserved, not keeping Sal and working around the angry client). Ultimately, Don is indicative of why most social change occurred, because it was economically intelligent, and not because it was the right thing to do. Of course certain people did believe in those more progressive ideals, but not someone like Don. You don't make a living out of nothing by being an idealist. Don is a pragmatist, and his use of "you people" is an indication of what he really thought about Sal.

Sal's story is especially poignant considering the discourse that still exists today in the US regarding gay marriage. I wonder if Weiner had intentionally planned to have this episode air on "National Coming out Day".

As for the pay phone scene, I was definitely picking up George Michael vibes in the background.

Maultsby said...

Manton, thanks for the research on the closing song.

I searched "pencil" in the comments so I don't think Sally's "want what I want when I want it" pencil case for her looseleaf has been mentioned. Born in 1950, I guess I must be about her age (13?) because I remember when those came out and how cool they were. Still are ... I don't remember ever hearing anybody use "looseleaf" as a noun.

PanAm53 said...

I really don't see how the date of the NY Times article about Goldwater as the potential '64 presidential candidate makes any difference in the story line. However, we did not see the date of The New York Times newspaper, only the date of the Washington report: August 25. I'm assuming the date that Carla brought in the newspaper was Aug. 29th, the day after MLK's speech.

Anonymous said...

You people- you knew it was over for Sal at that moment.

Don wasn't kidding about Lucky Strike being responsible for keeping the lights at SC on. When I googled Don's 38k salary in season 1, it turned out to be in the low 300's in modern money.

A 25 million dollar account in 1963? The Lucky Strike creep could have propositioned the young Mrs. Sterling and all would have been forgotten.

disappearing atlanta said...

The Betty-Henry storyline is too soapy. The Conrad Hilton and Sal threads are great.

In S2, Don sold a controlling interest in his stock (12.5% of the company) to Putnam Powell for about $500K. That means that Alice and Burt Cooper and Roger pocketed about $7.5 million combined. If Lucky Strike alone is a $25 million client (annual sales), Putnam Powell and Lowe bought its controlling interest in SC dirt cheap!

Anonymous said...

Initially I liked Connie but having seen the way he feels entitled to intrude on Don's personal life and his demanding, patronizing nature, I dislike him more and more.

Joysong said...

I agree with Stephen S Power about Sal's apparent dalliance in the park with the leather guys. The fact that Sal was not the "cruising-in-the-park" type is not the point. Placing him there puts the cap on his tragedy and illustrates his utter desperation. He truly has no where to turn.

PanAm53 said...

I also like Sal as a character on Mad Men. But, once again, this is not about liking someone, disliking someone, or someone being's about $25 million. Even today, that's a lot of money to lose. No matter how Don feels personally, he has no choice but to fire Sal. It's business.

Ostiose Vagrant said...

Agree with the sentiments that Betty is not into having affairs as the idea. Partially, because with Don she's in the position of weakness. She's trapped and it's nice to wield the power. But she's also the victim and kind of a self-made martyr (not to say that Don isn't in the wrong) and to have an affair is to take away that identity. Of course it's also the conditioning that was how girls were raised in society.

Change comes from people who have overcome that mental hurdle of saying that progress comes naturally or small increments. Change always means certain instability and incidents. I hope, like Alan that the show begins to incorporate the Civil Rights elements because the show does come off as quite WASPy.

I keep thinking of Don as a 60s reincarnation of Gatsby - probably the reinvention of themselves - except he got married to Daisy and realized that wasn't the answer to his problem.

JustMe said...

Betty continues to make no sense to me whatsoever.

She was just flat out rude when Henry didn't show up to her fundraiser. I would think disappointment, maybe even visible disappointment. But the crap she spewed was not how someone with her background and education would have been raised to behave in public, so the scene at the house didn't ring true. Which made the scene at Henry's office not work either.

I think there's a compelling story somewhere, but its being done so poorly compared to the other stories around it that just makes itself non-interesting.

Monica said...

I had a slightly different take on Conrad. I didn't think he was self-entitled so much as just lonely. He definitely acts entitled, but that's just a symptom of a deep disconnect.

He probably doesn't feel truly understood by anyone, hence why he got so irrationally petulant when Don didn't deliver a "Hilton on the moon" campaign. If Don's not careful, he could be like Conrad in the future -- powerful, lonely, wanted for his money but sadly calling up people late at night asking them to come drink with him.

Re: Don and Ms. Farrell. I was like "oh nooooo" when Don showed up at her door. What a massive idiot. The woman is just one breakup away from stab-you-with-the-kitchen-knife crazy. But with power dynamics being such a theme in the show, it'll be interesting to see how Don's relationship with Ms. Farrell plays out.

They seem evenly matched in terms of being recklessness and ruthlessness. Rachel Menken, who had a wonderful, loving father, was too good and stable for Don. Midge was too free-spirited and hard to pin down. Bobbie, frankly, was too fun and "tawdry." She was good at mixing business with pleasure. Don likes doing that too, but he likes something a little extra. He likes the beauty of a little sadness and a little tragedy mixed in his romances.

Ms. Farrell is a player just like Don, and she seems to like her affairs with a little danger mixed in. And because of the inappropriateness of this relationship and her geographic proximity, that is exactly what she brings to the table.

That element probably makes her Don's equal in terms of power, at least for the time being. It'll be interesting to see how Don will handle her. I wonder if this will actually end very badly for her, but not for him. Instead of making Don fall apart, this affair could be his way of regaining control and getting back his mojo.

(And just as an aside: Personally, I'd love to see more of Ken Cosgrove. He seems naturally able to roll with the punches. Does anyone remember how much he was made fun of in Season 1 by the other chipmunks? And now, three years later, he's brushed past them to become one of the heads of accounts. I think Cosgrove is more observant and more sophisticated than he lets on or even than he realizes. In the episode where he ate dinner with Sal and Kitty, for instance, I think he intuited that something was wrong and wisely left early, turning down extra dessert or something because he had plans in the city.)

Kerrie said...

Another powerful episode!

I really enjoyed the unspoken interaction between Don and Peggy during the Hilton pitch. His glance at her after Connie said "It's good..." spoke volumes, as did the look she gave Don as she shut the door so Don and Connie could have a private talk. Don dressed her down last episode but she bounced back. Now if she could only get rid of her preference for plaid...

ej said...

Nicole makes a great point. We see the limits of Don's progressive tendencies in his attitude toward Sal. In "Out of Town," he seemingly showed he was willing to live and let live; but now that Sal has -- to Don's mind -- put him in a bad position, he will not step up to protect him.

Don's phrase, "You people," to my mind, more or less means "You people, with your weakness and vulnerability, create so many problems for the rest of us." It's not much different from Betty's patronizing attitude toward the civil rights movement.

Of course, Don's right: it is too late. Thanks to Harry's massive screw-up, Sal's situation is now beyond the account people's ability fo fix. The firing is absolutely what would have happened in that situation in 1963, and frankly, much later than that. And it's ironic that while Roger and Don are virtually completely estranged, they are in complete agreement on this point.

On a separate note, I thought Pete's coughing fit was more meaningful than it first appeared. As Alan pointed out, it displays Lee Garner Jr.'s bullying tendencies; it also removes Pete from the scene's dialogue, which enables Lee to find out just what a weakling Harry is, thus setting up Sal's ultimate disaster.

Roger Sterling, for once, has a great point: account people really do have an important role to play; and once again, "Mad Men" shows us how people who are jerks in their personal lives -- like Pete -- can also be effective, even indispensible, in their professional capacities.

Unknown said...

Don displays his contempt for gays with "You people."

A coupe of people have made this point but I really didn't read it that way at all. Not that it would be all that surprising if Don Draper were a homophobe but I really got the sense in that scene that he was describing his general frustration with everyone around him making his life more difficult. "You people," I think, is everyone other than Don himself. Indeed, it seems unlikely to me that Don would have even thought of gays as a cohesive social group in the same way as we do now. The kind of identity politics that would delineate gays as being a "people" in the way that blacks are a "people" would have been somewhat foreign to people of Don's frame of mind.

mendedheart said...

Now that Don is trapped by the 3 year contract, he is no longer free to do the right thing. He has no leverage with the company - he can't walk. The company owns him. So - important client wants Sal fired. Don has to fire Sal, knowing that it's grossly unfair. Don's self-loathing in this moment is the reason he says to Sal, "You people." He knows he's trapped, just an ordinary company jerk, and he acts the part fully to punish himself and the people around him.

Muisanuv said...

During the Sal firing scene, I got the feeling that Don wasn't trying to be hateful towards gays, just frustrated that Sal wouldn't sleep with Lee for the good of the company.

I'm sure Don would have expected a straight man (regardless of whether they were married)to sleep with a female equivalent of Lee. I wouldn't be surprised if he had done it at some point.

LA said...

I felt a sense of foreboding for Sal during the entire episode.

I don't like SC as much without Joan and Sal, they are my two of my three favorite characters. Weiner sincerely needs to keep them in the story, they are richly developed characters played by very fine actors. I can't imagine they would be discarded at this point in the story.

"You people." Don echoes Betty's contemptuous words to Jimmy Barrett from last season. There have been a few dialogue call backs this season, and I'm really enjoying it.

Wondering if Don slept with Suzanne in part because Connie can't find him at her apartment, thus giving him a chance to actually sleep.

Unknown said...

Suzanne Farrell was wearing a Bowdoin jersey while running, but Bowdoin didn't have it's first female undergraduate until '71. Whose jersey was it?

Anonymous said...

Emerald Liz said "Dallas keeps getting mentioned, thanks for the tip a few weeks ago!"

