Mad Men: The Runaways
May 11, 2014 8:13 PM - Season 7, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Don has a visitor from his past. Stan embarrasses a superior. Peggy helps Ginsberg with a problem. Harry finds that he has a new ally at the agency.
posted by mathowie (493 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Holy shit, Ginsberg. Although nobody can say it happened out of the blue.
posted by PussKillian at 8:15 PM on May 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


Weird not to see Roger or any of the other partners in an episode aside from Cutler. I don't know if I bought the Ginsberg goes insane story, it seemed kind of ham-fisted. Overall, felt like the middle of a story, trying to cover many stories from different players without making much headway. Hopefully next week wraps some of the story up a bit.
posted by mathowie at 8:15 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I was watching in a bar, and you should've heard the shriek that went up when Peggy opened that box.

Megan totally thinks that Stephanie is Don's daughter, right? Possibly with Anna? She was sort of joking about it with her friend, but I don't think she was kidding.
posted by donajo at 8:18 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


This one was full of what the hell. It's like I'm struggling to remember Lou's cartoon.
posted by .kobayashi. at 8:18 PM on May 11, 2014


Why do all the good shows these days have people cutting their nipples off?
posted by pwally at 8:19 PM on May 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm rewatching this, but on first watch this was damn weird. I mean...I guess with the Ginsberg storyline but it was bizarre. The whole Sally/Betty storyline could have been scrapped and it wouldn't matter for the story.

The Megan and Stephanie dialogue seemed like it was generated by the giant computer at SCP&Stuff ="You're beautiful!" "You're magnetic!"

Like...WTF
posted by sweetkid at 8:21 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


That last scene reminded me of this.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:22 PM on May 11, 2014


I felt the same way. This entire season seems rushed, like they're leaving out too many beats to make the show fit in the number of episodes allotted.

I thought Megan's reaction to Stephanie was that she knew Don would insist on putting her up in a place he picked out and sending her to a doctor he picked out, etc.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:23 PM on May 11, 2014


"You're beautiful!" "You're magnetic!"

"You're going to have a three-way with me and my husband!" Oh, wait, no, Stephanie was the other one?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:23 PM on May 11, 2014


Megan giving Stephanie a check and sending her away was a total Don Draper move. She has learned well. (I think she sent Stephanie away because she's jealous that Don cares, in her mind more than he cares about her.)

The desperation of the threesome, though - and Don with work schemings on his mind - did we ever think we'd see him that bored with sex? He is so over her.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:24 PM on May 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


The (latest) 2001 reference made me laugh out loud.

Also, so much wtf this episode. Which I love.
posted by The Deej at 8:24 PM on May 11, 2014 [11 favorites]



"You're beautiful!" "You're magnetic!"

"You're going to have a three-way with me and my husband!"


No, that was Amy, not Stephanie.
posted by sweetkid at 8:24 PM on May 11, 2014



Megan giving Stephanie a check and sending her away was a total Don Draper move. She has learned well.



What was with her weird lecture about "Don wouldn't trust you with your own choices" and "this is so disorganized" before the check part though?

Also how weird was the initial conversation between Don and Stephanie - "Got a pen? My wife lives in LA"

Yeah, like you wouldn't want to put some context around that situation?
posted by sweetkid at 8:27 PM on May 11, 2014


Didn't Don break one of the cardinal rules by speaking to the Phillip Morris guys without permission?
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:27 PM on May 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Peggy's TV date with Julio was just the cutest.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:29 PM on May 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


I don't think so, because one of the other partners was present. And it wasn't a pitch meeting.
posted by donajo at 8:29 PM on May 11, 2014



Didn't Don break one of the cardinal rules by speaking to the Phillip Morris guys without permission?


Yeah but if that was a secret meeting, Pete, Bert, Joan and Roger are going to be more angry at Lou & Cutler.

Also Ted Chaough is useless, apparently.
posted by sweetkid at 8:29 PM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Yes, but it was a well-calculated risk on Don's part. His offer to give PM his own head on a platter is way too tempting for PM and now Cutler can't afford to let him go.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:29 PM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


yea that too.
posted by sweetkid at 8:30 PM on May 11, 2014


This episode felt as weird and packed as the Dr. Feelgood episode from last season.

That threesome seemed pretty natural for Megan, like it wasn't the first time she'd done this. I'm not sure Don would care, really, at this point. It seems like Megan has a pretty full life in L.A. without Don. I'm sad we didn't get to see Don reunite with Stephanie.

The last scene with Ginsberg broke my heart a little, but the rest of his breakdown seemed like it was played for laughs. I don't know quite what to make of that.

I didn't want Harry Hamlin to be evil, but I kind of like it now that he is.
posted by gladly at 8:30 PM on May 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


I feel like both the appearance of Stephanie, and the final meeting happening at the Algonquin are supposed to tie in with the earlier episode where Don is being wooed by another agency and a woman who many of us thought looked like Stephanie approached them and tried to pick up Don. (whether she was a call girl or not).

Stephanie feels like a genuinely meaningful connection for Don to who he is. She called him "Dick", which feels like it hasn't happened, outside of flashbacks, since Season 4 (Megan said "no one loves Dick Whitman" in Season 5, but she was using the name like it wasn't him). Megan was supposed to be his new Anna, but Stephanie's arrival was a really strong message to her that she isn't.

Having them wear the same robe was a bit of a smacking the viewer over the head with a frying pan.
posted by dry white toast at 8:31 PM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Yeah but if that was a secret meeting, Pete, Bert, Joan and Roger are going to be more angry at Lou & Cutler.

It couldn't have been *that* secret, if Harry Crane knew about it. Possibly Joan and Bert knew about it as well. Surely not Roger, he wants his buddy around. And Pete and Ted are in Siberia.
posted by donajo at 8:33 PM on May 11, 2014


that's true. But then why would the meeting have only been Lou & Cutler?
posted by sweetkid at 8:35 PM on May 11, 2014


I dunno. Don't these relationships usually start with one accounts partner and one creative?
posted by donajo at 8:37 PM on May 11, 2014


If SCBlergh gets another cigarette company, Roger will truly be irrelevant. This move isn't just about Don. I don't think Cutler actually cares too much one way or another about Don.
posted by dry white toast at 8:38 PM on May 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


So much going on in this episode. It's the first time this season that I've felt compelled to stick around for the encore.

Megan's frustration at the end -- like, I gave you a threesome and creatively disposed of your Madonna-like "niece" and you're still walking out -- for some reason reminded me of the Six Feet Under scene where David screams "What do I have to do to get somebody to stay with me?"

I felt a surprising wealth of sympathy for Betty this time around. She's the perfect product of a truly fucked up process.
posted by telegraph at 8:38 PM on May 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


Lou had cigarette experience from Dancer Fitzgerald, Roger would have a conflict due to his previous relationship with Lucky Strike, Joan is not a real account man yet, and Bert is busy eating pudding.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:38 PM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Figure Cutler's there as accounts, Lou creative, maybe Harry had to know since he's media but then all the roles for a presentation are filled and they didn't have to inform the others until it was a fait accompli?
posted by rewil at 8:39 PM on May 11, 2014


Figure Cutler's there as accounts, Lou creative, maybe Harry had to know since he's media but then all the roles for a presentation are filled and they didn't have to inform the other until it was a fait accompli?

It's possible. Cutler seemed to be cozying up to Harry last week.


I dunno. Don't these relationships usually start with one accounts partner and one creative?


Not necessarily. It's just weird that the original crew wouldn't have anyone there, more show wise than ad world wise. But then this episode is weird.
posted by sweetkid at 8:41 PM on May 11, 2014


Was there any moment involving Megan in this episode that wasn't painfully awkward?

The morning scene with Stephanie, her dancing with another man in front of Don, the conversation with Harry and that woman, the threesome seduction, the morning after. Every minute with her made me cringe.
posted by dry white toast at 8:43 PM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think Cutler and Lou knew they were going to offer the firing of Don as a bargaining chip, and arranged it with the other partners such that they'd be the ones to take the meeting (without telling Bert et al. why... or hell, maybe they did).

Loved that last shot of Don whistling for a taxi. It seemed like a callback not to any one particular thing, but to Don/Dick himself. He's starting to figure out - and maybe even embrace - who he is.

Re: Goldberg, it's heartbreaking indeed. I never got the sense it was played for laughs. But so many people (in the 60s and now) don't know any other way of dealing with mental illness, other than to laugh at it. I also wonder if the introduction of computers triggered episodes in latent paranoiacs.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 8:45 PM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Both wikipedia and the Mad Men wiki are out-of-date on their entries for Henry Francis. Is he a state senator now, or an assemblyman?

I thought Henry was the most out-of-character tonight. I would've expected him to pat Betty on the head and been condescending towards her for having opinions, not yelling at her for embarrassing him. That's a Don move.
posted by donajo at 8:45 PM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


I was assuming that when Ginsberg stumbled on Avery and Cutler in the computer room on a Saturday, they're keeping the Commander account secret, and I would think secret from the rest of the office too.

If SCBlergh gets another cigarette company, Roger will truly be irrelevant. This move isn't just about Don. I don't think Cutler actually cares too much one way or another about Don.

I think so too. It's a continuation of Cutler trying to stack the agency with CGC people from last season. He wants to cement his control of the agency, and Ted was a terrible partner for that, so now he's got Lou.
posted by gladly at 8:46 PM on May 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Loved that last shot of Don whistling for a taxi. It seemed like a callback not to any one particular thing

It reminded me of the scene outside the NY Athletic Club in Season 4, when Don is swimming and trying not to drink as much and ... light bulb here ... gearing up to write the cigarette letter. He's getting his mojo back?
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:49 PM on May 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


Random thought: The AMC show promo they're running now (with Turn and Mad Men etc) that uses the "you exist in this room for my pleasure" clip from last season reads in that context kind of like a meta comment on TV itself - the characters exist in our rooms for our pleasure.
posted by sweetkid at 8:50 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Re: Goldberg, it's heartbreaking indeed. I never got the sense it was played for laughs. But so many people (in the 60s and now) don't know any other way of dealing with mental illness, other than to laugh at it. I also wonder if the introduction of computers triggered episodes in latent paranoiacs.

Ginsberg is in his mid-twenties, which is typical for the onset of paranoid schizophrenia, I think. I don't think it's at all related to the computers.
posted by donajo at 8:50 PM on May 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


This episode started really strong but ended up feeling overstuffed. At the first Ginsberg line, my husband quipped "They've really reduced Michael to comic relief this season." Heh. Actually, I really liked that about his storyline. On TV, crazy people are, like, Reverend Jim. Weird but without any of the nebulous lurking dangers of real mental illness. Feel for his dad more than anything. Seeya, Ginzo.

Loooved Betty standing up for herself. Hells yeah.

Was that dude Megan danced with a boyfriend? Was she saying something to him about how she wouldn't have invited him if he knew?

Harry Crane, man. Of all people to save Don.

Lou's such as ass.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:51 PM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's sad for me to think about Ginsberg disappearing into the mental health system given what it was at that time. Feels like it might as well be a death.
posted by dry white toast at 8:52 PM on May 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


I think so too. It's a continuation of Cutler trying to stack the agency with CGC people from last season. He wants to cement his control of the agency, and Ted was a terrible partner for that, so now he's got Lou.

It's like he's trying to create a middle management agency of bad ideas. Like, Harry needs a computer so let's get a low-end brand. We need a creative guy so we'll get the least creative creative ever. Etc.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:52 PM on May 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


PhoB, I loved the moment when Harry says, "Maybe I shouldn't have told you," and Don realizes he's going to have to go against his base instinct and be very nice to this doof.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:53 PM on May 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


On the next episode of Mad Men: Stan smokes a joint with the computer. Cutler makes the computer a partner. Don and Megan have a threesome with the computer.
posted by oulipian at 8:53 PM on May 11, 2014 [32 favorites]


Loooved Betty standing up for herself. Hells yeah.


I KNOW! I'm glad another member of Betty Club is here.

I guess the point of the Sally scenes were her whole rant to Betty about not needing a man to keep her in line, which made Betty start to get her Friedan on, such that she can.

Those scenes were a little too on the (busted) nose for me though.
posted by sweetkid at 8:53 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


You know Don's unhappy in a situation if he sees Harry Crane of all people and is like, let's get out of here and get a drink, just us.
posted by sweetkid at 8:55 PM on May 11, 2014 [17 favorites]


It was kinda startling for me to realize that as much of a jackass as Harry has been to others in the firm, he's never had a particular conflict with Don. Their lack of connection mostly stems with Harry trying to hard to impress Don and saying inappropriate things about Megan. But in Harry's swirling paranoia about disrespect from others in the firm, I don't think he's perceived Don as someone who's against him.
posted by dry white toast at 8:56 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yea but it's just a running theme that Don hates Harry.
posted by sweetkid at 8:58 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


(obviously that's because Don finds Harry insufferable and can't be bothered with anything that would peeve Harry, but still)
posted by dry white toast at 8:59 PM on May 11, 2014


Yeah I think it's telling that Don can't just ignore people he doesn't like right now. He's not in that position.
posted by sweetkid at 9:02 PM on May 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Peggy lets the computer sleep on her couch. Sally learns a life lesson from the computer. Pete gets high and confesses his love to the computer. The computer jumps out the window.
posted by oulipian at 9:02 PM on May 11, 2014 [23 favorites]


After the Stones concert:

Harry: "Saturday night was fun."
Don: "Okay."
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:02 PM on May 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


Ginsberg is in his mid-twenties, which is typical for the onset of paranoid schizophrenia, I think. I don't think it's at all related to the computers.

Oh I know the computers didn't cause the paranoia. I knew he was battling mental illness when he flipped out about martians last season. I meant I've just often wondered if the onset of technology (and all the ways one might perceive it as "evil") elicited or exacerbated reactions from paranoid schizophrenics. I think a lot of people were really freaked out back then by computers. Especially Stanley Kubrick.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:02 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I really enjoyed the conversation that got Betty in trouble about Nixon and Vietnam and kids disrespecting authority. The dialogue hit all the right notes in reflecting the way the "Silent Majority" that elected Nixon felt about what was happening in the country at the time.
posted by dry white toast at 9:04 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I know it's a small thing but I loved that Peggy was able to "deal with" Ginsberg by herself (in the really sad way of the times, but independently, at least). I was so much expecting her to be calling someone else for help that when they cut to Don at the Algonquin, I thought "Weird, Peggy is so upset that she's calling Don???". It was an interesting callback to the death of Mrs. Blankenship, when Peggy needed Joan to orchestrate everything.
posted by telegraph at 9:05 PM on May 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


From upthread: What was with her weird lecture about "Don wouldn't trust you with your own choices" and "this is so disorganized" before the check part though?

Megan's establishing that Stephanie may know Dick/Don's secrets, but she doesn't *know* him. Stephanie better leave before Don starts trying to fix her/manage her life. It's what Megan thinks that hippy Stephanie doesn't want to hear, and will get her out the door the quickest.
posted by donajo at 9:11 PM on May 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


yeah, I was wondering just what Peggy was going to do when she left Ginsberg in the office, go ask someone else or what.

Even though mental illness was treated more crudely at the time, I think even now if someone cut off their nipple and gave it to someone in the office, 911 might be called.
posted by sweetkid at 9:12 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Megan was super threatened by Stephanie and was basically trying to cut her down by making her feel like a fuck-up, too, was part of it. her life is a mess and unconventional and Don is going to judge, though, mercy, of course I never would. She also started slamming dishes when Stephanie called back again, which was a nice (bitchy) touch.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:12 PM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's what Megan thinks that hippy Stephanie doesn't want to hear, and will get her out the door the quickest.

It seemed like Stephanie wanted to leave more because Megan was making her uncomfortable, though.
posted by sweetkid at 9:13 PM on May 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Something I couldn't figure out. . . Ginsberg said they'd sew him back up but not cut the nipple off? Was I mishearing that he already went into a hospital for it and no one did anything?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:14 PM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


yeah I don't know about that either. I just saw it again and am still not sure what was going on with that line.
posted by sweetkid at 9:14 PM on May 11, 2014


I guess he was saying he knew doctors wouldn't do what he wanted so he took care of both the cutting and the bandaging himself?
posted by rewil at 9:17 PM on May 11, 2014


It seemed like Stephanie wanted to leave more because Megan was making her uncomfortable, though.

I agree. Stephanie left because she could tell that Megan didn't want her there, not because Stephanie thought Don was going to annoy her with all of his offers to help her get back on her feet.
posted by donajo at 9:19 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I took it as "I asked the doctors to remove my nipple for me but they refused so I did the removal half of the surgery and had them do the other half".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:21 PM on May 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


"I'm not stupid. I speak Italian!"

It's interesting to watch the Henry/Betty dynamic change. I didn't expect to like him as much as I've grown to.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:25 PM on May 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS WAS A GAME OF THRONES EPISODE.
posted by The Whelk at 9:26 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, said it on Twiter, Actual Monster Megan Draper.
posted by The Whelk at 9:27 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's what Megan thinks that hippy Stephanie doesn't want to hear, and will get her out the door the quickest.

It seemed like Stephanie wanted to leave more because Megan was making her uncomfortable, though.


My take on it was that Megan was just projecting, basically - "you [by which I really mean I] don't want Don around because he's controlling and uptight and square". Stephanie doesn't see Don that way, though, so all she picked up on was that Megan really wanted her gone quick.

But then on the other hand she made this whole sad desperate ploy of trying to get Don jealous (and losing against Harry Crane, ouch) and then the equally desperate threesome (Don with his perfectly double-edged "I don't want anything right now") shows she's still got a screwed-up love/hate thing with Don. She wants him in LA, but she also wants to be completely in control of her own life. I'd say she's totally doomed but so far she's managing a lot better than Betty.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:30 PM on May 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


Megan was a fucking PROJECTIONIST, normally I'm not THAT GUY on a show discussion thread, but MEGAN WTF. You could only HELP your position by helping this gal, Don is a very rich man who is not unpleasant to be around and he likes it when you're maternal. Was the party that important? (No really, was it? Was Harry bring there a sign it could be important? eh?) I know you're not working a lot and going all Sean Young on producers and get it together you're not exactly desperate. You have a very nice house in the Hills. Maybe a big old fashioned hippy threeway was good to convince your meal ticket you're still worth the investment but did you have to be so weird and cagey beforehand? Bad form Megan. Bad. Form.
posted by The Whelk at 9:35 PM on May 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


Peggy's outfit from last week was hanging in a dry cleaning bag on the back of her door. They did the same thing in an earlier episode when she was in Lane's office (I forget what was hanging on the door that time though).
posted by dry white toast at 9:38 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Poor Stan... He looked so crushed as they were wheeling Ginzo out.
posted by palomar at 9:39 PM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


I still don't get Don's speech to the cigarette suits on how it would appear to the competition if by hiring Sterling Clusterfuck they would be forcing him to apologize before he begins work for them. How would it appear to the competition? I really don't get it. Was it a way to get the suits to back out and then Don could not be bought out?
posted by jgirl at 9:42 PM on May 11, 2014


I was tempted to fast forward through the "morning after the 3-way" scene, the awkwardness was so palpable.

I'm another person who has never understood the Betty/January Jones hate and loved her scenes tonight (although I agree the personality change in Henry felt a bit out of character and rushed, which I figure is just a casualty of the shortened season format). The bedroom scene between Sally and Bobby was so sweet and sad.

