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Dec 22, 2008

Sal getting fired stings as bad as any other show’s character death :cry:


Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

And Midge's descent into heroin hell. I was hoping to see her in a better place in season 7. Not to be...

They wanted the show to be dramatic, of course, but one of its biggest selling points is how it's more like real life than other prestige dramas. They did a pretty good job balancing big shockers like Lane's suicide with the actual pace of life, where (usually) people aren't dying on us all the time, until we're old.

Jul 25, 2007


Xealot posted:

Women’s, maybe. As the show veers towards the 70’s, the menswear starts to get rough. And their hair choices…the mustaches, sideburns….ugh. gently caress, man.

Megan always looks great, though.

dunno how they did it tho, but they made her look so tireeeeeed in S7. Its kinda incredible.

Apr 1, 2010

Soiled Meat

SlipkPIe posted:

Sal getting fired stings as bad as any other show’s character death :cry:

Watching season 3 for the second time makes this all the more infuriating.

(season 5) When it's Sal and Lee Garner Jr., Don says he should just let Lee gently caress him for the sake of the business. When it's Joan and Herb, "no business is worth this".

Dec 29, 2013

:minnie: Cat Army :minnie:

Bedshaped posted:

Watching season 3 for the second time makes this all the more infuriating.

(season 5) When it's Sal and Lee Garner Jr., Don says he should just let Lee gently caress him for the sake of the business. When it's Joan and Herb, "no business is worth this".

The irony of the whole firing Sal thing was that they ended up losing Lucky Strike anyway.

Jul 30, 2005

Lee Garner Jr seems like the type to have had him fired no matter what Sal did. He was done the moment Lee came on to him.

Jul 23, 2007

I commend my soul to any god that can find it.

Bedshaped posted:

Watching season 3 for the second time makes this all the more infuriating.

(season 5) When it's Sal and Lee Garner Jr., Don says he should just let Lee gently caress him for the sake of the business. When it's Joan and Herb, "no business is worth this".

It's extra bad after even watching Season 6. Because those seasons combined kinda make it clear that Don's ego about his work that he care about rather than any moral stance. He says Sal should have just hosed him because they had lucky strike. But he wanted creativity to win jaguar not something else. And while Joan who got the WORST part of the Jaguar deal could put up with Herb, Don acts like a petulant child around him. I also think it's funny Herb assumes Pete's an idiot, not realizing Pete is bending over backward to keep Herb away from people that hate him.

Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.

Devorum posted:

Lee Garner Jr seems like the type to have had him fired no matter what Sal did. He was done the moment Lee came on to him.

He's a terrible person, but I doubt this. Lee strikes me as a guy who gets off on power. If Sal had gone along with it, Lee wouldn't do him any favors but he'd definitely want to keep him around as another plaything. Pushing for Sal to get fired is kind of a nuclear option, really: Lee risked exposure by making such a scene, if anyone dared to ask the right questions about what the hell happened.

I assume there have been a handful of Sals over the years, who probably chose the path of least resistance and didn't lose their jobs at the cost of their dignity. Which isn't that different from Roger in the Santa suit at Christmas. Lee is a goddamn bully, but he's momentarily sated when he gets what he wants.

Xealot fucked around with this message at 09:53 on Sep 15, 2021

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

The plan was to write the first two episodes up as one, to match how they apparently first aired. I hit what feels like the natural breaking point and decided to stop, because the write up is already ENORMOUS and if I keep going it would likely end up taking 4-5 back-to-back posts which I think it kinda.... too much! Plus, there's so much to talk about just regarding the party itself that I think it can easily dominate conversation. Absolutely incredible so far, I have to go back to working on other real life things but I plan to get the second part of the premiere done hopefully Thursday but more likely Friday

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Season 5, Episode 1 - A Little Kiss
Written by Matthew Weiner, Directed by Jennifer Getzinger

Don Draper posted:

I don't need to be the center of attention.

On a street in New York, a predominantly black crowd of anti-poverty protestors march in a circle, bearing signs and chanting for equal opportunity employment. A few stories above, irritated young white men in an office are annoyed by the noise, and it is clear that the protest has been happening for quite some time given they have plastered their windows with "counter" protest signs insisting that if black people want money they should go and get a job.

That's.... that's what they're arguing for!

One complains they should call the cops, another complains that there are already cops out there observing the protest but not doing anything about it (turns out a peaceful protest is some kind of.... "right".... in America!?!). It's a hot day, they're not happy about having to keep the windows closed to try and keep the street noise down, and one young man suddenly gets a twinkle in his eye as he comes up with a "clever" idea. Those protestors must be hot out there too, surely they need cooling down?

With great delight, he tosses water from a cup out the window, eliciting a squawked response of alarm from the street. This just eggs them on further, as they eagerly fill a paper bag with more water and toss it out the window at the protestors. In a sadly unaware moment, they actually display more concern for accidentally getting water on their work than on their fellow human beings/Americans on the street below.

At front reception, the woman on the front desk is equally alarmed to suddenly see a number of upset looking black women come through the doors, accompanied by a white man furiously taking notes: clearly a reporter, eager to get the full story. The door on the glass reads Y&R, one of the "Big Boys" of advertising, and the receptionist is appalled at the notion coming from these soaked woman (and one miserable, soaked boy getting sadly likely not his first lesson in being treated as a second-class citizen/somehow subhuman) that anybody on the EXECUTIVE FLOOR would engage in the kind of activity they're being accused of.