Yes, it did get a mention again.

Connie said Dallas was a domestic destination city, and New York wasn't.

I'm not sure I follow Connie's logic. New York is a destination for business, arts and tourism, as well as having a high population to visit.

Of course, Dallas is the ultimate destination of this MM season.


dez said...

Betty pouting and being rude when Ms. Kittredge showed up felt in character to me, as we've seen Betty pout about not getting her way before.

To echo many others: Poor Sal! I hope he doesn't wind up taking home a bad case of VD to his wife, who I'm assuming he's still sleeping with from time to time.

Don messing with the teacher (which is consensual) is one of the dumbest things we've seen him do (not to mention desperate as hell). He's clearly chafing against his new, constricted circumstances, and just as clearly doesn't know what to do. As someone else said above: Roger's right--and that's scary!

SR said...

In regards the Anonymous commenter who mentioned the value of a $25 million dollar account in 1963 dollars: that figure represents Lucky Strike's media budget - how much they spend on billboards and magazine ads and TV spots and the like.

Sterling Cooper gets a decent commission on that $25M plus various fees, but it's not like all or even most of that money goes into their pockets.

Susan said...

I loved seeing Peggy on the Hilton account. She asked for it, got read the riot act, but she got on it.

Tawdry. What a great word. I thought the box had letters in it but watching it a second time, I see Betty was putting money in it.

I don't believe Sal ever had sex with a man until after he was fired.

Miss Farrell said maybe she was exactly the same. True.

Unknown said...

Anybody notice that this is the first time on Mad Men that there's any detectable bad weather? (Not entirely true, actually. There was some rain during the missile crisis in S02E13). An obvious foreshadowing, or something more?

Everything seemed to happen at night in this episode. Connie called Don in the middle of the night. Don drove around in the middle of the night. Sal was editing the commercial at night. Kinsey and head-of-television-guy were up late watching tv and eating sandwiches when they got the call from Lee Jr. It was late when Sal was packing up his artwork and leaving SC for good.

As far as I can tell, there was no sunlight in the entire episode. Maybe related to the eclipse and the hearth blocked by the fainting couch in previous episodes?

Unknown said...

Also, between the issue of the newspaper and Ms. Farrell's college sweater not making chronological sense, I think we have some evidence that Weiner has given up a bit of creative control this season. It would account for the fact that the pacing of the show just seems off, and has (with the exception of episode 8) seemed off since the start of the season.

KevinH said...

Finally, someone ends a phone conversation with "goodbye." Don even seems annoyed that Connie doesn't return the nicety. But it's been driving us nuts the whole season that no one ever says it--until tonight. Was that choice in the writing meant to say something, or just a way to trim the verbiage?

KarenX said...

Darn it! I am an hour too late to be original on the "You people" remark.

I didn't find it directed against Sal and other homosexuals, either, although I am certain that's the message that was received by Sal. Don is fed up with people at Sterling Cooper who are causing problems for him, he is fed up with clients who can't see reason because of their own egos, and he is fed up with rich bullies who, well, dick him around far beyond what professional boundaries require. Both Lee and Connie have crossed a line. It's one thing to be an annoying and demanding (and non-discerning) client who makes ad creation difficult, and then another thing altogether to be the kind of person who believes they can control you in and out of the office.

I loved particularly the last glimpse of Sal in his office, gathering up his old ad art (for a portfolio? for old time's sake?), lingering and caressing the portrait he drew of his topless neighbor smoking in a hammock for the very first go-around of the Lucky Strikes campaign.

Regarding the teacher: I know she's an unknown quantity and probably gets around, but I was struck by her line of dialogue about reading the MLK Dream speech to her class. She said that it contained thoughts most children probably already had but that they needed to hear a grown-up say. I was impressed by her use of the term. It's interesting to me that she thinks of herself as a grown-up and says so, in this world when so few people in the show seem to consider children and adulthood and what the differences are. Carla seems to be one of those people who does, too, and not just in a maternal Betty stand-in way. It's probably an artifact of the show being set in the workplace with so few regular characters being parents of children and not a social statement about the times, but it's something I notice. Betty seems to see the children as a task; Carla and the teacher seem to see the children as people with their own lives. I dunno. It's too late for me to follow that thought without getting all silly.

Unknown said...

Sheree, I would say there were shades of Pete and the au pair, in terms of Don "forcing himself" on Suzanne, just in one important moment: She says someone will see you, then he says "then let me in" rather aggressively. That’s the kind of logic men used--it still happens sometimes of course--in that era when men were so aggressive and entitled and conniving about sex. It's a power play.

Wow, I just read what someone said about how Connie can't wake Don by calling him at Suzanne’s apt; what if Connie called the Draper res, and Don isn't there? Then Betty will sure-as-hell know what he's doing and what a lie he told (sure she already suspects).

However dreadful Betty may seem, think of what's Don's doing and the fact that Betty has a strong intuitive radar for Don's disloyal impulses.

Speaking of radar, another gay-dar episode. It would be funny (Sal seems to have none but sets of ever other gay man's) were Sal's new condition not so tragic. I too thought Don would be cool and was extremely disappointed. Heartbreaking Sal story.

And I feel for Kitty too. We can see why she would love him, and she will be devastated when she lets herself see the truth.

Damn, I copied something Zack wrote, but lost it. I know I agreed, but with what?

Connie's behavior totally perplexing. Could it be that "the moon" is some sort of covert way of referring to the idealism about America he wanted his campaign to express? "Goodness...confidence." Don's work was good, but it had no lofty elements, whereas Connie has lofty goals, to bring Amer civ to the world.

Otherwise it raises the question of whether Connie was having a moment of senility or temporary insanity. He's usually astute but that moon things was off the wall.

jenae said...

(uuurg, i just deleted--tried to delete--the previous as i wrote it by mistake under a different name, why's it still here? And here'd my little delete bin go?

Oh well.)

I wanted to add:

Maybe once Betty was there and heard the door lock--we saw when Bobbie went to Don that Joan heard the lock click and understood immediately--maybe at the moment she couldn't go through with the tawdriness. She's smart and instinctively understands that women raise their worth in men's eyes by valuing themselves highly. Maybe she was disappointed that Francis never spoke of anything beyond an affair. He never said, "Maybe someday we won't have to sneak around. I want you to me mine," or anything that would suggest he wants to have her for real. (In that respect I’m not sure if Francis is "all in." Seems that for now he's only offering her an affair, which in that world doesn't mean much. Men bed women then forget them all the time. Perhaps Betty wants more than that.

Maybe she's so unhappy with her life, that what she really wants is an alternative husband, someone to save her from the mess she and Don are in, and her suspicion that Don will never reform (all too true so far). If she senses how bad things really are--Don stalking and longing for some other woman--it only makes sense she would seek a new man, want to fall in love with someone else: Calgone take me away from this bad marriage.

Oh, I think I remember now, Zack (Zack Smith? sorry I can't navigate back to that page while writing) said the dream seemed to be Betty's, then in the end seemed to be Don's. I'm pretty sure it was all in Betty's head, and we just saw Don as the phone ringing woke them both up. Betty, in her dream, was lying on the fainting chair she bought 'cause it reminds her of Francis, dreaming she's half dressed, with Francis, and just as we see a sliver of his head, the dream ends.

I think her feelings for him are less carnal than wanting someone who is riveted by her, really interested, maybe a fresh chance to find a devoted husband. Whereas the other two men she's had dalliances with--"captain awesome" and the roadside mechanic--gave off a really sexual vibe, this guy gives off more of a "You Are Amazing" vibe.

Maybe he speaks to how unappreciated Betty feels, or her genuine sense that this marriage maybe too f%cked to save and it's time to jump ship and find someone else. With the stigma about divorce, she would want to move elegantly from one marriage to the next, with only a brief gap, with her new fiancé already in line before she gives up her respectable role as Don's wife.

jenae said...

Little Brown Mouse--

Great thought.

Mart: yes, how weird to be using a real, histiorical person--he's Paris Hilton's grandfather, right? or great grand father? (sorry if I'm repeating...)--in a complex fictional story. Very odd.

Very nice to see, Mouse, that Weiner and co. crafted this episode for coming out day. Thanks for sharing that!

jenae said...

I can't relocate the post to find the name, but someone pointed out that betty's dad just died and francis is older.

(I can't figure out if he's supposed to be much older than betty, or prematurely gray, but at least ten years older, maybe 20?)

I think the connection there is true, with the added element that as i mentioned in the last discussion, he's also the kind of man her father suggested right before he died he wished she'd married. So he would (or might) tap into her feelings for her father on two levels, one being: My father wanted me to be with someone solid--not a philandering gypsy like Don.

Alan Sepinwall said...

You guys are right on the lockbox. Thanks for pointing out the mistake.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also, I'm surprised that someone who tweeted his complaints about the phrase, "pushing the envelope", would use the phrase , "could care less".

I feel suitably chastened for the typo. As with the lockbox error, it's been fixed.

Riley Dog said...

Hilton's insistence on "wanting the moon" in his campaign, made me think of a tacky Jetson's type ad. That would be just as bad as the country mouse/city mouse ad that he asked Don's opinion of in their first business meeting. He's so entitled that he can't respect anyone else's talent and expertise it seems.

I saw a recurring theme of personal boundaries being broken in this episode. It seems that "nothing good happens after 10 PM" in the business world or when the characters let their personal lives trickle over into their daytime personas. So much trouble could have been avoided if all the characters had gone home at 5PM and called it a day.

Miss Farrell seems like a risk taker -- running in the middle of the night. The radio story of women being attacked just accentuated that. It also must attractive to Don.

