Mad Men: The Monolith
May 4, 2014 8:34 PM - Season 7, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Sterling Cooper & Partners prepares for a guest. Don calls an old friend. Roger confronts problems at home. Pete underestimates Peggy.

Another roller coaster with some obvious setups for a moon landing future. Plus, the whole computers-replacing-humans anxiety angle for 1969 that could have been at home today in the modern age. Also, hippie commune!
posted by mathowie (372 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
ROGER NOOOOO!
posted by donajo at 8:36 PM on May 4, 2014


By which I mean, damn, Margaret. That's some cold shit for someone who's supposed to be all about forgiveness. (Although the preceding "No, I forgive you" conversation wasn't all that kind, either.)
posted by donajo at 8:37 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know what Don's tirade to the computer sales guy was about? The guy kind of looked like Joan's old husband, but was it just a drunken "yelling at people that are in positions of control over Don" pointless rant?
posted by mathowie at 8:38 PM on May 4, 2014


I kept wondering why we've wandered into one of Ken's short stories.
posted by The Whelk at 8:38 PM on May 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


ALSO, DON, we discussed this, rich out of touch white men who don't need to work WRITE NOVELS. You're a stellar copywriter, you have a great understanding of narrative, why not churn out some 30s-era crime novels with evocative imagery and old timey details? You can even indulge your strange sexual politics!
posted by The Whelk at 8:40 PM on May 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


That's what I thought, Matt - Don's feelings were hurt that computer guy went to lunch with Harry instead of staying to talk to Don.

The work scenes were so painful to watch!
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:41 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


was it just a drunken "yelling at people that are in positions of control over Don" pointless rant?

That. The guy represented, to Don, both computers displacing people (literally and figuratively), and the strictures on Don that prevented him from closing an account.
posted by donajo at 8:41 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also is there a rule that every character has to visit a counterculture and then reject it? Don, Betty, Joan, Roger (well only THAT PARTICULAR ONE, I assumed he was going to be King Of The Hippies but you know, central heating).
posted by The Whelk at 8:43 PM on May 4, 2014


Also - the "let's displace the creative team with a fancy new computer!" plot was way too on the nose.
posted by donajo at 8:44 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


this whole episode was an anvil factory.

RIDING ON A CAROUSEL.
posted by The Whelk at 8:46 PM on May 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


Not to mention the discussion about obsolescence.
posted by dry white toast at 8:49 PM on May 4, 2014


It's not literally a metaphor! It's what is happening!
posted by The Whelk at 8:50 PM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also "apple" cute, show.

I felt like this whole plotline was a cross promotions for AMC's new techie in the 80s series.
posted by The Whelk at 8:50 PM on May 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


That's some cold shit for someone who's supposed to be all about forgiveness.

Yeah well Marigold is a brat but Roger totally had that coming and I was so glad she said it. Roger's okay with his own commune-in-a-hotel-room, he's even okay with sharing some of that vibe with his daughter--but when it comes to her sleeping with a dude he's all "you can't do that you're a MOTHER!" It was great for her to come back at him with just how great he's been as a DADDY.

You'd hope it might make him take another look at the way he sees women, but ah well, probably too late for that with Roger.
posted by torticat at 8:51 PM on May 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


Also, episode title, "he hasn't beat another ape to death yet." High technology in one plotline and No Electricity in the other.

The Monolith is supposed to be transformative
posted by The Whelk at 8:52 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


COME ON STAN OUR COUCH IS FULL OF FARTS
posted by dry white toast at 8:54 PM on May 4, 2014 [20 favorites]


What scene was an apple mentioned in?
posted by gubo at 8:55 PM on May 4, 2014


Don is trying to sell Bert on taking on ComputerGuy as a client saying "the apple is right in front of us"
posted by The Whelk at 8:56 PM on May 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


God, I hate this split-season thing. It feels like nothing's getting a chance to breathe.
posted by rewil at 8:56 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I also enjoyed Don's strange accusation that Lloyd The Computer Guy was SATAN HIMSELF.

I mean I'm bored with Don Is A Pathetic Drunk but Hamm can play drunk SO WELL.
posted by The Whelk at 8:57 PM on May 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


We haven't seen LOUD DRUNK DON since Roger's mother's funeral - or should I say, his conversation with the doorman as they carried him home.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:58 PM on May 4, 2014


Yeah I kinda feel like I want to check back after there's been more...stuff. Mad Men's wandering elegiac tone doesn't make for good week to week watching, and not when they're screaming THREE! EPISODES! LEFT! (this year).
posted by The Whelk at 8:59 PM on May 4, 2014


God, I hate this split-season thing. It feels like nothing's getting a chance to breathe.

I feel just the opposite. I felt like this episode was a waste. Just spinning it's wheels until we got to the place we knew it was going from the last episode - Don sobering up and going back to work.
posted by donajo at 8:59 PM on May 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also we keep HEARING ABOUT BOB but not SEEING BOB

WHAT ABOUT BOB
posted by The Whelk at 8:59 PM on May 4, 2014 [19 favorites]


Based on the deeply strange and uncomfortable talk with Lloyd The Computer Guy I kinda wish this episode ended with Sympathy For The Devil (wait have they used that yet? I feel like they've used it)
posted by The Whelk at 9:03 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


The point of the episode was to get Peggy and Don to a place where they can stand in the same room again.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:06 PM on May 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


I can only hope the Blouse Man (aka Viggo Mortensen in A Walk on the Moon) will be stopping by Margaret's compound.
posted by kickingthecrap at 9:07 PM on May 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also to establish that Roger thinks he's cool but he's not. Honestly, would be fine if that were Roger's last plotline too.

What if every character in this series but Don and Peggy are wrapped up as totally static, unchanging parodies of themselves. GOOD TROLL WEINER.

I said to my husband this episode that it's interesting and sad that Peggy is so well-characterized as a poor person. She really is kind of desperate for money in a way that makes her vulnerable. She can't even see when she's being used.

Marigold's hippie compound is pretty much where I live. I'd like to think her husband got busted at the dive bar next door.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:10 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ellery, Booker, these people are living vodka tonics.
posted by The Whelk at 9:11 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I felt like this episode was a waste. Just spinning it's wheels until we got to the place we knew it was going from the last episode - Don sobering up and going back to work.

I kinda agree. Largely because I don't really care about Roger's relationship with his daughter OR his forays into the counterculture. I like Roger in the office.

And seeing how Don handles the deal the partners gave him, when it's real life and not just on paper, is probably necessary but oh, so dreary! Especially when it comes with another dose of Peggy's hearing how little anyone is even thinking of her--and this time from Joan of all people!
posted by torticat at 9:12 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I felt like there was a moment when Peggy first told Don about the arrangement where he looked proud of her. That was quickly replaced with anger, but did anyone else pick up on it?
posted by dry white toast at 9:14 PM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


While I felt this was a lot of ...almost pointless wheelspinning of themes and situations we've seen before, I did enjoy more of Meredith being An Actual Cartoon Princess.


Also Trudy planning to or in the process of divorcing Pete kinda screws up something I'm writing.
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 PM on May 4, 2014


I like that Meredith is officially Don's secretary. Glad Dawn didn't get demoted to that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:17 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ha, I don't think so, dry white toast. I thought Don's face was all mask-of-rage-and-mortification the whole time.
posted by torticat at 9:18 PM on May 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Does anyone know what Don's tirade to the computer sales guy was about?

My first reaction to this was that he was yelling at himself - the strange ramblings about "I know who you really are" (callback to Dick Whitman), followed by the observation that Lloyd doesn't need a campaign, because the selling points are so obvious, with no competition in the advertising space (he used to be able to wow Bert et al. with ideas like that). Maybe Don saw Lloyd as a younger version of himself - fresh, full of ideas, unstoppable, obvious. Maybe it's a reversion of the 2001 metaphor: Yes, Lloyd and his computers represent the future; maybe Don - who hadn't clobbered an ape yet - has regressed so far into the past (essentially reporting to Peggy) that he's at the nascent ape stage, facing his own new future. Let's go Mets!

(P.S. I was born the day the Mets won the series in '69; Mr. FlyingSquirrel's favorite film is "2001." Very happy household tonight.)
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:22 PM on May 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Do we need to see more Bob? He got Pete worked up, off to LA and minus the remaining parent. We aren't seeing much of anyone's home life so Joan doesn't need him either. I think his purpose is done.
posted by rewil at 9:31 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


HIS PURPOSE TO ME IS NOT DONE
posted by The Whelk at 9:37 PM on May 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


I always forget that Cooper is fundamentally a smug little turd, and then he goes and acts like that. Ugh.
posted by palomar at 9:38 PM on May 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


He's been pretty much just a major douche all season.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:39 PM on May 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'd like a web extra of more of Ellery and Roger's secretary running around the office.
posted by rewil at 9:48 PM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Trudy didn't tell Pete her father had a heart attack, and Pete minded that.

So Mona locked herself in the bathroom with a bottle of gin every day of Margaret's childhood. I always wondered what happened to Margaret when Mona seemed like a good mother.

Why on earth can't Marigold take Ellery to live with her on the commune? He's only 4, he'd enjoy it, and there is at least one other child there.

Mad Men is supposedly about how little people change, but there is one character who did get his act together, and that's Freddy. He's stayed off the sauce and he helps other people to do so.

Caroline is a riot as always.
posted by orange swan at 10:05 PM on May 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


the problem with bring Ellery there is that he would just turn into T.C Boyle and keep writing biting short fiction in the New Yorker alongside popular historical novels
posted by The Whelk at 10:07 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Loved Peggy's dress at the end. She can carry bold prints and big jewelry really well, they should put her in that ridiculous stuff all the time. Those boring collarless jackets on the other hand, bleh.

I guess this was about Roger and Don learning to eat humble pie, but they've both already been eating humble pie for a while now, and we've established that Roger ultimately doesn't care and Don knows when to put up and shut up. So this episode felt pretty redundant in terms of the A/B plots.

Also, not enough interesting women in the storylines this week. I could not care less about Margaret, frankly. Peggy can be interesting, but this time around she didn't even solve her problem or try to solve her problem, she just got rewarded for sitting around sulking with a drink for a bit, as the partners gave her a raise and big account and Don decided to be more disciplined. So it felt like she didn't have a storyline at all.

Does anyone know what Don's tirade to the computer sales guy was about?

Nope. I didn't honestly know what his drunken meandering was about altogether, seeing as this is the *same* story that he already came to terms with in last week's episode. Nobody wants Don in the office, so they're setting him up to fail and he's decided to prove himself anyway. I wish that they'd tied some kind of actual stakes to his story, instead of making it all about how Don wants to feel like an in-control Big Boss Man again. I really can't get that invested in Don's ego getting as much stroking as he wants. Who honestly gives a shit?

His meltdown last season had no real or lasting consequences, he's still rich as hell, and not actually out of a job or actually kicked to the curb by Megan (or Sally). Basically, he's gotten a little scolding and he's grounded and he's more reliant on his apparently ultra-dependable friends/family (Freddy and Sally particularly) than he usually is. It's not thrilling to watch him pick up the pieces of a life that wasn't even *in* pieces (despite his best efforts).

I wish that he had done something stupid and a bit nuts so that there were at least *some* real consequences or at least some continuous emotional arc getting carried over from last season -- like if he'd at least bought that big Victorian he grew up in, and was meanwhile trying to fix it up and turn it into an apartment building or something. I wish that the way of the show giving us insight into Don's mindset/emotions were *something* a bit less generic and overused/TV-shorthand than that he's drinking and smoking too much.

Oh, and sidenote: Don and the housewives continue to be the only people who seem like actual smokers at this point, instead of people who only light up on occasion.
posted by rue72 at 10:12 PM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


His meltdown last season had no real or lasting consequences

I agree with you on most of that comment, rue72. I think though that the extremely tenuous nature of his job, and the fact that he was effectively demoted, are fairly serious consequences.

But yes--it was really hard to feel sympathy for Don this episode since his problems seemed ALL about his ego, and, as you said, what did he expect?

Also, while Don has always cared how people see him (cf his conversation with Megan last week), it has generally seem to come from a place of vulnerability on his part, of needing to prove himself worthy. He hasn't seemed egotistical in the sense that he feels the world owes him something more than he has--which is how he came across in this episode.
posted by torticat at 10:27 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I noticed the smoking since I connected it to the Bad Old World before. I can't remember the last time we saw Don smoking.

I mean, I get it, show, you have made it very clear about the bottomless cycle Don Draper is stuck in - a man who defined himself totally by his work unable to adapt or change. But on the other hand, DON. You are a VERY RICH MAN. You could fuck off to Tahiti for a YEAR without a BLINK. Didn't you used to read books and like ..journal? I know you hate Roger and his charmed life of leisure attitude but the SHARK CAN STOP SWIMMING. Even if he swallowed his pride and worked under Peggy (DIDN'T YOU ALREADY DO THAT WHEN YOU ACCEPTED THIS INSANE DEAL?), writing taglines is behenith him. That IS something someone younger should be doing. If Peggy is exuding poor person than Don is putting out serious funk, he has NO IDEA how to be monied and leisured unless he invents totally manufactured problems, created by him, so he has to feel like a put upon kid battling a huge force.

It's like I said. Fuck the firm, go write Chandler-esque crime novels full of pristine blondes and sensual period detail. Playboy would love it.
posted by The Whelk at 10:33 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


The past two episodes have made me worry a bit about the direction of the series as it enters its end run. Too much of Don's behavior from last week's "OK" onward feel more like a character behaving as he needs to for the purposes of the plot rather than true to his nature.

If I could almost forgive the plot point of Don agreeing to the "These terms are entirely about pushing you to quit" conditions from last weeks episode with the idea that of course the show requires him to stay at SC, it really strained all believability that Don's reaction to realizing he is now on the same level as a junior copywriter was anything other than immediately getting on the phone with the company that made him the offer last week and jumping all over it (or if that was off the table, at least contacting one of the other firms who have been trying to woo him).

The pep talk Freddie gives Don felt like something out of a lesser show; I fully expected Don to tell Freddie to shove it with the platitudes. I cringed when I saw Don dutifully sitting at his typewriter and realized it was something the was actually supposed to be taken seriously as sage advice.

It just feels like the hand of the creator has been too visible in these past couple episodes in a way I don't recall from past seasons. When characters make major life decisions based on what is most convenient for the plot rather than what feels real, it just totally takes me out of the show.

The show hasn't steered me wrong yet, so I'll be interested to see what direction they take things, but these past two episodes have not filled me with confidence.
posted by The Gooch at 10:40 PM on May 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Don Draper's first novel, under the penname Gil Bennet "The Hobo And The Gypsy", about the investigation of a bordello where clients tend to disappear, was mentioned in the NYT as being an "usually subtle story about identity and persona amid a pulp detective outing."
posted by The Whelk at 10:41 PM on May 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


Does anyone know what Don's tirade to the computer sales guy was about? The guy kind of looked like Joan's old husband, but was it just a drunken "yelling at people that are in positions of control over Don" pointless rant?

I'm probably reading too much into this, but to me, it's an interesting tirade. It's really interesting.
"You talk like a friend but you're not. I know your name. No, you go by many names; I know who you are. You don't need a campaign; you have the best campaign since the dawn of time."
First, listen to Sympathy for the Devil, then read this and this and this...

There's a song from Hair that is basically a bulletpoint list of war images:
Ripped open by metal explosion
Caught in barbed wire
Fireball
Bullet shock
Bayonet
Electricity
Shrapnel
Throbbing meat
Electronic data processing
posted by Sys Rq at 10:45 PM on May 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


(Cross posted from AskMefi; thanks to Jacqueline for alerting me to this!)

I'm very confused about how Don's partnership terms work in season 7. He was "on leave" then wanted to come back. During the sans-Don partner meeting, we discovered that they couldn't get rid of him without buying out his shares (which would take 3 years), so they allowed him to come back last week with major conditions (no drinking, no being alone with clients, reporting to Lou). He agrees and will forfeit his shares if he fails to comply with the conditions.

OK, Don's gonna do what Don's gonna do (he desperately wants to go back to work), but:
- If he quit now, could he keep his shares?
- What if he followed their conditions but didn't do any work? If they fired him for something else, could he keep his shares?
- What if nothing was written down about these conditions? Would the other partners still be able to force him out?
- Does anyone here remember the percentages of the partnership?

(I admit I watched this episode hoping for a way for Don to grab a loophole and get back on top.)
posted by sfkiddo at 11:40 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, hey! Check out the title of the episode: "The Monolith." 2001 much? I'm starting to think I'm not such a loon for reading into that tirade after all.

War technology: Since the dawn of time man
posted by Sys Rq at 11:42 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


My God it's full of farts
posted by maggieb at 11:48 PM on May 4, 2014 [24 favorites]


Sys Rq: "Does anyone know what Don's tirade to the computer sales guy was about? The guy kind of looked like Joan's old husband, but was it just a drunken "yelling at people that are in positions of control over Don" pointless rant?

I'm probably reading too much into this, but to me, it's an interesting tirade. It's really interesting.
"You talk like a friend but you're not. I know your name. No, you go by many names; I know who you are. You don't need a campaign; you have the best campaign since the dawn of time."
"

My initial reaction was that Drunk Don had keyed LeaseTech guy as personifying Shiva - the destroyer. Of course Shiva doesn't need advertising, her services are always in demand.
posted by stratastar at 12:21 AM on May 5, 2014


Btw did anyone notice Joan playing a little dumb with Peggy regarding his rules of behavior? She knew exactly what rules he was to be constrained by and gave Peggy just that bit of knowledge to figure out herself.
posted by stratastar at 12:27 AM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I loved the shot of the elevator doors that looked like the monolith from 2001. As well as the theme of computers replacing human thought, function - as in that film.

I felt a little like the episode was running in place, but for me that functioned to show how hard it is for Don to pick himself up and move on - after the events of the last episode.

And I'm really annoyed that AMC has split this season - I feel like we're just going to get into the swing of it and then it'll be gone for a year.
posted by crossoverman at 3:45 AM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I definitely thought that Don was referencing the devil in his rant to the computer guy, and immediately thought of "Sympathy for the Devil." Sort of melodramatic, but there you have it.
posted by lunasol at 4:19 AM on May 5, 2014


- If he quit now, could he keep his shares?
- What if he followed their conditions but didn't do any work? If they fired him for something else, could he keep his shares?


sfkiddo, I don't think we know the answers to those questions. Seems like, for the agreement to accomplish what the partners wanted, Don would no longer have the option of quitting & keeping his shares. The whole thing requires a good bit of suspension of disbelief IMO, but I guess we just have to assume the details got worked out off-screen.