When Don walked in on the Philip Morris meeting I nearly leapt off the couch and fist pumped.
posted by The Gooch at 9:54 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, the $1k that Megan gave Stephanie would work out to about $6,400 today.
posted by dry white toast at 9:56 PM on May 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Stan can wear as many tight pants as he likes. I will allow the long-form neckerchief if he justs wearing lycra shorts.
posted by The Whelk at 9:58 PM on May 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


It feels a lot like we're heading for another "Shut the door, have a seat..." end to this stump of a season.
posted by dry white toast at 9:59 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


In one of the behind-the-scenes videos on the AMC website, Janie Bryant talks about finding a vintage belt buckle with STAN already engraved on it. Because of course Stan would wear that.

His style transformation has been so interesting - from collegiate-jock prep to David Crosby. Poor Jay Ferguson is showing up at real-life public appearances sporting a headband. (It's adorable.)
posted by Sweetie Darling at 10:07 PM on May 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


I still don't get Don's speech to the cigarette suits on how it would appear to the competition if by hiring Sterling Clusterfuck they would be forcing him to apologize before he begins work for them. How would it appear to the competition? I really don't get it. Was it a way to get the suits to back out and then Don could not be bought out?

The way I read it is: if they forced SC&P to fire Don he could take his expertise in the cigarette and anti-smoking businesses and go work for their competition. If they let him stay on and it's announced that they forced him to apologize, they get to look badass before their peers plus have the services of one of the best ad men in the business. Of course Cutler and Lou will likely do the least helpful thing and cut off their noses just to spite their faces.
posted by fuse theorem at 10:11 PM on May 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


I really need to sign off but just remembered my favorite throwaway line. Don dictating:

"S-t-r-a-t-e-g-y. I don't need you to spell it out, sweetheart, I just need you to spell it correctly."

Oh, Meredith.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 10:18 PM on May 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


"I'll cancel my plans."

"Not yours, just mine."

TSTL
posted by Sys Rq at 10:20 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS WAS A GAME OF THRONES EPISODE.

Sometimes a brother and sister sleeping together is just a brother and sister sleeping together.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:31 PM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


SUDDEN BOXED NIPPLE.
posted by subbes at 10:39 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Perfect height of Lou dickishness with keeping the creatives late on Friday night out of spite.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:42 PM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


I still don't get Don's speech to the cigarette suits on how it would appear to the competition if by hiring Sterling Clusterfuck they would be forcing him to apologize before he begins work for them. How would it appear to the competition?

Don pens a second letter, which runs in the Times as an ad in advance of a new campaign. In the letter, Don apologizes, and cops to being misinformed. The truth is, there's no such thing as a bad cigarette, just a wrong cigarette. And fortunately, when it comes to Philip Morris' gentle and mild tobacco, you simply can't go wrong.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:57 PM on May 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Don is a very rich man who is not unpleasant to be around
...
a big old fashioned hippy threeway was good to convince your meal ticket you're still worth the investment


I don't understand this, The Whelk. You're suggesting Megan sees Don as a sugar daddy?

She doesn't. She's just plain old in love with him. But jealous, and worried she'll never be a high enough priority for him, and probably still wondering if she should just cut him loose. Money's never been a big thing for Megan, and anyway she'd be taken care of whether she & Don split or not.
posted by torticat at 11:00 PM on May 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


There were some weird scenes in this episode -- I mean in the way they chose to shoot them. The part where Ginsberg's watching Lou and Cutler talking and it cuts back and forth between their mouths. I was wondering if Ginsberg could lipread and somehow knew they were talking secret strategy? And then his reasoning was "oh no, homo." I assume we are supposed to be reading the scene from his perspective but that's something that Mad Men doesn't do, so it was out of place.

The little bit before Don enters the meeting at the Algonquin (does no one ever meet anywhere else?) and stops to smooth his hair. Loved it. Just enough to show he really was nervous about what was going to happen, despite his utter confidence in the room.

And his look of confusion during the whole threesome thing. I just watched his face throughout and he never loses that expression of "I don't understand it but I'll just roll with it anyway".

Don has a lot of plates to keep spinning in this episode (Stephanie, work, Megan) but no more than anyone else on a normal day, maybe a little more drama-filled though. So Megan comes across as pretty unreasonable when she huffs because he has his mind on other things. I guess that comes with a long distance relationship though: you want your partner to be 100% with you when they're with you. But she knew also that he was only coming because of Stephanie, so yeah. Being completely unreasonable.

And I agree: her scenes were all horribly awkward. That dance! What on earth was that? Was that A Thing in the late 60s?
posted by tracicle at 12:20 AM on May 12, 2014


Don's meeting at the Algonquin was absolutely brilliant. The partners had set a bar so low with Don's contract that they were sure he wouldn't take it and would therefore be divested of him. Not only did he take it, but he's now strolled into a meeting, unnanounced, to drop the bar a whole 'nother foot and show just how easily he can slither under that one too. It was the most fun he'd had all week I think. The way he dangled the carrot of "If you get this account, I'll leave the agency" and then strawman'd up Lou to his level with their "matching" tobacco experience. Then he then gave them all a reason and a way to make every person at that table swallow their pride, i.e., bringing them to their knees at that first bar. Lou still couldn't figure out what happened (reaching for that taxicab door handle was the old script, which no longer applies); Cutler is no dummy though. Commander will just love "controlling" Don and will probably demand him be head creative, to show off their retrained puppy to American Tobacco. And I just can't wait until Lou and Cutler have to explain to Bert why Don is pitching front and center.

But it was unnecessary to make the rest of the scenes in the episode extra stupid by contrast.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:18 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't know what to make of this episode, but Sally calling Betty & Henry "the Dynamic Duo" was wonderful.
posted by crossoverman at 3:27 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's as if the writers are playing with the internet rumors about Megan becoming Sharon Tate up on the hill there by scattering tropes and references both to Sharon Tate and, by association, to Rosemary's Baby.
Megan's hairdo was very Sharon Tate.
Super pregnant Stephanie craved meat - Rosemary's Baby. "I'm a Madonna." The weird devil comments last week to the computer guy.
Then Ginsburg, who sees like an oracle that the Monolith is evil, goes crazy and gets carted away. Don sacrificing himself to PM -- it's something beyond his own familiar strategic masochism -- has an element of this change-of-the-world occultism of Rosemary's Baby.
These Polanski references don't seem to add up to anything organic or cohesive yet, but it's hard not to pick them out of the feverish events.
posted by third rail at 3:48 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


There were some weird scenes in this episode -- I mean in the way they chose to shoot them. The part where Ginsberg's watching Lou and Cutler talking and it cuts back and forth between their mouths. I was wondering if Ginsberg could lipread and somehow knew they were talking secret strategy?

It looked familiar to me but as you say, out of character for the show's normal style. The Slate review talks about a 2001 homage and while I haven't watched the video, I'm assuming its the scene where Bowman and Poole are talking in the pod and HAL is reading their lips.
posted by cardboard at 5:14 AM on May 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


Ah. I've read the book but never seen the movie. Shocking but true.
posted by tracicle at 5:16 AM on May 12, 2014


Yes, that's exactly it. When they had that scene, I yelled out, "2001 homages again this week!"
posted by Chrysostom at 5:20 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Lou's such an ass.

My verbatim comment as Lou suddenly decided he didn't need the Friday-night meeting, fucking up Don's plans yet again: "What. A. Thoroughgoing. Dick."

yeah, I was wondering just what Peggy was going to do when she left Ginsberg in the office, go ask someone else or what.

I thought it was pretty apparent that she was going to go call emergency services. That scene had me cracking up, though... not because "mental illness = funny," but since Peggy's "this is my composed face" expression was priceless.

Also, Ben Feldman is in a (rather boring-looking) sitcom starting this fall, so I hope this wasn't just a convenient way to write Ginzo out.
posted by psoas at 5:23 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I was so much expecting her to be calling someone else for help that when they cut to Don at the Algonquin,

I like that Peggy didn't need help to call the medics, but on the other hand they missed the opportunity for perhaps the best "WHAT?" phone reaction of the series.
posted by mikepop at 5:31 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


My take on the Manson foreshadowing is not that Megan will be personally affected, but it will be one of those world events that shakes up the characters. Maybe she will be too scared to stay alone in LA, or Don will insist she come back to New York, but it could be the plot device that forces the marriage to a decision point.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:41 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Didn't Don break one of the cardinal rules by speaking to the Phillip Morris guys without permission?

I believe the stipulation was that he was not to meet alone with clients. He certainly did not violate that rule.

I'm having a hard time understanding the point of Ginsberg's crack-up, unless it's to set the stage for Cutler and Lou forcing a house-cleaning of the creative department (they're out of control!!!). They really seemed to play up the idiosyncrasies of the creatives...smoking pot on the job, Don's little tutorial to Lou on how to handle the creatives.

Loved the back-and-forth between Betty and Sally. And watching Betty later getting her liberation on was so great. It's like we learned more about Betty's inner world in those 30 seconds than we have over the past umpteen seasons. I'd love to see Betty and Sally bond over a bra-burning or something.

Loved Don standing triumphant at the end, hailing a cab. One quibble (which I've made before) is he really needs to lose the hat. As triumphant as the pose was, it was completely ruined by the fuddy-duddy gray hat, especially paired with a brown suit. It also seems odd that all three of them were conspicuously wearing similar hats as they exited the hotel. They were the only hats on the street.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:43 AM on May 12, 2014


I believe the stipulation was that he was not to meet alone with clients. He certainly did not violate that rule.

Yeah, but one of the other stipulations was "Stick to the script in meetings" which it seems pretty hard to say he did here.
posted by mstokes650 at 5:58 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I believe the stipulation was that he was not to meet alone with clients. He certainly did not violate that rule.

No, but he went off script, which violated the rule that he was never to say anything to a client that hadn't been pre-approved by the partners.

Don's little tutorial to Lou on how to handle the creatives.

I was actually trying to figure out the significance of that. Why would Don reach out to Lou that way? Was it just giving Lou one more chance to be a dick, before Don showed him up in the PM meeting?
posted by torticat at 5:59 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, Ben Feldman is in a (rather boring-looking) sitcom starting this fall, so I hope this wasn't just a convenient way to write Ginzo out.

There's no need to write Ben Feldman out, since they're shooting the entire last season this spring. The whole cast will be free to move on to other projects this summer.

I wouldn't be shocked if that was the end of Ginsberg, though. They have to start closing the book on some of these characters, and that's a hell of an exit.
posted by donajo at 6:00 AM on May 12, 2014


Why would Don reach out to Lou that way? Was it just giving Lou one more chance to be a dick, before Don showed him up in the PM meeting?

Because he has to work with Stan et al, under Lou. And Lou being a shitty manager doesn't help Don's position at all. Lou's not going to get canned for not being respected by his underlings. Don is trying to bring some order to the chaos that is creative at SC&LETTERS, so he can do his work and not be subject to Lou's petty power plays over his staff. But of course Lou isn't going to take Don's advice, because he is Lou.
posted by donajo at 6:04 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes, I kinda assumed that was farewell to Ginsberg. He's not exactly going to be coming back to work in the next few months.

Weep. He was a great character.

With Ginsberg gone, any bursts of creative genius from SCP are pretty much down to Don and Peggy at this point.
posted by torticat at 6:05 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Out of curiosity, I just looked up when the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act, which banned all cigarette advertising on radio and TV, went into effect. It was signed into law on April 1, 1970 and became enforceable January 2, 1971. So not far off at all from the show's current timeframe.

I'm possibly reading way more into this than I should, but it does make me wonder how much of last night's episode was a red herring, since hedging the firm's bets on taking on a cigarette company as a signature account will soon appear very behind the times since such as account, by definition, cannot take advantage of the firm's full range of services. Certainly Harry and his recently much strengthened media department's participation in the account will be rendered nil. I don't know if there is anything to this, but it would seem odd to make landing a cigarette company as an account a major plot point so close to the advertising ban taking effect and not having it play into things somehow.
posted by The Gooch at 6:07 AM on May 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


FWIW, the psychiatrist thought that was a reasonably accurate depiction of a first psychotic break by Ginsburg. " the best part was that he had a prodrome, becoming increasingly bizarre"
posted by Chrysostom at 6:13 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Gooch, maybe it's supposed to contrast Don's forward thinking, specifically with the computer leasing co, versus Cutler/Lou who are going after the past or the familiar.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:14 AM on May 12, 2014


No, but he went off script, which violated the rule that he was never to say anything to a client that hadn't been pre-approved by the partners.

The more I think about it, the more I suspect Lou and Cutler are keeping this meeting a secret from all of the other partners, not just Don (why else would they need to plan in secret on a Saturday in a noisy room where they can't be overheard?). I figure Don knows this or at least strongly suspects it, and thus, knew he could interrupt their meeting without consequence since ratting Don out to the other partners would also mean revealing their own indiscretions.
posted by The Gooch at 6:14 AM on May 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


the more I suspect Lou and Cutler are keeping this meeting a secret from all of the other partners

I'm inclined to agree with this. While Don is a partner under restrictions, he is still a partner and if there was a partner meeting on this he should have been in it.
posted by mikepop at 6:26 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah I agree, The Gooch.

Harry at any rate was very clear on the fact that Don was not supposed to know about the discussions with PM. So either he was told not to discuss the matter with ANYONE else, or not with Don specifically. The former seems likely because of the way Lou and Cutler had been holding their discussions, as you say.

Also it seems unlikely that Roger, Joan, Pete, or Ted would be on board with using PM to shove Don out the door. I mean ultimately they might well choose PM (a huge client) over Don, but I doubt they'd do it in such an underhanded way.

Certainly Harry and his recently much strengthened media department's participation in the account will be rendered nil.

True, and very interesting! I feel like something similar has happened with the agency before... when they didn't anticipate that something they were putting a lot of work into was about to be made irrelevant. Maybe I'm just thinking of their losing Mohawk while going for the bigger account that didn't pan out?
posted by torticat at 6:31 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


In the sober light of day I think I'm nagging on Megan on not being more cynical and mercenary and instead doing what she always does: follow sudden and extreme whims to THIER inevitable breakdown conclusion. It's very uh, early 20s, and we have previously mentioned she's like stalking producers and going kind of stir crazy and desperate. Betty in this episode just looked alien, like a human praying mantis. Teenage Dirtbag Sally Is Best Sally.
posted by The Whelk at 6:37 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


also in my market Ginzo's breakdown (Closet case or manic episode? The fun ever stops on Mad Men!) was followed by an ad for Delta showers that was basically a gay fetish video. So weird.
posted by The Whelk at 6:41 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


(how perfect is it that Lou Avery is trying to sell his second rate, Beetle Baily-knock off pun-heavy comic strip? It totally makes sense.)
posted by The Whelk at 6:43 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Neither. Ginzo's breakdown is obviously schizophrenia. I'd buy him as a closet case, though.

And I got the same ad. I found it pleasant to watch.

I've gone from contempt for Lou to just pity. He's a sad, sad man, and I think he knows it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:44 AM on May 12, 2014


...Beetle Baily-knock off pun-heavy comic strip?

Yeah. It really cemented Lou's image as a "creative" guy whose ideas are about a decade late.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:45 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'd buy him as a closet case, though.

That mustache was staring us right in the face the whole time.
posted by The Whelk at 6:48 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Not only trying to sell it, but using a second-rate adman as his reference point with what seems to be the ultimate goal of coasting on cartoon revenue for the rest of his life and leaving the advertising game. He's the consummate middle manager who's totally disconnected from the actual skill or craft that he's managing.

I like all of the apocalyptic imagery that's been happening recently. Ginsberg's apocalyptic fantasies about the computer destroying human procreation. Henry's apocalyptic fantasies about a few shot-out street lights being the end of America. Margot's fantasies about free love being the end of the capitalism and greed embodied by her father (and by her self). The continued references to 2001 tie Mad Men to a larger narrative of what it means to end an epoch, with both the good and the bad that come along with that.

Apart from that, one little touch that I enjoyed was Peggy and Julio spending their Saturday nights watching the tube with a bowl of pretzels. I can't imagine Peggy is happy living like that.
posted by codacorolla at 6:53 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Rewatching. Lou and Betty's outbursts about disrespect for authority are almost identical. Also, it's hilarious that Megan offers spaghetti to everyone who walks in the door.

Also, when the dude that Megan ends up dancing with first comes into her house, she says, "I would have invited you both if I'd known... I swear I thought she was his daughter." At first I thought she said "wouldn't have" but then the guy says, "Don't you want to see what happens?" which makes me think maybe he knew Stephanie? Or am I bean-plating?
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:53 AM on May 12, 2014


Henry's apocalyptic fantasies about a few shot-out street lights being the end of America

Reason 459: why I couldn't be a politician or married to one, I wouldn't have been able to resist laughing in his face or making a super sarcastic comment. (Trudy could somehow phrase it in a way that was completely insulting but graceful cause talking shit with a smile is her superpower.)
posted by The Whelk at 6:58 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think Megan has built her life in LA - including sleeping around a bit with both her friend and the guy she danced with. She doesn't really care what Don thinks - in her mind, he's doing the same thing, of course! But a part of her does care - and she gracefully exits the dance to avoid a scene when she can see Don is very uncomfortable.
posted by valeries at 7:01 AM on May 12, 2014


Thinking - if they signed Phillip Morris they'd have money, power (Lou + Cutler), and the ability to buy out Don with the money.
posted by tilde at 7:02 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


What *is* Henry's job now? I had thought he was still some sort of staffer to Governor Rockefeller, but now I guess he holds some elective office?
posted by Chrysostom at 7:02 AM on May 12, 2014


Also I kinda think that in the threesome Don was basically irrelevant. Looked to me like Megan and Amy had a thing going on, they were horny, and the only way to deal with that was to involve Don.

Really disjointed episode though. The abbreviated seasons are doing nothing for the writers, because they have to jam so much stuff in just so they can finish the story.

Also I think the Betty/Harry scenes are callbacks to her marriage to Don: she obviously doesn't understand the role of a politician's wife (smile for the cameras, always support your husband in public, talk about your volunteering with some inoffensive charity) and she wants to be her own person. Henry was kind of a dick in this episode.

The problem with firing Don or buying him out is not only his name on the door, it's that they'd suddenly be putting the best creative guy in NYC out on the streets where any other agency could get him, and that would be the end of SCDPOMGWTFBBQ.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:04 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Does buying Don out nullify the non compete, though? I'd assume it was still in effect.
posted by tilde at 7:10 AM on May 12, 2014


I think the main point of THE COMPUTER this season is that creative isn't perceived as being that valuable any more against analytics and strategy. That may or may not be true, but it's certainly the perception of the other partners. It's part of a larger narrative of labor being increasingly devalued over management and technocracy. Note that Don didn't barge into that meeting and make a sales pitch for a groundbreaking ad, like he would've in past seasons, but rather proved his worth in terms of strategy. He knows what anti-tobacco is going to do, and his worth comes from being able to predict and block that. Not necessarily great ad work.
posted by codacorolla at 7:11 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


So is Megan having an affair with dance dude? Or did he know Stephanie? At the party she was saying to hi something like "I thought she was his daughter" and "I wouldn't have invited you both if I'd known." It was super weird.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:19 AM on May 12, 2014


If she's not having an affair with dance dude yet, she will be soon.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:25 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think that Henry will die in a car accident wrapping his car around a tree because the streetlights are out, and Betty will step into his slot (that he ran for and won, running unopposed). She'll grow from there. Doesn't need to get back with Don though they'll have an understanding and good relationship with regards to the kids. He'll have them mostly full time because Betty will be spending a lot of time politicking.

Though I love Don's line to Meredith on dictation, Ginzo has the best lines.

"Peggy, we have to reproduce. If there was a way to do it without having sex, I'd do it."

