Mad Men: The Strategy
May 18, 2014 8:10 PM - Season 7, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Peggy collects research for a pitch; Pete receives an invitation to an exclusive club; Joan is eager to spend time with her friend.

OK, that description is hilarious re: Pete.
Was that the most adorable Mad Men ep ever? I say yes!
Also the triumphant returns of Bob and Trudy!
posted by leesh (761 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Proof that you spend too much time on MetaFilter: When Bob Benson appeared I thought, "Oh, The Whelk will be so happy!"

Not my daughter, who also loves Bob. My imaginary internet friend The Whelk.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:13 PM on May 18, 2014 [40 favorites]


That was some good television.
posted by dry white toast at 8:16 PM on May 18, 2014


Don and Peggy's moment at the end: punch in the gut.

Something that occurred to me: do y'all think Bob knew what he was doing by telling Joan about Buick? He had to have, right? Since it's Bob Benson, what's his angle?
posted by lunasol at 8:16 PM on May 18, 2014


You know, I can't say I blame Bob for wanting to put a ring on it (although "you're never gonna do any better than this" or whatever he said was not particularly good salesmanship) -- of all the marriages in this episode, only one of them was any good.

"My wife understands."

Who else could ever say that on Mad Men?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:16 PM on May 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


Burger Chef: When you're here, you're family
posted by Small Dollar at 8:17 PM on May 18, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm a little worried Bob is jumping the gun on the Buick thing, though that familiar-looking guy seemed pretty sure.
posted by leesh at 8:17 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Chevy guy would know what the Buick guys were planning. I think it's a sure thing.

But I didn't really understand what Jim from McCann knew in the sauna.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:18 PM on May 18, 2014


Oh, the guy Drew Barrymore was engaged to in The Wedding Singer! That was making me crazy. It's interesting how that subtext from last season became text--and how it's no secret that Bob is gay. Poor Bob!
posted by leesh at 8:18 PM on May 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


Presumably the McCann guy had heard Buick was gonna hire Bob, giving SCP an in?
posted by leesh at 8:19 PM on May 18, 2014


Was it just me, or did Don have a pained look when Peggy put her head on his chest? Not sure what that was about.

I'm pretty sure that was the last we'll see of a Bob, unless Roger works some magic to win Chevy for SC&P.
posted by donajo at 8:19 PM on May 18, 2014


I loved it. I LOVED IT. Still processing.
posted by sweetkid at 8:20 PM on May 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


Elizabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks could both use this as their Emmy submission episode.

Don and Pete's ex are doing it at some point, right?
posted by The Gooch at 8:20 PM on May 18, 2014


Since it's Bob Benson, what's his angle?

He needs a beard and he and Joan get along really well.
posted by leesh at 8:20 PM on May 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that was the last we'll see of a Bob

And Trudy too. They seem to be wrapping up non-essential cast plot lines.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:21 PM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm as appalled as Joan is that Harry is now a partner. And does Ted not get a vote? Or was he hiding on the speakerphone again?
posted by donajo at 8:21 PM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


That last shot was perfect. Don & Peggy as the dad and mom, taking their son Pete out for a burger.
posted by donajo at 8:22 PM on May 18, 2014 [21 favorites]


I just love the three of them being bros!
posted by leesh at 8:23 PM on May 18, 2014 [9 favorites]


I didn't see much else behind it. Bob understands he's moving on to the next phase of his life and he sees Joan as the perfect beard.
posted by dry white toast at 8:23 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't ship Don and Peggy, but I wanted a reconciliation between them so badly. This episode delivered that so hard, it felt like fan service. God, Don kissing the top of Peggy's head during their father/daughter dance? I love them. (Happily, AMC already has the scene up)

Plus, Bob Benson's return, and the worst proposal I've ever seen. I loved this episode. Hate waiting two weeks for the last one.
posted by gladly at 8:24 PM on May 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


Jinx, leesh
posted by dry white toast at 8:24 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I also loved that it was PEGGY who had the great idea, and not Don, but also I love how well they work together and inspire each other.
posted by leesh at 8:26 PM on May 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


I have a feeling that when Mad Men finally does wind it's way down, I'm going to need someone to explain to me why Don and Peggy dancing to "My Way" wasn't the last scene in the series.
posted by dry white toast at 8:27 PM on May 18, 2014 [33 favorites]


The scene before the dance where she says, "How do you do it?" and Don says something like, "Well, I usually hurt the person whose help I need and then I take a nap" was also terrific.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:27 PM on May 18, 2014 [16 favorites]


I totally misread the scene between Roger and the guy from McCann (I thought he was hinting at taking Don off their hands).
posted by The Gooch at 8:29 PM on May 18, 2014 [10 favorites]



I didn't see much else behind it. Bob understands he's moving on to the next phase of his life and he sees Joan as the perfect beard.


I think he's also terrified. He doesn't want exposure. James Wolk broke my heart this episode. I saw his proposal to Joan as desperation, not calculation.

So this is what, days before Stonewall? Oh Calcutta opened June 17th 1969 and the riots happened on the 28th.
posted by sweetkid at 8:29 PM on May 18, 2014 [7 favorites]


"Well, I usually hurt the person whose help I need and then I take a nap"

I never realized how much Don Draper had in common with housecats.
posted by sweetkid at 8:30 PM on May 18, 2014 [34 favorites]


It may have been concurrent with Stonewall -- this was over a weekend, so it was either Saturday 6/21 or 6/28.
posted by gladly at 8:32 PM on May 18, 2014


From Basket of Kisses, where I cheat on MetaFilter:

Hobart was trying to poach Don. Sterling wondered what the play was. Roger now believes that Hobart (McCann) is concerned about SC&P coming after McCann’s Buick business.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:34 PM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think Bob figured the guy from Chevy had himself sorted pretty good. Knew his spots in his home town; a wife who was cool with it. And he figured the same thing was there for the taking for him.
posted by dry white toast at 8:35 PM on May 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


I am SO full of squees.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:35 PM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


It may have been concurrent with Stonewall -- this was over a weekend, so it was either Saturday 6/21 or 6/28. True - it was probably 6/21 in that case? It wouldn't be out of character for no one on the show to care/notice Stonewall but I'd somehow be surprised if this happened the same weekend.
posted by sweetkid at 8:35 PM on May 18, 2014


Yeah, I feel like this is the prelude to Stonewall, where the general atmosphere is jsut cops cracking down on (and beating up) gay guys, but no one has struck back yet, so Bob feels particularly alone and hopeless?
posted by leesh at 8:38 PM on May 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


I know I'm sort of alone in loving Pete a lot of the time, but there was:

- Napkin tucked into his neck on the plane
- Of course he always wanted to be part of the Mile High Club
- Unintentionally engineering the (spectacular) Peggy/Don reconciliation we have been waiting for
- Wonderful Kartheiser/Brie chemistry that I totally forgot about, even when they hate each other
- Pete bringing up Charlie Fidditch of all people
- Beer in the cake
- No interaction with Bob Benson despite being neurotic about him the entire season
posted by sweetkid at 8:42 PM on May 18, 2014 [22 favorites]


Rewatching it immediately, because it was that good, and I laughed just as hard at "I'm drinking rum" as I did the first time.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:45 PM on May 18, 2014 [11 favorites]


Why was everyone talking about shopping this episode? Seemed to come up constantly.

Also, Jon Hamm looked so good out there on the balcony in his bathrobe. So good I didn't even see him as Draper, who has been so drawn and pale and yuk lately.
posted by sweetkid at 8:46 PM on May 18, 2014 [7 favorites]


I laughed just as hard at "I'm drinking rum" as I did the first time.

Yes!!
posted by sweetkid at 8:46 PM on May 18, 2014


Just for the record, I also would have abstained on the Harry Crane vote. He knows his business but he is just so annoying.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:46 PM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Is it weird that they worked in Lou's office? I imagine Lou would be all kinds of paranoid about that.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:49 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


We all know it's REALLY Peggy's office now.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:50 PM on May 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


The lure of the tiki bar is just that strong -- how could Lou blame them?
posted by gladly at 8:50 PM on May 18, 2014


My twitter feed is all "so Mad Men is finally good again?"
posted by dry white toast at 8:58 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Semi Challas wrote this week's episode. She also wrote "The Other Woman," in Season 5 when Peggy leaves SCDP. She really knows the Don/Peggy dynamic. (And also "Far Away Places" - with Roger's acid trip, Megan and Don's fight at HoJo and the scene where Ginsberg tells Peggy about his origins.) Hope we see more of her writing.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:59 PM on May 18, 2014 [8 favorites]



My twitter feed is all "so Mad Men is finally good again?"


My Twitter feed is all Billboard Music Awards and Cosmos.
posted by sweetkid at 9:01 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Bob...you shouldn't be with a woman." Broke my hardened little heart.
posted by ColdChef at 9:02 PM on May 18, 2014 [11 favorites]


Also: "I worry about a lot of things...but I don't worry about you."
posted by ColdChef at 9:06 PM on May 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


Also: "I worry about a lot of things...but I don't worry about you."

That is pretty much word for word the same thing people have said to me in the exact same context. It was startling.
posted by sweetkid at 9:09 PM on May 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


"What *do* you worry about?"
"That I haven't done anything ... and I don't have anybody."

(sniff)

That said, let's end this marriage already.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:10 PM on May 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


FWIW, this is the car they just lost.
posted by ColdChef at 9:12 PM on May 18, 2014 [9 favorites]


Great closing line to that article:

But, damn, that rusty shitbox was pretty.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:17 PM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


That said, let's end this marriage already.

Ugh yes. I wondered if Megan is shacked up with a guy there. But either way, she's done with him.

The apartment looked so sterile.
posted by dry white toast at 9:18 PM on May 18, 2014


No one takes their fondue pot unless they're leaving for good.

This episode ended on such a high note, and included so many sweet moments with the original Scooby gang, that I can't help but wonder just how dark they intend to take the second half of the final season. (Was I the only one who noticed that the inside of that plane looks more ominous every time we see it?)
posted by brina at 9:18 PM on May 18, 2014 [7 favorites]


NON SPOILER: Interesting in that the non-sequitur peek for next week is nothing but rehashes from early this season.
posted by ColdChef at 9:19 PM on May 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


holy crap this episode was so good you guys
posted by palomar at 9:21 PM on May 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


I laughed that Megan was making--of course--spaghetti for dinner when Peggy called Don at home. And at hairy Stan eating a banana when Peggy called him.

Interesting that Peggy won't visit Ginsburg...

Why was everyone talking about shopping this episode? Seemed to come up constantly.

Yes, that stuck out to me too.
posted by sallybrown at 9:23 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


seriously after last week this was like bathing my brain in an mdma bath and then spending an hour grinding on a particularly shapely sweater-wrapped tree

by which i mean it was quite pleasurable
posted by palomar at 9:24 PM on May 18, 2014 [9 favorites]


This was the first episode this season that had me going to Facebook mid-watching to post "Mad Men - OMG!!" -- because I have several friends who watch in time zones farther west of me who hate spoilers so "OMG!" is as much as I dare share of my excitement.
posted by dnash at 9:31 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think this was my favorite episode of the season - I really missed Don + Peggy and Pete and his...Peteness. And of course there was lots of BOB BENSON (yay!). Though that whole scene with Joan and Bob at the end made me cry. I want such good things for all of them.

The addition of another partner is getting out of hand, so I hoping by the end of the series Don, Peggy, Pete, Joan and Stan start their own advertising agency.

I'm pretty sure that was the last we'll see of a Bob
HE MAY BE GONE BUT BOB WILL ALWAYS BE IN MY HEART. POSSIBLY BRINGING ME COFFEE WHILE WEARING SHORT-SHORTS.
posted by littlesq at 9:36 PM on May 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


I am kinda bummed there weren't any Pete + Bob interactions though.
posted by littlesq at 9:41 PM on May 18, 2014


I do think there will be a new agency, littlesq, but I don't think Joan will go. She's not a risk-taker like that.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:42 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Of course Peggy won't visit Ginsberg. He gave her his nipple in a box.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:42 PM on May 18, 2014 [18 favorites]


I've been saying to friends for YEARS now that the beating heart of this whole show is the relationship between Don and Peggy, and that The Suitcase is the exact dead center of the series and is RIFE with SYMBOLISM AND SHIT, and they're like, "yeah okay sure", but this episode had a gigantic boatload of Suitcase elements to it and I don't think that's at all coincidental.
posted by palomar at 9:43 PM on May 18, 2014 [16 favorites]


Peggy's also been in a mental hospital and probably doesn't want to be reminded of it. Because it never happened.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:48 PM on May 18, 2014 [26 favorites]


I really really really want Don, Roger, Peggy, Stan and Pete to start their own agency.

My favorite thing about this episode was its melding of sales pitch and plotline. The episode started with a series of dining tables, and there are lots of references to food throughout. As the plot evolves, so does the pitch - until, in Mad Men style of yore, they become almost indistinguishable. That last scene WAS the pitch, and it was perfect.

Did anyone else notice Don's pained expression when Megan showed up at the office? At first I thought he was was embarrassed by his small office, but it really seemed like he did not want her there. I'm starting to think he may be the one to end it, not because of an affair but because he's just not happy in that relationship anymore.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:51 PM on May 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


No one takes their fondue pot unless they're leaving for good.

It's not even real Le Creuset!
posted by Sys Rq at 9:57 PM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


I really really really want Don, Roger, Peggy, Stan and Pete to start their own agency.

I don't see Roger starting over with a new agency again - I think he is just going through the motions before he retires at some point. I can see him investing in the new company if it does happen.

On the other hand...

He does seem bored, so maybe a new agency is what he needs to jump-start his life. He needs a challenge.
posted by littlesq at 10:05 PM on May 18, 2014


Did anyone else notice Don's pained expression when Megan showed up at the office? At first I thought he was was embarrassed by his small office, but it really seemed like he did not want her there.

Neither of them wants the other in their space -- he doesn't want her at the office, she doesn't want him in Los Angeles. This marriage is so over. If something doesn't happen in the next episode with that, I'll eat my hat or something.
posted by palomar at 10:06 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm starting to think he may be the one to end it, not because of an affair but because he's just not happy in that relationship anymore.


His look at her while she was on the balcony was so loving and poignant, as were some other of his glances at her.

I don't know, maybe that's part of ending a marriage, too.
posted by jgirl at 10:13 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Really?
posted by palomar at 10:14 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Can someone explain the Kennedy headline on the newspaper Don picks up from the bed? I wasn't able to read it in time and don't have any way to review that scene.
posted by subbes at 10:22 PM on May 18, 2014


Oh, also, when the hell did Clara get pregnant?!
posted by palomar at 10:23 PM on May 18, 2014


palomar: Not unless there really was a crash of a NY to LA flight in June or July '69. (Was there?)

If it didn't happen IRL, it's not happening next week.

(Also, that didn't sound like a plummeting plane, it sounded like a plane taking off.)
posted by Sweetie Darling at 10:23 PM on May 18, 2014


I'm a little perturbed that they haven't mentioned the moon landing yet. This is right about when it should happen in the timeline of the show.
posted by ColdChef at 10:26 PM on May 18, 2014


Can someone explain the Kennedy headline on the newspaper Don picks up from the bed? I wasn't able to read it in time and don't have any way to review that scene.


It is a callback to the end of Betty and Don's marriage.
posted by jgirl at 10:27 PM on May 18, 2014 [15 favorites]


Not yet, the moon landing was July 20 and we're only around June 21-28 right now. That'll be next episode, I'll bet.
posted by palomar at 10:27 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wasn't Clara's dress just really loose?
posted by jgirl at 10:29 PM on May 18, 2014


Ken says someone called Torkelson's making Clara nightly, so maybe? But wouldn't that be a big deal and kind of an unwelcome distraction with everything else we're trying to tie up here?
posted by Sweetie Darling at 10:34 PM on May 18, 2014


Typically Clara dresses in very body-conscious clothing, and she's quite slender -- if she was just wearing a really loose dress, then it's out of character for her, out of fashion for her body type, AND a gigantic dress. Seriously, that thing is huge if she's just hanging out in it being all thin and non-preggo.

Right before she offers to take the hats of the Chevy guys, she turns to the side a bit and sort of clasps her hands briefly below her belly. There seems to be something there, not just loose dress fabric.
posted by palomar at 10:35 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Did I miss something from a previous episode, or is Stan being "in love" a new thing? His conversation on the phone with Peggy was FABULOUS. So happy to see her relaxing a little.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 10:39 PM on May 18, 2014


Not yet, the moon landing was July 20 and we're only around June 21-28 right now. That'll be next episode, I'll bet.

I originally thought we'd end on the moon landing, but now I'm wondering if the season divides 1969 in half almost evenly, stopping us in June, and restarting with a giant leap for mankind.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:56 PM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


I know I'm sort of alone in loving Pete a lot of the time

But never completely alone!

The family table scene made me deeply happy.
posted by rewil at 11:00 PM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Aha! The character of Clara might not be pregnant, but the actress that plays her most definitely is according to her Instagram account.
posted by palomar at 11:14 PM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm in the minority I guess, because my reaction to this episode was, "What kind of fuckery is this?"
posted by luckynerd at 11:17 PM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


"You know that she's every bit as good as any woman in this business!"
posted by hush at 11:25 PM on May 18, 2014 [13 favorites]


re: benson--from my research on class and race in midwest gay bars in the mid 50s to the late 70s gay bars were might less segreated, and much more open to crossing race, sexualities and gender than new york. weirdly, considering how tight and controlled and how segragated the ny queer scene was, detroit would have been safer for bob.

now, the only way that is safe for bob is joan, and he loves joan, deeply...
for someone who is as strategic about sex as joan has been, her rejection of benson, esp. considering the inter-relation of single mother and gay male


also i kind of got annoyed--don has his queer family, w/ peggy and pete (who was a monster this episode, and finally got told off by bonnie), and his heteronormative family w/ megan (though i am glad they seem happy, esp. after last episode), and everyone else is at shards.

one last thing--stan going to see ginsberg and peggy not, that also broke my heart.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:39 PM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


also i kind of disagree about the don and megan thing-- the planning to come out in may, the taking her shopping, the breakfast on the terrace, her asking if he had to go--they seemed the most together than they have ever been
posted by PinkMoose at 11:51 PM on May 18, 2014


Jon Hamm looked so good out there on the balcony in his bathrobe.

I know, right? He looked soooo much better than usual - so much so that it was a bit jarring. Remember how broke down he looked the last time we saw him sitting out on that Deck of Doom?
posted by hush at 11:59 PM on May 18, 2014


I just want Stan and Peggy to get together... There's still time, right?
posted by sfkiddo at 12:15 AM on May 19, 2014 [8 favorites]


I thought last week's episode was a mess, but this week was probably the best of the season so far - playing with the memories of so many great moments of the series past glories. Particularly the reminders of "The Suitcase" in season four.

I loved the "My Way" moment - it moved me to tears. But even better, it wasn't the last scene of the episode. Nor was it the last scene of the series. I understand why people thought it would be an amazing final scene for MM, but I think this show is better than that. This show isn't neat or simple. That was a simple scene. It was evocative and effective. It was the culmination of the nine years of their relationship from the moment Peggy put her hand on Don's hand in March 1960. But that's not the end of their relationship anymore than "The Suitcase" was. It's another step in their evolution. In their understanding.

I don't know where their story goes from here, much like I've never been able to predict Mad Men. But I know I'm in good hands, because Weiner once alluded to "My Way" and 1969 as something he was headed toward - and now he's got there, with eight episodes left to go.

More sadly, only one more to go this year.

Also... Bob, noooooooo!
posted by crossoverman at 3:30 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


I was very glad to see Don and Peggy come to terms with each other.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:42 AM on May 19, 2014


I really wouldn't be surprised given the way Megan's last scene was filmed if that's the last time they see each other. Moving from Bonnie who has clearly split with Pete, to Megan, also alone, then to the curtain being closed like the end of a play. It seemed like a clear ending to Megan's part in the show to me.

In Tom/Lorenzo style, it was interesting that Don was gazing lovingly as Megan while she prepared a meal for him, wearing soft feminine floaty pink clothing (a callback maybe to the "maternal" pink robe that Megan and Samantha wore last week). A reminder that she won't be the mother he wants her to be, and won't provide him with the old-fashioned home life he wants from her. Their physical contact was limited, and the kiss at the office was belated and awkward (maybe because of their audience but they're clearly not overjoyed to see each other or they'd have kissed sooner).

I was surprised and (of course) disappointed that Stan has a "baby". He should be saving himself for Peggy!

And I cried during Don and Peggy's scene. That was very touching. Nice to see Lou's tiki bar getting put to good use as well...

Wasn't it McCann who wooed Don in season 1 (offering him the health club membership, giving Betty the Coke ad)? They're determined to have him, maybe not aware that the shine is off the apple these days.

That last shot was gorgeous, a Burger Chef ad in itself -- so meta.

The episode felt physically dark. The airplane, Bob's scene in the car.
posted by tracicle at 3:53 AM on May 19, 2014


Oh, and Ken's line about his son..."You really have to keep an eye on him." AWKWARD SILENCE
posted by tracicle at 3:59 AM on May 19, 2014 [28 favorites]


The way everyone turns their head from Ken!
posted by ColdChef at 4:16 AM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Aaaarggghhh! EVERY time I am finding Pete likeable, he goes and does something awful.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:24 AM on May 19, 2014


Is it weird that they worked in Lou's office? I imagine Lou would be all kinds of paranoid about that.

I was afraid Lou or Jim would suddenly wander in and catch Don drinking in the office, a big no-no in his agreement, even if he was doing it with Peggy.

The reconciliation between Peggy and Don...a real "passing of the baton"...was something long overdue, and helped put that particular relationship back on the rails. It had been wandering off in the weeds for too long.

Re: Plane crash...That entire scene, where they dolly through the cabin, specifically showing us two characters, and then follows the stewardess who abruptly closes the curtain, certainly reads as a "this flight is doomed" message. That, or it's merely a sign that the story is done for these two.

Pete...I love the character, but can someone please explain to me how a slime like Pete keeps landing babes? I mean...The receding hairline and the limp comb-over? The 19th century entitled paternalism? What's the attraction?

Don seemed incredibly reflective throughout this episode. He seemed truly aware of his place in the world and those around him. Even working with Peggy, he seemed utterly relaxed and within himself, even as Peggy was venting her pent-up anger at him. He took it and responded helpfully and helped her through it. He didn't utter a single argumentative word all episode. He was available and open to everyone. Either Don's discovered Valium or he's had a personal epiphany and is becoming at-peace with himself.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:56 AM on May 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


I really really really want Don, Roger, Peggy, Stan and Pete to start their own agency.

But that would basically be a re-tread of a plot line this show has done already. Hard to believe Weiner would repeat himself.
posted by dry white toast at 5:19 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I missed what Meredith said here, and the wink. Oh, Meredith.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:23 AM on May 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


Hard to believe Weiner would repeat himself.

But Don might... When Peggy demanded Don to talk through his thought process, he said he throws out the idea and starts at the beginning again to see if he ends up in the same place. The Burger Chef storyline right now is all about scrapping something that kind of works but isn't quite perfect and starting over, starting deeper. (Bob and Joan's story harmonizes with this -- on the surface, getting together was a practical idea that solves a lot of problems, but Joan's holding out for something more true.)

Favorite moments:
- When Ken said his kid is so active that you have to keep an eye on him, and everyone had this brief, uncomfortable silence.
- I'm drinking rum!
- The dance
- The last shot of the restaurant with Don, Peggy, and Pete -- the closest thing to family that Peggy knows, for better or for worse. The red trim made it look like a home inside a home.
posted by mochapickle at 5:31 AM on May 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


Well, the closest thing to a family that any of them has right now, really. Just rewatching now and Trudy told Pete he's not part of that family any more. He needs Peggy and Don more than ever.
posted by mochapickle at 5:40 AM on May 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


Aaaarggghhh! EVERY time I am finding Pete likeable, he goes and does something awful.

I like Pete, but he's pretty much always awful. All those "you're the mom" cracks at Peggy, expecting Bonnie to be "shopping all day, screwing all night" but freaking out when she says "fuck" and objecting to Trudy going on a date, etc. etc.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:44 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Pete is self-involved and always has been. He's just truly awful when that involves being a prick to other people.
posted by dry white toast at 5:50 AM on May 19, 2014


BOB BENSON YAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!

Also, poor Bob Benson.
posted by thereemix at 6:02 AM on May 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Predictions for the last half-season:
  • The agency scores a trampoline company. Don jumps out a window and is miraculously saved by a free sample trampoline.
  • With the agency running out of office space, Cutler declares that either the computer or Stan's beard has to go. Bowing to pressure from the partners, Stan reluctantly shaves his beard. In the next episode, the computer has a beard. Stan quits. Cutler and the computer high-five.
  • References to 2001: A Space Odyssey become more and more numerous, until the finale episode blends seamlessly into the film. Stan is revealed to be a caveman.
  • Unbeknownst to anyone, Ken's eye survived the gunshot wound and has opened a scrappy new advertising agency on the other side of town. Ken's loyalty is tested when the two agencies compete for a lucrative new contact lens account. Fortunately for SC&P, Ginsberg's nipple comes up with a brilliant campaign.
  • Peggy wakes up in the hospital, pregnant. The entire last six seasons were just a weird dream.
  • Time gradually speeds up and the series ends not with the moon landing, but on May 25, 1977, the release date of Star Wars. Stan is revealed to be George Lucas.
  • Having learned that Pete Campbell has the ability to make people he dislikes disappear in mysterious travel accidents, the US government kidnaps Pete and uses his power to sabotage the Russian space program. In a moment of rum-fuelled confusion, Pete sets in motion the events of Apollo 13.
  • Ted, momentarily forgetting that he works on the first floor, attempts to jump out a window to hilarious effect.

posted by oulipian at 6:07 AM on May 19, 2014 [34 favorites]


I liked the little bit of dialogue when Peggy is telling Don he is making the pitch. Something like:

"You make the pitch, I pick it up at third and bring it home, and then you do your thing where you say the tag line, pretending like you just thought of it."
"...I do that?"
"Yeah, you do."
posted by Chrysostom at 6:13 AM on May 19, 2014 [13 favorites]


I'm sad about Ted. The scene in Burger Chef reminded me of the scene in the airport last year where Ted looked at Pete and Peggy and said, "This is the agency I always wanted." Now he's "Use. Less." (Harry's words) and isolated.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:20 AM on May 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


I can only hope that since Harry's star is rising (didn't Cutler haaaaate him like three episodes ago?) that something sublimely awful will happen to him.
posted by mochapickle at 6:26 AM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


"You've seen Tammy for the year, now get back on the plane." That's some cold shit there, Trudy. Not that Pete doesn't deserve it.

I'm glad Peggy had some quality time with Don. She was turning into a real shrew, and that will really help her get back on track emotionally.

I wanted Joan to give Bob a hug goodbye. She made the right decision but he was just so crestfallen and at a loss. Bob does genuinely care a lot about Joan, and he's a gay man running from his background and trying to make his way in 1969.

It's curtains for Malibu Betty and Megan.

Harry as partner. ICK. I know he's damn good at his job and he has his decent moments (i.e., his treatment of Paul and Don), but does anyone like him? Anyone at all?
posted by orange swan at 6:29 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Peggy telling Don that he'd "ruined it" echoed Roger's 2nd wife's words when Roger seduced her in her divorcee apartment. But in her case, Roger was dragging her back, and Don tends to bring out Peggy's best.
posted by vitabellosi at 6:33 AM on May 19, 2014


If ever there was an episode to bring in Joel McHale for a one-time guest shot (just a glimpse of him walking Trudy to the door would have been sufficient), this was it.
posted by The Gooch at 6:36 AM on May 19, 2014 [23 favorites]


The airplane shot: I think both Don and Pete's relationships are dead.

Also part of me wonders if Harry is going to fall off a building or jump or whatever NOW. I know that was his original season 1 plan. But since they already did suicide with Lane, not so sure.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:39 AM on May 19, 2014


"You've seen Tammy for the year, now get back on the plane." That's some cold shit there, Trudy. Not that Pete doesn't deserve it.

I think the show views it even more coldly than Trudy does, with the shot of Joan's Kevin excitedly welcoming "Uncle Bob" for their day out. They've been gone about the same amount of time, and I think Kevin is younger than Tammy.
posted by gladly at 6:51 AM on May 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


This was one of my favorite episodes of Mad Men ever.

I had to watch the Don-Peggy dance scene through splayed fingers; I was just dreading that the writers might have been stupid enough to turn it into a romantic moment. If Don and Peggy had kissed I think it would have ruined the entire show for me forever. But thankfully, the father-daughter dynamic was lovely. The payoff was definitely worth slogging through the last few episodes.
posted by ladybird at 6:55 AM on May 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


Oh and I agree with the others that it's Au Revoir for Megan. Which is fine, great even; I've been over her for about a season now. I'd like to use that screen time for other characters and plotlines.
posted by ladybird at 6:58 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also part of me wonders if Harry is going to fall off a building or jump or whatever NOW. I know that was his original season 1 plan. But since they already did suicide with Lane, not so sure.

Can Pete shoot him? It's so unsatisfying that Pete had a gun in Act 1 and we haven't seen it again.
posted by mochapickle at 7:00 AM on May 19, 2014 [8 favorites]


ladybird, me too. I was dreading a semi-drunken kiss that would have been shoved under the rug in the cold light of day. But the way it played out was just perfect.

And didn't Megan look ridiculous in her California clothes/makeup/hair in the office? When Peggy stood with her, it was hilarious. And Peggy's outfits the last two episodes have really suited her (turtleneck notwithstanding).
posted by tracicle at 7:00 AM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ken is going to get himself involved in a kingsmoot.
posted by drezdn at 7:03 AM on May 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


Completely quadruple-taked on the opening. That woman looked so much like Francine though I kept thinking it was Helen Bishop which is silly because her kids are older and her baby is not named Stacey.

I totally missed Meredith's wink (darn the small screen). She's really playing up the ditzy secretary role. She's a spy but Don's converted her. I mean, seriously, last week when he was spelling out strategy for her and giving her some coaching with it ... what better way to secretly coach her and win her over to his side!

I love the little auto reaction by Peggy at Megan turning up at the office, "Is this a surprise?". She still worries about him, know things aren't going great, and so forth. Liked her and Don working together and pointing out their happy families images in the ads are bullshit. I was pretty pissed at them springing Ted on Peggy at the phone, but also leaving him out of the Harry vote.

"When we grow up, we're going to kill you and marry your wife." Go Roger with the Oedipus line. So Roger was in on the 'secret Commander' plan.

I think Roger's going to have another heart attack. If there's another spin off it won't be with him.

I suppose Bob and Chevy were all we're going to get, but more than I expected for any sort of further civil rights coverage for gay and bi folks. He was building a family with Joan, but I guess she's holding out for Love, for Roger, for Love. I'm afraid she'll be waiting a long time.

Megan's hair kept getting longer and shorter. Like I was watching the Wizard of Oz. She going to get a little scotty dog and land her house on some witch? I suppose it is her proclivity for wigs. Or maybe the house will land on her. ;)

Agreeing that Malibu Betty and Megan are over. Still very Stan Peggy hopeful but despite his era-normal light condescension Pete and Peggy get on pretty damn well.

When Pete pulled out his notebook out of his pocket to call Malibu Betty it felt as if he were reaching for a cell phone.

I'm still voting for Harry going out the window, and Ginsberg pushes him out with Roger's help, Pete rounds the corner from chasing him while holding his .22.
posted by tilde at 7:04 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


And didn't Megan look ridiculous in her California clothes/makeup/hair in the office?

And what a contrast to the next morning, with her short sleek hair, lack of makeup (I don't remember EVER seeing her look so fresh-faced), all in the glowing light?

What a nice and pretty last hurrah for their crumbling marriage, I guess.
posted by leesh at 7:07 AM on May 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


I loved the look of Burger Chef. So 70s in my memory, even though I never set foot in one. Reminded me of the scenes in Ramona Quimby books at Whopperburger. There was an orange and white burger chain when I was growing up that competed with A & W ....

She sounds annoyed enough to be Francine but it really reminded me of her.
posted by tilde at 7:14 AM on May 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


McCann either wants Don or is hoping that by SC&P dropping Don that Buick loses interest.
posted by drezdn at 7:27 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think the sad, slow-burn death of Megan and Don's marriage is really beautiful and realistic. They're not going out with a bang but a long whimper. It doesn't matter that Don has changed or that they love one another (and I think they do). It's just not working.

How beautiful, for Don to be that open with Peggy about his fears. They're such wonderful friends. I really hope it doesn't get romantic with them. I'm still rooting for Steggy because they're such an old married couple already, but I think they're trying to drive the nail in the coffin that was hammered in last season by their missed sexual connection after Frank Gleason's funeral. Though I know in some ways, it's tired to have everything be marching toward romantic pair-offs, I think it would be really wrong for Peggy to end up single with a cat, just like her mother predicted. There would be no victory in that. Both Peggy and Joan want and deserve love.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:38 AM on May 19, 2014 [12 favorites]


I loved the look of Burger Chef. So 70s in my memory, even though I never set foot in one.

I was totally reliving my childhood when they started showing the Burger Chef paraphernalia in the meeting room, and then the entire restaurant. They built a friggin Burger Chef! I was geeking out.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:39 AM on May 19, 2014


The closing Burger Chef shot was so Richard Estes.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:40 AM on May 19, 2014


I think the sad, slow-burn death of Megan and Don's marriage is really beautiful and realistic. They're not going out with a bang but a long whimper.