Russell Lucas said...

This episode was abysmally bad, but if nothing else, if Sal's firing is final, we won't have to suffer through any more of the show's hamfisted attempts to chronicle, in high melodrama, what it thinks Sal's tortured life would have been, namely, picking and choosing between one relatively anonymous or impersonal encounter over another.

Don doesn't get angry at Sal for refusing to whore himself out to Lee, Jr. Rather, because of what's he's seen in Baltimore, Don doesn't believe that Sal didn't have a physical relationship with him. I think he thinks Sal was probably the one who came on to Lee Jr.

Don's "you people" remark is echoed later when he hits the teacher with a charmer of a line about the anticipated affair being something that "people like you" would want, and while it's unclear to me what sort of box he's put her in-- clueless bohemian, like Midge's Village idiots? poor idealistic night joggers with hands unsodden from commerce?-- it's clear that he diminshes her with that phrase. And I get that the repetition of the phrase, with the tumult of the civil rights movement trickling in through radio broadcasts, shows just how inconsequential, at times, all of the SterlingCoop machinations really are in the big picture. But Draper's libido has always been just this side of self-parody, and tonight it went over the top.

I wasn't alive in '63, and I know the show spends a lot of time in achieving some measure of period verisimilitude, but a woman jogging in the middle of the night in shorts and a t-shirt? I'll need to see some contemporary proof.

Russell Lucas said...

Oh, there was one thing I liked about the episode-- the shot of Betty inside the car, holding the cash box. It was a nice change up in shot selection.

Russell Lucas said...

RIII said:
"SPS- I was unsure about the payphone scene too, but I watched the episode again and now I'm certain that we're supposed to think Sal has gone to the park to hook up. There are some sketchy dudes in the background of that shot; sorry, but that's undoubtedly Hollywood shorthand for "gay pickup zone."

Yes, absolutely. I thought it was pretty unambiguous. Anytime a Hollywood casting director says, "OK, I need a guy with a motorcycle jacket and a black leather cap to stand in the background"...

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree that the Betty storyline isn't compelling. I thought she and Henry had a lot of chemistry, unlike Don and the teacher who have none. It would have been interesting to see Betty have to deal with an affair, something she hasn't done before.

Instead we now have yet another Don cheating storyline, something which has already been done to death on the show.

It's really unfair that Betty doesn't get to sleep with a man who cares about her, yet Don gets to sleep with every woman he meets.

Anonymous said...

DoubleLifeofaSalesman here, technically Anonymous for convenience's sake, some points:

1. A couple weeks I thought, with all the anticipation of the JFK assassination, there might also be an invocation of "I have a dream," and there was, I just wish it had been bigger -- but then Suzanne made it bigger, and Don wondered at that. Not that Don always cares -- I mean, honestly, what was that business with the flight attendant in the hotel going to amount to? -- but women do intrigue him, even if he fails to actually be moved by them.

2. Fitting that an episode called "Wee Small Hours" should be so dark. Bad enough losing Joan -- but I felt sucker-punched by the loss of Sal, since I had never really felt that invested in him before -- but as someone sang, "you don't know what you've got till it's gone." Sally, we barely knew ye. I'm still really stunned.

I also have to wonder -- a five-year arc? Ye gawdz, at this rate, Sterling-Coo will be lucky to survive 1963 -- and with a reasonably faithful viewership.

3. I worry that we may tend to give Hilton a bit of a pass because he's keeping it in his pants, as compared to Henry and Don. Someone last week nailed it when he said he caught an Edith Wharton vibe off this show, what with the rich wolves pushing themselves on women expected to be obliging. But her on MM, Hilton's mistress is his delusion of demigodhood. The man wants his own damn planet, Planet Hilton. All the more appropriate that he tells the tale of Khrushchev wanting to go to Disneyland, because Hilton wants Hiltonland, Hiltonworld. Adam Smith and Karl Marx face off and Hilton wins the day; America and the world face of and Hilton wins for America. He wants the moon because it mirrors the sun and dominates the sky. The science fiction writer Heinlein once wondered about a soda company using the moon for its logo. That's Hiltonthink.

By the by, Hilton didn't make it into the movie "2001." That was the Howard Johnson's Earthlight Room we're thinking about. (Yes, I've seen the movie to death.)

4. I have to diverge from PanAm53. Yeah, you don't want to lose millions of dollars of business, point taken and understood. However, if that's the only point, then you come off like Roger in this episode, and here we see that Roger can be a jerk when he's not our laughing cavalier. He complains about Lucky Strike and Hilton. Well, what happened with those two? A gay man held onto his integrity and Don dared to try to stand up for sanity when confronted with a truly lunar loon. In other words, even a hint of humanity just happened to get in the way of business. Given the choice, I side with humanity.

5. I also object gently to Alan's "Midge/Rachel" usage, as I hardly found Midge and Rachel equivalent oer interchangeable, at least beyond being intriguing diversions for Don. Midge was endearing; Rachel was fascinating. (Yes, with Christina Hendricksa and now Bryan Batt out, I wish we could lasso Maggie Siff back in.)

6. Suzanne's Bowdoin shirt is an interesting puzzle, so here's an idea: what if it's a sexual souvenir from some guy who attended Bowdoin? Ahhh ...

And on the subject of Suzanne -- I'm a fan of the original "Outer Limits," which was getting made and broadcasted around that time, and while shooting the famous "Zanti Misfits" episode, the producers were intrigued by a young Bruce Dern taking every opportunity to go running. So running was in the air back then, perhaps very small, very early, but it was there. Blame Bruce Dern.

7. Eastwood made two movies dealing with the JFK assassination. "In the Line of Fire" is the most obvious, but "A Perfect World" is weird because it's allegedly about events leading right up to JFK's arrival in Dallas, and there the movie ends. I like to think that MM may do the same thing -- someone mentions Love Field, and that's our final newscast.

I shall return.

Ali said...

Anon: "It's really unfair that Betty doesn't get to sleep with a man who cares about her, yet Don gets to sleep with every woman he meets."

It's not unfair. She's the one who still has some vestige of honor left in her-- she can't bring herself to carry out a "sordid" tryst the way her husband so easily can. She's the one who still has some sense of obligation left in her, despite her deep longing for the sort of emotional engagement that Henry gives her, and which she can only get from Don by play-acting in Rome. Sure, there was that one time during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but that was a one-off.

TL said...

A prediction: Suzanne Farrell will turn out to be Don's "Gloria."

laura v said...

re: the bowdoin jersey – maybe it belongs to one of the other dads she’s been with? i certainly know that i have a few old shirts of ex-boyfriends in my closet….. it would be a perfect way to show how careless don is being at the moment, not realizing that she has been around the block a few times with the fathers of her students. even when she reminds him of that fact, he still throws all caution to the wind.

great point about connie possibly calling the house and betty realizing that don’s lying again.

i took the “you people” comment to mean everyone as well. peggy, for asking for a raise and to be on the hilton account….sal and his problems…..roger and his leaving his wife and the blackface and all that….connie and him “wanting the moon…cooper blackmailing him into signing the contract.” it’s like he sees himself as the normal one and everyone else, as far as he’s concerned, are a bunch of morons.

re: sal in the park. could it be that he is slumming for money? he’s lost his job and now has no paycheck. i know it would have been a little soon to need some cash, but maybe he is checking it out in order to make it a regular thing to bring in money in order to keep up the ruse that he’s still employed at SC.

god i felt bad for sal. i just couldn’t believe all of that unraveled as quick as it did….kind of like the lawnmower incident. it was flashing by so quickly that all i could do was drop my jaw in disbelief.

belinda said...

This is the first time I actively dislike Don in the entire series so far. Maybe it's because he's constantly jilted out of what happiness he usually gets from a successful campaign (we haven't really seen a smooth sailing for any of their pitches this year, other than Ho Ho's account) and he's constantly in a lousy mood, but Don is becoming unhinged (which isn't a new thing, but it is when it's) at work - a place where he's always held his cool, where it's always smooth sailing. I mean, this is a guy who skipped out of his meetings and went on a walkabout and still got the upper hand over Duck by the end of last season. Not so much the case anymore for Don, and perhaps the reason why he's completely flipping out on people closest to him at work - like Peggy and Sal. Strangely, Roger isn't wrong in pointing that out. But I'm sensing things are going to get a lot for Don. The mean streak's out. And sleeping with hot/crazy there won't do him any good either.

I also found the Henry/Betty saga to be a bit boring. Nothing new there, but I guess they're building towards something for later. Question - isn't Henry also married (I seem to remember a woman from Roger's wedding reception)?

I wonder if Joan could get Sal a job at Bonwit Teller. I would so watch that. But seriously, I cannot imagine MM without Joan or Sal.

I hope we do get to see Cosgrove react to Sal being fired - I mean, he did seem like a good friend to him.

An early poster said something about things in two: Sal was also fired twice this episode.

Karen said...

I'm not sure why people think the teacher's Bowdoin shirt is an error--why are we assuming it represents her own school? She could have a brother who went--my nephews have sweatshirts of my alma mater, for example. Even more likely, though, since she's made it pretty clear that she knows all about student daddies and their ways, is that it's a shirt she inherited from some former paramour. All the more reason to wear it when unlikely to run into her neighbors.

Milaxx said...

I believe if it was Peggy instead of Sal Don would fully have expected her to know how to handle the situation and keep the customer happy. In fact I think he would be more annoyed if she failed to do do. Would he let her be fired? If it meant keeping a 25 mil account, I think he would in a heartbeat. Still I think Betty would have handled things differently than Sal.s

Anonymous said...