Her story kind of falls flat however when those young "executives" come bursting into the front reception eagerly carrying more paper bags filled with water. They have clearly turned their "creative" energy into making the bags water-proof to maximize the water that hits the protestors, and only seemingly figured out now that it would be a good idea NOT to throw these bombs from their own office window.

They break to a halt in horror at seeing the assembled sopping protestors, knowing that there is absolutely no way to bullshit their way out of being caught red-handed. Especially since a reporter is with them, a white reporter at that, detailing every account. They have the decency at least to look ashamed, though only for being caught as opposed to their actual actions. "They call US savages?" grunts one protestor in disgust, while the boy stands and stares at these young white men, and who knows what damage they have done to this poor kid with their little "prank".

By the way, in case you think this scene feels a little over-the-top in its depiction of racism and unthinking cruelty, or the dialogue too on-the-nose, this incident actually happened.

At 6:45 in the morning, Sally Draper wakes up in her bedroom, climbs out of bed and walks with uncertainty out into the hall. The home is unfamiliar, still unpacked boxes lining the hall, and she looks about before slowly approaching double doors at the opposite end to her room. She tries the door but it is locked, though her attempt to open it gets the attention of the occupant. The door opens, a man's form standing before her... but it's not Henry Francis, it's Don Draper.

This isn't Henry and Betty's new place in Rye, it's Don and Megan's new place, presumably only recently moved into. She explains she was looking for the bathroom and he points out where it is, but before she goes her natural curiosity gets the better of her and she sneaks a peek at the bedroom where a naked Megan sleeps barely covered by sheets.

This is an all around odd situation for Sally to be in, she's in her father's home but it's new and alien, not even the small apartment in the Village she'd only just gotten used to. There's not just another woman sleeping in her father's bed, but a brand new wife.

For Sally, herself becoming aware of sexuality from a personal standpoint, it must be fascinating and compelling and revolting all at the same time to know the relationship her father has with Megan (and that Henry has with Betty). Her maturing understanding of male/female relationships must surely be at war with her still youthful/childlike mindset that things would be "better" if mommy and daddy just stayed together as a single family unit.

Don prepares breakfast, and Sally isn't the only kid staying over. Bobby (yes, a new season means once again a new actor for Bobby!) and Gene are there too, Gene still young but old enough to sit up by himself and eat the same food as everybody else. They sit at the kitchen counter as Don fries up bacon in an electric frying pan, the reflected skyline seen through the balcony window indicating that this is a (large) apartment rather than a house, and that Don still lives in the city as opposed to in the outer suburbs.

Sally brings out a wrapped gift and wishes her father a happy birthday, and he's surprised but pleased by the thought, accepting the gift happily. Bobby points out they should have waited for the cake before doing that, and Sally - always eager to prove how grown up and mature she is - explains that they won't get to see him on his ACTUAL birthday so have to do this now.

Don appreciates the gesture, telling them that they'll get cheesecake for desert tonight as a celebration. He kisses Sally on the head, and when Bobby points out the gift is from ALL of them, kisses Gene on the head too and is delighted when Bobby foregoes a kiss on the head to extend his arm for a handshake instead. Pretending great solemnity, Don shakes his son's hand, probably proud that he is growing into a man (and yes, learning that a "real" man doesn't indulge in physical affection with other men, sigh) before declaring,"Yes, ma'am!" to Sally's insistence he open it now.

Megan arrives as Don opens the box, pleased by the thoughtfulness of the gift: a new shaving brush. Megan gives Don a little kiss that Sally can't help but watch, but while the physical affection between her father and his new wife clearly leaves her feeling unbalanced, she also clearly still likes Megan too. She liked her when they first met, adored her when they were in California together, and seems pleased to get praised when Megan tells them the shaving brush was exactly what Don needed. Don serves up the bacon and declares that today he's going to take the kids to see the Statue of Liberty, and Bobby grins and points out that he always says that but they never do.

Hey, it's the genuine New Yorker experience!

That evening, with the cheesecake done and presumably the Statue of Liberty remaining unseen, Don returns the kids to their other home. Last season Betty and Henry said the place in Rye had "character", and boy loving howdy they weren't kidding. A three story mansion with a fourth floor "turret" room, it looks like the Addams Family house and Don straight up refers to Betty and Henry as Morticia and Lurch when he pulls up outside the house.

Note that he doesn't call Henry "Gomez", the slightly insane but wealthy and loving husband, but "Lurch", the tall and disturbing manservant!

Sally wishes Don a happy birthday once again. He'll be turning 40, he explains to Bobby, asking how old he'll be when Bobby is 40. "You'll be dead!" Bobby helpfully offers without a moment's hesitation, before doing the math in his head and figuring out Don will be 70. Once again taking on the "adult" role she is still at least a decade away from needing to be, Sally reminds her father that they won't see him next weekend but the one after, and that will be the 11th.

Don nods and agrees, not mocking or undercutting his daughter giving him information he already knows, but reminds THEM to turn on the porch light when they get there so he knows they've made it safely to the door. They clamber out of the car, Gene declaring,"Good night daddy!" which makes him beam: Gene may have only ever known Henry as the man married to his mother, but Don has managed to stay in his life enough that he knows him as daddy.

He sits and waits until the porch light comes on, but not for the door to be opened for them (why doesn't Sally have a key?). It was uncomfortable enough for him to come into his old Ossining home when they lived there, but at least he owned the place and had spent years living there himself. This Scooby-Doo looking haunted mansion though? That place is Betty and Henry's through-and-through, and he clearly doesn't want to go in there, and probably wouldn't be a welcome presence if he did.