The subtle and gentle back-and-forth between them throughout the episode, each dropping subtle hints that one wants the other one to be with them where they live. And neither raising their voice over it. Sad and sweet.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:41 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


I loved Don packing up his typewriter, making his house neater. It seas to the compartmentalization of their lives. Megan wants to make someplace for them where they can't be touched by their work (or is that just an excuse to keep Don away?) but I don't think that place exists. It was once California. But that place is hers now, like New York is his.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:50 AM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Still thinking about the Don-Peggy relationship and how, while the dancing scene was to me clearly paternalistic, their very next scene together might have been the first one in the entire series where I felt like Don truly saw her and treated her as an equal.
posted by ladybird at 7:51 AM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh good for Joan. The closet is toxic for everyone.
posted by The Whelk at 7:57 AM on May 19, 2014 [17 favorites]


In some ways, I'm getting the vibe that the Burger Chef pitch is Peggy's own "Carousel" moment, where she comes into her own as a confident, creative power.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:59 AM on May 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


The ever present dry cleaning bag on the back of Peggy's door was empty this week -- she worked overnight and didn't have time to go home for a change of clothes.

I remember there was lots of speculation last season about how Joan knew exactly what Bob Benson's deal was, it was nice to see that confirmed.
posted by telegraph at 8:02 AM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Thorzdad and ladybird I think you both have nailed it.
McCann either wants Don or is hoping that by SC&P dropping Don that Buick loses interest.

Of course! If they get Commander cigs from Phillip Morris (or think they have a real shot) and drop Don Draper because of it, Buick won't be so interested in SC&P, no matter that they have Bob Benson on staff as a liason.
posted by tilde at 8:04 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh good for Joan. The closet is toxic for everyone.

Joan and Bob are totally characters in my book! We need a scene of Bob Benson getting handsy with a hot librarian.

(Though really, I think that's the end of him now.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:08 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also I liked how we got a lot of actual ad business chatter rather than a generic office things.

THE DANCE- best thing? Not a whif of romance. 100% paternal. Good for you show.
posted by The Whelk at 8:08 AM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


There was an orange and white burger chain when I was growing up that competed with A & W ....

Was it Carrolls?
posted by jgirl at 8:09 AM on May 19, 2014


( Bob Benson: The 70s spinn off series! Political changes in the Motor zcity!)
posted by The Whelk at 8:09 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Pete, Pete, Pete. He wanted to bring his success in L.A. home, lay it at New York's feet, and be welcomed into her steely arms. If you don't love me here, you don't love me anywhere. That well is dry, Peter.

The fact that I keep seeing glimmers of hope that he'll work things out for himself, only to keep falling down his same emotional pit over and over again just breaks my heart.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:31 AM on May 19, 2014


"I never worry about you." That's a (good) dad thing to say. That sealed their dynamic for me.

It's amazing to see Don being honest about his past, his flaws, and his fears. Note: none of his honest moments have come with Megan.
posted by dry white toast at 8:32 AM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


It struck me as a little out of character for Joan, the ultimate pragmatist, to be shocked that Bob didn’t believe he’d find a nice young man to fall in love with and settle down behind a white picket fence. After all, they’d both grown up in a time and place where that was the exception to the rule, and even looking for that young man could land you behind gray bars instead of a white fence.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:37 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


(And although times would soon begin to change for the better, Joan had no way of knowing that, let alone to have had it shape her views regarding Bob's hopes and dreams.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:39 AM on May 19, 2014


free sample trampoline.

Free sampoline.

Frampoline.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:40 AM on May 19, 2014 [9 favorites]


( Bob Benson: The 70s spinn off series! Political changes in the Motor zcity!)

I think a good series could indeed be built around a Bob Benson-like character living in the late 60s-early 70s. Or something like "The Boys in the Band - the Series."
posted by dnash at 8:43 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Joan is, despite the practicality with which she deals with relationships, a romantic at heart. She really did believe she'd get the soap opera ending and is almost holding out for Love out of a desire not to have to compromise Yet Again. She's been in a bad marriage before, not having and wanting is better than having and hating.
posted by The Whelk at 8:44 AM on May 19, 2014 [10 favorites]


Or something like "The Boys in the Band - the Series."

With every network trying for the retro bandwagon hit I'm surprised we haven't seen Logo or some such try out "Greenwich Ave" or something.
posted by The Whelk at 8:45 AM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


“The Jews close everything on Sunday.”
posted by Chrysostom at 8:51 AM on May 19, 2014


Yeah, Joan's mom is irredeemable.
posted by sweetkid at 8:56 AM on May 19, 2014


And that's what I like about the show, it's very much of the time. We need to hear this as a reminder. Joan's mom is like my grandparents were in that time period. They would not have considered themselves bigots, but their language was certainly not PC by today's standards and they had no compunction about ethnic stereotypes.
People were still saying 'Colored', too.
posted by readery at 9:03 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't really know why we "need to hear this as a reminder."
posted by sweetkid at 9:08 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


You know, Pete's planned weekend for Bonnie reminds me of the weird tryst between Don and Sylvia. He wants to stick her in a hotel room and control her. Pete's not specifically getting off on the control like Don was, and it's not as explicit, but he's definitely puppeteering Bonnie for his satisfaction.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:10 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


“The Jews close everything on Sunday.”

Actually, she said (correctly), SATURDAY. AV Club also got this wrong and it pissed me off! It's Christians who close things on Sundays.
posted by leesh at 9:13 AM on May 19, 2014 [17 favorites]


Interesting, despite the wholesome joy of them eating at Burger Chef, I THIUGHT it reminded us the viewer of Peggy talking about how none of THIER ad ideas are based in any kind f reality, who actually sits down at a dinner table and smiles rather than watching TV? What are they even selling anymore? A ghost of a dream? The dream of family togetherness replaced with the dream of ease, cleanliness, order, uniformity. There is nothing at Burger Chef to remind you of your life, and that's what we want.

Anyway I'm going to be following the writer if this episode cause I love how they break up the format of a tv show and walk riiiight up to the magical realism line without crossing it. These episodes have always felt like something NEW was happening in TV.
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 AM on May 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


This episode is also getting massive credit from my fellow advertising creatures for its realism to the way the creative process works and how the gears of the business turn. One of the things I love about the show is how important gossip is - who had what conversation, who knows what when, how did YOU know this etc - stuff like that travels so fast when you have a bunch of people whose strong suit is communication all working together.

Also, Peggy's whole bit about the family dinner hour and whether that's even realistic or not is intriguing - as recently as two years ago I worked on a campaign with similar themes - not for fast food but for consumer packaged products, about putting away cell phones and "bringing back dinner." It's still seen as an ideal, although not something I grew up with at all, with two workaholic parents.

Also the advertising/marketing of family meals is still heavily geared towards moms.
posted by sweetkid at 9:28 AM on May 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


The Burger Chef pitch reminded me of how, growing up in the 80s, our local Burger King did table service one day a week to make parents think they were dining out, I guess? It was weird.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:31 AM on May 19, 2014


Peggy's whole bit about the family dinner hour and whether that's even realistic or not is intriguing

Yes, I loved when she said "does this family even exist anymore?" Followed by Don's cluelessness about the idea. She had to point out to him that he's surrounded by working women.
posted by dnash at 9:33 AM on May 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


Joan is, despite the practicality with which she deals with relationships, a romantic at heart. She really did believe she'd get the soap opera ending and is almost holding out for Love out of a desire not to have to compromise Yet Again. She's been in a bad marriage before, not having and wanting is better than having and hating.

I wasn't talking about what Joan wanted for herself. Heck, I think back even when she was telling Peggy to play her cards right and find a rich man to take care of her, she meant a rich man who loves you. I think she even really believed she loved Greg in the beginning.

My quibble is that she seemed to think it was weird that Bob didn't expect that the same thing would happen to him. "You should want the same thing," she said, just like she told Peggy what Peggy should want in the very first episode.

The thing is, if Joan's as sophisticated and worldly-wise as it's been beaten over our heads she's supposed to be, she shouldn't be so surprised if Bob hasn't spent his whole life believing he was going to get the soap opera ending.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:33 AM on May 19, 2014


our local Burger King did table service one day a week to make parents think they were dining out, I guess? It was weird.

Yea I remember that (it was national). I think it was early 90s. They would bring popcorn to your table. It was really weird.
posted by sweetkid at 9:34 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I worked at a Burger King when that was going on, so at least in suburban Pittsburgh, it would have been 1991, I think. It WAS weird.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:47 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


What Joan said to Bob made character-sense to me. I think it was an entirely new feeling, brought on by a moment of high emotion. She didn't have time to think in that moment, didn't really see Bob's history or the various ways his sexuality had confused his hopes and fears, and I'm not sure she even fully registered the insult of his telling her she wouldn't get a better offer. There was just a recognition of his loneliness and of the elemental fact that people shouldn't be lonely. She would have seen it differently the previous day, and probably saw it differently the next morning, though I don't think it would be the same "differently."
posted by thesmallmachine at 9:52 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't really know why we "need to hear this as a reminder."

My personal belief on that is that if we stop remembering how ugly the past was in certain ways, and only remembering the good parts, we risk glorifying it and letting ourselves slip back into old patterns without being aware of where they might lead.

I remember when the show first came out, and there was a certain segment of viewers who were all gung-ho about how it was great to see three-martini lunches and slapping secretaries’ bottoms and open bars and ashtrays in the office and God, wasn’t it awesome when men were men and women were women and you never had to worry about what you said in front of anybody?

And then the show started to show how unsustainable that kind of life was: the health problems, the broken families, the women who couldn’t and wouldn’t be kept in their places anymore, the changing economic and technological realities, the dangers of ignoring things like the war, how keeping a secret can hurt you just as much as revealing it. And that segment of the audience started to complain about how the show was going downhill.

I find myself constantly bombarded with messages about how we need to take society back to aanother time when things were perfect. Talking with my parents, reading a lot of history, and watching things like Mad Men help me realize that if such a time existed, I don’t think it was within the living memory of anyone who’s around today.

Yes, these are absolutely things about the past we could stand to reuse and things we need to leave in the museum. But I think there are a lot of people out there who need to see them both together before they can connect the dots.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:52 AM on May 19, 2014 [27 favorites]


I agree with that, The Underpants Monster, but I sometimes think "we need the reminder" can be used as an excuse to handwave away a lot of the things that are still happening now. Like "look how far we've come" or like "at least X isn't happening, so be happy" type of reasoning.
posted by sweetkid at 9:55 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think it was an entirely new feeling, brought on by a moment of high emotion.

Certainly possible, although it seems like over the years, they've gone out of their way to show us Joan being completely in emotional control in situations like that, that would shake anyone else's control: Roger's heart attack, her roommate's pass, the lawnmower incident, etc.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:00 AM on May 19, 2014


I agree with that, The Underpants Monster, but I sometimes think "we need the reminder" can be used as an excuse to handwave away a lot of the things that are still happening now. Like "look how far we've come" or like "at least X isn't happening, so be happy" type of reasoning.

A very good point, which I had totally failed to consider.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:01 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


The intriguing thing about Joan's speech to Bob is that it immediately reminded me of Carrie Bradshaw's speech to Alexander at the end of Sex and The City:

"I am someone who is looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't-live-without-each-other love. And I don't think that love is here, in this expensive suite, in this lovely hotel, in Paris."

It's interesting because as much as the show is of its time, it's written by much younger people who have a different cultural experience. I don't know much about Semi Chellas, the episode's writer, but she was born in 1969, so would be about the same age as the characters on the Sex and the City. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with the show but it's true that it has had an enormous effect on the cultural discussion of single women ever since it was on the air, especially professional single women in their 30s struggling with romance, and trying to define what they really want.
posted by sweetkid at 10:16 AM on May 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


What a great episode! So well-written and perfectly timed. I have so many random thoughts about it all…just going to ramble a bit and wonder if anybody else has anything to counter/add/share/whatever?
  • The whole episode reminded me of some adult Americana version of lunchtime in junior high. Especially by the end, when the focus was on everybody at the tables or in the places they belonged; Megan and Malibu Betty on the plane, Joan taking a standing nay vote and leaving the lunchconference table, the original gang hanging out at The Peach PitBurger Chef.
  • The episode started really, really dark. Literally dark. I kept putting my screen brightness up and it was to its max. So then I made a mental note to notice if/how/when it changes back to normal and/or bright. Contrasting the opening scenes with Megan and Don on the balcony really took me back to the color palettes of the first episode of the season, where you had Don at the top of his game in the colorful and bright airport and then shivering and dark and colorless on the cold balcony. Nice turning of the tables there (heh, sorry).
  • The scene with Megan and Don and the fondue pot…what was the deal with her teeth? Looked to me like they were ground down and temporarily built back up in prep for veneers. Anybody notice that?
  • Peggy has been taking a beating all season, but the first 15 minutes of this episode were absolutely BRUTAL. There wasn't a single interaction she had that didn't add fuel to the fire. One tough cookie, her.
  • We got to see so many bedrooms/beds/nightgowns/sleeping!
  • I think a lot of the shopping mentions served to point out some stereotypes we have about the times then and what "makes women happy" in the eyes of men and women, versus stereotypes we have today (think Sex and the City, for one especially overwrought example). Peggy's line about all the cities she went to and all the station wagons she peered into and "where did she go wrong?" really solidified that for me. And how families can start so much later for the "modern woman" today, but being 30 and childless then…what an abomination (think what became of Mary in Pottersville in It's a Wonderful Life).
  • I think part of what pleased Don so much about his evening with Peggy is that he'd been ineffectual for so long, but was seen by Peggy. I don't think he realized how much he mattered to her, even if how that manifested was her being utterly tortured by his every move. I think he might have thought he was a bit invisible. But here she'd been, agonizing over and needing him at the same time. He knew what to do and felt safe to do it. A first for a long time.
  • Pete with the ketchup on his cheek and mom and dad adoringly smiling over him and his receding hairline. What a good egg; I hope they took him for a sundae afterwards.
Such good writing and so much meta. I was completely charmed by it all.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:49 AM on May 19, 2014 [7 favorites]


Ha, wish I'd read your great comment before I'd posted mine, sweetkid!
posted by iamkimiam at 10:51 AM on May 19, 2014


The infamous teeth did look different.
posted by jgirl at 10:54 AM on May 19, 2014


...what was the deal with her teeth?

Her teeth have always looked like the world's worst overbite. Some episodes they really look like they're threatening to chew off her face. They've always been a distraction to me.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:00 AM on May 19, 2014


A friend of mine is wondering if Cutler's use of the term "proprietary software" is era-appropriate.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 11:06 AM on May 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Her overbite was still there, but the teeth weren't bucked (they were very rounded and about half the size/length as before), or so it seemed.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:40 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


The scene with Megan and Don and the fondue pot…what was the deal with her teeth? Looked to me like they were ground down and temporarily built back up in prep for veneers. Anybody notice that?

Yeah, I was watching with my sister, and we both noticed it at the same time. It was like they had gone in and put shading between them or something.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:00 PM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


They referenced her manager saying that she'd have to get her teeth done earlier this season so perhaps that was a decision to indicate she was going to give in to help her career. A little bit of a real-world thing as the actress has been mocked a great deal for her teeth.
posted by PussKillian at 12:07 PM on May 19, 2014


our local Burger King did table service one day a week to make parents think they were dining out, I guess? It was weird.

Yea I remember that (it was national). I think it was early 90s. They would bring popcorn to your table. It was really weird.


It also spawned VERY 90s commercials starring Dan Cortese...
posted by theartandsound at 12:08 PM on May 19, 2014


Megan's teeth don't usually bother me at all but they did look different in the fondue scene.
posted by sweetkid at 12:30 PM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


EXTREME postage!!!
posted by Chrysostom at 12:30 PM on May 19, 2014


"does this family even exist anymore?"

Hmm... part of me wants to fully believe Peggy truly is that prescient about the changing shape of The American Family, but somehow it struck me as a bit of an anachronism. I also sort of feel like That Family definitely still existed in 1969, and certainly in other regions of the US, but that Peggy -- as a creative, as a New Yorker, as a keen observer of the cultural zeitgeist -- certainly has the perspective of someone who is further out on the vanguard than most. Then Don's responses about how things were in 1955, and then Peggy's thoughts on 1965 - it was too obvious a wink-wink to 2014's audience. IMHO, too much telling there instead of showing. A minor nitpick though to what I thought was definitely a top episode of all time.
posted by hush at 12:34 PM on May 19, 2014


I dunno, my favorite MST3K short is from 195something (A Date With Your Family) and it's all about how to make the "ideal" family dinner and how this is very good and you should ALL at least TRY to do it everyday and he's what you should NOT do (in short, have emotions) it's not that hard and feel like if daily happy family dinners was really common there wouldn't be the need for didactic film shorts giving express instructions on how to do it.
posted by The Whelk at 12:40 PM on May 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


I don't know if you all have seen these, but Duke's Special Collections Library has this crazy huge advertising collection, and they do a post after every Mad Men ep showing some related ads from the real world. It's pretty cool!
posted by leesh at 12:45 PM on May 19, 2014 [12 favorites]


Oh, and let me also link last week's, which has some really hilarious ones.
posted by leesh at 12:47 PM on May 19, 2014 [4 favorites]



it's not that hard and feel like if daily happy family dinners was really common there wouldn't be the need for didactic film shorts giving express instructions on how to do it.

Yeah, also the whole episode and this season in general have had strong themes of the conventional idea of family in flux - Francine working, Bobby worried about the Francis family, itself a blended second marriage construction, falling apart. Also Pete frustratingly saying he didn't like the word "family" because it was so ambiguous, having been separated from his and feeling so cut off from the Cos Cob world, which he has feels about, despite having brought it upon himself.
posted by sweetkid at 12:47 PM on May 19, 2014


Also Bob bringing up the idea of another nontraditional family arrangement with Joan.

The way we were looking at the SCP gang as a little family (especially in the restaurant scene at the end of course) made me think of the rise of workplace comedies in the 70s that showed the people you work with as a sort of makeshift family - MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, WKRP in Cincinatti, probably a lot more that I don't know about because I am too young.

Basically coming to the end of the 1960s on this show has made me hyper intrigued by the 1970s and I wish someone would make an obsessively detailed show about them (dunno about Halt and Catch Fire).
posted by sweetkid at 1:02 PM on May 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Duke's Special Collections Library has this crazy huge advertising collection, and they do a post after every Mad Men ep showing some related ads from the real world.

Holy crud, does the Talking Ken doll in that Barbie ad look like Beachwear Bob Benson from last season!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:06 PM on May 19, 2014


Yea also the Barbie ad is interracial, which it would never be if SCP were casting it because "it wasn't done at the time" shut up Matt Weiner.
posted by sweetkid at 1:10 PM on May 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


Rewatching season four where Abe is trying to impress Peggy and talks about how "there are no black copywriters" - but I took it as "at all" when others took it "at SCDPCCG&Friends". He (Abe) wouldn't know there are none at SCDPCCG&Friends.
posted by tilde at 1:29 PM on May 19, 2014


I mean I could talk forever about Mad Men and race and "how things were" but the reality is Matt Weiner has never really wanted to integrate the show or talk about black experience more meaningfully.
posted by sweetkid at 1:36 PM on May 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


if daily happy family dinners was really common there wouldn't be the need for didactic film shorts giving express instructions on how to do it.

I disagree. Plenty of "really common" social practices often necessitate didactic instruction, tips, narrative stories about how real people are making it work, support groups, etc - (for instance- the popular practice of breastfeeding today; those ubiquitous how to balance work and family seminars at every large US corporation; books like Lean In or Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office or The Secrets of Happy Families which recommends nightly family dinners).

Peggy was really speaking to today's audience.
posted by hush at 1:52 PM on May 19, 2014




Joan is, despite the practicality with which she deals with relationships, a romantic at heart. She really did believe she'd get the soap opera ending and is almost holding out for Love out of a desire not to have to compromise Yet Again. She's been in a bad marriage before, not having and wanting is better than having and hating.

The insult is that Joan is one of the people who makes things happen. It's not the soap opera ending she's looking for, it's whatever the ending is that she wants, she'll get. She doesn't want Roger involved in raising the kid? Done. She wants (eventually) a divorce? She gets it. She wants to be a working mom? She gets it. Partner? Yes.

Bob, alterna-life guy that he is, just recast her as the girl that life is "happening to." Bob's somebody who makes things happen, too! He's tightly controlled, careful and strategic. "I'm not of your stripe." he tells the guy beat up by the cop (I read that as "I'm not a slut, so I'll never be in that situation." Disdain implied.)

He's actually just a little bit desperate -- but instead casts Joan as desperate. And of course she tells him he can have what he wants someday (which is not a wife) because they are both getters who get things done! It has nothing to do with budding social movements. And here's Bob, being scared, but suggesting that she should be.
posted by vitabellosi at 1:59 PM on May 19, 2014 [20 favorites]


And here's Bob, being scared, but suggesting that she should be.

Totally. That's a really awesome observation.
posted by sweetkid at 2:03 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]



NON SPOILER: Interesting in that the non-sequitur peek for next week is nothing but rehashes from early this season.
posted by ColdChef at 12:19 AM on May 19 [3 favorites +] [!]


No one's addressed this yet but they always do this for pre-finale previews. They want to keep it super extra secret.
posted by sweetkid at 2:12 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


They focused on the perceived negatives about Joan and Peggy's respective ages. Bob was insulting alright (Amen @vitabellosi) calling Joan out for, among other attributes, being "close to 40." Then Peggy called herself out to Don for having just turned 30. Plus ça change.
posted by hush at 2:14 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Honestly, the scene between Bob and Joan broke my fucking heart.

He's trying for some sort of normalcy in a world that won't allow him to have any, and I think he thought Joan would want that illusion as well.

Seriously that scene was just tragic. I may have cried a little.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:30 PM on May 19, 2014 [12 favorites]


Loved this ep. I have a nagging suspicion that we're going to end up with a Sterling Draper company by the end, or perhaps Draper Olson Campbell. I know Mad Men has done the whole startup company thing before, but it'd fit right into Don's belief in starting again (and again, and again), and his dawning realisation that his family are his colleagues.
posted by adrianhon at 2:31 PM on May 19, 2014


> A friend of mine is wondering if Cutler's use of the term "proprietary software" is era-appropriate.

Yes.
posted by vbfg at 2:44 PM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


I also sort of feel like That Family definitely still existed in 1969

Yes, it did, especially in rural areas. BTDT
posted by jgirl at 3:20 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


And of course she tells him he can have what he wants someday (which is not a wife) because they are both getters who get things done!

But what, exactly, is she basing that on?

There were FAR more precedents and models for what Joan's done than there were for what she's telling Bob to do.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:28 PM on May 19, 2014


Her teeth have always looked like the world's worst overbite. Some episodes they really look like they're threatening to chew off her face. They've always been a distraction to me.

Ugh, as someone with an overbite and gummy smile even after significant dental work, I really don't dig this type of comment. Mostly because I've heard it a lot. I mean, I like that they've made it a plot point because it highlights the absurdity. For me, the only way to "fix" it would have been plastic surgery to make my upper lip longer. There is basically an expectation that Hollywood actresses, fictional and real, have plastic surgery to look "normal." So messed up.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:32 PM on May 19, 2014 [12 favorites]


So the TV at the gym was running a commercial-less Mad Men marathon and there was a bike nearby and long story short my legs really hurt now
posted by The Whelk at 3:37 PM on May 19, 2014 [13 favorites]


Yeah, but now you can name your quads "Bob" and "Benson" or "Peggy" and "Stan."
posted by ambrosia at 3:46 PM on May 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Soon I'll be ready for tiny shorts weather!

( I only found out after there was a treadmill constantly turned to Turner Classic Movies and that is seriously dangerous.)
posted by The Whelk at 3:49 PM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


(A treadmill constantly tuned to TCM? Good god... I want it, but I know it would kill me. But I want it.)
posted by palomar at 6:04 PM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


But what, exactly, is she basing that on?

There were FAR more precedents and models for what Joan's done than there were for what she's telling Bob to do.


(In my take) She's basing it on the way she and Bob have been living their lives, making things happen for themselves through guts, competence, hard work, and charm.

People didn't always need to have precedents and models (!!!!!!) to figure out how to move forward and live their lives. That kind of thinking seems very 21st century, a product, perhaps, of a data-rich environment combined with the emergence of internet affinity communities.

And she didn't say "you should go get gay married!"

I think part of the take-away on Joan is that those "models" and "precedents" you speak of came too late for Joan, at every turn. Peggy got promoted. Joan was sent back to her secretarial job after reading the scripts for TV. Once she had demonstrated the value of having someone in that position, they advertised it, hired a man to do it, and asked her to teach him everything she knew about it. The "existence of models and precedents" isn't meaningful if she didn't see any of them working in her day-to-day life. Consciousness raising workshops came around in the seventies for a reason.

There was a lot of love and sweetness in Bob's offer. I, too, was heartbroken for both of them. But he did insult her when she didn't respond the way he'd hope. He diminished her.
posted by vitabellosi at 7:03 PM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Best episode of the season. Cried during My Way for sure. Just wish we didn't have to wait so long for the rest.
posted by SarahElizaP at 7:13 PM on May 19, 2014


I didn't cry during My Way until my second watch and then it was total waterworks.
posted by sweetkid at 7:15 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think part of the take-away on Joan is that those "models" and "precedents" you speak of came too late for Joan, at every turn.

They were around, they just weren't what Joan wanted. She has choices Bob doesn't, and she knows it.

If she had said, "and if you're my friend,you'll want that for me, too," or "and I hope that someday you'll be able to, too," it would have rung true. But she acted like it should have been obvious to him, like she'd grown up in some other society.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:16 PM on May 19, 2014


I think it's important that the first thing she really said was "You shouldn't be with a woman," which is a different thing than "you should find happiness with a man," though she did go on to basically say that.

I saw it as both "you should be true to yourself" and "you shouldn't do that to any woman." I think we don't always consider how painful the sham "beard" marriages must have been for the women. Everyone feels sorry (rightfully) for the Sals but sort of laugh at the Kittys. I think in a way Joan was being a stand in for all women who were saying the security isn't enough.
posted by sweetkid at 7:24 PM on May 19, 2014 [13 favorites]


Yeah, I also feel like she was having a knee-jerk reaction to watching the marraiges of everyone she knows fall apart and become destructive cause they're ....based on lies and omissions. Security isn't enough.
posted by The Whelk at 7:27 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


(that is I think Joan is coming from a point of experience, her first instinct is to say NO YOU DO NOT WANT THIS THIS WILL NOT MAKE THINGS EASIER and then he insults her cause it wasn't the reaction he was expecting than The Talented Mr. Benson has seams in his person suit.)
posted by The Whelk at 7:28 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, he was kind of like "wut I don't even believe you don't think I'm hot," which, DUH obviously Bob Benson/James Wolk/DreamyMan you are teh hotness that is not the point.
posted by sweetkid at 7:31 PM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think we don't always consider how painful the sham "beard" marriages must have been for the women.

Well, except for women like me. Bob Benson or Cole Porter (as played by Kevin Kline) would be my ideal spouse.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:32 PM on May 19, 2014


I'm not saying she should have married him, or been flattered by his offer. All I'm saying is that she wouldn't realistically have been surprised that he wasn't already expecting something he would have had no reason to be expecting.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:15 PM on May 19, 2014


Is it just me or is this the first time we have seen Don smoking a cigarette in awhile?
posted by likeatoaster at 8:44 PM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


Most of Joan's relationships are transactional and they always have been.

Episode one, she showed Peggy how to put up with creepy banter from the junior execs for a free lunch. Her husband mostly just used her to impress his colleagues. When she showed Lane some genuine human kindness and friendship, he went for a kiss. And then, obviously, Jaguar.

Bob's friendship didn't feel transactional (although in hindsight it was: During the merger, Joan protected Bob from layoffs after he took her to the ER). So I think she was just so disappointed that yet again, someone wanted something from her that wasn't really reflective of all that she is or can be.

I hope she gets something real.
posted by mochapickle at 8:47 PM on May 19, 2014 [9 favorites]


Is it just me or is this the first time we have seen Don smoking a cigarette in awhile?

Ever since the letter to the Times Don has cut way way back on his smoking, as does everyone else - I've been watching the first few seasons and everyone smokes all the times at every possible moment, slowly cigarettes start to be coded as "bad" or "old-fashioned" cause the bad or old-fashioned characters smoking. Don only seems to smoke when he's trying to bad or petulent.
posted by The Whelk at 8:56 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]



Don seemed incredibly reflective throughout this episode. He seemed truly aware of his place in the world and those around him. Even working with Peggy, he seemed utterly relaxed and within himself, even as Peggy was venting her pent-up anger at him. He took it and responded helpfully and helped her through it. He didn't utter a single argumentative word all episode. He was available and open to everyone. Either Don's discovered Valium or he's had a personal epiphany and is becoming at-peace with himself.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:56 AM on May 19 [4 favorites +] [!]


Magical threesome? IDK he did seem more relaxed but it seemed abrupt to me, too.
posted by sweetkid at 9:06 PM on May 19, 2014


as someone with an overbite and gummy smile even after significant dental work, I really don't dig this type of comment. Mostly because I've heard it a lot. I mean, I like that they've made it a plot point because it highlights the absurdity.

Oh my god, totally agree.

I kind of fell in love with Megan because of a teeth-related exchange between her and Don back when he was first getting to know her as more than a secretary--when she babysat on the trip to California. The two of them were out on the hotel balcony and Megan said her actor-friend had just told her she'd never be able to make it "because of my teeth..." and then added, "She actually said that!"

As someone whose crooked teeth were the subject of a friend's snide comments (long ago), I found that scene to be so honest and vulnerable. Don says something like "I like your teeth!" and it's clear that he's not lying, that he really does straight-up think she's beautiful. Which is a very real thing--loving all of a person including their imperfections.

I mean, not that it was a stretch for Weiner to write that into the show, because Jessica Pare is incredibly beautiful. But I like that her one obvious physical "flaw" has been addressed head-on as something that the character has had to deal with, repeatedly, in her personal and professional interactions.
posted by torticat at 9:43 PM on May 19, 2014 [8 favorites]


There was a lot of love and sweetness in Bob's offer. I, too, was heartbroken for both of them. But he did insult her when she didn't respond the way he'd hope. He diminished her.

I was surprised at how shitty his pitch was. Bob should know better, shouldn't he? Guess at that point, he knew it wasn't going to happen so h was just going to lash out.

Joan had an appalling first marriage. Since then, she's literally been "turned out" by her co-workers. That she would hold out for an idealized love match that is likely never going to come, or that she would be pretty shy about getting into anything romantic ever again, isn't all that surprising to me.

I don't think she was being insensitive by telling Bob that he should hold out for more. She knows how dangerous it is to get involved in practical "arrangements," she's been burnt by that fire a couple times already and the more control/power she's taken over her romantic life the better things have gone since then.

To me, it didn't sound like she was telling him to hold out for a white picket fence with a man or anything, it sounded like she was telling him to still believe in love. I agree with her, in that I don't think that's a bad idea -- for anybody.
posted by rue72 at 9:48 PM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


He's trying for some sort of normalcy in a world that won't allow him to have any, and I think he thought Joan would want that illusion as well. Seriously that scene was just tragic. I may have cried a little.

I totally cried. It really WAS tragic because neither of them was really wrong. Joan was right that they both deserve real love and not an "arrangement," and Bob was, unfortunately, probably right that his proposal was "just being realistic."

Sigh.
posted by torticat at 9:51 PM on May 19, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also, in a way, I think Joan was telling Bob that he actually could be loved?

That would actually be a pretty huge amount of growth, for someone who told Peggy on her first day that Peggy had better look at herself in the mirror and make an honest assessment, because it's *imperative* for a person to hide her flaws and accentuate her attributes.
posted by rue72 at 9:51 PM on May 19, 2014


I ...uh was actually dissuaded from a childhood/teenage acting career cause a casting person said they'd have to correct my teeth first and that was too expensive.

Fun fact, I did get my teeth "fixed" at 24 cause I finally went to the dentist and they said words like "facial paralysis" and now I have a much more even smile and no wisdom teeth.
posted by The Whelk at 9:52 PM on May 19, 2014


Imagine if Sally had had teeth like Megan's -- Betty would have taken her to the dentist in about five seconds flat, judging by how she reacted to Sally's maybe-broken nose.

It's kind of amusing to me, because I think that in a lot of ways, Megan's mother is similar to Betty. Betty's much more high strung and much less French, though.
posted by rue72 at 9:57 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is that a painting of a child facing the corner in Ted's office? Whoa. Punishment, much?

(Also I love that when they need to remind us that someone is in California, they just put a glass of orange juice on their desk.)
posted by Sara C. at 10:43 PM on May 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Bob, nooooooooooooo! Stonewall is in like two weeks. That lighter is igniting a dim glow at the end of the tunnel. Don't beardify yourself nowwwwwwwwwwww.....
posted by Sara C. at 11:11 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


Fun fact which will hopefully be my last sad lonely post (guys come baaaack!):

I'm pretty sure the Burger Shack ad Peggy comes up with is based on this 70s McDonald's ad. Exact same strategy, anyway, though this particular example is aimed at African-American families.
posted by Sara C. at 11:22 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


It wouldn't be out of character for no one on the show to care/notice Stonewall but I'd somehow be surprised if this happened the same weekend.

I think the show doesn't always like to go for the big history moments, but it would be really shocking to have an episode with big gay themes which takes place the weekend of Stonewall, AND where one gay character is bailing another gay character out of jail who just got hard core punched in the face for reasons of Teh Ghey, and have it NOT be because he got caught in a gay bar raid in the Village. I mean they even went out of their way to explain and didn't even give us that much.

I choose to believe this is the weekend of the 21st. Matt Weiner can't be that cruel.
posted by Sara C. at 11:30 PM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]


As far as potential spinoff companies, when I saw Don, Peggy and Pete working together at the end I knew that if there was going to be one, it would be these three people. Draper, Campbell and Olsen (because of course Peggy would be last and Don would be first).

Roger knew about Commander! That means he *knew* that Don would be canned if they get the account. I think he regrets his impulsive invitation for Don to return -- and only did it to mess with Cutler -- and I don't think he cares much any more about anything, let alone what happens to Don. I can't see him moving on with Don.

Someone said above about Don's abrupt shift to self-aware and relaxed, but I think it's a follow-on from his confrontation with Commander. He's back on top, he has Cutler on the back foot (maybe) and he has settled into his place in the office, knowing that he's still the best -- or at least putting on that facade, because that fist pump after Peggy left his office was just wonderful.
posted by tracicle at 12:01 AM on May 20, 2014


More and more I think Roger just impulsively said, "sure, whatever" when Don told him he wanted to come back. He didn't actually expect it to really happen (hence why he blew off their appointment), and now he's just like "dude like I don't know seriously not everything is about you jeez".