Alan and others - what's with this idea that Don might go off and open his own shop? I think you are viewing the the series with too much of a 2009 viewpoint. Unlike today, it was a Herculean task to start your own small business in the mid-60's. Easy computer software, the entrepreneurial spirit, hell even Staples/Office Max - these things were not like they today. Some people actually worked at one company their entire careers! So this idea of Don starting his own little shop and taking your favorite characters with him, well, it's a little foolish. And I think it would be a bad direction for the show. Maybe they could even have a wacky neighbor in the next door office? No thanks.

Anonymous said...

Loved Pete coughing up a lung.

But it seems strange that Pete, a non-smoker, would have been given the Lucky account over Ken Cosgrove, who is a smoker.

Tobacco companies certainly wanted the people they hired to use their product. Remember back in season one when Peggy was on the date and lit a cigarette, saying that somking was practically a job requirement.

Seems like S-C would have put some subtle pressure on Pete to start smoking when they gave him the Lucky Strike account. And with smoker Ken Cosgrove waiting in the wings to take over the account, seems like Pete would have been lighting up long before this episode.

Doug S said...

I loved the reference to Henry, who works for Rockefeller - and "sex on the desk." Nice touch.

I do worry about how unlikeable both Don and Betty are becoming. The spoiled-child aspect of Betty's persona has now become dominant. When she hooked up with Captain Awesome I was happy for her but this whole Henry thing is just her being petulant and pulling strings because she can. Her treatment of other women in this episode was especially troubling.

Carla's knowledge of what she thinks must be a full-on affair between Betty and Henry looms large. Carla seems to be very fond of Don. Don's greeting of her on his first arrival home last night had real warmth, and her greeting to him when he came home the next time was equally warm (although he was too pissed at life to return it in the same manner). The Carla-Don-Betty triangle has loads of potential.

Anonymous said...

So I'd like to know why you think Sal was involved in tawdry things with men in the park. Because he was using a pay phone while some guys were in the background? It's just as bad as Don's "you people" comment to assume that Sal will immediately go to some park and try to pick up a guy. What have you seen on the show to make you think he would do that?

Karen said...

I agree with Anonymous9:10 on smoking pressure with tobacco company accounts.

As recently as the mid 1980s, when I worked as a banquet bartender at a midtown hotel, we booked frequent business meetings for a large tobacco company. We were always provided with cartons of cigarettes to put out on every table. Employees and clients alike were encouraged to smoke--and hotel staff were encouraged to consume the leftovers.

So, yeah, I didn't see it specifically as bullying for Lee Garner Jr to push Pete to inhale--it's just part of his corporate culture. Of course, when you combine that with his blatant pass at Sal (which, as a client to employee, was already as coercive as Pete to Gudrun), and then his panicked/angry demand for Sal to be fired, it does point to Garner as someone who wasn't particularly gracious in his own attempts to deal with life in the closet.

Unknown said...

Carla's knowledge of what she thinks must be a full-on affair between Betty and Henry looms large. Carla seems to be very fond of Don.

I simply cannot imagine a scenario in which Carla would believe, for a second, that it was a good idea for her to involve herself in the situation at all. Betty's attempted coverup actually made me laugh out loud because it is so completely unnecessary. We don't know much about her life but I feel 105% certain that she has enough issues to concern herself with that she wants nothing at all to do with Don and Betty's drama. She may judge Betty differently but I'll bet anything in the world that that will be as far as it goes.

Unknown said...

Conrad really wanted to put a hotel on the moon! They were calling it the Lunar Hilton. Here's a 1967 speech from Conrad's son Barron on the topic:

Anonymous said...

sorry to take up space, but don't understand why are you putting rules on how to comment. Do you have a space limit? The laborious process stifles discussion.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else disturbed by the latent misogyny in this comment by Stephen S. Power?:
"What a contrast between the teacher and Betty. The teacher has obviously banged enough fathers in town to know what they want and affairs with them will arc. She's wise enough to keep Don at a distance, and wise enough to know that will only tempt him more. Meanwhile, Henry is lucky to be rid of Betty. She's writes a teaser letter that would set off alarm bells if it were actually read, she sets up the fundraiser when she could have said it was cancelled, and in his office she's hot, then cold. Clearly she's a headcase, a recipe for public destruction."

Alan Sepinwall said...

No space limit, but it saves the people who are reading all the comments from having to re-read 57 different people asking, "Did anyone else notice that Betty moved the fainting couch in that scene?"

It's called common courtesy. People take the time to express their thoughts; if you can't take the time to read them before expressing your own, you're wasting your time, and then you're wasting mine because I have to read all the duplication.

And the discussion has been going just fine since I started doing this.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Anyone else disturbed by the latent misogyny in this comment by Stephen S. Power?:

Okay, let's talk about the show and not each other, people.

JenJen said...

@Zack Smith: "Don asks Ms. CrazySauce, "Who are you?" He asked the same thing to Joy in "The Jet Set." This is the most self-aware affair he's gotten into, but it's not going to be nearly as convenient as his others."

Terrific observation! And remember Joy's answer, when Don asked, "Who are you?"

"I'm Joy."

That she was, and that's really all she was to Don. Ms. CrazySauce is going to be precisely the opposite, I believe.

Fascinating that Joan and Sal have both now departed Sterling Cooper. This show is changing as rapidly as the Sixties are about to.

Anonymous said...

This might have been the saddest, most uncomfortable episode of the series thus far...and that's saying a lot. And this is largely due to just how UNLIKEABLE Don has become lately. This isn't the confused, immature Dick Whitman he's become...this guy is just a bully (and not very suave about it) and its jarring to see the lead man be such a piece of garbage.

There was something horrific about the Sal scene that seemed tougher to watch than anything before; and I honestly think its due to the cruelty coming from Don. With Joan and Dr. Rapist, it was horrific...but we all hated Dr. Rapist. With Pete last week? Pete is expected to be a sleaze. But with Don, for all his flaws...he usually can save the day. But he can't anymore, and selling out poor Sal, a character we're accustom to caring about, for trying to do the right thing was just on a new level.

Wendy said...

lactic and Danger Boy,

I was also really struck by the "you people" call back to Betty's encounter with Jimmy Barrett. I also thought there was an interesting echo between Pete (being very Pete) and having an affair in his building and Don having an affair so close to home (rather than keeping it in the city). Don being in over his head, as Roger calls it, makes Don act like Betty and Pete.

Anonymous said...

This episode could be summed up with the HIMYM episode title:
"Nothing Good Happens after 2AM"

Oldmandeac said...

Carla steals the show last night - she wasn't fooled by Henry and it was an interesting use of her character to infuse the civil rights issue.

At the party, one of the guests remarks about how the south treats blacks as Carla, the servant, is behind her, the guest oblivious to the fact she and the rest of those at the party (a proxy for the north) don't treat blacks any different - i.e. second class citizens.

This point is re-emphasized by Bobby being demanding of Carla. Betsy corrects him, but not for speaking improperly to an adult as you might expect, but with an admonistration that "Carla works for me".

Maybe that attitude has something to do with Betsy's comment that maybe we're not ready for civil rights yet in reaction to the news about the girls in Birmingham.

Susan said...

Connie telling Don he was "more" than a son touched Don deeply. Later Connie made said he was "deeply disappointed" and asked Don if he wanted love. He's pushing so may of Don's buttons

As incompetent as Harry is, he did not get Sal fired. Sal was gone as soon as he turned Lee Jr down. Harry's not telling anyone made it a bigger mess for Don to clean up. Don had no choice but to fire Sal. I agree with Brent about "you people." Astute. Sal's sexual orientation had nothing to do with it. You give in to someone in power Sal seemed genuinely surprised that he was being fired for not putting out. Maybe a woman would have understood that you put out to keep your job. Don does not imo hate gays.

Henry told Betty when you have no power, you delay. Angry, she was hasty in going to see him, wearing her house dress. She didn't even take fifteen minutes to change into a more appropriate outfit. Then she snapped out of it when he explained she had to go to him because she was married. Betty has done tawdry; that's not the problem. She needed to regain power so she turned Henry down. For now. It's only delay. Ironic Betty told Don Bobbie was "so old" when the age difference between her and Henry seems much greater than the one between Don and Bobbie.

Jen said...

This episode killed any vestige of sympathy I may have had for the Drapers. I've never been a huge fan of Betty, but her behavior in this episode was the last straw. The idea that she could be pursuing Henry to this extent and then at the last minute pull back because it's "tawdry" filled me with such frustration at her childishness. But good work, Writers, because I think that reaction is probably just what you were going for.

As for Don, amazing at how devastating his behavior was toward Sal. I was really struck by the parallels to Cooper's confrontation with Don over the contract. In both situations, Cooper and Don had knowledge of their underling's secret. I was really hoping that having been in Sal's place, Don would've been more sympathetic. It made Don's firing of Sal that much more devastating. And I really don't think he would've expected Peggy to have done the same in Sal's situation, but the writers keep challenging our expectations of these characters, so I could be totally wrong.

As for Sal cruising, I think it was more out of the desperation he was feeling at that moment. Bryan Batt was truly amazing in this episode and I really hope it's not the last we see of him (add him to the list w/ Joan).

Unknown said...

Poor, poor Sal, - I don't think I've felt this uncomfortable for a character since Tony smacked around David Scatino in his office in the Sporting Goods Store.

Alot of great comments here- I'll just give my opinion of your hypothetical Alan- I don't think anyone else has said this but if they did good for you - great minds think alike.

I think some of Don's attitude toward Sal was based on the belief that homosexuals are nothing but mere animals when it comes to sex. That they just run around screwing anyone and everything they can anyway so in Don's mind either Sal's lying or he did this to cause trouble for some reason.