While the opening scene of the episode gives a clear date for the start of this season - May 28th, 1966 - the above two scenes also help firmly remind the viewer that time has moved on. Bobby is now 10-years-old, basically the same age that Sally was last season. Don and Megan aren't just suddenly newly engaged, now they're married and living together in their own larger apartment in the city - Don's fixation on her hasn't waned just yet at least, this relationship may have legs. Henry and Betty have established a new home in Rye. Gene has grown and in that intervening time Don has managed to stay an active part in the lives of all the children.

In real life there was a year-and-a-half gap between season 4 and 5 (and the show almost didn't return, Matthew Weiner fought with AMC over budgets, ad placements, firings and run-time etc) and while it's almost expected that you replace Bobbies between seasons, no way they were going to lose Kiernan Shipka thanks to aging out of being a 10-year-old. What we are seeing in this season is a year removed from the end of season 4, when SCDP was on the verge of going under and the change that didn't seem to ever be fully forming had suddenly hit all the major characters like a truck. Whatever happened in that intervening time has already happened, and now it's time for us to get caught up on it.

The first new change to get used to is Pete Campbell. A City resident all his life, Pete now lives outside of the city, presumably having been able to buy a home for he, Trudy and their daughter thanks to his bank account remaining untouched when Don covered his share of the Partnership collateral to the bank. He travels to work by train, much like Don Draper did in the first three seasons of the show, and has obviously been doing it long enough that he has started to form train "friendships" with other regular commuters.

One joins him in the opposite seat now, joking he is losing his head and pointing out there is dandruff on his shoulder. Pete smooths it away, claiming it is spit-up from the baby, but ignores the other man's question about how old she is now as he frowns over the thought of Trudy. She accompanied him to the platform today, a gesture the other man sees as sweet but that has troubled Pete. Not that she came along, Trudy has always been affectionate, but that she came along looking less than her best.

There was a time she wouldn't leave the house in her robe, he complains. Yes, Pete is upset at his loving wife and the mother of his child because she wasn't all dolled up to see him off from work. Pete is forever a half-empty cup kind of guy, and when once he used to thrill to the idea of coming home to a loving domestic Goddess with dinner on the table waiting for him, now he's upset that the mother of a baby barely a year old is not at her glamorous best at all times for his benefit.

The other man sighs and explains that when you're a newly wed you can't wait to come home, but as the marriage progresses you start finding excuses to take the later train. He points out that if Pete learned to drive he could justify coming home even later than that, before admitting that he left the house and stayed at a hotel last night after a screaming argument with his own wife.

Pete quietly warns him - Howard - not to get emotional "again", and it's made clear that the two have been traveling on the same train often enough that the man has become far more open with him than Pete is comfortable with. Just like Don appreciated his son wanting a handshake rather than a kiss, Pete is disconcerted by the idea of another man sharing their domestice woes with a friend: in two very different ways, it's reinforcing an idea of what being a real man is "supposed" to be.

So he's relieved when Howard bites down his obvious unhappiness and desire to share and instead shrugs and pretends everything is fine. He pays the ticket collector to take a card board to play cards with for the duration of the trip, while Pete happily goes back to reading his newspaper... but suppresses a frown, clearly not comfortable with what has become a constant companion.

At Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, Caroline is on a call sitting at Don Draper's desk (so as expected, Don did not keep his new wife as his secretary), motioning to Roger Sterling to wait a moment as she finishes writing a message. Roger asks if the call was from him, but of course it wasn't, and despite a big smile Roger is clearly feeling a little threatened over the fact that Caroline spends more time on Don's desk than his despite her being his secretary.

Caroline reminds him that Joan said he had to share, and the simple fact is that Don's phone rings more than Roger's. Roger doesn't defend himself on this front, rather making the largely irrelevant point that Joan isn't here, and forks out some cash and suggests she use it to buy a hat.... or a mask. Not impressed, Caroline motions to the conference room, pointing out he was supposed to be there for a Status Meeting 20 minutes ago. It seems he's not the only latecomer though, the only person sitting in that room is Bert Cooper.

Oh thank God, Cooper is still in the show!

Roger checks out Don's calendar on Caroline's desk, saying he doesn't see much on it that warrants her continuing to be there, and when she again points out that his own day is clear he simply reminds her that she just took $50 from him (he put it on her desk unasked! She even said no thank you!) and to follow her conscience. He then leaves, but it appears even now he doesn't actually pop into the Conference Room to greet Cooper, simply returns to his own office to do.... nothing?

It's a quick scene, but tells us a lot. SCDP is still running, but it's clear they're not still fully recovered from the loss of Lucky Strike. Caroline is sharing desks rather than there being a replacement for Megan. Roger seemingly has continued to just coast along offering nothing to the company other than being a name on the wall, only interested in the image of success rather than putting in any work. He'd rather fork out his own money to have Caroline sit uselessly at the desk outside his office than go out and get work that would warrant her having to be there in the first place, even if he's clearly incredibly bored operating this way. In short, the company is surviving but not thriving.

At Joan Harris' apartment, she applies ointment to her son's bottom, cooing over him that she's sure that is helping his nappy rash. The door to her bedroom opens and an older woman enters carrying towels, smiling and telling Joan that she changed her diapers when she was that age every hour whether she was wet or not. This, it seems, is Joan's mother, obviously there to help out around the house, although it becomes very clear very quickly that there is a tension around the power dynamic in their relationship.