Kinda like the missing vodka bottle & the smashed window from this last episode... I'm still feeling a little anxiety about both of those but I guess they were handled one way or another. For a show with a theme of "actions have consequences," Don still seems to be getting away with a fair bit.
posted by torticat at 4:59 AM on May 5, 2014


Was it me, or did all of the sets seem just a tad miniaturized in this episode? To my eyes, Don looked really oversized in both his office and Peggy's office. Everything about the office seemed visibly claustrophobic to me.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:05 AM on May 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's tempting to think of Don's arc as a Very Special Episode. It certainly felt like it.

Point in the plotline's favour:
-The way Freddy was talking, trite as it was, was very much AA's language of the time. While it sounds after-school special-ish, it's true-to-life.

Point against:
-okay, so Freddy's trying to 12-step Don. That's all good, but where does Don go with that? Was the end of the episode just him saying, "shit, you're right Freddy" and going into work put back together? That's definitely not how AA works.

(I'm assuming Freddy is in AA since we saw him calling his sponsor, or getting a call as a sponsor, back in the fourth season.)
posted by dry white toast at 5:09 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


I half expected Don to be at an AA meeting by the end of the episode, and I was both dreading the cheesiness and out-of-character-ness, and also really kind of looking forward to seeing how they would handle it.

My question: Don is the master of self-reinvention. So why is he stuck now? Why hasn't he reinvented himself again? Does he have too many commitments now? Has he lost his edge? Is it just because Plot Logic requires him to stay where he is?
posted by lunasol at 5:30 AM on May 5, 2014


damn, Margaret. That's some cold shit for someone who's supposed to be all about forgiveness.

It's so fitting, though. Forgiveness, coming from so many people who get in with hippy/new-agey groups, often isn't really forgiveness, it's rationalized condescension. It's "I forgive you for being an asshole, because I realize now that I'm just sooo much more enlightened than you, and I see that you just can't help yourself."

It's like "bless your heart" from a Southern Baptist.
posted by dnash at 5:31 AM on May 5, 2014 [23 favorites]


And I'm really annoyed that AMC has split this season - I feel like we're just going to get into the swing of it and then it'll be gone for a year.

Yeah. I'm not sure this short, mucky season is good enough to have me anticipating the next short season a year from now. Cable is basically a few millimeters from being cut in my house, and AMC's Mad Men used to be one of the reasons we've been hanging in there.
posted by vitabellosi at 5:37 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have to wonder if Don hasn't already been dabbling around the edges of doing AA, and we simply haven't been privy to it? One's membership in AA is generally kept a secret.

He's been secretly working with Freddy throughout his time-out from the agency. Perhaps their working relationship goes a little deeper than copywriting?

In the last episode, we saw tiny signs of Don trying to get his drinking under control (marking the bottle, for instance) In this episode, his sneaking the bottle of vodka from Roger's office seemed really sad and desperate, like witnessing a fall off the wagon. And his phone call to Freddy (of all people) reminded me a lot of a panic call to a sponsor, however subconsciously.

(And I got the distinct impression that they never made it to the ballgame.)
posted by Thorzdad at 5:48 AM on May 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


"Was it me, or did all of the sets seem just a tad miniaturized in this episode?"

Terry Gross asked Matthew Weiner this exact question in a Fresh Air interview last week.

That Q and A is not in the transcribed excerpts and I don't have time to go back and listen, but he denied using miniaturized sets. He attributed the effect to acting in one specific scene Gross asked about, but I think he may have allowed that lens effects were used in others, I'm not sure if I'm remembering correctly.
posted by Jahaza at 5:53 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


The offices are sized fine; there's spare furniture since the creative lounge got kicked out so the offices are overstuffed.
posted by tilde at 5:54 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Here's a thing that's blowing my mind. Roger's Daughter is Margaret and PEGGY is also Margaret.

Now, people with the same names are pretty common in real life, (how many Jennifers do you know) but Matt Weiner is all about symbolism.

So, just as Margaret is rejecting Roger, while embracing the same things he embraces, Peggy is rejecting Don, while embracing the same things he embraces.


I'm sure it's covered in the recaps today, but I haven't read any yet. But it's an interesting parallel.

I too felt that the episode was a throw away. Not very satisfying and rather sad.

I sure hope Don pulls a rabbit out of his hat, because ultimately, I want him to overcome all of the bourgeois crap and rise above it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:22 AM on May 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


On the next episode of Mad Men:

The new computer is named D.O.N. and is made head of creative.

Don’s new office is the storage closet.

Meanwhile, Bob Benson is in every scene in every episode from now until the end of time.
posted by littlesq at 6:38 AM on May 5, 2014 [14 favorites]


Don is the master of self-reinvention. So why is he stuck now? Why hasn't he reinvented himself again?

I'd argue that Don isn't a master of self-reinvention. He took Don Draper's name to get out of Korea and then he became a successful ad man like he wanted. But it was almost all about living out a fantasy of what a successful, alpha male does. He married a perfect model-type wife and had a lovely home and two beautiful kids, but he couldn't really commit to and engage with that life, and instead tried to live out a fantasy of separateness by sleeping around, toying with the idea of running away with some of his mistresses, and refusing to knuckle under to anyone at work. Once he was single again, he couldn't handle being without the moorings of his suburban life, so he promptly married a second time, and despite some honest effort on his part once again failed at achieving a genuine emotional intimacy with his wife.

Now he's in a corner, having put both his career and his second marriage in serious jeopardy and with almost no real emotional connections to anyone. He can't keep playing the part of the unstoppable alpha male now because no one's buying it anymore and even he feels buried under the weight of his failures and abuses. If he wants to fix things, he's going to have to put in some real work on himself: get his drinking under control; do the humble tasks assigned to him and toe the line drawn for him at work; and accept that people know the worst about him and manage to live with that discomfort and connect with them any way. And it remains to be seen whether he can do that.
posted by orange swan at 6:47 AM on May 5, 2014 [13 favorites]


It did feel a bit like "Don decides to put up with crap at SCP to keep his job" part 2, but at least it reveals that Don in fact did not have a real plan of any sort at the end of last episode. He probably thought just his presence would get things revolving around him again, but instead he does literally nothing for three weeks until he gets his crappy assignment and rejection by Bert then realizes maybe he can't handle it after all. The face Don makes when Freddy is lecturing him is the same Dick Whitman face we see on the balcony in the season's first episode.

Don is the master of self-reinvention. So why is he stuck now? Why hasn't he reinvented himself again? Does he have too many commitments now?

He's decided to stop running and starting over. So he is self-exiled to a place where reinvention will be a slow road at best. He has exactly one commitment left that he thinks he can salvage: Sally.

Is Kingston as close to Woodstock (about an hour and change away) as Roger (and the show) will get?

The downside of setting up their computer in a big glass room near the entrance is how eventually they'll be showcasing an outdated computer setup (especially with the extended non-IBM lease).
posted by mikepop at 6:49 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Of course someone named Ruthless Bunny would be rooting for rabbits out of hats! ;) Plus, Don is one of the few people still wearing a hat.

Margaret and Peggy; I think one of the *feeds or Kinja sites had a visualization of names over the last sixty years, most popular girl and boy baby names. When one of my kids was in kindergarten, there was that year's Jennifer in every class (10 Jennifers, one in each class). Margaret was likely a popular name then (it was even on our list for girl names) in general; and it's a common Catholic name (at least in my experience) - and Peggy was raised Catholic.

It's funny to me the guy being named Lloyd, similar to Floyd (Heywood) in 2001/2010. And yeah, Don was going off on Lloyd as the devil, and being pissed that the guy was rejecting him and that Bert was kicking him in the face. And Bert knows they could be rid of him with the whole Draper/Whitman thing anyway, right?

Peggy and Don working together - I mentioned them being 'together' in the last thread based on S4 The Suitcase; she doesn't have any illusions of him so I can't see a romantic relationship unless they are equals but I wasn't sure how to make them equals without a fight. I guess this flush and reboot is the way to do it. He'll be forced to work under her and look up to her for guidance and see what she is good at, maybe manage her up to be a better manager as well. Settling eventually into an equal partnership and maybe some kind of relationship after she stops crapping around with guys who want something from her (I think she was Ted's midlife crisis, we know she was Duck's salvation/reinvention skirt for a woman-directed agency).

The computer taking the place of creatives is both symbolic and as a show off - when you first walk in, you see the "creative lounge" - this is where the magic happens (Sword and Chrysanthemum). Now we show off the computer.

I'm glad they stuck him with Meredith; we'll see just how useful she is as a spy or coconspirator. Which side is she playing, and why. I don't think they've got her as bright enough to have multiple levels of agendas, but I think she's just got a crush all over Don.
posted by tilde at 6:52 AM on May 5, 2014


I wondered about Roger and Mona getting back together over a crisis - Margaret. Now we finally see some of Mona's flaws, too late to matter much in the series. I think this is his last big arc, too. But who does he 'end up with' since he's fundamentally unable to be alone? Joan? I think she can do better than that at this point.

The description of this episode hints at a deeper undercurrent with multiple interpretations ... Pete underestimates Peggy. He doesn't think she can handle it, and wants Don to do it (only having seen Sober Don anxious to get back into it). But honestly, I think he's underestimating Malibu Betty.

Interesting that his father in law had a heart attack and Trudy didn't tell him. She was pretty pissed about the party house story, though. She doesn't believe it or doesn't want to.
posted by tilde at 7:02 AM on May 5, 2014


Don's reaction to Meredith's "Wouldn't YOU like to know" line was great.

Another sign of Don changing is him throwing away but then rescuing the last vestige of Lane Pryce, the Mets pennant.

Or at least we assume he did since we just see it hanging up after he tossed it out, and it wasn't the literal ghost of Lane that did it. Although it would be great if Don look at it confused, tossed it out again, and the process repeated itself every episode.
posted by mikepop at 7:06 AM on May 5, 2014 [9 favorites]


Interesting that his father in law had a heart attack and Trudy didn't tell him. She was pretty pissed about the party house story, though. She doesn't believe it or doesn't want to.

Trudy once told Pete that her father had a box full of secret things that she looked into and then wished she hadn't. I think given that she already knew something about her father's sexual proclivities and that she is generally a woman who sees things as they are, she probably doesn't disbelieve what Pete told her — she just didn't want to know, and she was outraged that Pete would tell her what he did in an effort to turn her against her father.

But yeah, after that, she's not likely to tell Pete about her father's heart attack, and she didn't need his support. Trudy's done with Peter, and it seems that although he is moving on, he's not quite done with her.

Interesting that both Betty's and Trudy's fathers both had a moment when they told their sleazy sons-in-law off with a, "My daughter is a princess," the implication being that Don and Pete are no princes. It reminds me of that old saw, "Never marry a woman whose father calls her princess, because she probably believes it."

Flirty Meredith is a riot.
posted by orange swan at 7:38 AM on May 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Stan is going to program the computer to write love poems to Peggy.
posted by drezdn at 7:53 AM on May 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Between not being able to buy out Lou, needing time to buy Don's shares, and buying a cheaper computer, does it seem like the agency is supposed to be on shaky financial ground?
posted by drezdn at 7:55 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


As for smaller plot lines, Don's not invited to the morning meeting that hands out work (Lou is), Ginsberg is starting to unravel, and Roger still wants us to go play like things are fine (wanting to have a drink with Don, when Don corrects him about drinking in the office). "They're trying to erase us!" shouts Ginsberg over the visual of A Meeting Without Don and Not About Him.

Yeah, he threw the Mets pennant away, but they didn't show him putting it up. So I'm another in the Ghost Lane corner (we meet behind the door oooOOOOO00000)

I think I see myself as clueless to politics as Peggy, glad Joan set us straight. :P Cutler's under no illusions about Don being set up to fail.

drezdn it's not that they can't buy out Lou, they don't intend to. They still need him until Ted comes back but they don't intend Don to succeed.
posted by tilde at 7:59 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


They still need him until Ted comes back but they don't intend Don to succeed.

Is Ted coming back? Lou seemed pretty surprised at the Burger Chef conference call when Jim told Ted they wanted him back in NYC to handle Burger Chef. And Ted pretty unequivocally shot that idea down without much effort and no argument from Jim.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:06 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I dunno, the whole episode felt like here is a POINT and we are going to HAMMER you over the HEAD with it, y'know?

I felt that Don with the vodka was cheaping out. "They're not giving me any work, may as well get drunk and fired" simply did not seem like the Don we've started seeing. Plot Magic at work.

I mean I could see Don eventually getting drunk in the office--but Someone Important would have to see it, and decide not to do anything about it. This soon plus the platitudes from Freddy making another rapid change? It felt forced and unnatural to me. Should have done a full season so they'd have some breathing room.

Between not being able to buy out Lou, needing time to buy Don's shares, and buying a cheaper computer, does it seem like the agency is supposed to be on shaky financial ground?

Yes, absolutely, and that ties to one of the major themes of this episode, and an arc through this season: Creative is no longer respected. Beancounters are taking over, the CD is just some grey dude, and they have literally just removed the area Creative used to work.

They're focused on getting money out of clients, and not focused on putting out the best product on Madison Ave. Don's slow breakdown and 'leave of absence' were a big cause there I think; as a partner and CD, he could really champion the need for good creative at the highest levels, and win. With his loss, there's now nobody except Ted at the partner level who's ever even been in Creative, and Ted's checked the hell out.

So yeah, I'd assume they were on shaky ground; Ken's tantrums recently are evidence for that too I think. Accounts guys are always intense, but they only start getting that snappy when they're not hitting targets. My guess is the drop in creative intensity, plus the place being run by Accounts people, has lost them some clients. And the mediocrity coming out of Lou's office isn't doing anything to help them win new ones. Not to mention that buying out Don's shares would be prohibitively expensive. If the company were doing well, they'd have cash or credit to reabsorb the shares. Or sell them to someone else even.

At the end of the day, his new contract is basically "We need you to fix things, we can't afford to buy you out, but we're going to make it really hard for you." Because I'm sure they think they can just somehow turn Creative around with Oatmeal Man in charge.

Ted's not coming back. He's gone. We may see him in NYC once or twice but he has checked wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy outta there.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:07 AM on May 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


What was Ted's motivation for suggesting Peggy work on Burger Chef? Was it just because he knows she does good work? If they got the account, would she be spending time in California?
posted by drezdn at 8:08 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I thought Ted suggested Peggy to deflect the conversation about him coming back to NY. Plus she is the next-highest ranking creative - I think it's acknowledged that Lou's role is to react to creative, not actually create.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:12 AM on May 5, 2014


No, Ted wouldn't want Peggy out there but he wants her to succeed. This guy was in CA on business and pleasure, they are probably East Coast based. "I'll call you when I get back to the home office."

Lou's not coasting politically anymore, but he's getting himself organized. Power play on Peggy "giving" her a raise. Sticking her with Don. "Giving" her Burger Chef so he can keep coasting.
posted by tilde at 8:13 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Didn't you used to read books and like ..journal?

In this episode we see Don reading Portnoy's Complaint in his office, to which I involuntarily said out loud "Oh, of course you would."
posted by psoas at 8:14 AM on May 5, 2014 [8 favorites]


drezdn: Yes.

He's not over her, he just ran away. So he's playing with fire, seeing what happens when she visits for business. If that happens it won't end well for anyone.

Plus, she's good. With Don Draper feeding her ideas and her refining them... I dunno I think Burger Chef is going to be the Big Client at least for the rest of this season and probably heading into the next.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:14 AM on May 5, 2014


Oh, and Marigold can't take Ellery; would give Brooks a chance to get him out legally. Once she's better entrenched, maybe. If she gets a divorce she can bring him back; she'd have to go fake it a while, though, to keep the kid from being taken from him as she's gone freaky deaky.
posted by tilde at 8:14 AM on May 5, 2014


I was surprised at how harsh Bert was with Don about LeaseTech. Yes, I get that you basically want him gone, but Don is offering you a free client, and isn't even asking to run it.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:17 AM on May 5, 2014 [9 favorites]


Don already called the computer guys an "apple" once, so within the rant was embedded both the Eden metaphor but, probably just as important, a reference to one of the three best-marketed companies of all time. When Don started talking to Lloyd, you could see a future where he starts advertising for the computer industry, eventually ending up in Cupertino. But then, just as quickly, it was clear that he's just a washed up drunk with no edge and an outdated vision. Does anyone see a future for Don where he pens the 1984 ad?
posted by one_bean at 8:19 AM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Tom and Lorenzo review is up, in which they neatly sum up my issue with Bert being such a remarkable turd:

The Randian lion, refusing a pitch for new business because it came from Don? Since when does that make sense for the character? He’s long been established as someone with very little in the way of morals when it comes to business. Why is he so offended by Don that he’d dismiss a good idea like that? Especially by making such a crudely over-the-top remark about sharing a dead man’s office? That wasn’t Bert sounding coldly Randian so much as sounding like a Bond villain.
posted by palomar at 8:23 AM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Did companies really install those computers in the middle of their offices like that? I would think the noise and the extra heat would be problematic.

When Mona suggested that Roger go up to the commune to retrieve their daughter my immediate reaction was, "Awww, Geezus." For a minute there it looked like Roger might be the Mad Man who'd end up trying to get himself back to the garden.

I wonder if part of the reason Lou gave Peggy the huge raise and the fake pat on the back was so she wouldn't come back crying to him about Don's behavior. He probably knew there would be trouble and he knows he can't go mano a mano with Don. Lou is such a backbiting weenie.

Don moving into info tech project management consulting seems like a no-brainer. A company like LeaseTech was on the cusp in more ways than one and Bert's too bent on punishing Don to see it.

Were people still making Jack Johnson references in 1969? Why not Ali?

Add me to the list of viewers who were surprised the episode didn't end with Sympathy for the Devil. I'm glad it didn't because the reference would have been too on the nose after Don's little drunken tirade. (Plus, getting the rights was probably cost-prohibitive.)

Now we show off the computer.

Which has zero creativity on its own. SC&P is probably going to get schooled in the concept of GIGO.

I thought Don's face was all mask-of-rage-and-mortification the whole time.

OMG, I loved that death stare Don was giving Peggy. "Seriously, bitch is now telling me what to do?"
posted by fuse theorem at 8:26 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Meredith had the line of this episode: "No, I'm to send you in."

Yay for spell checker I can't spell her name to save my life.
posted by tilde at 8:27 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]




He's farting into that couch as a power move.
posted by drezdn at 8:30 AM on May 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


In which case the intensity of his stare is... alarming. You may want to flip over that couch cushion, Pegs.
posted by palomar at 8:31 AM on May 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


The Met's pennant is interesting, because on one hand it's definitely a reminder of Lane and Lane's suicide. On the other hand, 1969 is the year of The Miracle Mets.
posted by drezdn at 8:42 AM on May 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


I had a dream about last night's episode this morning. In it, Don and Peggy dismantled the wall between their offices to create a new creative lounge. The combined office was bigger than Lou's and he was pissed.