Unknown said...

sorry - so that doesn't really answer the hypothetical.

... Don views Sal as a sexual animal - not so Peggy- depending on whether or not Don had just got into it with somebody before he talked with Peggy I beleive he would've sided and protected Peggy.

pantone290 said...

imamaralyn: No, Sal's job was on the line as soon as Lee came onto him. Either way, Sal was in trouble.

Jenae hit that nail on the head: Betty doesn't like affairs or the idea of them. She wants Henry to take her away- she can leave the children, go off and be what she has always wanted. First she is disappointed that Goldwater seems to be leading Rockefeller, which means her new man won't be as powerful as she had thought. But Henry seriously disappoints her when he lets her know that he would be satisfied with an affair, with hotel rooms, locked office doors and everything else she associates with her husband's behavior. She's not being petulant when she turns cold, she's holding out for what she really wants. Remember, Don told her, basically, that without a "contract", one gets wanted more.

anonymoose said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jed said...

I give up -- every time i think I know what will happen it doesn't.

I agree with the comments about the sweatshirt -- several possible reasons for her to have it.

I am also still confused about the whole arrangement with PPL. They wanted a controlling interest -- so I assume that the 500K to Don was for his 6% not his 12% unless they made the minor partners give up all their shares so Bert and Roger were the sole minority shareholders, but I don't think Bert's sister would have allowed this unless she had more than him.

I also wondered about the excuse by Don -- In his mind he has so disappointed Connie that he is sure that he won't be calling in the middle of the night? How quickly their relationship has changed.

Obviously, the affair with the teacher is bad for both of them but as I see it it is really bad for her, so hopefully she will be able to keep it from getting out (but what fun would that be).

As for Sal, so sad... My guess is that he is in the park to finally act on his desires. My feeling is that he has never "gone all the way" so now that he has lost everything even after not acting on hios desires -- whats the harm in actually acting on them.

Harry -- whats up with him, I can't see why he gets promoted except for bing in the right place, i.e. TV. Soon some shark under him is going to simply push him out beacuse he doesn't have a clue. He's head of TV and he's watching TV in his office to make sure the commercials run what a great use of his time!

Finally, I think Don's campaign was great but it really lacked the imperialism idea or ideal that Connie wanted to display. It was good for business but not what he had in mind. Have we seen the last of Connie? At least Don doesn't expect him to call at home.

No Sal, No Joan... sad....

Anonymous said...

Remember the Hawthorne quote on the wall at Bowdoin from the Soprano's episode College? It went something like "No man can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true." Works pretty darn well for Don too.

Anonymous said...

Interesting the reaction in these posts- in a good way. I'm not sure what the average age is on this board, but last nights episode was pretty accurate I suppose.

This show is set over fourty five years ago. Sal has to be careful not only because of his career, but personal safety as well.Gay bashing was a sport in the mid to late eighties. Imagine what happened twenty to thirty years before that.

As for Betty and her gaggle of suburban housewifes, of course they are going to be completely off base with regard to civil rights.

As a black man who has grandmothers worked in these exact situations, Wee Small Hours pointed out something spot on. Carla, and other black folk of her era know a lot more about white life, than the other way around. Carla spends all day in Betty's house, and in her life. She raises her kids, cleans her house, overhears conversations, and knows her personal business- and that was just in one episode. Does Betty even know where Carla lives? Met her husband? Children?

This seems foreign to people these days, because black folk started working with white people starting mostly in the seventies. And most of the service people are now hispanic, and other immigrants. Well done show. Our parents and grandparents grew up in a different galaxy.

Julia said...

"Do you want to talk about it?"

Somebody in this episode said that and I don't think people in 1963 ever thought that talking about things was therapeutic. Stiff upper lip was the rule for the day.

In a previous episode one of the secretaries says to I think Joan - are you being hard on me because you have something difficult to say to me - because that's what my mom always did.

I see Don's rough tone with Sal in that mode. He knows he has to fire him, knows the injustice, but has to do it anyway. He's not angry at Sal; he's just angry at the world that requires him to do what he has to do.

That said, he could also be thinking that the inscrutable doings of gay guys befuddles him and he just doesn't want to have to deal with it. It's "he said/ he said" with the client the one he has to believe regardless of the truth.

Don's frustrated to the max and unfortunately Sal is there to bear the brunt of it.

Betty is going to get a call from Connie in the middle of the night and Don will be unmasked - as someone has observed. Will the teacher get fired? She won't be believed over the fathers who have much higher status and believability than she in 1963. I can see Betty and Don participating in that to rescue the follie a deux about their marriage.

Anonymous said...

There was no blood, but last night Sal got whacked. Don was as cold and calculating as Tony Soprano ever was, protecting his turf and asserting his authority. Betty's moments with Henry Francis also reminded me of the almost-dalliance between Carmela and Father Phil. Anyone else see Roger Sterling as Uncle June, Bert Cooper and Johnny Sack, and Peggy and her group as Christopher, et al?

Pamela Jaye said...

On race relations, I took specific note (during the fundraiser scene) to the casual reference about how bad things were in the South, while the Drapers had a black woman serving them...the sad, but classic perspective of a Yankee.

I'm sure I'm an idiot here, but she *was* their employee, not their slave. Of course in this ep, all employees, including Don, seemed slave to their employers.

The only remotely bad thing I could see Betty doing (other than hoping Carla would cover for her - and wouldn't she expect that of anyone?) was to say maybe it was not the time for civil rights. And even that was a maybe. Not a Don't you dare listen to that subversive stuff the will make you think you are equal with us!
Also Betty was raised by a black nanny, who cared for her more than her owm mother.

Nowadays are we really any less to blame? Don't the rich, who hire housekeepers, often hire latinas or other people who are low on the totem pole of power, and sometimes even illegal (so they can pay them less).

What was Betty expected to do? Send Carla to college? To a factory "in the north"? (she's already north.)

If Carla wanted to quit, could she not have found another job? (probably the same type - but I know women who clean others houses - none of those I know (now, in the 2000s) are black and only one is an immigrant with a useless drunken husband)

So perhaps Carla was symbolic but she didn't seem to be maltreated as those in the south were. (were there buses in Ossining? I grew up in Boston, where busing was a fiasco - and stupid during an energy crisis! why not use that money to fix the schools rather than give it to OPEC?) and I was stunned to find out in Jr High and the segregated lunch counters, drinking fountains and bus seats.

The black woman was serving, yes, but she was being paid. It was her job. And no one was asking if she wanted to buy an Admiral.
(I keep thinking of Henry, on American Dreams).

Petite_Salope said...

I'm wondering why so many people seem inclined to describe Suzanne Farrell as "crazy" or as an emotional disaster waiting to blow. I just don't see it yet. Clearly, she is far more honest and in tune with her own feelings and desires than an empty shell of a woman like Betty. She's also a creature of a vastly different breed -- while she's not a flamboyant bohemian living the artful life like Midge was, she is certainly an earthy, internally-guided, passionate idealist who seems to have selected her life's work based on principle.

Still, I get the sense that Ms. Farrell's headstrong idealist impetuousness is nonetheless tempered by a tinge of pragmatism and nihilism. She's not quite as girlish and naive as she comes across at first glance. I think that was made apparent during the flirtation she exchanged with Don. She immediately recognized his motives and, rather than playing coy and innocent, she accurately assessed his intentions and called him out for what he was. Her objections when Don, ever the escapist clawing his way out of reality when the going gets tough, showed up on her doorstep were clear-headed and sensible.

The fallout definitely remains to be seen. I could be wrong about her. I love the fact that Don rushes into the arms of bright, self-aware/sufficient women when the strictures of reality close in on him. What a contrast with Betty, who was in pursuit of an older man and sanitized, prim Victorian idealizations of romance.

Anonymous said...

Pamela Jaye you are seriously missing the point here. Yes Carla was their employee but during that time menial low paying jobs were the only ones blacks could get in the south and in the north...that fact seemed to be lost on the fundraising ladies. Did you not notice how Carla is referred to as a "girl" and is talked down to by Bobby and when Betty reprimanded him it was not because he was disrespectful but because she works for Betty not Bobby? If you were in Carla's place would you be ok with being treated so dismissively?

The 1963 march on Washington had much to do with the fact that unemployment for blacks was extremely high and wages were extremely low and they did not have access to the same opportunities as whites. So no, Carla was not a slave and not physically mistreated but she was faring little better in the north than she was in the south from an economic and social standpoint. Did you see any blacks as guests at the fundraiser? Did you see blacks as guests at any social function on this show? See any in professional positions paying higher wages? None of this seems apparent to the fundraiser ladies who for some reason see themselves as superior to the south when they aren't much better.

Anonymous said...

Vocabulary nitpicking:

When Henry, in the presence of the help, ad libs "I think this would be an excellent venue for a fundraiser", my word police siren went off.

My memory is that the word "venue" didn't enter common usage until after the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles when NBC adopted the usage to describe the different locations/facilities and was somewhat mocked at the time for its insistence on this usage.

Of course, I wasn't alive in 1963, but I recall clearly that this was not a familiar term in the 70s.


R.A. Porter said...

I was shocked mostly by Don's inability to make good decisions in this episode. The obvious error that others have noted was using Connie as his excuse to duck out when the possibility of him calling the house remained. Don might have thought it safe because of the outcome of the pitch meeting but if he were thinking clearly, he'd realize how mercurial Connie is. Even though they disagreed in the daylight, there was no good reason to think Connie wouldn't reach out in the wee small hours again.

As for the second mistake...