Mrs (Miss, Ms?) Holloway has taken it upon herself to clean out the oven on a hot summer's day, meaning that Joan and little baby Kevin are cooped up in the bedroom to avoid the fumes. She has also brought in towels from the laundry to put them in Joan's bathroom, Joan's voice raising through a forced smile as she reminds her not for the first time they belong in the hallway cupboard. Mrs Holloway doesn't apologize, simply states that she thought it might be helpful if they were closer to the bathroom.

Joan obviously appreciates her mother being there, but she's also well-used to being the top woman in the room. Coupled with the exhaustion of being a new mother, she finds herself fighting between getting in passive-aggressive jabs at her mother (a line about her mother's own "formula" indicates a possible bad drinking habit?) and apologizing and explaining she is too tired. It's clear where Joan gets it from though, because her mother - Gail - is good at hitting her with little passive-aggressive jabs of her own.

Still, both are clearly aware of the tension between them and don't want it to be that way, so when Gail offers to take Kevin with her when she goes out to pick up baby formula, Joan blurts out her appreciation with utter sincerity. Gail and Kevin leave, and Joan collapses onto the bed, a far sight from the eternally poised and meticulously made-up Joan Harris we're used to seeing: Trudy Campbell would commiserate, while Pete Campbell would probably just be grateful she didn't dare to go outside looking like that. The horror, a new mother looking tired and not dressed up to be physically appealing to males!

Pete arrives at work, and has barely gotten his paperwork out of his briefcase when Ken, Peggy and Stan march into the room. He asks how their weekend was and sarcastically Ken claims they all went water-skiing together before Peggy points out that - of course - she was in the office all weekend. Pete doesn't question that or even commiserate, simply stating that this is good because it means they must be prepared for the Heinz pitch, right? Yes, Dr. Faye Miller's breach of her Chinese Wall actually ended up bearing fruit after all and Heinz were as good as their word: SCDP survived 6 months and now they're getting a chance to win their business.

Ken says they are ready (and calls Pete "boss" without a hint of sarcasm, it was made very clear last season what the hierarchy was and Ken has accepted that and moved on happily with his life) with the exception of the coupons. Those were Megan's responsibility, and since Don is late getting to work so is she, and that also means Don hasn't signed off on anything yet. Again, a single line of dialogue informs us all of the new status quo: as Joan warned Peggy, Megan was put to work in Creative.

Pete buzzes for his secretary Clara, while Ken and Stan giggle over the fact that Megan could have gotten approval by rolling over in bed and asking Don what he thought. Pete is in no mood (neither is Peggy) for jokes about Don's married life with a member of the Creative team, especially since Clara isn't answering his summons. He marches out of the room, followed by Peggy who calls Stan and Ken after her, reminding them it's already 11am. She worked all weekend and you can be drat sure she was at work as soon as she was meant to be, while a decidedly junior employee like Megan is free to come in late. Don and Pete are also late, but they at least are partners, and it clearly irritates Peggy that Megan gets this kind of preferential treatment.

So why isn't Clara answering? Because Roger Sterling is bored and has decided to chat her up! Part of why he can do that is that Clara's desk isn't anywhere near Pete's own office, which sits in a narrow corridor that can't fit secretary desks inside. She giggles as she assures him she didn't go sunbathing, and he points to her calendar noting that he can't believe she didn't do anything on the 3-day weekend. Still giggling, she reminds him that this is Pete's calendar, not hers, but the fun is over as Pete arrives seething at having to come see her.

Unable to help himself, Roger can't help poking the bear and chastising Pete for being late for the status meeting (that Roger forgot they were having!), but Pete simply retorts that Roger should go prepare rather than molesting his secretary. Roger heads off, Pete complaining that the entire point of their intercom is so that he doesn't have to walk the 30 yards to see her. Spotting a welcome distraction, Caroline points out that Mr. and Mrs. Draper have arrived, relieved that Pete now turns his attention to them rather than her.

Megan apologizes, saying they overslept as she peels off from Don to go meet with Peggy, though Don is quick to assure Pete that HE overslept rather than Megan, looking out for his wife as if Pete somehow would have the authority (or balls) to discipline her for lateness. Pete of course is all smiles with Don, asking how his Memorial Day was, quickly setting aside his bad temper for the unctuous friendliness he's so accomplished at turning on for his clients.

Roger is reading the newspaper outside the conference room, still not bothering to join Cooper who continues to read and wait inside. Caroline greets Don with a reminder that he had a status meeting at 10am (he's over an hour late for a meeting that started an hour after most businesses open), collecting his hat and coat and taking them into his office as Don and Roger chuckle over Y&R's recent bad press regarding the water-bomb drop.

Pete of course doesn't find it funny, while Roger thinks they're getting their just deserts. Not for being racist, unfeeling assholes... but because they stole Pond's Cold Cream! That's another several million dollar account that SCDP lost between season 4 and 5, and perhaps more importantly it is the only other account that Roger actually had any involvement in.

Lane joins them, reminding them none-too-subtly that the meeting was supposed to start at 10. Despite that he clearly didn't feel the urge to wait with Cooper in the Conference Room himself, another sign that Cooper's once fearsome presence has been reduced to a loved but also essentially now tolerated older family member who has lost all their teeth, mostly good for bringing out for a full court press when courting a new major client. Roger doesn't have any accounts anymore, but he's still young enough and vital enough (and rich enough) to maintain an active role in the Agency. Cooper is richer than any of them, and he has network connections that will remain invaluable for a long time, but he's also appears to be long past the point of being an active force in advertising.

