Mad Men: Souvenir   Rewatch 
September 24, 2014 6:18 AM - Season 3, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Don takes Betty on a business trip. Pete helps a neighbor in his building.
posted by Sweetie Darling (27 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Betty's Roman hairdo deserves a spin-off of its own.
posted by ChrisTN at 8:45 AM on September 24, 2014 [7 favorites]

Oh man that hair! I couldn't work out what parts were real vs fake (clearly the rainbow contraption is fake, but so well done).

She can speak Italian, you know. And surprisingly well. I always underestimate Betty -- which I assume is deliberate because so does everyone else. Except Henry, of course.
posted by tracicle at 9:09 AM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ugh, Henry. He's so smarmy. I know that he "gets" Betty and that's supposed to be a good thing (for her), but what kind of person starts a flirtation with a 9-months pregnant lady?

Also, did Betty say that Gene is two months old in this episode? Because the lady with the flat abs and the black lingerie in the hotel with Don did not have a baby two months ago.
posted by donajo at 9:25 AM on September 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

My initial watch was cramming in the first three seasons before Season Four started, so this has been such an interesting rewatch. My initial take was that Henry had not pursued Betty so flagrantly, but now... ew.

Yes, who pursues a married person with children, especially a mother right before and after giving birth?

I am keeping a keen eye on ol' Henry during the rewatch. If he were a real person I would make the assumption of weird kink or just a nut.
posted by readery at 11:38 AM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Data point of one: I have a friend who started an affair with the man who's now her second husband while heavily pregnant with child #2 with her first husband. I never asked about whether the affair was physical or emotional at that point, because I just can't imagine what that would entail (not the mechanics, but the rest of it). Needless to say, it was pretty messy when it all was brought to light. It definitely impacted how husband #1 felt about that baby for a while, unfortunately.

I'm always struck by how much Betty loves Baby Gene, considering he was a badly-timed oopsie.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 11:48 AM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

On this rewatch, I've decided that Pete didn't do anything to the nanny other than force his way into her apartment kiss her. I don't want to consider the alternative; it's too perverse.
posted by donajo at 12:23 PM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

donajo, from the commentary that was Weiner's intent. Not nonconsensual, but skeevy.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 2:23 PM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, excellent.
posted by donajo at 2:26 PM on September 24, 2014

Pete is a skeevy guy. And the way he makes it Trudy's fault that he...whatever...with the au pair...that was terrible too.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:43 PM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Not non consensual? W T and F.

I see this Pete episode as trying again to be more Don Like & the creator trying to draw parallels between their lives (distinctions later on).

In both this and the Bobbie Barret scene (in the restaurant when Jimmie apologizes), it's about power. It may Possibly be consensual of the time (not my era) in both cases but bleah. By that yardstick Joan wasn't raped by her fiancée either.

But tangent.

Betty - a chance to go to Rome & put off her problems with Don & her life a while.

Doesn't work - he's back to chummy hubby brining her trinkets & she's still stuck. & she has the memory of Henry on her lips.

She's trying Rome and enjoying it but she's also war gaming Henry & that life.

Joan refuses to be shaken by Pete (& I wonder if that isn't part of the prey on the Nammy scene. ) she may be earning more as a floor manager than a secretary, but she is reminded of the differences in what she was to what she is.
posted by tilde at 7:37 PM on September 24, 2014

Decided to rewatch and transcribe the commentary:

Matt Weiner: [When Pete brings Nanny the dress] She is really appreciative ... I feel like if she'd agreed to have a drink with him, they could have had a social relationship. Her rejection of him ... I'm kind of on his side. Although she's probably been preyed on constantly.

[To Vincent Kartheiser, as Pete comes back to the door]: He's been embarrassed, and now he's had a few and he ... what's going through your mind?

VK: I mean, I guess it's that thing where it could have been social and happy ... it's not about attraction at all. I'm needing some sort of explanation of why I'm not good enough to spend time with. I'm needing that rejection to be refilled with something. And she immediately, kind of leads him into her bedroom.