Glad they gave him a good line to end out with. I totally hear him on the humming, though. Computers are soooo louuuuuuuuuuuud.
posted by tilde at 7:35 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Somebody in another discussion pointed out something about "dance dude": he looks an awful lot like somebody else!.
posted by codacorolla at 7:36 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


No idea, codacorolla. Who is that?
posted by tilde at 7:37 AM on May 12, 2014


Yep, I thought he looked like Manson, too.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:43 AM on May 12, 2014


TLo's recap is up.
posted by orange swan at 7:45 AM on May 12, 2014


The reviews for the new About a Boy adaptation on NBC were bad enough that I've never bothered to watch, but I would totally watch a Man Men spin-off focusing on powerful working woman/landlord Peggy Olson having her hardened heart softened through the friendship she develops with her cherubic upstairs neighbor/tenant, Julio.
posted by The Gooch at 7:47 AM on May 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


Montage of Julio and Peggy romping through Central Park, "Solsbury Hill" playing in the background.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:51 AM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm so tired of this Manson thing. Megan isn't Sharon Tate and Dancing Dude isn't Manson.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:51 AM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


The Gooch, yes! But only if his Mamma is never seen on-screen - like Carlton the Doorman.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:51 AM on May 12, 2014


So is Megan having an affair with dance dude?

I think one of the takeaways from the threesome initiated by Megan is that, at least in her sphere, there are no "affairs". It's a more upscale version of the hippie commune free-love mindset.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:56 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's clear that Megan is enjoying being a young person, not a trophy wife. Which is fine, but we get it! Wish they'd go ahead and pull the plug on the marriage already.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:02 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


In no particular order:

How old is Julio? He must be in the ballpark age of her given-up Pete baby. Wish we could have gotten a scene of the two of them sitting quietly on the couch eating pretzels without the Ginsberg interruption, weird/fun as that was.

Late night with a boss keeping you in the office and a phone call and it's Stephanie reminds me of "The Suitcase".

Megan dancing was calling back to "Zou Bisou Bisou" except Don was even more uncomfortable this time around.
posted by dyobmit at 8:03 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


at least in her sphere, there are no "affairs"

I don't think so. To Megan, that threesome was just about sex, about giving Don a (misjudged) gift like the zou bisou dance.

Don went along with it both times but didn't particularly welcome it, except in the basest of ways.

But Megan was pretty clear a couple episodes ago about how she would feel about Don's having an actual affair. And she was pretty clear this episode about how she feels about another woman having any kind of claim on intimacy with Don.
posted by torticat at 8:06 AM on May 12, 2014


I think Megan really wants Don to slip back into being a monster so she can justify leaving him, or drive him to leave her, without being the bad guy. Instigating a threesome in an already shaky relationship felt like Megan creating a reason to resent him later, because she knows resenting him for Stephanie's presence is petty. It reminds me of last season--Megan was really angry about Don's drinking and the California fakeout, but he was such a great guy when he helped their neighbor's kid dodge the draft. She wants so desperately to have that moment of complete moral high ground over him (like when Betty caught him in his lies), but Don hasn't slipped up enough for her to get there.
posted by almostmanda at 8:09 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


And Megan, again, is totally misreading what Don wants just like the Zou Bisou Bisou episode. She is weirdly clueless. I was cringing when she sent Stephanie off with a check and the extremely awkward three way morning aftermath. eeeghh.
posted by readery at 8:14 AM on May 12, 2014 [5 favorites]



And Megan, again, is totally misreading what Don wants just like the Zou Bisou Bisou episode. She is weirdly clueless.


I thought about that when Megan and Amy were heading off to the market and Megan was like, "I know what he likes." Do you though, Megan?
posted by sweetkid at 8:17 AM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


he abbreviated seasons are doing nothing for the writers, because they have to jam so much stuff in just so they can finish the story.

Yeah, this. We sat on the sofa for quite a long time after the ep, basically saying "what the hell just happened?" For a lesser show, we would have just chalked it up to poor writing, but on this show I have the odd feeling that the episode was intended to be full of very obtuse motivations and mysterious side conversations. The Megan scenes, in particular, gave me a very strong David Lynch vibe, where everything is subtext and you are left to guess the meanings and motivations behind the actions you see.

I really wish, though, that they'd been able to string out the story of Ginsburg's breakdown over several eps (but with the short season they don't have the real estate to do that even if they'd wanted to). I feel like it would have been more effective to see him "bugged" by the humming in one ep; maybe appearing at Peggy's door in the next; then the final, uh, act in the next. I realize that Weiner's been building up to this exit for him basically since the get-go, but his storyline, in particular, felt needlessly rushed and like it was sort of shoehorned into the episode for no other reason than that it was where they'd always wanted the character to end up.

In some ways I think the Betty story suffers from the same problem. Weiner has a known endpoint for the character, and is now rushing to get her there. I think this is why nobody knows what Henry does for a living now. The AMC website says "Henry Francis’ life was changed when he accompanied Mayor Lindsay in the wake of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. Having witnessed the riots in Harlem, he was activated to pursue a position as State Senator." MLK was killed in April of '68, which means that Henry must have been elected in the fall of '68 - the end of last season. I vaguely remember Henry being at the riots ("The Flood"), but if Henry was running for office subsequent to that it was pretty subtle.

did we ever think we'd see him that bored with sex? He is so over her.

He looked to me like a man waiting for the trap to spring. Like, if he said "Oh, yes, I'm into this" he was afraid Megan would turn on him with a big "AHA! I knew it!" or something. When it became clear that they were going to go forward with or without him, that's when he sort of threw caution to the wind.

Also, as a closet Harry fan (mostly because Rich Sommer is awesome), I was super happy to see Harry a) being human, and b) being the key to cutting the Gordian knot that Don has tied himself up in.
posted by anastasiav at 8:17 AM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


Don during the threesome reminded me of Dick Whitman at 13(?) with the prostitute. He just let it happen. Megan probably expected an encore in the morning, or some cute little discussion of what happened.

I hope we see more of Stephanie.
posted by luckynerd at 8:28 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]




I'm also enjoying Molly Lambert's commentaries on Grantland.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:01 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'll actually be curious to see this week's Mad Style, just to see what they have to say about Peggy's gloves. (Did that seem weird to anyone else? Does Peggy always wear little white gloves and I missed it until she wore them with short sleeves?)
posted by palomar at 9:08 AM on May 12, 2014


The little white gloves with short sleeves doesn't seem weird to me. That was definitely a Thing at that time, white gloves in summer.
posted by ambrosia at 9:22 AM on May 12, 2014


I agree with Palomar. 1969 for white gloves and hat seems a bit late, although I realize Peggy is not fashion forward. Her mother's age group was definitely wearing them, but even they will ditch them a few years later. Except for church.
posted by jgirl at 9:33 AM on May 12, 2014


She's wearing similar gloves here in Season 3. I assumed it was another weird Peggy-gets-a-raise-and-buys-matronly-clothes thing, but I guess she already had them.
posted by almostmanda at 9:37 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


What was with her weird lecture about "Don wouldn't trust you with your own choices" and "this is so disorganized" before the check part though?

That whole dialog was absolutely bizarre. I mean, I got that the secret subtext was that Megan didn't want Stephanie around because she thought Don would like Stephanie better than her, with an added dash of putting pressure on her to have babies of her own, but the exchange itself was like somthing written by random monkeys with typewriters.

That threesome seemed pretty natural for Megan, like it wasn't the first time she'd done this.

I got the impression that Megan and Amy had been basically living as a de facto couple for a while, and the threesome was a way to continue that without making Don feel like he was in the way, with the added benefit of being able to say, "Look! I'm forcing you to letting you have fun!"


If Sally was a baritone before, she's a flippin' contrabass now. If she wants to run away again, she can go out to Hollywood and do voice work filling in for Thurl Ravenscroft.

I've been expecting Ginsberg's breakdown for a while now; at first I could have believed he was just eccentric, but he's been reading as paranoid schizophrenic to me for at least a season now. I guess there was just no reason to put it off any longer with the series ending, and it might be the impetus, as other have suggested, for a shakeup in creative. Maybe while they're shorthanded Don will step in with some great work for the new tobacco client and redeem himself.

It did sound to me like he had gotten a doctor to suture the wound on his chest, and it seems odd that he could have done so without tripping any alarm bells. But, we saw how overworked and overcrowded the city's emergency rooms are when Bob took Joan to one last year - even if he was in an agitated state, if he'd told the staff he'd been slashed by a suspicious, dark-skinned mugger, he might have gotten away with it. It's also certainly possible that he's gay or bisexual IN ADDITION to having mental illness, and that the attitudes of the times made it extra confusing for him to understand and accept.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:42 AM on May 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


So I remember very clearly wearing little white gloves in the early seventies, as a little girl. Megan certainly wouldn't wear them, but I have no problem with Peggy wearing them.
posted by ambrosia at 9:43 AM on May 12, 2014


Also, I was getting kind of a Dave Berg vibe from Lou and his cartoons. Lou's kind of like a WASPy Roger Kaputnik.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:47 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


and the extremely awkward three way morning aftermath

This is why, after most threeways, a sleepover is a bad idea.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:48 AM on May 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


I think the main point of THE COMPUTER this season is that creative isn't perceived as being that valuable any more against analytics and strategy.

It also kind of feels like they're picking up the thread of...Season 4, was it? when Dr. Faye Miller was brought in to be all, "Psychology is a science! Let's analyze your demo! Other buzzknowledges!" and then that was abruptly dropped.

& I don't know, guys, I really liked this episode. People always seemed to complain before when plots were slow-burn for weeks on end, this picking-up of the pace is kind of exciting.
posted by psoas at 9:56 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Forgot to mention how much I loved that moment right before the Philip Morris meeting where Don paused outside the door to make sure his hair was properly slicked back into predatory shark formation.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:58 AM on May 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


this picking-up of the pace is kind of exciting.

Perhaps, but this rapid pace is coming at the cost of totally disjointed writing and editing. They should have done one full season covering half the year, one full season covering the next. The writers are having to ditch buildup and tension over several episodes in favour of setup, payoff in an hour.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:04 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I kind of like tge rapidly spinning into madness tone, helps coubter all the portentous doom.

Also confessing slightly sexual feelings toward Stan just means you have eyes and a pulse
posted by The Whelk at 10:08 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


%n: ""I'm not stupid. I speak Italian!""

I nominate this for Top Ten Betty Lines of all time.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:11 AM on May 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Betty's also a Bryn Mawr graduate. She's not stupid, just shallow and immature.
posted by orange swan at 10:25 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Peggy's reading on "really" after ginsburg talked about Stan's shoulders was amazing.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:33 AM on May 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


Betty's also a Bryn Mawr graduate. She's not stupid, just shallow and immature.

But you know, that was seven kinds of bullshit from Henry. I think the development that he expects her to be a pretty and silent political wife made sense given his mom actually. The whole "don't you want to get back into that fantastic closet" thing.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:38 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also confessing slightly sexual feelings toward Stan just means you have eyes and a pulse

He leaves me cold (though I must admit I've gone from detesting him to enjoying his character a lot), and I have eyes and a pulse. I just don't like the bear type.
posted by orange swan at 10:40 AM on May 12, 2014


But you know, that was seven kinds of bullshit from Henry.

It was. And his chastisement of his seemed out of character until I realized it wasn't unprecedented. One of the few times we've seen Henry chastise Betty was when she said, "I need a drink" during a dinner with some political connections of Henry's (because she'd just seen Don out with Bethany at the same restaurant). He told her she "wasn't allowed" to say that, and also told her she was drunk. He's going to expect Betty to toe the line and be the pretty, charming and inoffensive politician's wife. As execrable as Betty's political opinions are likely to be, she's had it with the confines of "perfect long-suffering wife". This should get interesting.
posted by orange swan at 10:46 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Peggy's reading on "really" after ginsburg talked about Stan's shoulders was amazing.

Oh my gosh, I went back and watched this. You're right. Peggy could not be more into that.
posted by almostmanda at 10:52 AM on May 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Perhaps, but this rapid pace is coming at the cost of totally disjointed writing and editing.

Is it, though? People are talking like Ginzo's breakdown is coming out of left field, or that it was caused by the computer(?), when it's been telegraphed for years that he's prone to some sort of mental instability. We're looking at a few facets of desperation (Ginsberg and his mania in the face of the perceived unreality of the world around him; Megan and her unsteady assessment of and attempt to integrate her marriage, her career, her social scene, and ultimately her identity; and Betty's plain old desire to be treated like and treat others as adults although--like Ginsberg--her own demons are making it tough), even though the only literal discussion of running away is Sally & Bobby's nighttime chat. I think given all the storylines brought to bear, it was pretty cleanly done.

Also, that latter discussion made the whole episode worth it for me emotionally, just to see that they actually do interact as sister and brother from time to time, which we basically never see.
posted by psoas at 11:00 AM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


The writers are having to ditch buildup and tension over several episodes in favour of setup, payoff in an hour.

I definitely felt this was the case in the Betty storyline, where Henry, who to my memory has always been portrayed as a loving, doting husband, suddenly turned into an emotionally abusive tyrant seemingly without explanation. That storyline could have used a slower, subtler, multi-episode build to make the change in Henry's demeanor seem less out of character.
posted by The Gooch at 11:06 AM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ah, with Betty and Henry the bloom is definitely off the rose. It's so aggravating to have someone withdraw the way Betty does, as if taking to her bed absolves her of any discussion. Whenever she feels wronged she becomes a pouty ice queen.

Also what's up with Henry having to do the parenting work? Henry picks up Sally? Do they not even tell Don about an injury that requires surgery?
posted by readery at 11:19 AM on May 12, 2014


It's so aggravating to have someone withdraw the way Betty does, as if taking to her bed absolves her of any discussion. Whenever she feels wronged she becomes a pouty ice queen.

I dunno. She called him back and apologized.
posted by sweetkid at 11:22 AM on May 12, 2014


I really do feel bad for Bobby. Stomach pains every night at the age of uh.... eight? or whatever isn't a good sign for later in life.
posted by codacorolla at 11:26 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


No, Bobby 4 is headed for middle school.

They've been arguing a while (Henry and Betty) - it's been ramping up. Unevenly, but ramping up.
posted by tilde at 11:32 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


The impression I get is that Henry is willing to put up with a lot of Betty's bullshit...but she is *not* allowed to do stuff that will affect his career.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:36 AM on May 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Also, I was getting kind of a Dave Berg vibe from Lou and his cartoons. Lou's kind of like a WASPy Roger Kaputnik.

There was a MAD Magazine reference last night. When someone referred to it as a "Mort Drucker" type of strip, someone else corrected him and said it was Mort "Beetle Bailey" Walker.
posted by inturnaround at 11:41 AM on May 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I asked my wife (strongly feminist, very independent, spent part of her career in politics) about the Betty/Henry dynamic in this episode, and she thought Henry had every right to be as pissed as he was about Betty abandoning him for the Block Party. Of course she was also very gung ho about Betty sticking up for herself later in the episode.

The two aren't mutually exclusive.
posted by dry white toast at 12:03 PM on May 12, 2014 [12 favorites]


I am pretty certain that Ginsberg's questionable mental stability has been an explicit, ongoing source of discussion right here in these threads over the past season, actually. And it's been hinted at before.

also it's subtle but Henry has done some eye rolling in the past at some of Betty's more immature remarks. He can blow it off when it's just neighbors or Don, but as pointed out upthread, when it jeopardizes his political ambitions, it's no bueno for sure.

tl;dr: I really don't feel like any of this is coming out of left field.
posted by lonefrontranger at 12:10 PM on May 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


She wants so desperately to have that moment of complete moral high ground over him (like when Betty caught him in his lies), but Don hasn't slipped up enough for her to get there.

But she had that high ground when Don confessed he had been lying about working. Strangely, that's as big an upper hand as she's likely to have, because he doesn't really have any secrets anymore. And she endured it. I think she's just besotted with him and can't let go.

Sometimes people choose the pain of being in an unhappy marriage over the pain of splitting up, because at least the pain of being in the marriage means you love each other. It feels somehow productive.
posted by dry white toast at 12:14 PM on May 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


? People are talking like Ginzo's breakdown is coming out of left field, or that it was caused by the computer(?

I don't think it's coming out of left field, but it felt kind of rushed here. Also, I don't think anyone is saying it was caused by the computer, but that the general technophobe paranoia that affected people in the culture at the time (and affects people in our time) could have been a trigger. It's not uncommon for people with certain mental illnesses to focus some of their paranoia around things that people are generally worried about at the time. It's just that their reaction is ultimately extreme and irrational, and they lose touch with reality, which is clear in Ginsberg's case.

Overall I think this show does really well with mental illness (Betty's anxiety, Beth's depression, plus the many addictions) but Ginsberg screaming "get out while you can!" to Peggy with one arm strapped to the stretcher was really over the top to me.
posted by sweetkid at 12:19 PM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


tl;dr: I really don't feel like any of this is coming out of left field.

I agree completely, and having done yet another rewatch of the entire series recently, it's a lot more obvious that they've been building to both Ginsberg's breakdown and troubles between Betty and Henry. The Betty/Henry stuff is probably more subtle, but they've had issues from the very beginning of their marriage. (I just watched that season 4 episode a few days ago where Henry and Betty are out on some political business when they run into Don on a dinner date, and Betty handles it poorly, resulting in a very harsh conversation on the drive home and some more uncomfortableness the following morning. Henry's been putting up with Betty's moods and impetuousness for a hell of a long time.) The stuff with Ginsberg's mental health, though, that's been really obvious for a while. I wouldn't have minded a longer payoff instead of cramming all of Ginsberg's meltdown into one episode, but I'm one of those fans that immediately watches the entire season in one sitting as soon as the season finale airs, and I'll bet that when I sit down to watch these 7 episodes all together, the payoff won't seem quite so abrupt.
posted by palomar at 12:21 PM on May 12, 2014


I am so anti-Stan's beard its not funny
posted by The Whelk at 12:30 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Whelk have we reached Peak Beard, y'think? :)
posted by lonefrontranger at 12:31 PM on May 12, 2014


Henry's been putting up with Betty's moods and impetuousness

But the thing that instigated the fight wasn't moodiness. It was her expressing an opinion on the war at the party.

And it's not that Betty/Henry have never had problems, he's just been shown to be pretty patient with her overall. His "oh you're so smart, you run for office" was kind of startlingly rude.

I think Betty didn't know how to deal with the feelings of being stifled by Henry (like she doesn't know how to deal with a lot of her feelings) so she started off with "I'm comfortable at the table." But then she started expressing more of her feelings about the situation.

Also (to comments much upthread about just now getting Betty's inner life) watch Seasons 1 and 2 again - she talks about her feelings often - with her therapist, Francine, Glen, even Don.
posted by sweetkid at 12:31 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]



I am so anti-Stan's beard its not funny


I think if they trim it up though I'll faint from the dreaminess.
posted by sweetkid at 12:32 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Megan dancing was calling back to "Zou Bisou Bisou"

Not only that but the music sounded to me like a different arrangement of the same melody.
posted by dnash at 1:01 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am violently pro-Stan's beard.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:17 PM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


I am violently pro-Stan's beard.

Can't not read that as violently pro-Satan's beard
posted by sweetkid at 1:29 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Megan dancing was calling back to "Zou Bisou Bisou"

Not only that but the music sounded to me like a different arrangement of the same melody.


Also, the tune is so outside the vibe of a party like that, which suggests that either:

A) the band members know that playing it is a way to trigger Megan Sexydancetimes; or

B) she cued them up to do it, either to dance with hippy dude or to reprise Zou Bisou for Don.
posted by dry white toast at 1:32 PM on May 12, 2014


I wouldn't have minded a longer payoff instead of cramming all of Ginsberg's meltdown into one episode, but I'm one of those fans that immediately watches the entire season in one sitting as soon as the season finale airs, and I'll bet that when I sit down to watch these 7 episodes all together, the payoff won't seem quite so abrupt.