Even now they don't head into the meeting, Roger instead gleefully considering the potential of running a Want Ad calling themselves an Equal Opportunity Employer, to really rub it in Y&R's faces. After a year+ of SCDP being essentially written off by the rest of the advertising industry, he really relishes the chance to get some revenge. "Our windows don't open" offers Don with a grin, while Lane tries to be a good sport while reminding them all that they don't have money to spare on fake ads to get a rise from their rivals.

Roger disagrees, he wants to humiliate Y&R and he doesn't mind paying for it out of pocket: Don can write it, he'll pay for it, but Lane doesn't get to read it since they're doing on their own. Lane isn't impressed but also isn't going to argue if it isn't costing the Agency any money, and at least Roger plans for them to run in the advertising section as opposed to the want ads, just to really make sure Y&R see it.

As fun and fascinating as this pointless inter-Agency drama is, Pete is quick to pull them back to business, reminding Don that Heinz is coming in and wanting to know what they have for them. Don frowns, it's getting close to lunchtime... maybe he should do some actual work after all? He asks Caroline to fetch the Heinz boards and Caroline, grunting,"No!" when she asks if he wants to see the whole team. Why would he, after all they only produced the entire thing and have been waiting for hours to see him!

Roger reveals that he has actually been making some attempt at work, he's gotten a drinks date with Bruce Lewis from Oldsmobile who wants to know if they can get around Nader. "There isn't," replies Pete without missing a beat, somebody who can often see the writing on the wall. Nader was pushing for the introduction of safety features in cars such as the seatbelt (note earlier in the episode where Don pulls up outside the Francis' Spooky Mansion and has to put out an arm to stop Sally thumping into the dashboard), and it seems Roger is doing what he does best: trying to figure out ways for big industry to avoid or workaround not causing the deaths of their customers, just like he did for so long with Lucky Strike.

That was it, that was all Roger had. So they turn to Lane, who tries to crack a joke about getting drunk that falls flat, so simply informs them that Kenny has managed to get the final required signatures from Chevalier, Galone and Butler Shoes. That is good news, having survived the loss of Lucky Strike and proven that they aren't going to cease existing, SCDP is starting to slowly build up their clients again. "Footwear" sighs Don, obviously not impressed with the caliber of their clients but at least recognizing it is money coming in (if only he knew what was coming in the 70s and beyond for footwear).

This means they all have good news, and so with a smile Pete declares they can call the meeting to a close, having only just realized that in this brief catch-up they've accomplished everything they needed to and have effectively just held the status meeting after all. They all part, Don begging off having a private word with Pete when he spots Megan coming with the Heinz boards. They leaves Pete alone, and Bert Cooper finally emerges from the Conference Room unaware the meeting has come and gone without him, instructing Pete he needs to use the bathroom but not to start until he gets back. Pete simply nods and then checks with Caroline for when Don will be free next.

In Don's office, Megan lays out the Heinz boards, reminding Don that he hasn't seen the coupons yet. Don doesn't want to see the coupons. He doesn't want to see the boards. He just wants to see Megan. Kissing her, leaning in close to her, she giggles but pulls away, reminding him he has work he needs to do. He wants to ditch work, the three day weekend wasn't enough and he thinks they should just rush off, but she declines. So he tells her to lock the door so they can get frisky right here, amused when she warns him that people already think the worst when she's alone with him for more than 5 minutes.

She insists though that he has work he must do, and he gets a further unwelcome reminder when Caroline buzzes through that Pete Campbell is waiting to see him. Megan sees the chance to escape and do her own work though, and pouting he asks that she at least unbutton her blouse for him. She calls him a dirty old man but acquiesces, flashing him some cleavage that makes him beam happily, 40 years old but acting more like he's 14.

Once she's gone, Pete sarcastically asks if he was interrupting anything, pointing out that he asked Caroline for the next available appointment and was informed Don had no meetings scheduled for today at all (I guess Heinz is coming in another day?). So he's seized the open time to ask Don which client he'd want to land more than any other? American Airlines, Don immediately replies, pointing out that being stood up by them made him want them even more. Pete seizes on that, because it's not the answer he wanted but it is the answer that gets him where he needs to go: they want American Airlines because they stood them up, so which of their own former clients would feel the same way? Why Mohawk Airlines of course!

Don is confused... Mohawk? Pete excitedly explains that they've been struggling financially recently and are eager for a change, and it makes SCDP even more attractive since Mohawk's business went downhill after Sterling Cooper cut them loose as part of Duck's overconfident quest to land a major airline. He's organized a meeting with them today, and he'd like Don to "drop by", because he's the person they'll want to see. Don however points out that his parting with Hank Lammott was far from pleasant and he might do more harm than good. Rather, he suggests that Pete do the meeting, get them interested and reel them in and THEN he can meet with them to help land the catch.

An excited Pete embraces this idea of a team effort that mostly consists of him doing all the work and Don getting to stay in his office doing nothing. He leaves, making a poor effort at some kind of shoulder pat with Don before pulling up when he realizes Don only moved closer to usher him out the door. He leaves, and a relieved Don goes back to having nothing to do. Jesus Christ, for a second there he almost did a second's worth of work at the Agency he owns!