But isn't bringing in a non-Lucky Strike cigarette account kind of a fuck you to Roger, too?
posted by Sara C. at 12:06 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


There was a section in the middle of this episode that was entirely phone calls between different pairs of people, and it was pretty great.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:17 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't think this was the weekend of Stonewall, but this is the June 1969 episode - and that had to be at the forefront of their mind when planning this episode. I think the great part about not making it the "Stonewall episode" is that we get allusions to history without Bob having to be there and confront it. And next episode will be July 1969 and the moon landing, so Stonewall will have happened... and it won't have changed Bob's life a bit.

I hope that's not the last we see of Bob Benson, but I guess I have to give up hope of ever seeing Sal, now that Stonewall has happened. Unless he's somehow working for NASA ;)
posted by crossoverman at 1:45 AM on May 20, 2014


I… I feel bad now but I really didn't swoon for the "Do it My Way" dance. I was kind of caught off guard by the whole, "Don Draper self-aware man, just backing up his boss/Peggy" thing. I mean, the shift was so big from the previous episode that I kind of just couldn't… It was so reasonable and mature of him but - this is Don Draper, he's not a keep-your-head-down type, even when he was selling fur coats. So, I'm glad he's got some peace going on but I kind of don't know why - or more precisely I didn't see the moment he decided to stop beating himself up.

I don't think Megan is going to perish in a fiery plane crash - though it's a pretty good soap-trope and would be pretty hilariously meta, but for that reason I don't think they'd do anything as obvious. On the other hand almost every image of her was a positive one. They are nice to each other, we feel warmth towards them as a couple - makes the spilt that much more poignant when the time comes.

The Bob thing made me sad as shit, too. Though 'The Talented Mr. Benson' kind of sums up my feelings towards him I wouldn't wish the kind of emotional torture he's had to go through on anyone.

And lastly, I think Peggy's asking about if that family even exists, and etc., is kind of not such a positive thing - in that the people you work with should not (IMHO) be 'family' and etc. Though it is perfectly reflective of how things were and how they went on to evolve.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:00 AM on May 20, 2014


Some late thougts.

The look on Don's face as Peggy says "You're surrounded by working mothers!" he remembers (though she does not) that she is one, and the bond they have from her pregnancy.

Don saying in the meeting "It's just what they asked for" without a hint of sarcasm. He almost believes that's a good thing too--Peggy's the perfectionist now, he is too (childishly) elated just to be clawing his way back to success.

The fact that the gay Chevy exec comes on to Joan hardcore. Nothing says "I am hetero" to the world like pretending to be into a woman like Joan.

Something is brewing between Don and Bonnie and Megan and Pete. Maybe it's just parallelism, but Don does keep giving her odd eyeballs.

I don't see anything out of character or sad about Peggy ending up alone, at least as far as the story goes (she'll still be 30 when it ends, that's not exactly old y'all). The greatest triumph would be her building this amazing career but still being happy despite not finding a boyfriend wouldn't it? Who gives a shit what her mom thinks!

The late 60s/early 70s was awash in 50s nostalgia: Sha Na Na, TV cartoons, underground comics parodies, American Graffiti (which the last shot of the episode seems like an explicit reference to, along with a Norman Rockwell painting) and the explosion of fast food joints like Burger Chef. It went along with the growing Reagan republican sense that everything about the 60s needs to get rewritten and washed away. Explicitly in the pitch Peggy and Don are battling with nostalgia versus reality. How do they, as dream makers, manipulators of the American subconscious, ethically deal with this desire to go back, to erase the present? The first pitch casts Burger Chef as being the method of a return to "family values". Please your husband. Succor your brood. Keep everything intact and whole and safe by feeding them fast. But Peggy's insight about the reality of working and broken families is that what they need is understanding, not forgiveness by a loving father. They are what they are, we are, the characters are, and this fucked up broken family sometimes just needs a goddamn break. She can't give them a minimum wage hike, but she can at least stop exposing them to judgement on commercial breaks. Don learned a lot from helping her get to that, and hopefully it might reverse some of his creeping conservatism this season.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:57 AM on May 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Last song that plays on the last mad men episode credits Go!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:12 AM on May 20, 2014


My submission: We Will Fall --The Stooges
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:12 AM on May 20, 2014


Maybe something from Let It Bleed, Gimme Shelter or You Can't Always Get What You Want?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:21 AM on May 20, 2014


"Spirit in the Sky"
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:24 AM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


More songs of 1970 appropriate for end credit music: Bridge over troubled water/the boxer.
Big Yellow Taxi
Let It Be
Always Something There To Remind Me
What Is and What Shall Never Be
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:29 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


People Say I'm No Good - Mr. Charles Manson
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:12 AM on May 20, 2014




They could go in a different direction and have "Born in '69" by Rocket From The Crypt.
posted by drezdn at 6:03 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Reminded me of the scenes in Ramona Quimby books at Whopperburger. There was an orange and white burger chain when I was growing up that competed with A & W ....

Whataburger?
posted by ChrisTN at 6:08 AM on May 20, 2014


Cant stop wont stop
Nick Drake - Poor Boy
"Never sing for my supper /I never helped my neighbour / Never do what is proper / For my fair share of labour"
Carole King - Goin Back
"Now there are no games to only pass the time/ No more electric trains, no more trees to climb"
Grateful Dead - Candyman
"Come on pretty women with your hair hanging down / Open up your window / The Candyman's in town"
George - What is Life
"What I feel I can't say..."
Van Morrison - Brand New Day
"I see my freedom from across the way"
David Bowie - All the Mad Men (from the Man Who Sold The World)
"Day after day / They tell me I can go /They tell me I can blow / To the far side of town / Where it's pointless to be high / Cause it's such a long way down"
Emmylou Harris - Fugue for the Ox
"Carousel turning children are yearning / To ride it forever and never come down / Little one's singing older one's clinging / Everyone riding the merry-go-round"
Dylan - Day of the Locusts (from New Morning)
"I glanced into the chamber where the judges were talking /Darkness was everywhere, it smelled like a tomb /I was ready to leave, I was already walkin’ / But the next time I looked there was light in the room / And the locusts sang..."
Velvet Underground - Held Held High
"My parents told me / Ever since I was eleven, / "Hold your head up high." / They said the answer / Was to become a dancer, / Hold your head high. / Oh, just like I figured, / They're always disfigured / With their heads up high."
CCR - (Wish I Could) Hideaway (from Pendulum)
"What's that you say? / We're all bound for the graveyard; / Oooh, I wish you well. / Think it's gonna rain, / Oh, what's the diff'rence, / Is there some way I can help?"
Joe Cocker - Feelin Alright
"Seems I got to have a change of scene / Cause every night I have the strangest dreams / Imprisoned by the way it used to be"
After the Gold Rush - Neil Young
"I was lying in a burned out basement/ with the full moon in my eyes/ I was hoping for replacement/When the sun burst thru the sky...Thinking about what a friend had said / I was hoping it was a lie"
Beach Boys - Cool Cool Water
"From the mountains on down to the sea / Cool water keeps on coolin' me / When the nights are too hot to keep cool / I keep on dreamin' 'bout a swimmin' pool"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:10 AM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


They are nice to each other, we feel warmth towards them as a couple - makes the spilt that much more poignant when the time comes.

Yeah I agree, and I don't really understand the "this relationship is so OVER" comments. That is, I think it's soon-to-be-over for logistical reasons (and the curtains on the plane and the JFK newspaper certainly signal that it's ending), but not for emotional ones. The two of them seem completely in accord with each other, but just very, very sad that their lives have gone in different directions.

Practically every scene between them this episode was nostalgic, from Don's watching Megan setting out breakfast (and my god, how could you watch that embrace on the balcony and believe they aren't in love?), to Megan's wanting to get away from the bicoastal locations that represent their separation.

The idea that Megan's and Bonnie's airplane crashed is just harebrained. How would the next episode even handle that? Pete's and Don's SOs are both dead, funerals are over, and we learn about this... how? exposition? Pete and Don acting mopey? Stuff like that doesn't happen between episodes.

Megan's not gone from the show yet, although that episode was likely her sendoff for this half-season.
posted by torticat at 6:14 AM on May 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


torticat: "The idea that Megan's and Bonnie's airplane crashed is just harebrained. How would the next episode even handle that? Pete's and Don's SOs are both dead, funerals are over, and we learn about this... how? exposition? Pete and Don acting mopey? Stuff like that doesn't happen between episodes."

I looked it up after the episode: no domestic air crashes for TWA in June of '69. That curtain closing was the final curtain for Megan right there. They're done; she's out. I hope you said your goodbyes, 'cos she ain't coming back.
posted by barnacles at 6:41 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


There was a lot to love about this episode, but I guaran-damn-tee you that when Mad Style is written up tomorrow it's going to say the say thing I did: A rainbow blazer in the Stonewall-adjacent storyline, Bob? You have redefined "on-the-nose." Speaking of which: Yes, I loved when she said "does this family even exist anymore?" Actually, I winced. Man, that felt like a bludgeon.
posted by psoas at 6:43 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


“What the hell do I know about being a mom? ... I looked in the window of so many station wagons. What did I do wrong?”

I couldn't help but hear that set of dialogue as Peggy talking about the kid she put up for adoption and looking for it in the back of those station wagons. There just seemed to be too much angst in the station wagon bit to just be about getting material for the ad.
posted by barnacles at 6:44 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Roger knew about Commander! That means he *knew* that Don would be canned if they get the account.

I think Roger's still trying to figure this one out, to be honest. He's clearly stewing about it in the sauna scene ("you're lucky my problems aren't your problems"), and Cutler seems to reiterate that Roger's still on Don's side when he says "Stop thinking about Don and start thinking about the company."

So I don't believe Roger agreed with any plan to cut Don loose, or if he did he's not happy about it.

At any rate, since Roger knows about Commander, he certainly also knows about Don's gate-crashing the meeting, which has shaken up the whole PM vs Don dynamic anyway.

One more thing. Roger was elated to have figured out the McCann mystery when Joan told him about Bob going to Buick. I think that was more than just relief because it had been bugging him, I think it got some wheels turning for Roger--the way he told Joan, "never mind...thank you."

Could be that the next big political battle will be Roger trying to poach Buick (which would require Don, because of Jaguar, obvs), vs Cutler working toward Commander and a Don ouster.

Or maybe Don's ploy with PM will work, the agency will get Buick AND Commander, and the show finale next year will be them killing McCann and marrying its wife.
posted by torticat at 6:46 AM on May 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Half expected Pete to be wearing a "Mile High Club" lapel pin the next day.

Loved Ken's eye joke. Looking forward to his New Yorker short story about a guy with an eyepatch who deliberately makes awkward jokes to see how people react.

I didn't read the final plane scene as "It's curtains for Megan and Bonnie" as literally as others I guess. I do think those relationships are over, but I agree with torticat that a plane crash would be an overwhelming plotline for the few episodes they have left.

When everyone was talking about Megan imminently dying two years ago I said it seemed possible since it would be a different way for one of Don's relationships to end. Instead we got this sort of melancholy drifting away from each other, which is also different for Don.

Then again here we have Don with his drinking under control, picking up traction at the agency, reconciled with Peggy, turning out good creative work, etc. As many have said, either the dance or the final scene at Burger Chef could have closed the series. But we have a half season +1 to go! I don't think Don is just going to go merrily along the whole way. Having Megan die would be a way to knock him back for a while. I don't think just ending the relationship will be that devastating to Don. His look as she is looking through the closet says he knows things are heading towards the end. Plus, they could have the relationship fade out slowly and not even end until the series does at the rate they are going.
posted by mikepop at 6:50 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


They're done; she's out.

NO. WAY. I would bet money. Don's and Megan's actual breakup doesn't happen offscreen.

Guess we'll see next year. :)
posted by torticat at 6:57 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Roger knew about Commander!

Do we know that for a fact? Couldn't have Don told him after ambusing Lou and Jim's meeting? Or it could just be public now, since the only reason they were being secret was to prevent Don countering.
posted by spaltavian at 7:03 AM on May 20, 2014


Here's a GQ interview with Elisabeth Olsen about the My Way scene (and other stuff!).
posted by leesh at 7:33 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Big Yellow Taxi

Oh, oh yes please. That would be a gorgeous way to end the series. Preferably an a cappella recording.

and the show finale next year will be them killing McCann and marrying its wife

Won't happen. McCann is a real agency, AFAIK still alive today. The times they've brought in other agency names (Ogilvy, Y&R I think, McCann etc) they have always been very careful to write around reality, not change it.

Plus, they could have the relationship fade out slowly and not even end until the series does at the rate they are going.

That would be a really satisfying end to the series, for me. Not ever showing their marriage ending, just slowly drifting further and further apart (though, hopefully, with Don clinging to New-Don and keeping it in his pants around other women); life is messy, we don't get wrapped up with little bows. The relationship between don and megan is obviously degenerating; it seems to me like they love each other very much but there is no real way to make it work. Megan won't come back to NYC unless she gets a humiliating setback in LA, Don's never going to leave NYC period (unless he does another reboot/reinvention of himself, which I really don't think he's going to do. The only satisfying way for that character arc to end is for him to reconcile these disparate parts of himself. Or, I guess, drive off into wherever with Sally, settle in the Midwest somewhere and live like a king).
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:40 AM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


From the Grantland piece: Pretty great coincidence that song {My Way} came on exactly at the time “Richard Whitman from Madison Avenue” requested it, though.

What is this about? Don says when the song comes on "You think it's a coincidence?" Isn't it? Did I miss something? The song is on the radio right? What's going on here?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:46 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Awww, if that's true, that's even more adorable. I just tried listening to it on my shitty laptop speakers turned all the way up, and there does seem to be some chatter on the radio before the song comes up, but I couldn't make it out.
posted by donajo at 7:58 AM on May 20, 2014


and the show finale next year will be them killing McCann and marrying its wife

Won't happen. McCann is a real agency, AFAIK still alive today. The times they've brought in other agency names (Ogilvy, Y&R I think, McCann etc) they have always been very careful to write around reality, not change it.


Yes, McCann is very much still around as is Leo Burnett, Ogilvy, BBDO, JWT (J Walter Thompson as referenced on the show), Y&R...most have been absorbed into a few conglomerates, namely Publicis Groupe, Omnicom, and WPP.
posted by sweetkid at 8:02 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm confused. I just watched that whole scene again (iPad) and there's no chatter or announcer on the radio. Is this just grantland making up dialogue again?
posted by mochapickle at 8:05 AM on May 20, 2014


I don't really understand the "this relationship is so OVER" comments

Their relationship was over when Megan quit her newly-promoted position at the agency to pursue acting. Not in a linear way - but that's when the cracks began to show. She rejected his career, he doesn't really value hers. He can support hers; he can make an effort to sound interested in it. I'm not saying that he comes out against it, or takes a stand against it. He just doesn't value it. At all. He doesn't see the appeal. He wouldn't understand the appeal if it was a friend of his pursuing acting.

And she mirrors that with his chosen career, played out with Peggy. It's not appealing to Megan. She doesn't value it. Peggy worked hard to make any headway in her career at the agency (and continues to put up with a lot of bullshit). Megan got married and promoted (basically had it handed to her) and she had a talent for it (both as a creative, and as an actress) AND she wouldn't have to put up with any of the bullshit Peggy puts up with because she's ideally positioned as Don's wife. And she quit. Peggy was stunned. Heck, Peggy felt rejected by Megan.

I've been waiting for the end of the relationship since then. The age gap highlights their issues but isn't the cause of them. And Megan's not even the "woman who is decent to my kids in an effortless way, unlike Betty" that she was in the beginning. (He thought she'd make a good mother -- but she was just effortlessly attending to the kids in a nice way because that's basic human decency right there, treating them like human beings -- she wasn't particularly "motherly".)
posted by vitabellosi at 8:07 AM on May 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


Is this just grantland making up dialogue again? It could be but then why does Don say the thing about coincidences?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:07 AM on May 20, 2014


It could be but then why does Don say the thing about coincidences?

Because it was apt. The music came on just at a key moment. That's all. Plenty of people are like "whoa! I can't believe that song came on right now! It has to be a sign!"
posted by vitabellosi at 8:09 AM on May 20, 2014


Yes, McCann is very much still around

That was a joke. Even if McCann weren't still around, the show's not going to end with SCP suddenly gobbling up a ton of big accounts.
posted by torticat at 8:10 AM on May 20, 2014


Don isn't plenty of people. But even if that's all he meant, why did the writers have him say that?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:10 AM on May 20, 2014


the show's not going to end with SCP suddenly gobbling up a ton of big accounts.

If anything it's more likely that SCPetall will be bought by McCann who will become their "parent" company.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:12 AM on May 20, 2014


But even if that's all he meant, why did the writers have him say that?

I took it as one of those signature bits of Don knowing just the right piece of charming BS to say at the right time - like when they're discussing the pitch, and Peggy says something like, "...and then you do that thing where you say the tagline and pretend like you just thought of it."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:17 AM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Hmm that sounds right I guess...I just keep thinking there's some fact about the song or the radio or their past that the line is bringing out--Don's not usually much of a believer in fate.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:23 AM on May 20, 2014


OK, so the scene: Peggy is falls into this rhapsody about how there's a place where you can break bread and everyone there is family. She's crying, Don hands her a handkerchief, and she does this little shrug.

Peggy: That's it. Well, that's more what it is.
[Don hears the radio, tilts his head in recognition.]
Don: Do you hear this?
Peggy: They're playing it all the time.
Don: Do you think that's a coincidence?

Don's commenting on the popularity of the song and how it fits the current zeitgeist of people not doing things the traditional way but making their way through life on their own terms. By extension, he's reassuring Peggy that it's OK she's not one of the station wagon moms, and it's OK that's not how life worked out for her. She's doing things the way that works for her, for good or for bad, and he knows she's going to be fine.
posted by mochapickle at 8:24 AM on May 20, 2014 [20 favorites]


That's what makes it an appropriate coincidence but why isn't it still a coincidence? YOU GUYS I THINK DON'S FIGURED OUT HE'S ON A TV SHOW *grabs scissors, starts unbuttoning shirt*
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:44 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


(Nice. That would work especially well if Trudy had been out on a date with Abed.)
posted by mochapickle at 8:46 AM on May 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


he's reassuring Peggy that it's OK she's not one of the station wagon moms, and it's OK that's not how life worked out for her. She's doing things the way that works for her, for good or for bad, and he knows she's going to be fine.

I agree with you to some degree, but I think Peggy is thinking she still wants a family and is still struggling even though she's *doing things on her own terms.* That's been a theme - Ted prioritizing his wife and family over her and even his career - he's now just a disembodied voice on the phone - her brother in law rushing home to her sister. I don't think she wants to be a "station wagon mom" but I think she was feeling a pang of missing out on something important and she's scared she's going to lose it - when she said "What did I do wrong?" she was miserable.

I actually thought that although the My Way dance was really beautiful and a nice peace between the characters it was bittersweet as well - I think as Don was looking at her he had a slight regret. Like he took her hand to bring her into the dance, he also brought her into his world of workaholism, alcoholism, confusing relationships, lies and secrets.

Obviously Peggy's talented and not Don's marionette, and she made her choices as well, but I saw a little regret on his part, like "what did I bring this young woman into, and who am I to tell her what's enough?"
posted by sweetkid at 8:49 AM on May 20, 2014 [11 favorites]


He just doesn't value it. At all. He doesn't see the appeal. ... It's not appealing to Megan. She doesn't value it.

Just that they make their own individual career choices does not mean that neither values what the other one does!

I don't even know where this comes from. We've seen Megan talk to Don about work, we've seen her pitch in with her opinion more than once (jaguar for one), kicking around ideas between the two of them. We've seen Don watch her film reel, support her cross-country move, fly out to help her (albeit paternalistically) when she's having trouble. How much evidence do you need that they are trying to support each other and to respect each other's choices?

Neither has given the ultimatum to the other, "It's either me or That Job!" and they've both had abundant opportunity and motive. I think there's a ton of mutual respect that prevents them from doing that. The marriage is coming apart, yes. It's not because either is indifferent about the other's career, but because neither is willing to sacrifice their career or, alternatively, to demand that that other do so.

(I actually don't think that valuing your partner's job or finding it appealing is a necessary ingredient in a relationship anyway. You value your partner, and support them in their pursuits because of that, but you don't have to be personally interested in their vocation.)
posted by torticat at 8:50 AM on May 20, 2014


That's a terrific reading, sweetkid. It makes perfect sense, and shows a lot of growth in Don. Nice.
posted by mochapickle at 8:52 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


is still struggling even though she's *doing things on her own terms.*

That's a good point, and at work she's still struggling a lot with whether she's succeeding at doing things on her own terms. With Lou's treating her like shit, Ginsberg's "they didn't even consider you," Joan's "I don't think they thought about it."

Things are looking up for her right now, but for most of the season she's been feeling kind of sidelined by everybody.
posted by torticat at 8:55 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


oh good I'm glad that resonated with people because I was a little worried it was totally my own projection. I'm sure part of it still is :)
posted by sweetkid at 8:59 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah and regarding this, Ted prioritizing his wife and family over her...

"How nice for you to have choices!"
posted by torticat at 9:05 AM on May 20, 2014 [9 favorites]



"How nice for you to have choices!"


Yes that line was perfect. I think as much as fans and critics in 2014 think Peggy is the lucky one with lots of choices, there are still a lot of restrictions in her life that aren't present for the men.

(I think it is still often this way).
posted by sweetkid at 9:08 AM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yup, one of the great lines, up there with, "That's what the money is for!"
posted by Chrysostom at 9:10 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


that's another line I think of when work people don't thank me for stuff or don't acknowledge something I did or all the guys go to lunch without me.
posted by sweetkid at 9:12 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


-He just doesn't value it. At all. He doesn't see the appeal. ... It's not appealing to Megan. She doesn't value it.

--Just that they make their own individual career choices does not mean that neither values what the other one does!

I don't even know where this comes from.


FWIW, my reading of the subtext of Don and Megan's feelings is similar to vitabellosi's. But obviously, that kind of thing is subjective, and has a lot to do with things like inflection, facial expression, body language, etc. and therefore is bound to vary among viewers.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:16 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


How much evidence do you need that they are trying to support each other and to respect each other's choices?

Well... not to nit-pick, but after Megan left the agency she never really helped Don out with his work. She'd sympathize when he worked too hard and tell him that she didn't like seeing him work himself to death over campaigns, but sharing ideas about the actual work? Not after she quit that job to pursue acting, I don't believe. I remember at one point Don was at home in the bedroom talking about struggling with a pitch and hinting that it would be so easy for her, and she sort of wryly said something like "are you really asking me for help?" (i'm paraphrasing), and when she stopped by the offices on her way to an audition one night while the guys were working late on the Jaguar pitch, she flat-out said "Jaguar: it's your problem, not mine" when someone jokingly asked her for a pitch. It seems more like she's being respectful in that you're kind of supposed to give a shit about the struggles and triumphs that your partner goes through in their worklife, since that's a huge part of everyday life. But she's no longer deeply involved in that world. She didn't want to be, that's why she quit.

As for Don helping or supporting Megan's career... he's been supportive in that he didn't stop her from moving across the country, but then he'd just been put on leave and having her on the other coast sure did make it easier to not tell her the truth. Flying across the country to check in on her after her agent says she's having a meltdown? That's really nice, but... Don's able to muster up all kinds of lovely things to say to Peggy when she's melting down. When Don's wife is laying on his chest in post-coital glow, telling him that she's unhappy and stuck in a "cloud of no" while everyone else is successful, he rolls his eyes and tells her that maybe that's because other people are just better at coping than she is. That's... not really all that supportive. Even thinking back to the beginning, when she got a callback for a play that would have had rehearsals and previews in Boston, Don was flabbergasted that being a working actress meant that Megan wouldn't be home every night in the kitchen making her stupid spaghetti, and he didn't want her to take the job. He pays lip service to being the supportive husband, but when it comes down to actual emotional support, he's not really present for her.

They love each other, yes. But it really does not seem that either of them truly values what the other is devoting their lives to. Megan lives and breathes acting. Don lives and breathes advertising. She actively rejected his passion when she quit working at the agency, and at best he's tolerated her passion.
posted by palomar at 9:21 AM on May 20, 2014 [9 favorites]


Don was flabbergasted that being a working actress meant that Megan wouldn't be home every night in the kitchen making her stupid spaghetti, and he didn't want her to take the job.

And let's not forget his not-at-all supportive visit to the set of her soap opera (S6E4 To Have and To Hold). Plus in what is likely his first chance to watch her soap on TV, he just keeps channel surfing.
posted by mikepop at 9:33 AM on May 20, 2014 [4 favorites]



And let's not forget his not-at-all supportive visit to the set of her soap opera (S6E4 To Have and To Hold). Plus in what is likely his first chance to watch her soap on TV, he just keeps channel surfing.


Yes and he muted her in real life in last year's finale. That's when I knew they were done, it was just a question of when (I do love vitabellosi's suggestion that the relationship started to disintegrate back when Megan rejected copywriting).
posted by sweetkid at 9:37 AM on May 20, 2014


Yup, exactly. He loves her, there's no doubt about that, and he wants her to be happy. But they've had a pretty troubled marriage from the beginning -- remember the epic blowout at Howard Johnson's when Don abandoned Megan, and then the next day at home he had to kick the door in and chase her around the apartment and tackle her, and then she bawled her face off and he looked stricken and clung to her like a child? That was, what, a scant few months into their marriage?
posted by palomar at 9:44 AM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Have you not been married? That was actually probably their peak.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:48 AM on May 20, 2014


No, their peak was the tag-team pitch over dinner over Cool Hwip.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:53 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]




17 out of a possible 24

Hats off for all that time spent absorbing watercooler chat: you may not have devoured every Mad Men episode multiple times, but you have earned an extra 15 minutes in the break room.
posted by The Whelk at 9:59 AM on May 20, 2014


20 out of 24. Ask for a payrise, take the rest of the day off, go to the movies, roll back into the office tomorrow at midday. Illicit movie theater joint and handy included?
posted by palomar at 10:01 AM on May 20, 2014


20 of 24, but I call BS on some of the more interpretive ones.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 10:02 AM on May 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


18/24, but I agree, some of those questions were really subjective!
posted by leesh at 10:02 AM on May 20, 2014


Oh, totally. I got two of the more interpretive ones "wrong", and the questions about number of secretaries and number of Bobbys tripped me up.

I demand that my Mad Men pub trivia team name contain some sort of reference to Bob Benson's hot legs.
posted by palomar at 10:04 AM on May 20, 2014


15/24, but if I went with my second choice on some of them then 22.
posted by gaspode at 10:04 AM on May 20, 2014


I also somehow got the number of Bobby Drapers wrong. Damn you, Bobby.
posted by leesh at 10:04 AM on May 20, 2014


It's Bobby all the way down.
posted by palomar at 10:05 AM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


%n: "No, their peak was the tag-team pitch over dinner over Cool Hwip."

True life Mad Men story: after the ep where Betty was on a diet and cheated by spraying a ton of whipped cream right in her mouth, I did the same thing as a joke with some friends over for dinner.

I learned two things:

- these people did not, in fact, watch Mad Men
- a mouth full of whipped cream is not entirely pleasurable
posted by Chrysostom at 10:12 AM on May 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


They love each other, yes. But it really does not seem that either of them truly values what the other is devoting their lives to. Megan lives and breathes acting. Don lives and breathes advertising. She actively rejected his passion when she quit working at the agency, and at best he's tolerated her passion.

Yes, and there's an additional element to the dynamic. Megan needs Don to love and give credit to her passion. She doesn't want "tolerance" - she wants enthusiasm. I suspect she'd be happy if he bragged about his actress wife. Who wouldn't want that? I think Don would like that too. But he's willing to go forward without it. There's a part of him that's angry that he's willing to move forward without her enthusiasm, and if she really loved him, she'd find a way to move forward in the relationship without his enthusiasm for her choice of career.

Don gets a lot more outside recognition for his work, including big $$, so I also think there are reasons Megan needs more than Don in this situation.

I also suspect that Don sees parallels between acting and the whorehouse -- I suspect he sees the acting world as being full of assholes (and casting couches) and wonders why Megan would even want to impress those people, yearn for the opportunity to be judged by strangers who are jerks. He "saved" Betty from her modeling career. Megan left a copywriting job where she would've been respected for her cleverness and brains (and creativity!) for acting.

(Also - let's not forget that he isn't "supporting" Megan being on the west coast. He killed her NY career where she was seeing quite a bit of success - and then reneged on the move. And then effectively got fired from his NY job! But didn't move out west! What an asshole!)
posted by vitabellosi at 10:14 AM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


19/24; 21/24 if I hadn't second-guessed myself twice.
posted by mikepop at 10:14 AM on May 20, 2014


Which historical event does not figure into Mad Men’s narrative?

Correct answer: The Tet offensive


I swear I remember hearing the Tet offensive being discussed on a radio in the background of some scene. Maybe it wasn't reflected as strongly in the episode's action but it was there.
posted by dnash at 10:15 AM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think the elevator is a more important metaphor than the carousel. Also, Bob Benson is Don Draper's doppelganger? Wha
posted by sweetkid at 10:19 AM on May 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


But Peggy's insight about the reality of working and broken families is that what they need is understanding, not forgiveness by a loving father.

The really cool thing about this scene is that the rise in fast food absolutely was tied to the rise in middle class working mothers in this era.

The amazing thing about that scene is that it just works on so many levels. Not only is it this beautiful emotional scene where Peggy deals with her own anxieties about marriage and family, and where she and Don reunite as mentor and protege, and where there's a bit of speaking truth to power about the fiction of advertising, and there's some nice plot tension about pitching Burger Shack and whether they'll get the account or what, but it's also 100% historically accurate in terms of something very few people either know or care about -- the actual history of advertising's role in a particular socio-economic transformation in American society.

I wanted to start applauding before they even got to "My Way" (which, if anything was ever "on the nose", it's that, but I bet T&Lo won't mention it).
posted by Sara C. at 10:28 AM on May 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


she and Don reunite as mentor and protege

I read it more as a farewell to that relationship, the bird leaving the next as it were.

Especially given that she dictated to Don how the pitch would go "...I'll take it to third" etc.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:31 AM on May 20, 2014


Yeah if someone told me Don and Peggy dance late in the office to "My Way" a few weeks ago I would have been like whaat that sounds super cheesy but the buildup and context totally made it work.
posted by sweetkid at 10:31 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh god, that Bob Benson. When he mentioned that Buick would be expecting a certain kind of man, I almost cried.

The scene where he was driving home from the police station with the man who had been arrested and beaten, I thought to myself, Bob is never going to let himself be with a man. Ever.

In my dream world, Stonewall happens and it's led by Sal.
posted by inertia at 10:32 AM on May 20, 2014


I'm pretty sure Bob has been with men. He just doesn't want exposure.
posted by sweetkid at 10:35 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh by "been with" I assumed you meant sexually - if you mean living together in a committed, out relationship, then I agree he won't.
posted by sweetkid at 10:36 AM on May 20, 2014


The scene where he was driving home from the police station with the man who had been arrested and beaten, I thought to myself, Bob is never going to let himself be with a man. Ever.

Ugh, I know. Bob just broke my heart this episode.

(I agree with sweetkid that I think he's been with guys but he'd never dare to be "out" in a relationship with a guy, publicly.)

I was so excited that he was back and then I got all weepy after he leaves Joan's apartment. I really hope that wasn't the end of their friendship. Bob needs a friend who understands him and accepts who he is, even if he can't bring himself to do the same yet. Joan can be his big sister. He's already Uncle Bob to Kevin.
posted by thereemix at 10:41 AM on May 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also, I remain impressed by the fact that James Wolk has managed to make such a humongous impression on multitudes of Mad Men fans so late in the show's run, to the point where all over the internets (at least the internets I frequent) people were saying SEASON 7 NEEDS BOB BENSON WHERE IS BOB BENSON pretty much from the first episode this year.

James Wolk, you are awesome.
posted by thereemix at 10:43 AM on May 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


He is awesome but also, that's just kind of a thing the internet does because "MORE ROGER URRGHHH" is too 2009.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:46 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure Bob is going to be OK. Stonewall happens next week, and while he won't be there, and likely won't even know about it if he's as closeted in Detroit as he is in this episode, it's going to affect him. Within a couple of years there will be a significant gay rights movement, within five, New York will have a Gay Pride Parade. Attitudes will slowly start changing. The 70s are a pretty OK time to be gay in America.

I definitely see him as one of those happily out gay men in the Village in the 70s, figuring out what color of handkerchief means what and how to be kind of OK with himself. There's a whole generation of young professional gay men who are about to have their moment, and I see no real reason that Bob doesn't get to have that.

Of course, the real question is how the 80s are going to treat him. That's not looking so rosy.

(Also, ugh, Detroit? I mean I'm sure Detroit has its gay scene but BOB YOU ARE SO CLOSE TO FABULOUSNESS WHY WOULD YOU LIVE THERE)
posted by Sara C. at 10:46 AM on May 20, 2014


I agree, Bob/Joan have a lovely relationship. I also loved the contrast between Bob's sweet, "I want to see everyone" when Joan was basically like "you know my mom is here" and had gifts for Kevin who totally remembered him, vs Pete who was like Parenting Fail with his terrified child and hypocritical rants about Charlie Fidditch and beers in cakes.

James Wolk, you are awesome.


He really is. I thought this whole episode was a whole other side of Bob. Last season he was all winky charming and somehow scheming, and this time he's desperate and scared and sad and angry and still somehow scheming, but we all ate it up just the same.
posted by sweetkid at 10:47 AM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I think that cab ride was the moment of him deciding to bury that deep in a closet full of self-hatred. So sad. And I loved his friendship with Joan--I really do hope they stay friends.