MW: No do you think he rapes her?

VK: I mean, look...

MW: I mean, objectively ...

VK: No, I mean, I think it's one of those things like you said; she's in this position in this country where everyone is her boss. There's a level of sexual harassment to any sort of encounter.

MW: I felt that on some level she wanted to be with him, but there's no doubt in my mind that he forced the situation.

Lisa Albert (writer): Huh. I felt that she gave him permission...

MW: Yes, she did give him him permission ...

LA: But I felt she didn't want to be with him.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:30 AM on September 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

I feel like if she'd agreed to have a drink with him, they could have had a social relationship. Her rejection of him ... I'm kind of on his side.
Ugh, gross.
I mean, I guess it's that thing where it could have been social and happy ... it's not about attraction at all.
It's not about attraction, yet he demands to see her in the party dress? It's not like he wants to chit-chat about her life or Germany or living in New York (one of his favorite topics). He is definitely preying on her.

I suppose it's possible that Kartheiser and Weiner thought the scene was about a social enteraction, but they forgot to tell the actress playing the nanny? Because she was definitely acting terrified. Compare it to Henry kissing Betty. It's not unwanted, but she's a bit uncomfortable. She doesn't look like she's a trapped animal.
posted by donajo at 7:41 AM on September 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Of course, this could also be revisionist history, on the record for posterity. A google of "Did Pete rape the nanny" comes up with lots of people on first watch who thought he did.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:57 AM on September 25, 2014

I definitely thought he did.
posted by drezdn at 8:21 AM on September 25, 2014

I did too.
posted by cwest at 8:40 AM on September 25, 2014

I haven't been listening to the commentaries on this rewatch, but I distinctly remember the bit of commentary Sweetie Darling posted because I was surprised by what Weiner and Albert had to say. Is it consent when that consent is forced? She is alone and terrified in a foreign country and Pete bullies her into giving permission. If it's not rape, it's borderline teetering towards rape at the least. This was Pete at his worst. You can imagine what Pete was like before he was married, say when he was in college. This was not the first time he did something like that.

Every time I watch this episode, when the nanny's employer knocks on Pete's door and Pete opens it, I still hope to see a big angry fellow who punches Pete in the mouth instead of the slender guy who gives Pete the advice to keep that kind of activity out of the building.

Later on a train conductor will punch Pete, but the real beat down he deserved came from Lane of all people. It was a long time coming. Pete deserved it for a lot of things, not just what Lane was upset about. I generally find Pete's childishness and temper amusing, but I was happy to see Lane get the best of him.
posted by cwest at 9:20 AM on September 25, 2014

Word. It's a miracle that it takes 5 and a half seasons before someone punches Pete.

This was not the first time he did something like that.

I've always thought that about Greg raping Joan. She's such a strong woman, and the rape is completely a power play on his part (as most (or all?) rape is). I'd bet that wasn't the only time.
posted by donajo at 9:25 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Especially given that Greg is in a situation at work (and in his home) where he feels powerless. Joan is definitely the queen of their domain and for him to overpower her in her workplace where she wields so much power, in the office of one of her employers is probably a big ego boost for him.

I think it parallels Pete's situation well. He also feels powerless in his home, he's just recently thought he was getting a big promotion but then has to share it. His family don't respect him, his colleagues don't respect him.

That commentary is pretty shit. That whole "he's entitled to some social time with her" schtick? I also assumed he raped her on first watch.
posted by tracicle at 10:11 AM on September 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

Just rewatched over lunch.

The first part of the show is all Pete and Don contrasted. Don opening the door of his well lit, homey home to go outside and catch lightning bugs with the kids, Pete closing the door as he enters his dark stale apartment to no one keeping the home fires.

Pete watching TV and eating cereal all saturday, while Don catches up on sleep and gets ready to travel to Rome at the start of the week.