I think you’re right that it won’t. That’s been the heartbreaking thing for me about his story: that he’s been breaking down in front of their eyes for so long, and they haven’t had the third-person perspective to see it. It can be so easy to not see what’s happening to someone right under your nose, when a stranger might walk in and spot it right away. “Oh, that’s just Michael. He’s just a little… weird sometimes.”

Then again, times were different back then – the mentally ill were shut away from society and not talked about, so it’s possible people just weren’t as familiar with the symptoms.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:37 PM on May 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


I am neutral on Satan facial hair.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:38 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was about to post something about Michael Ginsberg's prospect of spending the best part of his adult life locked away in a mental institution until modern methods of treatment were created, but then I did some fact checking and found that the only real major breakthrough in treatment of schizophrenia occurred in 1952 with the introduction of antipsychotic medications, and that the fifties and sixties saw a shift from treating psychiatric patients in a institution to a community-based approach. So Michael will be a part of the first generation of schizophrenia patients to have a shot at living a normal life, depending on how the antipsychotic meds work for him.
posted by orange swan at 3:31 PM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


To me, what's changed is that the episodes largely lack a sense of cohesion between storylines. This is the show that used to use interesting framing devices like closing with Ken's short story as narration or showing three intersecting storylines or three consecutive weekends. This is just a lot of plots randomly thrown together for no discernible reason other than that they need to wrap things up.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:36 PM on May 12, 2014 [15 favorites]


I don't think anyone is saying it was caused by the computer, but that the general technophobe paranoia that affected people in the culture at the time (and affects people in our time) could have been a trigger. It's not uncommon for people with certain mental illnesses to focus some of their paranoia around things that people are generally worried about at the time. It's just that their reaction is ultimately extreme and irrational, and they lose touch with reality, which is clear in Ginsberg's case.

Thank you, sweetkid, for articulating this way better than I did. You also mentioned Glen - Glen! I was just saying to the mister last night that I miss him, and wonder how he's doing/looking. He half-jokingly predicted that the show will end with him and Sally riding off on a motorcycle together, "Zed's dead, baby"-style.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 3:37 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Has Don ever called one of his other secretaries "honey" or "lovely" or "sweetheart" with the frequency he uses those terms for Meredith? He also calls Stephanie "sweetheart". If I didn't know better, I would think that Don is happy/in a good place.
posted by donajo at 3:56 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


My take on the Megan Stephanie dynamic was that Megan was cool with the whole thing until Stephanie said, "I know all Don's secrets." Which reminded her of two things.

A) Megan thought she knew all Don's secrets,

and then

B) It turned out Don had a few extra secrets he was specifically keeping from her.

So she decided that she was going to get to have a secret from Don.

She was just so fucking pleased with her own acting job when Don came in and Stephanie was gone.
posted by Sara C. at 6:57 PM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


The Lipp Sisters posted a very detailed analysis of the SCPLETTERS partnership structure.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:01 PM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


She also started slamming dishes when Stephanie called back again, which was a nice (bitchy) touch.

I thought her behavior in this episode was so fucking Betty. In fact I think Megan out Bettied Betty, considering that this is the episode where Betty finally spoke her mind.
posted by Sara C. at 7:07 PM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


A few more random thoughts:

- I liked the misdirection at the beginning of the episode, where Peggy and Don were in the elevator together and we thought this was going to be the big reconciliation episode we're all waiting for. But no, Peggy was watching TV with Julio and getting nipple presents from Michael in NYC (seriously her sex life is the pits) while Don was in LA drinking with Harry and having threesomes.

- I liked Lou's line about "rookie move" when Don came in with his coat and hat in with work in hand all, "I gotta go, anything else?" It's a recall to when Peggy kept trying that move in The Suitcase.

- Also, Betty telling Sally she "gave her that nose" and worrying about her face recalls the car accident she got into in Season 1 when she thought she might have given Sally a scar that would decrease her marriage prospects.

So very many early season recalls in these episodes.

But overall agree with PhoB that they just seem to be trying to stuff a lot of stories into episodes to wrap things up. This wasn't like the manic fun episodes of times past like the lawnmower and Dr Feelgood. It was much clunkier.
posted by sweetkid at 7:14 PM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


I thought her behavior in this episode was so fucking Betty. In fact I think Megan out Bettied Betty, considering that this is the episode where Betty finally spoke her mind.

I felt the same way when I was watching it. From the way she blurted out a compliment to Stephanie right off the bat (almost despite herself: "Oh, you're so pretty!") to writing her the cheque, I felt as though Megan was being very Betty Draper '69.
posted by LynnDee at 7:15 PM on May 12, 2014


What...Betty would never tell another woman she's pretty. At least definitely not in some situation where no other people were around to see how gracious she was being.

I thought the whole pretty/magnetic exchange was weird. Especially because it's been a while since the whole "Megan is best at all the things" we were dealing with for a while there.
posted by sweetkid at 7:21 PM on May 12, 2014


I thought this episode was particularly disjointed but I don't think it's because we're only getting seven episodes this year and seven next year. I was under the impression that the season was being written and shot in the same way as always and AMC was just holding back the last seven episodes until 2015. Yes, they know they have to shape two "season finales" and two "premieres" but I often find that the first half seasons look better in retrospect once we see where everything was headed.

Unfortunately, with the year break this time around, I'm mostly worried this half season will look like a mess until next year. Regardless, I don't think that explains why this episode felt particularly unfocused.
posted by crossoverman at 7:36 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


My sister and I got a lot of guilty laughs out of poor Michael last night, because "having an oozing sore for a left nipple" used to be our shorthand for the thing that could always be worse about some guy. "Well, at least he hasn't got an oozing sore for a left nipple." "What's wrong with him - has he got an oozing sore for a left nipple or something?"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:36 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Betty would never tell another woman she's pretty. At least definitely not in some situation where no other people were around to see how gracious she was being.


I saw the Betty appearing after she started to feel jealous of Stephanie, not so much as her baseline state.

Here's how I saw it playing out:

Don calls Megan and she's into the idea of playing Lady Wife and taking care of Stephanie on Don's behalf. This is vaguely Bettyish, I'll admit, but I don't think it's about keeping up appearances in society, but showing Don that she's a functional adult who can handle big stuff like this, and of course showing Stephanie that she's hip and yet also privileged.

Stephanie shows up, and Megan is still totally on board, and probably initially sympathizes with Stephanie and sees her has a peer. She says she's beautiful because that's what you say to pregnant women, and because it's definitely the ethos of Megan's world that dirty hippies squatting in the park are one with nature, man, and not gross homeless people who stink.

And then Don calls up to say that he's totally not even going to be there to see how good of a Functional Adult Helpmeet she's being right now.

Then Stephanie starts talking, and Megan starts thinking.

Firstly, the conversation almost immediately goes to Megan and Don eventually having kids, and you can tell Megan feels kind of inferior about the whole thing/it's obviously a sore point on some level.

Secondly, Stephanie says the thing about knowing all Don's secrets.

Also, Megan was playacting the Bountiful Wife, making Stephanie a steak and everything, and then Stephanie doesn't even eat it.

So it's like, why is Megan even going through with this charade? The two people she's performing for either aren't there, or don't give a shit and are making her feel all kinds of complicated feelings that were not part of the deal.

That's when Betty kicks in. It's interesting that this sequence is almost beat for beat Betty's field trip from a couple weeks ago. She's excited to play this pretty specific maternal role, and then when it doesn't go according to plan she can't deal at all and takes her ball and goes home.
posted by Sara C. at 7:38 PM on May 12, 2014 [20 favorites]


Betty might blurt it out despite herself, I think. It's the first thing she considers when looking at another woman, especially if she's concerned about the relationship between that woman and her husband.
posted by LynnDee at 7:39 PM on May 12, 2014


It's also worth noting that Megan doesn't say Stephanie is "pretty", she says she's "beautiful", which is like two degrees away from "you're glowing" cliche pregnant lady compliment territory. It's just one of her cues as Good Wife Helping Out Family In A Tough Situation.
posted by Sara C. at 7:42 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I also like that the show made sure to point out that Stephanie is sleeping in MacArthur Park, which is a pretty notorious LA neighborhood in terms of homelessness and squalor. Stephanie isn't a free spirited hippie who's down on her luck. Her baby-daddy isn't one of the experimental yet relatively bougie* musicians Megan is likely to hang out with in Laurel Canyon.

Stephanie has come to a bad end. There's nothing romantic about it.

*I mean say what you will about Frank Zappa but his kids have two parents and like went to college and stuff.
posted by Sara C. at 7:50 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wait, a quick take-back. I googled Moon Zappa to see where she went to college, found no evidence that she did, and then found a thing somewhere about how Frank Zappa disdained education and encouraged his kids not to go.

So never mind about that specific detail, but still, Stephanie is fucked, yall.
posted by Sara C. at 7:53 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]



Don calls Megan and she's into the idea of playing Lady Wife and taking care of Stephanie on Don's behalf. This is vaguely Bettyish, I'll admit, but I don't think it's about keeping up appearances in society, but showing Don that she's a functional adult who can handle big stuff like this, and of course showing Stephanie that she's hip and yet also privileged.

Stephanie shows up, and Megan is still totally on board, and probably initially sympathizes with Stephanie and sees her has a peer. She says she's beautiful because that's what you say to pregnant women, and because it's definitely the ethos of Megan's world that dirty hippies squatting in the park are one with nature, man, and not gross homeless people who stink.


I agree with this and also see your point about the "beautiful" line being similar to "she's glowing" thing people say to beautiful women. Also agree that Megan went into Betty territory with the check thing and the dish slamming - but I think overall it's in character for Megan to say complimentary things about other women in her way of "being nice" but it wouldn't really occur to Betty to say something like that and I don't think it's something she would blurt out. 100% something she'd say behind someone's back.

But back to Megan/Stephanie, I liked what Vulture's recap had to say about it (I liked all of Vulture's recap to be honest, I wanted to quote more but really, read it):
She's uncomfortable with the sudden appearance of Don's very pregnant "niece" Stephanie Horton — paying her $1,000 to get her out of the house before Don arrives — and seems generally uncomfortable not just with Stephanie, but with what Stephanie represents: a truly marginal existence, as opposed to Megan's fully funded showbiz facsimile.

I think Megan plays at "all my poor friends" but she's still the one with the handsome ad exec husband who buys her big TVs and has the money to let her write out big checks to people.

Also kind of a larger point: why did we have that huge blowout a few episodes back where Megan seemed to end it, only to have her return with this Stephanie storyline? I knew the Megan bit wasn't over over just because I think Weiner wants to keep her on the show, but at this point the whole thing is getting pretty tedious, and that whole fight where she declared it over reminded me so much of when Betty was done for good that though I wasn't surprised we were back with them together, but i was a bit annoyed by it and the fact that they're clearly still circling the drain.
posted by sweetkid at 7:54 PM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


MacArthur Park, which is a pretty notorious LA neighborhood in terms of homelessness and squalor.

Also someone left a cake out in the rain
posted by sweetkid at 7:55 PM on May 12, 2014 [13 favorites]


Oh yeah I 100% don't think Megan is so like Betty that every single reaction she has is something that Betty would do. They are different people.

But they're both people who take on domesticity and nurturing as a performance for other people, and not as a natural part of their personality. They're also both people who have trouble asking for what they need, at least until this episode with Betty finally speaking up for herself. Thirdly, they're both extremely controlling and passive aggressive and have martyr complexes.
posted by Sara C. at 8:01 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


whoa TIL the song MacArthur Park was first recorded in 1968 by Richard Harris, famous actor and more importantly father of Jared Harris, our dear departed Lane Pryce.
posted by sweetkid at 8:03 PM on May 12, 2014 [29 favorites]



Oh yeah I 100% don't think Megan is so like Betty that every single reaction she has is something that Betty would do. They are different people.

But they're both people who take on domesticity and nurturing as a performance for other people, and not as a natural part of their personality. They're also both people who have trouble asking for what they need, at least until this episode with Betty finally speaking up for herself. Thirdly, they're both extremely controlling and passive aggressive and have martyr complexes.


Totally agree, I was just responding to the not-your-comment about how it was a Betty thing to do to say Stephanie was beautiful/pretty/appearance compliment. It's totally in character for Megan but the specific use of beautiful for super pregnant Stephanie was a version of 'you're glowing', I agree.
posted by sweetkid at 8:06 PM on May 12, 2014



But they're both people who take on domesticity and nurturing as a performance for other people


Do you think the milkshake moment from Tomorrowland was a performance for Draper & kids? I was never sure. I saw more of a performance with the whole "my friend and I are going to Whiskey a GoGo and I'm wearing this, you like?" from that episode.
posted by sweetkid at 8:08 PM on May 12, 2014


My take on her show on nurturing and maternal feeling? It was real right up to the point it wasn't, that is when it started to become uncomfortable or deviate from the script.

Stephanie is the real deal, an actual pregnant homeless woman, so far under Megan's hip lifestyle as to be alien. Megan sees ...blackmail. She worked on a soap you know. Who can turn down the hard luck pregnant lady? We have a play about that every Christmas. So she makes the problem go away before it becomes a problem cause she thinks she's in danger every second this woman is around and without Don here to Make It Better.

Also having her there would seriously impede her crazy drug party threesome lifestyle.

I was actually kinda reminded of Peggy being an accidental racist with the purse. Except less flustering and more "Here, Money. Leave. Now."
posted by The Whelk at 8:18 PM on May 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


I didn't get a stranger-danger vibe, but yeah I definitely felt like it got too real at a certain point. More the "This person has known Don like forever" realness, though, I guess?
posted by Sara C. at 8:25 PM on May 12, 2014


A lot of Megan's reactions to Don's pre-existing life remind me of my ex-stepmother's reactions to my dad's pre-existing life.
posted by Sara C. at 8:25 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Who can turn down the hard luck pregnant lady? We have a play about that every Christmas.

Hahahaha

I was actually kinda reminded of Peggy being an accidental racist with the purse. Except less flustering and more "Here, Money. Leave. Now."


yeah. The whole thing was kind of eerie.
posted by sweetkid at 8:28 PM on May 12, 2014


Sarah C. I think it was a combination of the two, leading to plate-slamming, crazy-sounding TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN plans.

I mean it's totally in character for Megan to have intense whims.
posted by The Whelk at 8:30 PM on May 12, 2014


I mean my favorite fictional characters are Bad Schemers, people who think they are arch manipulators but totally bad at their job, and I feel like Megan fits. Like she has a great way of reading people and emotional dowsing but she has no control over her own emotions and is way over-confidant in her ability.

(It's kind of like she's a ....mediocre actress!)
posted by The Whelk at 8:33 PM on May 12, 2014 [13 favorites]


Whelk stop killing it so close to my bedtime
posted by sweetkid at 8:38 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


her hair was bigger than god
posted by The Whelk at 8:39 PM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


that's because it was full of secrets
posted by sweetkid at 8:40 PM on May 12, 2014 [12 favorites]


I don't care what Weiner says, I am in love with the idea of Megan Is A Mediocre Actress . She's pretty, can say lines, hit marks, show up on time, but more or less interchangeable in the business. Her brief rush of soap stardom is like her whirlwind marriage to a rich handsome man, a lucky break she took as divine omen. She "skipped ahead" and missed all the other parts and now doesn't know how not to be on top of the world.
posted by The Whelk at 8:46 PM on May 12, 2014 [11 favorites]


And, here I go over-identifying with Megan again, because she jumped ahead so quickly and skipped over the earlier, harder parts she thinks it's always going to be this easy and becomes VERY frustrated and confused when it's not. Lacking the experience she doesn't even see how far ahead/privileged she is, she only sees the lack of previous forward motion.
posted by The Whelk at 8:51 PM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


He half-jokingly predicted that the show will end with him and Sally riding off on a motorcycle together, "Zed's dead, baby"-style.

It's a chopper, baby.
posted by dry white toast at 9:35 PM on May 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


A lot of Megan's reactions to Don's pre-existing life remind me of my ex-stepmother's reactions to my dad's pre-existing life.

Nobody loves Dick Whitman.

Their marriage has been doomed ever since Megan said that.
posted by dry white toast at 9:38 PM on May 12, 2014 [11 favorites]




When Stephanie arrived and they had the whole "You're beautiful!"/"You're...MAGNETIC!" exchange, I wondered if there was some sexual charge between them, maybe a foreshadowing of the threesome. It was definitely stand-out odd.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 10:43 PM on May 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


i always come to these too late. but i am interested in the class split here--Grantland talked about it b/w kids and adults, but it seems to hit four ways

a) rich kids who can play boho (marigold, meagan)
b) rich kids who want to play boho but can't (sally)
c) working class kids who thru jobs or circumstances think they are playing boho but are conserative (stan, harry, dawn)
c) rich adults who attempt to be progressive but kind of fail (roger, don)
d) rich adults who seem genuinely terrified they will lose status (joan, burt)

the interesting this, is that these categories fail when genuinely difficult charcahters, who just don't fit into categories enter into the scenes--michael is like that b/c of his mental illness, sally is like that b/c of her age and the influence of her school friends, stephanie is like that b/c of her genuine poverty--but then one wonders how she got that poor

i think the episode was chaotic, because the barbarians are at the gate, the fear of invasion, the fear of societal collapse are all real, i think thats one of the things that the show is saying.

also, i wonder about the draft, about the differences in miltary service that was brought up this evidence, also, i think that meagan and don have an affection for each other, and a sexual desire for each other, and i wonder--growing up w/ french marxist parents, at the tale end of the flq crisis, is less abstract for her.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:42 PM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


This one was pretty packed. All that silliness with "Scout's Honor" at the beginning (I loved the "I want her..." "You can't have her..." routine in the lavatory) and it just went on and on, and then the show goes so completely insane that you complely forget about it. Do a search of this page, they devoted the entire beginning of the show to it and nobody's even mentioned it yet in 221 comments because that's how loony the rest of the show was.

By the way, it only occurred to me the other day that the Dudley Moore film "Crazy People" which was about advertising, had a title which is basically synonymous with "Mad Men".
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:55 PM on May 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


one wonders how she got that poor

She mentions in the episode that she dropped out of school to follow a guy to LA. He got busted for weed dealing and went to prison.

So the upshot is that her parents probably don't want to hear about it. They probably imploded when she dropped out of school, and "boyfriend in prison" seals the deal.

If you're just sort of normal working/middle class, you don't have a ton of resources at your disposal when your support system fails you. Stephanie can't really get a job waiting tables or being a secretary, because she doesn't have the clothes for it or probably the transportation to reliably show up at a job like that. Besides, maybe she was doing that but she's too pregnant to work now and won't be up for it for a while yet.

There also may have been something like a death in the family, a divorce, layoffs at the aerospace plant, whatever, which could prevent her middle class resources from being a help to her. The GI Bill and post-war boom fueled middle class in America is a surprisingly fragile thing.