I bought Don's actions in this episode because he might be an occasional ass, but he's also a person who cares about good work. And Lou's method of fostering ideas is crap. He was on board with the whole thing--"What's our strategy?"--until he heard that he has to spit out contextless taglines. We've seen the fruits of this practice all season so far. "More horsepower." "Accutron is accurate." It's crap, and he and Peggy both know it's crap. In fact, I think that's where his big disappointment with Peggy was. She's going along with this crap--more to save face than because she believes it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:52 AM on May 5, 2014 [19 favorites]


Just finished the episode. What a heavy-handed, steaming pile of meh.

I did like that Don's tantrum about Peggy involved throwing an IBM Selectric (the same type of machine that young Peggy was introduced to her on her very first day). And Mona was perfect. And Peggy looked terrific.

But Don's reference to the devil? Bah. The literally falling into the mud (to suggest Roger was just as guilty/dirty of being a good parent)? And a character specifically pointing out that Don was working in a dead man's office? Awful.

I have my nitpicks about Tom & Lorenzo, but they got it 100% this time.
posted by mochapickle at 8:55 AM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Lou's not coasting politically anymore, but he's getting himself organized. Power play on Peggy "giving" her a raise. Sticking her with Don. "Giving" her Burger Chef so he can keep coasting.

On the one hand, yeah, ulterior motives aplenty... but on the other, for Peggy that raise was no joke.
posted by psoas at 9:02 AM on May 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


torticat: "Yeah well Marigold is a brat but Roger totally had that coming and I was so glad she said it. Roger's okay with his own commune-in-a-hotel-room, he's even okay with sharing some of that vibe with his daughter--but when it comes to her sleeping with a dude he's all "you can't do that you're a MOTHER!" It was great for her to come back at him with just how great he's been as a DADDY.
"

See, what pisses me off about this sort of thing is that she is castigating Roger for trying to have it both ways, but SHE is having it both ways, too. If Roger was a bad parent for basically not raising her, then she is, too. And if you want to say abandoning your kid is okay, then you don't get to complain about his doing it - and your weird passive-agressive "I forgive you" shit doesn't cut it.

Aargh. I know this is how people work, but it is annoying.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:11 AM on May 5, 2014 [8 favorites]


Speaking of Peggy's raise, I almost spit-taked my Old Fashioned when Lou started out with "I like to think of myself as a leader..."
posted by dnash at 9:12 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Margret Hargrove? Isn't Hargrove one of Ken's pen names? If she's 24, she's just at the edge of baby boomers. It was #13 in the 1940s. Huh, Joan was #7 in the 1930s.

So the wrap up song is Carousel, the big win the first season was Carousel ... Ken mentioned Carousel, Don talked a little bit about the nostalgia in S4 (Life Cereal) ... yeah, around and around.

I just don't know what they are going to do with Pete unless Pete Peggy and Don start up a new place out of Anna's old house in CA. :P

psoas Ye gods I want to run away and be Peggy. She's making nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year at this point.

So what the hell does Don make a week? Gah. I'm getting caught up in the crazy. Bread was also then what would now be like five bucks a loaf (I'm only paying $3 a loaf, iirc).

So yeah, this was a spinning around episode and not much but some centrifugral settling (hah, carousel again!).

Timewise they're early May or Late April. He's been back for three weeks and we put last episode at the start of April. Agreed the moonshot is going to be coming up and soon.
posted by tilde at 9:13 AM on May 5, 2014


I had thought Burger Chef was supposed to be an ersatz McDonalds or Burger King, but apparently it became Hardees?
posted by drezdn at 9:17 AM on May 5, 2014


With all the Kubrick in this episode, maybe Don will help fake the moon landing.
posted by drezdn at 9:18 AM on May 5, 2014 [9 favorites]


Wiki: General Foods proved unable to support the company's growth. In 1982, the corporation sold Burger Chef to the Canadian company Imasco, which also owned Hardee's. Many locations were converted into Hardee's restaurants, except those located near existing Hardee's.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:21 AM on May 5, 2014


I totally remember the name Burger Chef. I almost certainly ate at one at some point in my childhood. Probably on a family road trip, though, as I'm fairly sure there weren't any in the area I grew up in.
posted by dnash at 9:23 AM on May 5, 2014


Did companies really install those computers in the middle of their offices like that? I would think the noise and the extra heat would be problematic.

No, they were given entire floors and kept frosty cold, typically with a raised floor and a halon fire suppression system. Also, static bracelets everyone!


I had thought Burger Chef was supposed to be an ersatz McDonalds or Burger King, but apparently it became Hardees?

I think Carl's Jr and Hardees are a separate entity, they may have offered franchises to the old Burger Chef folks or bought the real estate, but Burger Chef was it's own thing. The one by our house had it's own fixin's bar. They put mayo on the burger.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:28 AM on May 5, 2014


they were given entire floors and kept frosty cold, typically with a raised floor and a halon fire suppression system

Look again. They are raising the floors and lowering the ceiling; they also replaced almost all the walls with clear walls and doors (as a lounge there were open doorways and soft pegboards among the open doorways).

With the dropped (further) ceiling, the raised floor and the glass walls, it's functional and a showcase. The keypunch service will include young, attractive, competent women overseen by guys with clipboards, or an older woman about Mona's age. If they're staying true to what folks I knew worked in the industry back in the day experienced.
posted by tilde at 9:47 AM on May 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


If I am reading into the AV Club's stray observations right, it sounds like BurgerChef was the Crocs of its day--something that blew up and then imploded very quickly.
posted by psoas at 9:49 AM on May 5, 2014


The series will end with Don attempting to pull the plug on the computer...

"Stop, Don... Will you stop, Don? Stop, Don... I'm afraid, Don... Good afternoon, gentleman... Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do..."
posted by drezdn at 9:55 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


"I dunno, the whole episode felt like here is a POINT and we are going to HAMMER you over the HEAD with it, y'know?"

Every season we feel like that, and then the layers begin to emerge. There's still some ways to go... Give it some space... oh what's that? only 3 episodes left?
posted by stratastar at 10:03 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


My read on Don's drunken blowup at Lloyd was was that Don had started to see Lloyd and his new business as his ticket out of Ad Purgatory, and symbolically blamed him when it all fell through. Was I the only one getting Creepy Grownup Potsie Webber vibes from Lloyd?

My imaginary comeback from Roger when Margaret said, "How did it feel when you called your secretary from a hotel room to have her send me a birthday present?" was, "Honey, you know very well my secretary was right there in the hotel room with me!" She did say she told Brooks she'd like it if he and Ellery came to live with her there.

I must have missed the part about them not having the liquidity to buy out his shares; I had been a little unclear on ahy it wouldn't have been easier for them to release him to go ruin some other agency.

In any other season, I'd be thinking, "OK, this is just the slow burn phase, where they're setting stuff up for later." But since we're heading for endgame, I guess my expectations are a bit different.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:36 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


The show Harry was talking about was called Turn-On and its backstory was that it was supposed to have been made by a computer.
posted by drezdn at 10:42 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Lloyd looked too much like Seth MacFarlane for my taste.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:42 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Bill W and Don Draper
posted by drezdn at 11:21 AM on May 5, 2014 [12 favorites]


For no other reason then I can't believe this is actually true and my life but I am burning through the first season of Mad Men on Netflix AND GETTING PAID TO DO SO.
posted by The Whelk at 12:28 PM on May 5, 2014 [9 favorites]


That's a really good read, drezdn.
posted by sweetkid at 12:29 PM on May 5, 2014


On seeing Joan's rather deadly smile when talking to Peggy, and given her talent for finding things out (the Dawn/timecard incident, the Jane/Cooper's Rothko incident) I was expecting her to follow up and discover that Don was wasted and behaving inappropriately. It's exactly the kind of breach the partners are looking for. I'm sort of surprised that it looks like the show's not going to do anything with it -- unless they carry it into the next episode, which would not be their usual style -- but relieved as well; an easy, mechanical outcome like that would also be a little out of character for the show.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:07 PM on May 5, 2014


According to an AV Club commenter, if Peggy wouldn't have complained to Joan, Joan would have probably run into drunk Don on his way to the elevator.
posted by drezdn at 1:11 PM on May 5, 2014 [17 favorites]


They are really pushing Carousel as Don's moment of glory. Ending with him as low on the totem pole as it's possible to go before he has to make coffee for the secretaries, and mocking him by playing that song. Highest-paid intern ever!

I had a wee sad moment, knowing as soon as Don dropped his cigarette that he was going to find some memory of Lane under there.

But again, more references to death. They're everywhere when you are looking for them! I'm assuming here that Death is a metaphor for change.
posted by tracicle at 1:37 PM on May 5, 2014


I was thinking that too - surely he was about to get busted by Joan, and then nope. Also shocked that no one noticed Super Obvious Drunk Don, and the subsequent gossip. Even if the non-partners don't know about his new "rules" the gossip would get back to one of the real partners.
posted by Big_B at 1:38 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


It may be that Obvious Drunk Don is so Normal that no one would even bother to gossip about it.
posted by ambrosia at 1:44 PM on May 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Another "time is a flat circle/carousel" moment: realising that Don is where Freddie was (without the pantswetting) and Freddie is the one on top.
posted by tracicle at 1:45 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


The Joan/Peggy interaction was pretty clear to me. Joan was dangling the option of ratting Don out over Peggy, but leaving it her choice. Peggy could have easily been like "Were the stipulations actually doing his work as assigned and not being drunk off his ass in the middle of the day? Because yeah."

But she wasn't, because she loves Don and doesn't want to hurt him, even though she's super pissed at him. Joan respects that this is Peggy's choice because the two have some begrudging respect for one another even though they snipe at each other.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:46 PM on May 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


A Brief History of Freddy Rumsen

It's kind of funny, I'd forgotten that Freddy is really the one that discovered Peggy... and he's been more of an actual mentor than Don in some (many? all?) ways.
posted by palomar at 2:25 PM on May 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


how can you forget that? Every time people look at me like they're amazed i said something smart/funny at work I think of Freddy's line "It was like watching a dog play the piano."
posted by sweetkid at 2:29 PM on May 5, 2014 [12 favorites]


I had thought Burger Chef was supposed to be an ersatz McDonalds or Burger King, but apparently it became Hardees?

Back in the day, Burger Chef was way, way better than McD's. Dunno why they folded. In Indianapolis, most of the BC stores were bought-up by Hardee's when they moved into the area, but I don't believe BC became Hardee's.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:39 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Roger's dealbreaker was kind of telling. He was warming up to his daughter living the hippie life until he was hit over the head with the fact that it included free love, which is of course the exact inverse of his own current way of life, which is he'll take the free love but none of the rest of the hippie lifestyle.

But for me this is a bit of a Matt Weiner "Man Behind The Curtain" moment, because suddenly the oddness of Roger letting hippies use his Astoria suite as a crash pad while continuing to live, dress and work as a Madison Avenue executive in every other respect seems like too blatantly calculated a setup for this mirror image.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:41 PM on May 5, 2014


I actually liked the episode. I think this whole season has some somewhat broad, but also full of slightly bitter comedy that has been working for me. Roger and Mona's little quips in the car - Roger and Mona together again was a little celebration for me. I wasn't crazy about the commune stuff but I figured if this is what gets "where are the hippies" out of people's systems, then so much the better, rather than having some sort of hippie flower power adventure for Sally. I also laughed at Cutler and Harry looking ridiculous in their hard hats and fist pumping about "the future."

I also loved all things Meredith ("don't eat that, you're so trim!" had me laughing out loud) and Pete running into that old Vicks client. In AV Club's "stray observations" they said Pete didn't care about Trudy's father's heart attack and just focused on the business, but that didn't seem the case to me at all. He definitely seemed taken aback, and when Bonnie said "I love watching you do business," Pete seemed all "bhuh? oh, that's just a thing, could be nothing." I don't think he was devastated to the core, but I think it hit him that he's really not tied in to his old life any more.

I was kind of alarmed at how quickly Don let things fall apart on him, going straight to the vodka bottle. My view of the whole stipulations plot wasn't that he was going to get tossed out on one or other technicality, but just to set up the theme that the partners were going to make this hard for him. I thought his measured "ok" from last week meant he understood that and was going to sharpen his pencils and be a good boy. But it seems like that's still out of his grasp. The Freddy scenes were interesting because we see so often how much Don is influenced by the women in his life, so it was a change up to see him getting the "do the work" speech from another man, especially one he'd thought of as lower than him on the totem pole.

I'm surprised some of the recappers and commenters on other sites are so shocked at the animosity towards Don - especially T&Lo, who made basically their whole recap about it. This stuff has been building up for years and now that Don has been kicked a bit they're letting it all out.
posted by sweetkid at 2:45 PM on May 5, 2014 [10 favorites]


Also shocked that no one noticed Super Obvious Drunk Don...

Same here. I don't think we've ever seen Don so utterly, and quite obviously, smashed and impaired (at least at work). In fact, it seemed almost unrealistic for the character, given the amount we usually see him drink.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:56 PM on May 5, 2014


So I was right. Roger does go to Woodstock. He just does it a few months before everyone else.
posted by Sara C. at 2:59 PM on May 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


Am I the only one who initially thought that the partners' discussion of who to put on the Burger Chef pitch didn't necessarily suggest that Peggy would be put in charge? I was convinced that they'd basically agreed that Don would be in charge, and I kept on expecting Lou's actions to be found out eventually. However, on rewatching that bit, it's clear it was a lot more ambiguous. Do we think that had Roger actually been in the office, Don would have stormed in and perhaps changed things around?
posted by adrianhon at 3:00 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I felt like this whole plotline was a cross promotions for AMC's new techie in the 80s series.

The scene where Computer Dude explains his little startup was a lovely backdoor pilot of a scene.
posted by Sara C. at 3:04 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


(omg you guys Season One Pete looks like a CHILD a TEENAGER he looks like he should be hanging out in a parking lot.)
posted by The Whelk at 3:08 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Since we've seen three episodes prior to this where Don was very obviously cutting back on his drinking, and since Don was angry as balls and emotionally out of control when he pinched that bottle from Roger's office and started drinking, I sort of figured that Don got so wasted partially because his tolerance is lower now, but also because he's lashing out in anger at his situation, and what better way to show how few fucks he gives by getting just beyond shitfaced in the one place he's really not even supposed to have a sip?
posted by palomar at 3:08 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


What if every character in this series but Don and Peggy are wrapped up as totally static, unchanging parodies of themselves.

But dat Joan, tho
posted by Sara C. at 3:08 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


he was yelling at himself

I think this is spot on. It used to be that Don was an up and comer on the make, full of big ideas for how to do what bigger companies do, better. Now he's... well, whatever this sad sack of shit is.

Another interesting thing -- doesn't Don mention something about knowing Lloyd's name in his tirade? Kind of like how so few people in Don's life know his real name?
posted by Sara C. at 3:13 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


...and what better way to show how few fucks he gives by getting just beyond shitfaced in the one place he's really not even supposed to have a sip?

Then, why nab the vodka and not his regular, whiskey? And go through the hiding-it-in-the-coke-can kabuki? Those were pretty classic camouflage techniques of someone trying to hide his drinking, and not the act of someone who was intent on making a public show of not giving a fuck.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:14 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also um why did Mona keep mentioning drugs? Every third word out of her mouth was "drugs". Is Mona on drugs? She sure seems to know a lot about it.

(And, yes, I'm aware that in this period there was a lot of sensationalist media about LSD and such, and the typical establishment rationale for what people like Margaret are going through is basically "because drugs". But Mona really does seem over-fixated on something that pretty obviously isn't Margaret's problem.)
posted by Sara C. at 3:15 PM on May 5, 2014


It may be that Obvious Drunk Don is so Normal that no one would even bother to gossip about it.

Per Peggy and Joan's conversation, it also seems like not everyone is privy to exactly what the "rules" are for Don's return. The only people who see him have that outburst are underlings and people who don't actually work there.
posted by Sara C. at 3:17 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is Mona on drugs? She sure seems to know a lot about it.

She reads Life magazine. She knows what's up.
posted by drezdn at 3:19 PM on May 5, 2014 [14 favorites]


Then, why nab the vodka and not his regular, whiskey? And go through the hiding-it-in-the-coke-can kabuki? Those were pretty classic camouflage techniques of someone trying to hide his drinking, and not the act of someone who was intent on making a public show of not giving a fuck.

Because I don't believe that it was intended to be a public show. Sure, he picked a liquor he's not known for being hooked on, and it looked like he picked a full spare bottle from the bottom of the liquor cart instead of taking something already open. Classic hiding. But stealing a bottle of liquor and hiding in your office to get shitfaced when you know if you get caught, you lose? That's a classic "fuck you, you can't control me" move, as impotent and subconscious as it may be.
posted by palomar at 3:25 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


It kinda fits this idea that, this season, Don has basically regressed to being a teenager.
posted by The Whelk at 3:26 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Roger's behaviour between the hotel suite hippie host and the commune in the country is perfectly consistent: he wants the taste of counterculture and dange, but doesn't actually want to live it.

Was going to say the same thing. That bottle of vodka was a 15 year old stomping to their room and playing their music really loud.

Also, 'teenager' was the last time he was Dick Whitman, which is worth considering.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:31 PM on May 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think that, with Roger, the undercurrent of all of it is being present as a parent/father/husband/family member. In a lot of ways, Roger has "dropped out" of his responsibilities to society in order to play hippie grandpa. Now his daughter is doing the same thing and rubbing it in his face, along with the idea that, let's face it, it's not like he was father of the year himself, before the counterculture stuff.

That's what Roger can't take about it. If Margaret wants to run free on a commune and never wash her hair again, so be it. Maybe Ellery can come, too. Maybe Brooks'll come around to it, or they'll get a divorce and like whatever, that guy's a chump anyway.

The reason Roger can't stand that Margaret is sleeping around isn't out of prudery, it's that A) it hits much too close to his own reasons for playing around with the hippie thing (escapism), and B) it means that this isn't a good clean wholesome alternative lifestyle that they can just go do and maybe it's better than city life. Margaret doesn't want to be a wife and mother anymore. Not just "in the city" or "around rich people" or "in the establishment". She doesn't want it, period.