The women are also paired up across generations. We start with Betty, dressing for war, and Sally a generation back, putting herself there some day (and later playing kissy games in the tub with Ernie). We bump into mid-generation - Gudrun and Joan. Gudrurn is younger, and very underpowered - she is in the US only at the mercy of her emplooyer, Joan is at the store at the mercy of her husband's indecision/poor prospects, but has experience and confidence to handle Pete efficiently.

On first watch I assumed he raped her, taking advantage of her employer being out of town, Trudy being out of town. However, as compared to the Don/Bobbie and Greg/Joan situations, it's not painted that way explicitly. Very skeevy but deliberately vague; similar to the first Pete/Peggy encounter where eventually she is reaching back to at least make "the best of it" as yicky as that sounds. Joan just zoned out, and Bobbie, well, didn't allow it to put her off him. But Joan was with her fiance with a supposed agreement of equals on a standard relationship. Bobbie was with her lover, in a dangerous position, with an agreement of equals on a standard affair. Joan 'made the best of it' afterwards, still marrying him, and Bobbie just took it, from what I can tell, as the cost of being in the affair and getting the full "Don Draper treatment".

Side note - Trudy's comment about the guilty look Peter gets when he sees little children. I'm sure he's never told Trudy about he and Peggy's child.
posted by tilde at 10:51 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Generations - I forgot where I was going with that. Connie is the elder generation on the men's side - treating Don somewhat as a son. Henry is older than Don, but younger than Connie; Betty is drawn to him both as a real person with depth (compared to the over tipping Don) and that he's got a more down to earth profession that she feels she can share (I'm reaching ahead here of course, sorry - I don't like to do that even if this is a rewatch thread).

Francine is Betty's Beta Mom. She tries everything out on her as a sounding board for how things will fit in with respectable people.

Betty's powerless and frustrated, and tried to change things up with Rome but on getting back home it seems not much has changed except she now has another souvenir on her charm bracelet. Funny I'd never noticed it was a charm bracelet before. Seems to have replaced that watch Don got her first season.
posted by tilde at 5:31 PM on September 25, 2014

I think Betty's attraction to Henry is more of a Daddy Issue. She's just lost her father, who worshipped her, and she's realized that while Don can take care of her financially, he doesn't respect her. In walks an (older) man who can both provide for her and worship her, so she jumps ship.
posted by donajo at 7:25 PM on September 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think Betty's attraction to Henry is more of a Daddy Issue. She's just lost her father, who worshipped her, and she's realized that while Don can take care of her financially, he doesn't respect her. In walks an (older) man who can both provide for her and worship her, so she jumps ship.

Yes. But Betty bides her time and makes sure that when the time comes and she's ready to jump ship that Henry will definitely be there for her. She needs to be sure that Henry will follow through and marry her. With the NY state divorce laws being what they were at the time she will be on her own financially. Henry needs to be a sure thing. As Henry said, "When you have no power, delay." (Betty is also probably waiting to see if she is completely done with Don. If there is anyway forward in that marriage.)

Gudrun had no power. She tried to delay, but...

Don is powerless when it comes to Connie Hilton. Hilton has him flying all over the place, practically at his command. So far the only time we have seen Don refuse Hilton anything is when Betty indicates to Don that she doesn't want to have breakfast with Connie, so Don makes an excuse. (I love Betty's "By golly, he's nutty.") I suppose Don is delaying until he can make the actual ad pitch to Hilton. Make sure he has his business. And we know how that goes.

One of the places Hilton sends Don is Dallas. That's another JFK assassination reference.

The actor playing Mayor Johnson is Mark Metcalf. He played the ridiculous ass Douglas Neidermeyer in the movie Animal House. These are the only two things I have ever seen him in.
posted by cwest at 2:00 PM on September 26, 2014

And Buffy fans would know him as The Master!
posted by lovableiago at 2:15 PM on September 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nice, cwest. I only saw Betty delaying.

