Mad Men: Guy Walks Into An Advertising Agency   Rewatch 
September 17, 2014 5:18 AM - Season 3, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Sterling Cooper receives a surprise visit. Something is spooking Sally. Joan gets some unexpected news.
posted by Sweetie Darling (15 comments total)
I have to confess that I didn't get the "Guy walks in"/Guy McKendrick pun until I made this post. I'm kind of thick this way sometimes.

This was the episode that got me hooked for first watch, back when AMC used to show MM marathons on Sunday afternoons (as opposed to 6-8 Sunday morning, with a "marathon" = 2 episodes).
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:16 AM on September 17, 2014

Huh. I almost didn't rewatch this one because:

a) Blood spurting throughout the office. I am a sensitive flower when gore is involved
b) Dr. Rapist sub-plot.
and I didn't even remember it, but also c) creepy dead snake in a basket.

I'm glad I did, because it's the first time we see Don and Joan just hanging out, treating each other as equals.

Also, if a Barbie that I left outside because I thought it was creepy showed back up in my bedroom over night? I would've freaked the fuck out too, Sally.
posted by donajo at 9:45 AM on September 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

Probably a top 10 episode.
posted by drezdn at 10:23 AM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's a shame a character like Guy - someone as smart and handsome and charming as Don, and young to boot - only got one episode. His rivals have usually been "less than" in one of those characteristics, but it would have been interesting to see how Don reacted to actual competition at work. I guess his treatment of Ted is about the closest we get to that.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:18 PM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love when St. John (SIN-JZIN!) says something to the effect of, "His career is over--doctor said he'll never play golf again."
posted by lovableiago at 3:42 PM on September 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

Don and Joan sitting on the couch together at the hospital ... My God, they make a good-looking couple.
posted by cwest at 3:48 PM on September 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Joan informs the guests from PPL that she got them tickets to Oliver!. St. John replies, "A tragedy with a happy ending." That utterance describes this episode. Guy losing his foot is the main tragedy and Sally learning to accept her baby brother with her father's help is the happy ending.

Other stuff:

Joan was in tip-top form this episode. She dealt with everything thrown at her with grace, patience, and competency. She was at her best, even when she had to give the "toad", Mr. Hooker, a smackdown with, "Well, we could hire some prostitutes. I know your Prime Minister enjoys their company." (It was the Secretary of War, the "Profumo affair", but it still worked.)

Lights - lights on and off. The show starts with Sally being afraid of what happens when her light is turned off. Later, at the end of the Greg and Joan scene, Joan walks to the single lit lamp in the darkened room and quietly turns it off. That's the end of one of her hopes and dreams. The very next shot is of the Draper's bedroom ceiling light, then cuts to a downward shot of Don lying in bed in the dark and smiling, dreaming of a promotion from PPL and being able to move to London. Don's staring at the ceiling light like he's waiting for it to light up. The light, of course, being the hope and dream of career advancement and all the perks that might go with it. Again, the very next shot is of Sally staring at her nightlight, clinging to the light in the desperate hope it will ward off the evil baby Gene might to do her. She hopes the lights never go out in her room. Later, a direct shot of a overhead projector light snapping on in the darkened SC conference room. Guy informs everyone what their fate will be in the new reorganization. Don will not be promoted, the wrong light came on for him. Roger is not even on the chart. Ken and Pete stay the same. Only Harry is promoted. The meeting ends and the conference room lights are turned on and that's the new reality. And finally, at the end of the episode, in baby Gene's darkened room, Sally begins to accept that the baby is just that, a baby. Her little brother. She doesn't have to worry any longer about the lights being on or off.

And the biggest light to turn off is for Guy MacKendrick. He loses his foot and no longer has a career with PPL.
posted by cwest at 4:40 PM on September 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

It's a shame a character like Guy - someone as smart and handsome and charming as Don, and young to boot - only got one episode. His rivals have usually been "less than" in one of those characteristics, but it would have been interesting to see how Don reacted to actual competition at work.

That was also my reaction the first time I watched this episode. Yes, it would have been very interesting.

Probably a top 10 episode.

posted by cwest at 4:44 PM on September 17, 2014

I own a John Deere 110, a 1971 model that is an updated version of the tractor in this episode. I really find it hard to believe that anybody would have turned on the mower deck, as it has a mechanical PTO clutch that is quite different than the electric PTO clutches that modern lawn tractors have. It takes more effort to reach down and slide a lever 3 inches against spring tension and latch it in place. It's not something that gets turned on by accident.