Margaret Sterling and Megan Draper are slumming it. They would never find themselves in the situation of "knocked up and unable to work and my parents can't/won't do anything to help". Even if there were some kind of tragedy and they really didn't have the monetary resources at their disposal, they have a lot of other forms of capital. Margaret could coast for a long time on the bona fides of her last name, prep school connections, and the general assumptions that she must just be down on her luck or there must be some kind of explanation for what's going on. Megan has similar bona fides in the artist/boho community. You can crash on a lot of couches in Laurel Canyon before you find yourself sleeping in the park. Not to mention durable resources like clothes, cars, personal property, etc. Selling your record collection to buy groceries seems pretty dire when you're a middle class kid, but it's not panhandling.
posted by Sara C. at 12:49 AM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wasn't a major source of the Stephanie tension for Megan the miscarriage she told Sylvia about? Here is this girl who not only knows "all Don's secrets," which Megan know she can never claim, and fulfills whatever romantic hippie stereotypes/wishful projections Megan has, but she is pregnant - something Megan is afraid she will never be. And then Don's got the paternal thing he sort of has with Megan for Stephanie as well, but with Stephanie it lacks the weirdness of being based in a marriage. Plus I think there is an element of genuine affection and friendship Soon has with Stephanie, even when he just talks about her, that Megan can tell is lacking from their own relationship. So much jealousy, and then she tries to make him jealous with her dancing beard friend and the threeway... and Don is having none of it.
posted by ChuraChura at 3:40 AM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Watch Don's face when Megan says that Stephanie is calling for him. Compare that to Don dutifully coming out to the West Coast every other week like it's a job (that he's been forced to do since Megan found out about his lies). Not hard to see why Megan would be jealous, even if she doesn't anticipate a romantic affair.
posted by codacorolla at 5:03 AM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


but anna had money no? where did that go?
posted by PinkMoose at 6:02 AM on May 13, 2014


PinkMoose: but anna had money no?

No. Don provided for her.
posted by spaltavian at 6:09 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Right, because by stealing Draper's identity he denied her a widow's pension.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:11 AM on May 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


And he told Stephanie he wanted to provide for her as well. Which would maintain a connection to a life that Megan can't accept he had.

So, Megan managed to channel both Don and Betty in one scene.
posted by dry white toast at 6:41 AM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I loved that little moment when the girl at the party told Don something along the lines of, “I want to be an actress, but nobody will pay me to be one.” Of course she meant that she hadn’t gotten an acting job yet.

But we know the subtext of all the anxiety Megan has about not struggling financially like all her young acting peers, even between gigs, because she’s married to Don. I don’t know how much she’s got saved from To Have and to Hold, or if she’s gotten jobs besides the one the agent told Don she flipped out over not getting, or if she’s getting advances. The big studio system was basically gone by then. The conversation about the big TV makes me think the money/fitting in situation may be the same here in L.A.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:04 AM on May 13, 2014


I don't think Megan's worried she's not going to be pregnant, I don't think she wants to be at all but doesn't want to admit it yet.
posted by tilde at 7:15 AM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


So the upshot is that her parents probably don't want to hear about it.

Stephanie's parents were Anna and Dick Whitman.

My bet is scumbag boyfriend is who got them nice and poor, then knocked her up, and is going to vanish as soon as preggers/with a baby Stephanie shows up at the prison door.

That poor girl's life is fucked.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:32 AM on May 13, 2014



Stephanie's parents were Anna and Dick Whitman.


No, Stephanie is Anna's niece.
posted by sweetkid at 7:37 AM on May 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


Stephanie is the daughter of Anna's sister who called Don "a man in a room with a checkbook."
posted by jgirl at 7:48 AM on May 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


And Anna's sister is the one the real Don Draper wanted to marry, per Anna in season 2. "She looks just like me but with two good legs." I always loved that detail. It really gives some great insight into why she helped Dick. Her marriage to the real Don wasn't a happy one.
posted by thereemix at 8:18 AM on May 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


(how perfect is it that Lou Avery is trying to sell his second rate, Beetle Baily-knock off pun-heavy comic strip? It totally makes sense.)

Yeah, but I already saw that entire subplot on Community.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:35 AM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


my bad
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:37 AM on May 13, 2014



(how perfect is it that Lou Avery is trying to sell his second rate, Beetle Baily-knock off pun-heavy comic strip?


The strip is adequate!
posted by jgirl at 9:19 AM on May 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


I wonder if they're ever going to close the loop with Paul Kinsey, or Sal.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:53 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


No, I don't think we'll ever see Paul Kinsey or Sal again.
posted by sweetkid at 9:56 AM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


At least we did see Paul. I would love to see Sal.
posted by jgirl at 10:02 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Agreed. I've found myself wondering about Sal more than once.
posted by ChrisTN at 10:05 AM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


I also think about poor Kitty quite a bit.
posted by jgirl at 10:12 AM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Kitty has gone Miss Haversham and has not left her apartment in five years.
posted by The Whelk at 10:14 AM on May 13, 2014


I think Matt Weiner has been pretty clear about the fact that we aren't going to see Sal again.
posted by thereemix at 10:15 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I still say season 7 is acutely lacking in Bob Benson.
posted by thereemix at 10:16 AM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Don't force me to write more Bob Fanfiction show cause you know I'm better at characterizing him than you are.
posted by The Whelk at 10:20 AM on May 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


Weiner is forthcoming when (and only when) he wants to be. I'm not asking for much. A little Sal cameo throwing a brick at the Stonewall riots is all I need.
posted by ChrisTN at 10:22 AM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


No Sal is not coming back. People have been asking for this for years, for Weiner to suddenly reverse this would be uncharacteristic. I don't think he would serve the story well, even at Stonewall. It would be a really Forrest Gumpy thing for the show to do.
posted by sweetkid at 10:29 AM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm (mostly) kidding about the Stonewall connection. But to bring back characters for brief glimpses after years of absence? That's completely characteristic for the show.
posted by ChrisTN at 10:35 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Only characters come back if they affect Don, pretty much. Otherwise we'd see Trudy getting married to that publishing schlub who was "her first" that offered to publish Peter's piece in "Boy's Life" after she turned him down for a sexual trysting relationship.
posted by tilde at 10:40 AM on May 13, 2014


Whelk if you wrote a whole novel of Bob Benson fan fiction short stories I would be all over that, for real.
posted by thereemix at 10:41 AM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]



I think Matt Weiner has been pretty clear about the fact that we aren't going to see Sal again.


All I know is that MW has been quoted as saying "Sal is not dead."
posted by jgirl at 10:43 AM on May 13, 2014


Coming soon: the strange tale of accounts man Ron Ronsen, a man with a mysterious past.
posted by The Whelk at 10:44 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Only characters come back if they affect Don, pretty much. Otherwise we'd see Trudy getting married to that publishing schlub who was "her first" that offered to publish Peter's piece in "Boy's Life" after she turned him down for a sexual trysting relationship.

Dammit. Now I've got one more thing I want to see before it's all said and done.
posted by ChrisTN at 10:54 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am coming to terms with not ever seeing Sal again, but I am glad that we got to see Freddy Rumsen, and that he's okay.
posted by ambrosia at 10:59 AM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Whelk can you relink the fan fiction thing you did do for BB because where even is that
posted by sweetkid at 11:00 AM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


The funny thing is that according to DeForest Kelley, Gene Roddenberry did consider a story about a planet where white people were enslaved by black people. (Despite being struck from pure obvium notionally I wish he'd done it simply because it would have featured Uhura taking a lead role.) Matt Weiner either knew that or just guessed it the way anyone might, as it's not far off stuff he actually did do, between the starbellied sneetches episode of the half-and-half people, and the seemingly numberless variants of the oh-so-high-concept "women dominant over men" thing he did during his career.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:01 AM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was sure we'd never see Paul Kinsey or Midge again, and then we did. So, I'm not holding my breath for any cameos from the past, but I'm not saying never, either.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:12 AM on May 13, 2014


sweetkid

The Talented Mr. Benson

posted by The Whelk at 11:19 AM on May 13, 2014


I wouldn't mind a cameo by Duck's dog.
posted by sweetkid at 11:28 AM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't mind a cameo by Duck's dog.

Ideally with a chunk of Duck's butt cheek in its mouth.
posted by ambrosia at 11:30 AM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Only characters come back if they affect Don, pretty much.

Or cockpunch Roger
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:31 AM on May 13, 2014



Ideally with a chunk of Duck's butt cheek in its mouth.


Okinawa!
posted by sweetkid at 11:33 AM on May 13, 2014


CHAUNCEY!!!
posted by thereemix at 11:34 AM on May 13, 2014


Remember how Pete was like "I like having a dog in the office, it makes us seem approachable, maybe I'll bring in a dog too" when he meets Chauncey, and Duck was like "oh what kind of dog do you have?"and Pete was all no dude I'm going to go buy a dog specifically for the office? I miss those moments where Pete is completely socially obtuse. He's grown so much...
posted by thereemix at 11:37 AM on May 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


Re Sal coming back and Stonewall, any thoughts on time of year for this episode? It's still the school year, because Sally wants to run away back to boarding school. People are also still wearing jackets and long sleeves. But Valentines Day seems way in the past at this point.

My feeling is that Stonewall is so close that it probably won't be remarked on at this point unless Weiner goes way out of left field and does decide to theme an entire episode about it. (Which I really, really think he won't do for various Mad Men tone and historical reasons.)

I am so itching to see Sal again that when Bryan Batt popped up in Twelve Years A Slave my loyalties got a little bit complicated.
posted by Sara C. at 11:41 AM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Speaking of dogs, whatever happened to Polly? Last I heard, Henry had banished her to the Ossining laundry room.
posted by jgirl at 11:41 AM on May 13, 2014


I have vague memories of an exterior shot of Betty on the lawn in front of their weird Addams Family mansion while the kids did Fourth Of July sparklers and the dog ran around. Is that even real? Do they even still live in that house?
posted by Sara C. at 11:43 AM on May 13, 2014


Yep that's the house in Rye where they only seem to spend time in the kitchen.
posted by thereemix at 11:48 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's because Betty is PERFECTLY COMFORTABLE IN THE KITCHEN.
posted by sweetkid at 11:51 AM on May 13, 2014 [11 favorites]


IM PERFECTLY COMFORTABLE IN THE ONE STANDING SET WE CAN AFFORD TO BUILD FOR THIS HOUSE THANKYOUVERYMUCH.
posted by Sara C. at 11:56 AM on May 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


ANYWAY THATS WHAT THE LINE PRODUCER TOLD ME.
posted by Sara C. at 11:57 AM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


A woman's place is in the kitchen. And the State House. Vote Betty Francis this November!
posted by tilde at 11:59 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Watching Betty in season one (ep. 9; Shoot), at the psychiatrist's.

Talking about her mother: "She wanted me to be beautiful so I could find a man. Nothing wrong with that. But then what? Just sit and smoke and let it go till you're in a box?"

Her mother called her a prostitute when she started modelling in Manhattan.

It's a great scene to go back to and explore her argument with Sally.
posted by tracicle at 12:00 PM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Re Sal coming back and Stonewall, any thoughts on time of year for this episode? It's still the school year, because Sally wants to run away back to boarding school. People are also still wearing jackets and long sleeves. But Valentines Day seems way in the past at this point.

Last week, "The Monolith" had to take place in at least April, because there's a home Mets game for Don and Freddie. I'm guessing this week was mid-May.

My feeling is that Stonewall is so close that it probably won't be remarked on at this point unless Weiner goes way out of left field and does decide to theme an entire episode about it. (Which I really, really think he won't do for various Mad Men tone and historical reasons.)

My guess is that this season will end with the moon landing, mid July, so next episode would be mid-June, unless Weiner really wants a larger gap so he can get to Stonewall. Like you, I seriously doubt that would happen. (Unless it's the return of our Prodigal Benson!)
posted by gladly at 12:04 PM on May 13, 2014


In the same episode Don's offered a job at BBDO and is wooed with golf clubs and a health club membership. He and Roger discuss it and Roger really works to persuade Don to stay and Sterling Cooper. Same situation (mostly) and it feels like a clear callback from S7, again. Closing some loops...I'm telling you people, CAROUSEL.
posted by tracicle at 12:06 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Madison Avenue is a flat circle.

Really it kind of is though.
posted by sweetkid at 12:06 PM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


OK, if anyone's still reading this I have one question that doesn't even have to do with this episode. Is Ken's eye just GONE? Or is he wearing the eyepatch because he's still healing (the accident was a long time ago by now?)? Or is it all an homage to The Man in the Hathaway Shirt?
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:55 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think it's gone. There might be a fair amount of scarring that would make a glass eye less workable, I'd guess. He did get shot in the face, right?
posted by ambrosia at 12:58 PM on May 13, 2014


Yes - the GM guys accidentally shot him with a shotgun while they were hunting together, IIRC.
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:00 PM on May 13, 2014


Surely Ken would have said things like "I've been blinded in one eye" rather than "I got shot in the face" if he really had been blinded in one eye.
posted by orange swan at 1:03 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think he said it was just buckshot that got in his eye, right? I mean if his cornea got all scratched up he might still need the patch now.
posted by thereemix at 1:07 PM on May 13, 2014


I had a corneal ulcer once because I slept in my contact lenses for a week (prior to getting those lenses that you can sleep in). I had to wear a patch for a month. That was just from contacts. Buckshot fragment would have torn his cornea right up.
posted by thereemix at 1:13 PM on May 13, 2014


For some reason I found the Betty scene really powerful, even as I laughed. Like...that's how feminism and the emancipation of women and the sexual revolution HAPPENED. One pissed-off wife at a time.
posted by mynameisluka at 1:21 PM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Maybe that will be where Betty goes? Women's lib? Affects Henry's position negatively, she says "Fuck you I'm a person too."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:26 PM on May 13, 2014


Much of the internet thinks it will be more along the lines of Phyllis Schafley-style activism. Family values and all that.

Also the internet thinks that perhaps Stonewall did not have enough mainstream cultural impact at the time to be noted, and I'm inclined to believe that Weiner won't touch on it. In the Charlie Rose interview I linked to in last week's thread, Weiner talked for a while about civil rights and how relatively unaffected the MM characters were. His example was Don turning off the "I Have A Dream" speech at Suzanne's apartment - not because he's racist but because at the time that particular event wouldn't have been a big deal to someone like Don.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 1:40 PM on May 13, 2014


any thoughts on time of year for this episode?

There was a reference during the meeting in Lou's office to Eisenhower's funeral having just happened, but that was March 31st, 1969, and I think we were already at least comfortably in April or May last episode.
posted by dry white toast at 1:47 PM on May 13, 2014


I actually think Betty runs a much stronger risk of turning into a Phyllis Schafly type. She'll take the sentiments of Women's Lib and combine that with her conservative establishment nature. In that conversation, among conservative Westchester Republican types, she was the only one who wanted to win in Vietnam as opposed to figuring out the best way to extricate ourselves.

It's interesting how different "Well then why don't you run for office then?" feels in 2014 as opposed to 1969. Like, nowadays you hear Henry say that and it sounds like a suggestion or a "get off my back, yo" type of thing. In 1969 that would be pretty intense ridicule, because the subtext would be rubbing her nose in the fact that pretty much no woman had ever held a major political office on her own terms.
posted by Sara C. at 1:51 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also the internet thinks that perhaps Stonewall did not have enough mainstream cultural impact at the time to be noted

Yeah, it was reported on in the contemporary media as a scuffle centered around a routine raid on a gay bar. More police scanner type stuff and less HUGE EVENT TOOK PLACE LAST NIGHT IN THE VILLAGE. It didn't take long to take on the significance it has today (I remember reading a Kate Millett book from the 70s where she goes to the Pride Parade and talks about how inspired she is by the sudden groundswell of gay rights activism), but in the moment it was absolutely not understood as a major cultural turning point. And people like the hetero Mad Men characters are not going to be aware of any of this stuff probably for close to another decade.

I was kind of hoping in Ginsberg's breakdown that the issue was going to be that he's gay, and that outing himself to Peggy was going to be what helped him calm the fuck down. There were very strong correlations in most peoples' minds, pre-Stonewall, between homosexuality and mental illness.

And then that box had a nipple in it, and my dreams of a Stonewall reference died forever.
posted by Sara C. at 1:56 PM on May 13, 2014


I also don't expect any Stonewall references. Remember, this is primarily a show about how reasonably privileged northern white people experienced the 60s. It conveys a strong sense of the country changing around the characters, but we mostly experience it through style and decor. The death of MLK being the most notable exception, but aside from Henry and Abe, most of the characters took cabs home and watched sadly on TV. The character whose development most reflects the evolution of the 60s is Peggy, but she is not presented as having been swept up in Second Wave Feminism.

We don't even see the impact of school integration or housing policies on the characters, which were the most tangible ways civil rights affected Nothern whites. This group of characters may be the least affected by the 60s anywhere. It feels like they go out of their way to point out just how unaffected they are.

I don't mean that as a slight on the show. Just making the point that it would be out of character for the show to make more than an opaque reference to an event that would register very very little for this group of people.
posted by dry white toast at 2:01 PM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Sweetie Darling, thanks so much for posting the partnership analysis link! That was driving me crazy last week.
posted by sfkiddo at 2:15 PM on May 13, 2014


Remember, this is primarily a show about how reasonably privileged northern white people experienced the 60s.

Sure, but the show has dealt with gay issues before, as something experience by "reasonably privileged northern white people". Stonewall wasn't a thing in the mainstream culture, but it was understood to be huge among gay people in NYC, and possibly also among people living in the Village, in general.

Until pretty recently, we had a few gay characters and a disproportionate number of characters who lived in the Village. Now we don't, so our window to that world is closed. I don't think it's a matter of this not being something the show would ever talk about, just that the story has closed certain doors.

I still think there might be an obscure tongue in cheek reference to something, but it'll probably be something you really have to know your LGBT history of New York to get. Like somebody mentioning a party in the village later to mourn Judy Garland. (Which is sort of how Stonewall started.) But with no gay characters, who's going to say that?
posted by Sara C. at 2:28 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


she is not presented as having been swept up in Second Wave Feminism

Second Wave Feminism really hasn't happened yet, in the Mad Men era. The Feminine Mystique has been published, but it's only one book. Most of the Second Wave started among former Civil Rights Movement activists and Marxist intellectuals around '68-'69, and again that is just not a part of the world of the show at all. If Peggy was still hanging out with Zhosia Mamet in the Village, we would probably be getting a tiny inkling of the first ideas about Women's Liberation. Even that would probably be another offhand reference. "A bunch of my friends are going to protest Miss America in Atlantic City this weekend, wanna go?"

Consciousness Raising and Helen Reddy and Roe v. Wade and Maude are things that happened in the 70s.
posted by Sara C. at 2:34 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sara C., now I have the theme song from Maude stuck in my head.
posted by sfkiddo at 2:41 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Maude started in 1972. So only 3 years in the future.

A local network shows Maude reruns. It's really a pretty amazing show to watch now, and think about what things were like back when it first ran.
posted by dnash at 2:51 PM on May 13, 2014


Yeah if Mad Men ran into the 70s or there was a spinoff period show directly dealing with this same world, it would have to be about Women's Lib. That was the major cultural thing of the early 70s.
posted by Sara C. at 2:53 PM on May 13, 2014


My knowledge of the feminist movement is not as robust as it should be, so my reference to Second Wave Feminism probably wasn't apt. My point there was that Peggy isn't shown as being influenced by a popular consciousness. Her push for standing isn't connected with the general societal trend in the show.
posted by dry white toast at 4:13 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Peggy has been shown interacting with lots of "popular consciousness" type moments over the course of the show, starting in the pilot episode when she gets a prescription for the (then quite new) birth control pill. In a lot of ways Mad Men is the 60s Popular Consciousness And Its Effects On People show.

It's true that Peggy's career trajectory hasn't been mapped to Women's Liberation, but that would be grossly inaccurate on like thirty different levels. Mad Men is a good TV show precisely because it doesn't play fast and loose with reality like that.

I don't think anyone read The Feminine Mystique and decided to get a job, or whatever you're suggesting is the alternative to how Peggy's career has been depicted.
posted by Sara C. at 4:18 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


And then that box had a nipple in it, and my dreams of a Stonewall reference died forever.