I thought it was appropriate that the episode that re-established Don's relationship with Peggy is the same one that shows that Don's relationship with Megan is over. Don's relationship with Peggy has been the most consistent one (not for lack of attempts to screw it up), than his relationship with anyone else. Don's a shithead, and he seems too selfish to actually be in a romantic relationship without screwing it all up, he's never been proud of anything Megan has achieved, but he's proud of Peggy. I thought the ending scene at Burger Chef was great--it was three people who have all had complicated relationships with each other and have still formed this little work family that's been more consistent than any of the other relationships in their lives.
posted by inertia at 10:50 AM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


(Also, ugh, Detroit? I mean I'm sure Detroit has its gay scene but BOB YOU ARE SO CLOSE TO FABULOUSNESS WHY WOULD YOU LIVE THERE)

You see his face when he's picking up Chevy guy from the police? That is the face of a man who knows Detroit has less temptation. Bob needs to be "a certain kind of executive."

He's gonna get that mansion damnit. No matter how tight he has to grind his teeth.
posted by The Whelk at 10:50 AM on May 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


I also loved the contrast between Bob's sweet, " I want to see everyone" when Joan was basically like "you know my mom is here" and had gifts for Kevin who totally remembered him, vs Pete who was like Parenting Fail with his terrified child and hypocritical rants about Charlie Fidditch and beers in cakes.

YES, absolutely this.


I also love how when Pete wanted to accuse Trudy of "cheating" or whatever stupid hypocritical thing he was going for there he brings up freaking Charlie Fidditch, who so far off her radar at this point that she was all LOLWUT?! when Pete said his name. Pete's still holding on to the fact that Charlie was her "first", all these many years later, to the point where it doesn't occur to him that she was probably out on a date with someone from Cos Cob. He's so petty.
posted by thereemix at 10:55 AM on May 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


I find Bob far more compelling than Roger's umpteen midlife crises at this point.
posted by thereemix at 10:56 AM on May 20, 2014


LOL at Pete's imploding rage when he can't control any of the females in his life--not his ex-wife, not his now ex-girlfriend, not even his daughter who can't even be bothered to put up with his shit.
posted by inertia at 11:00 AM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Re Bob and The Whelk's comment just upthread:

I wonder if he'll still feel that way in five years.

I loved the way the proposal scene played the illusion of a happy future in a mansion in Detroit as sort of a metaphor for the illusion that Bob is going to stay in the closet indefinitely.

Which plays beautifully with Peggy's thing about whether "that kind of family" actually exists, or even really ever existed. Peggy is taking a sledgehammer to the postwar nuclear family. Bob seems to be invested in living the lie right now, but how long can that last? How long till Detroit is a signifier of blight and failure rather than mansions and the American Dream?

I love that Bob seems to want to chain himself to a ship we know just hit an iceberg. That's really powerful.

I feel like my entire college education (anthropology and women's studies with heaps of reading about postwar America and the 60s social upheaval) prepared me for this show.
posted by Sara C. at 11:01 AM on May 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


James Wolk, you are awesome.

Stop it, you're making me reexperience my profound Lone Star grief trauma.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:01 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I feel like my entire college education (anthropology and women's studies with heaps of reading about postwar America and the 60s social upheaval) prepared me for this show.

ME TOO! It was women's studies and journalism in my case, but lots of overlap I am sure.

I think part of what I love about Pete's rage is that he was brought up with the expectation that if he was a certain kind of man, certain things would be owed to him--respect from his peers, an obedient and doting wife, obedient children, maybe even a mistress to build his ego and hang on his every word. That world is slipping from him, and he's entirely unable to cope with it.
posted by inertia at 11:07 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to decide whether I'd rather watch Season 1 and then do a rewatch of this season now, or whether it would be better to wait till the real season finale in 2015.
posted by Sara C. at 11:09 AM on May 20, 2014


I definitely see him as one of those happily out gay men in the Village in the 70s, figuring out what color of handkerchief means what and how to be kind of OK with himself. There's a whole generation of young professional gay men who are about to have their moment, and I see no real reason that Bob doesn't get to have that.

There'd be more likelihood of this for Bob if he were 22 in 1969 rather than 30-some. And let's remember, he's about to leave the advertising business and become an auto industry (ad/marketing) executive. Not that it can't happen for him, but he has a lot of a) baggage and b) established career and life-perks to lose.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:10 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


James Wolk, you are awesome.

people slightly younger than me aren't allowed to be this accomplished or pretty.
posted by The Whelk at 11:10 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


So much of this season is the rug finally getting ripped out from under the American Dream, whether it's the lie of the Don Drapers and Bob Bensons of the world or the entitlement of people like Pete and Roger. Or Joan and Betty's feelings of having played by all the rules and now expecting to reap the rewards.
posted by Sara C. at 11:12 AM on May 20, 2014



I'm trying to decide whether I'd rather watch Season 1 and then do a rewatch of this season now, or whether it would be better to wait till the real season finale in 2015.


the answer is both
posted by sweetkid at 11:13 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


The amazing thing about that scene is that it just works on so many levels.

There was also a whole Communion/Last Supper vibe to it that took me back to Peggy's "Take it, break it, share it, love it" campaign for Popsicle.

"What if there was a place where you could go, where there was no TV, and you could break bread? And whoever you were sitting with was family," The gleaming Burger Chef becomes the Upper Room as the three companions take and eat in remembrance of all they've shared together. Peggy has a glowing, Madonna-like smile as she passes out the burgers and Cokes, and white-clad figures pass behind them.

Speaking of Madonnas, I wonder what TLo will make of the fact that Peggy, Joan, and Bonnie all wear pale blue dresses at some point in this episode?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:14 AM on May 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


That Crazy Ones show sucks, but on the upside, James Wolk gets to sing.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:14 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Joan's dress was super ugly. I thought it was a bathrobe at first (whe Bob turned up at the apartment earlier than she was expecting).
posted by thereemix at 11:17 AM on May 20, 2014


There'd be more likelihood of this for Bob if he were 22 in 1969 rather than 30-some.

Bob is in his 20s and not his 30s. He's only been on the show two seasons, and last year was definitely depicted as a fresh faced recent college grad. He seems more established right now because he got a fluke mega-promotion from Cutler, but he can't be more than 25 or 26.

And, yeah, I hear you on the conservative auto exec tip*, but actually it's exactly those kind of people who became the new power gays of the 70s. Suddenly there was this whole population of upper middle class management types who didn't give a shit anymore. It's not just the hustlers and the drag queens you see on the streets of the Village and think "queer" and pity them, suddenly you've got 30 year old ad execs buying brownstones on Christopher street with their boyfriends and fixing them up to be super fabulous. (I'm sure Bryan Batt would know something about that.)

Bob is absolutely the face of new gay America, post-Stonewall. Nothing about his character doesn't fit that, just like Peggy has been the face of new American womanhood and nothing about her character doesn't fit that.

*This is why we've got to get him out of steak and shotguns Detroit.
posted by Sara C. at 11:17 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Eek. 23/24 on the quiz. I got the "why does Betty hate Helen Bishop" one wrong.

Bob has to take Buick because Pete hates him and won't let him succeed at anything at SC&P, and this job effectively "launders" him into an executive suite and society as SC did for the fur salesman Don Draper.

I'm pretty sure that the comment Cutler made to Roger about Commander implied that Roger had brought it in.

That was a Francine clone but not Francine. Her youngest was not a Stacy.

The first thing I thought when the "My Way" dance started was that this was an awfully short episode.

There are comments upthread about him "muting Megan" - he's done a a couple of times, I'd have to dig way back to find them. At least one episode was in his corner office at the Time Life building.

I also meant to follow up on "Don coaching Meredith" (I finally spelled it right the first time) I meant by adding coaching advice on his dictation tapes.
posted by tilde at 11:17 AM on May 20, 2014


people slightly younger than me aren't allowed to be this accomplished or pretty.

I feel the same way, Whelk. (I am the type of loser who shakes my fist in a "damn kids" way at all actors I admire who are younger than me. This includes people like Jennifer Lawrence, who I adore. And yet THE YOUTH THE YOUTH THEY MUST BE STOPPED.)



I just Wikipedia'd James Wolk and he is literally 3 days younger than me. Literally.
posted by thereemix at 11:24 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


remember the epic blowout at Howard Johnson's when Don abandoned Megan, and then the next day at home he had to kick the door in and chase her around the apartment and tackle her

Ha. Yes, it's been rocky, definitely, and it often seems like they don't speak the same language (in a way that he and Peggy, for example, very much do).

I'm probably reacting strongly to this more because of the history, the wide swath of Mad Men fandom who always disliked Megan and thought she was talentless and a gold-digger and that the marriage was doooomed and good riddance to her. I always felt like the story Weiner was telling was more about a relationship that really was good for both of them, in which Don was more honest than he'd ever been before and Megan was more honest about her needs and her aspirations than Betty ever had been... and they've been assholes to each other at times (Don many more times than Megan) but each of them has really tried to adapt to the needs of the other. I mean Megan's put up with/ forgiven a TON of shit from Don. And Don, for his part, has made a fairly heroic attempt to break out of his old-school mode of thinking of what a supportive, model wife ought to look like. Which seems like kind of a big deal for the time, specially considering how much older he is. And he's had relapses and missteps along the way, for sure.

Anyway. I agree that the marriage is no longer sustainable, but I think watching its slow death has been very sad. And that the slowness is evidence that there is something deep there that neither of them wants to give up, even though they both know the end is inevitable.

I'm clearly in the minority in seeing their relationship in a positive or at least a very bittersweet light, and I agree with The Underpants Monster that the story is open to interpretation. And perhaps, if my interpretation is closer to what Weiner intended, he didn't tell the story well.
posted by torticat at 11:25 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


(if I ever feel too good about my accomplishments I remember that I am literally the same age as Scarlett Johannson.)
posted by The Whelk at 11:26 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


"What if there was a place where you could go, where there was no TV, and you could break bread? And whoever you were sitting with was family,"

I'm re-watching season two, and Colin Hanks' priest is pointing out to Peggy that he's noticed she doesn't take communion. She stopped breaking bread with her church family after she gave birth. She won't confess to him.

Don visits her in the hospital, and becomes her family. The burger campaign/family stuff is a nice touch.
posted by vitabellosi at 11:27 AM on May 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


OMG GUYS WHAT IF BOB EVENTUALLY GOES TO WORK FOR SUBARU.

(The joke is that Subaru has long branded itself to the LGBTQ community as sort of the bourgie queer's answer to the station wagon. In fact it all became clear just now when I started streaming the doc After Stonewall on Youtube, and it turns out Subaru was its PBS sponsor.)
posted by Sara C. at 11:28 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]




Huh, I totally didn't know that about Subaru. My high school best friend (we were like Joan and Bob - right down to the fact that for a while he led his homophobic-at-the-time father to believe that we were dating) recently told me that Volvo is apparently the car make of choice for gay men. (He had just purchased a Volvo for him and his long-time partner.) I don't know where he's getting his information from, though. He lives in Albuquerque. I guess the gay men of ABQ are all about automotive safety?
posted by thereemix at 11:31 AM on May 20, 2014


I would like James Wolk and Lee Pace to be in a movie together. They'd be brothers, and maybe solve crimes?
posted by mochapickle at 11:33 AM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


James Wolk, utter delight, spills dirt on Bob Benson

that whole (short) article is completely adorable.
posted by sweetkid at 11:34 AM on May 20, 2014


I would like James Wolk and Lee Pace to be in a movie together. They'd be brothers, and maybe solve crimes?

definitely solve crimes.
posted by sweetkid at 11:34 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


*This is why we've got to get him out of steak and shotguns Detroit.

Exactly. "The new gay America" in the 70s was only in big coastal cities, with a few exceptions. Bob cannot have that kind of life in Detroit (although he can on weekends/vacations in Saugatuck) for another decade or two at least, and that's where the car industry is until at least the mid-80s.

So he would definitely need to rethink his GM career path and whole Dale Carnegie approach to life. We probably won't find out if he does.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:35 AM on May 20, 2014


...With the magic power of their luxurious eyebrows.
posted by mochapickle at 11:35 AM on May 20, 2014


James Wolk Q&A on AMCtv:

Q: I have to ask you about the infamous short-shorts from last season. What did you think when you first tried them on?

A: My first thought was that I never wear shorts. So the fact that these shorts are so short was terrifying me. The more that I wore them, the more comfortable I became, and now all I do is wear short shorts. You should see me — when I walk down the street I’m wearing short shorts. I wear them in my house. If I go to a formal event it’s a tuxedo top and short shorts. I love them now, and I have Bob to thank for that.

posted by mochapickle at 11:38 AM on May 20, 2014 [9 favorites]


I don't think that Bob wants to be a club rat or even an activist, though. I think he genuinely wants the mansion and nice job and family dinners. Like Don did, honestly.

Joan was telling him he *should* want to fall in love and to be loved, but that's not what he's actually yearning for, that's what *she's* yearning for. I think that Bob actually wants status and stability and a "place" in life more than he wants all that.
posted by rue72 at 11:40 AM on May 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


That's part of why Bob digs Pete. He has WASPirations.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:42 AM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I guess I just don't necessarily see that Bob will stay in Detroit for life. He got sucked into that world for a year, and now it seems like a big exciting brass ring. But Detroit is not forever.

My prediction is that Bob is out of Detroit by 1973/74 when the first big shakeups due to the gas crisis start to happen. Especially considering that it's not like Bob is from there or something. He's already shown, like Don, that he's comfortable starting from scratch, going where he needs to go to be who he needs to be. It would not shock me to find him in San Francisco by '76 or so.

I'm also wondering how much of an impact Joan's no will have on him. She doesn't say, "No, I don't love you," or "No, this isn't right for nebulous reasons I think you understand." She says "No, you're gay and deserve to find real love on your own terms." Obviously he's not going to wake up tomorrow and decide to come out. But does that plant a seed, for him?

In a lot of ways I felt like Ginsberg's breakdown -- which is broadcast for the entire office to see, in the deepest, ugliest, realest way possible -- was a counterpoint to Peggy's quiet "it will shock you how much this never happened" encounter with the world of mental illness back in season 1. Is Bob Benson's thwarted desire to live a lie a counterpoint to the great Dick Whitman/Don Draper divide?
posted by Sara C. at 11:43 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think that Bob actually wants status and stability and a "place" in life more than he wants all that.

Yup. Bob's a dirt-poor hillbilly who comes from nothing, just like Don was... it makes complete sense to me that the dream he'd long for is one of status and stability, not romance. (Plus given that he's closeted, he's probably long since talked himself out of ever having romance, but the status of an exec position is still available.)
posted by palomar at 11:45 AM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


inertia: "I think part of what I love about Pete's rage is that he was brought up with the expectation that if he was a certain kind of man, certain things would be owed to him--respect from his peers, an obedient and doting wife, obedient children, maybe even a mistress to build his ego and hang on his every word. That world is slipping from him, and he's entirely unable to cope with it."

Yeah, but he found a good deli, so.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:48 AM on May 20, 2014


I don't think that Bob wants to be a club rat or even an activist, though. I think he genuinely wants the mansion and nice job and family dinners.

Oh, that's definitely true. But that's what changed with Stonewall. In the 60s, you could be openly gay as long as you were willing to be scum.

The floor is literally about to fall out from under every assumption people like Bob ever made. In a few years, Bob will be able to have his cake and eat it too. It'll still be a pretty complicated cake, and a cake that will start rotting almost immediately (the beginning of AIDS is barely a decade after Stonewall). But in so many ways there is really nothing keeping him from making his own way in life.

I guess it all hinges on whether Bob is a Peggy or a Joan. Does he look at a changing world and take what he wants (even though it'll be difficult and complicated), or does he try to find the safest path even if it means getting beaten down and ultimately forced to change? Is he going to do this the easy way, or the hard way?
posted by Sara C. at 11:48 AM on May 20, 2014


Yeah, you heard how Bob said he'd never been arrested, "not once." That was a point of pride for him. He's not trash and he will *never* be trash as long as there's breath in his lungs.

I think that's much dearer to him than love or "truth," at least for now.
posted by rue72 at 11:49 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I DEMAND A PERIOD SHOW ABOUT UPWARDLY MOBILE GAY MEN IN THE 70S.

Fuck why do I write comedy and not drama, y'all. I'm working so hard on a new pilot idea, and it can't be this one, for Reasons. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.
posted by Sara C. at 11:51 AM on May 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


The Whelk, I charge you with this.
posted by Sara C. at 11:51 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh please someone do that before Ryan Murphy does, god forbid.
posted by rue72 at 11:52 AM on May 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


It also totally fascinates me that Joan is almost anachronistically progressive when it comes to gay issues, despite being disturbingly retrograde on race. It's very surprising that the woman who belittled Paul Kinsey's black girlfriend and his commitment to the Civil Rights Movement in Season 3 is like "gay people should come out and are deserving of love" in Season 7.
posted by Sara C. at 11:55 AM on May 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


19/24. That quiz felt more like a high school lit test than an internet trivia quiz.
posted by litera scripta manet at 11:56 AM on May 20, 2014


And perhaps, if my interpretation is closer to what Weiner intended, he didn't tell the story well.

I often feel like Weiner hasn't had his team tell Megan's story particularly well. Based on interviews, I also sometimes get the idea that he's let his (artistic) infatuation for the actress get in the way of the storytelling.

I want to stress that I'm not saying he's personally or romantically infatuated with her. I just think that he has the idea that all he has to do is stick her in front of the camera and everyone will automatically see everything he sees.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:07 PM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I agree. I think Megan's been confusingly written throughout, but especially in her earliest storylines (coming on to Don, copywriting, marrying Don, actressing).
posted by sweetkid at 12:10 PM on May 20, 2014


The Whelk, I charge you with this.

Well at first you could go "types" presented in The Boys In The Band and come up with people/professions that could tie into major themes of the 70s, malice, paranoia, apocalyptic doom mingling with back to the land and wanton nightlife decadence , a good entry character could be someone like the father in Fun Home, a fussy academic from a rural area whose been quietly screwing the handyman is now unleashed on NYC after getting found out, then you could contrast a shadowy repressed mileu with Crazy NYC Art Scene stuff and you could make a point of showing hiw gay men of the era would often cross race/class lines for companionship, so you could really cast your net wide net for characters and having conflicts....
posted by The Whelk at 12:12 PM on May 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


I've never understood what Megan is supposed to be about, and I'm pretty sure the writers don't either.

At this point I'm ready to just think that they were informed by the network that they needed to insert a sexy, hip, young woman into an aging/squaresville cast, possibly as a condition for renewal, so they just... did it. Somehow. Without really factoring her into the overarching narrative.

At this point the entire show could exist without Megan. In a way that isn't even true for tertiary figures like Bob or Harry. She's completely superfluous to what Mad Men is.
posted by Sara C. at 12:15 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well at first you could go "types" presented in The Boys In The Band and come up with people/professions that could tie into major themes of the 70s, malice, paranoia, apocalyptic doom mingling with back to the land and wanton nightlife decadence , a good entry character could be someone like the father in Fun Home, a fussy academic from a rural area whose been quietly screwing the handyman is now unleashed on NYC after getting found out, then you could contrast a shadowy repressed mileu with Crazy NYC Art Scene stuff and you could make a point of showing hiw gay men of the era would often cross race/class lines for companionship, so you could really cast your net wide net for characters and having conflicts....

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!
posted by ChrisTN at 12:19 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


you could make a point of showing hiw gay men of the era would often cross race/class lines for companionship

Best part. I would LOVE to see that, as a sort of comedy of manners. (It sounds like a Showtime half-hour to me, actually?)

Maybe it's just me, but I actually like Megan, I find her interesting. I like how she's always performing. Even when she's just hanging around in her house, you can see that in her mind's eye she's on a set, and her clothes are all costumes. I think that's why she said she "missed her things" -- those are her "Don's Wife (the Soap Star)" costumes, and she misses that role.

I also love Megan's parents, though. I'd be sorry to see her go if only because I would watch a show just about the three of them.
posted by rue72 at 12:23 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Okay, I was wrong about Roger bringing in Commander. They simply want to meet him.
posted by tilde at 12:26 PM on May 20, 2014


( the best part is you could have the very first shot take place as Julius in the village, which was the first shot in The Boys In The Band, cause the bar is still largely unchanged from the era.)
posted by The Whelk at 12:26 PM on May 20, 2014


Sara C. I don't think it was the network, I think it is all Matt Weiner. Jessica Pare came in to audition (reportedly for the role of the prostitute who smacks Don around in the early parts of season 4) and Weiner was just OMGYOUAREBEAUTIFULANDAWESOME and wrote a fucking character for her. I think he's blinded by whatever he thinks he saw in her, and he's been trying so damn hard to get the audience to see it too (i.e. the stupid screentest reel at the end of season 5) and it's just. not. coming. across. And I think this is largely a writing problem. I think Jessica Pare is doing her damndest to make Megan make some sort of coherent sense and it's ultimately a thankless task.
posted by thereemix at 12:26 PM on May 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


I would love for Marie Calvet to come back. She's one of my favorite characters. She can move to New York and be all world weary with Roger.
posted by readery at 12:27 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'd watch Marie drink a bottle of wine or three over the course of an hour, just having Gallicly Weary Opinions.
posted by The Whelk at 12:28 PM on May 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


At this point the entire show could exist without Megan.

I think Megan is a pretty good way to explore the whole California-New York thing, and that slide of cultural power to the West Coast seems like a major theme in the overall story. It's not just as a plot excuse, but Megan is California for better and for worse.
posted by spaltavian at 12:30 PM on May 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


AND dispensing random blow jobs!
posted by Chrysostom at 12:30 PM on May 20, 2014


And imagine how Megan would have to be on the phone with her father all the time making excuses for Marie, as Marie sits around having drinks with Roger and toying with his ex wife. I would LOVE it. Prof. Calvet would always be coming down for "important" academic talks at NYC universities and just "happening" to run into Marie and Roger, too.

Meanwhile, Megan is saddled with a couple kids but trying to get back into soaps, and god even knows what Don is doing.

Can there be a spin off, please?
posted by rue72 at 12:31 PM on May 20, 2014


thereemix, I agree with all of that, but I also notice that she shows up right around the time that Joan stops being fabulous, Betty starts to fill a more antagonistic role (and gets a lot more matronly), and Peggy is definitively not ever going to get a makeover to be a sex goddess or whatever. She fills a very specific sort of network-and-advertiser driven role on the show that happened to be empty right when she showed up.
posted by Sara C. at 12:33 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I tried hard to put my personal biases against Megan/Jessica aside when I rewatched this summer, and I was struck by how being a child of alcoholics has shaped her. She's a pleaser, a conciliator, a peacemaker - but she's also resentful. She's drawn to Don because he reminds her of her father, and she's determined to be an actress to prove her mother wrong.

She was presented as the anti-Betty - un-judgmental and optimistic and modern. Weiner has talked on the DVDs about how surprised he was that viewers were suspicious of Megan's intentions. It's definitely a blind spot for him.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 12:34 PM on May 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


It's not just as a plot excuse, but Megan is California for better and for worse.

At this point, sure, but she sat around for like two seasons not really doing that.
posted by Sara C. at 12:35 PM on May 20, 2014


as Marie sits around having drinks with Roger and toying with his ex wife.

We talkin' Jane or Mona?

'Cause I think Mona could handle Marie.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:37 PM on May 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


I do remember writing, here, in response to a few scenes " wow Megan is really good at dealing with drunks."
posted by The Whelk at 12:37 PM on May 20, 2014


We talkin' Jane or Mona?

'Cause I think Mona could handle Marie.


I want both at the same time! Imagine Roger's mother's funeral if Marie had also been there. (As well as drunk-off-his-ass Don).
posted by rue72 at 12:38 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, taking on two at a time does run in the family....
posted by Chrysostom at 12:40 PM on May 20, 2014


I don't know why it never occurred to me that Megan's an adult child of alcoholics, but DUH. That explains so much about her. Excellent observations re: her skill in dealing with drunks and her other issues in that vein, Sweetie Darling and The Whelk.

Here's a fun checklist of common personality traits and characteristics of adult children of alcoholics. Not only does Megan line up with a lot of these, Don does as well, which of course he does. Archibald Whitman was a terrible drunk.

No wonder these two keep orbiting each other and smearing the blood around. They can't help it.
posted by palomar at 12:44 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Don and Megan's relationship is also reminiscent of a parent-child relationship in a lot of ways. She's younger than him, obviously, but she's almost always dressed more casually and youthfully than Don is, almost to an absurd extent. Her attempts to get Don's attention and affection are getting increasingly more desperate. She seems to be playing a role of a spoiled rich child among her acting friends--she clearly has more money and less financial worries than the rest of them.

I always thought at the beginning of their marriage when Megan was promoted to copywriter that Don was essentially trying to turn her into Sexy Peggy, which obviously didn't work.
posted by inertia at 1:24 PM on May 20, 2014


How many generations from France are Megan's parents? When I read Grace Metalious'(Peyton Place--born DeRepentigny ) bio the author made it clear that the "French, from France" had higher status among Franco-North Americans.

Did Burgerville in PDX have table service in the late 70s/early 80s? If not, I think Beverly Cleary's whopper burger is pure fiction.
posted by brujita at 1:50 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I always thought at the beginning of their marriage when Megan was promoted to copywriter that Don was essentially trying to turn her into Sexy Peggy, which obviously didn't work.

He really did sort of envision her initially as Peggy + Sally + Midge, didn't he?
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:51 PM on May 20, 2014


I'm not sure I agree that Bob's going to come out in the next few years. A lot of people did, but a lot of people didn't, for all kinds of reasons. Bob's not going to marry Joan, but that doesn't mean that marrying a woman isn't still part of his plan. Her refusal might lead to him hiding more, not less.
posted by Akhu at 1:52 PM on May 20, 2014


Re Megan's parents, my assumption has always been that they are French expats in Montreal and not in any way remotely French Canadian.

That said, while the show tends to be totally on point when it comes to historical accuracy -- even to the point of things most people don't know about or wouldn't notice -- they have not done a super great job with accuracy concerning Megan's Canadian background. So who the fuck knows, really, maybe Weiner and co actually think Quebecois people are really the same thing as Parisians.
posted by Sara C. at 1:54 PM on May 20, 2014


Bob's not going to marry Joan, but that doesn't mean that marrying a woman isn't still part of his plan.

Boggy!
posted by Sys Rq at 1:55 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Megan's mom is French (iIrc, Parisian), but I don't remember if her father is French or Québécois.
posted by rue72 at 1:57 PM on May 20, 2014


i think Megan's father is Belgian.
posted by sweetkid at 1:57 PM on May 20, 2014


He is definitely French in affect, if he's not written that way.
posted by Sara C. at 1:58 PM on May 20, 2014


Or Belgian, sure, that also works. Either way neither of them is Quebecois for sure.
posted by Sara C. at 1:59 PM on May 20, 2014


Bob's not going to marry Joan, but that doesn't mean that marrying a woman isn't still part of his plan.

Yeah, that's why I think there was some double meaning when she said "You shouldn't be with a woman."

I think I've brought this up before, but I really love Joan at home in the way people love her at work. I think she's good at work, I just have some special passion for Joan At Home scenes. I was really glad we got some more of that.
posted by sweetkid at 1:59 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


FWIW I would have loved to see Megan with slightly embarrassing backcountry French Canadian parents, rather than the relatively posh continental academic/leftist thing. It would have made her character less of a Mary Sue, and also sort of a "Don Draper Has Met His Match" angle that would be more interesting than just "here's my hot secretary wife fucktoy who coincidentally wants to be whatever I want her to be".
posted by Sara C. at 2:01 PM on May 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


Oh wow I can't BELIVE I didn't realize this but it's so obvious I flipped over it.

Marrying Bob wouldn't just be "security" it also means they can never, ever develop an honest romantic interest or connection with another person. It would be nuclear level toxic. The fact that Bob is suggesting it shows how desperate he is ( and how much he doesn't know Joan.)
posted by The Whelk at 2:05 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


...slightly embarrassing backcountry French Canadian parents,

I heard her mother doesn't even use soap!
posted by mochapickle at 2:08 PM on May 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Or Belgian, sure, that also works. Either way neither of them is Quebecois for sure.

J'ai perdu l'accent Bruxellois
D'ailleurs plus personne n'a cet accent-là
Sauf Brel à la télévision
Je viens rechercher mes bonbons
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:08 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, yeah.

Bob just spent a year doing the Ken Cosgrove dance, but backwards and in heels. He is now sold on the idea that the key to all his problems is just to dig in, hard. He is not shocked at how much his homosexuality never happened. He is staking everything on it. Little does he know, those days are crumbling around him. In just a few years the brass ring is going to corrode into dust.
posted by Sara C. at 2:08 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sooo wait this theoretical Boys In The Band series, I've read a LOT of Edmund White and he wrote about being a life-Life suit by day and a crazy underground party kid at night and States Of Desire has a ton of peroid detail for NYC and the neighborhood gay "types" and one particularly hilarious description of the tightly wound, largely white work-hard-play-hard gay yuppies class and the secret mafia of gay staffers that get Anhing done in politics and adopting "fashionable" black liberation politics so you sleep with more black men....

Plus he's still alive you could ask him stuff, not to mention the epic Antonio's he's got out.

Wait where do I pitch this I think we have a hit. Who owns the BITB Name?
posted by The Whelk at 2:10 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


"here's my hot secretary wife fucktoy who coincidentally wants to be and just happens to have an abundance of natural talent at whatever I want her to be".
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:11 PM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah I think Edmund White is ripe for adaptation. The main problem is money. Period shows that aren't Mad Men haven't performed that well, and they're very expensive to make. You could sell a show like this to Logo in a minute, but they couldn't afford it.

The Boys In The Band film was originally by a subsidiary of CBS, which is a thing of beauty because Showtime would be ideal for a series like this. That said, I dunno, isn't the source material a little retrograde at this point? It would have to be a deep, deep adaptation.
posted by Sara C. at 2:15 PM on May 20, 2014


Little does he know, those days are crumbling around him.

but that's the key to the whole scene - he doesn't know. He has no way of knowing. Nothing in his life has prepared him for what's about to come.

Sure, WE know. But I can't fault him for not expecting it yet. He's already clawed his way out of one world into another one against all the odds - but at least that world was one he could see.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:18 PM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Megan's parents are already difficult and slightly embarrassing. I'm happy to see the culture clash. Not everyone needs to be a hick or former hick.

But then, I liked Ginsberg's PITA father, too. *shrug*

it also means they can never, ever develop an honest romantic interest or connection with another person

Sure they can, just not in public. Don does the same thing with all the affairs. The marriage can be an alliance, it doesn't have to be a love match, or it can be loving without being romantic.

I do think that accepting Bob's proposal would have been a mistake for Joan, I wasn't surprised at all that she didn't go for it -- she saw the implosion of "an arrangement" when she got with (and slept around on and divorced) her handsome rapist doctor husband, and again with Jaguar.

Bob's priority isn't love, though, his priority is being the guy who would *never* get the beat down from the cops, the one who lives in the mansion, the executive. Also, Bob actually seems to care about Kevin and Joan's mother. I don't think he just wants an SO, he wants a family -- with the dinners and carving turkey at Thanksgiving and Erector sets and pesky mother-in-law and all. I don't think he *just* wanted Joan, and I don't think he just wanted her because they're buddies. I think he wanted *everybody,* and *all* of it.
posted by rue72 at 2:19 PM on May 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


I think I've brought this up before, but I really love Joan at home in the way people love her at work. I think she's good at work, I just have some special passion for Joan At Home scenes.

So do I, and I think Christina Hendricks is fantastic at playing the difference between professional Joan and Joan At Home. That sense of Joan as "unguarded" at home is subtle, but Hendricks makes it so much more than just "hair down Joan."
posted by gladly at 2:23 PM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Joan also previously had an arrangement with Roger, which also imploded when he married the hot young new secretary instead of Joan.

This episode was great. As usual the first 6/8ths of the season are basically homework so that you understand the rest of it, where all the fun stuff happens.
posted by bleep at 2:24 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, this is cool: where Mad Men shot the final scene of "The Strategy."
posted by gladly at 2:26 PM on May 20, 2014 [10 favorites]



Maybe it's just me, but I actually like Megan, I find her interesting. I like how she's always performing. Even when she's just hanging around in her house, you can see that in her mind's eye she's on a set, and her clothes are all costumes. I think that's why she said she "missed her things" -- those are her "Don's Wife (the Soap Star)" costumes, and she misses that role.


I find her interesting some times and it's definitely a bit better now that she has some struggles and isn't the Joey Potter of Mad Men any more. Part of the pushback about her was that she took up a lot of screen time being generically wonderful at the beginning of Season 5 and people wanted more of the characters we already knew than Don's New Wife Is the Best plots, which is part of what people are saying with Weiner's blinders about the actress, that we all would just love looking at her and her charm and that would be that.

I agree with you that she's always performing and I think it's interesting that you bring up the fondue scene specifically in that context because while watching this episode I had the same thought during that scene - "she's always performing." She had the perfect little tied above the midriff denim top that you wear when going through your old stuff, she was all smiley while avoiding Don's comments about coming out in July with "let's go somewhere that's not tied to the both of us."

I thought when she said "I missed my things" that the intention was that Don is one of her "things."
posted by sweetkid at 2:27 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


That said, I dunno, isn't the source material a little retrograde at this point? It would have to be a deep, deep adaptation. eh keep the names for reconciliation and the broad strokes, these aren't beloved characters, we can make it mostly a hidden Edmund White adaptation.

As for budget ..lots of two people talking internal scenes? 70s-ish fashion isn't exactly hard to find and you could fudge a lot with just peroid hair and grooming, I associate the 70s with hair and makeup more than clothing cause so many of the looks have persisted in some form ( very dated crazy stuff excepted.) Just keep the exterior scenes to a utter, utter minimum?

The lack of a centralist "hub" set like an office would be difficult hmmm
posted by The Whelk at 2:33 PM on May 20, 2014


I went back and watched the first two episodes of the series after watching this one and it seemed like there was a ton of symmetry. Except for Elizabeth Moss looking like a completely different person.
posted by bleep at 2:36 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Whelk, it would basically be a period version of that new HBO thing.
posted by Sara C. at 2:38 PM on May 20, 2014


Except hopefully with characters I don't find so horrifyingly boring I keep wishing awful things would happen to them just they might have something interesting to say about it.
posted by The Whelk at 2:59 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Don is Carousel, going around & around.