I also think there's an undercurrent of "wait so basically this is exactly as sordid as everyone thinks" happening -- Roger wants to believe that these people have really found something, but Mona is right. It's all just an excuse for this dude to hole up with a harem of women to fuck and do his work for him. Roger doesn't like seeing that truth, and he probably also doesn't want that kind of life for his daughter.
posted by Sara C. at 3:43 PM on May 5, 2014 [8 favorites]


Also, we all realize the computer isn't replacing the creatives, right? Computers couldn't do that in 1969. Computers can't really do it now, unless we're talking about Horse Ebooks type stuff.

The computer Harry asked for isn't a computer to generate ad copy, it's to coordinate media buys. It's only going in the creative bullpen because that's extraneous space. The creatives are annoyed about it on a symbolic level (the first thing you see when you walk into SCDPLETTERS isn't a writers' rap session, it's a machine), not because they are literally being fired. They're the last people at the agency who are at risk of being replaced by a computer.

The computer is replacing a team of underlings we've never met whose entire job is to cross-reference a paper calendar-based tracking board and a rolodex. It's the 1969 equivalent of 1960's xerox machine. Everybody's on board with getting it, but nobody actually wants to give up their office.
posted by Sara C. at 4:41 PM on May 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


"Giving" her Burger Chef so he can keep coasting.

This is going back upthread a bit... but I think the sole reason Lou gave the burger work to Peggy was to stick it to Don. The only thing that's changed between his not giving a shit about Peggy's work, and his saying in this episode "I think Peggy's the one for the job," is Don's return to the office.

Thus he gets really pissed when he's told to put Don on the job too. He does it (has no choice), but does it in a way calculated to further humiliate Don.

He still doesn't care for Peggy but is happy to use her EITHER to shut Don out of work, OR to push him toward blowing up.

I kinda hate that this is how Peggy's getting her first opportunity/acknowledgment in quite some time. Still, it's an opening for her, which is more than she's had at any point in the season so far.
posted by torticat at 5:46 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


But on another level the loss of a creative lounge can be disastrous to the creative process, everyone is going to be stuck in offices or dealing with passing freelancers, having a dedicated space just for spitballing and sketching and pin boarding is huge for group projects and the loss it means creative is going to be even more fractured.

Divide and conquer, the first small step to only having a creative director and only using freelancers.
posted by The Whelk at 5:55 PM on May 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


creatives usually work in groups of two (art &copy), in Mad Men land and real life 2014 land, so it's not really taking anything away and they're being a little hysterical about it, which is also realistic. Mostly losing the creative lounge takes away a neat part of the newer show set that allowed for some interesting interaction between characters, so I wonder what they'll do with that.
posted by sweetkid at 5:59 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


If Roger was a bad parent for basically not raising her, then she is, too. And if you want to say abandoning your kid is okay, then you don't get to complain about his doing it -

Eh, I hear you, but I also think a young person gets a little bit of a pass for experimenting. One, she hasn't actually abandoned her son at this point; she said her husband could bring him to live with her at the commune. Not likely to happen, no, but in her mind they could still be in the "working things out" stage (and if her husband doesn't want to... well, why does he get to unilaterally decide?). And two, she's reacting to Roger's freaking out about her messing around with stuff (free love) that he's done his whole life and is still doing.

Roger's absenteeism is past history and past repair. I don't think Margaret's in quite the same category (yet). Though she is definitely acting like a twit at the moment.

and your weird passive-agressive "I forgive you" shit doesn't cut it.

Totally agree there! She's a supercilious brat.
posted by torticat at 6:23 PM on May 5, 2014


The reason Roger can't stand that Margaret is sleeping around isn't out of prudery

Also on this topic... I wouldn't call it "prudery" exactly but I do think it has to do with Roger's view of women and the whole madonna/whore thing. He's perfectly happy with his own lovers--some of them probably not much older than Margaret!--but when it comes to the mother of his grandson sleeping around, that's a bridge too far.
posted by torticat at 6:46 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


I liked that we had more of Ginsberg in this episode and according to previews we'll at least see him briefly next week. Last week he snags Don before he can slink out of the office, this week his couch antics annoy him. Don is game to help at first, rolling up his sleeves in his first official act of work. After the couch hijacking falls apart, annoyed Don retires to his office for the next three weeks. Next week, it looks like more antics.

No Ken this week. I'm wondering who will get more story connected to the moon landing: Ken, secret science fiction author or Ginsberg, the self-described "full-blooded Martian".

As Don was walking through the empty office, complete with abandoned phone receiver swinging ominously (a bit seemingly developed just for the always misleading previews) it was so unreal I thought it was an anxiety dream. Roger seems annoyed Don was late for the meeting but he wasn't told. If it wasn't called at the last second, why did it look like the office was hastily vacated? If it was called at the last second, what time did they call it? Don seems to think he's on time, but the meeting is already wrapping up by the time he gets there. I'd like to re-watch and hopefully find a clock.
posted by mikepop at 6:57 PM on May 5, 2014


I don't know, I didn't get that at all from this episode, and especially Roger. I think Mona has hangups like that, but Roger just wants Margaret to be happy and not fucked up. For a minute, he believed that this could be her own weird little way of finding contentment. Then he realized it was just another level of fucked up.
posted by Sara C. at 6:58 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Dad's first comment, during the conference call with California, "We had that ashtray." We did, too. I remember it. I actually wish we still had it.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:43 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty happy with where Don ended up. I hope he keeps it in between the ditches this time.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:24 PM on May 5, 2014


So many times I've thought, "Boy, now Done is really going to get it together, huh?" and I just can't let myself be bamboozled again. I don't think even the not-inconsiderable charms and good sense of Freddy Rumsen can pull him out of the gutter for long.

Also I kind of think when Don was yelling at Lloyd he was yelling at his mother because what has this season been so far except mommy issues?
posted by Tevin at 11:31 PM on May 5, 2014


creatives usually work in groups of two (art &copy)

While technically true, as far as job assignment goes, a good creative department works pretty organically with everyone feeding off everyone else, running ideas past other creatives and recharging the batteries by those interactions. A creative department stuck in individual offices is a creative department circling the drain.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:31 AM on May 6, 2014


Agreed with everything Thorzdad said. It's symbolic and literal - symbolic that numbers games and min maxing the numbers and good enough creative (lounge and Lou) is replacing excellent creative (Don, suppressed Peggy, self-marooned Ted, dead G from CGC).

Also, was sorting and organizing to S4 last night - Don sold the house in California, he met Stephanie and her mom there to sign off on it with the Notary. That's where he got the ring for Megan (the Original Don had given it to Anna). It was mentioned in an earlier episode where the partners had to come up with money that he had "made $10,000 profit" on selling Anna's house (and that he'd make some more when the Ossining house sold that Betty moved out of shortly thereafter).
posted by tilde at 5:55 AM on May 6, 2014


I had thought Burger Chef was supposed to be an ersatz McDonalds or Burger King, but apparently it became Hardees?

Loved Burger Chef as a kid in Detroit. Their unique feature was their burger bar. Order your burger "without" and load it up with whatever topping you wanted. I was convinced as a kid that there was no such thing as "too much pickle" Guess what? I was right! (As a kid.)

I loved this episode. Being a huge 2001: A Space Odyssey fan (I've seen it at least 20 times) doesn't hurt. The "monolith" Don faces when exiting the elevator at the beginning was great. Maybe Don will evolve.
posted by The Deej at 6:02 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Don has no choice but to evolve. Work = life for him; he can't retire. Moving to another agency would be, well, silly for the show.

Evolve or die. The question is which it's going to be. They've got to pay off the opening montage--someone needs to jump. My bet: not Don. Roger maybe.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:06 AM on May 6, 2014


Sorry, literal in that the computers are taking the showcase spot of the creative lounge.

I think there's some small space up in the open upstairs in Accounts (where everyone was gathered for the discussion) but people might not take to that kindly.

Based on what I remember (not obsessively going through the episodes to sketch it):


- you have the front entrance with two glass doors
- from the lobby, there are two doors past the receptionist that leads to the hall and creative space (now computers)
- on the left hand corridor (behind the receptionist) you have:
-- Peggy's office
-- Lane's office (apparently the same layout or she had to move for Don) that Don now occupies
-- some other office (she used to be next to Don/Lou I'm pretty sure but I think Stan's there now?)
-- then Don's corner office (now occupied by Lou)

Across from Peggy and Don/Lane's office you have the Creative Lounge, which can be seen when you enter (and how Ginzo snagged Don sneaking out last week). Somehow in there is Joan/Dawn's traffic office (since Joey stuck something on the lounge wall Joan can see that Peggy ulitmately fired Joey for) which backs the Conference room (which you can see from Don/Lou's office and next to Don).

After you pass The Corner Creative office, you have the Corner Creative secretary, the Stairs and open area (facing the glass wall of the conference room), then what used to be Roger's office and then Teds and I don't know who is there now. Roger is still upstairs, I think, since he remarked on Joan moving into what I think was Pete's office.

Along the back wall (opposite Peggy, Don/Lane, almost corner and Corner Creative) and the short wall (with the door in it) are the creatives offices, smaller ones, including the famous Pillar Office and Harry's office (that Pete had a while until he moved up stairs - Roger bribed him).

I know way too much about this thing. I think the last show I watched this much was Desperate Housewives, yeek.
posted by tilde at 6:09 AM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


If someone jumps on this show it would irritate the piss out of me. If it turns out the opening title sequence is supposed to be taken absolutely literally I will be so utterly disappointed in Matt Weiner and everybody else involved in writing the show. It would be so obvious and torturous, like if Tom and Lorenzo decided to write an episode.
posted by thereemix at 6:47 AM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm surprised some of the recappers and commenters on other sites are so shocked at the animosity towards Don - especially T&Lo, who made basically their whole recap about it. This stuff has been building up for years and now that Don has been kicked a bit they're letting it all out.

Totally agree with this sweetkid. I didn't find this episode to be bad at all and I don't think the anger towards Don from others in the office is surprising in the slightest.

Love how Harry totally confused the issue by introducing Don as the Creative Director to the computer installation guy. Harry Crane, always finding a way to muck things up.

I also basically cried laughing at Don's death-stare at Peggy in the scene where she's giving him and Mathis the tag-line assignment. Seriously, Jon Hamm should win all the Emmys in the world for that death-stare. After watching the episode I rewound it to that scene just so I could see the death-stare again. COMEDY GOLD.
posted by thereemix at 6:51 AM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


I also kind of love how Pete was like "Let's see them give THAT to Bob Benson!" The fact that we haven't seen Bob at all this season and Pete keeps talking about him is wildly hilarious, because now it's giving the impression that Pete is obsessed with Bob Benson.
posted by thereemix at 6:59 AM on May 6, 2014 [9 favorites]


How could Pete be obsessed with that stupid youthful smiling face and floppy hair and pleasing personality and smart little blazers! Bob is awful! So awful Pete can't even be in the same room! Nay! The same COAST.
posted by The Whelk at 7:11 AM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


How about when Pete was grudgingly accepting that Peggy would be in charge of the BurgerChef account and said something like "I'm sure the client will be happy to have a woman's opinion, or whatever Peggy counts for." He needs a smack and half for that. It's like, dude, seriously, YOU SLEPT WITH HER once upon a time, and subsequently declared your epic love for her, why are you making cracks about her womanliness (or supposed lack thereof) now? Like, I get him being miffed that no one is listening to his opinion on who should handle the account, but being all snotty about PEGGY'S HARDLY A GIRL is such a jerk move, even from him.
posted by thereemix at 7:26 AM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


I also kind of love how Pete was like "Let's see them give THAT to Bob Benson!" The fact that we haven't seen Bob at all this season and Pete keeps talking about him is wildly hilarious, because now it's giving the impression that Pete is obsessed with Bob Benson.

Well, we didn't see Bob himself, but we did see Jim lead the rest of the partners into handing Bob the big West Coast account Pete worked so hard to land by himself.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:31 AM on May 6, 2014


It's like, dude, seriously, YOU SLEPT WITH HER once upon a time

Not just slept - REPRODUCED!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:32 AM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


That too! That makes it worse! He's such a jerk. I like Bonnie, though. I think she's good for him.
posted by thereemix at 7:34 AM on May 6, 2014


If someone jumps on this show it would irritate the piss out of me. If it turns out the opening title sequence is supposed to be taken absolutely literally I will be so utterly disappointed in Matt Weiner and everybody else involved in writing the show.

Agree with this. From just about day one everyone said this HAD to happen. And there have been allusions to it like the balcony and the elevator shaft. I always thought it was plausible but not necessary. If it's done as part of the final episode it will be a bit disappointing (to me).

And if we're going to take it literally, then the person who jumps ends up in a couch with a drink. If the message is "reckless behavior is rewarded" that's something we've seen play out plenty of times already.

But if someone is jumping I think you have to consider Peggy as a real contender.
posted by mikepop at 7:43 AM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


I've also never been convinced that the fellow in the title sequence jumps. I've always interpreted it as a fall. He goes into his office and the floor falls out beneath him, and he descends amongst various advertising imagery of the time period. One of the overarching themes of the show is how those who had all of the privilege of the time period have to watch and adapt to how the culture is changing around them and de-emphasizing the type and amount of power they wield. So I've always viewed the title sequence as a metaphor for that. He knew his world to be one way, and then the floor opens up and he falls from his position up top, seeing the culture pass him by on his way down.

He doesn't jump, he takes a ride.

And then ends up on a couch. I haven't yet come up with a satisfying interpretation of how/why he ends up on a couch yet.

But no, the title sequence is not a suicide jump. (And if it is, as I said, I will be quite disappointed.)
posted by thereemix at 8:02 AM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


I mean if someone ends up jumping just to "pay off' the title sequence it will annoy me as much as the whole "Kara Thrace is an angel" thing at the end of Battlestar Galactica, which was SO FUCKING STUPID OH MY GOD.
posted by thereemix at 8:04 AM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]




I realize that this is just going to make me sound even more of a pretentious codger than I am, but there are many, many things about Matt Weiner's interpretation of his own work that I completely don't agree with so I'm not half surprised that I don't agree with his interpretation of the title sequence.

Not trying to suggest that I am smarter than him or anything like that. Just saying that his intentions as creator often are, by my estimation, far afield from what he actually depicts on screen. (For instance, what we are supposed to think of Megan's audio-less screentest. Or that scene in season 4 where Joan suggests that Peggy did the wrong thing by firing Joey for drawing the lewd cartoon.)

So. Matt Weiner thinks it's about a guy who jumps. All well and good, just please dear god keep it abstract, man.
posted by thereemix at 8:56 AM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


The series will end with the rogue lawnmower hunting each of them down. It is known.
posted by drezdn at 8:56 AM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


It will be driven by Duck's dog.
posted by drezdn at 8:57 AM on May 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


CHAUNCEY!!!


posted by thereemix at 9:03 AM on May 6, 2014 [10 favorites]


> "We had that ashtray."

oh my god I have said this kind of thing to my husband SO. MANY. TIMES. whilst watching MM. The ashtrays. The sunburst clocks. The platinum-rimmed highball glasses. The desk pens. The console TVs and "hi-fi" sets. The punched aluminum stand lamps, the, the the...

My maternal grandfather was a very high level executive who worked in midtown Manhattan and commuted to the family quasi-mansion in Larchmont. They had a gardener and an African-American housekeeper / nanny. My grandfather would have been contemporary to Roger Sterling, albeit a lot more conservative. My maternal grandmother was a polished, preppy socialite on par with Betty Draper. I have a very detailed memory of my childhood that was spent on the margins of the country-club society they and my East Coast boarding-school cousins all belonged to.

I was born in 1968, and the set dressings for the later seasons of Mad Men are littered with the fine detail of my childhood surroundings on the East Coast. My parents dropped out and moved to Haight in '72, and a lot of the more quality pieces were left behind or packed off to Goodwill.

Mad Men evokes in me not so much nostalgia as a quiet regret for all the could have beens of my early life and family relationships. My own mother is the fifth child of a distant alcoholic father who traveled the globe and stayed frequent nights in midtown for work, and a cold, authoritarian mother who chain smoked her way into an early grave at 54.

I still, however, have a beautiful solid mahogany slab Parsons table from that era that came from my grandfather's Midtown office when they remodeled it in the early '70s. It has survived forty some years of bong stains, beer rings, boot heels and neglect in the various hippie squats and shared ghetto housing arrangements of my parents' twenties and my own misguided youth. My husband recently sanded down the top and embarked on a campaign to find matching period pieces with which to furnish our 1955 single story ranch.
posted by lonefrontranger at 9:12 AM on May 6, 2014 [13 favorites]


Hmmm, now I'm wondering if the couch Don gave up on moving has anything to do with the couch from the opening credits.

I've always interpreted the jump symbolically - a man loses everything, decidees to go wth it and leave everything behind, and ends up sitting pretty as a result.

Some days, I really resent that Russian Lit instructor who ruined my ability to ever see or read anything without trying to divine its symbolic meaning. He was a fun guy, though, and he's made me look a lot smarter than I really am, more than once.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:21 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


I had thought Burger Chef was supposed to be an ersatz McDonalds or Burger King

One of my favorite things about the show is that they never seem to do this. All the products mentioned are either real products (which are often thinly veiled advertising, but whatever it's a show about advertising, what did you expect) or, my favorite, obscure companies/products that sound fake but turn out to actually be real. Both Mohawk Airlines and Patio diet soda were real, for example. "Bracken's World", the pilot Megan goes up for but presumably doesn't book, was a real TV show that's not well remembered today. A lot of the other ad agencies mentioned are real agencies. I'm glad they didn't decide to create an alternate universe for the show to exist in.
posted by Sara C. at 9:54 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


The only agencies I've seen that didn't exist were SterlingCooperPutnamPowellLowePryceDraperCampbell and the ChaoughCutlerGleason it merged with. All the other ones were around and most are still around - BBDO, DDB, Ogilvy, Y&R, Grey, Leo Burnett ...
posted by sweetkid at 10:00 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


The thing about the computer in the creative bullpen is that it really doesn't make sense, in terms of how that office would operate in real life as a real office* (like so much else about the layout someone posted a while back). If you put the computer in creative, then you have a bunch of people who work in other departments who have to go tinker with it in Creative, on a different floor from their other work. Meanwhile nobody from Creative actually works with the computer, so it's pointless to put it anywhere near them.

This is straight up just a plot ginned up for the purposes of the show which makes no actual sense and would never really happen. IRL something would be moved around upstairs in Accounts, or more likely, it would replace a sort of "steno pool" space which we haven't seen at the new SCDPLETTERS agency but which must still exist in some capacity.

One of the main problems with Mad Men at this stage in the game is that all the major players have been promoted a few times and there are no more underlings. The show responded (probably correctly) by getting rid of the spaces that underlings tend to occupy in an office. But it makes this particular storyline nonsensical. You really can't do "but I don't want to share an office with the copier!" storylines about a group of people who would never share their office with a copier.