A truly Machiavellian Don - the man we've seen in the past who knew how to use and abuse his power over others - would have called up Lee Garner, Jr. and explained that not only was Sal staying at SC, but that Lee was going to convince daddy to up his media buy *or else* daddy would be getting a call from Don. The Don of season one or two would have saved the day and been heroic in the eyes of Sal (and us) by being truly hurtful and cruel to someone outside the family.

The departures of Joan and Sal signal the beginning of the slow disintegration of the SC family. As the '60s continue, families both real and artificial will break down and new social unions will begin to form. This is just a precursor.

Anonymous said...

The scene between Sal and Don might have upset me more than anything else on this show to date, which says a lot. I think its because in cases of other attrocities (Joan and Dr. Rapist, Pete's actions from last week)....we KNOW the people doing the horrible thing are, well, horrible people. But with Don...for all the terrible things he's done, I've at least gotten the sense that at the end of the day, he'll do something to save the day in terms of the business.

But as much as Don was forced to "bury" Dick Whitman...its clear he hasn't, and since he's in over his head (as Roger noted) those gut survival instincts he developed as Dick Whitman are out in full force...and Sal - only trying to do the right thing - is a victim.

That scene to me was the single most loathesome moment in Don's history because I saw nothing but pure contempt, and that's nothing I've seen from Don before. And its a huge credit to both Bryan Batt and Jon Hamm because they both sold their parts so well; it was absolutely heartbreaking...and just thinking about it makes me a bit sick to my stomach.

And Carla was interesting to watch throughout this episode. Betty was particularly immature and awful here, and Carla is clearly insightful enough to realize exactly what was going on. But what could she do about it? Watching her go about her business as Betty tried to seem sympathetic (because she was afraid of getting caught, Betty as a child...again...) was awful in a similar way, particularly given all the - albeit unintentional - condesening remarks on Betty's part.

So in the end, look at how power was such a big theme. Particularly with Sal and Carla, but really...with Don. Which explains why Dick Whitman was truly back in full force.

Groovymarlin said...

I wanted to agree with LA, who said "I don't like SC as much without Joan and Sal..." I don't like it as much either. In fact, I really didn't like this episode very much. I'm getting bored with all the stuff outside of S-C, since it's the world of S-C that fascinates me so much. Joan gone is awful, Sal being gone is awful squared. So far, one of the things I'm missing this season is the glimpses into the world of the secretaries. They're nothing more than set dressing this season (lawn mower accident excepted), and that disappoints me.

laura v said...

in the big picture, i don't think carla was being treated as dismissively as it looks. betty clearly feels threatened by carla's opinion of her actions. if she didn't, she wouldn't have felt it necessary to come up with an excuse as to why henry was at her house. she wouldn't have gone through the whole fundraiser if she did not feel in some way threatened by carla's opinion of the situation. carla was the ONLY reason she went through the charade of having the fundraiser and calling henry on the phone in front of don.

i think betty sees carla as much more than an employee when it comes to this situation. even when she reprimanded bobby - while it sounded very condescending at first when she told him that carla works for her, not him - it was clear that she was trying to get carla on her good side by reprimanding him at all. i don't think it was routine for any child to be scolded for saying anything like that to the "help," so betty's scolding bobby kind of made it look like she was trying to show carla that she was her friend and, not so subtely, that she needs carla to keep her mouth shut.

on another note....why is carla so judgmental of betty?? she has to know don's history. why does she favor don? carla's judgmental looks when dealing with betty don't make sense because don's done much worse, yet she is acting like betty's breaking don's heart.

Jed said...

I have to disagree with R. A Porter, I don't think Don would have blackmailed Lucky, Jr.

First of all its a he said/he said instance without proof and Lucky, Sr. would have pulled a Bert and possibly kept the information to keep Luck, Jr. in line but would have certainly would have found another agency.

I think that lke the firing of Freddy, he's in a position where its too late to do anything. If someone had told him, he could have worked things out but at this point its just too late. Also unlike Freddy, Don knows Sal has a portfolio and his reputation in tact so he will be fine. It really shouldn't be any problem getting a new job. All Sal has to say is creative differences over the commercial and he's learned his lesson, both -- not to let the client in the behind the scenes where they can corner you and -- the one you use in the interview that the client is always right or to let the acount guys deal with the client.

Just my take on things...

Susan said...

Petite, as soon as Miss Farrell was introduced a few episodes ago, posters began to characterize her as crazy. A couple people compared her to the Glenn Close character in " Fatal Attraction." I don't see it either. But I have been surprised by Mad Men a lot (one of the things I like about it) so time will tell if I just totally missed it.

Pamela Jaye, I agree Betty's remark to Bobby was to point out Betty was Carla's boss. That is who she is. It had nothing to do with black and white. Betty's comment about civil rights showed her cluelessness, but she does try to treat Carla decently. She asked her if she was OK, did she need a day off. Betty rarely is nice to anyone, even her own husband and kids.

Jen said...

Regarding the Carla "storyline" I think those commenters who are defending Betty are missing the point slightly. I don't think Carla even factors into Betty's equation as a person. Just because she was practically raised by a black maid doesn't mean she identifies with Carla or has some innate empathy. She's a selfish, petulant child. So when Carla "catches" her with Henry, she perpetuates the lie about the fundraiser just to cover her own ass with Don because she assumes Carla cares a fig about what she gets up to. She assumes that Carla must care because she makes everything about herself.

I know that many have complained about how Weiner et al. are not directly addressing the racial issues of the period, but I find this a pretty realistic depiction of how things would've been experienced by these characters. Very few of them are even remotely aware of the undercurrent, just as the ladies at Betty's fundraiser seem unaware of Carla's presence. The fact that these cultural shifts are seething below the surface and popping out at random times seems much more realistic to me since the POV of the show is very narrowly focused.

Anonymous said...

Laura V, I don't believe Carla knows about Don's history. Pre-Carla is when Don did his most blatant womanizing. Seems Don has been more discreet since season 2. Also, Carla does not live with the Drapers and is not privy to private conversations between Don and Betty. As for her being judgmental, I think most older women of that era were more judgmental of women who committed adultry than men who did the same.

I think Betty's fundraiser charade was simply to keep up appearences. I doubt Betty cares what Carla thinks of her.

Susan said...

Laura V, interesting question as to why Carla judges Betty. Could it be there was in 1963 a "boys will be boys" mentality? Today many women would divorce at just one episode of the husband cheating; not so then. Carla has an intimate look at everything Betty possesses and it has to be much less than Carla could ever imagine for herself. Yet Betty is so unhappy and seems to not appreciate or enjoy it. Carla sees what kind of a mother Betty is, and imo even according to the standards of the day she is pretty cold to her children. Don is a warmer person than Betty, better with the children and seems to make more of an effort in the marriage than Betty does. I think women judge other women harshly.

Mel said...

Thanks for the explanation about the Career Girl Murders. My first thought when I heard that was, "Peggy's in danger!!"

carly said...

@Max Everyone DON sleeps with is a brunette. I think Dick fell in love with Betty. Also, when he was with the blonde stewardess, it was Dick's birthday.

Therem said...

This was a really painful episode to watch. So many bad things in a row, and so many consisting of formerly likable characters acting mean, crazy, or otherwise nasty.

Don's behavior was really horrible and profoundly disappointing. I disagree with everyone reading his "You people" as a catch-all for everyone who's pissed him off recently. The phrase is too loaded for him to use it in that way, particularly when Sal's gayness has already been referenced in their conversation. This is a classic bigoted phrase, and it is just as targeted and nasty in this instance as it was when Betty used it to denigrate Jimmy Barrett's Jewishness. I don't think it necessarily means that Don is homophobic. I think he said it because he knew it would hurt, and he was in the mood to hurt someone. As if firing Sal wasn't hurtful enough. Ugh.

What's Sal going to do now? I was seriously worried that he was going to off himself before episode's end. Thank god that didn't happen, though I really wonder how he is going to survive this experience with health and career intact.

As for Betty, she obviously hasn't thought through or understood what she wants for herself, so it's no surprise Henry doesn't know what it is either. Her snappishness at the fundraiser and her throwing the box of money struck me as odd, even for her, but I wonder if it is partly her wanting to have a sense of civic/business partnership with Henry rather than just an affair? He thought he was helping to keep their secret by not showing up at her house, but maybe in her mind he was snubbing her political efforts by sending someone with lesser status to talk instead. We know that she has an education and has wanted more involvement in Don's work in the past. I think part of what she wants has to be a feeling of accomplishment and usefulness, something she doesn't seem to be able to get with other women. She's obviously got some internalized sexism in the mix. I really hope she gets her consciousness raised in some later episodes.

The one thing that made me laugh a little bit in the episode was Pete's coughing fit at the beginning. Apart from the yuk factor, I think it was another sign that no matter how out of step he seems at the agency now, he is a harbinger of the future.

meopta said...

I agree with Jenae, that Betty isn't looking for an affair so much as an outlet to be heard - I don't know that I agree she's looking for a new husband. Betty definitely wanted her fantasy of who Henry was more than the reality.

Sal was done the minute Lee came on to him. No matter what he did in that moment - he was finished. And Don seems to be willing to save him until the excuse Sal uses is his marriage vows (vows that don't mean much to Don as a fidelity) I think the "You people" come from that - Sal could have said so many things to Lee. Don sees Sal as willing to do things Don considers depraved, but then he falls back on something Don sees as hollow. Don, the hypocrite, wrongly sees hypocrisy in that.

Paul Outlaw said...