& I don't mean to play down rape or modernsplain rape or perceptions of rape. Thinking out loud from all sides.

Meant to add on the comment about Henry and Daddy issues.

Don fit that too, once upon a time. He cared for her & treated her like a child & she was fine for a while as that. Swooped in with a fur coat while she was a broke model with Roomates in Manhattan. House in the suburbs & a station wagon.

Her father warned her against marrying a man who has no people but we see as Gene deteriorated that she had a history of fighting with her dad. So Daddy Don might have been a rebellion against thAt as well.

Henry's a trade up in the new dad department. He had people, money, respectable job.

Btw where is any money she inherited from her dad's estate, sake of the house? If her brother worked for him was it a job or family business? Where did that money go? Surely she would have not simply turned it over to Don. & she could finally buy thst summer house she wants.
posted by tilde at 9:37 PM on September 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Joan, to Pete: This never happened.

How many times will we hear that?

That look on Sally's face! How does one even cast Kiernan Shipka, is it luck, getting someone who will grow up to be so great, is already so good?

Betty studied anthropology at Bryn Mawr, probably under Frederica de Laguna, and others, whom I am not finding now. Sadly, I don't recally any further references to her college days. Perhaps it will have an influence on Sally's choice of school?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:19 AM on September 28, 2014

Any DVD commentary on this episode is now obsolete post #MeToo, so the best light I can possibly put on Pete's story here is:

1. When he saw Gudrun crying with the dress, he genuinely wanted to help, if for no other reason than that he was very bored and he wanted to show off.

2. Upon seeing Joan he realizes that he can't tell the truth about this in any believable way that won't sound like he's fucking the au pair.

3. Upon giving her the dress and her not throwing herself at him in gratitude, he feels angry and entitled (and here I like the touch in the episode that he didn't even have to pay for the replacement. Not that it really would make a difference but it shows the low bar for Pete's sense of entitlement.)

4. After getting drunk he barges back in there, weasels his way into her bedroom, closes the door before she can leave, and thinks he's getting consent by saying "I'd like to kiss you," and getting her clearly terrified nod.

And then we cut away. I definitely read that as Pete raping her, but maybe, sure, Pete tries to push sex and she says "no" enough that Pete is satisfied that whatever he got from her is fair compensation for his "gallantry." No matter what, it's still incredibly fucked up. It's beyond skeevy.

And there is some contrition. When the neighbor comes over, Pete eventually apologizes. But not to Gudrun, because she will never get an apology for this. After seeing Gudrun in the elevator, Pete gets hit with an attack of conscience, which is at least something, I guess? And he's a coward, so he won't tell Trudy outright what happened, but he also won't take the out that she hands him on a platter either. The dinner scene later has to be seen in light of 1. Trudy believing at this point that part of her duty as Pete's wife is ignoring/forgiving his dalliances, and 2. that they are two incredibly WASPy motherfuckers who will dance around anything uncomfortable to avoid saying it. His "I don't want you to go away anymore without me" isn't blaming this on her. It's him admitting that he cheated on her and proposing a plan to keep him from doing it again. Then he immediately follows that up with the ketchup-balloon anecdote because Pete is a child.

But I can't help but think - Pete has cheated on Trudy before and will do so again. This one weighed on his soul. So what, exactly, happened after that cutaway that cost a box of kleenex and made Pete Campbell of all people so guilty that he couldn't hide it from Trudy when Trudy had no reason to suspect anything?

So yeah. I still read it as rape.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:13 PM on February 2, 2020

Oh, and those commentary transcripts read to me a lot like Alex Graves talking about the Cersie/Jaime Game of Thrones scene that everyone but director Alex Graves seemed to understand was definitely a rape scene. I understand that Vincent Kartheiser needs to find the good and justifications in his character, and don't blame him there. But Matt Weiner should know better.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:16 PM on February 2, 2020

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