*For example why would Lane's office have been next door to Peggy's?
posted by Sara C. at 10:01 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Secor Laxatives?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:01 AM on May 6, 2014


sweetkid - Interesting! I figured that other agencies we see would probably also be fake, for instance the agency courting Don recently. My guess was that agencies that get occasional verbal references are real, while agencies where we actually see people who work there would be fictional. Fascinating that the choice for verisimilitude goes that far.
posted by Sara C. at 10:03 AM on May 6, 2014


Yeah, we've seen bits of people from McCann, Y&R, Grey, etc, but I don't think they would have like, had Peggy move to another real life agency. I don't think they would bring a real life agency into the world of the show to such a large degree, which is why I knew they wouldn't have Don take a job at McCann.
posted by sweetkid at 10:08 AM on May 6, 2014


"I'm sure the client will be happy to have a woman's opinion, or whatever Peggy counts for." He needs a smack and half for that. It's like, dude, seriously, YOU SLEPT WITH HER once upon a time, and subsequently declared your epic love for her, why are you making cracks about her womanliness (or supposed lack thereof) now?

That's actually why I thought it was so spot on and exactly something Pete would say. It encapsulates exactly why Pete is such a dickbag. There's a whole genre of assholes who'll sleep with you and then call you ugly. There's something very teenager-ish about it (and very prep-school), which frames nicely exactly what's wrong with Pete as a person.

(And yes I know general site opinion is that Pete is ok/redeemable/non-evil, but, LBR, he's still a prick.)
posted by Sara C. at 10:11 AM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


I haven't yet come up with a satisfying interpretation of how/why he ends up on a couch yet.

The obvious answer is therapy.

If I were Matt Weiner the last scene of the last episode would be Don Draper crossing paths with Woody Allen in the waiting room to an analyst's office.
posted by Sara C. at 10:13 AM on May 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


Oooh and then the final credits come up in Woody Allen's font. And jazz plays.

I'm getting so curious about the 70s now, I wish some show would just come up and pick that right up, even if it's not Weiner.
posted by sweetkid at 10:15 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


"I'm sure the client will be happy to have a woman's opinion, or whatever Peggy counts for." He needs a smack and half for that. It's like, dude, seriously, YOU SLEPT WITH HER once upon a time, and subsequently declared your epic love for her, why are you making cracks about her womanliness (or supposed lack thereof) now?


I'm probably the only person who thought that line was hilarious, and gave me more of a sense of "we've-been-working-together-forever-so-I-don't-even-know-how-others-see-her" and less "she's ugly."

Does no one remember the drunken lunch/meal/whatever they had last season? They can be cute.
posted by sweetkid at 10:18 AM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


They can be cute alone together. Publicly, not only must no one know they get along, but Pete scores points in the boys' club if he consistently denigrates her.
posted by Sara C. at 10:19 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think Ted's only lines this episode were "I'm staying here" and "I think we should go with Peggy"
posted by sweetkid at 10:20 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


"I'm sure the client will be happy to have a woman's opinion, or whatever Peggy counts for." He needs a smack and half for that. It's like, dude, seriously, YOU SLEPT WITH HER once upon a time, and subsequently declared your epic love for her, why are you making cracks about her womanliness (or supposed lack thereof) now?

Or possibly, he's comparing her to Bonnie, his new hot little ticket. His affair with Peggy was a disaster, his marriage is so far broken that he hadn't heard of his own father-in-law's heart attack. Pete doesn't console himself -- he just girds himself up in a way to make himself feel better by putting other people down.

I rewatched last night. There was a nice little moment when Roger and Marigold were in the barn, looking up at the stars, and they have the same posture (one hand resting above their heads, the other hand on the chest). They're so much alike.
posted by mochapickle at 10:36 AM on May 6, 2014


It's like, dude, seriously, YOU SLEPT WITH HER once upon a time, and subsequently declared your epic love for her, why are you making cracks about her womanliness

Closet case (BOB BENSON OBSESSION) trying to put distance between him and a 'mistake' he once made.

Pete's not going to come out... but remember the scene when Bob was hitting on him? Most men would take that kind of pressure against their leg as a come-on, albeit a gentle one.

And remember how long it took Pete to actually say something? It was a callback to Sal and Random Hotel Lobby Dude from S1.

I kind of wish the story would go on for a couple years longer so we can see Pete's reaction to Stonewall.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:49 AM on May 6, 2014


Sara C - Creative and the Creative Lounge, upon which the office was founded, was the showcase, the show piece, the thing you cannot miss on the way in and out of SCDP.

Now, The Computer, and the Computer Room, upon which the office is gearing towards, is the show case, the show piece, the thing you cannot miss on the way in and out of SC&P.

Case in point, I was hired once to write technical docs for a horse and buggy accounting software shop. They paid the rate I asked without a quibble after first haggling me down to a lower rate (so they could say how 'impressed' they were with me). They didn't care when I started, so long as I attended the company "happy new office" party and introduced myself to all the clients. Once that task was done, they asked if I wanted to be promoted to junior bookkeeper and errand girl*. They got their docs, wouldn't need a significant update, ever, but we had two complete sets printed out and on display in the office.

Computers and surviving the new technology has been the B storyline of the season, and has been an underlying theme all along with the societal changes.

It was the B/C storyline when we first started to push Sal Romano out, drawings losing out to photographs.

They had radio ads but Harry Crane pushed them into having a television and media department. Which also gave Joan a taste of "more" and then got her crushed and sent back to run the secretarial pool.

They didn't bring any artists along to SCDP (that Lane had been penny pinching by not replacing Sal was a major plot point to making PPL + SC saleable to McCann) - but they brought Harry along for Television and head of Media.

They could have put the computer in the empty space up near accounts where they had the meeting. They could have moved Dawn and the conference room. But it's harder to show off to everyone without dragging them to accounts, and the glass walled conference room is a showcase as well. Dawn's office is part of the conference room, so they'd have to move that, too - but they need the functionality of it acting as a part time observation room to their conference room/testing - survey room.

*title wasn't errand girl, but it was answering phones and fetching coffee for meetings plus another $50 a week!
posted by tilde at 10:54 AM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


Stonewall is like next week in show time. We may very well be getting his reaction to it during this season. (Though the actual riot was little reported at the time and not seen immediately as the gay rights landmark it's understood to be nowadays, so probably Pete would be like "WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME ABOUT SOME RAID AT A GAY BAR I KNOW NOTHING OF SUCH THINGS")

It's more likely that there will be a reference to someone going to the village to mourn Judy Garland before the actual riot than there will be Mass Straight People Musing after the fact.

The problem is that there are no known gay characters on the show anymore, so I don't know who would even make a one-off reference to it.
posted by Sara C. at 10:56 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sara C - Creative and the Creative Lounge, upon which the office was founded, was the showcase, the show piece, the thing you cannot miss on the way in and out of SCDP.

Now, The Computer, and the Computer Room, upon which the office is gearing towards, is the show case, the show piece, the thing you cannot miss on the way in and out of SC&P.


I agree with this - as one of the jr creatives said while being complainy about the Creative Lounge (can't remember who) "it's like the only unique things about this place"
posted by sweetkid at 10:56 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Creative and the Creative Lounge, upon which the office was founded, was the showcase, the show piece, the thing you cannot miss on the way in and out of SCDP.

Now, The Computer, and the Computer Room, upon which the office is gearing towards, is the show case, the show piece, the thing you cannot miss on the way in and out of SC&P.


Yeah, I get that, and it's cute for ten minutes on a TV show that isn't real, but it would never actually work.

My guess is that they install the computer there, and then next month Dawn looks at the media department payroll and notices that everyone is working an extra three hours a week due to the walk from the media department to their stupid showpiece computer on a different floor of the damn company. Then they have to have a thousand years of meetings about whether to move the computer or have Creative swap offices with Media.
posted by Sara C. at 11:00 AM on May 6, 2014


Question - this episode is three weeks after Don started back right? What has he been doing in those three weeks? Online, some people are referring to it as his first day back but I think some recappers and my memory are saying they mentioned it having been three weeks back. It certainly seems like the first day though.
posted by sweetkid at 11:03 AM on May 6, 2014


it's cute for ten minutes on a TV show that isn't real, but it would never actually work

Yeah, that's why I think the change is symbolic (and not literal, sorry Don).
posted by sweetkid at 11:04 AM on May 6, 2014


I'm probably the only person who thought that line was hilarious, and gave me more of a sense of "we've-been-working-together-forever-so-I-don't-even-know-how-others-see-her" and less "she's ugly."

I thought so, too. It was like, when Pete thinks of Peggy, it's still ten years ago and he's a junior executive and she's a jumped-up secretary. I thought it was oddly endearing and boyish, but I also find Ginsberg's ribbing funny.

Peggy can give as good as she gets, so it especially doesn't much bother me when people make cracks like that. He probably would have said just the same thing if she were in the room (and has said similar), and she would have just snapped something back. It reminds me of schoolkids (in a good way), except that the whole class doesn't go oooooooooooh when someone has an especially good line.

Sara C - Creative and the Creative Lounge, upon which the office was founded, was the showcase, the show piece, the thing you cannot miss on the way in and out of SCDP.

This also lines up with Cooper wanting a pretty, young white girl as front reception.

That kind of showcasing is definitely still rampant, I think it makes sense. If SCDP is blowing a huge wad of money on the computer, of course they'd want everyone to see it. What's the point otherwise?
posted by rue72 at 11:04 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also just to be super clear, the agency ALWAYS had a media department. It's mentioned in the pilot episode of the show. I think Harry was always in that department, too -- he's the one who notices that they can do targeted buys of prime airspace for laxative commercials to steal the slots away from the Kennedy campaign, in Season 1. He created his current job as head of Television, but he didn't create the entire Media department.

Though it gets confusing because later they start pretending that he did (the management flow chart where he doesn't factor in at all), and we never meet anyone else who works in that department.
posted by Sara C. at 11:07 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Right, Head of Television from within Media (and hires the dude after Joan helps tremendously) and then Head of Media as we go from SC+PPL to SCDP.
posted by tilde at 11:10 AM on May 6, 2014


this episode is three weeks after Don started back right?

The computer meeting is his first day back, then in the meeting about Burger Chef they mention Don has been back for three weeks but hasn't been given any work.
posted by mikepop at 11:12 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


ah thanks mikepop
posted by sweetkid at 11:21 AM on May 6, 2014


Vulture is now recapping the recaps.

This is the first episode in the entire run that I have no interest in watching again. And I'm going to stop watching in real time. I can't go on having my Sunday night's sleep ruined by anxiety over imaginary people.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 11:23 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


i think the only time the show really kept me up at night was after Lane's suicide.
posted by sweetkid at 11:32 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


Have any of the women at SC/SCDP/SC&P ever been promoted under legitimate circumstances? It seems like Peggy is only ever promoted as a side effect of two men in the office doing some bullshit power play. Joan made partner due to prostitution, started working accounts without permission, and was given a new office this season because Cutler's trying to pit people against one another. Dawn was promoted because Lou couldn't stand sharing her.
posted by almostmanda at 11:33 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Good point almostmanda. Also Megan became a copywriter because she married Don.
posted by sweetkid at 11:35 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Lane's suicide was so huge it's affecting my ability to listen to Jared Harris' episode of WTF with Marc Maron. And I don't think Mad Men is even discussed.
posted by Sara C. at 11:37 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Joan was given a title Director of Operations (no change in pay) after they did a big lay off.
posted by tilde at 11:44 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's also worth noting that the vast majority of promotions on Mad Men are not merit-related, regardless of gender. There are a lot of power plays. It's a TV show. They are never going to do an episode where Bert retires, Roger moves into his role, and everybody in accounts bumps up the ladder without incident.
posted by Sara C. at 11:52 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah but Harry became head of TV after his Secor laxatives buy out idea, for example, while Megan hadn't shown any particular skill in copywriting. I know Peggy worked her way in more organically, but I think there's case to be made that some of the women purely get ahead due to some power play or side advantages.
posted by sweetkid at 12:18 PM on May 6, 2014


Yeah, it is probably more common for the women. For example I think Don's in as partner and the Ken/Pete head of accounts face-off were both handed down from above in the usual way. I don't think any woman on the show has ever been promoted in that way.

I think this worked early on when the show needed a specific way to launch certain women characters out of the pink collar zone, circa the early 60s when that was really unusual. In 1969 it's a bit much.
posted by Sara C. at 12:24 PM on May 6, 2014


Aaaaaaaaah I went back to the Jared Harris episode of WTF and he does talk about Lane, for folks who enjoy that sort of thing. Also it's a pretty good interview. I'd recommend skipping Maron's opening monologue musing/griping/bitching if you're not already a fan. Lane talk happens about 50 minutes to an hour in and doesn't last long.
posted by Sara C. at 12:37 PM on May 6, 2014


> yes I know general site opinion is that Pete is ok/redeemable/non-evil, but, LBR, he's still a prick.

Count me in as one of those people who LURRRRRVES Pete so much I just want to walk up and punch him in his smug little dickbag face, then give him a big hug and a pat on the back while we catch up on old times over G&Ts at the club. He just reminds me SO much of my closest family frenemy, the boarding-school cousin with the Locust Valley Lockjaw and the school ties and the plaid golf pants and the perfectly tailored Brooks Brothers suits and the thin patina of bored country-club affectation papered over the deep dark well of angst and despair powered by his relentless sense of inadequacy and his interminable drive to Measure Up.

tl;dr: Pete Campbell contains multitudes.
posted by lonefrontranger at 12:39 PM on May 6, 2014 [18 favorites]


ugh, lonefrontranger that is perfect.
posted by sweetkid at 12:46 PM on May 6, 2014


The computer meeting is his first day back, then in the meeting about Burger Chef they mention Don has been back for three weeks but hasn't been given any work.

mikepop, not arguing just asking, how do we know the computer meeting is the first day back and not three weeks in? It would be unusual (unprecedented?) for the show to include a three-week lapse in time within an episode.

Anyway. I agree with sweetkid and/or some of the recappers she's been reading that initially it all sort of came across as the first day back. Which may have influenced some viewers' reaction to Don's anger/backsliding (i.e. "what did he expect when he signed the damn agreement").

It made a lot more sense when I realized it had been three weeks and Lou had been shutting him out the whole time. And then when he finally does get work or potential for work (burger chef/leasetech), he gets slapped down hard by Lou, Peggy, and Bert. Doesn't make Don't reaction right, but it's a lot more understandable from a storytelling POV.
posted by torticat at 12:49 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Pete suffers from Backpfeifengesicht.
posted by drezdn at 12:53 PM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


It would be unusual (unprecedented?) for the show to include a three-week lapse in time within an episode.

It's unusual but I know it happened in Three Sundays, which happened on consecutive Sundays, but in that case it was part of the narrative point.
posted by sweetkid at 12:55 PM on May 6, 2014


torticat, good point on the time lapsing; that was just my read of it. I haven't done a re-watch yet - I can check more carefully (maybe by outfits?) to see if computer day is the same as Burger Chef meeting day or if there was something else that made me think time had passed or other markers that made me think "first day back" specifically.
posted by mikepop at 1:01 PM on May 6, 2014


almostmanda: Have any of the women at SC/SCDP/SC&P ever been promoted under legitimate circumstances?

I think that's more about how bussines is more about immediate needs and circumstances than recognizing everyone is very special.

Don only is made partner at the original SC becaue Roger had a heart attack and Bert wanted to keep clients from getting spooked. (He only got his copywriting job in the 50's by duping Roger to begin with.) Pete only got a partnership at SCDP because the other partners knew he was embittered and ambitious and more likely to jump ship, than any strong belief Kenny wouldn't have been as good. Lane's partnership is an afterthought to get him to comply with Don's plan.

Just about every move up as been expediency.
posted by spaltavian at 1:07 PM on May 6, 2014


Partway through the episode: but this is easily the most, "Don, no!" moments of the entire series for me.
posted by codacorolla at 1:29 PM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


yeah this was a major Donny NO episode.
posted by sweetkid at 1:33 PM on May 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


Has Don always been such a goofy drunk? We've seen him drunk so many times over the past 7 seasons and yet he was such a complete doofus this past episode.

When he started singing "Meet the Mets" I lost it. Second funniest moment of the episode, after his death-stare at Peggy.
posted by thereemix at 1:42 PM on May 6, 2014


Actually no, now I remember the last time he was such a doofus while drunk: the Life Cereal pitch, after the Clios.

I really kind of enjoy goofy drunk Don. Better than sweaty morose drunk Don.
posted by thereemix at 1:47 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


I really kind of enjoy goofy drunk Don. Better than sweaty morose drunk Don.

Same diff. I actually prefer sweaty morose drunk Don, because I feel like slaphappy drunk Don is liable to turn on a dime. No emotional control.
posted by rue72 at 2:04 PM on May 6, 2014


I loved how Freddy told him it was the perfect time to have the Sharpen Up lecture, because Don was hungover.
posted by sweetkid at 2:10 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


So what's going to be the midway break point for the series? I don't follow the timeline, but the Moon Landings make sense, right?
posted by codacorolla at 2:15 PM on May 6, 2014


I guess so, that was July and if three weeks passed in this episode we must be close to touching June by now.
posted by vbfg at 2:20 PM on May 6, 2014


And Weiner has said the show will end at the end of 1969.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 2:29 PM on May 6, 2014


With Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe toasting to the new decade on the roof of the Chelsea Hotel, probably.
posted by Sara C. at 2:57 PM on May 6, 2014


"What's so great about New York? It's a dying city. You read Death in Venice." /can't stop thinking about Woody Allen's 1970s
posted by sweetkid at 2:59 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Burger Chef also had superior child promo items (ignore the title, they were at both chains).

A Burger Chef fansite (warning, autoplay audio).
posted by mwhybark at 10:31 PM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


What a strange and dull episode. They created Don's discontent so perfectly for us, but it wasn't really necessary.

I also felt like a lot of scenes were randomly placed and seemed narratively disjointed. Where did the opening fit in? Why keep cutting back to the commune? What's with all the doors?
posted by iamkimiam at 1:39 AM on May 7, 2014


I didn't notice doors beyond Don's entrance to the office...except now I think of it there was a lot between Peggy's and Don's office doors, right? And the constant, "Is he in?" Is he?

I was thinking about it earlier and I think Don never really took the new stipulations seriously. It never really occurred to him that the partners might actually want him gone, and might be trying to force him out. He's too good for that. He's Don Draper! So he wasn't overly concerned about having to go through Lou, because he figured his work is so great it won't even matter. He'll do that one great thing again, another Carousel, and everyone will love him again.