@ KevinH:
Finally, someone ends a phone conversation with "goodbye." Don even seems annoyed that Connie doesn't return the nicety. But it's been driving us nuts the whole season that no one ever says it--until tonight. Was that choice in the writing meant to say something, or just a way to trim the verbiage?

This stood out to me too, and I thought it was a great way to acknowledge that in most contemporary TV shows (not just MM) and movies, no one ever says goodbye when they end a phone conversation. In real life, most of us still do, and they certainly did in '63.

RE: Carla

I was surprised that the actress was directed to express her embarrassment/shock/disapproval so blatantly, since in some ways Carla's situation in this episode paralleled that of Sal. When you know compromising about your boss, you may get fired so that your boss can save face. I would think that Carla would more likely show no sign at all that she was aware of anything. It's how servants have gotten by for centuries.

And yes, as others have mentioned, the writers left the door wide open for Don to get busted when Hilton calls him while he's at Suzanne's apartment. I can't believe that it was inadvertent.

Word verification: holyloo.
The men's room at the Vatican.

CS said...

In regards to the hypothetical, I have a feeling that anyone in that office who denied Lee Garner Jr.'s advances may have found themselves out in the street. Don was not going to let a $25 million dollar account walk out the door without a fight. I think he rationalizes it as Sal likes men, LGJ likes men, Sal is an idiot for not sleeping with him. Had it happened to Peggy, Don probably finds a different rationalization.

For a lesser account, Sal probably would have been safe.

Anonymous said...

I was confused about the "You People" comment myself. It might help if I knew what the stereotype of homosexuals in the 60's he was referencing.

I am not convinced that Don is trying to bash gays with the comment, especially as he says afterwards that he will do fine getting another job. I almost got the impression the "you people" barb was a complaint about Sal and other homosexuals staying "closeted". Don had to ask ehat the problem was 3 times before Sal would explain the problem. Sal did not sleep with him and he also did nothing else to "limit his exposure". Don seemed angry about the situation more than at Sal. It was a sad situation but Sal did not try to come to Don earlier or skip the meeting and it was Roger who fired Sal not Don.

Compare Sal doing nothing to help himself with Carla putting up with Betty's comments gracefully and even the smarmy Pete took the cigarette and smoked it even though it led to him coughing. These are the actions of two employees doing what it takes to do their job.

Don has been hard on Peggy the white female and Pete the smamry white guy so Don making a tough observation to Sal does not seem overly harsh because he is hard on every one. Note the complaint Don had on one of the storyboards and Peggy says that it was something Don had done. Don responded it was not good enough.

So in conclusion the "you people" line was certainly a great line in that it probably took the breath away of every viewer but I am not sure if it was a good line without some exploration clarification as I am not sure I buy it. Then again if it was meant to spawn conversation, it certainly has done so!

Pamela Jaye said...

According to my DVR, Christina Hedricks will be on the View this friday, according to Late Show News, Sela Ward will be on. Either way, I'm going to record it.

Anonymous said...

I think Carla knows exactly what is going on. That is, she sees that the Drapers are terribly disappointed in one another and their marriage is a nightmare of disconnection, that they both drink too much, and are cold/distant parents most of the time.

I worked in someone's home (they had their business in their house) for a while. It is IMPOSSIBLE not to know what is going on inside the family unless you are extremely dense/unperceptive/self-involved, and Carla is clearly anything but those things.

Re: looseleaf. I'm from sububran NYC, born in 1955, and we did indeed call a binder a "looseleaf."

And those 3-hole punched zippered plastic pencil cases you put into the looseleaf were all the rage. I remember mine from 5th grade. The zipper didn't have teeth -- it was like a ziploc bag. Very cool.

marianne said...


IIrc, it was during Meadow's college interview at Bowdoin that Tony went off to strangle someone. Later, in the car, didn't Meadow notice Tony's muddy boots, infer something, and ask him about his "profession"? All this doesn't "bode" well (no pun intended) for Don or Suzanne.


I don't think we've ever seen Don look as vunerable, and grateful, as when Conrad told him he was like a son to him. But the next day at the office it seemed as if everything was starting to fall apart - no one is displaying the self-assured confidence they all used to have, least of all Don, who is looking more trapped and nervous than ever. Conrad's wacky criticism seemed to really take Don by surprise. We've been used to seeing Don as the master reader of people; always cool and in control.

"Things fall apart; the center cannot hold . . ." Can't remember if this Yeats poem was mentioned in an episode or if the lines just came to mind.

Alan Sepinwall said...

IIrc, it was during Meadow's college interview at Bowdoin that Tony went off to strangle someone.

No, he kills the guy during their visit to the first college. They only get to Bowdoin near the end of the episode, where Tony is fascinated by the motto someone quoted above.

Anonymous said...

I don't know. Even if Don isn't a homophobic, he definitely chose very carefully which words would hurt the most (like he did with Peggy), and 'you people' was just awful.

Kind of unrelated and old news, but I just found out that Kater Gordon was let go from the show earlier last month. Would this affect/change anything for the remainder of this season (I'm not sure that they finished filming at that time)?

RachelP said...

I was surprised that the actress was directed to express her embarrassment/shock/disapproval so blatantly, since in some ways Carla's situation in this episode paralleled that of Sal. When you know compromising about your boss, you may get fired so that your boss can save face. I would think that Carla would more likely show no sign at all that she was aware of anything. It's how servants have gotten by for centuries.

I noticed that, too. Carla's emotions were showing so clearly on her face that I was afraid for a while that Betty might fire her.

It reminded me of the scene after Don and Bobbie's car accident, when Peggy told Don that she didn't want him to hold her knowledge of his secret against her.

If you know somebody's secrets on this show, you're better off keeping your mouth shut and your face as blank as possible.

Amanda P. said...

A couple of points I don't think I saw addressed (but I just read all of the above during my lunch, so apologies if I'm re-stating).

Betty - I think what Betty really wants is the "game of courtly love", where there is flirtation and admiration, gifts sent and gifts received, but no one actually ACTS on it. The look on her face when she answers the door to Henry, I thought, was as much "what are you doing here - you aren't supposed to be here, just answer my letters and keep up the act" as it was "uh oh, how do I explain this to Carla so I don't have to live with her disapproval."

Betty then takes the opening Henry gives her (the fundraiser) and runs with it, and now is disappointed because she can't show off her "catch" to her friends. Because she doesn't really WANT an affair (the physical kind), she gets angry when Henry doesn't play by her rules.

Sal - My comment to my husband when Sal got fired was that this was the first time we had seen a guy in the position that the secretaries are in all the time. Someone above pointed out that Sal doesn't seem to have very good gay-dar. I also think that he doesn't have the "don't be alone with this person, because they WILL come on to you and you will get fired regardless of what you do"-dar that a lot of women develop in the workplace (maybe the short version of that last should be "self-preservation"). You can't always avoid the creeps, but often you can see them coming!

Don and Connie - I assumed that Don thought he was safe from Connie because Connie was disappointed with Don, but today, I think I agree with the above posters that Don is gonna get caught because of Connie's calls.

Finally - the teacher - this was the first episode that I DIDN'T get a crazy vibe from her. I guess it's just how I read her behavior.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the "poor Sal" sentiment. Maybe if things had gone better with Hilton, he would have had more time/energy to help Sal. He did comment though that Sal was talented and would be able to do well elsewhere. Given Lee's behavior, I think even if Sal had given in, he'd still ask to have him fired just because of Lee's own self-loathing.

Re: Civil Rights, I just hope they make all of the characters, such as Carla fully human and not just some props to advance the story. I felt that was the case in American Dreams and the series The 60s. Both shows made the black/African-American characters very one dimensional. They'd only be onscreen to talk about Civil Rights or injustice. They never really showed them interacting with each other as a family or enjoying anything. And while I certainly don't want to minimumize the awful prejudice and bigotry black/African-American people had to deal with, I know from the limited sample of people I know that while prejudice was an awful thing, they still managed to enjoy life and each other. I would like to see a tv show that gets beyond the one dimensional characters.

If I recall correctly, Carla's married & has children. I believe she referred to her husband during Betty's wine drinking binge last season and her wanting to be with her family was mentioned as the reason for her not spending more time once baby Gene was born. I'd really like to see more of her life and I hope they don't make her & the elevator operator one dimensional characters. The actors who play them are talented and deserve full, rich characters.

Oh & put me in the "I miss Joan camp" too.

miles said...

I wonder if some of Betty's anger and disappointment that Henry didn't come to the fundraiser was that she wanted her friends to see that he would. She wanted them to see this powerful man come to her house. She wanted them to see that he was attracted to her. It's so important to her to be sought after.

Wes covington said...

This episode definitely became much richer with a second viewing (and probably because even on the West Coast, the baseball playoff game ended late.)

Have we seen the guy saying goodbye to Sal in the Art Department before? We don't see that part of SC very much.

And I assume that in 1963, there was no way for an ad agency to monitor if all of its TV spots were aired other than to have somebody watch them all.

Fortunately, there were many fewer channels to watch. But in many ways, I would love that part of Harry's job. Well, except for some of the bad TV he had to watch. It's not like every program on the air in 1963 was a classic.

Lilithcat said...

Imamarilyn said Could it be there was in 1963 a "boys will be boys" mentality? Today many women would divorce at just one episode of the husband cheating; not so then.

It wasn't so much a "boys will be boys" attitude as it was the fact that divorce was not a generally accepted alternative. "Stay together for the sake of the kids" was the idea.

In addition, most women couldn't afford to divorce their husbands. Most would have been out of the job market for a significant period of time, if they'd ever been in it in the first place.

Not to mention that it was probably your fault if your husband strayed. "If he were getting what he needed at home . . ."