Peggy is building family. Breaking Popsicles &amp & bread; building family around a table at Burger Chef.

Pete is always putting a foot wrong.

Roger is on his own carousel, Joan is trying to build a family but landing wrong footed.
posted by tilde at 3:12 PM on May 20, 2014


I've read a LOT of Edmund White and he wrote about being a life-Life suit by day and a crazy underground party kid at night and States Of Desire has a ton of peroid detail ....

OK, so this comment led me down two different rabbit holes I must share: one, that the Amazon page for States of Desire somehow carries reviews for a book by a very different E. White, and two, "the secret mafia of gay staffers that get Anything done in politics" has only changed in the past 35 years in that it's no longer secret, as the openly (openly!) gay population of the District has now reached 10%. Also, insane people are now trying request lists of gay bureaucrats at the DOJ.
posted by psoas at 3:56 PM on May 20, 2014


Joan also previously had an arrangement with Roger, which also imploded when he married the hot young new secretary instead of Joan.

Yes, instead of Joan, who explicitly told Roger over and over she was only interested in something casual. Joan, who took Mona's side whenever Roger and Mona were at odds. Why would Roger have had any reason to think Joan would have welcomed him leaving Mona to propose marriage to her? By the time Roger left Mona for Jane, he and Joan had been over for a while.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:58 PM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


You could sell a show like this to Logo in a minute, but they couldn't afford it.

I think it's too serious for LOGO.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:00 PM on May 20, 2014


It could be I'm misremembering but my impression was that Joan ended it because she was sick of being a mistress and wanted a family, not that she was sick of Roger. I remember feeling like it was a huge slap in the face when Roger didn't propose.
posted by bleep at 5:15 PM on May 20, 2014


I only got 18 out of 24. I'm surprised!
posted by jgirl at 5:34 PM on May 20, 2014


When Ted's on the phone, one of LA's disappointing bagels is on his plate. He's not going to stay in California. He's not done with New York. Watch out, Peggy.
posted by purpleclover at 5:49 PM on May 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


I do like how everyone's getting disillusioned with California and it's not the paradise everyone thought.

Also Megan had kind of ruined California for Don. It's not the magic place that holds all his secrets and understands them any more.
posted by sweetkid at 6:18 PM on May 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


She was presented as the anti-Betty - un-judgmental and optimistic and modern. Weiner has talked on the DVDs about how surprised he was that viewers were suspicious of Megan's intentions.

That's true, and it reminds me--I think Megan may have been resented at the beginning partly because viewers had become so invested in Betty's character. Not that it wasn't clear that Don's and Betty's marriage needed to end; but people maybe weren't ready for Betty to be replaced in Don's life in such a literal way. So during the early stages of Don's relationship with Megan, a lot of people were definitely suspicious and just waiting for the other shoe to drop, proving what a colossal mistake the relationship was for Don.

I think Weiner maybe intended for the re-marriage to be talked about/ controversial, but not for so much of that to center on Megan herself. Because he meant for her to be comparatively genuine and uncomplicated, but a lot of people didn't see her that way.

The show writers acknowledged this with a wink though, when Megan's agent (? not her agent but I was unclear on his title) in LA said something like "I'll say this for our girl, she inspires strong reactions!" That made me laugh because it worked, in context, for Megan but wouldn't have been said of Betty, though Betty inspired at least as much of a love/hate reaction among viewers.
posted by torticat at 6:30 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I had predicted an intimate moment between Don and Peggy. And it was so poignant and great, how they shut out the rest of them, in his old office, with her at the desk, and then the two of them on the other side of Pete at the table at Burger Chef.

And Pete, oh Pete. You are such a schmuck. How you can't see why your girlfriend would want to be by your side to meet your child and then to be so insensitive to her. You're just repeating your mistakes, Pete! Keeping a woman in her place while you dally with another (your former wife) and when that doesn't work out, you're just so clueless!

Megan, I just want to say, yes, you miss your things and you miss Don, but you don't miss New York, that is clear. But you made your choice, dear. You had the man and the apartment this last episode, yet you chose to go back to LA. That's on your head. Bonnie, however, is a true career woman and she knows what's what. Seriously, Megan, you love Don, then move back to New York and get a soap opera job. Piss or get off the pot.

I for one do not want to see Peggy with Stan. He is an oaf. He does not have that sort of depth of intelligence that Don has. She deserves way better than Stan.

When Bob Benson came back on the screen, I yelled, "Bob! It's Bob Benson! YES!!!!" And my husband didn't remember who he was and I gave him the stink-eye. I hope he doesn't get fired due to Joan letting Roger know about the Buick thing :-(

Cars and cigarettes. Both things that were really prime in the late 1960's. Women and food. How to best feed your family. But things like Burger Chef and McDonald's, those were treats. We went to McDonald's maybe once a month, or A&W for the root beer, but it was not a common thing in our family. We ate at home and Dad took Mom to dinner to reward her for putting up with us. Going to dinner was for adults.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:31 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I for one do not want to see Peggy with Stan. He is an oaf. He does not have that sort of depth of intelligence that Don has. She deserves way better than Stan.

Whaaat everyone deserves better than Don. Even Don knows that. He is not a model for a potential partner.

I don't think Stan is an oaf. He is exactly like a male designer in an ad agency. He is like crazy perfect.
posted by sweetkid at 6:35 PM on May 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


Peggy & Stan isn't happening. He's in love (hallway hello to Pete).



Trying to remember if Roger jumped on Jane after Joan got engaged or after she got married?
posted by tilde at 6:40 PM on May 20, 2014


I think after the engagement, tilde. Joan brought Greg to the office (where he raped her) and introduced the two of them. Then Roger "rescued" Jane after Joan fired her for going into Cooper's office and I think that's when their affair started.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:42 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Stan laughed at Lou's drawings, and Peggy got blind-sided in that meeting. That shows that Stan is out for Stan. And he really didn't want to come in and work with her when she called. How is that a perfect partner? The ego doesn't really work for a good relationship. Yet, Don was there for her.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:44 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah I was sure it was Dr rapist then firing, but although they carried on an affair a while I don't rembrr if he popped the question finally before or after she tied the knot. I should have been more clear.

I know the collateral for Burger Chef is orange & blue but in the dark the building looks red & white like some Dairy Queens & mom pop burger stands.

I can probably name a few places with those orange & tan seat booths left (again mom & pops ...) one even driving distance. :-) I think I know what's for lunch Saturday ...
posted by tilde at 6:47 PM on May 20, 2014


How is that a perfect partner?

I didn't say perfect partner. That was in reference to his character being a perfect representation of a designer in advertising. I work with that guy.
posted by sweetkid at 6:48 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can't stop staring at Peggy's boobs. That last scene in Dons old office, late evening, red sleeveless knit poly mock turtleneck in the soft light, blending in with the orange couch, rendered in SD on an HD screen. The moire is mesmerizing. #firstworldproblems
posted by tilde at 6:49 PM on May 20, 2014


but anyway his not wanting to come work over the weekend doesn't mean Steggy can't happen.
posted by sweetkid at 6:49 PM on May 20, 2014


I can't stop staring at Peggy's boobs. That last scene, late evening, red sleeveless knit poly mock turtleneck in the soft light, blending in with the orange couch, rendered in SD on an HD screen. The moire is mesmerizing. #firstworldproblems

She looked really good. When she was like "what am I doing wrong?" I was like fuck if I know, you look great and own a building. Peggy you are awesome.
posted by sweetkid at 6:51 PM on May 20, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'm sorry, Stan just cranks me the wrong way, with his arrogance. He is not good enough for Peggy, she deserves better. Much better.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:52 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


But she's trailblazing to her knowledge but it feels like flailing.
posted by tilde at 6:53 PM on May 20, 2014


Oh, this is cool: where Mad Men shot the final scene of "The Strategy."

I am weirdly excited that the second picture is basically the exact color scheme of my new townhouse's first floor.
posted by leesh at 6:54 PM on May 20, 2014


well, it kind of is flailing. Whenever she asserts authority people give her crap about it, and even in this episode which is her triumph she needs Don to defend herself with Pete and make her stop doubting herself. Also she wants a family. She's not superwoman.
posted by sweetkid at 6:54 PM on May 20, 2014




I'm sorry, Stan just cranks me the wrong way, with his arrogance. He is not good enough for Peggy, she deserves better. Much better.


Meh, it's been established that Peggy makes terrible choices in men. I don't see how Stan would be a step down from Duck, Abe, Ted..Peggy gonna Peggy.
posted by sweetkid at 6:56 PM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I disagree. They have been working too long together. It would be like brother and sister. Peggy is gonna get some high powered man from a presentation or something. Blindsided. Yes, maybe a wrong choice, but not Stan. He is not even her peer.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:58 PM on May 20, 2014


if someone told me Don and Peggy dance late in the office to "My Way" a few weeks ago I would have been like whaat that sounds super cheesy but the buildup and context totally made it work.

This was way upthread but I wanted to respond to say the buildup all episode to that scene was amazingly deft, considering they had to get us, credibly, from Peggy having been barely on speaking terms with Don for months, to best-friends-slow-dancing.

They started with Peggy getting smacked down yet again, this time by Pete. Then dissatisfied grumpy Peggy snapping at Stan, then resentful Peggy belittling Don and then yelling at him, then desperate Peggy (but still angry) demanding to know how he works. All of it was SO Peggy, and all Don really had to do was wait out all the anger that she'd built up against him (much of it deserved) and against her circumstances. Although for Don, just patiently waiting it all out seemed like progress in its own right.

And then the two of them could get down to work to come up with an ad concept that was human and relevant, getting there by talking honestly through some of their own deep needs and insecurities (as Don said, "You can't tell people what they want, it has to be what you want").

Anyway Elizabeth Moss did most of the heavy lifting to make that whole progression believable, and I thought it was pretty astonishing.

Also I want a gif of Peggy accusing Don "You love this" and his replying, "Not really!"
posted by torticat at 7:02 PM on May 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


I feel like they've had that exchange before. It seemed very familiar.

I like how some reviewers/commenters/internet people have pointed out that it's no surprise Peggy has been so mad at Don because their relationship has ALWAYS been contentious. Peggy went from nervous submission to "why doesn't he want me like the other secretaries" to wanting his respect, admiration or just attention and running into the brick wall that is Don Draper. She also cleaned up a million of his messes, had money thrown in her face, finally got away to Chaough etc, though not without her regrets, and then there was a damn merger and there Don was back in her life again.

Their relationship is amazing but definitely the most complex one on the show. There have been many battles.
posted by sweetkid at 7:12 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


So the next episode is in two weeks, not this Sunday?
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:16 PM on May 20, 2014


No, it's definitely this Sunday.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:18 PM on May 20, 2014


I was like fuck if I know, you look great and own a building

I like to think about what Peggy would be doing on the Upper West Side today. In my ideal world, she has just finally retired, and can be found sitting at Zabar's on weekday mornings, eating the lox bagel special.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 7:18 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


yeah, there really isn't room for an almost 75 year old woman in advertising these days so Pegs is most definitely retired.
posted by sweetkid at 7:22 PM on May 20, 2014


No, it's definitely this Sunday.

ugh I can't watch it Sunday. I'm visiting a friend who isn't at all caught up and I'm still trying to get her through Season 2? Also we'll probably be hiking or bonding or some BS
posted by sweetkid at 7:33 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


but anyway his not wanting to come work over the weekend doesn't mean Steggy can't happen.

That was SUCH a Steggy-tease. Stan says he's in love, then he picks up the phone and says, "Hey, Baby," and it's Peggy on the other end, but then Peggy's not Baby? Nobody's gonna tell me we weren't being played there.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:42 PM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Peggy is retired and has a MOMA membership on account of the free movies.
posted by Sara C. at 7:50 PM on May 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


(sweetkid, can you slip her a mickey or something? send her to the movies? make her watch but she has to promise not to ask ANY questions?)
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:52 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yay! I will be in a hotel and able to watch it while it's actually playing instead of waiting until the iTunes download is up.

Although honestly, in a way, I don't want to watch. Everything was coming together in this last episode and I am dreading having to watch it unravel.
posted by mochapickle at 7:52 PM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


there really isn't room for an almost 75 year old woman in advertising

True. I guess I pictured her being really reluctant to leave work, and either delaying retirement, or consulting or doing project management like 2 or 3 days a week, but she probably would have been pushed out a while ago.

On the bright side, we can totally go sit next to her while she drinks her paper-cup coffee.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 7:57 PM on May 20, 2014


mochapickle, I don't think it will necessarily unravel. Weiner told Terry Gross that he's written this episode essentially as a short-series finale. I interpret that to mean there may be some uncertainty, but not necessarily a cliffhanger that will torture us for 10 months. (Of course, I'm projecting wishful thinking.) I always feel like his finales wrap up one thing and present the ambiguous beginning of something else.

re Peggy, my father-in-law was born the same year as her (1939). He's in a different field (tax attorney) but has kept working a decade+ after he swore he'd retire. He's kept his favorite clients and given the rest to the juniors, plays golf a couple times a week and enjoys badgering the clerks at the Ralph Lauren outlet store to sell him t-shirts and polos for $10. Not a bad life. Probably more like where Roger ends up, but I wish something similar for Pegs.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:59 PM on May 20, 2014



there really isn't room for an almost 75 year old woman in advertising

True. I guess I pictured her being really reluctant to leave work, and either delaying retirement, or consulting or doing project management like 2 or 3 days a week, but she probably would have been pushed out a while ago.


Yeah, I actually had to think about it for a second because my mom is three years younger than Peggy is still working as a doctor (she keeps talking about "retiring" but that only means part time. She works Emergency Medicine and only switched from the trauma side in her 60s to 'slow down' - she is badass), but doctoring is really different than advertising. I work in advertising and am in my 30s and starting to feel old.
posted by sweetkid at 8:03 PM on May 20, 2014


make her watch but she has to promise not to ask ANY questions

It's not that my friend will ask questions, but she's so far behind I'd feel bad letting her see where we are now. She hasn't even seen Don and Betty break up.

Once I watched it with my mother, who does not have the attention span of this sort of show but I was home for the weekend and had to watch it, so I was like Sit Still and Be Quiet, because other times she interrupted the whole show talking about Megan's clothes. She and Megan are about the same age and it made her nostalgic but I was like OMG stop it.
posted by sweetkid at 8:09 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


My guess is that she'd eventually end up at the partner level, but I don't know, by the 80s/early 90s when she's in her 50s, is that really an option? My sense is that by then ad agencies are these huge conglomerates where it's not like "oh hey you seem pretty established, want your name on the building?" like it was when Don was getting in.
posted by Sara C. at 8:09 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am dying to hear from sweetkid's mother whether anybody wore their skirts that short, even in California.
posted by Sara C. at 8:10 PM on May 20, 2014


My mother was in college in 1969 and she absolutely wore dresses that short.
posted by mochapickle at 8:14 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


(although usually with boots and a turtleneck.)
posted by mochapickle at 8:15 PM on May 20, 2014


I am dying to hear from sweetkid's mother whether anybody wore their skirts that short, even in California.

Ha. She was still in India in 1969 so not sure if she would know, but she was all over 70s fashion.
I wore all her clothes in the 90s when it was cool again.

One of the things that's so weird for me to think about is that three years after where we are in Mad Men my father comes to New York in 1972 from India looking for work at an architecture firm. His stories about New York are basically like that one time when Homer Simpson went to NYC and it was dirty and terrible and he hated it forever (they don't show that episode any more because the Twin Towers are in it, which I always thought was a shame). He didn't find work and almost had to sell ties (which was the main part of the horror story, even worse than the subway) and he had some crappy roommate who stole stuff but he found work in Florida and Virginia and that's why I'm not a New Yorker.

But he had friends who worked as architects in NYC (in the 60s) who were from India and that's the whole reason he found his way there in the early 70s, but according to the world of this show no minorities were doing anything except operating elevators or still wearing maid's outfits or being secretaries.

i know all minorities aren't the same and I'm sure being black in the 60s-70s in America was different than being Indian, and I don't mean to be all about race and Mad Men again, but it's sort of weird to think about for me. Just three years after all this! It's hard for me not to start thinking about that context. It was easier in the early 60s part, it seemed farther away.
posted by sweetkid at 8:21 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Guys, there has to be a montage of all the times Megan is making spaghetti. Please, Internet, don't let me down.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:25 PM on May 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


that's why I'm not a New Yorker.

whoa, guess I forgot I've been here 10 years, I meant I didn't grow up as a New Yorker. Guess you can take a girl out of the South but she'll never forget she's Not From Here.
posted by sweetkid at 8:33 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's kind of driving me crazy how we're here in 1969, and we still haven't had a hint of any creative who isn't white. Especially since it's a topic that would be so ripe for conflict and interesting storytelling.

I'm sort of annoyed that the Los Angeles we've seen on the show is entirely white. There were tons and tons of Asian and Chicano college educated upwardly mobile creative types in LA at that time, sort of the California counterpart to someone like Peggy or Stan. But no, in Los Angeles even the lone secretary is white.
posted by Sara C. at 8:34 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Megan's mom is French (iIrc, Parisian)

No, she isn't. At one point Marie specifically says, "I am French, but not from France." She's French Canadian.
posted by orange swan at 8:36 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, that sorta shrimpy junior copywriter who tails Peggy around? No reason he couldn't be not white. In fact it would be more interesting if he weren't. As it is he's just "the kinda shrimpy dude". Snooze. Why should I care about that guy?
posted by Sara C. at 8:37 PM on May 20, 2014


Because this show sucks about race. I just feel like more and more it's becoming obvious that the show is really whitewashed and it's more Showrunner's Preference than Historical Accuracy.

I felt like the uniformed black maids this season are really sort of an unnecessary insistence on showing a subservient role for black people - I think we got the point a long time ago that things aren't quite equal, and it's long since time to tell a different story.

I felt like Trudy's black maid was cast/costumed that way to almost make her a non person. If she'd been a cute white au pair there would have been discussion about whether Pete was into her, dissection of Pete's interaction with her. But she was just a blank, yet another black maid.

I get it, show. Say something else. Yeah with Asians and Chicanos in LA if you have to.
posted by sweetkid at 8:42 PM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


At one point Marie specifically says, "I am French, but not from France." She's French Canadian.

Pretty sure she actually said (though I don't actually remember; this is just what I wrote she said at the time, which I don't trust 100%, but still), "I am French, but I live in Montreal."

In any case, that old comment was mostly wishful thinking, glossing over what would otherwise be terrible casting.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:43 PM on May 20, 2014


Yeah Marie is terrible casting. I could be making this up but I swear Matt Weiner said something once about "if you can get Julia Ormond, by God you make use of that luck!" and I was like really? Julia Ormond?
posted by sweetkid at 8:46 PM on May 20, 2014


Were there really a lot of uniformed maids in the Northeast circa this period? 1962, yeah, that feels like a really different time.

But by the late 60s? I don't even think the maid on The Jeffersons wore a uniform, and I think half the joke with her character was that the Jeffersons had so come up in the world that they could afford to have Help with a capital H. Also their Keeping Up Appearances ways were meant to contrast with the neighbors who were an interracial couple and really modern and probably called their housekeeper "the cleaning lady", all lower case.
posted by Sara C. at 8:49 PM on May 20, 2014


Then again, I don't know, The Jeffersons (1975 and didn't go off the air till the 80s) is as removed from 1969 as 1969 is from 1962. So who the fuck knows. At this point I'm lumping in a lot of social change that actually took place in the early 70s into 1969. Which I think I railed against last week. So whoops.

Still, really? The fact that there are still Uniformed Negro Hired Help characters on the show is kind of embarrassing.
posted by Sara C. at 8:53 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Still, really? The fact that there are still Uniformed Negro Hired Help characters on the show is kind of embarrassing.

Yeah, totally agree.
posted by sweetkid at 8:54 PM on May 20, 2014


TIL that The Jeffersons is in continuity with E/R, and Sherman Helmsley made appearances on the latter as George Jefferson. Which makes no sense, since The Jeffersons took place in New York and E/R is in Chicago.
posted by Sara C. at 8:56 PM on May 20, 2014


what? that is bananas.
posted by sweetkid at 8:57 PM on May 20, 2014


OMG NO I TOTALLY MISREAD THAT WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE NEVER MIND. Apparently there was another show out there called E/R that is not the same show as the one with George Clooney and Julianna Margulies. Eeek.

Still, fun!
posted by Sara C. at 8:58 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


ER is the one with George Clooney, whereas E/R is the one with George Clooney.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:58 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


haha true, but both take place in Chicago apparently? I just looked this up on Wikipedia. Also Elliot Gould.
posted by sweetkid at 9:00 PM on May 20, 2014


Sys Rq So I'm imagining their backstory is that they're Europeans who moved to Montreal to teach, and live in an Anglo neighbourhood where their daughter went to an Anglo school etc.

That's exactly what I figured Megan's family's backstory is. I figure they must have been Europeans trying to assimilate in Canada anyway because why else would they name their daughter Megan of all things? To be fair, my baby cousin is named Arther and none of his immediate relatives have been out of France or speak anything but French that I know of, so it's not like English first names are unheard of among francophones -- but I find it a bit bizarre regardless.
posted by rue72 at 9:02 PM on May 20, 2014


Alice on The Brady Bunch wore a uniform into the 70s, so it was a TV thing at least. Of course, she was white and that show was set in CA, but that indicates it was more likely that there would have still been uniformed maids on the more-formal east coast.
posted by donajo at 9:06 PM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


OMG for my entire life I just assumed Alice had really bad fashion sense or was a lesbian or something.
posted by Sara C. at 9:09 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


yea but I dunno if TV thing means it was a real life thing, at least not as constantly as it is on this show.
posted by sweetkid at 9:09 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I just feel like more and more it's becoming obvious that the show is really whitewashed and it's more Showrunner's Preference than Historical Accuracy.

It's very, very whitewashed. But obviously they just want to write about privileged white characters, and to be fair, that's what they do best by far. Any characters who aren't white and privileged get written like they are anyway, with the occasional hint that they're (*gasp* *mouth agape*) not entirely successful at passing as white and privileged from time to time -- as though that, and the lack of eligible SOs of their race/class/religion/gender/etc of choice, are the most pressing concerns they've got that white and/or privileged people wouldn't.

Honestly, Bob Benson is the *one* "minority"(-ish) character who I think *sort of* overcame that pigeon-holing and shallow characterization, but of course he's an All-American white boy, too, so *shrug.*
posted by rue72 at 9:11 PM on May 20, 2014


I don't know, that feels like the thing where your parents ask you do do the dishes so you just do a really bad job of it in hopes that they'll stop giving you chores.

There's really no excuse for television writers on a critically acclaimed primetime drama in 2014 to not get how to write non-white characters. Fucking reality shows manage it.
posted by Sara C. at 9:14 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I will say that this show does upper-class WASPs better than any I've ever seen, and at this point I just try to be happy with that.
posted by rue72 at 9:14 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


ER is the drama. E/R is the sitcom.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:26 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I feel like they've had that exchange before. It seemed very familiar.

It reminded me of "How are you"/"NOT GREAT, BOB!" Mostly because both responses came out so forceful and unexpected with nice comic effect.

The Don/Peggy exchange also shows how much Pegs has her head up her own ass at this point. Don's been shunned for weeks, ignored, given peon work, and then berated by Peggy for the last 24 hours. He trying to help out but still in a subservient role to her, I'm not sure why she thinks he'd be "loving" any aspect of that situation. I guess at that point she's expecting he'd be coming in like a white knight with the perfect pitch to show her up, maybe that's what she is thinking--though he quickly made it clear that isn't the case.

Regarding Pete and the uniformed maid: I was kind of troubled, and it seemed almost out of character, that Pete didn't introduce himself to the maid. He said "I don't believe we've met" and then went straight to "Where's Trudy?" Verna really did seem invisible to him, like they'd never met and he'd be okay if they never did introduce themselves.

Maybe reading too much into that. But Pete has some progressive views and knows how to be polite when the situation requires it... like, when you're meeting your daughter's caretaker for the first time?
posted by torticat at 10:38 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Does Verna's presence mean that Trudy is working, or is it just a luxury that they're able to afford with Pete as partner?
posted by mochapickle at 10:44 PM on May 20, 2014


(Watching S1E4 now... Pete's dad is wearing a seersucker blazer and madras shorts.)
posted by mochapickle at 10:45 PM on May 20, 2014


Trudy may be getting financial help from her father.
posted by orange swan at 11:39 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Final episode of the series, last song? My vote is for something released in July 1969, so it'd still be in the public consciousness, the title and message are practically the whole message of the entire show, and it's poignant even as a classic pop song. Even as on-the-nose as it might seem, it's the song that fits best:

"You Can't Always Get What You Want".
posted by grubi at 11:52 PM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


And the "gay 70s spinoff" idea? Life at a gay newspaper ("The Blade", I suppose you could call it) in San Francisco, circa 1973-5. I'd watch the shit out of that.
posted by grubi at 12:23 AM on May 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure why she thinks he'd be "loving" any aspect of that situation. I guess at that point she's expecting he'd be coming in like a white knight with the perfect pitch to show her up, maybe that's what she is thinking

I think that is what she was fearing. She's probably been on edge for weeks waiting for Don to just start taking things over like he always does, not quite realizing the degree to which the other partners are shunning him. Then Pete shows up and tries to turn back the clock to "the good old days" where Don will give the magical pitch, save the day, and Peggy will be the best darn woman helper in the ad business!
posted by mikepop at 5:08 AM on May 21, 2014


And the "gay 70s spinoff" idea? Life at a gay newspaper ("The Blade", I suppose you could call it) in San Francisco, circa 1973-5. I'd watch the shit out of that.

ooooooh that fixes everything. Yes.
posted by The Whelk at 6:39 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


glossing over what would otherwise be terrible casting

What? Why? Julie Ormond is pretty much exactly how I imagine Megan's mother.
posted by spaltavian at 6:57 AM on May 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


I agree with spaltavian; why is Julia Ormond bad casting? She and Jessica Pare resemble each other enough that I thought it was totally spot on.

Are we talking about the way Julia Ormond speaks French? She doesn't have a Quebecois accent. Is that the problem? I am legitimately confused here.
posted by thereemix at 7:07 AM on May 21, 2014



Regarding Pete and the uniformed maid: I was kind of troubled, and it seemed almost out of character, that Pete didn't introduce himself to the maid. He said "I don't believe we've met" and then went straight to "Where's Trudy?" Verna really did seem invisible to him, like they'd never met and he'd be okay if they never did introduce themselves.


Yeah, that was exactly the thought I had. I don't think the scene was supposed to be saying anything meaningful about Pete and race, or about race, it just had a black actress playing a maid as sort of a blank non person.


I just feel like more and more it's becoming obvious that the show is really whitewashed and it's more Showrunner's Preference than Historical Accuracy.

It's very, very whitewashed. But obviously they just want to write about privileged white characters, and to be fair, that's what they do best by far. Any characters who aren't white and privileged get written like they are anyway, with the occasional hint that they're (*gasp* *mouth agape*) not entirely successful at passing as white and privileged from time to time -- as though that, and the lack of eligible SOs of their race/class/religion/gender/etc of choice, are the most pressing concerns they've got that white and/or privileged people wouldn't.


I mean, yes, I am aware the show is really whitewashed. But to me, it's getting more and more obvious that realistically there would be more non white people around and in professional positions.

Also that's what I meant by Showrunner's Preference, he doesn't want to write interesting nonwhite characters or have them have any kind of storyline that is not at least partially related to how badly white people treat them. They're not allowed to have a sphere of their own.

It's frustrating and a valid thing to criticize the show on, is all. There doesn't need to be an explanation every time that "the show is trying to depict a really white world, so naturally..." type stuff.
posted by sweetkid at 7:29 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Mad Style is up.
posted by palomar at 9:12 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


And the "gay 70s spinoff" idea? Life at a gay newspaper ("The Blade", I suppose you could call it) in San Francisco, circa 1973-5. I'd watch the shit out of that.

Title: "Raising the Bar" - as in the Bay Area Reporter.
posted by dnash at 9:16 AM on May 21, 2014


Maybe of interest, regarding public attitudes towards homosexuality in the 1960s: the Times discusses a 1964 federal memo that offers "new details about the views that drove the government’s sometimes obsessive effort to identify and fire gays in government jobs."
posted by evidenceofabsence at 9:17 AM on May 21, 2014


Only partway through Mad Style, and I have to say that I totally agree with T and Lo about Joan's apartment and what the total lack of change in decor says.
posted by palomar at 9:20 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


dnash: totally.
posted by grubi at 9:20 AM on May 21, 2014


In the shots of Joan's apartment I notice there is one Japanese-style print hanging next to the hallway door and another one (I think; it's kind of blurry) over the couch. Is this what Bert gives to the partners every Christmas?
posted by mikepop at 9:36 AM on May 21, 2014


Are we talking about the way Julia Ormond speaks French? She doesn't have a Quebecois accent. Is that the problem? I am legitimately confused here.

It's her accent in French and her accent in English. She's otherwise great for Megan's mother, but if she's supposed to be a Québécoise, she's doing a terrible job of it.

Quebec has a thriving film and television industry, with plenty of exemplary actors to choose from (for probably a tiny fraction of the cost), so there's really no excuse for it.

And that's why I'm leaning towards the French from France explanation, that she sounds that way on purpose. Benefit of the doubt.

That said, Megan's lack of concern about events in Montreal kind of lead me to believe that the writers haven't earned that benefit of the doubt.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:37 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


She's not supposed to be Québécoise, she's supposed to be French. I just don't think she's good casting because her French accent is distracting and I don't think she's that great in the part.

I mean Disastrous Ruining Mistake, no, but I just am not into her.
posted by sweetkid at 9:41 AM on May 21, 2014


But to me, it's getting more and more obvious that realistically there would be more non white people around and in professional positions.

I've been wondering for a while if the lack of diversity at SCLetters is a way of signaling that they're behind the times. (Of course, that doesn't address the maid situation, but I also don't find it at all odd that someone like Trudy would have a uniformed maid in her home, even as late as '69 -- we have friends whose parents live in Scarsdale who still have a uniformed maid.)

But then I look at the lack of diversity at the party for Megan's acting class, and think ... no, it's just a weird, poor choice they're making....
posted by anastasiav at 9:50 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Only partway through Mad Style, and I have to say that I totally agree with T and Lo about Joan's apartment and what the total lack of change in decor says.

Someone in the comments section makes the point that maybe she doesn't feel stable enough to make a change, that she thinks all this will go away. For me, that makes sense for Joan.
posted by mochapickle at 9:57 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, I hope Joan keeps that fabulous turquoise refrigerator!

As to accents, Peggy does not exactly sound like a working-class Bay Ridge girl.

Except maybe when she says "Ma". But still.
posted by jgirl at 10:06 AM on May 21, 2014


The fact that drunk/upset Peggy does kinda still have nasal accent in fits is one of my favorite things. It also comes out around Stan a lot cause he also lapses into it.
posted by The Whelk at 10:08 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


When Peggy gets tipsy the Brooklyn accent comes back.
posted by thereemix at 10:09 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jinx, Whelk. :)
posted by thereemix at 10:09 AM on May 21, 2014


Man, I don't know. I mean, sure, maybe Joan is living a bit in the past but that apartment has stayed the same through her dating and marriage and even after as a single mom. It's pink and lovely and romantic and has nothing to do with the men who flit in and out of her life. I think that apartment is really who she is, and it's not necessarily a bad thing it hasn't changed.

Also, it's a two bedroom, isn't it?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:17 AM on May 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's pink and lovely and romantic and has nothing to do with the men who flit in and out of her life. I think that apartment is really who she is, and it's not necessarily a bad thing it hasn't changed.

Yeah, that's an awesome point. I like that.
posted by sweetkid at 10:19 AM on May 21, 2014


Yeah on one hand I can see her not wanting to make any drastic changes Just In Case but Lso, hey maybe she likes her apartment? The fact that it hasn't changed makes me thinks she likes it that way.

Also it was ten years after moving in that I finally got around to customizing this apartment and like, painting walls and putting away boxes.
posted by The Whelk at 10:21 AM on May 21, 2014


The accents, or lack thereof, on Mad Men actually irk me a bit. For a show that's so meticulously detailed, almost none of the characters have a New York accent, unless the show is making an effort to cast them as a minority or working class.

When Dawn was hired as Don's secretary, the characters kept making jokes about their names, and I (a New Yorker) didn't get the joke for almost the whole episode. There's no way someone born and raised in New York City would pronounce Dawn and Don the same.
posted by inertia at 10:27 AM on May 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


Re: TLo's assessment of Bonnie's NYC shopping outfit - they say it is "hilariously wrong for NYC in June." Now, maybe I've just been dressing inappropriately all this time and didn't realize it (wouldn't surprise me), but I totally have a dress with a similar cut and neckline to Bonnie's and I'm in NYC and I totally wear it all the time in June. And July. And August. Because it can get FUCKING HOT here and dresses like that are more comfortable for me. I'm not a blond bombshell or anything but I do wear dresses like that here in the summer. I guess that's a mistake? I dunno.

(Also, call me stupid but I really didn't realize just how grody the streets were in Manhattan back then that one couldn't wear sandals in the summer without grodifying one's feet. I live in sandals now. Feet not grody.)
posted by thereemix at 10:30 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


(oh god I am now looking around my living room with the Mad Style voice in my head wondering what it reveals about my secret inner life)
posted by The Whelk at 10:35 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


When Dawn was hired as Don's secretary, the characters kept making jokes about their names, and I (a New Yorker) didn't get the joke for almost the whole episode. There's no way someone born and raised in New York City would pronounce Dawn and Don the same.

intertia, YES! I totally agree with this. At the very least I would've expected Peggy to pronounce their names differently.

I'm not a born-and-raised New Yorker but I've been in New York for a decade after fleeing California and in that time my vowels have changed enough that I don't think I would pronounce Dawn and Don the same way unless I really consciously tried to.