But then to be told, by Peggy, who while talented is still below him in his eyes, that he answers to her, *and* she doesn't want him there, *and* he gets a menial task from her, suddenly makes it clear that they really don't want him there. Then Bert's complete shutdown of a viable line of work just because it comes from Don, unimaginably frustrating. Bert, of all the partners, just dislikes him outright. And the metaphorical replacement of creative with technology (including Ginsberg's tantrum) is the icing on the Don-cake. Creative is displaced, and Don identifies with creative, so he's left floating just like they are.

So his options are: quit (he doesn't want to work for anyone else; he started this company! and he told Megan he was working again), do the work (but it's low-end stuff, well beneath him, and he's answering to Peggy!?), walk out (and do what?), complain to Roger (who is a. unavailable and b. wrapped up in his own problems), sulk in his office (he's been doing that for weeks already), or...get sloppy drunk and verbally abuse someone (postpones dealing with the problem, and maybe it'll resolve itself somehow?). Logic, right there. But aside from bowing and giving in, which isn't in Don's nature, what else would he do given his character?
posted by tracicle at 4:09 AM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I dreamed an ending last night that fits what I am hearing is W's take on the credits - man out the window.

Pete comes back, is frustrated this way and that, and goes out the window as Roger and Ginsberg watch (in Ginzo's interview episode he and Roger bonded over throwing something out the window directly across from the conference room on the floor they are on, 37 (revealed later in expansion talks)).

The beneficiaries to his insurance are 1/3 Tammy and Trudy, 2/3 Peggy on the stipulation she find and raise his child.

If we go totally loose end flailing, preceding his jump/fall he is chasing people around the office with his loaded .22 and everyone but Clara is freaked out, she just taunts him with more chatter about squirrels for dinner.
posted by tilde at 6:04 AM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


This week's Mad Style.
posted by rewil at 6:28 AM on May 7, 2014


If Pete goes out the window, it would have to be by comedic accident - like say he is pulling on a stuck desk drawer which suddenly comes loose, propelling him back through an open window. This would mirror nicely his mom going over the rail on the cruise ship and his dad perishing in the plane crash.

He calls out as he falls by Don's window. Don, not looking up from his book, snaps "What now Pete?"

For a really great Pete-out-the-window, true-to-credits ending though we have to get him back to Detroit, to a second floor showroom of some sort. Perhaps the unveiling of the car/campaign they are working on. Bob somehow upstages Pete again, this time in front of all the partners. Pete ends up sulking in the car, top down, and drinking after hours. Then Bob shows up and gets Pete angrier. Pete tries to take out Bob by running him over, but being a horrible driver he swerves, misses Bob entirely, goes through some folding chairs then right out the window in a flurry of advertising posters. In the impact, the front seat is ripped free and thrown clear of the car which bursts into flames. Final shot: Pete laid out on the wide, couch-like front seat, drink still in hand, staring lifelessly ahead, smoke from the fire rising around him.
posted by mikepop at 6:34 AM on May 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


This week's Mad Style.

I just noticed Peggy's scarf in the scene where she accepts the raise from Lou. She hasn't worn that style before, but the way it's styled loose like that reminds me a bit of the scarf Joan wore in The Other Woman. Joan's scarf looked a whole lot like a noose, and it was the episode in which Joan sealed her fate.
posted by mochapickle at 6:55 AM on May 7, 2014


From Mad Style

Much like how the black characters went from invisible to barely visible to having agency in the story – because that’s how the white people at the center of this story saw them over time.

Mattsplaining, anyone?

I have to disagree with their claims on Joan. I don't see how they can see her letting in Peggy on the restrictions as anything but a tinge of regret and a hope that Peggy can spine up and use the advantages she now has over Don to help her and kick Don's ass back in to line.
posted by tilde at 6:57 AM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love how somebody finally appreciates Pete's work and he doesn't know how to take a compliment about it. So true to how it would be for someone like Pete in real life!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:58 AM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wow, Mad Style really phoned it in this week. I'm usually not all about their sweeping ridiculous theories, but give me something, guys.
posted by Sara C. at 7:24 AM on May 7, 2014


With the dropped (further) ceiling, the raised floor and the glass walls, it's functional and a showcase. The keypunch service will include young, attractive, competent women overseen by guys with clipboards, or an older woman about Mona's age. If they're staying true to what folks I knew worked in the industry back in the day experienced.

Reminds me of my favorite scene in Spaceship Earth, with the Danish Modern staircase on the left side and the Groovy Miniskirt Scientist on the right.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:34 AM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


The only things that really jumped out in Mad Style to me were a) Lou dressing like Jim, instead of his friendly-uncle cardigans, and b) they said Mona and Roger weren't remotely connected through their clothes during the car trip, but included a screencap where Roger's tie was the *exact same colour* as her fur coat.

Also now I think about it, they talked about Peggy's blue dress and how powerful she looked, and it just occurred to me that she was shot from below, framed against the window...and it's kind of monolithic.
posted by tracicle at 10:51 AM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't know how I felt about the episode, but turning 2001's monolith into a sofa that nobody wants and making it full of farts instead of stars may be the greatest thing I have ever seen in my life.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:23 AM on May 7, 2014 [10 favorites]


The whole sequence of Don exiting the elevator and going down the hall had a very Kubrickian look and feel to it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:13 PM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I like something that T-Lo's Mad Style points out this week - the dirt and grit of the hippie commune. There have been lots of film and TV set in the 60s that have seemed to me to treat that segment of the counterculture with a scrubbed-up nostalgic lens. Colorful hippy costumes, but everything's a little too clean and technicolor. Some stage revivals of Hair I've seen come to mind. Compare the film version of Hair, where it's a lot clearer that, say, the clothes Berger and his friends are wearing are probably the only ones they own, and they're sleeping in the park in them every night.

I think that sort of nostalgic view of "oh look at the silly flower children in their colorful rags" kind of dismisses the seriousness with which many of the real "hippies" viewed their lives. Sure, some were just out for drugs and sex. But others really did believe The Revolution was imminent. I don't think we can fully understand "The Sixties" without understanding how committed they were to really changing the world.
posted by dnash at 12:33 PM on May 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't see how they can see her letting in Peggy on the restrictions as anything but a tinge of regret and a hope that Peggy can spine up and use the advantages she now has over Don to help her and kick Don's ass back in to line.

Really? I took that as more of the same as last week from Joan. She didn't at all sound like she was having second thoughts, she sounded like she wanted Peggy to report if Don did anything egregious that might cross a line (without going so far as to tell Peggy what the lines were, which would have been even more inappropriate than telling her they existed).

The way she said "I don't know," when Peggy asked if Don was in violation of his restrictions, had a distinct flavor of "You tell me!" Plus the context was that she was sympathizing with Peggy's struggles with Don, so it made sense that she was letting Peggy know Don's got a sword hanging over his head. I'm not sure how we can get from that to a desire on her part to help Don out.

I truly hate this dynamic between Joan and Don right now, but I do think it's what the show is giving us.
posted by torticat at 4:34 PM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I truly hate this

...although of course--having the two women who, in spite of everything, understand Don as well as anyone and probably still have some underlying loyalty to him--having even these women aligned against him at this point does underline just how much damage he's done. And hopefully sets up some kind of reconciliation down the road that will be more meaningful given the depth of the rift between them now.
posted by torticat at 4:41 PM on May 7, 2014


I was not right about someone dying (yet) but I was right that Don had to work under Peggy.

Don wants approval from Bert, the Father figure, and doesn't get it, so he stamps his foot and grabs the bottle. The same way Margaret stamps her feet and denies Roger.

It's like a pendulum: which way will Don go? Toward Lane's way out? Freddy's abstintence? Roger has already tempted him. Megan seems already lost to Don. Wasn't Don just repeating what his stepfather said to him about Evil when he confronted the IBM-ish guy? Dick Whitman coming to the forefront.

At what point will Don realize that all of this means nothing? He has to have an epiphany. I don't think he's had it yet, he's still trapped in the world of proving himself to somebody. When nobody's left, what do you do?

Now that Peggy knows about Don's probation rules, what will she do? Don knows her secrets. Maybe she will get intimate with Don and voila! Someone can blackmail them and they will go off and start their new agency. With Pete and Malibu Betty.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:10 PM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I truly hate this dynamic between Joan and Don right now, but I do think it's what the show is giving us.

I find this dynamic with Joan really interesting, because at the end of the day it's one of her old flaws from back in Office Manager days rearing its head at the partner level. She's a bully, and she gets off on office politics. One of her favorite things is taking someone who thinks they're better than her down a peg. It surprises me that she'd turn it on Don of all people (though his position at the agency makes him an easy target for her), but it shouldn't be that shocking that stuff is still her stock in trade.

I think one of the things that has happened on the show is that certain characters are redeemed in certain ways, or become sympathetic to the audience because of X or Y thing that happened to them. But they're still the same people. We don't like it when we see the old Joan coming out to play, but just because she figured out some career stuff and stood up for herself in her marriage doesn't mean she's perfect now. She's still Joan.
posted by Sara C. at 6:22 PM on May 7, 2014 [6 favorites]


At the moment Joan is also reacting to the fact that she's been promoted by the people who are anti-Don, and regardless of what Don has done for her (and all that Don HAS done for her has been tinged with his own motivations, remember how angry she gets with him when he loses the Jaguar business) she probably sees them as being her best path to being an accounts-person. The original firm was never able to give her anything beyond a title and a slight pay raise.

I also agree that Joan has never been a very nice person, even if she is sympathetic and likable.
posted by codacorolla at 7:28 PM on May 7, 2014


I really don't understand why folks are confused at Joan's anger at Don. Yes, they have had great platonic chemistry. Yes she said that he was "one of the good ones" just as the Jaguar pitch had reached its nadir. But then Don ditched Jaguar in a fit of pique, threatening the longevity of the company and the livelihoods of its partners and employees. It all ended up being ok, but remember how precarious the fortunes of the company have been over the years.

When Joan said "Honestly, Don, if I could deal with him, you could deal with him" after Don walked away from Jaguar, then I think that was when she stopped being on his side. Everything that comes after that is consistent with Joan having made the decision to stop buffering Don's mistakes.

And now we're seeing what happens when folks stop buffering Don... his life falls apart.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 7:48 PM on May 7, 2014 [6 favorites]


I find this dynamic with Joan really interesting, because at the end of the day it's one of her old flaws from back in Office Manager days rearing its head at the partner level. She's a bully, and she gets off on office politics. One of her favorite things is taking someone who thinks they're better than her down a peg. It surprises me that she'd turn it on Don of all people (though his position at the agency makes him an easy target for her), but it shouldn't be that shocking that stuff is still her stock in trade.

I think one of the things that has happened on the show is that certain characters are redeemed in certain ways, or become sympathetic to the audience because of X or Y thing that happened to them. But they're still the same people. We don't like it when we see the old Joan coming out to play, but just because she figured out some career stuff and stood up for herself in her marriage doesn't mean she's perfect now. She's still Joan.


Yes yes yes. Yes. Favoriting was not enough because I agree so much. The Joan worship is weird. Joan was a total bully and gossip monger in early seasons and loved sticking it to the secretaries over really minor stuff. She is a great, interesting character and very sympathetic a lot of the time, but these characters on this show are not nice people. Not even Megan. Not even Sally. Ok maybe Dawn, Meredith, and Caroline are pretty all right.

regardless of what Don has done for her (and all that Don HAS done for her has been tinged with his own motivations, remember how angry she gets with him when he loses the Jaguar business)


Right. These people have been working together for years. They have all done a lot to and for each other. I'm confused by people being all "have they forgotten Don Draper's largesse?" No, but they're thinking of other, more recent things at this point. It's complicated.
posted by sweetkid at 7:51 PM on May 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


I don't buy the characterization of Joan as fundamentally a bully any more than I did TLo's analysis of her as a Queen Bee/ bitch.

Joan doesn't suffer fools, she's prickly and damaged and doesn't make friends easily. A lot like Peggy in all those respects. She makes bad decisions like everyone does and takes out her own issues sometimes on other people (also as Peggy does). But generally I think her set-downs are well-deserved if blunt, and they don't usually have to do with kicking a person for no reason when he/she's down.

I really liked what thereemix said about Joan last week. I do think she's complicated and certainly not always a sympathetic character. But if I thought she was out to give Don a comeuppance out of spite, rather than distrusting him for professional reasons, I'd consider that a pretty major and atypical lapse in character for her.
posted by torticat at 8:05 PM on May 7, 2014 [8 favorites]


Everything that comes after that is consistent with Joan having made the decision to stop buffering Don's mistakes.

Totally agree with that. FWIW (I know this isn't dispositive), Christina Hendricks's take on the situation was that Joan "doesn't want to see him destroy what she'd built" and that she "always knew he was extremely talented, and thinks if she watches him like a hawk maybe they can get something out of him." (not exact quotes but close.) So maybe Joan's not actively angling for Don to self-destruct, but just wants Peggy to keep an eye on him. What Hendricks said is consistent with tilde's take on it that Joan hopes "Peggy can spine up and use the advantages she now has over Don to help her and kick Don's ass back in to line."

I object to the idea of Joan as a bully or a bitch because I don't see her interactions as all that different from anyone else's. Practically all of them engage in this kind of behavior with each other--Don, certainly; Peggy, Roger, Pete, Bert, etc. All of them can be assholes, but I don't see Joan as any more petty or spiteful than the rest. Even back when she was managing the secretaries, she generally just ran a tight ship and didn't like making concessions (much like she's trying to do now).

Now Lou... Lou's a bully.
posted by torticat at 8:47 PM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


*For example why would Lane's office have been next door to Peggy's?

Peggy is now in Pete Campbell's old office. When Joan thought something was wrong with Lane, she went into Pete's office to have him look over the partition.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:10 PM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love hating Lou. That chain for his glasses? Holy shit.
What I thought was missing was how tedious and grating Don's situation was - try sitting in an office for three weeks with people just... Looking through you. Yikes.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:10 AM on May 8, 2014


Torticat said it better than I could. Hell yes, Joan is mad. Hell yes, Joan is taking sides with those who have actively supported her promotion (even for their own reasons) when she clawed for it [accounts man, not sleeping with the client for a junior partnership].

I can understand the stamp of T&L on her of Queen Bee, that's how she's written, but it's more nuanced than that; that's what she projects, that's what amuses her, but she still gets shit done. Bully? No, not in the context and space of that time, and to some degree even now, except that HR has management classes to train people to talk to folks. I thought that was pretty well established back when Peggy fired Joey. T&L are as clueless as Joey.

Joan commiserates with Peggy. Totally in context, in character (and yeah, kept her from busting Don and Freddy at the elevator). If Joan had totally thought that Don needed to be saved, needed to be salvaged, needed to be prevented from breaking the rules, she could have spilled all to Peggy earlier or at that point in time in the story. All the rules, all the conditions. And possibly even done it in a round about enough way to not violate partnership confidentiality.

But she didn't. Joan is stuck between protecting her investments and places in the firm, and somehow reigning in and still keeping Don around after he's spent his time running laps/doing shit work/following the rules. She's never laid out for Peggy exactly what to do in a situation; she's always given enough hints for people to draw their own conclusions, and she did that here as well (she side stepped Peggy's question for more info).

Imagine that conversation had been between two other characters of equivalent distance and level. While going right by Peggy's office is a way out of the office it's not the only way out of the office. Depending on construction it's the shortest, possibly.

And y'all have to remember, which no one seems to notice much. Meredith is a spy. She been painted as incorruptibly stupid, and fired from every secretarial position in the company until Don. Roger obviously verifies Don's comings and goings with him, but what's not to assume she's also reporting to Joan? She is dressing better and more maturely, too, as pointed out in Mad Style (gotta give them props as I barely noticed having only watched it on a phone screen). She knows some of the rules, but not all of them. Enough to be dangerous, or useful? We shall see.

I'm still trying to interpret the switch from "Don't eat that, you're so trim" of him eating what could possibly be a Danish to "Can I get you a Danish or anything?". I need to look at the timeline of that (I know the first was when she sent him into Peggy's office) and her outfits. But not now, life calls.
posted by tilde at 5:18 AM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Joan doesn't suffer fools, she's prickly and damaged and doesn't make friends easily. A lot like Peggy in all those respects.

Remember Peggy at CGC? She's kind of a bully.
posted by spaltavian at 5:29 AM on May 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Another thought - outside of protecting her position in the firm (junior partner and a job).

If they get sold after Cutler min/maxes the place, she gets money and she can do what she wants. Sit on a beach in Tahiti.

If Don was kicked out pre-contract rider, they're broke for a long time and they don't have Don in their back pocket. If Don is kicked out post-rider, they aren't broke for a long time, but they don't have Don in their back pocket.

Their ability to use him and not have to pay to not use him is pretty important. And she's had nearly a month to get over her mad - getting her brain reorganized - and three weeks of him being a 'good boy' so far. So she's seeing they can have their cake and eat it too - keep Don under control and start milking his creative talents again. Hence the very large hint to Peggy.

I keep wondering about the "Congrats the board approved the raise". Do they have to? Can't Lou just do it? Did he get it pushed through or was it the board's idea and they let him present it to her has his but Joan sabotoaged it so Peggy knows she is being used? Leading into the hints about Don's probation?

Anyway, to get back to what I was saying - Don's success still means a lot to Joan. That is, as many many folks have pointed out, the rider he's signed is the first entry in the dictionary next to egregious. They had to invent the word for this situation. It's untenably bad.

What's to say they wouldn't find a reason or way to kick any of them out, even her, with nothing?

She said to Pete last season that he was the only one who hadn't broken a promise to her. She's got to watch out for herself, and that means helping reign in Don without tipping her hand, who has had a pretty good three weeks so far.

I'm starting to think my Carousel/centrifugal settling was kinda a good remark. See, I can think these things but it's harder to go back and explain WHY.
posted by tilde at 5:30 AM on May 8, 2014


I keep wondering about the "Congrats the board approved the raise". Do they have to? Can't Lou just do it?

This really just speculation on my part, but I suspect Lou as far less independent reign over Creative than Don did. I'm betting he has to run a lot more by the partners. At the very least, he's not a partner.
posted by spaltavian at 5:38 AM on May 8, 2014


Makes sense, spaltavian. So yeah, the facade was there that it was Lou's idea and Joan crushed it.
posted by tilde at 6:02 AM on May 8, 2014


"not have to pay" - "not have to pay to buy him out".

I'm rewatching the episode, it looks like Meredith is still Peggy's secretary, though she is keeping an eye on Don.

