Mad Men: Shoot   Rewatch 
June 29, 2014 7:54 AM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

A rival ad agency courts Don, involving Betty in their attempt to lure him from Sterling Cooper. As the presidential campaign heats up, the agency looks for new ways to counter the latest Kennedy ads. Tempers flare over Peggy.
posted by donajo (23 comments total)
This is my favourite Season 1 episode. I know I raved about it during the Season 7 first watch because it worked so beautifully in parallel with The Runaways, especially in the callbacks to Betty in this episode. I could watch it over and over.
posted by tracicle at 9:19 AM on June 29, 2014

This episode has tentacles all the way into the current season. There's so many names dropped in the first season that loom large in other seasons. Here we have McCann courting Don, but even Hilton and Howard Johnson are mentioned way before they play important parts in the story.

Sometimes I wonder if McCann feels the way towards Don that Don does towards Peggy with the whole "I'll spend the rest of my life trying to hire you." After all, they try buying Don's whole company twice to get him.
posted by drezdn at 6:10 PM on June 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

That ending visual--of Betty shooting at the pigeons, cigarette hanging off her lip--set to "Special Angel" was the "Oh my God, I love this show" clincher for me on my first watch.
posted by lovableiago at 6:14 PM on June 29, 2014 [10 favorites]

Poor, completely self-aware Betty. Throwing herself so whole-heartedly into being a happy homemaker and then just being done before even getting dressed.

Cigarette, gun, pigeons: go.
posted by RainyJay at 7:28 PM on June 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

Betty doesn't get to self-aware often, does she?

Something about the way her hair is set during the Coca-Cola shoot reminds me so much of my grandmother, who never went to bed without curlers in her hair. I never could figure out how she slept with those on.
posted by donajo at 7:45 PM on June 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

I think the whole Coca-Cola experience scared her off this new delving into her real self. Why would she want to know these things about herself when she doesn't think she can change them?
posted by RainyJay at 7:47 PM on June 29, 2014

God...even though the box was way too big, when Don was opening that package from Jim Hobart, I was viscerally cringing at the thought of a nipple being in there.

From Betty's session with the psychiatrist, are we to understand that Betty got pregnant with Sally before she and Don were married (but after they were engaged)? I'm not sure I'd realized that detail...or I could be reading too much into the line.
posted by ChrisTN at 7:48 PM on June 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I really love the Peggy and Joan scene. Both of them are so secure in what they're doing with their careers, and certain that the other one is totally off-track.
posted by donajo at 7:48 PM on June 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

Considering that later on we find out the circumstances under which Roger "hired" Don, it's no wonder Roger is feeling put out about Don seriously entertaining an offer from McCann. Roger: "I'm taking this very personally."

Don decides to stay and practically names his own salary and doesn't have to sign a contract. There is absolutely no security for Sterling Cooper in this arrangement. All Roger gets is Don's assurance that if he leaves the agency it won't be for another advertising job.
posted by cwest at 3:11 AM on June 30, 2014

I really love the Peggy and Joan scene. Both of them are so secure in what they're doing with their careers, and certain that the other one is totally off-track.

Yes, it was great.

We get Joan's line: "Peggy, this isn't China. There's no money in virginity."

Also, Peggy's line: "I just realized something. You think your being helpful."

After Betty's scene shooting at the pigeons, it's my favorite scene of the ep.
posted by cwest at 3:20 AM on June 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

This was such a fun one to rewatch. Betty and the pigeons are just perfection.
posted by Stacey at 3:55 AM on June 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Betty's hands aren't shaking then, are they?

Betty is sitting on a volcano of anger, and it only gets released in small bits, shaking hands, snarky comments, but one of these days, we're going to see the eruption from space.

She stays thin just through the physical effort of not getting angry.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:07 AM on June 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Was the pigeon scene based on something that happened with one of the writers?
posted by drezdn at 9:47 AM on June 30, 2014

There is something that I've wondered ever since the first time I watched this episode. Isn't Pete and Harry's Secor Laxatives scheme illegal under the equal-time rule? If a television station sells ad time to one political candidate, then they have to make the same amount of time available to any other candidate that wants to buy ad time. I think.
posted by donajo at 8:48 PM on June 30, 2014

Another random thought: I know a lot of people question January Jones's acting chops, but that moment where she's standing there on the set of the photo shoot, trying not to tear up after getting the bad news about the Coca-Cola folks wanting to "take things in a different direction", is absolutely heartbreaking. JJ looks genuinely wounded. Poor Betty! Anyone who finds themselves hating her in later seasons need only revisit this first one...
posted by lovableiago at 9:18 PM on June 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Cooper is thrilled, THRILLED that they bought up so much airtime for Secor. I had forgotten, Robert Morse really sells the hesitation and uncertainty leading up to it.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:18 PM on June 30, 2014

To whom would equal time be granted for the Secor Laxative buy? Kaopectate?