The Don/Dawn thing is not a very good joke in that regard, at all.
posted by thereemix at 10:35 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


"hilariously wrong for NYC in June." Now, maybe I've just been dressing inappropriately all this time and didn't realize it (wouldn't surprise me), but I totally have a dress with a similar cut and neckline to Bonnie's and I'm in NYC and I totally wear it all the time in June. And July. And August.

Yeah it's hot and people wear whatever.
posted by sweetkid at 10:37 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jon Hamm sounds downright Midwestern when he speaks. But that makes sense since Dick Whitman was originally from Illinois before Archie died and they all went to the Pennsylvania Whorehouse.

Ginsburg always sounded pretty Brooklyn to me.

The only other person in that cast who seems to be thinking of accent is Harry Hamlin, who's doing this great New England patrician thing with his speech and I totally love it.

(I just have a soft spot for Harry Hamlin. I used to watch LA Law with my mom when I was little.)
posted by thereemix at 10:38 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


But then I look at the lack of diversity at the party for Megan's acting class, and think ... no, it's just a weird, poor choice they're making....

I actually thought that was OK. One of the musicians is African-American, and another is Asian-American. Obviously it could have been more diverse, but I think it's fine.

The real problem is non-white characters who actually talk. Mad Men seems to have the "Oh I dunno throw in some diverse extras probably" thing down pat. We need people of color AT THE AGENCY. Where the action of the show happens.

FWIW I'm kind of OK with the idea that a lot of the subplots about non-white people are probably going to be about race, because race was a big deal at the time, and most storylines on the show that feature anyone who isn't Don Draper (or maybe Pete? Though, like Roger, he gets a lot of "it's hard out there for a WASP" plotlines) tend to deal with that person's specific identity and how it affects their life in 1960s America. The women get plots about women's issues, the gays get plots about life in the closet, the Jews get plots about feeling different and out of place at an agency like SC&P. I mean, sure. It's television. These aren't real people, they're characters, and what we're seeing isn't their actual life, it's stories. There has to be a story there. Nobody is going to watch a show where people just go to work at an ad agency and no comment is ever made about anything at all and nothing much ever happens.

And just about every period TV show that's been out so far makes a lot of hay with AND THEN AN [IDENTITY] SHOWS UP AND HAS [IDENTITY] TYPE ISSUES (I'm thinking specifically of the British period show Call The Midwife, which takes place in 50s London and has a lot of parallels with Mad Men), because that's one of the big dramatic changes of the period. People who were not heterosexual white dudes faced significant issues. If you're not going to talk about those issues, there's no point in flushing money down the toilet making a period TV show.

Not to mention that even the TV shows of the time that started introducing more diversity in the media -- all the Norman Lear shows, for instance -- tended to talk about these same issues. Because, again, a lot of the drama is in the Other status.

I think that's why I find it so weird that Mad Men tends to avoid this. I get not wanting it to be an afterschool special, but if The Jeffersons was a show that came on TV in 1975, I think you can maybe consider throwing a Puerto Rican copywriter into the mix or something.
posted by Sara C. at 10:39 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh god that old style Upper crust New Englandly thing, everybody sounds like they're coming out of a coma.
posted by The Whelk at 10:39 AM on May 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm trying to think of characters who have had even a hint of a New York accent, and all I can think of is Ginsberg (Jewish), the two women who Peggy paid to fight over a ham, and other bit working class characters. I know I'm missing some...
posted by inertia at 10:41 AM on May 21, 2014


Peggy's mother and sister and brother-in-law have New York accents. Ma especially.
posted by thereemix at 10:44 AM on May 21, 2014


Yes, Peggy's family absolutely does. It's like a New York accent is deployed by the show as a class signifier.
posted by inertia at 10:48 AM on May 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also TLo is saying that Hawaii is the last time Don and Megan were truly happy together? What. Megan was happy. Don was reading Sylvia Rosen's copy of Dante's Inferno, undoubtedly thinking of Sylvia, speaking in monosyllables (or not at all) and didn't really engage with Megan at all except for sex.
posted by thereemix at 10:48 AM on May 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


FWIW I'm kind of OK with the idea that a lot of the subplots about non-white people are probably going to be about race, because race was a big deal at the time, and most storylines on the show that feature anyone who isn't Don Draper (or maybe Pete? Though, like Roger, he gets a lot of "it's hard out there for a WASP" plotlines) tend to deal with that person's specific identity and how it affects their life in 1960s America. The women get plots about women's issues, the gays get plots about life in the closet, the Jews get plots about feeling different and out of place at an agency like SC&P. I mean, sure. It's television. These aren't real people, they're characters, and what we're seeing isn't their actual life, it's stories. There has to be a story there. Nobody is going to watch a show where people just go to work at an ad agency and no comment is ever made about anything at all and nothing much ever happens.

That wasn't what I meant when I said that every time we have a nonwhite (ok, just black really) character on the show, that we should be color blind and there should be no discussion ever at all.

Even when we finally had a character not in a service role, like Dawn, we know so little about her, we never really "go home" with her or have much of a sense of her internal life. Most of her interaction with the white professionals in her office, and Shirley's, is on this extreme level of "fire this woman off my desk," "no black people in the front" kind of stuff that obscures the characters themselves. In my opinion, there's so much more interesting stuff they could do with those characters and how they feel about race and how people interact with them than just "black coffee" jokes and "no black people in the front, no one wants to look at that" type stuff.

It's not at all that I think there should be a nonwhite character on the show and no one mentions their race. I mean...I feel like I would know that that's not realistic.
posted by sweetkid at 10:49 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Peggy does OK, though I notice she's put it on more and more as the seasons have gone by. In the first season, when she was arguably more B&T, she didn't sound like she had a NYC accent at all. Now she often does. Ginsberg also gets it pretty right.

I always thought Trudy's accent was spot on for a wealthy Manhattanite who'd been sent to all the best schools. She probably took elocution classes.

While Joan doesn't sound like she has any particular accent, there's something about her syntax and tone that sounds very right for the period. I feel like I met a lot of elderly New Yorkers who sound like that.

Re Don/Dawn, I was a transplant to NYC for 12 years and while I now see that those are different vowel sounds, and I can do it if necessary, my actual pronunciation hasn't changed. I also pronounce pin and pen the same like the southern garbage that I am.

Though I agree that there's been too much made of that joke. If anything it would be people like Peggy not getting how someone like Joan (who is from Washington state, no?) can't differentiate the sounds.

Personally I'm happy for the Anglophone characters on the show not to get too bogged down in accents. It makes me angry that the show doesn't appear to know the difference between France and Quebec, but otherwise, you know, it's a show for Americans and most Americans don't live in NYC and/or have a mental inventory of the accents used there, and that's fine.
posted by Sara C. at 10:52 AM on May 21, 2014


AAAUUGGGHH I think I need to stop reading TLo for a while. WHYYY are they saying an erector set would be a nightmare for Joan and therefore this was an inappropriate gift for Bob to have brought for Kevin? DO NOT UNDERSTAND. Erector sets are awesome. Sure, the kid will probably make a mess, but isn't that what kids do with toys in general? If it was a puzzle he'd make a mess with the puzzle. TLo just infuriates me and I need to FIAMO.
posted by thereemix at 10:55 AM on May 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Re Don/Dawn

never got this joke.
posted by sweetkid at 10:55 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


TLo just infuriates me and I need to FIAMO.

I know, I'm hate reading them at this point.
posted by sweetkid at 10:56 AM on May 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Trudy's chripy but smooth style is like, very nearly a parody of that kind of accent. It's so infused with AREN'T YOU DARLING until right the second it's not. Can turn it on and off that Trudy.
posted by The Whelk at 10:56 AM on May 21, 2014


They did check in with Dawn in the MLK episode, and that time we saw her hanging with her sister after work which was nice. I can think of a couple of examples but yeah it's not enough. But I kind of wonder if the motivation from the writers/producers/network is more like people would find a less whitewashed office unrealistic. Whether or not that's accurate. The high ranking partners in this firm have been shown to be conservative, backward-thinking racists. They just barely accept a female copy chief. I don't know.
posted by bleep at 10:56 AM on May 21, 2014


That perception is still probably racist.
posted by bleep at 10:58 AM on May 21, 2014


Sweetkid, what I would have loved to see would be for the show to skip Megan entirely, and instead inject some new "below decks" characters at the agency, who we would get to know over the course of the show a la Stan, Ginsberg, etc. One or two of whom would be not white.

I also think it's silly to be introducing Jewish characters to play that OMGWHUT MINORITY ALERT role, since I think by the mid/late 60s being Jewish in New York wasn't such a big thing. I remember reading somewhere that originally West Side Story was going to be about a Jewish girl and an Italian guy, and then Leonard Bernstein thought that felt dated. So he introduced... people who aren't white. And that's 1961. And of course keep in mind that Leonard Bernstein is himself Jewish in NYC in the 60s and he's fucking running the show at the WASPiest most high-culture institution in town.

If Weiner was so het up to include Jewish characters and deal with themes of Jewish people feeling like outsiders in WASP culture he should have made Peggy or Paul or Harry Jewish. Ginsberg is kind of an anachronism, by the time he shows up.

Frankly, in the first episode where they can't find a Jewish accounts person so they get someone out of the mailroom or whatever, that kind of sets the tone for how clueless Mad Men is going to be about this stuff over the course of the series.
posted by Sara C. at 11:03 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've heard Matt Weiner say race just isn't a story he wanted to tell, which is bananas when you're talking about the 60s, but whatever it's his show. But it seems to always get explained away by people who are mostly not Matt Weiner as 'not accurate for these characters', 'not accurate for the time,' 'he's trying to show the racism by having the white people all being racist together.'

All I'm saying is it is getting much more glaring as we're getting closer to the 70s than it was when we were in the early 60s, which felt closer to Brown vs Board and Jim Crow laws and well, was before the main thrust of the entire Civil Rights movement.

We've done the "backwards thinking racist" storyline to death at this point.

And yeah, Dawn hanging out with her sister isn't really quite enough. I think Dawn in general feels as much like a PC hire on the show as it is at the agency on the show.

(The actress is great though).
posted by sweetkid at 11:04 AM on May 21, 2014


WHYYY are they saying an erector set would be a nightmare for Joan and therefore this was an inappropriate gift for Bob to have brought for Kevin?

Also, why is that something we need to talk about in Mad Style? I feel like there's been a lot of project drift, in this. Their posts are almost never actually about the fashion/aesthetic stuff, anymore, beyond AND PEGGY IS WEARING PINK WHICH MEANS SHE HAS HER PERIOD or whatever.
posted by Sara C. at 11:06 AM on May 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


Going back to the race thing, tbh I'm actually not sure whether I prefer Mad Men's choice to sometimes talk about race but not get too deeply into it, or Call The Midwife's choice to often have a Pregnant Lady Of Color character who trundles in with all the baggage of racial issues that the show will then try to unpack in 45 minutes while also delivering a baby and dealing with whatever dramazzzz the midwife characters are doing this week.

Their episode about post-Holocaust Jewish refugees in London was arguably more embarrassing than anything Mad Men has ever done about race or ethnicity, ever. I thought the one about the Barbadian woman was kind of sweet, though, and despite being a little mawkish was a million years beyond anything Mad Men has done. I'm also surprised that they've made it all the way to 1960 in the East End of London and haven't had an Asian character yet.
posted by Sara C. at 11:14 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I noticed that about Call the Midwife too. It's a nice show and it tries but it's not perfect. Mad Men is far from perfect, which is now super-obvious on re-watch.
posted by bleep at 11:19 AM on May 21, 2014


Megan serves a purpose. It feels like Mad Men is a meditation on Don Draper making a mistake, recalibrating, trying it again, recalibrating. It didn't work with Betty, but here's Megan in sunny California hanging out with his kids and cheerfully cleaning up a milkshake and it hits him: maybe it could work with someone else. Thus, Megan. And it seems to for a while, until it doesn't. After the marriage to Megan fails, Don seems to be realizing it's not a matter of getting someone else to magically fit into place.

I was on S1E4 of The Great Rewatch last night and Don tells Pete: "I only move in one direction, and that's forward." That's what Don thinks, but he's wrong. He's moving forward and backward and sideways, but all along, he's trying to find a way to get it right.

The erector set! Didn't someone else (Roger? Bob?) give Kevin a regulation-size football when he was pretty much just out of the womb?
posted by mochapickle at 11:20 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


We've done the "backwards thinking racist" storyline to death at this point.
I don't think it's a storyline as such but a perception about the overall set of characters. I'm not defending it.
posted by bleep at 11:23 AM on May 21, 2014


Bob brought Kevin a football after Joan got out of the hospital. But he didn't really know much about Joan's home life then and probably wasn't sure how old Kevin was at the time.
posted by thereemix at 11:24 AM on May 21, 2014


I also think it's silly to be introducing Jewish characters to play that OMGWHUT MINORITY ALERT role, since I think by the mid/late 60s being Jewish in New York wasn't such a big thing.

I'm not sure if it wasn't such a big thing for a Madison Avenue old-boys club kind of institution. I agree to introduce a Jewish person as some kind of token minority is ridiculous--especially in New York of all places--but I do think there was still some kind of outsider status. Jewish people mostly worked at Jewish advertising agencies up until the 1960s for Jewish clients.

Also, one of those Jewish ad firms is responsible for the Maxwell House Haggadah, which my family still totally uses.
posted by inertia at 11:24 AM on May 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Can we talk about Chez Holloway-Harris? Because we don’t get why Joan is even living here.

Because the show can't afford to build a new set for her, to be used in maybe one episode this season. Also since we know this place now, it immediately sets the scene. We're not like, "Wait, is that Joan's mom? What's she doing with that blond kid? Where are they?" and then Joan walks out and we're not ready to be in the scene yet because we're confused about the setting. By using the same apartment, we immediately have context for what's happening. And, again $$$$$.

A coat of paint or some smalls would have been nice, though.

we doubt very much that she’d settle for a lower salary than a man in her position.

hahahahahalolololololol you're fired T&Lo.
posted by Sara C. at 11:25 AM on May 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


yeah, T&Lo's ignorance about a woman's salary is just adorable, and by adorable I mean eye-rollingly obnoxious.
posted by palomar at 11:29 AM on May 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Bob brought Kevin a football after Joan got out of the hospital. But he didn't really know much about Joan's home life then and probably wasn't sure how old Kevin was at the time.

That's actually great characterization for Bob. It's clear he adores Joan, but he has a history of giving inappropriate gifts that really don't match up with what Joan (or Kevin) would actually want.

Very clever.
posted by mochapickle at 11:29 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


hahahahahalolololololol you're fired T&Lo.

I KNOW RIGHT???!!


Dear TLo: I guess you two are not aware that even now, in 2014, Joan would undoubtedly still be earning a lower salary than a man in her position.

(Are they completely oblivious to what happened at the NY Times last week?)
posted by thereemix at 11:30 AM on May 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


it's no surprise Peggy has been so mad at Don because their relationship has ALWAYS been contentious.

Isn't Peggy mad at Don this season for 1) getting "fired" and throwing the agency into mediocrity (although not initially mad because she thought she'd get to run things) and, more importantly -- 2) because Don gave his place in CA to Ted so Ted could leave Peggy and devote himself to his wife?

Am I missing anything? I've been operating under the assumption that Peggy's mostly mad this season because Don made it easy for Ted to leave her.
posted by vitabellosi at 11:30 AM on May 21, 2014


I'm going to have to stop reading T&Lo for the articles and just look at the pictures.
posted by mochapickle at 11:30 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've been operating under the assumption that Peggy's mostly mad this season because Don made it easy for Ted to leave her.

Well that and Don completely hijacked her St. Joseph's ad pitch (in the process of humiliating Ted) and gave the late Frank Gleason credit for what she believes to be her greatest work.

And the fact that she left SCDP largely to escape Don and his shitty behavior towards her and then like six months later CGC merged with SCDP and she had to go back and deal with Don's BS again.

She's mad at Don because he abuses her when he needs her help the most. He finally admitted that this episode (self awareness! finally!) and that's what got her to soften.
posted by thereemix at 11:33 AM on May 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm not sure if it wasn't such a big thing for a Madison Avenue old-boys club kind of institution.

But there are umpteen examples of Jewish people in very high places in NYC-based American culture of the time. By 1960, Leonard Bernstein is at the NY Philharmonic. Lenny Bruce and Woody Allen are around, and what's more, they're not even the first generation of mainstream Jewish comedy writers -- they're coming up under people like Danny Kaye and Sid Caesar. There are Jewish doctors and lawyers and entrepreneurs and college professors. (Dirty Dancing, anyone?)

I'll buy that the ad agencies were fragmented, so that Jewish agencies marketed things to the Jewish demographic, etc etc etc. (This still kind of exists; I know artists with day jobs making commercials for businesses geared toward the Hasidic community, who are not taking their business to the big agency sweetkid works for) but it's arguably weirder that Ginsberg is an anomaly than it is to have all African-American characters be working class.

It shows a completely tone-deaf approach to racial issues of the 60s, in a way that, if I were an exec at AMC, would have given me pause about picking up a show like Mad Men since they clearly are not going to handle the major social change of the decade in a realistic way. (In fact I wonder how much the opening scene, where Don gets market research from a black waiter, was based on a note from the network.)
posted by Sara C. at 11:35 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]




Whelk I covet your living room.
posted by thereemix at 11:45 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


We're married gay men without kids or pets, what else are we going to do with our time.
posted by The Whelk at 11:50 AM on May 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


In the same episode where Don gets market research from a black waiter, they have to haul a Jewish kid up from the mail room to pretend to be a copywriter so that when they pitch to Rachel Menken it looks like they have "one of her kind" there. While I agree that they could be doing things a lot better in regard to having actual storylines for characters of color, I disagree that it's unrealistic to have Jewish characters being treated as "other". Given that we currently live in a world where freakin' Macklemore just did an appearance in a rather ill-advised costume that looked for all the world like a Nazi caricature of a hook-nosed nebbish, Mad Men's characterization of Jewish people doesn't stand out to me as an anachronism.
posted by palomar at 11:51 AM on May 21, 2014


She's mad at Don because he abuses her when he needs her help the most. He finally admitted that this episode (self awareness! finally!) and that's what got her to soften.

I think this is a nice progression from another time he had to make amends with Peggy: "I'm hard on you because I see you as an extension of myself". That was the episode where Betty left him. Their other big episode together, The Suitcase, was the night Anna Draper died. Assuming this was his and Megan's last hurrah, that's three times Don has bonded with Peggy as his wives have left him.
posted by almostmanda at 11:54 AM on May 21, 2014 [10 favorites]


I disagree that it's unrealistic to have Jewish characters being treated as "other".

The problem isn't whether Jewish characters are being treated as "other". If the deal was that they brought in someone from kind of the wrong department, or someone slightly more junior than is typical (this would have been a great way to introduce a character like Paul or Ken and give us a sense of the "lower decks" world of Sterling Cooper), or they put someone on the account for the Jewish Voice the way they have with Peggy and the Woman's Perspective over the course of the series, that would have been much more true to the times while also still getting that "Other" vibe across.

The problem is that the show is acting like it's 1920 instead of 1960 and there are no Jewish people in any job other than junk shop pedlar. Which doesn't bode well for its future ability to talk about things like Civil Rights, or to get outside of the All New Yorkers Are White trope that Friends, Seinfeld, and How I Met Your Mother have relied on.

It's yet another way that Mad Men is arguably worse about race/ethnicity than fucking Deadwood. Which is embarrassing.
posted by Sara C. at 12:02 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


WHYYY are they saying an erector set would be a nightmare for Joan and therefore this was an inappropriate gift for Bob to have brought for Kevin?

Kevin's too young for an erector set ... he's still small enough he'll possibly put the pieces in his mouth or otherwise be actually unsafe with them. He's only about three.

Also, he doesn't have the fine motor necessary to manipulate the parts, so it will just be frustrating for him. My son (who is 7) got one for this past Christmas, and he still doesn't play with it (even though he's pretty sciencey) because it's still just really, really hard.
posted by anastasiav at 12:11 PM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


The problem is that the show is acting like it's 1920 instead of 1960 and there are no Jewish people in any job other than junk shop pedlar.

I'm not sure I see where you're coming from on this. For one thing, they have done exactly what you're saying they haven't done -- they brought in a Jewish character from the wrong department for appearance's sake. They hired a Jewish copywriter a few years later and put him on Manischewitz. For Jewish star power, they've got that shitty comedian Jimmy Barrett, who was modeled on Joey Bishop.

While I do see the reasoning behind the idea that this show doesn't do POC well and that they've missed some great opportunities for storylines featuring characters of color, and I agree that there need to be more characters of color with compelling storylines in general on television, I feel like what that really is is a desire for an entirely different kind of show, one written from the perspectives of characters of color. Could Mad Men have been that show? Maybe, but as many other people have suggested, Matt Weiner put his focus elsewhere, and that's not the show we got.

I thought this NPR article and the comments on it were pretty insightful. For better or worse, this is ultimately a show about a specific group of well to do white people, and only tangentially about the "supporting players".
posted by palomar at 12:25 PM on May 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


One thing I will agree with in Mad Style is their note about Joan dressing more like Peggy. One thing I think they miss, though is that this isn't so much Joan taking a note from Peggy in a specific way, it's just that there finally exists a stock Working Woman Uniform that somewhat corresponds to the suits that men get. You go to whatever department store they sell those dresses at, you get five in different colors and styles, and that's your work wardrobe sorted.

I used to have a few of those dresses, found in NYC area thrift stores, and CONSTANTLY got compliments on them from older women when I worked at the Met and MoMA. For a while those types of dresses, plus this wild mod pink coat I also found in a thrift store, plus some early 2000s hipster accessories, was my Going Out Looking Cute aesthetic, and it practically stopped traffic. In fact I kind of wish I could come across a few more of those, even though the polyester was a bit scratchy. I miss having 1966 as my go-to look.
posted by Sara C. at 12:26 PM on May 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


In the first scene with Rachel, the one where the drag in the guy from the mailroom, doesn't one of them ask her why she isn't taking her business to one of the many Jewish ad agencies?

My impression from the show was not that they were making assumptions that Jewish people were junk shop peddlers, but that they worked and lived and socialized in a separate universe than non-Jews, which is starting to change as the 60s goes on.
posted by inertia at 12:37 PM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Only partway through Mad Style, and I have to say that I totally agree with T and Lo about Joan's apartment and what the total lack of change in decor says.

I have to admit that when I saw Joan's apartment this episode, I thought, "When is Joan going to redecorate that freaking apartment?" I know she hasn't gotten the life she wanted, but she isn't exactly petrified either. She had Kevin and insisted on being made partner. You'd think that with more money and with a son to consider, she'd at least decide she needed more room and/or wanted to update the place.

I'm trying to think of characters who have had even a hint of a New York accent

Faye Miller had a Bronx accent. Cara Buono, who played Faye, is from the Bronx, and she had to bring back her own native accent that she'd worked so hard to get rid of.

Re: the erector set

Yes, Kevin is way too young for the erector set. All those little parts that he could swallow, and metal edges he could cut himself on! I don't know how Bob could be that clueless as to what such a small child should play with. I guess they didn't have the age range labels on toys then that they do now.
posted by orange swan at 12:47 PM on May 21, 2014


I think the Erector Set was meant to contrast with the Barbie that Pete gave his daughter.
posted by rue72 at 12:50 PM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also Bob's history of slightly "off" gift-giving, like he learned how to interact from a manual.
posted by The Whelk at 12:52 PM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Last song that plays on the last mad men episode credits Go!

Jumping in late to play this game:

"Bird on a Wire," Leonard Cohen
"The Boxer," Simon & Garfunkel (fudging a little on the release date)
"Wheels," the Flying Burrito Brothers
"Who's Lovin' You," Jackson 5
"Ramble On," Led Zeppelin
"Everyday People," Sly and the Family Stone
"Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues," Nina Simone
"Everybody Knows This is Nowhere," Neil Young

1969 was also the year of "Here Comes the Sun," but I can't see this show ending on so hopeful a note.
posted by sallybrown at 12:57 PM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Re Joan's apartment and redecorating it, I have a sense that people just didn't redecorate as much as modern day consumer society seems to expect us to redecorate in 2014. Consumer goods were not that cheap, and there wasn't really enough choice to merit constantly updating your stuff.

Both sets of my grandparents bought their first homes around this era (mid/late 60s). My father's parents, who still live in that house today, have all the same furniture. They still have the topper from my dad's groom's cake (from 1979) on the mantlepiece. My mom's parents moved around more due to my grandfather's career, but in the 80s when they still lived in my mom's childhood home, it was still furnished mostly with things they bought when they moved into the house. The apartment they've had since the early 90s still has most of the same knicknacks, and it's still a surprising amount of that same stuff considering it's been 50 years and they've moved from Louisiana to Texas to Cameroon and back in that time.

The only thing I'd expect to be different in Joan's apartment would be some of Kevin's artwork on the fridge and maybe a new lamp or a picture on the wall or something. It's unrealistic that she'd get a promotion and completely renovate the place. People didn't do that back then. Even Betty redecorating after Don makes partner is a very status-conscious conspicuous-consumption thing to do. She entertains there, and having recently redecorated is a way she can show the other women in the neighborhood that she's moving up in the world. That doesn't apply to Joan, and nor would it be correct for her character.
posted by Sara C. at 12:59 PM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also Bob's history of slightly "off" gift-giving, like he learned how to interact from a manual.

The thing is, some of the mistakes he's made make sense for someone of Bob's background. Like sending a food platter to Roger's mother's funeral. Lower class people do that kind of thing, because it's difficult for them to foot the bill for the funeral expenses. Middle class and the monied class that Roger is from don't need practical contributions like that of food. Flowers are much more appropriate.

the Barbie that Pete gave his daughter

That was a little off too. Barbies are usually for children a little older than Tammy appears to be.
posted by orange swan at 1:02 PM on May 21, 2014


Pete didn't pick out the Barbie, either (his now-ex-girlfriend did). I think that for both Pete and Bob, the take home message was "you don't have a family." The well-intended but clueless gifts for "their" children was part of that.
posted by rue72 at 1:04 PM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Re Joan's apartment and redecorating it, I have a sense that people just didn't redecorate as much as modern day consumer society seems to expect us to redecorate in 2014.

Definitely true, but - T&L are correct that in nearly every other major character's case, the show has used change in home scenery as a reflection of life change (regardless of how common this was in actual life), so it's noteworthy that it has refrained from doing so only in Joan's case. Don, Roger, and Pete moved after their divorces; Pete and Betty moved after marriages (in Betty's case, remarriage); Peggy moved after her promotion and again as a step forward in her relationship with Abe, and yet the show has refrained from changing Joan's surroundings at all, despite the fact that she has married, divorced, and been promoted during the show's time.
posted by sallybrown at 1:07 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


The thing is, some of the mistakes he's made make sense for someone of Bob's background. Like sending a food platter to Roger's mother's funeral. Lower class people do that kind of thing, because it's difficult for them to foot the bill for the funeral expenses. Middle class and the monied class that Roger is from don't need practical contributions like that of food. Flowers are much more appropriate.

Yeah it's a very telling detail and not to far off from my earlier, more callowly class climbing days.
posted by The Whelk at 1:08 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, Joan's lived in NYC enough to know the value of a two bedroom in the village or wherever she lives ( I spent way too long thinking she lived in like, Hoboken. ) it wouldn't have been the obscenely expensive land of major celebrities like it is today, but that part of town has been pretty desirable since the late 19th century despite serval waves of de and re gentrification. She's going to be there until she dies or a delvoper in the future pushes her out.
posted by The Whelk at 1:13 PM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Joan's mother is the one who keeps house for her, though. With the men, it's been their wives who've redecorated, and Peggy was trying to be a good girlfriend/wife when choosing her new home, too.

Joan's mom isn't going to redecorate for her the way the men's wives did, and Joan's got no man to please by redecorating or moving herself, so of course she would keep things the way they are.
posted by rue72 at 1:13 PM on May 21, 2014


I can't see Joan's mother being willing to spend money on redecorating. That's a fair point.
posted by palomar at 1:17 PM on May 21, 2014


Betty didn't move after remarriage until Glen pissed her off. She just moved Henry into her Barbie steakhouse. (DREAMHOUSE DYAC)

The Barbie doll was not inappropriate, she was designed for slightly olde girls but popular with much younger. Also with getting older kid toy you convey their expression that you see them as mature. An Avon kit or transistor radio is too old.

For Kevin it's possibly too old BUT it is a hot toy, and dovetails into Bob being there as a father figure long term. Dovetails into father figure and a college oriented career. The football back when he was small and Bob was just starting to get to know Joan was inappropriate : "he will play with the ribbon". The car toy later on was also small & metal, & appropriate.
posted by tilde at 1:31 PM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]




MEGAN DISAPPEARS THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:14 PM on May 21, 2014


That last scene with Megan. I didn't notice the mirror before. But there are reflections in two other places: During the Don and Peggy dance, and the internal pitch for the commercial spot for Burger Chef -- having the Burger Chef sign reflected in the glass of the windshield.

Vulture: 10 theories about Mad Men's mid-Season 7 finale
posted by mochapickle at 2:14 PM on May 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Don is troubled by a letter?

Is it the letter M?

Maybe they mean Waterloo like an ABBA sense.


(nnngh editors get back to me so I can show you the crazy Mad Men thing I got paid to do.)
posted by The Whelk at 2:18 PM on May 21, 2014


The Hollywood Reporter recently had a roundtable discussion with six actresses in the running for an Emmy, including Jessica Pare. She talks about Zou Bisou Bisou and the Sharon Tate rumors, and not much else, but there you go.
posted by palomar at 2:22 PM on May 21, 2014


Last shot of this scene with Don and Megan.

My parents had that towel!
posted by drezdn at 2:30 PM on May 21, 2014


Oh, and Matt Weiner was the guest on last night's Colbert Report.
posted by palomar at 2:34 PM on May 21, 2014


America needs engineers
posted by drezdn at 2:47 PM on May 21, 2014


show has used change in home scenery as a reflection of life change

Not really, because most of the changes in home scenery have happened because of domestic changes like a divorce, moving out to the burbs, or buying your own home. Joan kept her place in the divorce (which makes sense, what does her soldier husband want with a pink apartment in Manhattan?).

The only character who has ever signaled a socio-economic status change with an upgrade to the same home is Betty.

It's a little surprising that Joan hasn't bought a place yet, though. Then again, that's a plot point that would have to be written into the show, and new sets that would have to be built. Which is probably why it hasn't happened. Another issue is that all the typical housing stories are already taken. We've got the House In The Burbs, we've got the Dee-Lux Apartment In The Sky, we've got the Brownstone Fixer Upper. And Joan doesn't seem hip enough to do a loft conversion, which is the only other type of housing stock in NYC that would be interesting enough to devote screentime to.
posted by Sara C. at 4:43 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Are we talking about the way Julia Ormond speaks French? She doesn't have a Quebecois accent. Is that the problem? I am legitimately confused here.

Even her Parisian accent doesn't sound native.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:54 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


My father and his side of the family are all from Paris and none but him (and me, obviously) have ever even been out of Europe, and, for what it's worth, I actually think that the French on the show is pretty good. Marie reads perfectly fine as a French woman to me (which I think is what she's supposed to be, not Québécoise). Megan bothers me much more in that sense, actually, in the sense that she's "too" anglophone (not just in terms of language, in terms of culture, too).

But like I said before, this show is weirdly *about* assimilation while being pretty much fall down terrible at actually dramatizing what it's *like* to try and assimilate, and does much better with the "old guard" upper-crust WASP characters, so I'm pretty much over criticizing it on those grounds (though I think it's a valid critique, it's just that once you go down that path there's no end to the criticisms that you could probably come up with, until you're talking about an entirely different, albeit fascinating, show that could have been instead of the one that is). At this point, I'm just hoping for the show to dig in even deeper with these WASPs (especially Betty, Sally, Joan, Pete) and let that be the central POV for the show because it does that so much better than it does anything else.
posted by rue72 at 5:09 PM on May 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Yeah the WASP stuff is so on point ( I know people who cannot even with the show cause the flashes of peroid WASPness are too accurate) that I kinda wish they didn't try to do anything else.

I thought Peggy's working class Catholic family was pretty okay on the surface, and Sal/Kitty's Italian-Americaness seemed good on the visuals without being over the top ( subtle things like patterns and fabrics, everything in Kitty's kitchen was something my grandmother owned.)
posted by The Whelk at 5:18 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


So far the show has been using music associated with the hippies. What were the squares listening to at this point? Probably at least partially Sinatra, right?
posted by codacorolla at 5:39 PM on May 21, 2014


Yeah Anne Helen Petersen was talking about on Twitter, " My Way" was a comeback song for Sinatra largely for his middle-aged fans. What where the squares listening to in 1969?
posted by The Whelk at 5:48 PM on May 21, 2014


I don't think they've necessarily been using "music associated with hippies"? Unless you just mean pop/rock/youth-oriented music?

Squaresville music of the 60s:

Elvis, like Sinatra, was still putting out records.

Herb Alpert and that sort of faux global scene.

The squarer end of the folk movement, for instance I feel like I run into a lot of Judy Collins records when out picking through stuff.

A lot of middle class types listened to classical, opera, and show tunes.

Looking at this list of Billboard chart toppers, you've got The Everly Brothers, Connie Francis, Lawrence Welk, Ricky Nelson, Pat Boone, Neil Sedaka, that Singing Nun thing that definitely made its appearance on the show, Sonny & Cher, stuff like Harper Valley PTA, Henry Mancini (probably goes in with the "classical and suchlike" thing), etc.