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Christina Hendricks-Arend, who was married Sunday. I along with everyone hope to see her back on Mad Men soon and always.

Unknown said...

There have been comments around the March on Washington being on Wednesday, August 28,1963 and a continuity error on MM with dates, given the 8/25 dateline of the article Betty was reading about Goldwater. After Don approaches the teacher jogging and the car stops, the radio goes from music to the news. Even though Don and the teacher are engaged in conversation, if you listen closely, the news reporter says it is 5:01am on Thursday, August 29th (and it's 66 degrees!)then launches into reporting the March on Washington event that occurred the day before. So, the dateline of the article Betty reviewed was just in reference to that article and not the actual date.

jane said...

I agree with those who have been saying that this episode was really difficult to watch in several ways. I also appreciate the poster who cataloged the repetitiveness of certain actions here. Yet it's not only within the episode, but within larger series and cultural themes that I'm feeling this sense of deja vu. Wouldn't it have been more interesting for Ms. Farrell to NOT want to sleep with Don? Do we really need ANOTHER downward-spiralling tale of a tragic homosexual in the 1950s/1960s? So I'm hoping these storylines end up in more interesting directions than they seem to be beginning in.

As usual, the insights viewers are offering here give me more hope for the direction of the show than my own experience of the episode itself.

Anonymous said...

After reading the comments about Don's use of the phrase "you people" has me wondering if Sal would have taken that comment as him being gay. At that time were gay's even thought of as a particular subset of people?

Eric said...

Just a note about Sal's situation - it seems to me like half of Roger Sterling's lines this season have been "jokes" about the need for accounts to sexually service clients. So look what happens when the demand comes up for real.

Bill Huelbig said...

Anonymous at 8:16 AM said:

"By the by, Hilton didn't make it into the movie "2001." That was the Howard Johnson's Earthlight Room we're thinking about."

There is a Hilton hotel in that scene. It's visible in the background when Dr. Floyd is sitting with Elena and the Russian scientists: a desk with a clerk sitting at it and a sign above saying HILTON, and below that SPACE STATION V.

Maybe Don was the one who made that happen?

Julia said...

Not to mention that it was probably your fault if your husband strayed. "If he were getting what he needed at home . . ."

Having been in my 20s in 1963, I'd say that attitude is more common today than it was back then. I've heard that from a lot of second wives.

The whole attitude toward adultery has drastically changed since 1963. Back then the wilder guys may have winked at sleeping around, and said the guy wasn't getting what he needed at home, but the wives and general public certainly didn't share that view.

That was the era when a home wrecker was often blamed for divorce. You hardly ever hear that term any more.

Today as soon as people aren't living together they are considered "single" and free to date. In 1963, you were married until the divorce was final. And divorce required proof of some wrong-doing - especially in New York state. There were elaborate scenarios staged in hotel rooms for photographers to produce evidence used as exhibits in divorce court even when there actually hadn't been any adultery.

Susan said...

Amanda, that is very true Sal was dealing with the reality the secretaries live with all the time. Maybe that's why he seemed not to know how to handle it and how surprised he was when he said to Don, "All I did was turn him down." (I'm paraphrasing.) He had no idea what to do with sexual harassment. The newbie in the secretarial pool would have had a better handle on the situation.

jane, yes, it would have been more interesting if Miss Farrell did not want to have sex with Don. But not realistic. IMO she is as much a predator as Don is, and he is not the first dad she has done it with. Not every dad would do it with her, and not every woman Don meets would be willing to have sex with him. But these people (I did that deliberately) sniff each other out. Don is a notch above your average dad, Carlton Hanson being an example.

dez said...

I don't know. Even if Don isn't a homophobic, he definitely chose very carefully which words would hurt the most (like he did with Peggy), and 'you people' was just awful.

Don has a flair for cruelty, it seems. Or is it Dick that is so cruel? Lately, it's getting harder and harder to tell the difference.

Anonymous said...

A few observations-

Betty had better darn well come up with a reason for a man to be in her home during the day. Remember Don flying off the handle when Betty let the salesman in their home a few seasons ago. If I recall correctly, Don was beside himself for Betty letting a man in *his* house.

A dolt like Harry Crane gets undeserved power, Sal gets whacked. Been happening since the beginning of time, and does to this day.

One thing to keep in mind with some of these words and languages. Most of the characters are highly educated people, at a time when college attendance was far from the norm. I imagine there was a big disparity in language between the classes.

Rob Biesenbach said...

Interesting comments on the meaning of "you people." Here's another take. Maybe "you people" is Sal and Lucky Strike Guy. Don could be thinking, "Christ, you two! Screw or don't screw -- I don't care. But don't turn it into some big dramatic mess that I have to clean up afterward. Be discrete and don't cause a damned scene!" To his way of thinking, Don's got a ridiculous little cat-fight on his hands, and if it was just a man and woman fooling around (or not fooling around) there wouldn't be all this drama.

So it's still derogatory toward gays, but less in a "what you people do disgusts me" way than a "why can't you deal (like adult hetero men) with the consequences of your behavior better?"

Like Pete and the Nanny. The young woman went through a box of Kleenex afterwards, but the men -- her boss and Pete -- were able to have a rational conversation about it.

To Don, Sal and the client are acting like typical women, which is probably the worst thing in his book.

Therem said...

Anonymous said...

After reading the comments about Don's use of the phrase "you people" has me wondering if Sal would have taken that comment as him being gay. At that time were gay's even thought of as a particular subset of people?

The Stonewall Riots in 1969 were what kicked off the modern gay rights movement in the U.S., but there were certainly gay communities and organizations in 1963. There were even magazines targeted to them (ONE, The Ladder, etc. see this Wikipedia article for more info), which people involved with publishing and advertising would likely know about. My guess is that Don, with his hippie club-going and jet-setting, definitely thinks of gay people as a "type" and not just a few random individuals he has met.

Unknown said...

wow, this is getting really interesting in several ways. weiner & co has apparently decided that don shall lose his cool and integrity. when he went home to the teacher and went after a woman in a needy, slightly desperate way, wich we have never seen before, it felt like the conduct of a person who is losing it. the question is how deep his personal crisis will be, if he falls all the way to a breakdown. when watching i was thinking of if this has been done in a major tv-series before; the hero changing character and becoming less and less sympathetic. and how far can such a development go before it is more disturbing than interesting?

Anonymous said...


Maybe it was regional. Sally is younger than 13, more like 10, but I am of the same vintage and in this neck of the woods we had looseleafs.

Just FYI, school kids did not use backpacks or bookbags. From grade school through high school, I remember carrying books in the crook of my arm, the large looseleaf on the bottom, and any textbooks stacked on top in size order. That's all! So the pencil case that was held securely inside the looseleaf by the rings was a great invention indeed!

Anonymous said...

Parenthetically speaking, bah. Tired of style as substance; the godawful superficiality of it all. Almost tired of making fun of it. Need a reason to stick with these bored affluent a-holes and their soon-to-be bored "rebellious" children (cometh the revolution through lifestyle ... how'd that work out? ... oh yeah, they surrendered, declared victory and called themselves postmodern ... brilliant strategy, no doubt attributable to the influence of the French Intelligentsia) who together will be responsible for making style the substance of our beloved consumer society. (am i A black ipoD or am i a white ipOd purchaser ... so many colors to choose mE from ... decisions, decisions. Bloody Khrushchev, why didn't you fire the damn missiles ... for Disneyland? There is no hope.)

Running out of patience (and hope) that Weiner is going to seriously explore the hopelessly misguided answer to the alienation [oops, sorry postmoderns ... I'll warn you next time I get all humanist on you] of "mass society" and of "Organization Man" and of patriarchy that these affluent idiots came up with, i.e., the pursuit of "self-fulfillment" or "self-realization" or some selfishness of some similar sort (discovery of self through the transgression of rules always a very popular sort) rather than, say, living a humane life creating value in an economy of care of our [postmoderns avert your eyes now!] common humanity. Didn't work out for the idiots though and they concluded it must be that there is no self so just buy things and advertise it and that'll be your self! You are what you buy. Morons.

I'm disinclined to trust Weiner given that he thought it was a clever idea to use a racist image (blackface) to invoke a racist text (Mailer's infamous 1957 essay "The White Negro," with its racist romanticization of black masculinity) to link the pathetic figure (not that there are really any other kinds of figures about here excepting the token blacks who don't have the security to be bored) of Roger Sterling with Mailer's "Hipster" who escapes "Organization Man" by abandoning the work ethic (well that at least is a good idea) and pursuing the "apocalyptic orgasm." But I do concede that Weiner is aware of the selfishness of it all, e.g., in another classic bit of Mad Men directorial ostentatiousness we look through the door into the Draper kitchen where poor Betty stands on one side of the great divide (the kitchen table) worrying about her putative affair and Carla stands on the other side worrying about justice for her people (that is to say all people). Betty, you bitch, there's your answer standing across from you, care about the welfare of others and your identity will take care of itself. As that old commie, the redeemed Lear, put it: "Take physic, Pomp;/ Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,/ That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,/ And show the heavens more just." Shake off the superflux, baby.

Alas, I fear Weiner fell in love with himself at the show's starting block and did not hear the pistol go off and we shall forever be stuck with identity-hopping Don and identity-lacking Betty (the perfect couple) in the 'burbs figuring out that they are not feeling fulfilled (most of us figured that out long ago ... and that Pete feels constrained not least by old Capital and its rules not conducive to maximizing consumption and that Peggy feels she's being restricted because she lacks a penis and that Sal feels ... better not go there), if we stick with it at all.

Now I'm off to practice my Mad Men, early-60s-style voguing.

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