Just coming in to say that this is a glorious sentence to come across out of context.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:16 PM on May 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


(Sorry to veer o/t, but I just googled "How old was Maude" and discovered that I AM NOW THE SAME AGE AS MAUDE and now I have to go cry.)
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:32 PM on May 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


Fair point Sara C. I retract my statement.
posted by dry white toast at 5:51 PM on May 13, 2014


Well, the good news is that Bea Arthur had a lot more miles left on her.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:10 PM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]



A Psychiatrist Analyzes Mad Men’s Michael Ginsberg


As I figured, he doesn't feel like he can confirm schizophrenia. I think it's important to think about how much we pick up on these little common media tropes ("transmissions," paranoia, outbursts, self mutilation) that signal schizophrenia from a pop culture standpoint but not a medical one.
posted by sweetkid at 7:29 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I fuckin loved this episode. Incredible. Good stuff. Lots of people showing their emotions in confused ways. Nothing's simple anymore. Megan continues to be genuinely in love with Don and refuse to let him go, even while flailing wildly in the wrong directions. Peggy was genuinely concerned about Ginzo, despite or even BECAUSE of his totally inappropriate behavior. She was really sweet to him when she thought he was just coming on to her.

One things nobody's remarked on: Don keeps turning his back not only on his pride but on what made him a genius--including his incredible act of heroism standing up to the cigarettes. Is he a sellout or a champion? Is there a difference?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:36 PM on May 13, 2014


LOGO had a Maude marathon for Mother's Day, and it was glorious.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:41 PM on May 13, 2014


I am a bit older than Maude. I'd say she did, however, look older than she was. That hair.

Women in MM, especially in the earlier seasons, look older than they were to our eyes, because of the more formal style and elaborate fashions.
posted by jgirl at 8:09 PM on May 13, 2014


Is he a sellout or a champion? Is there a difference?

Good question, but I would say he's a sellout, and he was back when he wrote the "why I'm quitting tobacco" column too.

Don has a particular genius for snatching the baby out of the flames. But what is the baby and what are the flames changes with the circumstances, and Don pretty much always opts for what will save him (and the agency). He's a sellout in the sense that a good ad man will always be able to find a good angle in a bad situation.

It works on Madison Avenue. But not so much in his personal life. It's interesting that Don the ad man always seems to be on the ascendant when his private life is in shambles.
posted by torticat at 8:11 PM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Mad style tomorrow. Don brought back the brown suit for Commander crashing / meeting bombing.
posted by tilde at 8:11 PM on May 13, 2014


Grey for Friday, blue for sat, brown for Monday. Grey hat; thought they were supposed to match.

Those incessantly spinning tape reels are driving me nuts. Inaccuracies aside, visually disruptive.
posted by tilde at 8:19 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think it's important to think about how much we pick up on these little common media tropes

I've been surprised by how many people felt like they saw this coming for Ginsberg. I guess I hadn't pegged his quirks as severe mental illness, but as the flip side of his creative abilities, and the result of his background. After all, Ginsberg is a gifted storyteller who deals in symbolism. When I heard his monologue about being a martian, I found it off-putting, but also thought was an apt and moving metaphor for the experience of being adopted by a stranger in a post-Holocaust orphanage. I imagine that Peggy and Stan were able to brush off Ginsberg's oddities in much the same way.

I was hoping that, just as Don can disrupt and control a meeting with his alpha posturing (as in the Philip Morris scene), Ginsberg was learning to put people off guard to his advantage. It saddens me that, instead, he's probably off the show for good.

I guess he reminded me a little of my dad, who had a brief stint doing layouts on Madison Avenue in the 60s, and felt terribly out of place.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 8:19 PM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I really like that comment, evidenceofabsence. I saw the martian comment and some of Ginsberg's other oddities as metaphors and signs of a creative yet offbeat mind as well. The Manischevitz incident looked a lot like a panic attack to me.

Yet suddenly his situation took a really stereotypical turn into "crazy jabbering man" territory, complete with inappropriate sexual advances and yeah, disappointing that he'll probably be gone for the rest of the show.

He showed up right at the point in Season 5 when it started to seem like The Megan Show and like we weren't going to get enough of the other characters we were already interested in, so I was kind of annoyed he was taking up screen time. But the character (and actor) turned out to be so affecting and interesting, and also a creative rising star. It's a bummer to see it burning out in an ultimately uninteresting tin foil hat direction.
posted by sweetkid at 8:41 PM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


But a part of her does care - and she gracefully exits the dance to avoid a scene when she can see Don is very uncomfortable.

You know, I didn't read his reaction as discomfort at all! I read it as disinterest. He's not even really looking at her. She keeps checking to see how he's reacting and she's getting nothing. This season really sees Megan dealing with Don's indifference, or her perception of his indifference. She's up in the hills and living alone (for the first time?) and feeling desperate and unwanted. I agree with the idea that the threesome is her attempt to regain Don's interest - but I also think she's trying to surround herself with affection and company. She sleeps between them. And the next morning she tries to make coffee but they both rush off and she's entirely alone again.
posted by rabbitbookworm at 8:44 PM on May 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


She keeps checking to see how he's reacting and she's getting nothing.

Yeah, I saw it this way, too. Also, Don wouldn't cause "a scene."
posted by sweetkid at 8:46 PM on May 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


She sleeps between them.

Oh man, yeah. When the scene opened, I had totally expected him to be in the middle, and it took me a second to grok that he wasn't.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 8:48 PM on May 13, 2014


True, but he got pretty pissed in private after Zou Bisou. That was when he cared and Megan could tell. Now it's just... whatever where's my niece let's get a drink Harry I have to go back to New York.
posted by rabbitbookworm at 8:49 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah exactly, he'd be pissy later if he were jealous/angry. That's one way he and Betty were super similar.

But yeah, the Don of a few seasons ago (like the Rolling Stones concert era) would rather babysit Tammy Campbell than spend any time with Harry.
posted by sweetkid at 8:52 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Don keeps turning his back not only on his pride but on what made him a genius--including his incredible act of heroism standing up to the cigarettes. Is he a sellout or a champion? Is there a difference?

That wasn't heroism. He was taking a calculated position as a way of moving the story away from losing Lucky Strike.
posted by dry white toast at 9:13 PM on May 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


That's fair, though it was also at least in line with him as a progressive creative type of dude. A visionary who sees which way the wind blows. This move was pure self-interest. And at this point there was no secret about whether cigarettes were evil.

He's definitely changed. He's playing the client's game now rather than making them play his. But I'm still waiting to see him actually write something before we know if he's traded his art permanently for business savvy or just temporarily.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:39 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


guysguysguys the dude who plays Lou is in an episode of Louie as a standup comic. Early season 3? He's wearing a cardigan and everything.
posted by Sara C. at 11:31 PM on May 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


Another thing I just remembered, unrelated to the above conversations (sorry!) is how often the director juxtaposes California and New York to highlight the contrasts between East Coast and West Coast. But in this episode we jump straight from Henry and Betty setting up their home for the block party (polishing the silver, discussing hors d'oeuvres) to Megan offering Stephanie spaghetti in her totally authentic boho chic home in the canyons.

I was struck by the difference, not because of class because Megan is technically upper class like the Francises, and maybe not in generational difference either (although maybe, but it's more Megan's concept of who she wants to be), but in the facades of hospitality they choose to put on.
posted by tracicle at 11:32 PM on May 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


One thing I noticed a few times in this episode is the number of people who visited Megan's bungalow and complimented it in a way that sounded like they were genuinely impressed. Especially coming from Stephanie, who has presumably seen the typical boho/hippie aesthetic a lot.

I don't think this place is meant to be Megan slumming it -- it's straight out of a design magazine. It's casual and extremely hip, but it's every bit as upper class as the Francis' formal living room, or the Park Avenue apartment back in Manhattan. Megan's place is the 1969 equivalent of one of those ultra-modular minimalist homes in Dwell magazine right now.

There was a lot of interesting contrasting of Megan's extremely bourgie "groovy" aesthetic and Stephanie's real dirty hippie thing.
posted by Sara C. at 11:38 PM on May 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


"Do whatever you'd like, take a bath, take a shower, take a bath, up to you!"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:08 AM on May 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


Sara C.: “guysguysguys the dude who plays Lou is in an episode of Louie as a standup comic. Early season 3? He's wearing a cardigan and everything.
It was Season 3, Episode 2. Allan Havey is a stand-up comedian. His most famous bits are probably "You're going to go on Der Stuka?" and "'Teddy! Teddy!' No my name is Allan! Allan!" Sadly, neither of which are extant on the Internet that I can find.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:43 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


the number of people who visited Megan's bungalow and complimented it

"Your place is outta sight!"

Twice. That was funny.
posted by torticat at 3:19 AM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


When I heard his monologue about being a martian, I found it off-putting, but also thought was an apt and moving metaphor for the experience of being adopted by a stranger in a post-Holocaust orphanage. I imagine that Peggy and Stan were able to brush off Ginsberg's oddities in much the same way.

At that point, I thought the same thing. And I imagine the same thing about Peggy and Stan, who see him every day. His "decline," which has been gradual, would have seemed even more gradual to them. It's really only been since last season that I've seen his beakdown coming.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:14 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also, it's a television show. So whereas nine times out of ten in real life I'd probably just think "eccentric creative guy", for a television show (generally, and Mad Men particularly) I'm beanplating everything and theorizing where things might go dramatically. Under those conditions it's easier to see Ginsburg's quirks as signs of coming mental illness.
posted by mikepop at 8:03 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Agreed. I've found myself wondering about Sal more than once.

Sal got such a raw deal and was treated so unjustly, I would love it if he came back in a cameo as the only character who's actually happy with his life. Like, after being mistreated so in NYC, he just said "fuck it", left the wife, and moved to San Francisco. He could get a place in the Castro right as the neighborhood was starting to change, drop acid in Golden Gate Park, and be as gay as he damn well pleased. I could see him getting a job in some creative field -- he is, after all, an artist -- and randomly winding up in a meeting with one of the SC&P partners. He'd be sunny and friendly on the surface, because really, what the hell does he have to complain about? But on the inside, he'd be all like, "I've got this awesome, fabulous life here in SF, meanwhile, y'all are still wrestling with your personal demons in stuffy NYC and smoggy LA. Sorry 'bout your bad luck!"
posted by evil otto at 8:25 AM on May 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


I would love it if we got to see Sal like that. I know the odds are right around zero for that, so if we reach the finale and there's been no Sal, that's the bedtime story I'll tell myself.

Mad Style is up.
posted by palomar at 8:33 AM on May 14, 2014


And right out of the gate, they bring up the gloves on Peggy. SIGH. The gloves stood out to me at first, but during all my rewatching lately I've noticed that Peggy wears the gloves a lot. Usually they're much more subtle, I can't remember having seen her wearing gloves before without also wearing a coat, but after posting about it here I reconsidered the notion that they have any deeper meaning. And here are Tom and Lorenzo, trying to assign deep symbolic meaning to glove-wearing.
posted by palomar at 8:40 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


re: Ginzo

It seemed to me that his mental health issues were telegraphed from the first time he was on the show. The break was a bit sudden, but as we've discussed the writers have no wiggle room. Ginzo has been gradually becoming a little more unhinged, a little more inappropriate, and his standards of hygiene have been slipping--diminishing self-care is a major sign in many mental illnesses. His shirts became more and more ill-fitting (and started to seem dirty), his hair was (eventually) always a mess, his moustache was untrimmed and scraggly. Now, granted, Creatives tend to get more leeway on that sort of thing (in fact in modern marketing clients tend to like it when their creatives show up to meetings in ripped jeans because that means they're young! hip! fresh new ideas!), but Stan is always well put-together, the weirdly cute nebbishy kid whose name I can never remember is always turned out in slacks and a tie, etc.

Ginzo was just... not caring about those things. As his character arc progressed he cared less and less. His behaviour started going over the line from 'quirky' to what we would recognize today as 'go see a therapist.' The Martian speech especially is something that resonates very clearly with me as a sign of mental illness; on some level you know you're different and there's something wrong with you.

IANAP but he's the right age for a psychotic/schizophrenic break, and all of the writing in that sequence was very sensitively and carefully written, especially given the attitudes towards mental illness at the time. "I found out where it was getting into me, I found the valve" is classic paranoid schizophrenia--where do you think we got the term 'tinfoil hat' anyway.

tl;dr I've been waiting for him to have a major breakdown or break with reality since his Martian speech. And good on Peggy for dealing with it so calmly.

re: Sal

It would be an absolute crime not to have him in at least one scene. Perhaps Don running into Sal and his boyfriend dining at some restaurant. Because of all the partners (except Joan obvs and WHERE THE FUCK IS BOB BENSON), I don't recall Don uttering a single homophobic thing ever.

Actually... Bob Benson meets Sal, likes the older daddy type, and they shack up together. That would be a nice bow on the series.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:42 AM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Rumaki, Crab Louie on toast points, and little franks in barbecue sauce." (YouTube video with recipes!)
posted by dnash at 8:46 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't recall Don uttering a single homophobic thing ever.

They didn't exactly part on the best of terms - "You people"
posted by mikepop at 8:50 AM on May 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


I think TLo are absolutely right about Ginsberg's clothes tying in with his sensory issues. They come up with something new and correct roughly once per column, and it's the reason I still read them, despite the fact that the rest of what they say has devolved into nonsense and pointless judgement of women.
posted by thesmallmachine at 8:59 AM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Thoughts after reading Mad Style:

In bed after the block party, Betty's watching Gomer Pyle, USMC, which is basically a live-action version of Lou's Scout's Honor comic.

Wow, the similarity between the computer operator's dress and the costume from 2001 is eerie. It's been a very Kubrickian season altogether.

Megan slept in her party hairpiece all night and left it on to make coffee!

Also a good point about Michael's baggy clothes and avoiding sensory overload.

I have Peggy's wiggly-stripe afghan in almost the same colors, and my Grandma had Megan's spice rack.

Wow, Shirley, would you like a skirt to go with your skirt?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:28 AM on May 14, 2014


We had little franks in barbecue sauce EVERY Christmas eve.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:31 AM on May 14, 2014


Speaking as someone who historically has gotten in some trouble for dress code violations at work, I LOVE that Shirley comes to work habitually wearing tiny, tiny dresses. She looks amazing. Girl can pull it off.
posted by thereemix at 9:52 AM on May 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


Wow, Allan Havey tells exactly the kind of jokes I would expect Lou to tell if Lou moonlighted as a standup instead of a cartoonist. I was cringing the entire time.
posted by lesli212 at 9:52 AM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


I totally didn't see Ginsberg's breakdown coming despite all the signs that were obviously there and that people noticed. Hopefully I would be a little more observant in real life, whereas on a TV show, if someone is wacky, my first reaction is "he's a wacky TV character!", not "I wonder if he's okay".

On the other hand, if anyone on a TV show ever coughs I expect them to be dead within an episode.
posted by dfan at 9:52 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ginzo clothes is the only thing I agree with for Mad Style.

Brown suit tobacco? No I think it is asso with Megan missing ; shouldn't be in rotation but she is not there to say that. Same with his wardrobe all season.

Also theygor Stans name wrong in callback, & I disagree with the comments on Henry's jacket.

Ginzo loose ftw. Got a few of those in my herd.
posted by tilde at 9:59 AM on May 14, 2014


& why do they keep saying Harry is a bad guy like Cutluer?
posted by tilde at 10:00 AM on May 14, 2014


I saw this episode again last night. . . and it seemed like Megan giving Stephanie the check and saying "it's better this way" reminds me of Betty firing Carla in season 4. Even the gesture used to hand the money over.
posted by luckynerd at 10:01 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Stan's pants are tight!
posted by jgirl at 10:05 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Stan's pants are tight!

Proof that there is a benevolent deity, and she wants us to be happy.
posted by ChrisTN at 10:07 AM on May 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


It might be worth noting that, like this episode in which Betty speaks out, Betty was also wearing pink -- or at least a salmon-ish peachy warm color in the same universe as pink -- in the field trip episode. And Francine's pantsuit is salmon. Especially considering that Betty has so often been costumed in icy pale blue, which is like the exact opposite of the pinks she's been wearing lately.
posted by Sara C. at 10:21 AM on May 14, 2014


What's up with the wrinkled shoulders on Don's suit in the first screenshots on T&L? How does that happen to a men's suit? It's a weird place for wrinkles.
posted by tracicle at 10:22 AM on May 14, 2014


I did like underlining how inappropriately Megan is dressed for her own damn party.
posted by The Whelk at 10:23 AM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Sara C: in the episode I watched the other night (S01 Shoot) she is wearing that same salmony pink when she talks to Francine and then goes to work modelling in the Coke ads. The whole episode revolves about how trapped she feels in middle-class suburbia. "I used to be a model, you know."
posted by tracicle at 10:24 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Can't talk about Shoot and pink and Betty without talking about Betty shooting pigeons with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth in that pink floaty nightgown.
posted by sweetkid at 10:26 AM on May 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


As usual I have many, many problems with Mad Style, but I'm glad they pointed out the sheer fug of Peggy's TV watching attire.

That was my Peggy, NO! moment of the episode, I'm sorry to say.
posted by Sara C. at 10:31 AM on May 14, 2014


I'm a little disappointed with the way they seem to be disposing of Ginsburg. They did some interesting character development on him last season, with his wild backstory and I loved his date with the schoolteacher. Despite affording the hilarious HAL reference, I hope wacking out and being hauled away by the men in white isn't the end of him.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:41 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I feel challenged to find something uglier that Peggy has worn. I didn't think it was that bad.

I sort of irrationally hate Mad Style at this point so I don't even know if I can see it clearly but they had a few good points this week, I'll have to give them that. Nothing shocking though.
posted by sweetkid at 10:41 AM on May 14, 2014


I hope wacking out and being hauled away by the men in white isn't the end of him.

I think it has to be, or at least the end of him in the office. Maybe Don will visit him in the hospital and say, "This never happened. It will shock you how much this never happened."
posted by sweetkid at 10:43 AM on May 14, 2014 [7 favorites]


I thought Peggy's pantsuit at the end of last season's finale was pretty fug and also a bit too SYMBOLISM.

My mother is about the same age as Peggy and she is having fits over the clothes this year, particularly Megan's (whom she hates). "Nobody wore a scarf that way." "Nobody wore their skirts that short, even in California."
posted by Sweetie Darling at 10:45 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah and sweetkid, she's wearing a pink robe when she shoots them, I think. So let's tie a bow around all that Betty+pink stuff. (Or put a pin in it, if I were T&L.)
posted by tracicle at 10:45 AM on May 14, 2014


I thought their screencaps illustrating Amy's attraction to Megan were good. For the person who seemed most enthused for that 3-way, you have to wonder what actually happened to fuel Amy's "kthxbye" exit the next morning. The bedroom window must be directly over the canyon, otherwise she would have climbed out of it.
posted by mikepop at 10:45 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I hope wacking out and being hauled away by the men in white isn't the end of him.

It's probably the end of him on the show, but I think we'll see Stan affected by this for a while.
posted by mikepop at 10:48 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


you have to wonder what actually happened to fuel Amy's "kthxBye"


She realized Megan used her to do...something...to Don. Idk what. She either wanted to keep him interested or kill her own feelings. Either way I feel like nothing really changed except Don's respect for her has probably eroded further.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:49 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I actually got shades of "it will shock you how much this never happened" from Peggy's reaction to Ginsberg in this episode, and I think she was poised to sort of play that role until it escalated to a point where nobody could pretend it wasn't happening.
posted by Sara C. at 10:51 AM on May 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


I really think Don should have quit drinking after last week. As much as I enjoyed both of these episodes it seems like they have very little to do with each other.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:51 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


A lot of people who have problems with alcohol can actually still have a drink or two and stay in control. I actually like how nuanced the show is on this subject. One or two characters conspicuously Don't Drink but many of them have some degree of coping skills when alcohol is concerned, even if they're people who've exhibited drinking problems in the past.