Fun note I just learned from that link: Peter, Paul & Mary's "Leavin' On A Jet Plane" was on the pop charts in late 1969. In the running for finale ending credits?
posted by Sara C. at 5:56 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I dunno now I'm kinda hoping for Connie Francis
posted by The Whelk at 5:58 PM on May 21, 2014


One thing that struck me back in college when I used to read a lot of second wave feminist memoirs, was how many cool youngish people just didn't listen to rock/pop at all. They're all name checking Ravel and Dvorak. Though Kate Millett mentions liking Janis Joplin, at least, which is why she remains awesome to this day.
posted by Sara C. at 6:03 PM on May 21, 2014


I thought Peggy's working class Catholic family was pretty okay on the surface

I wouldn't mind seeing a little more of how Peggy's family is getting along. We haven't seen her mom in a while.
posted by sweetkid at 6:05 PM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Herb Alpert and that sort of faux global scene.

The squarer end of the folk movement, for instance I feel like I run into a lot of Judy Collins records when out picking through stuff.

A lot of middle class types listened to classical, opera, and show tunes.


Yeah - Dad was really into the Tijuana Brass, and Mom was all about the show tunes.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:17 PM on May 21, 2014


My mother was young but square in 1969 and she was obsessed with the Supremes, who would have their final #1 single in 1969 (Diana Ross left in January 1970).

Some notable 1969 musical events we could see referenced other than / in addition to Woodstock or Altamont:

Bowie's "Space Oddity" (single released in July) - if there's a Moon Landing episode coming up, especially

Brian Jones found dead in a swimming pool (July 3) - would echo Don's various pool and ocean related mishaps and rebirths

Dylan returns at the Isle of Wight festival (August)

Elvis has a banner year with "Suspicious Minds" (first performed in July and released in the fall) and "In the Ghetto" (April)

Jackson 5 release their first album (December)
posted by sallybrown at 6:29 PM on May 21, 2014


No trash-talking Herb Alpert here. "Tijuana Brass" was one of my first records.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:43 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm into the idea that the show should end with jazz.
posted by sweetkid at 6:43 PM on May 21, 2014


I'm into the idea that the show should end with jazz.

If the show does end in 1969, we'll be just a few months short of Bitches Brew...
posted by sallybrown at 6:48 PM on May 21, 2014



If the show does end in 1969, we'll be just a few months short of Bitches Brew...


That would be awesome!
posted by sweetkid at 6:50 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have often kept in my heart a dark and fearsome hope that we'd have a Bowie song on the show by the end.
posted by The Whelk at 7:14 PM on May 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


ssshhhhhh you'll jinx it
posted by palomar at 7:38 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have totally irrational long-held anxiety about Space Oddity so I really hope it's not that.
posted by sweetkid at 7:54 PM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Plus not all men know how to shop for kids? Thinking about Roger getting Kevin Lincoln Logs as a small baby (after the football from Bob & he found himself without Jane).

Don of course is the exception to this rule, excluding Polly; that was also season one & an early episode.

I'm voting they get spendy & go with Rocky Raccoon or Oh Bla Di Dah.
posted by tilde at 8:00 PM on May 21, 2014


I don't know that Polly was an "inappropriate gift". I think it was impulsive and chosen out of a mercenary place instead of like whatever emotions in an ideal world lead a person to get a puppy. But in the 60s people absolutely did not have the ideas about pets that we have today. This is exactly how people got dogs. Dogs were something you bought at the pet store or maybe from a "free to good home" ad in the paper. Not something you deliberated over for ages and ages and shopped around for a breeder and prepared for as you would a child.
posted by Sara C. at 8:04 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm just going to throw this out there: Mom and Dad were about as tri-state, middle-class, white, and square as they came in the '60s. They owned every Mitchell Trio, Kingston Trio, and John Denver record ever made. The album Rhymes and Reasons came out in October of 1969. Perhaps it's just my nostalgia, but I could see the title song from that album being a good fit.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:06 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


yeah, I can see that.

It's tricky to guess what the last song will be because I'm not really sure what the tone of the last episodes will really be.
posted by sweetkid at 8:10 PM on May 21, 2014


Betty wasn't thrilled at Polly, again wtf do you get a dog at 10pm, she was no puppy sign dog.

I notice after the divorce he got bobby a drum set, transistor radio, & Sally records for her record player & a fire truck for Gene. Passive aggressive noisy :)

I think they were still fleshing Don out & it was random impulsively & yet socially acceptable.
posted by tilde at 8:12 PM on May 21, 2014


He also got Gene the stuffed elephant.

Remember when Betty got Sally the Barbie That Could Not Be Thrown Away?
posted by sweetkid at 8:14 PM on May 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Betty wasn't thrilled at Polly

I remember people talking about that episode and being all "Betty's so cold and terrible" because she paused, looked at her drunk husband on the floor with a dog hours after he was supposed to bring a cake, and said "I don't even know what to say."

I remember thinking that is EXACTLY what I would have said.

Damn Season One Betty I feel you.

Whatever Betty Forever.
posted by sweetkid at 8:16 PM on May 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


Cat Stevens' "Wild World" would make a good song for the finale, but it was released in 1970.

There were a LOT of good songs released in 1970 I'm finding.
posted by sweetkid at 8:19 PM on May 21, 2014


They ended the first episode with a Dean Martin cover, maybe they'll end the final episode with one from 1969:

Things I learned in a hobo jungle
Were things they never taught me in a classroom . . .

I guess I grew up a loner,
I don't remember ever havin' any folks around.
But I keep thumbin' through the phone books,
And lookin' for my daddy's name in every town.
And I meet lots of friendly people,
That I always end up leavin' on the lam. . . .

I take a lot of pride in what I am.

posted by sallybrown at 8:22 PM on May 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, in Season One they also had the Cardigans anachronism they want us to forget about, but doubt they'll do stuff like that again.
posted by sweetkid at 8:24 PM on May 21, 2014


I'm kind of thinking at this point there is no way in hell this show is ending without Draper, Olson, Campbell existing as an agency.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:31 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have a hunch Ted Chaough is going to save the day somehow. He's been so marginalized this season except for his malaise that everyone is underestimating him at this point.
posted by sallybrown at 8:41 PM on May 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think he wants entirely out of the game at this point.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:48 PM on May 21, 2014


I've been wondering what they're going to do about/with Ted. When he gets any screen time at all, it's to highlight how alone he is and how floppy and useless he looks, like Guy Smiley in crisis. Vulture's list of theories had an entry for "power struggle at SC&P", which sure seems more plausible than the theory about Megan getting murdered by a band of drug-crazed hippies. Maybe a power struggle would put a little zing back in Ted's step?
posted by palomar at 8:54 PM on May 21, 2014


I'm kind of thinking at this point there is no way in hell this show is ending without Draper, Olson, Campbell existing as an agency.

I don't see how they would get there from here with 8 episodes left. Pete doesn't have a saddlebag of clients anymore to get a new agency off the ground. Roger would have to go with them, and then it's Shut the Door, Have a Seat round 2. That just doesn't make sense to me as the end of a series. The can't go out with "and then Don and his newly-appreciated work-family started a new agency and lived happily ever after...."
posted by donajo at 9:13 PM on May 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Draper, Chaough, Olsen.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:15 PM on May 21, 2014


Can't be DCO because neither Ted nor Don are account men. Need an account man & or money for one. So Pete or Kenny. Still thinking Roger is toast.
posted by tilde at 9:27 PM on May 21, 2014


Don't really read Vulture but this review of callback structure is good.
posted by tilde at 9:55 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jewish resorts/country clubs were created because we weren't allowed at the ones run by Christians. The civil rights act ostensibly put a stop to this. There's a sequence in A Woman of Independent Means on which Bess' friend is told he's not welcome at her club once it's made clear he is a Jew.
posted by brujita at 3:21 AM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Did someone upthread, or in another thread, talk about filling the time between half-seasons by going back to Season 1 to discuss? I am really going to miss this.

6 seasons x 13 eps = 78. We have about 10 months.

Thoughts?
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:05 AM on May 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've been wondering what they're going to do about/with Ted. When he gets any screen time at all, it's to highlight how alone he is and how floppy and useless he looks, like Guy Smiley in crisis.

I envision him sitting there gloomily at his desk, ruminating on the good old days at Judging Amy.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:03 AM on May 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Whitman, Campbell, Olsen.
posted by adrianhon at 7:08 AM on May 22, 2014


Benson, Benson, & Benson.
posted by adrianhon at 7:09 AM on May 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


Benson, Gatling & Kraus.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:10 AM on May 22, 2014


6 seasons x 13 eps = 78. We have about 10 months. Thoughts?

I would love a series of Great Rewatch threads for this before we get to 7b. And since everything's on NFLX...
posted by mochapickle at 7:33 AM on May 22, 2014


I have actually missed a few seasons (but read recaps) so a Great Rewatch would actually be pretty fun. Is everything but the current season on Netflix?
posted by emjaybee at 7:36 AM on May 22, 2014


I believe so! I had to skim through all the early seasons for The Thing.
posted by The Whelk at 7:42 AM on May 22, 2014


Benson, Wolfram and Hart.
posted by tracicle at 7:56 AM on May 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


Oh! I suggested the rewatch! So that's roughly 8 eps per month? A small commitment, surely.
posted by tracicle at 7:57 AM on May 22, 2014


Benson, Wolfram and Hart.

They even got the archivist at Sterling Cooper!
posted by The Whelk at 8:00 AM on May 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I would rewatch, but where/how would the discussion be hosted? Would a FF thread be created for each episode? And what would the spoiler policy be, i.e. if some people were watching for the first time? (Sorry if this was already worked out in one of the MeTa threads, and I missed it.)
posted by torticat at 8:26 AM on May 22, 2014


No, I made a passing comment that we should do it, and that's all. I was just thinking about it also. I think doing it on FF ep by ep would be fine (don't know what happens when we're back at the point we're at now...); the MST movies are on here now also, and they're older than Rowsdower. I think it would be impossible to keep out spoilers, but having said that the show is 7 years old so I don't know that we have to be that cautious. That's a tough one!
posted by tracicle at 8:37 AM on May 22, 2014


The GOT books are two decades old and people still bitch about spoilers.

Probably the best way to handle a rewatch like this is as if it was last week's episode--talk about this episode (and what has gone before), and not about next week's. Each thread on FF is clearly labeled with season and ep number, so if you spoil yourself that's your own problem.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:40 AM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Crane, Shore, and Benson, attorneys at law
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:42 AM on May 22, 2014


Oh you have got to be joking. James Spader's character would take one look at Benson, open his mouth, and leave nothing behind but a small sad pile of charred ruins upon the ground.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:44 AM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


C'mon, every happy marriage needs a puppy.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:45 AM on May 22, 2014


I just finished reading TLo's Mad Style post about this episode. Man, I really do miss when they talked about the actual clothing instead of "blue means motherhood, yellow means rage" or something like that. Their Mad Style series is the reason I started watching Mad Men.

Olsen, Benson & The Giant Computer.
posted by inertia at 8:47 AM on May 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Cutler, Avery, And All The Other Assholes
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:55 AM on May 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sterling and Cutler just duke it out every week.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:56 AM on May 22, 2014


Nooooo. Lane's zombie takes on a new pugilistic partner every week. Is beaten to crap, surprisingly, by Peggy.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:57 AM on May 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Olson Holloway-Harris Calvet: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Advertising Agency
posted by psoas at 9:18 AM on May 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


Benson & Hedges.

So yeah, if we do the great rewatch, I don't think there's any way to keep spoilers out. In fact, spoilers should be encouraged. Since I've started rewatching the episodes, I've noticed a lot of parallels to this last season, and it's fun to think/chat about how far the characters have come.

I'm just amazed by Season 1 now that I know the characters more.
posted by mochapickle at 9:20 AM on May 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


If we can't have a 70s spin off for Bob Benson, how about an 80s one?
posted by devinemissk at 9:39 AM on May 22, 2014


Okay, here's a rewatch proposal:

We watch 2 episodes a week, with posts going up on Sundays and Wednesdays. We begin on June 1 (allowing for a week of discussion for the 7.5 finale) and skip the Wednesday before (US) Thanksgiving and the two weeks of Christmas and New Year's. That gets us through the 78 episodes of seasons 1-6 by March 15, 2015, and we'll have three weeks to rehash season 7.5.

I'd be happy to set up a "Metafilter Mad Men Rewatch" Google calendar with email reminders to volunteer post-creators for each episode or week or month or however we decide to handle post-creation.
posted by donajo at 9:52 AM on May 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think the rules of FanFare is that each thread is only about that episode and spoilers for future episodes are discouraged. Which I think is fine. Someone just started a thread on Call The Midwife from the beginning, and aside from the fact that it's tough to remember what actually happened in the first episode, it's not that hard to avoid spoilers.
posted by Sara C. at 9:52 AM on May 22, 2014


I don't want to re-hash the massive spoiler discussion from the launch of FaFa but I don't see how having the group of us in a re-watch thread isn't going to be at minimum spoiler-ish. We're going to focus on characters and themes that become important and ignore those that don't. We can refrain from saying "wow, in this episode you catch a hint of how Joan's fiance is going to do that horrible thing in a few episodes" but we'll still call out signs of him being a jerk, or of Ginsberg being unstable, or a client being unhappy, etc.

I say just title the threads "Mad Men Re-watch Club S1E1" and put a note at top about how spoilery it's going to be and have at it.
posted by mikepop at 11:25 AM on May 22, 2014 [7 favorites]


donajo, I like that schedule and would be happy to be one of the post creators.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 11:31 AM on May 22, 2014


I think focusing on characters that become important later is totally fine. I don't think FanFare is really the place for people who want to know NOTHING about what they're watching. Especially since Mad Men has been on for 7 years now and early seasons have been on Netflix forever. I feel like, to a certain degree, things like Allison eventually getting more fleshed out as a character are spoiler-proof. If you really didn't want to know that Third Secretary From Left is eventually important to the plot, why are you reading this? You know?

But I do think we should try to not actively spoil details from future episodes. For instance I would be pretty devastated to know that Peggy and Pete's hookup in the pilot episode results in pregnancy.

So are we going to start this with "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" on the Wednesday following the mini-finale next week? Or are we going to give that a week to percolate (guys we will have so much to talk about!) and then start with the following Sunday?

Because I'm tempted to re-watch the pilot right now for interesting "oh wait is that Clara???" type stuff, but I'll wait if we're all doing it next week.
posted by Sara C. at 12:15 PM on May 22, 2014


One thing I remember sticking out on previous re-watch of the pilot episode is the number of people who are basically featured extras who eventually go on to have major roles over the course of the series. Which is especially interesting since the pilot was shot in NYC, where those roles would have been cast locally rather than flying someone out from Los Angeles. And there are a number of other discontinuities between the pilot and the rest of the series, so it's not like they were forced to stick with those actors for continuity reasons.
posted by Sara C. at 12:18 PM on May 22, 2014


So are we going to start this with "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" on the Wednesday following the mini-finale next week? Or are we going to give that a week to percolate (guys we will have so much to talk about!) and then start with the following Sunday?

I suggested starting on Sunday, June 1. I think we need at least a week for the mid-season finale before going back to episode 1.
posted by donajo at 12:24 PM on May 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


Ugh so I started watching "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" again because I have no impulse control and SO MANY THOUGHTS.

I will refrain, since it's way off topic for this post, but I really don't think Don has ever talked to anyone like he talked to Midge.
posted by Sara C. at 12:50 PM on May 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


donajo, I'm in (obvs) and happy to post eps to FaFa as needed.

I hereby swear to stop quoting from "Shoot" until we all get there.
posted by tracicle at 1:06 PM on May 22, 2014


OK, here's something from the pilot that is germane to this week's episode?

You know the thing about how Don's usual way of finding the perfect pitch is to get angry at the person whose help he needs, and then take a nap?

HE DOES IT IN THE PILOT.

With the German research/psychology woman. She comes in and outlines some stuff that was basically already percolating (people like smoking, independence, Americanness, etc), and he yells at her and calls her work shit. She storms out. He takes a nap.

Later in the series, that role is more filled by Peggy or potentially other junior copywriters. But there it is. The secret to the Don Draper magic.
posted by Sara C. at 1:09 PM on May 22, 2014 [7 favorites]


tracicle & Sweetie Darling and anyone else who wants to volunteer to create re-watch posts, email me at [my MF name] at gmail and we'll work out a schedule.
posted by donajo at 1:18 PM on May 22, 2014


Sara C stop making me want to talk about the pilot.
posted by sweetkid at 1:42 PM on May 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


You know the thing about how Don's usual way of finding the perfect pitch is to get angry at the person whose help he needs, and then take a nap?

HE DOES IT IN THE PILOT.


See, this is exactly why I think trying to do a full series retrospective with nospoilerz is a) absurd and b) doomed to fail. The whole point of a rewatch discussion is to do that kind of recursive connecting. People will have aneurysms or something if they have to stifle it.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:15 PM on May 22, 2014 [9 favorites]


I think as long as we avoid actual spoilers, it's fine. The knowledge that there is a pattern, or that there will be another episode later on where Don is self-aware about that pattern, is not a spoiler.

Knowing that, when he talks about that self-awareness, it's in a conversation with Peggy who is now his boss, is a spoiler.

I think most people are smart enough to know that the Mad Men pilot got picked up, the show became a cult hit, and it went on to run for seven seasons, with dozens more episodes that include characters saying dialogue.

The biggest problem in terms of spoilers is how to refer to the agency (which morphs from Sterling Cooper to SCDP to SC&P with accompanying huge spoilers) and getting everyone's surnames right (Joan Holloway/Harris, Betty Draper/Francis). Not many shows have setting and character names that change over the course of the series.
posted by Sara C. at 3:45 PM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Seeing where I used to work in the pilot with a friend on the stage is always so very disorienting and takes me right out of that scene. Always.
posted by The Whelk at 4:16 PM on May 22, 2014


I think a spoiler-free retrospective is a waste of time. If we can't organically discuss the entire work then what is there to discuss? The episodes themselves are pretty boring. It's the character arches that make it interesting. I find this cultural obsession with spoilers to be incredibly tiresome. I read spoilers all the time, it has no effect on whether something is good or not because it tells you whether or not it's worth watching. If it really ruins an experience then what kind of experience is it? A haunted house where someone jumps out and says BOO? Or a work of art to be savored and discussed?
posted by bleep at 4:29 PM on May 22, 2014 [8 favorites]


I'm going to have an aneurysm if I can't discuss spoilers.

There are a slew of smart, original recaps out there (including on TWoP, the site whose closure was a catalyst for this subsite). But there's not much out there in the way of retrospective recaps. That's a way for MeFi and FanFare to offer something new.

Think of the scenes where Don and Peggy join hands: Episode one, where Peggy covers Don's hand with her own because she thinks she's obligated to do so, and Don rebuffing her. And then S6 where Don takes Peggy's hand and kisses it. And S7 where Don extends his hand again to bring Peggy into a dance. These three scenes, across seven seasons, are all linked. It'd be a waste of time for us not to make these observations as we see them.

So I respect the intention of the FanFare rules from the FAQ, but I think there's a need to circumvent and label the thread accordingly.
posted by mochapickle at 4:47 PM on May 22, 2014 [7 favorites]


My point is, I didn't see the hand thing until I started rewatching. And the hand thing counts as a spoiler because there's no way to suggest it without implying that there's no split and no reunion.
posted by mochapickle at 4:49 PM on May 22, 2014


Yeah, can't these episode threads be labeled "Retrospective Rewatch"?
posted by rue72 at 4:50 PM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm revising my final song to the final episode in a year.

Tainted Love
posted by tilde at 6:07 PM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wasn't the 60s version of that song the closer to an episode last season?
posted by Sara C. at 6:15 PM on May 22, 2014


Probably, but it's a cheaper sentimental favorite.
posted by tilde at 6:16 PM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I feel I've got to
Run away, I've got to
Get away from the pain you drive into the heart of me
The love we share
Seems to go nowhere
And I've lost my light
For I toss and turn, I can't sleep at night

Once I ran to you (I ran)
Now I'll run from you
This tainted love you've given
I give you all a boy could give you
Take my tears and that's not nearly all
Tainted love (oh)
Tainted love
Quick spin through duckduckgo should turn up the lyrics right quick.
posted by tilde at 6:19 PM on May 22, 2014


Cutler, Avery, And All The Other Assholes


Hush-a-by, don't you cry,
Go to sleep, my little baby.
When you wake, you shall have,
All the other little assholes.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:22 PM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


One thing about rewatching old season 4/5 episodes is that we see a whole lot of Lane (and the Mets pennant) in his office, now Don's office. I sure do miss Lane.
posted by palomar at 7:29 PM on May 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


I know! I loved Lane and his frigid wife and his mistress who he apparently had real feelings for though who knows what those feelings even were and his cane-wielding father and his crime-spree-inducing desperation to pay for completely boring things like private school. He could be so spooky but then he would turn around and be so human and it was just unsettling and fascinating to me. So sad when he died, should have been Don (if only because Don would *never*).
posted by rue72 at 7:35 PM on May 22, 2014 [8 favorites]


Wasn't the 60s version of that song the closer to an episode last season?

"Where Did Our Love Go?" (1964) hasn't been used yet, but Episode 1 of this season closed with a cover of the Supremes's "You Keep Me Hangin' On" by Vanilla Fudge. (There was also a great cover of "Always Something There to Remind Me" last season.)
posted by sallybrown at 9:17 PM on May 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


I almost think the series HAS to end on a totally ambiguous note, like Rhett Butler walking off into the fog.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:46 AM on May 23, 2014


Tomorrow is another day.
posted by tilde at 5:51 AM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Maybe we start a MeTa thread about the spoiler/retrospective thing? It's kind of out of the intended scope of this post.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:52 AM on May 23, 2014


There are a slew of smart, original recaps out there (including on TWoP, the site whose closure was a catalyst for this subsite). But there's not much out there in the way of retrospective recaps. That's a way for MeFi and FanFare to offer something new.

This is a great point, and I wouldn't be surprised if our rewatch-athon got some notice and pulled some new users to FaFa (and maybe MeFi overall) because people will need something to do while we wait for the final season part 2.

Even though I did not usually participate in them in real time, I really enjoyed the live-blogging comments. Matt wanted to structure FaFa threads to exclude live-blogging, because he thought it would distract from the readability of the threads. But to me, the live-blogging portion was one of the things that made the threads different from all the other recap sites/comment areas (and easily skipped by if you didn't care for it). Since new episode threads don't go live until after the episode airs, I predicted live-blogging would just happen at the end of the previous week's thread, making it confusing. I was proved wrong - not only did that not happen, no one bothered to live blog the episode in the existing (then-open) MeFi thread. And if someone tried to create a traditional flimsy MeFi thread just so we could discuss an episode in real time, I'm guessing it's much more likely to be deleted, so live-blogging is effectively dead at this point.

I think a spoiler-free retrospective is a waste of time. If we can't organically discuss the entire work then what is there to discuss?

I kind of feel like this, although I imagine this group could come up with something interesting to talk about even with restrictions. But I'm not sure how much I would participate. I'd constantly be second-guessing my comments and worrying about crossing whatever the spoiler line is. The official policy is "please refrain from discussing events that take place in future episodes" but we're going to have comments like "I can't believe I never noticed Pete say THAT THING" where the unstated second half of that statement is "considering what happens in future episode that I won't mention here". I don't want to inadvertently spoil anything for anyone.

I could be wrong (again) and I'll certainly give a "spoiler-free" rewatch a try if it comes to that. But this is still the experimental phase of FaFa so I say let's experiment with a full-featured, clearly marked true re-watch thread and see how it goes.
posted by mikepop at 5:54 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


On-non preview, good idea Chrysostom. I'll do that.
posted by mikepop at 5:55 AM on May 23, 2014


I found another insightful recap. I can't stop reading them.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:07 AM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]




Yep, Sweetie Darling. I'm glad they got the breakthrough of Don and Peggy; I'm guessing they'll bring Ted back and she'll just say FU and maybe get back in with Peter as leading accounts? Not sure that he and Peggy belong together; she's matured more than he. Maybe he and Trudy can forgive each other. Not that she needs forgiving, he's been and still is an ass.
posted by tilde at 7:29 AM on May 23, 2014




I DEMAND A PERIOD SHOW ABOUT UPWARDLY MOBILE GAY MEN IN THE 70S.


Guys, guys, guys, Tales of the City.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:16 AM on May 23, 2014



I almost think the series HAS to end on a totally ambiguous note, like Rhett Butler walking off into the fog.


One thing I feel somewhat confident speculating about is that the last scene/shot of the show will be of Peggy alone, or at least not with another major character, something where she is the focus. Doing what I'm not sure. The story will wrap up Don before Peggy.
posted by sweetkid at 10:22 AM on May 23, 2014


My thoughts on the arc of Mad Men:

I think that at the start of the sixties, it was guys like Don Draper who had it all. The family in the suburbs, the awesome job, he was hip, clued in and with it. Sure, he was fueled by insecurity and a past that he wanted to bury, but superficially, he had it all.

Peggy blazed the way for the modern woman. She worked her way up, her voice heard clearly and loudly, and she became one of the people who shaped how women were going to come into their own at the end of the sixties.

So just as the sun sets on 'Promise her anything, but give her Arpège," Don Draper, Madison Avenue Ad Guy, it rises on the 'You've come a long way Baby," Peggy Olsen.

So either Don has to reinvent himself to stay relevant, or he fades into oblivion. In a way, this is also the difference between California and New York. Harry spends a lot of time in California, TV is moving to California, hell, the Tonight Show moved to California in 1972.

New York in the seventies was pretty dank and miserable. The city was on the verge of bankruptcy, Times Square was squalid and awful, crime was rampant. Movies off the top of my head, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Taxi Driver, The French Connection, Midnight Cowboy. Even Saturday Night Fever showed an aspirational, but depressing view of New York.

At some point the characters are going to make New York work for them, or they're going to chuck it and move to LA. Does Don head to California, where he's been happy and loved? Does Peggy stay in New York, get a blow habit, relate to the Mary Tyler Moore Show and open her own agency?

I can't wait to see how it all winds up, but on the other hand, I remember the Sopranos, so I'm reserving judgement.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:47 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh ... That's why I like Don and Peggy.

Both of them are selfish because they prefer themselves to other people.

I prefer myself to other people.

Except on teh Metaflitter but it's easier to close the browser and life doesn't have a five minute edit window but I survived here before that.
posted by tilde at 10:58 AM on May 23, 2014


Peggy blazed the way for the modern woman. She worked her way up, her voice heard clearly and loudly, and she became one of the people who shaped how women were going to come into their own at the end of the sixties.

Peggy got crazy lucky (I still get pissed off at how Joan got waved away from those scripts), and then once she was already basically middle management she started being a slave-driver to her underlings and is now a workaholic because she's got nothing else in her life. I don't think that she worked her way up particularly, at least no more than any of the other characters did, and she's not (for all intents and purposes) rich beyond imagining like Don or the other senior partners, but she was also a landlord/executive before she was thirty, so I think she's hardly representative of modern womanhood, either.

I don't really get Peggy. It's not that I don't like her or don't root for her, but I don't get her. Am I supposed to feel terrible for her that her awful ex boyfriend didn't put a ring on it? Am I supposed to be hoping she gets knocked up? I feel bad that she's lonely but all these characters are lonely and she's had a really good streak in life so far, so I have trouble understanding how to take her current malaise.

I'm also shipping Peggy and Pete, so sue me. I'm not usually a shipper, but they're so perfect together. Massive amounts of bitchiness would ensue from them both but oh my goodness can you imagine how unstoppable they'd be if they worked as a team? They'd take no prisoners.
posted by rue72 at 10:59 AM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Peggy is so very like some older women that I have worked with, especially at the beginning of my career; they are talented at what they do, but completely scarred by the shit they put up with. Many of them either have no idea how to mentor other women (because they were never mentored) or don't want to (because they identify with men more, and see women as contenders for the limited spots for women).

She reads as totally real to me, in that sense. Being the lone woman, or nearly the lone woman, who does what you do, constantly having to prove yourself, having to ignore bullshit and outright discrimination and pick battles every day--it hardens you up. It's only in the last few years, as a lot of those women have retired, that I've met more women supervisors who weren't like that.

Given that Peggy was born in '39 and most of my bosses weren't that old, I think there were two waves of working women before things really started to improve; and also things happened in NY before they did in Texas, so we got our Peggy waves a little later.
posted by emjaybee at 11:33 AM on May 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


I am basically Peggy, and Peggy is basically me. That sums up exactly why I watch Mad Men. Without Peggy, if the show really was the show casual viewers want it to be, a show about rich successful sexy people in the 60s back when you could drink at lunch and call a stewardess a stewardess, I would hate it.

So, the pilot episode opens with Don Draper working on a tobacco pitch, alone, in a bar. I can't decide if this means the finale has to close with Don Draper (which it would by typical TV rules), or if this means sweetkid is right, and the finale will close with Peggy in a virtually identical scene.

What I'm more curious about is what pitch that scene will be about. Probably not tobacco? Fast food is the modern day analog, but this half season has been so full of Burger Shack that I doubt they'll end the show on Peggy still trying to tweak the Burger Shack copy. IBM or a Japanese car would also be interesting, but again those are stories we've already visited. Is there a company or type of product that ushered in the 70s the way tobacco ushered out the 50s?
posted by Sara C. at 11:42 AM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't really get Peggy. It's not that I don't like her or don't root for her, but I don't get her.

Thirty was a much huger deal then, than it is now. Once you reached thirty, you were unmarriagable. Of course we now know that's nonsense, but Peggy really did have to choose between having a family and her career. She wanted both, but when she broke up with/stabbed her boyfriend, the family faded away. Now she owns a crappy building she never really wanted, and she's in a job that started out great and is now just a chore.

So everything her mother warned her about came true, she even has the cat! After 8 years what was new and exciting and fun is now just shit. She's doing work she's not proud of, and she's sidelined by her idiot boss. Even her mentors are now worse off. What's a girl to do?

I think now it's time to redefine what it means to be thirty and a woman and in business. No, she's not rich beyond measure, but she's VERY well off! That extra $100 per week Lou gave her, translates into an extra $35,000 in today's money. Not a bagatelle.

Something I've learned is that you have to bloom where you're planted. Sometimes it's not always going to go your way. You have to push through until you get to a place where you're happy with where you are and what you're doing.

It could be that with L'eggs and Virginia Slims and Figurines and Tab, that even if Peggy stayed where she is, she's got a hell of a case for being the VP of Women at SC&P. Or, she can go to work for Helen Gurley Brown at Cosmo.

I don't have ALL the answers!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:42 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am basically Peggy, and Peggy is basically me. That sums up exactly why I watch Mad Men. Without Peggy, if the show really was the show casual viewers want it to be, a show about rich successful sexy people in the 60s back when you could drink at lunch and call a stewardess a stewardess, I would hate it.


I also identify a lot with Peggy, and don't think working with a lot of men is really that easy nowadays, though I've gotten better at it (There is a sign in my office that says "This isn't getting easier, you're getting better" and I do a Joan sashay whenever i see it).

I mean as far as "why is she unhappy," yeah, they're all unhappy in their own way. Peggy's unhappy right now because she's disrespected at work and she's lonely.
posted by sweetkid at 11:51 AM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


sweetkid is right, and the finale will close with Peggy in a virtually identical scene.

Yeah, that's what I'm picturing.
posted by sweetkid at 11:52 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


So Peggy's having a mid-life crisis?
posted by rue72 at 11:53 AM on May 23, 2014


No?
posted by sweetkid at 11:57 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Why is she bugging out about not having a man or a baby then? Isn't she figuring that her (inadvertent) choice of career over family is permanent and trying to come to terms with that, and isn't she doing that in pretty conventional "midlife crisis" ways, like mildly self-destructive behavior (smoking sometimes, drinking more) and being a workaholic and getting all resentful-yet-weepy around women whose lives have gone differently (like her secretary, Joan, whoever)?

I get if she's having a whole "midlife crisis" thing now, though at her age it would be a "quarter life crisis" nowadays, but otherwise I guess I figure that she must just be an eternal misfit, a la Pete? Which she maybe *also* is, I dunno.

It's not that I can't or don't want to *sympathize,* but I'm not really able to empathize, because I'm not really seeing where she's coming from. I actually find her surprisingly soft for someone who's worked with all men for a long time and gone it alone for so much of her personal life, but I guess that's because she's had money and a lot of success otherwise and so, other than this current issue of not being married/having kids, she hasn't had to compromise all that much in her life yet?

Last season was the first season I could actually connect with Don, though, either. He and Peggy have always been tough for me to understand, they both started out annoying the shit out of me, and even though I've softened on them, I'm still continually kind of...dumbfounded by them.
posted by rue72 at 12:13 PM on May 23, 2014


I have trouble understanding how to take her current malaise.

Maybe something I saw on twitter this morning will help:
@Playboy.com: Artist @NekoCase is breaking the mold of what women in the music industry should be:
@NekoCase: Am I? IM NOT A FUCKING "WOMAN IN MUSIC", IM A FUCKING MUSICIAN IN MUSIC!
@NekoCase: DONT PEGGY OLSEN ME, MOTHERFUCKERS.
Peggy's just realizing that she'll never be as valued for the work that she loves so much and that she's so good at as a mediocre man. The best she can hope for is to be "as good as any woman in this business." Right now, she can only feel judged for not having a marriage and a family instead of being respected for being good at her work.

The last year of Peggy's life has been like a reverse "It gets better" campaign. "It'll never get better" is what she's seen up until "The Strategy."
posted by gladly at 12:22 PM on May 23, 2014 [15 favorites]


Why is she bugging out about not having a man or a baby then? Isn't she figuring that her (inadvertent) choice of career over family is permanent and trying to come to terms with that, and isn't she doing that in pretty conventional "midlife crisis" ways, like mildly self-destructive behavior (smoking sometimes, drinking more) and being a workaholic and getting all resentful-yet-weepy around women whose lives have gone differently (like her secretary, Joan, whoever)?

I'm not sure why Peggy not having a man/family/child is a permanent thing at all.

Regardless of career choices, most people want a relationship, whether or not that comes with kids. Also the men who are in her life often ridicule her (Stan/Michael) even though she's their boss.

Like why wouldn't someone "bug out" about not having a man or baby? Also I thought a midlife crisis was about hooking up with younger people or cars or hairplugs or something.

I think Peggy is somewhat depressed and anxious, nothing perplexing or boggling about something like that for someone like her.
posted by sweetkid at 12:24 PM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Why is she bugging out about not having a man or a baby then?