Devil Lloyd is picking up on the animosity between Harry and Don. They really dislike each other, and as Don points out, it's been going on a LONG time. Harry still wants to be a partner, but he's clueless ....

Okay, now I REALLY have to go.
posted by tilde at 6:06 AM on May 8, 2014


I've always seen Joan as a bully, but up until recently she's had to content herself with mostly bullying other women. She preferred other methods to handling men in the past, but she's had enough of that, times are changing, and now she can openly bully men, too.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:23 AM on May 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm starting to think my Carousel/centrifugal settling was kinda a good remark.

Ha, I just remembered, the rotating ring providing artificial gravity in 2001's Discovery spacecraft was called the carousel (in the novel at least).
posted by gubo at 7:13 AM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Remember Peggy at CGC? She's kind of a bully.

Absolutely! Well, I would say she acts like a bully sometimes. Actually I did say that, up above.

What I would not say, after one of her not-so-stellar moments, is "what do you expect? Peggy's a bully."

Instead, I (and I think most viewers) would try to figure out what's going on with Peggy at the moment that's prompting her to act the way she's acting. The same with Don. He can be the most godawful bully sometimes, but I don't think that's who he is or fundamental to his nature or whatever, or that it would be particularly useful analysis to say "well, he's a bully."

Likewise I think it's kind of bizarre to reduce Joan to that. She's probably been overall more supportive of her coworkers than anyone else in the office. Definitely as much (or more) of a team player as the rest of them. She can be terribly bitchy too; she's complicated like everyone else is.
posted by torticat at 7:36 AM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Back to Peggy/Don, I really liked this from Slate's recap this week:

At the start of this season, I was waiting in ticklish delight for what happened this week: Peggy, the boss of Don. But, of course, when it finally arrived it was so sour. Seth, I agree that Peggy didn’t handle the situation particularly well, but what was she supposed to do? Her self-satisfaction at resolving a predicament that had actually been resolved by Freddie Rumsen reminded me of her misunderstanding with the flowers: Peggy thinks she can read a room, but she’s always missing intel. And you know who she learned that sort of hubris from? Don, who would rather report to Lou than Peggy, even though Peggy is 10,000 times the adman Lou will ever be. The whole circumstance stinks for Peggy: Either she’ll corral Don and report to Lou, or she’ll showcase Don and report to Don. She should smirk while she can.

posted by sweetkid at 8:20 AM on May 8, 2014


Nope, Meredith is his* secretary. She chided him for eating a candybar "you're so trim" whlie wearing the adult domino dress. Flirty Monday wearing a more mature flowered dress (whe he took off with Freddy).

There was a memo that the board approved her raise so it wasn't her breaking a surprise that hte board had confirmed Lou's decision. It was conversation, designed to drop the idea that there 'were rules' regarding his return. When asked directly if he'd yet broken the rules, Joan offered a well balanced "I don't know" but Peggy assumed she didn't know the rules I'm guessing and that's why she didn't ask, or she knew better than to ask based on the preview "You don't know this but there were rules ...".

Wearing a sharp blue dress in the final scene, with white accents. *Marsha is Peggy's.
posted by tilde at 10:42 AM on May 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Meredith is a spy.

No...a spy for what? Joan? Or a crossover from Archer? No Meredith is not a spy.
posted by sweetkid at 10:54 AM on May 8, 2014


Meredith makes me sad because she is just the most two-dimensional stand-in for ditzy secretaries. I love her but I roll my eyes every time she opens her mouth, because I want her to have some depth *so bad*.
posted by tracicle at 11:24 AM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


whatttt Meredith is comic relief. I adore her. I kind of don't want her to have any psychic wounds. She should be friends with Shirley. They can be progressive and get lunch together.
posted by sweetkid at 11:33 AM on May 8, 2014 [7 favorites]


But then Don ditched Jaguar in a fit of pique, threatening the longevity of the company and the livelihoods of its partners and employees.

There's also the fact that Don is superficially responsible (in the former SCDP folks' eyes, at least) for the merger that prevented the agency from going public and making all the partners -- especially newbie Joan -- mega-wealthy.

After a bad day, I can see Joan thinking, "...but if we had gone public, I could just [fire the babysitter/buy a car/move to a bigger apartment] and I wouldn't be having this problem! FUCKING DON! UGGGHHHHHHH"
posted by Sara C. at 12:15 PM on May 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


OMG would so totally watch a webisode where Shirley and Meredith go to a NOW meeting.
posted by Sara C. at 12:16 PM on May 8, 2014 [9 favorites]


there is really so much good webisode potential.
posted by sweetkid at 12:19 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've been trying to dream up reasons to get Pete and Betty in a webisode plot together. It would be a crazy pairing, like that one episode of Friends where Chandler and Rachel steal cheesecakes together, because they never properly have reasons to interact for any real length of time.
posted by sweetkid at 12:21 PM on May 8, 2014


I'd watch a webisode of Pete and Betty being super snooty WASPs at a social function together.
posted by palomar at 12:21 PM on May 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Or they could steal cheesecakes, I'm not picky.
posted by palomar at 12:22 PM on May 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


that's what I'm thinking...some sort of foundation/charity event where Pete and Betty both end up, get drunk and complain together.

On preview: yes, stealing cheesecakes actually works for both characters.
posted by sweetkid at 12:23 PM on May 8, 2014


Re Peggy and being a bully, I don't think she is one, deep down. I think she's often faced with working as an equal with men, which means she has to use a lot of blunt force to get her employees to do what they're supposed to do. The guys won't respect her if she's not kind of a dick to them. And you can tell it's really not her thing at all.

Meanwhile Joan will go out of her way to start shit, and does completely counterproductive things like fire Jane Siegel for looking at a painting. That's not about the stuff you have to do in order to get the job done. Queen Bitch stuff is Joan's stock in trade. Now, you can say that she was raised to be like that, and acting that way is what helped her get ahead in life in the past (she did nab a hot doctor husband, which is like the ultimate goal of pre-women's-lib American womanhood), and she's just existing within a patriarchal system that leaves women with few options for agency beyond catty back-stabbing.

But you can't say that Joan isn't a catty backstabber, no matter how much you sympathize with her as a character and want her to do well.

The great thing about Mad Men is that all the characters are Tony Soprano/Walter White style antiheroes. Down to the office manager.
posted by Sara C. at 12:26 PM on May 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Roger:"Is he in?"
Meredith nods.
Roger:"Good."

She's a spy for Roger, no flirting, no words, no ditsy out of context/depth look for her. She knows why he's asking & not looking to prolong the conversation (nor is he).

Joan maybe - but I doubt she'd think of it she's got enough ears.

Board maybe but I'm sure they expect to hear of anything relevant.

& she's dressing more maturely which is why I was thinking Joan, but maybe Roger is bankrolling her as a spy.

Secretaries make more than receptionists, too. Though she's flunked out if being a secretary before.

Her baseline ditsyness also keeps her for covering much for Don.
posted by tilde at 12:29 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Omg you guys I'm going through old episodes on Netflix and Bert's always been a Werid racist , mentioning civil rights is one step away from socialists running rampant in the streets.
posted by The Whelk at 12:32 PM on May 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also I totally don't remember Peggy's milksop boyfriend here.
posted by The Whelk at 12:34 PM on May 8, 2014


the one that organized the surprise birthday party with her entire family there but Peggy was hanging with Don? Hate that guy. Mike?
posted by sweetkid at 12:36 PM on May 8, 2014


Yeah, the one she told she was a virgin.

Man Lee's greasy spoiled brat charm is actually working on me the second time around. I think it's the accent.
posted by The Whelk at 12:37 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't think anyone's bankrolling anyone. When the founder of your company comes to you, a mere secretary, and asks you to let him know if X, Y, or Z is going on, you do it. You don't need to be paid off.

It's also possible that, like many secretaries we've seen on Mad Men, she hasn't entirely gotten the lesson that your boss is The One And Only Person Who Matters in your world at work, and you should never ever not cover for them for any reason.
posted by Sara C. at 12:39 PM on May 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also they've had a lot of play around the "is he in?" "have him call me" "no have him call me" "he's in but WITH SOMEONE" "what someone? who?" on and on little petty office drama.
posted by sweetkid at 12:42 PM on May 8, 2014


Oh god, Peggy's boring boyfriend Mark? He was the WORRRRRRST. Especially that horrible surprise birthday dinner he planned for Pegs.

Also, you're dead right about Bert always being a racist... I've been going through old episodes as well (comparing and contrasting first season with this season is so fun/fruitful!), and season 4 episode 2 ("Christmas Comes But Once A Year") is a great one for showcasing Burt's social attitudes. There's a scene where Burt, Lane, Dr. Faye, and the old guy that worked with Dr. Faye are sitting on a couch during the office holiday party, and the three men are complaining about social progress ruining the way of life they're accustomed to and Dr. Faye's all like, "Yup, they're gonna storm our houses and rape our women. Cheers!" and tosses back her drink like an exasperated Democrat in an office full of Romney supporters.
posted by palomar at 12:45 PM on May 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh lord the first thing anyone says about Megan is " she's amazing" in hushed awe.
posted by The Whelk at 12:45 PM on May 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh The Whelk, wish I could hang out and watch with ya! So much fun!

Roger also makes a comment about having "one" out as front reception, meaning a black woman. I think Topaz (after Peggy goes to CGC) also makes a comment about getting a woman's point of view on a campaign "And I don't mean from that one over there" (paraphrase) gesturing out vaguely at Dawn.

Later in S4E2 Dr Faye says "Oh, they're out there trying to figure out how to take food from women and children" in dismissing people from the holiday party to Don.
posted by tilde at 1:05 PM on May 8, 2014


Yea if we're just listing racist comments, there's a ton. I think palomar was just talking about the whole "turns out Bert's a racist" from 2 eps ago and backing it up with his always being like that (which is true).
posted by sweetkid at 1:10 PM on May 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's not like I want Meredith to be a deep and profound character or have psychic wounds or angst or anything. She can be as simple and uncomplicated and happy as the day is long.

But to me she comes off as more caricature than character, with her exaggerated cartoon voice and silly mugs. Almost everyone else on the show, down to the bit players, the under-fives, the one-shot guests, all read as somebody you could meet in real life. Meredith seems like somebody yanked out of a bad sitcom and plunked down into the wrong set. Even her bouffant is just a little off-model.

Miss Blankenship and Lois were good comic relief. Caroline is good comic relief. Meredith makes me remember I'm watching a TV show as surely as if you could see the boom mic over her head.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:42 PM on May 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Maybe that's the point of her character? To remind us on a meta-level that the story isn't real, but the themes are?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:09 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


The guys won't respect her if she's not kind of a dick to them. And you can tell it's really not her thing at all.

So why was she "kind of a dick" to Shirley? I honestly think when Peggy's a dick (and she has been, quite a few times), it's more about what's going on with her personally than that she has to be that way to get ahead. Being a tough boss is fine. Telling a guy he needs to write 25 extra taglines because Don didn't step up is kinda dickish, and doesn't really have anything to do with the guy.

But you can't say that Joan isn't a catty backstabber

Oh I most certainly would say that. Well, catty, yes. Like when she told Peggy "you're the new girl and you're not much," geez. But backstabber? No way. In fact she always had the secretaries' backs as long as they followed the rules. At her harshest (e.g. the timecards incident) she's not even technically in the wrong. (That is to say, I thought that was dickish. But not backstabby.)

Jane Seigel was insubordinate and insulting and deserved to be fired.
posted by torticat at 2:34 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't think anyone's bankrolling anyone.

Yeah I don't think there was anything to the Roger/Meredith scene except for the comic effect of Roger's asking if Don was in and then walking right on by. Roger's checking up on him, yes, but Meredith was probably as surprised by that as we were.
posted by torticat at 3:18 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Omg there is so much from just previous seasons I don't remember, I recommend a binge watch now to remind yourself about these people
posted by The Whelk at 4:27 PM on May 8, 2014


I've bingewatched several times over but another one is not a bad idea.
posted by sweetkid at 4:35 PM on May 8, 2014


Bingewatching is why I just scored 11 right out of 12 on this Buzzfeed quiz on Mad Men.

I'm proud, but also a little ashamed.
posted by palomar at 4:38 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've never looked back since I started to watch it and now the patterns are so obvious.

Trudy is constantly wandering off into other rooms to be alone.
posted by The Whelk at 4:40 PM on May 8, 2014




You guys, Peggy got rejected by Ted and demoted and even tho' she just got a raise, she is still ripe for a man's charms. Don is it. It has to be Don and Peggy in the end.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:04 PM on May 8, 2014


Well not romantically, Don is basically her fuckup Dad, but I could ( and I say this every year) burning the hatchet and going into business together, for a agency that values Creative.

TEAM PIZZA HOUSE.
posted by The Whelk at 5:06 PM on May 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


palomar you scored 11 on that quiz?? That's crazy. That quiz is like trying to match up "next week on mad men" with actual episodes. Only not even actual episodes, but episode titles.

I got 7 and only because #11 was a freebie given this fanfare post.

However (SPOILER if you want to take the quiz don't read further),

I think they are wrong that “Peggy receives flowers at the office; Pete navigates the politics of new business; Joan is put in an awkward situation" is a more accurate description of episode 2 this season than
“A romantic gesture in the form of a thoughtful gift could lead to professional problems for Peggy.”

Peggy didn't receive flowers, she stole them! :)
posted by torticat at 5:09 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Don grew up ruled by women, he has lost every woman he's ever been with, but he and Peggy know each other and I can see an intimate moment between them, yes.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:14 PM on May 8, 2014


So why was she "kind of a dick" to Shirley? I honestly think when Peggy's a dick (and she has been, quite a few times), it's more about what's going on with her personally

I wasn't talking about "every negative personality trait that everyone has ever", I was talking about bullying. I don't think Peggy was being a bully to Shirley in that scene, she was just lashing out. It was just a bad day, in a long series of bad days.
posted by Sara C. at 5:17 PM on May 8, 2014


I do like, in the rewatch, how consistent it is that Don HATES AND FEARS ALL OTHER MEN, he can be chummy with non threatening relics like Lane and keep Roger as his best frienemy but man he does not like dealing with other dudes.
posted by The Whelk at 5:17 PM on May 8, 2014


An intimate moment where Megan walks in the door...
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:19 PM on May 8, 2014


If Don ends up romantically with Peggy, I will eat my hat and wash it down with an Old Fashioned.

(Started rewatch today, starting with Season 1. Don just predicted Pete will end up in a corner office, balding, and only going home with women who pity him because no one will like him.)
posted by mochapickle at 5:23 PM on May 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


Also interesting parallel between smoking (it's proven to be bad for you, but people still do it) and Don being Don (it's proven to be bad for him, yet he still does it.)
posted by mochapickle at 5:24 PM on May 8, 2014


Yeah this episode is the first time we've seen him smoke in LONG TIME and everyone else has cut WAAAAY back on the casual smoking. Cigarettes are also all tied into the toxic Lucky Strikes account. Remember when they put on a whole party just for Lee and it turned into his sadist humiliation theatre?
posted by The Whelk at 5:28 PM on May 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


this episode is the first time we've seen him smoke in LONG TIME

I don't think that's true, he seemed to me to be smoking heavily when he was on leave. Specifically, in the episode when Sally found out he wasn't working, he smoked quite a bit -- when they were at that diner on the trip back up to her school, he was not only smoking but they had the ashtray (oddly) at the end of the table facing the camera, so the cigarette was a relatively big part of the scene (I think they even did a close up of the ashtray as he snubbed it out?). That was also the scene where he was suggesting to Sally at that they dine-and-dip, which I frankly didn't understand at all.

If anything, I think smoking (and drinking) is starting to get connected with class, or at least professionalism, at this point. People (aside from Don and Peggy) aren't smoking or drinking at work. It's the housewives who seem to smoke the most. Even Malibu Betty, Megan, and none of the secretaries at the agency seem to smoke (or, lately, maybe even drink), I guess since they're working women?
posted by rue72 at 5:39 PM on May 8, 2014


Something clicked for me. I'm sorta binging on episodes, jumping from season to season based on which device I'm using, mostly listening in the bacground. SOMETHING clicked for me besides Pete going out the window. Something about Don ... DANGIT.
posted by tilde at 5:50 PM on May 8, 2014


Lalalalala I can't hear you!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:00 PM on May 8, 2014


If Don ends up romantically with Peggy, I will eat my hat and wash it down with an Old Fashioned.

I don't think Weiner would ever do this, but I actually could imagine a true-to-characters plot of them having a one night stand that paradoxically gives them the boundary re-set they need. Like the sheer awkwardness and weirdness of it would make them question the emotional gravitational pull they have over each other and they start acting professionally to each other again.

Again, Weiner would never do it, if he did, I'm sure he would write it as a disaster event and I don't have any particular desire to see it.

I could never seem them having a romantic relationship, though. It would seriously be the worst relationship in history.
posted by spaltavian at 7:42 PM on May 8, 2014


Working through S4 again. I think the click is possibly that instead of Pete going out a window (maybe he can slide down the stairs again, bounce off an office and round his way out through a window while shouting at Bob and brandishing the .22) it's Harry.

Don and Harry get into some kind of screaming match (Mostly Harry because Don is very "whatev, dude" or "No." to him) and Harry stomps off to ... OH! His computer ROOM! and him and the damn Big Iron boxes go through the floor ... several floors. Which I know is impossible but hell why not. But yeah, I can see Harry stomping off through a window, not actually jumping (though he jokes about it from time to time) -- maybe for being turned down for a partnership again.
posted by tilde at 7:57 PM on May 8, 2014


My current rewatching brought to mind a character I don't recall having seen for a while... Peggy's thermos.
posted by palomar at 8:15 PM on May 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


Finally finished this ep, watching in small spurts between baby feelings. Is Roger actually a bad father? I hope not. I'm more like him than any other character. Or Freddy. Hell I bet Freddy's an awesome Dad.

Anyway, did anyone else think that Lloyd's business model sounded like bullshit? Didn't those old computers break a lot? IBM certainly won that battle anyway right?

Also Lloyd's a self-made man, breaking off from the big established company. Must make Don super jealous.

Finally, why did Lloyd say "I didn't hear you." To Don when Don is drunk. Why did he think he said something?

That dynamic, especially the initial conversation, was way more interesting than anything else this week imo.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:03 AM on May 9, 2014


Because Don was staring at Lloyd as if waiting for an answer. Lloyd was responding to Dons body language over the noise of the construction.
posted by tilde at 5:02 AM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Rewatching s4 thus morning over laundry folding. The office with the pole is next door to Roger (comment by Harry expos).

Don gets a snapshot of himself & Anna & it's jarring to me. He's in his office, with a cig & drink, in a suit, holding a pic of him in a casual jacket with Anna.