"Oh Megan, you're here," comments Peggy as she reenters the office and finds Megan working behind the desk, Stan drafting at his own by the window. As greetings go it is a pretty passive-aggressive one, but she accepts Megan's coupons and looks through them, offering a backhanded compliment to the 2 for 22cents one that Megan took a risk on conceptualizing on her own by saying she likes the thought but they are of course locked into the 5 cents discount the client wanted and crossing it out right in front of Megan.

She passes the coupons to Stan, asking him to work on them some more, and when he asks for more specifics than that she offers suggestions on using bordering to make the coupons look like legal tender, not impressed by him asking if he should put a wig on the can of beans that replaces Washington. He leaves and Peggy sighs to Megan that if he keeps asking for more specific details she'd have to end up drawing them herself. She rifles through the piles on the desk and Megan asks if she should move - this is Peggy and Stan's office but Megan is obviously also working in it and they take turns at the desk - but Peggy says she's just looking for gum. Even this still feels in some way passive-aggressive, like she just HAD to search through this spot here right now when Megan happened to be sitting at her desk (and working! The thing Peggy wanted her to do!).

Megan offers to get some from her purse, and as she fetches it she asks for Peggy's opinion. Peggy, perhaps realizing she's been a little too mean towards Megan who after all is not (directly) to blame for Don's lateness, assures her she did a great job on the coupons. She acknowledges this kind of work is "baloney" but that it's important - too important! - to the client and she experienced having to work on this kind of thing herself for two years. Megan doesn't care about that though, passing over the gum and explaining it's something non-work related: Don's birthday on Saturday.

Peggy's heart sinks as she realizes she forgot his birthday and hasn't gotten him anything, which in turn makes her remember she still hasn't gotten Megan a wedding gift. She apologizes, saying she knows Megan understands how busy she is, but again Megan isn't bothered by that. Rather she wants to let Peggy know that she's throwing a party for Don on Saturday.... a surprise party.

"For.... Don?" Peggy manages after a brief moment, and when Megan picks up on her reaction she explains that men hate surprises, jokingly asking if she didn't have I Love Lucy up in Canada? Megan laughs, admitting that yes everybody always SAYS they hate surprise parties, but they always end up having a good time. Conspiratorially now, she grins that Peggy has never attended one of her parties before, people are going to go home from this and have SEX!

".....Okay," agrees Peggy at last, not entirely comfortable with how comfortable Megan is about openly talking about sex,"Sounds fun for us, at least!" She immediately second-guesses herself, admitting that she doesn't want to assume she's invited. Right now there work dynamic is flipped, Peggy is her senior but right now she's on the backfoot and Megan has the lead, passing a sheet of paper and explaining what she needed Peggy's opinion on: the guest list. She is still relatively new to Don's life, and while she knew enough to cross off clients and fired employees from his Rolodex, she still isn't sure who to avoid bringing into their home.

Peggy, feeling a little more sure of herself now, takes the list and reviews it. She crosses off Freddy Rumsen, he doesn't come to parties anymore. Megan has crossed off Harry but that won't do, he has to be there, and Megan winces, noting that Don really doesn't like him. "Really?" asks Peggy, getting more into this now as the chance for gossip comes up, and with a grin Megan says she didn't hear it from her. Peggy knows he likes his accountant Frank Kellar (I guess somebody has to), and explains the Herman Phillips with six different numbers is "Duck" and crosses him from the list without further explanation. That is that, she passes the list back to Megan and asks how old Don will be, and can't help but wince in sympathy when Megan mouths the cursed number at her: 40.

Once again, another scene that demonstrates how things have changed since Season 4. Megan is still Don's "new" wife, still being established in a creative role at SCDP. Peggy likes her well enough on a personal level but resents having to manage a woman she can't help but feel got gifted a role she herself had to fight and claw to get, and can't help at times even all these months later being a little too passive aggressive.

This in fact may be part of the reason for Megan's decision to throw Don a surprise party (which, Peggy and Lucille Ball are right, it's a TERRIBLE IDEA): not just in regards to Peggy of course, but to really finally bring everybody together for a fun night where they stop thinking of her as Don's new wife and start thinking of her as one of them. She's not stupid, after all, far from it, and her line to Don earlier about being alone with him for five minutes shows she is fully aware of how people still think of her as only being there because of Don rather than any of her own merits.

Joan is napping on her couch when Gail returns with Kevin, who is blissfully asleep. Joan joins her mother by the pram, asking how he was, and Gail admits he was fussy the entire trip but that the elevator always put him to sleep, assuming it must be the vibrations. Mother and grandmother stare with love at the baby, Joan admitting surprise at how good Gail is at looking after him (Gail assuring her she will grow to be adept at it too kind of feels like a backhanded compliment) and pondering how she'll make so once Gail goes home.

This raises a sore spot between them: Joan's plan to return to work. Gail can't believe that Joan really intends to go back to SCDP, even if she did promise them she would eventually. She admits that she worked when Joan was a baby but only because she HAD to.... Joan is married to a doctor! They must understand that Joan's priorities have changed, and Joan has to fight to keep from raising her voice as she insists that she knows she'll miss Kevin but that it is necessary for her to work for now at least. Greg should be stationed at Fort Dix for a second year which means she can commute to work from New Jersey, and after his active duty is over... well, she'll just have to see.

Gail doesn't like how open-ended that is, asking if Joan really thinks Greg will allow her to continue working. "Allow me?" snaps Joan, her voice louder, a little more of the touch Office Manager we're more familiar with creeping into her voice now. Gail simply reminds her of the wedding vow to go where Greg goes, and Joan simply can't help herself and cruelly asks how that worked out for Gail. Obviously Joan's father is a source of great pain, even if he know nothing about him (or if he's even alive) and Gail bites her tongue and leaves the room rather than fight. Joan closes her eyes miserably, knowing she's gone too far in an effort to shut her mother up, and just increasing the tension between them.