Other than that, it's a great episode.
posted by rfs at 6:02 PM on September 17, 2014 [4 favorites]

I don't believe that PPL 'didn't know' about the 4th of July.
Bert seems convinced they didn't buy SC, they bought Don Draper.

Joan's reaction to Alabama! La Grenouille ("The Frog") for dinner, perhaps a subtle dig.
Harold Ford holds his shoes, unlike everyone else.

Lane is now the clean-up man. Fixes problems, a tool for the masters. This is the beginning of his rebellion. And it looks like the Brits realized what I did: Bert Cooper is a valuable part of the company, even if he does have strange office habits.

Harry Crane really picked the right place to be in the right time, didn't he?
Don knows champagne, while Peggy doesn't. Interesting.

And it's The Dog We Never See!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:08 PM on September 18, 2014

Can you imagine Lane' s wife when she heard about India? That was never going to happen.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 12:39 PM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

"Well, that's life. One day you're on the top of the world, the next day some secretary runs you over with a lawnmower."

--Joan Harris
posted by dnash at 7:46 AM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Often a solid knowledge of 1960s history and pop culture offers huge bonuses when watching Mad Men; once in a while it is a distraction. Two of the cultural touchstones featured here are the introduction (by name) of Conrad Hilton and Sally receiving a Barbie.

Barbie was designed by Jack Ryan, who was married to Zsa Zsa Gabor; Conrad Hilton was famously also married to Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Some people's pareidolia leads them to see Jesus on a piece of toast. Mine leads me to see Gabor allusions, apparently.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:35 AM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

"Well, that's life. One day you're on the top of the world, the next day some secretary runs you over with a lawnmower."
As a Brit, I'd had been prepared to offer my apologies for the behaviour of my fellow countrymen as depicted in this Episode. However a random office maiming by a John Deere lawnmower on the eve of Independence day seems like a suitably all American score settling. The notion of somebody being unfit for a senior account role, on account of being unable to complete a round of golf, probably really IS something that has been considered by board members somewhere.
posted by rongorongo at 2:40 AM on August 29, 2019

I think I missed this one during my first watch through, as I sure as hell would have remembered it. Damn right this is top 10. The title is so perfect because everything in it is presented like a joke. Often very, very sick jokes, but jokes nonetheless. It's not an accident that this is easily one of the funniest episodes of the show's run ("Waldorf Stories" also comes to mind there.)

Joan getting a heartfelt goodbye party after learning that "Shittiest Man in a Show About the Shittiness of Men" Dr. Greg didn't get his chief residency. The dude Don opened up to about his past turning out to be the biggest whale he'll ever try to land. Harry Crane stumbling upwardly while everyone else is fighting tooth and nail for position. Guy walking in like a Colossus and immediately losing his career to a freak accident. Even the Sally storyline is presented such that the realization of what's going on with her hits like a tragic punchline. It's the type of thing that this show doesn't usually try to do because it's not it's mode or tone, but thrown together here works perfectly, somehow.

The directing here is also top-notch, obviously. Sally's screaming fit towards the end is genuinely jarring and upsetting in the best way. The Joan/Don scene is comfortable and exactly right and shows a perfect trust between a director and performers. And, of course, in the most obvious "joke" of the episode, the aftermath scene with the guys making way-too-soon jokes while a silhouette is still squeegieing the blood off of the windows.

Finally, it's fascinating to me that so far this season almost e3very episode has had moments of Don stepping up as Mr. Good Dad as well as Sally's continuing slow-motion tragedy. Betty is of course more hit-and-miss but it's hard to be too hard on her when she's the one around all the time and Don gets to be the hero by default by virtue of normally being absent. Giving Sally the Barbie on Gene's behalf was self-serving, and that comes through, but it was also a nice way for Betty to try to handle the situation. I know the rest of the season is going to see this family fall apart, so it's interesting to me that they're showing us Don as "loving dad" so much so far (to Sally, I mean. Nobody in the show or watching the show gives a damn about Bobby, obvs.)
posted by Navelgazer at 6:58 PM on February 2, 2020

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