My dad dressed like Lliyd but long sleeved for all if his working life that I knew him for. Weekend he wore older pants too iffy for office work and a white under tee & an iffy shirt if he needed buttons. No tie and we didn't church.

One summer we went to Granpas house & there was a picture of him from about three months earlier when he had visited near there - he was sitting, by the pool, with a drink & a cig, in shorts, sun glasses, & a polo shirt. It was like finding out he had a double life -- he didn't swim, or wear shorts, or own a polo shirt!!!

Maybe thsts part ofc why I find this entertainment so appealing. That parallel double life thing. (Ours was innocuous, borrowed clothes at a relatives house we'd never been to yet, luggage lost situation).
posted by tilde at 5:18 AM on May 9, 2014


Every time one of them rolls a single sheet of paper into a typewriter instead of a double (especially onion skin) I flinch. Poor typewriters.
posted by tilde at 6:17 AM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


List of accounts throughout the series (save for the last two episodes) along with their fates in real life. Some fake companies there -- especially in the first couple of seasons -- but most of them are businesses that are still around!
posted by maskd at 8:01 AM on May 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


They had Dunkin' Donuts in season 3? Not remembering that at all.
posted by mikepop at 8:27 AM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't remember Dunkin Donuts either. I've worked on P&G, Madison Square Garden and Hilton. When Don pitched his ad for Sheraton with the suicide/suit on the beach theme, the first thing I thought was "no property shots, client won't like it." Cut to the client meeting on the show and they're like "Where are the property shots?" Duh, Don.
posted by sweetkid at 8:44 AM on May 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm wracking my brain for Dunkin. Maybe it's a ringer to throw off fake fans.

I'm loving Ms Blankenship. Truly an astronaut. :P

Watching the episodes so fast nearly makes his secretary situation (and I guess Peggy's too) somewhat Murphy Brown like.
posted by tilde at 8:44 AM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Blankenship gave us Roger's best line ever: "She died the way she lived: surrounded by the people she answered phones for."
posted by Chrysostom at 8:53 AM on May 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well here's a scene with Dunkin' Donuts from S2E11 (the Jet Set) so I guess they sign them in Season 3 somewhere. (video autoplays)
posted by mikepop at 8:56 AM on May 9, 2014


Roger's best line is "I told him to be himself. That was pretty cruel of me I guess."
posted by vbfg at 8:56 AM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


I found the Dunkin Donuts scene on DD's FB page. It's the "Peggy and I are going to see Bob Dylan but we're not an item because I'm gay" scene but with the "I'm gay" part cut out so as not to distract you from the real point of the scene, donuts.

Facebook Link

YT link with all the superfluous character stuff left in
posted by vbfg at 9:04 AM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

for some reason I was thinking of that as Dandee Donuts. Do'h.
posted by tilde at 9:04 AM on May 9, 2014


Thanks for that list, maskd! Fascinating stuff.

For some reason, I had been under the impression that Chevalier Blanc was men's cologne! I feel like Homer and Lisa Simpson watching the "artsy" commercial for Mr. Plow:
"Dad, was that your commercial?"
"I... don't know."
Also, I didn't realize it was confirmed that the "ladies' cigarette" Peggy was working on at CGC was, in fact, Virginia Slims.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:06 AM on May 9, 2014


Great to see Rio de Janeiro still exists.
posted by vbfg at 9:09 AM on May 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


Blankenship gave us Roger's best line ever: "She died the way she lived: surrounded by the people she answered phones for."
I'm re-watching the episode now, and right before that line Roger tells Joan he doesn't want to die in the office:

"If it looks like I'm going open a window. I'd rather flatten the top of a cab."

Again with the opening credits. Boy, death is everywhere in this show.
posted by dry white toast at 10:18 AM on May 9, 2014


Well death is a pretty universal metaphor for change, so..
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:34 AM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Interesting that, once you get out of season 1 (where the show didn't have the pull to get permission to use all these real companies/create all these complicated tie-in branding deals), the only fake companies are the ones where the product could be viewed negatively, like the dog food storyline or the ham stunt.

I'm curious why they invented a fake pantyhose company, though.
posted by Sara C. at 10:43 AM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, yes, count me in as someone who thought Chevalier Blanc was a cologne.
posted by Sara C. at 10:45 AM on May 9, 2014 [4 favorites]


It still amazes me that they talked Jaguar into agreeing with the storyline they got.
posted by vbfg at 11:03 AM on May 9, 2014


Is Conrad Hilton the only real life person they actually had an actor playing on the show? I can't remember another one.
posted by sweetkid at 11:09 AM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Aside: I get that the "Accutron is accurate" tag is meant to demonstrate to the viewer the undermining of Creative at SCLetters, but it seems too comically inept.

I mean, if the agency I was paying to do my advertising gave me that, I would fire them on the spot. Even in an agency that is focused on account management, creative that bad would lose as many accounts as out-of-control Don Draper.
posted by dry white toast at 11:11 AM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


According to Matt Weiner on Fresh Air, back in the day Accutron did in fact use "Accutron is accurate" as a campaign. A thing like that...
posted by thereemix at 11:14 AM on May 9, 2014 [6 favorites]


Huh. I stand corrected.
posted by dry white toast at 11:15 AM on May 9, 2014


I was pretty surprised to hear it too. It is a comically stupid idea.
posted by thereemix at 11:18 AM on May 9, 2014


I can see the thinking of trying to be intentionally bland if your goal is to grab people who just want something that works. But for that to be a product of a creative exercise seems pretty goofy.
posted by dry white toast at 11:23 AM on May 9, 2014


Is Conrad Hilton the only real life person they actually had an actor playing on the show? I can't remember another one.

Does Paul Newman in Season 6 count?
posted by dry white toast at 11:24 AM on May 9, 2014


It still amazes me that they talked Jaguar into agreeing with the storyline they got.

They didn't ask Jaguar for permission or run any plot points by them.
The company did not ask to be written into Mad Men, nor does it pay for product placement. The series' story researchers contacted the company when the episodes were being written to nail down details about sixties models and what a Manhattan dealership of the era would have looked like. Jaguar was not told what the storyline would be.
See also How It Feels To Watch Mad Men Total Your Car Company

I'd like to see 538's spreadsheet amended with which of those companies were paid product placement.
posted by mikepop at 11:44 AM on May 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


According to Matt Weiner on Fresh Air, back in the day Accutron did in fact use "Accutron is accurate" as a campaign.

Maybe the campaign was developed in-house by the CEO's nephew.
posted by mikepop at 11:45 AM on May 9, 2014


Mikepop, that sounds really not like experiences I have had with clearing products and IP for television.

I don't know if it has to do with how exactly the deals were made or a policy at Mad Men of playing things very close to the vest, but they would have needed permission to show Jaguar's logo onscreen. Because they're vintage vehicles, they probably aren't specifically product-placed, but assuming they showed any Jaguar IP at all (the hood ornament, the logo, a sign, ANY branded anything really), someone at Jaguar would have had to sign off on it.

Verbal references are usually not required to be cleared with the company, and I guess it's possible that Mad Men was just excruciatingly careful never to show any IP and only get vehicles from vintage picture car companies rather than Jaguar itself.

Now, most of the time, when you call up from a TV show asking for clearance to use their IP (in the case of a company like Jaguar, mostly for branded stuff or maybe certain IP-related detailing on the cars), the company asks a lot of questions about story and wants to see scripts and deliberates a lot about how this will reflect on their company.

With Jaguar, it's possible that they only ever cleared IP in that one initial dealership episode that is totally innocuous, and the later storyline about prostitution only featured verbal references to the company and thus didn't require Jaguar's input.

It is pretty much unheard of for a company to approach a series asking to place product. There is no reason to think that Jaguar would ever do that, or to infer that because Jaguar didn't approach them, therefore something shady happened. In TV, the show approaches the company, not the other way around.
posted by Sara C. at 12:10 PM on May 9, 2014


I was thinking more in terms of permission about the storyline; I'm not familiar with IP law. I assume they did everything by the books there. I mistakenly recalled that they were surprised totally by the appearance, but in reading those articles I see they were contacted for research so they knew something was coming.
posted by mikepop at 12:27 PM on May 9, 2014


Is Conrad Hilton the only real life person they actually had an actor playing on the show? I can't remember another one.

Does Paul Newman in Season 6 count?


That wasn't really at the same level because he wasn't a character but sure, technically it counts.
posted by sweetkid at 12:53 PM on May 9, 2014


Yeah there is no way any company would ever be consulted about any storyline for any TV show or film, ever, unless it was a yay/nay for permission to use branded IP owned by the company.

You can say anything you want, unless it's specifically libel. (For instance if Mad Men had portrayed Lee Iaccoca as the sleazy auto exec rather than some fictional Jaguar person.) Just saying "we landed the Jaguar account!" or "Let's go to the Jaguar dealership!" or "Jimbob here works at Jaguar and also is an asshole!" is completely fine and would not need to be run by Jaguar at all.

Even most of the products that are used in a promotional capacity on the show are simple product placement deals often negotiated in advance by a third party company. For example the Coke ads in season one. Coke product places everywhere, it's not a special marketing strategy or a relationship with any particular project.
posted by Sara C. at 12:57 PM on May 9, 2014


Oh, and another thought about all this, with reference to this week's episode:

I'm fairly certain that the reason Don falls off the wagon with a bottle of vodka is because Mad Men does have a specially negotiated and slightly more complex promotional deal with Canadian Club rye whiskey.

I'd bet money that Canadian Club has as part of the deal that their brand cannot in any way be depicted in connection with alcohol abuse. To the extent that they went with vodka for that particular scene.
posted by Sara C. at 1:01 PM on May 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'd bet money that Canadian Club has as part of the deal that their brand cannot in any way be depicted in connection with alcohol abuse.

Then why is it on Mad Men, of all shows? Alcohol abuse is kind of a major theme throughout SCDBOMGWTFBBQ
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:16 PM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


To the extent that they went with vodka for that particular scene.

Trudy's brand?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:19 PM on May 9, 2014


Don stole the bottle from Roger's office, and Roger's always been a vodka man, hasn't he?

I'm not sure why he necessarily would be, except that it goes with his signature silvery-white color palette.

posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:25 PM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Then why is it on Mad Men, of all shows?

Because for the first four seasons, there wasn't really much of that sort of thing. People drank to excess, partied too hard, etc. but in the cute early 60s It Was A Different Time Back Then sort of way that alcohol brands like getting on board with.

It's really only since last season that Don has been portrayed as specifically having a drinking problem (as opposed to a sex problem, a marriage problem, an identity problem, etc), and it usually not a "one too many cocktails at our liquid lunch" sort of thing at this point.

Note also that both times in season one that Roger drinks to excess and goes way outside the bounds of normal behavior, it's vodka and not whiskey. Which might be why that's Roger's drink of choice, even.
posted by Sara C. at 1:38 PM on May 9, 2014


I've read that Roger's vodka preference might just be that it was the trendy liquor in the early '60s -- Roger has always made a point of showing that he's not old by consuming the latest substance and embracing the latest sexual paradigm.
posted by thesmallmachine at 1:43 PM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


From the Department of Answering One's Own Question, the last three paragraphs of this blog post about the likker of Mad Men are interesting:
"But the most telling drink pairing on the show is Roger Sterling and his vodka."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:20 PM on May 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think the reason they made up the panty hose company was because of Dawn - after Peggy left for CGC, they didn't have a woman copywriter for a while and the client complained about it. The client specifically said they didn't mean Dawn's opinion on the slogans.
posted by tilde at 2:33 PM on May 9, 2014


Topaz? No Peggy landed them at the end of Season 4 and Dawn appeared at the beginning of Season 5 before Peggy left. That stupid racist "black coffee" joke is not the reason.
posted by sweetkid at 4:55 PM on May 9, 2014


Oh my god you guys! Betty's hand issues in season one... I was so irritated that they made it out to be psychological, when I thought they were setting it up to make a statement about how doctors blamed women's health issues on the more sensitive female brain. But it never played out that way.

Except maybe it did. Rewatching season 1 (thanks, The Welk), I just realized later seasons she had thyroid troubles, and both hyper and hypothyroidism can cause carpal tunnel like symptoms. Maybe it was a statement after all, just a long, unexpected and subtle pay off.

(I haven't checked if that connection has been made on even slightly intentional... But I was so excited, I had to share.)
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:15 PM on May 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


Perhaps part of the reason, sweetkid. If Dawn hadn't been there, it still would have been "some secretary" and it would have been a comment about how stupid secretaries are, that there should be a woman copywriter on staff. But they needed an account that Peggy/Ken could land (couldn't be Avon) that could be beat up and used heavily (like Butler and other made-ups), so they made up Topaz. I think Dawn was a bonus, off there in the background.

Still r/w Season four. Peggy is told he's getting married (stomping on her Topaz news) and Don tells her how much Megan's spark reminds him of Peggy. There's a lot of groundwork there about how when they met (Don and Peggy) they were completely wrong for each other but life has made them right for each other.

Maybe they'll Mulan it and they'll end the series with a healthy respect for each other that might end up being something more. See also the end of Frozen.
posted by tilde at 5:57 AM on May 10, 2014


Ugh, no, do not want.

Partners in a new agency? Yes. Lifelong confidantes? Yes. Doing it? No, no, no. No.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:02 AM on May 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


Hahahhahhaa Just saw the last episode of S4. Maybe it is Betty and Don (last scene with them where she tells him her marriage to Henry is "not perfect" after Henry has told her there's no such thing as a Fresh Start. Don mentions he's marrying his secretary and Betty is dissapointed ... then it fades to Don sleeping (next to Megan) and out to "I've got you babe" by Sonny and Cher.

Betty and Don back together (Betty in the shots of Carousel pitch, Don weepy), and with Pete and Peggy start a new agency. Being divorced they learned how to deal with each other.
posted by tilde at 7:54 AM on May 10, 2014


They tried to make Peg fuck Don Draper
I said no, no, no
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:56 AM on May 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Roger bribes EVERYONE

Peggy to do Mohawk.
Caroline to sit at his desk.
Harry to switch offices.
Hippies to eff off.
posted by tilde at 9:18 AM on May 10, 2014


Yup - just bribed Ginzo for Manischewitz, tried to bribe Kenny with a partnership if they landed Dow with his help ... Roger bribes EVERYONE.

So, yep. Ken moved from Ken Cosgrove to Ben Hargrove right around the time he was published and Roger's daughter Margret/Margo married Brooks Hargrove. Then he was outed by Cynthia at the Campbell's dinner party. Trudy was making conversation on how the town they are in got named Cobbscove or something and Pete (he of the tiny orchestra an episode later) made a comment about the town or a town sounding like the Algonquin word for "briefcase". Roger yells at Ken and Ben Hargrove dies while Dave Algonquin is born.

They're either low on ideas or have layered so much stuff in there. ;) Speaking of old Dave ...
posted by tilde at 9:14 PM on May 10, 2014


Also - Don is an island. Work is all he has. He's gotta succeed at this, here, where he can be top of the world or at peace not being there but just getting on with living life and scrablming through like Dr Faye pointed out.

I have to wonder at what he comes up with, I suppose it's all from contemporary reading. I don't think Abigail ever told him nursery rhymes and we know he didn't learn much liberal arts in what little of high school he had (he didn't finish).
posted by tilde at 9:18 PM on May 10, 2014


Part of Don's backstory is that following his return from Korea as Don, he attended City College. (Season 4, episode 3 -- he tells Anna's niece that he strung together some "non-consecutive years" in night college there, I assume on the GI Bill.)

Regarding this most recent episode, I just remembered something... there's a point where Don comes into the office and is greeted by Meredith, and she asks him how his weekend was. Is it just me, or did he say it was lonely? Have we ever heard Don admit to being lonely before?
posted by palomar at 10:34 PM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Right, City College, thanks, paolomar.

If he's said it, it's been in a flirty way; but I think he meant it this time. Might have been automatic flirty but not in a flirty inviting way this time, too close to truth.

And, apparently you can kill someone with a .22 rifle.
posted by tilde at 7:18 AM on May 11, 2014


Whaaaaat????? How did I not know that me and Don Draper are both CUNY grads? I will now go make an old fashioned and also listen to a bell hooks lecture I guess.
posted by Sara C. at 1:12 PM on May 11, 2014


Something I just realized while watching the Mets lose to the Phillies 3-1 this afternoon: 1969 was the Miracle Mets! Lots of obvious parallels there to Don's current career arc. He believes in this shitty expansion team and their desperate marketing. It's a plan so crazy it just. Might. Work.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:23 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


As I typed that phillies got a triple in the top of the 9th great job mets.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:25 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Obviously the Mets just tied it up in the bottom of the 9th. Matthew Weiner is a genius.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:51 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Something I just realized while watching the Mets lose to the Phillies 3-1 this afternoon: 1969 was the Miracle Mets! Lots of obvious parallels there to Don's current career arc. He believes in this shitty expansion team and their desperate marketing. It's a plan so crazy it just. Might. Work.

I'm surprised more recaps didn't talk about this. They focused more on Lane Liked Them And Lane Died.

Honestly, I think reviewers/recappers and some viewers have just moved on from this show and the analysis just isn't as good. Which is sad because I think the show is as good as ever, but it happens.
posted by sweetkid at 2:05 PM on May 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


Predictably the Mets just won w a walkoff double in the 11th. I mean how heavy handed can you get? Talk about "going Hollywood..." This show jumped the shark years ago.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:35 PM on May 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I listened to this old episode of Charlie Rose (as an audiobook) this afternoon in the car. The show aired right before the beginning of Season 5 and Rose (who apparently doesn't watch, but awkwardly added Gayle King [?] to this episode as co-host because she does watch) asked Jon Hamm something to the effect of why he thought people were drawn to the Don Draper character. His answer, and Weiner's response, start at around 44:00.

If you don't feel like watching, Hamm says many people think there's a fundamental virtue to Don, but he doesn't know if there is. Weiner jumps in and says he feels like Don is trying to become a better person.

After typing all this, I can't remember what my point was - maybe just to try to reassure us (me) that Don is probably not going to hurl himself out the window? I don't think that's Weiner's vision for him.

Also, tonight's episode was briefly leaked on a Chinese website. It's gone now, but I thought you all might enjoy the Google translation of the description of the show:

The end of the "Mad Men sixth season", carrying a huge lie, constantly derailed intoxicate themselves with alcohol and sought psychological self-liquidating advertising genius Don Draper ...
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:54 PM on May 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


Sweetie Darling, everything about that comment is awesome.
posted by sweetkid at 4:57 PM on May 11, 2014


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