Mad Men: Love Among the Ruins   Rewatch 
September 3, 2014 8:48 AM - Season 3, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Betty gets a visit from her father. Sterling Cooper grapples with a very specific client request. Roger makes arrangements for a wedding. Peggy becomes personally affected by a campaign.
posted by Sweetie Darling (12 comments total)
Based on the title, I always think this is going to be the episode where Don & Betty go to Rome, and I'm always disappointed.
posted by donajo at 12:25 PM on September 3, 2014

I watched this a week ago, without really paying attention to the episode title. I find that when I notice the title beforehand, it can be a kind of motif for the episode, with echoes in many of the relationships and events. I want to go and watch it again. Again.
posted by tracicle at 12:34 PM on September 3, 2014

Pennsylvania Station was beautiful, and Ada Louise Huxtable was truly remarkable.

Other stuff.

I chuckled when Mona referred to Jane as "June" when meeting with Roger about Margaret's wedding.

November 23, 1963 is such an unfortunate date for a wedding. Just one day after the murder of the President. Is this the first foreshadowing of Kennedy's assassination this season?

Don meets with the MSG guy and says "If you don't like what's being said, change the conversation." Is this the first time we hear this phrase?

All the references to dirt and decay. The condition of NYC, Betty referring to the soot on Don's coat, the trash on the subway steps and street as Peggy heads home, ect.

So what love or kind of love was there among the ruins? Roger, Mona, and Margaret begin to air their grievances and state their positions and begin to sort things out amid the "ruins" of the divorce. And amid the "ruins" of Gene Hofstadt's health and the "ruins" of the Draper marriage, Don comes up with the idea of letting Gene stay at the Draper house. Don solves Betty's problem and she looks so touched when she realizes what he has done. However, it seemed that Don did it more out of frustration of his lack of control at work and with himself. How quickly Don went back to his old ways, despite having written that letter to Betty at the end of S2 and patching things up with her. So overall it's a love or kind of love that's a little shabby but helps everyone get by in life. And finally, amid the "ruins" of MM a new shabby type of love is born as Don watches Sally's teacher dance around the maypole and he runs his fingers through the grass as though trying to get in touch with the woman's earthiness. An appropriate ending for "Love Among the Ruins."
posted by cwest at 1:49 AM on September 5, 2014

I like what leads up to "change the conversation":

"[C]hange is neither good nor bad, it simply is. It can be greeted with terror or joy, a tantrum that says 'I want it the way it was,' or a dance that says, 'Look, something new!'"

I watched the commentary and Weiner said the Jane/June was a suggestion from Talia Balsam. (He also makes a point, multiple times throughout the series, of saying "This is not a show where we improvise much." No kidding, control freak.)
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:04 AM on September 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

I can remember on first watch being very nervous and uncomfortable with where they might go with Grandpa Gene.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:05 AM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I can remember on first watch being very nervous and uncomfortable with where they might go with Grandpa Gene.

Because I can't remember plot points for shit, and I hadn't seen these eps since they originally aired, I felt nervous and uncomfortable again this time around. After Gene previously groped Betty at his house, I was worried for her, and for Sally, and for Carla...
posted by ChrisTN at 10:09 AM on September 5, 2014

(He also makes a point, multiple times throughout the series, of saying "This is not a show where we improvise much." No kidding, control freak.)

Yes. IMHO, I believe that's why no actors from Mad Men have won an Emmy. I have no evidence for this, but it's not hard to imagine that the voters would get the impression, knowing Weiner's insistence on absolute control, that the actors have everything laid out for them and they don't really have to draw on all their abilities. Personally, I don't think Weiner's control hinders the cast from giving great performances.

Whatever the case, it's amazing no actor has won an Emmy on a show of this high caliber. There's got to be more to it than the competition was so strong every single year that no MM actor could win. There have been tremendous performances in some of these episodes.
posted by cwest at 10:50 PM on September 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

Love among the Ruins is also a Robert Browning poem and a 1953 novel by Evelyn Waugh.
posted by brujita at 3:00 AM on September 6, 2014

Watching this again after bingeing on the third season of Revenge, I've only now realized that Arthur Case (who rides with Betty and Sara Beth) is Nolan Ross. They really make him look tall in this series (or he really slouches in Revenge).

All those cigarettes! Geeze, around those horses? Freaks me out every time.

"It's just a man's name, right?" Summing up the whole series over and over again, one dropped line at a time ...

I think I've figured out some of the money things that were annoying (and some of it I may have mentioned before). Pete makes $75 a week and Cosgrove so much more - compared to Harry and others (Harry's buddy gets hired at $150 and I think Harry got himself pushed to $210?).

Cosgrove is bringing in $300 a week because of his pedigree, knew what to ask for, and isn't on commission. I think Pete is. Look at how much they later manage to have in the bank when he needs to put in ... later (I can't fingure out the mouse over spoiler text thing).
posted by tilde at 7:49 AM on September 7, 2014

I had forgotten about Peggy's bar hook-up in this episode. Makes the movie-theater handjob in Season 5 a little less out-of-the-blue.

I also never made the connection between Ann-Margret's "ability to be 25 and act 14" and Don's relationship with Suzanne. He first sees her dressed up like a child and dancing around a maypole.
posted by donajo at 11:17 AM on September 7, 2014

tilde, that's interesting about the salaries. I can't imagine Pete would have stayed if he knew that Ken out-earned him fourfold. So maybe the commission vs base explains it. Or maybe they thought we wouldn't notice?
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:38 PM on September 7, 2014

I think it's either like the birthdate blooper and Dick's time in Korea being off, or it's salary vs base + commission.

If Ken's bringing in $300 a week, that's $15 600 a year. When he speaks to Lane about the salary for being a head of accounts, he's told that the salary is $21 000 a year (~$400 a week) but it can be revisited.

IIRC compensation for Pete is never brought up again except in the talk of bonuses based on his percentage of the partnership. But there is a discussion later on with Harry when he brings in something in season five and is given a commission check on that something for an amount just a big higher than his then salary. Joan's potential commission later on for a contribution to an account landing is even higher than that (and about 4x her yearly salary).

Don I recall getting a random bonus in season 1 for $2 500 and a similar one for twice that coming up in a few episodes, and of course he gave his brother $5 000 in episode 5G.

I remember a few recent grumblings by Peggy about her secretary and what she makes relative to herself but I forget all that at the moment. She got a 15% raise (from $35 to $40 a week) when she was promoted to Junior Copywriter.

I chuckled when Mona referred to Jane as "June" when meeting with Roger

and here I thought it was showing how much Roger and Mona were alike; recall he called Pete by the name Paul and chuckled with Don that he loves doing that to Pete.

There's just a lot of reechoing you see after a while, Betty calling Gloria (her dad's former girlfriend) a "silly woman" and then later on being called that by herself by her MIL.
posted by tilde at 10:38 AM on September 8, 2014

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