Pete arrives for his lunch with Mohawk Airlines, the big smile on his face dropping as he approaches the table sees a familiar face and hears a familiar voice.... Roger Sterling is there. He approaches confused and irritated, especially when Roger smugly declares that Pete is late "as usual". He greets the two Mohawk men (Henry/Hank and Jack) who laughingly explain that he's on time but that Roger called to arrange to meet them earlier than planned, and Roger insists he take a seat and get caught up on the drinking they're doing.

Instead, Pete forces a smile and informs Roger that they were looking for him at the office, but Roger waves that off with,"It'll keep!", and Hank and Jack explain they were all just having a good laugh at Y&R's expense. "Couldn't happen to a nicer group of bigots," Pete jokes, all smiles for the prospective clients before turning a much colder smile Roger's way and insisting quietly that the situation at the office is an emergy.

Roger is no fool, he knows that Pete is making this up as a polite way to tell him to gently caress off, and he considers for a moment how best to react and decides discretion is the better part of valor... and after all, it makes him look more important if the office is desperately trying to find him. With an apology to the others he makes his exit, cracking a few airline puns before he goes, insisting to the waiter that he bring even more drinks, laying cash out on the table and making it clear to Hank that the lunch should be a wet one and they'll be fine with Pete coming back drunk.

Pete keeps his forced smile as he takes his seat and forces down the first martini, clearly not happy about having to try and salvage the lunch into something productive rather than just an excuse to get blasted and claim it as a business expense. That's the way Roger operates, a system that worked fine in the 50s with inherited clients and fellow war veterans who considered heavy day-drinking an enthusiastic amateur sport. Pete doesn't mind taking clients out and getting them drunk, hiring prostitutes and taking them to dinner and a show... but he'd rather do it with a clear head and a focused mind.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

The Heinz pitch happens (So Don did have something in his calendar after all? Or did the previous scene mark a different day of the week?) and Peggy gives exactly what Heinz asked for: something new, different and compelling to shift the perception of beans in the minds of the viewer. She wants to use high speed cameras to produce a "bean ballet", explaining the way they ad will look accompanied by Stan's art AND his tuneless humming, enthusiastically painting a verbal picture of beans as art, beans as graceful and elegant and impressive, all culminating in their dropping one by one with a splash into the sauce inside a Heinz can first seen from the top before the camera shifts to reveal the Heinz logo.

"The Art of Supper," Peggy finishes with a triumphant flourish, and she and Stan take their seats. The other Heinz executives (and Kenny) have been watching Raymond Geiger to see HIS reaction before they give their own, and he seems intrigued and interested. Have they done this before? Peggy explains the filming process has been done before but never on television, meaning his company will be the first, another factor in their pitch's favor.

But while Raymond seems interested, he also doesn't seem convinced. He points out that he was promised a "bite and smile", a very standard advertising hook for a man who supposedly wants to innovate. Also they can't just magically make the beans move the way they want, and they won't look pretty up close... beans don't look pretty up close, they look like a slimy bunch of organs! Before Peggy can even think about reminding him that this is kind of what television is about, making things look better than they normally do, he suddenly brings up for absolutely no reason at all that he served in Korea and saw his fair share of bloody organs!

The answer to my Don question comes in one form, as Don passes by the Conference Room and looks in to see if he's needed, and Betty nods. It seems the whole idea of this pitch was that Peggy would run it and then Don would come in to work his magic at the end and clamp down the deal. What he walks into though is Raymond explaining with great authority that beans look better in a bowl or on a spoon, and as Don takes his seat at the head of the table his enthusiastic endorsement of Peggy's idea disappears and he simply sits and nods as Raymond breaks into an impassioned speech about what he wants.

He agrees that he asked for bold and artistic.... he actually mean not bold and artistic! He claims that Peggy's idea doesn't have a message, and that the use of waltz music is too old fashioned. Peggy tries her best to salvage her idea and work, explaining the music is temporary (and supplied by Stan!), stressing how the eye-catching campaign will stay in people's heads and catch their eye on subway posters and the like. But Raymond is all fired up now, excitedly explaining HIS idea, what he thinks is bold and creative: he wants a new generation, and what do the kids in college like? Why protesting of course! He wants college kids at a sit-in, heating up beans on a hot plate. He wants a kid walking around holding a picket sign reading,"WE WANT BEANS!"

This idea is so terrible you'd think Ken Cosgrove came up with it!

But how does Don react? He simply nods and agrees that if this is Raymond's idea, they'll find a way to make it work. As Raymond gets more excited, Don happily reminds him that this is their job to take care of now, and Ken escorts them out. Raymond does at least apologize to Peggy for not liking her work, and Peggy has to pretend to be unfazed, smiling and waving it off as not a big deal. Stan, horrified that all his work has been tossed aside, makes his exit as well, leaving Don and a very unimpressed Peggy.

Don is shockingly blase, simply asking Peggy what else she has. This was the best thing they'd come up with, she complains, and Don continues to be unshaken despite his desperate attempts to get Heinz last season, simply saying she can't be surprised Raymond doesn't have a taste for ballet OR a sense of humor. He also knows the protest idea is terrible, but points out there would be no point in spending an hour and a half forcing Raymond to accept the idea knowing that he'd get cold feet at the last minute and waste even more of their work.