They aren't buying time on behalf of the candidate. They are buying time on behalf of Secor Laxative. So much laxative is clogging up the airwaves, Kennedy can't buy time and Nixon doesn't have to.
posted by tilde at 6:24 AM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

The real reason Peggy keeps clothes hanging in her office: fear of tearing something and having to borrow clothes from Joan.
posted by tracicle at 6:49 AM on July 1, 2014 [4 favorites]

They aren't buying time on behalf of the candidate. They are buying time on behalf of Secor Laxative. So much laxative is clogging up the airwaves, Kennedy can't buy time and Nixon doesn't have to.

I'm not sure what you mean by "Nixon doesn't have to". I thought the scheme was that Nixon was buying ads, and SC was buying ads for Secor, and so there wouldn't be any time left for Kennedy.
posted by donajo at 7:08 AM on July 1, 2014

Pete: Nixon and Kennedy are both buying up air time in these undecided states. It's an arms race. Nixon buys, Kennedy matches. So if we can't increase Nixon's presence, we can decrease Kennedy's. How do we do that? We make big buys in New Jersey, Illinois, and wherever for Secor laxatives.
Harry: Well, hold on. So Nixon's selling laxatives?
Pete: No. We're selling laxatives. Nixon's selling Nixon. And Kennedy's watching Mamie's funeral.
Harry: This is scary.
Pete: It is. Isn't it?


Cooper: Sorry to interrupt. Who is responsible?
Stirling: We've made a significant commitment for as-yet unproduced Secor laxative commercials.
Draper: This didn't come by me.
Cooper: No, it went by Bob Wilkins in Media, right to me. Who is responsible?
(Harry takes responsibility, then others talk)
Cooper: Every block of media in the Land of Lincoln is clogged up with laxative buys.
Stirling: And a little bit of Nixon time.
Cooper: The Kennedy people won't know what to do with themselves. They're going to have to put his pretty face on the radio. And with that accent. (laughs) Nicely done.
Stirling: I didn't think you had it in you. And I mean that.

[T]he experience [of televised presidential debates] stoked the public appetite for and the modern campaign’s emphasis on the image and the sound bite—those who saw the debates on television gave them to Kennedy, while those who heard them on the radio thought Nixon the winner.

From what I see online, equal time as we see it now may not have applied at that time:

Since 1971, television and radio stations have been required to make a "reasonable" amount of time available to candidates for federal office. And they must offer those ads at the rate offered the "most favored" advertiser.

This rule is the result of a challenge from then-President Jimmy Carter (D-GA) in 1980. His campaign request to buy ads was rejected by the networks for being "too early." Both the FCC and the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Carter. This rule is now known as the "reasonable access" rule.
This one is better written, and shows it might have not applied, having been suspended for the 1960 election:

A major amendment to Section 315 came in 1959 following a controversial Federal Communications Commission (FCC) interpretation of the equal time provision.


Congress reacted quickly by creating four exemptions to the equal opportunity law.


... Congress voted to suspend Section 315 during the 1960 presidential campaign to allow Richard Nixon and John Kennedy to engage in a series of debates without the participation of third party candidates.

Basket of Kisses seems to put this episode generally in the "summer" of 1960. Air time is bought months in advance.

This indicates a date of August 24 that joint resolution suspending what reads to me as ALL of 315 with regards to President and Vice Presidential races temporarily.

So even if the money could be traced back to Nixon, they'd theoretically have to be able to offer whatever the "little bit of Nixon" was to Kennedy as well ... but no more than Nixon had, shifting to cheaper radio, I'm guessing. Even if they couldn't trace it back as a "distanced support effort non candidate approved buy" to Nixon, if equal time were invoked (which my first link seems to indicate that wasn't really nailed down as an option until the 1970s) Kennedy couldn't necessarily buy more than Nixon, nor would they be given the same rates as Nixon or Secor laxatives.

Frankly, I thought it was a stupid idea, because I was equating Nixon with constipation issues. "Secor Laxatives, it's Satisfeculant!" "Vote Nixon!" "Are your bowels regular?"
posted by tilde at 1:12 PM on July 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

According to this inflation calculator, Don's raise in 1960 from $30,000 to $45,000 is equal to a 2014 raise of $237,805.10 to $356,707.65.

Whereas Pete's $3,000 salary would be... $23,780.51.
posted by donajo at 2:14 PM on July 1, 2014

And the Chip'n'Dip would be about 176$.
posted by Mogur at 3:31 PM on July 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

According to this inflation calculator, Don's raise in 1960 from $30,000 to $45,000 is equal to a 2014 raise of $237,805.10 to $356,707.65.
Whereas Pete's $3,000 salary would be... $23,780.51.

And I had the impression that Pete's line "he's not ten times better than me!" could have even included some notional padding to his current salary.

There was something about the art direction of Bettie's Coca Cola modelling shots that reminded my of the scenery used in Mary Poppins (1964). Something about having an artificial landscape with the perfection level turned up to 11. 'A spoonful of sugar' indeed.
posted by rongorongo at 2:54 AM on August 4, 2019

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