It kind of bothers me that the immediate assumption about alcohol and problem behavior in the US is always "YOU MUST NEVER BE IN THE SAME ROOM WITH A BEER AGAIN". That's not actually how it works in real life.
posted by Sara C. at 10:55 AM on May 14, 2014 [10 favorites]


I actually got shades of "it will shock you how much this never happened" from Peggy's reaction to Ginsberg in this episode, and I think she was poised to sort of play that role until it escalated to a point where nobody could pretend it wasn't happening.

I agree, she kind of brushed off the come on at her apartment and the "homos" stuff. I wish it had gone more in a "shock you how much this never happened" rather than white coat-cliche-get-out-while-you-can-cut-to-Peggy-staring-at-whirring-machine.
posted by sweetkid at 11:00 AM on May 14, 2014


It kind of bothers me that the immediate assumption about alcohol and problem behavior in the US is always "YOU MUST NEVER BE IN THE SAME ROOM WITH A BEER AGAIN". That's not actually how it works in real life.

Well I disagree strongly--I think way more often than not it is how it works--but now we're into derail territory. Either way my point was more that he was 100% back to getting drunk like superman again which just seemed discontinuous from the last episode.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:14 AM on May 14, 2014


he was 100% back to getting drunk like superman again

what? when did that happen. He didn't seem that drunk to me at the bar with Harry, and he wasn't drinking in the office and yelling at people, it was post party drinking. Different context.
posted by sweetkid at 11:16 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I did like underlining how inappropriately Megan is dressed for her own damn party.

I can't help believing that at least half that class is constantly laughing at her behind her back.

"You going to Megan's party?"

"Yeah, I guess so. Wait, are YOU going?"

"Yeah, I know. But that swanky pad? And the really good liquor?"

"Plus all the plain spaghetti you can eat, my man."

"You're tellin' me, brother. I'll sit on a fancy couch and watch some chick in jewels and and a Frederick's of Hollywood hair piece do some weirdo Gypsy tango shit for her old man if it gets me a night of the good life."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:19 AM on May 14, 2014 [19 favorites]


he was 100% back to getting drunk like superman again

I'm with Sweetkid, here. We saw him with a rocks glass with some kind of brown liquid in it at the party, and then he and Harry go for a drink. Which seems to be really just a drink. In fact it seemed like he cut the night short after finding out about the cigarette account coup. I don't think he even got drunk.
posted by Sara C. at 11:36 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm with Sweetkid, here. We saw him with a rocks glass with some kind of brown liquid in it at the party, and then he and Harry go for a drink.

We only saw him with one at the party, but when Megan asked Harry to do the driving, added to the general blurry way Don was acting, I took that as a sign that it was far from his first. Of course, I could have been misreading the signals.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:47 AM on May 14, 2014


I can't help believing that at least half that class is constantly laughing at her behind her back.

ooh another great fantasy webisode idea.
posted by sweetkid at 12:08 PM on May 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


I read Zou Bissou Deux as Meghan trying to get Don jealous again. Only he didn't bite.
posted by stratastar at 12:11 PM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


ooh another great fantasy webisode idea.

I feel like it needs to come into being, like exactly like this skit
posted by The Whelk at 12:13 PM on May 14, 2014


Dangit. Zou Bissou Pour Deux!
posted by stratastar at 12:49 PM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Zou bisou deux
This tango's aimed at you
I wasn't going to tell you but this redhead wants to screw.
Zou bisou deux
Our marriage isn't through
PS your daughter Stephanie could use a good shampoo.
posted by mynameisluka at 1:03 PM on May 14, 2014 [16 favorites]


I did like underlining how inappropriately Megan is dressed for her own damn party.

yeah but it was a fucking fabulous dress so I DGAF and if you disagree I will cut your face
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:28 PM on May 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


I could be wrong about the amount Don consumed! He was at a party drinking, then I assumed went out and drank Harry under the table until he confessed. And just the fact that he can have "a few" glasses of whiskey and be driving and conversing like normal means we're back to the myth of Don the man's man, to whom shit does not stick, instead of the mortal guy giggling about baseball from last week. Would have to see it again, but maybe I'm projecting. I haven't had anything browner than a single IPA since my baby was born and I would go to that awkward party even.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:29 PM on May 14, 2014


It's worth noting that Don got giggly about baseball last week after swigging vodka straight from the bottle, much more than would be respectable at a party or likely to be served at a bar.

See also my comments last week about whiskey being Don's classy cool Drinking Responsibly liquor, possibly dictated by the show's promotional agreements with Canadian Club.
posted by Sara C. at 1:32 PM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


SC&P = Sterling, Computer & Partners
posted by anazgnos at 1:37 PM on May 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


SC&P = Sterling, Computer & Peons
posted by tilde at 1:56 PM on May 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


Is it that easy to getaway with what happened with Dick Whitman / Donald Draper, really? When Pete finds out Dick's secret, Don is 43 ... though he's claiming 35 or 36 a few years later when he is at the doctor, and Megan throws his 40th birthday party.
posted by tilde at 2:00 PM on May 14, 2014


rabbitbookworm: That was when he cared and Megan could tell. Now it's just... whatever where's my niece let's get a drink Harry I have to go back to New York.

No, he was doing that for Megan, not to get away from her. She hates Harry even more than Don, and she looks far more pained by Harry's showing up at the party than he does. (Remember her walking into Harry's lewd conversation about her.)

I think Don was doing Megan a favor there. She doesn't protest when Don does it.
posted by spaltavian at 2:02 PM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't agree with that. He'd already said to Megan he didn't want to have another drink at the party. Then he saw Harry and was basically like, let's get the hell out of here.

There were enough assorted hipsterati at that party that Harry being there wasn't a big deal.
posted by sweetkid at 2:04 PM on May 14, 2014


Is it that easy to getaway with what happened with Dick Whitman / Donald Draper, really?

We were just talking about that here in the ambrosia household. I'm not sure it really would have worked, at least since the Civil War, but I bet that if it could have been done Korea was probably the last time it could have been gotten away with. What with modern photography, you know that there would be files with photos of the real Don Draper and the real Dick Whitman somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon. Also, it would require not having any family at home to challenge the switch- Dick Whitman was an orphan, and happy to leave his past behind, but Anna Draper could have sunk him if she had chosen to. It was a big gamble.
posted by ambrosia at 2:07 PM on May 14, 2014


sweetkid: There were enough assorted hipsterati at that party that Harry being there wasn't a big deal.

I'll have to go back and look, but I remember Megan's face registering something a lot stronger than "I'll need by hipster buffer".

Potomac Avenue: And just the fact that he can have "a few" glasses of whiskey and be driving and conversing like normal means we're back to the myth of Don the man's man... instead of the mortal guy giggling about baseball from last week.

You can't compare several drinks over the course of an evening to chugging from a vodka bottle in lieu of lunch.
posted by spaltavian at 2:07 PM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's been established that Don doesn't like Harry. I don't think Megan's opinion of Harry is enough of a driver on this show to inspire a scene of them hanging alone together that has little precedent.
posted by sweetkid at 2:12 PM on May 14, 2014


you know that there would be files with photos of the real Don Draper and the real Dick Whitman somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon

Hasn't it already been established that Don's MO is to avoid anything even remotely close to the military, government agencies, security clearances, etc?

There's also a strong reason that Don is living in New York as opposed to Pennsylvania or California (the real Don's home state) when we meet him in 1960.

Pre-internet, it's unlikely that problems would show up for most routine things like a driver's license, or even a passport considering the name Don Draper is common enough and I'm not sure the SSN as de facto ID Number was as ubiquitous in the 50s and 60s.

His biggest vulnerability would be someone like Anna's sister not just sitting idly by with the whole thing, but, again, being across the country from them insulates him to a degree. Keep in mind this is a time when long distance phone calls are expensive and cross-country flights are out of reach of people who aren't wealthy.

I have some distant cousins on my mom's side who moved to like North Carolina or something (from Mississippi) in like the 60s or 70s and were basically never seen again. They showed up at Thanksgiving at some point in the 90s and it was a huge deal. And that's a two day drive.
posted by Sara C. at 2:14 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't think Anna's sister knows the whole story. That's why she's always been a bit scandalized by Anna's relationship with Dick. He's a guy with a checkbook who bought her sister a house for some reason.
posted by thereemix at 2:35 PM on May 14, 2014


I also don't think Anna knew the whole story. Dick tells her that the army made a mistake in confusing him and Real Don after the accident. I don't think ANYONE knows the truth: that Dick switched the dog tags on purpose.
posted by thereemix at 2:38 PM on May 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


I feel challenged to find something uglier that Peggy has worn. I didn't think it was that bad.

I thought it was adorable! Guess I'm square though.
posted by torticat at 2:47 PM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


SC&P = Secure Contain Protect

( yes it was a fabulous dress but man it sticks out a damned thumb )
posted by The Whelk at 2:48 PM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Nobody wore their skirts that short, even in California."

I kinda trust Janie Bryant et al to have the details right, but wow those skirts are shocking in a professional context. Not just Shirley's but all of the secretaries'.
posted by torticat at 2:51 PM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I loved the Betty menu and the video about it posted above. Not long ago, I made a whole Mad Men themed dinner menu, and my true triumph was a tomato aspic that slid out of the bundt pan mold whole, in all of its celery Worcestershire sauce laden glory.

I loved Megan's dress and hair, she really is fabulous and talented. It's just like an actress to make someone else go away, and then dress up and be center stage. It was her party, after all. And then she was wearing the bathrobe the next morning.

I also loved how Don put Cutler and Lou into their places, with the meeting and then into a cab. Because men would hail cabs for women. And as we can see from Henry, women aren't supposed to have thoughts on anything.

I don't know about the short skirt thing, I think it depended on what circles you ran in. One of the worst things was hip hugger jeans for women, because that was deemed a no-no. My sister wanted to wear those but my mother said no way. So she would leave the house and roll her jeans down and put a leather belt on top, over her hips, and hiss, "you'd better not tell Mom!" I couldn't fathom the whole thing, I was wearing a multi-plaid dress with a white collar and pigtails and playing with my Barbie and Francie dolls.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:12 PM on May 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


Rumaki sounds like the most disgusting thing ever, and I generally enjoy bacon-wrapped hors d'oeuvres.
posted by Sara C. at 4:16 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Rumaki was very popular, as were all things Polynesian. We rented a split level house in the early 1970's and the basement portion had a room with a grass skirt as the curtain, all bamboo furniture with the palm leaf cloth cushions, and a glass-topped side table complete with a stuffed baby alligator on it. I know, it's not Polynesian! But it was a baby lizard, stuffed!

I think a lot of people just wrapped water chestnuts with bacon and left the liver out. You could also do pineapple in that case.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:39 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I also don't think Anna knew the whole story. Dick tells her that the army made a mistake in confusing him and Real Don after the accident.

IIRC they never show The Conversation between Anna and Dick. She finds him at the used car dealer, later they're at an apartment or rooming house that might belong to either of them, he's wearing that terrified Dick look that's so at odds with his Don persona, and she asks "what am i going to do with you?"

Maybe he didn't tell her then that he switched on purpose but I'm willing to bet he did eventually. She certainly understood he was desperate to escape his old life and self, and he was at ease with her like with no-one else, because she understood him. I don't think he would have been if there were anything left for her to discover about his identity theft.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:58 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I thought there was a meeting with Anna and Dick at a diner but maybe I am mis-remembering that.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:04 PM on May 14, 2014


IIRC Helen Gurley Brown's Single Girls Cookbook (published in 67) includes a rumaki recipe.
posted by brujita at 5:15 PM on May 14, 2014


It was at his bachelor apartment, after the one at the dealership.
posted by jgirl at 5:15 PM on May 14, 2014


Stephanie definitely knows that he is both Don Draper and Dick Whitman, because she knows who to ask for at the office (in both "The Suitcase" and last week's episode). And I assumed Anna's sister knew - she so pointedly called him "Dick" every time she saw him - but I too wondered why she went along with it. I guess because he was good to Anna and Anna needed the financial support?
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:22 PM on May 14, 2014


Okay, in the apartment he just says, "they thought I was him and he was me. I didn't think I was hurting anyone. I just had to get out of there." So while he doesn't tell the dog tag story in so many words he makes it clear that he was making a choice. Of course that only makes sense since you don't run with that kind of misunderstanding by accident. I could be wrong, maybe she never learns that the mixup was deliberate, but she's not stupid and they knew each other a long time.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:33 PM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Anna's sister may carp at her and disapprove of Dick, but she's clearly loyal to her when it really counts. She'd keep Anna's secret once she was convinced that Anna really meant it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:37 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Anna's dead, but what would happen to Stephanie and her mother (and maybe father, if he's alive) if the secret comes out? Anything?
posted by jgirl at 5:47 PM on May 14, 2014


I don't think anything would happen. I think we're done with the secret.
posted by sweetkid at 5:51 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I hope not. It's the core of the show. Maybe the secret as a secret, sure. But the dual identity thing, and Don's upbringing, I hope that's brought back into the spotlight in some poignant way at the end.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:19 PM on May 14, 2014


Oh yeah, agreed that the dual identity thing will and should continue. But I don't think there will be an additional plot point that's like DUN DUN DUN someone learns about the switch and Don's life goes kablooey.
posted by sweetkid at 6:22 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've wondered if the key to the story is Don accepting back his identity as Dick Whitman. Maybe by turning himself in? (And hoping the authorities say, "So?")
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:24 PM on May 14, 2014


Maybe Don Draper gets called back to the Army to be a commander in Vietnam. I had that thought last night. What would he do then? It's a very Greek fate sort of thing.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:29 PM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, if the secret came out, what would happen to Stephanie and her mother? What could the government do to them?
posted by jgirl at 6:31 PM on May 14, 2014


Well, they know - but Megan, Pete and Bert know too. I suppose they could all be brought up for aiding/abetting, but I can't imagine it would be worth the effort.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:53 PM on May 14, 2014


Sweetie Darling: I've wondered if the key to the story is Don accepting back his identity as Dick Whitman. Maybe by turning himself in?

I hope not. The "always be yourself" and "never, ever lie" simplistic morality that would be behind that feels a) not in line with the show's writing and themes and b) a sort of millennial obsession with being a boy scout and "authenticity". No body loves Dick Whitman, because Dick Whitman was the orphan of a whore and a drunk, and I think it takes a lot of privilege/class-ism to think he should have played by the rules. Why does he need to be his "real self". That assumes everything Don Draper has isn't real, because he's a "borrowed ladder" to borrow from Gattaca.

jgirl: Well, if the secret came out, what would happen to Stephanie and her mother? What could the government do to them?

Nothing. Anna committed fraud I guess, but that doesn't do anything to them. Someone would have to prove they actually did something, not just "hey you're related so we assume you knew".
posted by spaltavian at 7:00 PM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


L.A. Review of Books:

Nothing is new, there is no rebirth, the frontier is a dream, the second wife is the same as the first, the new agency is the same as the old agency, Bobby’s nightmares are the same as his sister’s.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:26 PM on May 14, 2014 [8 favorites]


he makes it clear that he was making a choice

I don't think there's any way around this, because nobody is stupid enough to think that if the military makes a mistake, you have to go around introducing yourself by the wrong name. If there had just been a mistake, Anna would arrive at the car dealership, say, "Hey are you Don Draper because you don't look like my husband at all..." and he would say, "No, the name's Dick Whitman, but the army made a mistake and I get this all the time," and they would pool their resources to hire a lawyer and get the mistake straightened out.

Don knows nobody would believe it was just an honest mistake that he was forced to go along with. So when he explains to the few people he's explained it to, he has to insert a bit of agency into it somehow.

I'm still curious about how much Sally knows, considering the awe-inspired look on her face at that one Memorial Day party at the country club. At one point she thought her daddy was a war hero. What does she think now?
posted by Sara C. at 8:40 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


And, also, yes I'm pretty sure if the authorities found out about the switch once and for all, the worst that would happen to Don would be decades of back taxes or having to return some GI Bill money or something. Worst case, he does a token amount of time in one of those fancy prisons for white collar criminals. I'm pretty sure the military wouldn't call him up for actual service in a war zone. I mean, what, he'd be a Private in his 40s? Who does that help?
posted by Sara C. at 8:46 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Huh... Reading that LARB piece I just remembered that one of the first scenes of the series is Don reading the research on cigarettes from the Freudian, who says that they represent the Death Drive of modern man. Don throws that research in the trash, and then reprimands Pete for bringing it up at the client meeting.

About halfway through the series Don renounces cigarettes for purely cynical reasons (continuing to smoke himself, of course).

Now, nearing the end of the series, we see Don coming back. Attempting to, anyway.

It's an interesting recurring motif. I wonder if Weiner has been writing with the Death Drive imagery in mind, or if that was just the product of the show's early years.
posted by codacorolla at 8:50 PM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


I mean, what, he'd be a Private in his 40s? Who does that help?

Comedy spin off with a laugh track, that is.
posted by sweetkid at 8:51 PM on May 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


Lt. Donald Draper was an officer in the engineering corp.
posted by drezdn at 9:10 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


If we don't see Ginsberg again, I'm going to assume Stan "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"'d him with a pillow during the elevator ride.
posted by drezdn at 9:11 PM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Why was their an open chair at the Philip Morris meeting?
posted by drezdn at 9:12 PM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


And, also, yes I'm pretty sure if the authorities found out about the switch once and for all, the worst that would happen to Don would be decades of back taxes or having to return some GI Bill money or something. Worst case, he does a token amount of time in one of those fancy prisons for white collar criminals.

Uh, no. He'd be tried for desertion, court martialed, and then would have to do significant time in military prison. And military prison is worse than regular prison any day.
posted by orange swan at 9:17 PM on May 14, 2014


I mean, what, he'd be a Private in his 40s? Who does that help?

Lou Avery and his comic strip?
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:19 PM on May 14, 2014 [6 favorites]


He'd be tried for desertion

Maybe in 1962, but at this point? Keep in mind that people's respect for the military is at an all time low in 1969.

Is there a statute of limitation for desertion?
posted by Sara C. at 9:31 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering now if Lou Avery's strip is a hint that he was in the military, and that Lou will be re-opening the Don Draper stolen identity issue?
posted by drezdn at 9:44 PM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


There's also a strong reason that Don is living in New York as opposed to Pennsylvania or California (the real Don's home state) when we meet him in 1960.

I had the impression that Dick and Anna lived together in the bungalow for a while. But that just might be me reading the flashbacks wrong. He had to be in NYC to meet Betty after all.

I think Anna knew Dick made a clear choice in swapping his identity but went along with it because it was also a second chance for her, given that all the indications are her marriage to the real Don wasn't a happy one.

The direction the show has been heading for years isn't that Don has to return to being Dick Whitman; it's that he has to understand who he truly is, regardless of name. There are authentic parts to Don Draper, but he needs to embrace all that he is if he wants to feel comfortable with his life.
posted by dry white toast at 9:47 PM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I just watched the episode from Season 4 where Don falsifies his security clearance application to the DOD. What's interesting is that he says to Pete that if it comes back on him, he's just going to walk away. "You can run the agency without me." And he says it so matter of factly. It's both another indication of his reflex to run away, but also his ease with starting over, having done it once already. He tells people several times that starting over isn't as scary as you think.