...uh, because Peggy lives in a world where being a wife and mother is all she's supposed to want, but the things she did want haven't completely fulfilled her and she's scared that it's too late to do the wife/mom thing because 30 means you're an old maid and scared that she's failed at the thing she wanted to do, maybe?

I think Peggy said in The Suitcase that she tries to leave work behind when she goes out and lives her non-work life, but that it doesn't work because nothing is as bright and shiny and interesting as it is in the office. (I'm paraphrasing wildly.)

Why are we seeing her melt down over it now? Because she just had her 30th birthday, an age that is quite typically a freak-out point for people of both genders. Because she has this career she used to love and has lately been struggling very hard with, working in an agency where she has few real allies and little support. Because she loved Abe, let herself get talked into buying an entire building in a sketchy neighborhood because she loved him and wanted to build their future together (including children), and when she mistakes him for a burglar and bayonets him, he dumps her in the ambulance, telling her that he hates everything she stands for and essentially she's evil and makes him sick, and when someone you love tells you that they hate everything you stand for it really does sort of mess with your emotions. Because she thought she loved Ted, let her guard down in the post-Abe recuperation phase and slept with him because he said he would stay with her, and then he bailed on her. And now she's alone, she's stuck being a landlord when she never wanted to be in a home she didn't expect to be living in by herself, she doesn't appear to be dating anyone (still hung up on Ted? TOTALLY, and that's another fun level of emotional hell for old Pegs), and work has always been the sanctuary to escape to when real life is too much but at the moment work is fraught with more and weirder problems than usual.

And in all honesty, I don't necessarily believe that Peggy is melting down specifically over not having a husband and a baby. I think it's more that she found a career she loved and threw herself headlong into it, and she started to build a life outside of work, and then everything fell to shit and she's struggling to cope. It doesn't seem weird in the slightest, it seems exactly right.
posted by palomar at 12:48 PM on May 23, 2014 [20 favorites]


You left out that the one guy who did seem to be into her recently she wasn't even into at all. And neither was he, apparently. Nobody could truly be into Peggy…they'd have to be craaazy. Like, nipple in a box crazy. And then there was that guy who gave her a nipple in a box.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:06 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Nobody could truly be into Peggy…they'd have to be craaazy. Like, nipple in a box crazy.

What? That seems excessive.
posted by sweetkid at 1:11 PM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


@NekoCase: DONT PEGGY OLSEN ME

2007, the year Mad Men premiered, I was working as a project manager for a web development group in New York. I was chatting with a client one day and he actually asked me, "SO WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING A FEMALE PROJECT MANAGER?"

And I stuttered, "Well, I was born a girl?"

I hate to say it, but Peggy Olsen is alive and well in the 21st Century, and has no choice not to be.
posted by mochapickle at 1:14 PM on May 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


Let's all keep in mind that over the last year Peggy has stabbed her mentally unstable boyfriend and also had to literally call the men in white coats to haul away a mentally unstable coworker.

She is losing men in her life who she cares about, she is taking an active role in the loss of those people in her life, and both situations involved physical violence and mental illness.

It must be terrifying to be going through those things, suddenly hitting a roadblock in your career, trying to manage a fucking apartment building, and also all the pre women's lib questions about what you want and what you're supposed to want.

It also hasn't been discussed on the show, but where Peggy is right now looks a lot like what Freudian psychoanalysts warned women would happen if they didn't follow the rules and do the marriage and children thing. An analyst of the time would have called this the consequences of Penis Envy. Nowadays we just know that shit is hard, and you can't always get what you want, but the future is a big place and you'll probably eventually find some peace. In 1969 Peggy's life right now is like a caricature of all the Bad Things 100% of all of society (not just your weird retrograde mom) warned you would happen if you didn't stick to your proper role.
posted by Sara C. at 1:17 PM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]



2007, the year Mad Men premiered, I was working as a project manager for a web development group in New York. I was chatting with a client one day and he actually asked me, "SO WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING A FEMALE PROJECT MANAGER?"


In 2007 I was a project manager for a web development company in New York and went to a new business client site in New Jersey with my male coworker to do some discovery for a new project. The men (all men) all talked exclusively to my coworker, and one turned to me and said, "you got all that in your notes, honey?"

I was so angry that when they left the room briefly my coworker distracted me with magic tricks.
posted by sweetkid at 1:18 PM on May 23, 2014 [10 favorites]


Sweetkid, we need to hang out and trade stories.

I had a business requirements review meeting that same year and every question was addressed directly to my bosom.
posted by mochapickle at 1:24 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]



I had a business requirements review meeting that same year and every question was addressed directly to my bosom.


Oh! I have an excellent fix for that. I stop talking and look at my breasts, too. It makes the situation appropriately obvious and awkward.
posted by sweetkid at 1:26 PM on May 23, 2014 [19 favorites]


I would, once again, like to formally apologize on behalf of men for that kind of shit. It's appalling to me that it still happens in 2014. Cripes.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:40 PM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it's always shocking to hear. Makes me wonder what sort of nonsense I do without even realising it.
posted by vbfg at 1:46 PM on May 23, 2014


Peggy seems to have had it unrealistically easy and to have been mollycoddled and sheltered quite a bit to me so far, though, especially when it comes to work and money. She seemed to face a lot less sexism than the other women she works with and maybe less than I would even expect a woman in her position to face today. I thought that the big 3-0 meltdown was more about her not being a young, sheltered girl anymore and having to be a grown up who's on her own and takes care of herself from here on out, forever. She's got responsibilities (the building, managing her underlings at work) that she can't run away from, she's the boss and no longer the whiz kid, and the expectations placed on her have changed (and she's maybe not fulfilling those expectations so well, or at least she fears she's not). I figured she felt like a failure or was scared of having to stand just on her own two feet, and while I can understand that theoretically, she's so obviously *not* a failure (a 29-year-old landlady executive in NYC in 1969?!) that it's been pretty tough for me to connect to.

When it comes to husband-and-kids, I thought her assumption that Abe was her last shot was why she hung onto him so hard even after it was obvious things weren't going well with them and he wanted out. She had to have been staring spinsterhood square in the face *at the latest* when she bought that building. Even now, I've heard so many times that a woman who buys a place before marriage is signing herself up for spinsterhood. Maybe she was naive, though, or it's just taken a while for it to sink in that she's not going to be the exception. That's fine, this past episode was all about whether or not or how long you should hold out for love, or what a person can or should settle for. That was what Joan and Bob, and Don and Megan, were all about in this episode, too. If Peggy is feeling completely undesirable or scared or alone and just can't keep together the "youthful arrogance" she faced possible spinsterhood with before, that's heartbreaking and seems real.

To me, though, something like Bob's storyline makes more sense, instinctively. He's known he's going to have to make choices, he's tried and make the best ones for him, and those choices are always going to involve huge sacrifices but what can ya do. It just rings so false to me that Peggy would at this late stage of the game think that she's going to have a husband and kids and a wonderful job and and and. Sure, someone like Don or Ted has had that. But Peggy's been female all her life, she's just now realizing she doesn't get to have those things? I thought that she did realize that, I thought that's what she told Ted and told Don and has told lots of other people for years now!

Well anyway, I guess I was scared for Peggy way back when she smoked up for the first time, and then she said that she was going to be OK and...I thought she knew what she was talking about! I thought that's when she decided what choice she was going to make, what her priorities were! I didn't think that she just thought to herself, "I won't have to choose," and went blithely forward expecting to have everything in time. That's why I don't get Peggy I guess. It's not that I don't like her. She just seems so self-assured, and it seems inexplicable to me. Why is she so confident and why do others have so much confidence in her? Why does she think that she'll get to have everything, and why is she so shocked when she finds out she can't? Where is that entitlement coming from? It's laudable I guess, it propels her forward and I admire it to a certain degree, but it also seems so callow and strange.
posted by rue72 at 2:05 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


sweetkid, I was being sarcastic…I wasn't earnestly saying Peggy was unlovable, rather, that's the way she's treated on the show (and how she may be perceiving herself).
posted by iamkimiam at 2:10 PM on May 23, 2014


Well Pegs' personal life is a damned tire fire right now and her professnal position, while high up, is still very precRious just by the nature of the job. No real stability, lots of death or daisies. Also, from direct personal experience and observation, a lot of early success can backfire horribly and zi know people who have attended absurd levels of money, respect, and admiration in thier profession early on and they still think it doesn't count and doesn't matter and the need to keep proving yourself ( cause you're young, cause you're a woman, whatever) literally never ends. These people don't unclench until they're retired and even then it's a coin toss.
posted by The Whelk at 2:22 PM on May 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


Hm, rue72 and the Whelk both bring up good points.

Clearly Pegs needs to go to Woodstock and get her groove back.
posted by Sara C. at 2:30 PM on May 23, 2014


She seemed to face a lot less sexism than the other women she works with and maybe less than I would even expect a woman in her position to face today.

Are we watching the same show?
posted by palomar at 2:31 PM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]




I...disagree a lot with you, rue72 but I guess for the most part I don't see how Peggy had anything easy or that she's self assured. She spent the whole episode doubting herself on BurgerChef.

Also I don't see how she "just found out" she can't have it all and is "shocked." Also, not true that she can't have a family at this "late stage" though it's understandable that she would think that.

I'm just surprised that people would have this reaction of "Peggy's successful, she should just be OK with that and I don't understand why she wouldn't just be happy every day because she's a boss and property owner and obviously the family ship has sailed forever."

That's just not how life is or how people are.
posted by sweetkid at 2:35 PM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]



Clearly Pegs needs to go to Woodstock and get her groove back.


now you're just messing with me.
posted by sweetkid at 2:36 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Pegs needs some RESONSIBLE, STEUCTURED FUN.

Or just smoke up more with Stan. They like each other and the only time her shoulders aren't up around her ears is when she's kinda stoned. Drinking makes her kinda mean actually.

Oh god Peggy on mushrooms just imagine it.
posted by The Whelk at 2:36 PM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


OK I was getting all jaded about that video (yeah duh Christina Hendricks was on Undressed), and then we got to STAN RIZZO WAS PONYBOY WHAAAAAAAAAAAT

Also I personally would have gone with Lane Pryce = Andy Warhol in I Shot Andy Warhol, but OK, that was a funny scene.
posted by Sara C. at 2:37 PM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Peggy needs to relax and take stock and get a plan together and not just keep running from disaster to disaster but she can't do that without something, SOMETHING, soild and dependable in her life. Right now the only constant she has is that everything will go to shit in the worst possible way at random intervals. No wonder she can't relax, people keep going literally mad around her and the building is falling apart and WHY CAN'T THINGS JUST WORK THE WAY THEY'RE DESIGNED.
posted by The Whelk at 2:41 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


For Slattery they should have showed him on Mad Men as the politician who wanted Carrie to pee on him.

For Elizabeth Moss, come on, West Wing.

For Jon Hamm, I dunno, something better than that though. He looks like such a jackass.
posted by sweetkid at 2:43 PM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's also not a bad lesson for Peggy to learn that if she wants the husband/family she needs to start picking better partners. I mean Ted?

Although I have adopted "It's Monday Morning, Peggy" as a sort of get-to-work rallying cry.
posted by sweetkid at 2:45 PM on May 23, 2014


I think they deliberately didn't go West Wing with Elisabeth Moss, and that commercial with John Slattery was like something out of a time capsule, so I'm behind it.

I swear Vincent Kartheiser was in something else before he played Connor (which is one of those jaded/duh "Fun Facts"), but I can't remember what it was.

I also know there's tons of Jon Hamm weirdness out there. He was apparently in a bunch of crappy roles before he got Don Draper; a friend of mine worked with his wife pre-Mad Men and apparently she confided to him that her (then) boyfriend Jon just needed that One Great Role, and he was gonna be a star.

I would have liked them to pull something for Robert Morse aside from the thing he's most famous for.
posted by Sara C. at 2:49 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


For Kevin Rahm, they should have done Grey's Anatomy S1 when he was a difficult patient who thought he was psychic. I always shout out COCONUT EXTRACT every time I see him on screen. Kind of breaks the mood, but I can't seem to stop.
posted by mochapickle at 2:50 PM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


I still see a Muppet whenever I look at Kevin Rahm. Not that I mind, I like Muppets. I'm just saying.
posted by palomar at 2:56 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


He's not married to Jennifer Westfeldt. Her uneven movie Ira and Abby kind of makes clear her views on marriage, which is kind of an interesting factoid about them.

I get that the choices on Slattery and Moss were deliberate but I guess I feel like the Buzzfeed target demo is a little young to be like "duh West Wing and Sex and the City." Plus those were great roles. I didn't even know who John Slattery was but his performance as that pee fetish politician really stood out.
posted by sweetkid at 3:01 PM on May 23, 2014


I always think Kevin Rahm looks just like Blossom's older brother.
posted by sweetkid at 3:01 PM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I can totally see why Ted was cast as a love interest for Phoebe.

Vincent Kartheiser is all over the same sorts of annoying kid movies as Elisabeth Moss apparently is.
posted by Sara C. at 3:01 PM on May 23, 2014


we got to STAN RIZZO WAS PONYBOY WHAAAAAAAAAAAT

I had the same freakout, but it was the TV series, not the movie with Tom Cruise and Karate Kid et al.
posted by purpleclover at 3:20 PM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


It just rings so false to me that Peggy would at this late stage of the game think that she's going to have a husband and kids and a wonderful job and and and.

I think it's partly that (even a woman who tells herself "hey, I don't need that - I'm going to be different" can continue to struggle with everyone else's expectations about it) but also her feelings about losing Ted, specifically. Then she can't even turn to her one constant in the past for personal fulfillment because she's got Lou to work for. Losing someone you're in love with can make the rest of your life feel like a piece of shit regardless of what else is really going on for you.

Hopefully work will become a source of happiness for her again after the last episode.
posted by sallybrown at 4:28 PM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


I also think 30 kind of is supposed to be the Forever Alone Rubicon, anyway. At least back then. I can see her at first thinking, "Oh I can do copywriting and live in sin and then Abe and I will get married, and it'll be unconventional, but what the hell!" And then Abe's breakdown, but hey, I dunno, maybe Ted? And now Ted is in California not acknowledging Peggy's existence (as far as she knows), and she's 30, and everyone is literally going crazy, and it's true, everything is true, she really will always be alone now. And without even a Clio to console her.

Facing the end of a relationship you thought would be The One right before you turn 30 is kind of a mindfuck. This I know from experience.
posted by Sara C. at 4:33 PM on May 23, 2014 [6 favorites]


At first thinking, "Oh I can do copywriting and live in sin and then Abe and I will get married, and it'll be unconventional, but what the hell!

Yeah, I think this was Peggy's "different" choice, not " I'm going to have a high powered career and won't give another thought to domestic fulfillment ever, my work will make me happy."

Especially since she actually finds work incredibly frustrating a lot of the time.
posted by sweetkid at 4:42 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'll also say that 24 turns into 29 very quickly, if you're wrapped up in other things.
posted by Sara C. at 4:46 PM on May 23, 2014 [4 favorites]


Do any of Peggy's plans turn out the way she wanted? No wonder she's always so frustrated.
posted by The Whelk at 4:48 PM on May 23, 2014


Burger Chef seems like it turned out really well? She got this huge raise, it's her pitch that's the favorite, Don and Pete are her buddies again (and Don isn't falling apart), even Lou is pretty much behind her at this point.
posted by rue72 at 5:13 PM on May 23, 2014


They haven't pitched to Burger Chef yet, so it's not a done deal.
posted by palomar at 5:31 PM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh wow, nice catch there.
posted by mikepop at 7:13 PM on May 23, 2014 [8 favorites]


I'm not usually big on shipping characters but I'll be really disappointed if Steggy doesn't happen. I feel the show has been very slowly turning Stan into the right dude for Peggy, in the most drawn-out meet cute ever.

I made a prediction last year—after this happened—that the next and final thing Stan needed to do before being ready for Peggy was to fall in love with someone else. We finally saw that happen this episode, so I'm still hopeful.

A happy ending for me (and I realise this is sentimental) would be for Peggy and Stan to start their own agency, perhaps with Joan.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 8:09 PM on May 23, 2014


Don and Pete are her buddies again

Yeah but that's all end of this past episode. I imagine we'll see her spirits picked up a little bit, at least, this Sunday. (No that All She Needs Is Don, not by a long shot; but she probably did need to forgive him, and she definitely needed to know he wasn't undermining her.)
posted by torticat at 8:11 PM on May 23, 2014




purpleclover: "I had the same freakout, but it was the TV series, not the movie with Tom Cruise and Karate Kid et al."

Yeah, Jay Ferguson was eight when they were filming the movie version.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:33 PM on May 23, 2014


FanFare: RESONSIBLE, STEUCTURED FUN.

(Thanks, The Whelk.)
posted by tracicle at 12:59 AM on May 24, 2014


Megan wasn't the only one talking spaghetti - Don went Italian (for dinner) with Sylvia & spouses (who cut out) & he went Italian dinner ing with Dr Faye too. Two episodes back Mitchell (Peggy's other copywriter) was talking about eating out & nf you get a side order of spaghetti with every entree even if you ordered a spaghetti entree. Oh & Joan found out Dr Rapist opted to stay in the army at a family dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant.
posted by tilde at 1:57 AM on May 24, 2014


Allison says she's going to work for a magazine run by a woman at the end of "The Rejected"; I think that's Cosmo. >
posted by brujita at 3:22 AM on May 24, 2014


A very short Saturday morning diversion: Recapping Mad Men Without Seeing an Episode
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:08 AM on May 24, 2014


Even Betty makes spaghetti in S1. I think maybe E3 or E4?
posted by mochapickle at 8:24 AM on May 24, 2014


Even Betty makes spaghetti in S1.

"I'm not stupid! I make spaghetti!"
posted by Sys Rq at 10:17 AM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


But that's kind of the thing.

We see lots of characters going to Italian restaurants, which would have been common in the US by the 20s.

Mochapickle, it's funny you mentioned it, because the straw that broke the camel's back was an early episode where Bobby didn't want to eat something that, to my eye, looked like tuna noodle casserole. And then I wondered, if Betty buys pasta but makes something totally Wonderbread with it, what does it mean when Megan makes spaghetti? For that matter, what does it mean when Betty makes spaghetti?
posted by Sara C. at 10:29 AM on May 24, 2014


2007, the year Mad Men premiered, I was working as a project manager for a web development group in New York. I was chatting with a client one day and he actually asked me, "SO WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING A FEMALE PROJECT MANAGER?"

That's hilarious. Most of the project managers I've worked with have been female. If you count only the ones I will willingly work with again, purely on the basis of competence and thoroughness let alone personality, all of them have been female. That's not to say that none of the bad project managers have been women, but all the good ones have.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:13 AM on May 24, 2014




I feel like we MadMen kids are the best students on FanFare so the administration gives us a lil leeway.
posted by sweetkid at 10:07 PM on May 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


I thought what it meant when Megan or Betty made spaghetti was that they're not good cooks and spaghetti is easy.

In one of the commentary tracks from season one or two Matt Weiner and January jones are on and watching a scene with Betty making hot dogs for dinner and saying "well there's Betty, not exactly Mother of the Year."
posted by sweetkid at 10:11 PM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, my impression was that it's another example of Megan's non-domesticity. She doesn't want babies, she wants a career, and when she does decide to be a good housewife (for Don, or hosting a guest), she only really has a repertoire of one dish.

It reminds of some advice that does the rounds, saying every man should know how to cook one dish well, to impress any girls he brings over to eat (which, on its own, ugh). Megan is a bachelor who happens to be married.
posted by tracicle at 12:17 AM on May 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't know, I think that's a really 21st century outlook. I grew up with spaghetti as a totally normal thing to have for dinner, cooked seriously as an actual meal by my mother, who absolutely loves to cook. The "not mother of the year" choice when she clearly didn't give a shit was like fish sticks and kraft mac n cheese. Or pizza.
posted by Sara C. at 1:00 AM on May 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Megan's spaghetti kick is weird. She used to cook other things, like chicken (isn't her "bad news comfort food" dish coq au vin?), and her breakfasts used to be ordinary-as-anything black coffee, too. I don't know why it's *always* spaghetti with her nowadays.

I don't think of spaghetti with meat sauce as a "give up" meal, though. It's a regular "homecooked dinner" in my rotation, anyway. One thing about it, though, is that it's relatively cheap. The other foods that Megan has offered to cook lately (well, to Stephanie at least, those offerings are what I'm coming up with off the top of my head) have also been cheap -- grilled cheese, things like that. Maybe Megan's just slumming it? And enjoying slumming it a bit? Playing "bohemian"?
posted by rue72 at 2:11 AM on May 25, 2014


Oh wow, nice catch there.

Also from the detailed art direction department, I noticed in this episode that Don has a picture of Megan on his desk that looks like her in a bikini in Hawaii. I thought that was especially interesting after TLo pointed out that she was wearing a lot of similar colors in this episode to ones that she wore in the Hawaii episode.

Didn't she get pregnant in Hawaii?
posted by apricot at 8:28 AM on May 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Megan's spaghetti thing - remember this was the impetus for her big advertising win, the ad where it showed moms making beans for their kids throughout history - her inspiration for that was about her mom making spaghetti for her, and then Megan making it for Don's kids, and thinking about Sally making spaghetti for her kids some day. She sees it as a comforting, nurturing act, so when she makes spaghetti for other people, that's what she's trying to tell them, that she's now mothering them and making everything okay.
posted by bleep at 11:47 AM on May 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Coq au vin is her other go-to, that's her "wife" mode as opposed to "mother" mode. We have started taking a drink any time Megan mentions one of the two.
posted by bleep at 11:48 AM on May 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


In one of the commentary tracks from season one or two Matt Weiner and January jones are on and watching a scene with Betty making hot dogs for dinner and saying "well there's Betty, not exactly Mother of the Year."

I remember one commentary comment or two about how Betty, who criticizes other people's food and is so scathing about frozen food, wasn't a good cook and only knew how to make about ten things. The only time she puts a lot of effort in is when she's having company, while her kids eat a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches and hot dogs. This gives an extra edge to that one comment of Don's, made the time he got home from work and she greeted him cheerfully and affectionately and told him they were having roast beef. He responds, "It's only me tonight." This was a reference to the fact that he blamed her for drunken Roger's hitting on her the night before, but it takes on an extra edge if it was intended as a hit at the way she cooks, because it meant, "You don't put much effort in when it comes to cooking for me."
posted by orange swan at 2:28 PM on May 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I don't think early seasons ever show the whole family sitting down to a normal meal. It's always either the kids eating and Don swiping a fish stick, a "plate in the oven" (of what?), or just the grownups entertaining/dining out.

Which makes a nice counterpoint to Peggy's comment about the fiction of the happy family eating dinner together.

That said, when I was a kid one of the few good parenting habits my parents were into was Family Dinner most weeknights. We sat at the table, no TV, and everyone had to come sit down with a plate of some variation on what everyone else was eating if they were home. But I definitely think my family was weird in doing that. And it was a very clear effort at family togetherness.
posted by Sara C. at 2:35 PM on May 25, 2014


My family did that too. I didn't know it was so odd.
posted by bleep at 3:19 PM on May 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


My only experience with that is hearing people talk about how thier parents used it like a form of bizarre psychological torture and gave them Issues About Food.
posted by The Whelk at 3:50 PM on May 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


It didn't have to be that way. It was helpful that my parents didn't feel the need to micromanage how much I ate of what. They also used the time to teach us how to carry on a conversation, which was also helpful.
posted by bleep at 3:54 PM on May 25, 2014


My family ate together every night and so did most of the other families I knew growing up. It can't be that rare.
posted by orange swan at 4:09 PM on May 25, 2014


Yeah, I refuse to believe it's rare for families to eat together. My parents both had full-time jobs and the only times we didn't all eat together were when my brother or I had some sort of extracurricular. There was a lot of spaghetti, though. Which I had no idea was supposed to be a "I give up" food.
posted by lunasol at 4:16 PM on May 25, 2014


BTW, I got so excited about the idea of a rewatch that I couldn't wait, and oh boy is it fun. Five minutes into the second episode of the first season, and Roger is already complaining about Margaret: "I can't wait until she's some other man's problem."
posted by lunasol at 4:18 PM on May 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Only because I literally just read this and it reminded me of a certain duo, some Rabelais:
Chapter 1.IX.—The colours and liveries of Gargantua.

Gargantua's colours were white and blue, as I have showed you before, by which his father would give us to understand that his son to him was a heavenly joy; for the white did signify gladness, pleasure, delight, and rejoicing, and the blue, celestial things. I know well enough that, in reading this, you laugh at the old drinker, and hold this exposition of colours to be very extravagant, and utterly disagreeable to reason, because white is said to signify faith, and blue constancy. But without moving, vexing, heating, or putting you in a chafe (for the weather is dangerous), answer me, if it please you; for no other compulsory way of arguing will I use towards you, or any else; only now and then I will mention a word or two of my bottle. What is it that induceth you, what stirs you up to believe, or who told you that white signifieth faith, and blue constancy? An old paltry book, say you, sold by the hawking pedlars and balladmongers, entitled The Blason of Colours. Who made it? Whoever it was, he was wise in that he did not set his name to it. But, besides, I know not what I should rather admire in him, his presumption or his sottishness. His presumption and overweening, for that he should without reason, without cause, or without any appearance of truth, have dared to prescribe, by his private authority, what things should be denotated and signified by the colour: which is the custom of tyrants, who will have their will to bear sway in stead of equity, and not of the wise and learned, who with the evidence of reason satisfy their readers. His sottishness and want of spirit, in that he thought that, without any other demonstration or sufficient argument, the world would be pleased to make his blockish and ridiculous impositions the rule of their devices. In effect, according to the proverb, To a shitten tail fails never ordure, he hath found, it seems, some simple ninny in those rude times of old, when the wearing of high round bonnets was in fashion, who gave some trust to his writings, according to which they carved and engraved their apophthegms and mottoes, trapped and caparisoned their mules and sumpter-horses, apparelled their pages, quartered their breeches, bordered their gloves, fringed the curtains and valances of their beds, painted their ensigns, composed songs, and, which is worse, placed many deceitful jugglings and unworthy base tricks undiscoveredly amongst the very chastest matrons and most reverend sciences. In the like darkness and mist of ignorance are wrapped up these vain-glorious courtiers and name-transposers, who, going about in their impresas to signify esperance (that is, hope), have portrayed a sphere—and birds' pennes for pains—l'ancholie (which is the flower colombine) for melancholy—a waning moon or crescent, to show the increasing or rising of one's fortune—a bench rotten and broken, to signify bankrupt—non and a corslet for non dur habit (otherwise non durabit, it shall not last), un lit sans ciel, that is, a bed without a tester, for un licencie, a graduated person, as bachelor in divinity or utter barrister-at-law; which are equivocals so absurd and witless, so barbarous and clownish, that a fox's tail should be fastened to the neck-piece of, and a vizard made of a cowsherd given to everyone that henceforth should offer, after the restitution of learning, to make use of any such fopperies in France.

By the same reasons (if reasons I should call them, and not ravings rather, and idle triflings about words), might I cause paint a pannier, to signify that I am in pain—a mustard-pot, that my heart tarries much for't—one pissing upwards for a bishop—the bottom of a pair of breeches for a vessel full of fart-hings—a codpiece for the office of the clerks of the sentences, decrees, or judgments, or rather, as the English bears it, for the tail of a codfish—and a dog's turd for the dainty turret wherein lies the love of my sweetheart. Far otherwise did heretofore the sages of Egypt, when they wrote by letters, which they called hieroglyphics, which none understood who were not skilled in the virtue, property, and nature of the things represented by them. Of which Orus Apollon hath in Greek composed two books, and Polyphilus, in his Dream of Love, set down more. In France you have a taste of them in the device or impresa of my Lord Admiral, which was carried before that time by Octavian Augustus. But my little skiff alongst these unpleasant gulfs and shoals will sail no further, therefore must I return to the port from whence I came. Yet do I hope one day to write more at large of these things, and to show both by philosophical arguments and authorities, received and approved of by and from all antiquity, what, and how many colours there are in nature, and what may be signified by every one of them, if God save the mould of my cap, which is my best wine-pot, as my grandam said.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:18 PM on May 25, 2014


I found it out wasn't the norm via having roommates who constantly ate in the living room in front of the TV. I really can't eat unless I'm sitting at a table. Last weekend I ate cookies in bed and it felt like a huge transgression from civilized society.

Frankly I feel like Family Dinner helped prevent me from having Issues About Food. Or, at least, have made it easier to hack Eating Like An Adult. My mom didn't make special meals for picky kids (you could have noodles with butter or skip the salad or pick the tomatoes out of the chili, but This Isn't A Restaurant, You Eat What I Cook), we never had TV dinners or other convenience junkfood, and fast food/takeout was a special treat. Also, like bleep's family, there was no pressure about cleaning your plate.
posted by Sara C. at 4:20 PM on May 25, 2014


Yeah, I refuse to believe it's rare for families to eat togethe

I'm just thinking back to my friends and relatives and nope, not a single person had regular family meals. The only person I know who did is my SO and that was like a seething cauldron of angst and repression.

I can count on one hand the number of times my family sat down to a meal that wasn't at Wendy's or some such. We didn't even have a dining table or kitchen table, just a shelf for mail. By middle school it was make or take your own meal and retire to the living rom to watch TV or stay in your room and read while eating.
posted by The Whelk at 4:22 PM on May 25, 2014


Lunasol, start watching for airplane references now. It's surprising how many major events peripherally have something to do with airplanes -- Sal is outed on a business trip that involves air travel, Joan throws the model plane at Meredith after being served divorce papers. Pete's father dies in a plane crash. It all starts much earlier than you'd think, and I can't wait to come up with a Grand Unified Theory Of Mad Men Planes.
posted by Sara C. at 4:22 PM on May 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Huh, there must be some sort of cultural or maybe regional thing going on, since it seems like most people are saying either "my family ate together and so did everyone else" or "no one I knew ate together."

I'll definitely look out for the airplanes, Sara C. One thing I've been noticing a lot is how people talk about themselves and each other, but if I start going on about that, I will never stop ...
posted by lunasol at 5:36 PM on May 25, 2014


The hotel does not have AMC!

I AM SO SAD.

Consolation: They do have Lifetime, so tomorrow I can duck out of the conference to watch Petals on the Wind and order room service.
posted by mochapickle at 6:04 PM on May 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


mochapickle, do you want me to PM you as we go along?
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:59 PM on May 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Dying to know but will wait, Sweetie Darling. iTunes should have it by early morning...

I'm going to miss these new episode recaps while we wait for 7B... Glad we are planning a rewatch and hope to see all of you there.
posted by mochapickle at 7:53 PM on May 25, 2014


Please someone start a thread for the new ep--I'm not allowed since I posted about Orphan Black this morning. :(
posted by leesh at 8:07 PM on May 25, 2014


I'm on it :)
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:10 PM on May 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Mochapickle, I'll be watching via iTunes sometime tomorrow, so don't feel too left out!
posted by Sara C. at 8:45 PM on May 25, 2014


I'm watching tomorrow too and trying REALLY HARD to stay out of that thread even though I just read the first 15 or so comments....
posted by bleep at 8:53 PM on May 25, 2014


I'm waiting for my kids to leave for school so I can watch...in 30 minutes and counting...and then I will be sad because it's another 10 months until the rest.
posted by tracicle at 10:18 PM on May 25, 2014



Huh, there must be some sort of cultural or maybe regional thing going on, since it seems like most people are saying either "my family ate together and so did everyone else" or "no one I knew ate together."


My family didn't eat together (80s/90s) - my mom is a doctor and wouldn't always be around for dinnertime, and my dad has (continues to have) some weird thing about only eating dinner late at night completely alone, the psychology of which no one really understands. He did make dinnertime special for us when he had dinner duty on his own, he just didn't eat with us (two kids, we always ate together). When I got older I would be in charge of reheating things for myself and my brother. Exceptions were holidays, vacations, and weekend lunches, which we sometimes made into our big family eating together time.

My best friend's family was very strict about family dinner, as were a few of my other family friends. I liked going to my best friend's house for their boisterous family's meals, which were often things like pancakes and sausage biscuits because their mom wasn't that into cooking.

I just think families might be different and love languages & etc - I know people thought it was weird that my family didn't eat together but what was I supposed to do about it?

I didn't say spaghetti was a "give up" meal, I said it was easy. It is easy. Maybe Betty making hot dogs wasn't the best comparison but I do think in both Betty and Megan's cases they have a sort of repertoire of things they can make but everyday things are sort of simple.

I'm sure everyone whose families made them spaghetti for weeknight family dinners where everyone ate together had meals made for them with love. That's sort of out of the context for this show though.
posted by sweetkid at 9:27 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


From the rewatch thread, someone posted this article: what if The End from Abbey Road is the finale song? I can see it being either awesome or cheesy. I don't think Weiner was hinting at that exactly in this interview from three years ago, but it just made me think.
posted by sweetkid at 8:44 PM on June 1, 2014


Urgh. So funereal. :( cost him a quarter mil for that song from Revolver ... He's used a song out time before ... Use the BeeGees version ;)

Or have it over a funeral but have loooong end & credits & then have a post show deely bit of Bobby & Gene, after 14 seconds of silence dancing to "Her Majesty".
posted by tilde at 9:33 PM on June 1, 2014


Read the article. Yep.

& in the end
The love you take
Is equal to
The love you make



Eh.

Maybe "She came in through the bathroom window"

But I am leaning towards Space Oddity. But that would only work if he's DB Cooper or they include Apollo 13 - both in the seventies.

He's got it written by now so, we will see. :P
posted by tilde at 9:58 PM on June 1, 2014


As long as it's not "Spirit In The Sky", I'm cool.
posted by Sara C. at 12:08 AM on June 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


If the finale is "uplifting" I think I'll stick with my original prediction of John Denver. If it's a downer about the dissolution of society, I think I change my answer to "21st Century Schizoid Man" by King Crimson, which came out around the same time.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:25 AM on June 2, 2014


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