Which kinda makes me think that's Don/Dick's destiny at the end of the show. He'll just finally, actually walk away from the life he's built as Don Draper and maybe take Sally with him.
posted by dry white toast at 9:55 PM on May 14, 2014


Not to embrace Dick Whitman again necessarily. But just to move forward, perhaps as a finally fully formed entity.
posted by dry white toast at 9:57 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Aaaaand now all I can think of is Don and Sally getting in a van to follow the Grateful Dead.
posted by dry white toast at 10:00 PM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Derail, but although I hate Lou, I really like what they've done with him costume-wise. Cardigans and those glasses on a chain is usually code for, "nice older fellow, may have lost a step but still has a few tricks up his sleeve, and probably some heartwarming advice."

Lou is *none* of those things.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:12 PM on May 14, 2014 [12 favorites]


He'll just finally, actually walk away from the life he's built as Don Draper

DB Cooper tho
posted by Sara C. at 12:46 AM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


On re-watch, it's pretty clear that Ginzo is drawing an association between the IBM 360 minicomputer and Nazi Germany ... which isn't too far off, considering there's a strong historical case to be made that IBM provided computers and services to the Third Reich. If we accept that Ginzo is a concentration camp survivor and consequently may have some form of PTSD, I would say schizophrenia is not necessarily the only conclusion.

But his fixation with homosexuality ... no, I can't make head or tail of that. Maybe he is a closet case in addition to suffering from PTSD?
posted by evil otto at 1:54 AM on May 15, 2014


I watched the episode again this morning (husband's been away and got back last night; I insisted he had to see it) and I really feel like Shoot needs to be watched in parallel with it. So many connections and callbacks in comments, actions, clothing. It's also the first time I realise Peggy and Pete had more than the one encounter.

During the interminally long break until the last 7 episodes, can we please go through the whole show from the first episode on here? It would be fascinating to see whether we predict the show's finale as a result.
posted by tracicle at 2:54 AM on May 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


Telling the truth about himself has never been a good idea for Don Draper. Very little good has come out of his timing for when he does it.
posted by inturnaround at 5:44 AM on May 15, 2014


Hrm, just had the Patio episode; He's going to hire Sal back; we'll get at least a flyby of him ... and yeah, there's always been heavy Military callbacks (in this one it's Gene Srs episodes).
posted by tilde at 6:03 AM on May 15, 2014


yeah but it was a fucking fabulous dress so I DGAF and if you disagree I will cut your face

I can't deny that. I have one almost exactly like it that I got right before I put on some weight that's coming off now. I was just looking at it yesterday and hoping I'd be able to wear it again soon.


SC&P = Sterling, Computer & Partners

There used to be a grocery store chain around here called P&C; that's all I can think of when I hear the new name. (It doesn't help that my sister and I used to make up jingles for it based on other songs.)


But his fixation with homosexuality ... no, I can't make head or tail of that. Maybe he is a closet case in addition to suffering from PTSD?

I could buy that that would complicate his case, especially if it was something he truly feared being.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:27 AM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


But his fixation with homosexuality ... no, I can't make head or tail of that. Maybe he is a closet case in addition to suffering from PTSD?

He is so far into the closet he's dancing with Mr Tumnus.

There's that photo been making the rounds of 15 or 16 major public figures who are staunchly anti-homosexual in their public lives, and every single one of whom has been caught having teh gay sexx0rs.

Fixation on, and antipathy for, homosexuality is pretty much always a giant pink neon sign flashing above someone's head saying "GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY (or at least BI BI BI BI BI)"
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:27 AM on May 15, 2014


With Ginsberg gone, Ted being in California and Lou...being Lou, Peggy is running out of creative peers to collaborate with. I wonder if it will make her more open to reconnect (at least creatively) with Don.
posted by mikepop at 7:29 AM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Peggy is running out of creative peers to collaborate with. I wonder if it will make her more open to reconnect (at least creatively) with Don.

I've been wondering if Peggy and Stan are going to have a bonding moment over this whole thing. Stan was breaking my heart with his sorrow while they were carrying Michael away, and they're both bound to be feeling some guilt, or at least questions about whether they could have seen it coming sooner and if so, whether they could have done anything to help. (Peggy, of course, will use her Don-training to try to dismiss those feelings even if she does have them. "Keep moving forward.") Steggy might just be endgame.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:36 AM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


After seven seasons I should know better than to try to interpret a teaser, but I am concerned by the way Stan says, "Is there a problem?" in next week's ep. His voice is all soft and not Stan-like.

Both Elisabeth Moss and Jay Ferguson have described the relationship as sibling, not love interest, but maybe that's a diversionary tactic. We can hope.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:45 AM on May 15, 2014


Didn't Ginsberg's dad straight up ask him if he's gay and he gave a typical Werido Non Answer?
posted by The Whelk at 7:49 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


( man I checked, I even said by the end we're going to find Ginz's collection of " fitness magazines" or a dead hooker or something.)
posted by The Whelk at 7:50 AM on May 15, 2014


I've been wondering if Peggy and Stan are going to have a bonding moment over this whole thing. Stan was breaking my heart with his sorrow while they were carrying Michael away, and they're both bound to be feeling some guilt, or at least questions about whether they could have seen it coming sooner and if so, whether they could have done anything to help.

Stan: "All he wanted was a non-farty couch!" ::sobs onto Peggy's shoulder::
posted by ChrisTN at 7:51 AM on May 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


Both Elisabeth Moss and Jay Ferguson have described the relationship as sibling, not love interest, but maybe that's a diversionary tactic.

Or a hint. This is the Game of Thrones era, after all.
posted by drezdn at 8:09 AM on May 15, 2014


Not around here it isn't. *Points at the door, which wobbles*
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:22 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


hey now both shows have nipple ripping off scenes.
posted by The Whelk at 9:36 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Maybe in 1962, but at this point? Keep in mind that people's respect for the military is at an all time low in 1969.

Public opinion has zero bearing on how the military sentences deserters. Don would be tried in a military court.

Is there a statute of limitation for desertion?

No, there isn't. Don even said so to Pete the time there was that scare over his applied-for military clearance when Sterling Cooper was vying for a defense account.

Here's some info about maximum punishments for desertion (taken from this link):

Article 85 - Desertion. This is the most serious of the absentee offenses. Remember the primary difference between AWOL and desertion is intent to remain away from the military permanently.

(1) If a member deserted, but voluntarily returned to military control: Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, reduction to the lowest enlisted grade, and confinement for 2 years.

(2) If the member deserted and the desertion was terminated by apprehension: Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, reduction to the lowest enlisted grade, and confinement for 3 years.

(3) If the member deserted with the intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service (and example of this would be a member ordered to deploy to Iraq and then deserts to avoid the deployment): Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, reduction to the lowest enlisted grade, and confinement for 5 years.

(4) If the member deserts during time of war: Death or such other punishment (such as life in prison) as a court-martial may direct.


Don won't be executed though it is technically a possibility (the U.S. military used to execute deserters, but hasn't done so since 1945), but he would definitely be facing a military prison sentence, and as I've said, military prisons aren't pleasant. Here's a news account of what life is like in a present day Canadian military prison. I doubt a U.S. military prison would be any improvement, especially in 1970.
posted by orange swan at 10:05 AM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Both Elisabeth Moss and Jay Ferguson have described the relationship as sibling, not love interest, but maybe that's a diversionary tactic.

Let's remember that they got naked together, that Stan had, er, unmistakable interest in Peggy at the time, that he has hit on her a number of times, that Peggy once coyly offered to "make it worth Stan's while" to come over and deal with the rat in her apartment. Siblings my ass.
posted by orange swan at 10:10 AM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


ughhh stop it I'm trying to quelch my dreams of Steggy. It's just too good. I don't know if the show will let her have true love by the show's end.
posted by sweetkid at 10:12 AM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm only a very recent convert to Team Steggy (as in, two episodes ago), but now I can totally see it working. The two of them challenge each other in a good way, are so honest with each other, and can conflict without any resulting acrimony. Here's hoping it is to be.
posted by orange swan at 10:20 AM on May 15, 2014


She doesn't even need true love, she just needs to finally be able to screw around with someone who's fun. I think that would solve 90% of her problems.
posted by spaltavian at 10:20 AM on May 15, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm only a very recent convert to Team Steggy (as in, two episodes ago), but now I can totally see it working. The two of them challenge each other in a good way, are so honest with each other, and can conflict without any resulting acrimony. Here's hoping it is to be.

I picture them silently and adorably packing lunches together in the morning, just like Harrison Ford and Melanie Griffith at the end of Working Girl.
posted by sweetkid at 10:22 AM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


They might just have A Moment now, a little buildup here and there, and then ride a Steggysaurus off into the sunset together at the end of the season.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:32 AM on May 15, 2014


Stan Loves Peggy (and I love Tumblr)
posted by Sweetie Darling at 10:34 AM on May 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


And think of all the fun their GenX kids will have punking up their old clothes after watching John Hughes movies.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:37 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I hadn;t caught Don's reaction to Lou's sad little tantrum, just unbridled glee, oh god he hates lou SO MUCH
posted by The Whelk at 10:37 AM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


I can't believe I forgot to mention this until now! The first thing I thought of when Michael had his reaction to the computer was the whole “I am a Human Being: Do not fold, spindle, or mutilate” meme from that era, that lasted well into the 1970's.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:45 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is very much a tangent, but since realizing that Stan is basically channeling Freddie from Scooby-Doo in terms of style, what are the members of the mystery gang supposed to read as in terms of fashion from that era? Obviously Velma is a nerd and Shaggy is a hippy... what about Daphne and Fred's outfits?
posted by codacorolla at 10:47 AM on May 15, 2014


They're both super-preppy/rich. Velma is a little more mod and fashion foward.
posted by The Whelk at 10:48 AM on May 15, 2014


plus Stan is now wearing NOT JUST AN ASCOT but a full on NECKERCHIEF. Like I'm pretty sure that's a head scarf or table runner he's just insouciantly flung around his neck.
posted by The Whelk at 10:49 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]




Stan Loves Peggy (and I love Tumblr)

I'm going back to the start.

"Sometimes I think “what if Peggy and Stan don’t end up together?” … and then I feel nauseated and have to stop." *swoon*
posted by psoas at 11:02 AM on May 15, 2014


It's jarring how clean-cut Michael, Stan, and even Abe are in the older pictures.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:10 AM on May 15, 2014 [5 favorites]


Concerned Citizens For The Appreciation Of Stan's Shorn Jawline

CCFTAOSS
posted by The Whelk at 11:11 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


what about Daphne

Daphne is clearly wearing a purple micro-mini Pucci dress, just like someone else we know.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:11 AM on May 15, 2014


Fixation on, and antipathy for, homosexuality is pretty much always a giant pink neon sign

In 2014, sure, but in 1969, I don't know.

Homosexuality was considered a mental illness* in 1969. It could get you out of military service. The general public assumed gay people were perverts and child molesters. The police frequently raided bars where gay people hung out, for the purposes of arresting people on suspicion of being gay.

It seems a perfectly ordinary thing to fear and be concerned about, as part of a mental breakdown of some kind.

Not saying Ginzo isn't gay, but "I SAW THEM PLOTTING TOGETHER AND OBVIOUSLY IT MEANS THEY'RE HOMOS" is one of the less crazy things he said during his rant, for 1969.

*I'm worried about Ginsberg and all this homo talk when he gets to wherever the men in white suits are taking him. Because he could end up in the loony bin for years over questions that he might be gay. Have a breakdown, get some shock therapy, calm down, and your father comes and gets you, OK, that's fine. Continue ranting about homosexuality and you might be there for a while. In that sense he probably needs an "it will shock you how much this never happened" speech from someone like Peggy.
posted by Sara C. at 11:25 AM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


On the one hand, I really want Steggy.

On the other hand, the feminist in me will cry if the resolution to Peggy's story arc is that she finds a man. Especially in the dawn of Women's Lib.

I mean, fish bicycle, guys. Fish bicycle.
posted by Sara C. at 11:28 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Fish Bicycle?
posted by mikepop at 11:31 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't think getting with Stan would "resolve" Peggy's story, because she clearly wants to work and succeed. It's not like she's pining to settle down and raise kids. I can see her having relationships, maybe a marriage, but her work is always going to come first. If Stan or whoever can deal with that, it might be ok. Though in real life, she's the type I'd see marrying a very supportive, nonaggresive type who is happy to do the more domestic stuff and follow her lead. Don't think that's Stan.
posted by emjaybee at 1:02 PM on May 15, 2014


I can't see Stan standing in Peggy's way professionally, no matter what was going on in their personal lives.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:22 PM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]




I can't believe I forgot to mention this until now! The first thing I thought of when Michael had his reaction to the computer was the whole “I am a Human Being: Do not fold, spindle, or mutilate” meme from that era, that lasted well into the 1970's.


Wow, that is really interesting! I had no idea about that meme.
posted by sweetkid at 1:31 PM on May 15, 2014


I don't remember "Do not fold, spindle, or mutilate." I remember Achtung! though, which was posted on the Wang computer in my dad's office, and I had it memorized. Late 70s.

DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKEN.
IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.
ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.
posted by torticat at 2:25 PM on May 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


Not only do I remember the whole "Do not fold, spindle, or mutilate" but my Dad wrote programs using those cards, and would bring home boxes of used punch cards for us to use at home- often the cards would just have a few holes there and there, and they were perfect for grocery lists and so forth.
posted by ambrosia at 2:32 PM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sweetie Darling: " "Nobody wore their skirts that short, even in California.""

Your mom should have seen my aunt. I wish I had pictures I could upload, but you can literally see the bottom of her ass, Uhura-style, in most of the dresses she was photographed in the late 60s. She had legs that went on for MILES.

I was momentarily scandalized by Shirley's outfits, until I remembered those photos of my aunt. I'm guessing your mom remembers fashion more demurely than it was; I know my mom used to say "nobody" would wear that kind of stuff back then, until I uncovered my aunt's photo albums and jogged her memory.
posted by lesli212 at 2:33 PM on May 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


One thing I've noticed from Mad Style comments is that a lot of people use "nobody" as shorthand for "I didn't" or "respectable people didn't" or "wasn't a part of my particular experience".

I had to stop reading the comments after the story arc where Peggy and Abe "live in sin", due the chorus of NOBODY DID THAT BACK THEN.

Yes, actually people did that back then. Just because you grew up in a more conservative environment and didn't know anyone who was doing it doesn't mean it's an anachronism. A lot of watching Mad Men is about learning things about the time period, not about having your perceptions confirmed.
posted by Sara C. at 2:37 PM on May 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


Back in the early aughts when the fashion was for jeans to be so low-rise your butt might pop out if you sat down wrong, my mother-in-law was fretting about the state of her eldest granddaughter's wardrobe. She was maybe 15 and the midriffs were bare, and the jeans were very low-cut. Then later that day we were looking at old family photos, and there is my mother in law in 1970, wearing cut-off jeans that were so short the bottom half of her perky little ass was hanging out. I pointed this out to her, and she was more than a little chagrined. (But still proud of her butt.)

There is the super-apocryphal story I have heard a bunch of times of a woman showing up somewhere in a tunic + pants combo, and upon being informed that women were not allowed to wear pants there, just took off their pants and called the tunic a "dress." So yeah, dresses were plenty short.
posted by ambrosia at 2:41 PM on May 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


Those Meddling Kids


Scooby is the computer.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:25 PM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


So what's with Megan's mod party hair? It's clearly a hairpiece of some sort, as it's nearly twice as long as her hair was while just hanging in the kitchen earlier the same day... But then in her robe the next morning her hair is just as long and voluminous, just not done up anymore. Did she sleep in a wig? Get up early and slip it on over her bedhead?
posted by polymath at 4:50 PM on May 15, 2014


I think she slept in it. She still had her makeup on on the morning too. I would guess that all three of them wiped out after the sexytimes.
posted by thereemix at 7:15 AM on May 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Last night I had a dream that I was watching the season finale of Mad Men, and it focused on a man and a wife having a verbal argument in a room dripping with red paint. At some point the man put on a grotesque mask, which was several times the size of his head and riddled with carbuncles and tumors. The argument escalated and the woman attacked him with a knife, slicing away at the mask, and then attacking the man himself. She had the upper hand, until he distracted her with the old "look over there" trick, she did, and he stabbed her in the back.

Anyway, I think this is conclusive proof that Don is dying at the end of the series.
posted by codacorolla at 9:19 AM on May 16, 2014 [8 favorites]


I think your dream is about Pete and Peggy, and the mask is Roger, and the knife is Joan, and the tumors are Ginsberg's nipples. Doesn't that make perfect sense now?
posted by tracicle at 10:05 AM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wigs/hairpieces can be surprisingly hard to undo/take off especially if existing hair is wrapped around the combs/clips. Megan just didn't want/was too stoned to bother.
posted by emjaybee at 10:17 AM on May 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Homosexuality was considered a mental illness* in 1969. It could get you out of military service. The general public assumed gay people were perverts and child molesters. The police frequently raided bars where gay people hung out, for the purposes of arresting people on suspicion of being gay.

Please to not be lecturing a gay man about gay history thank you.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:33 AM on May 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Bring back Bob Benson.
posted by drezdn at 12:20 PM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Please to not be lecturing a gay man about gay history thank you.

Please not to be condescending to a dyke, thank you.
posted by Sara C. at 1:40 PM on May 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


[Cool it, you two.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:11 PM on May 16, 2014


I'm changing the subject!

Mad Men/30 Rock mashup
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:20 PM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]




The Whelk, really?! How cool! Post some of the ones you wrote!
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:23 PM on May 16, 2014


Anyone can submit! Just think of a good mashup idea. Mine are

Here

and here

and here

posted by The Whelk at 4:32 PM on May 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Has anyone one done "Double Hitler" yet?
posted by drezdn at 7:28 AM on May 17, 2014


Not that I know of!
posted by The Whelk at 7:31 AM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]




^ That's really good. He's got Hamm's voice down pat.
posted by mochapickle at 6:32 PM on May 17, 2014


When Harry Crane said the phrase "final solution for you" to Don, I wondered who was going to be offed in the episode... Farewell, Michael Ginsburg. What a terribly sad end that was. I caught myself caring far too much about a fictional TV character.
posted by hush at 8:28 AM on May 18, 2014


Starlee Kine played catch-up and posted two more MM recap/meditations!
posted by Sweetie Darling at 11:52 AM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Months later, I'm finally getting caught up, and I've been enjoying reading through these threads after each episode.

But the thing that instigated the fight wasn't moodiness. It was her expressing an opinion on the war at the party.

Something that hasn't quite been covered by earlier comments: I agree that both Betty and her husband had every right to be upset at each other, but it's worth pointing out that the initial offense wasn't just that Betty expressed an unpopular opinion, but that when her husband chimed in to reassure these presumably important guests that he -- like them -- supports Nixon in wanting to figure out how to extricate from the war, Betty said something like "Really? Since when?" This cuts deeper than the faux pas of a politician's spouse expressing an unpopular/passé political opinion, rather directly undermining Henry's ability to appear to have always believed in whatever the current consensus is. And since those are the sorts of lies that I think most politicians tell themselves -- that their positions on such important matters flow from longheld principles, and not from swaying with popular opinion -- it makes sense that undercutting that lie might lead to an otherwise uncharacteristic outburst from him later. She really quite directly suggested in front of these guests that her politician-husband is lying about his political beliefs.

Secondly, I'm surprised that none of the superfans in this thread bothered to track down a lipreading transcript of the secret meeting in the computer room? (My cursory googling hasn't come up with any. I thought the first word was "Draper" at the time.)
posted by nobody at 10:50 AM on November 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


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