Peggy knows that, but more than anything she's disappointed that Don didn't even try to work his usual magic on (or equally as desirable at times, vent his fury at) a client. He points out that the work came in "over the transom", there is no agreement or offer in place, so they are being made to work as hard as possible to earn Heinz' business. Trying her best not to pout, Peggy mumbles that she would have liked to have known that ahead of time so she could have saved the ballet for round 2. Don though remains unruffled, making his exit unconcerned that they still haven't secured the big get that Heinz would represent (and, just like with American Airlines, give him a client that previously "stood him up"). The only person who appears to be troubled by their failure is Peggy Olson herself.

A drunk and clearly not happy about it Pete Campbell returns to the office, livid at being forced into a situation where he had to down copious amounts of alcohol with men who have decades worth of experience over him. He snaps down the corridor to Caroline to ask if Roger is in, but she just shrugs and says he's already gone for the day (so much for the "emergency"). "HAH!" declares Pete with contempt, and staggers into his office and walks face-first right into that stupid loving support beam right by the door.

Clutching his nose, he screams for Clara and this time she comes running. He doesn't want a tissue or medical aid though, he wants to know how Roger knew about his meeting with Mohawk. She doesn't know, but it was a rhetorical question, because he long since figured it out. "You think he's staring at your breasts?" he sneers, declaring that Roger hangs out around her desk flirting with her so that he can sneak a peek at Pete's calendar and figure out which meetings look good to crash and finagle himself into the account.

Ken arrives, immediately laughing when he sees Pete clutching his bloody nose, asking if Clara hit him. Pete dismisses Clara and takes a seat, angrily declining Ken's offer to pour him a drink and asking what happened with Heinz since they didn't look happy when he passed them. Ken shrugs, simply saying they're making them work for their business, pointing out that Don doesn't seem worried, obviously figuring if Don isn't than he should be either.

When he learns that Roger was at the Mohawk lunch he chuckles, pointing out the obvious: if Roger decided to crash the party, then it's because he knows Pete has a good lead. Pete already knows that, the point is that it is HIS lead, and Ken assumes Pete is angry because he's blaming a bad meeting on Roger's presence. That's not it at all though, Pete points out that the meeting actually went perfectly. This confuses Ken, why be angry then? Because Pete - who surprises Ken by telling him he was a coxswain on the rowing team in College - needs to know everybody at SCDP is pulling in the same direction, and he shouldn't be getting blindsided by one of his own partners. He should be worrying about other Agencies, not co-workers!

As always, Ken takes a completely sensible and frankly healthy approach to the whole thing, pointing out that their business is back to being stable after the horror of losing Lucky Strike last year. Pete complains that is a backward step from successful, but Ken runs down the same process that he knows Pete is aware of for how things work in the advertising industry: you start with piddly poo poo (Topaz, White Knight cologne) then move to mid-sized stuff like Mohawk, keep hold of the big ones like Vick, worm into niche companies, try to get into a pharmaceutical company or - God willing - a car..... and then they go public, open international offices and everybody makes a lot of money!

"Kenny Cosgrove writes another great American novel," grumbles Pete, clearly not sharing in Ken's easy enthusiasm for the inevitability of their success. He lays back on the couch, not enjoying that Ken is probably right when he notes Roger warming Mohawk up probably helped a lot. He complains he should get overtime for attending Don's surprise party when Ken asks if he's going, drunk and miserable and refusing to be cheered up. Amused by his "boss" and his bad attitude, Ken simply leaves him to wallow in his misery, confident as always that things are gonna work out fine for him... after all, when he leaves work for the day he stops thinking about work!

Don enters the Creative Lounge with his hat and coat, where Peggy, Megan and Stan are working away on ideas. He asks if she's ready to leave and Megan points out they're almost done... and instead of accepting that and waiting, Don turns and puts Peggy on the spot by asking if she needs Megan to stay. Of course what can Peggy do but say it's fine, simply noting that the work will still be there tomorrow morning. But if she's irritated by that, she quickly finds a new source when Stan can't help but blurt out and ask Don if he has plans for the weekend. Megan shoots him a death glare as a confused Don points out it's Tuesday, why would he know if he has plans now?

Stan's face falls and he recovers as best he can, explaining he was asking for himself since his cousin is coming into the city. "Assume you're working," grunts Don, figuring that Stan was angling to get out of any work (yeah how lazy, if he wants to earn the big bucks he has to.... arrive at 11am, refuse to do any work, try and bang his wife in his office, and allow a client to poo poo all over a pitch while displaying no interest at all!). He and Megan leave, Megan saying goodnight but glaring at Stan as she goes, and Peggy can't help but laugh as Stan hangs his head in horror at what he almost did.

She's surprised to learn he's not going and he explains he wasn't lying about his cousin, he's got two days of Shore Leave so Stan is going to take him out on the town. He would have loved to have gone if he'd had more notice though, more because he knows it's going to be a disaster and he desperately wants to see Don's face when everybody yells,"SURPRISE!"

"You almost saw it," warns Peggy, reminding him he almost blew the surprise. Looking at the work in front of her, she complains that it's not like they don't already have plenty to do this weekend thanks to Don not coming to their rescue in the Heinz pitch. Stan was upset at the time too but he's over it now, Heinz didn't like the bean ballet so what could Don do about it? He could do what he normally does, she points out, get upset and pissed off at people presuming to know THEIR job better than they do.

"He's kind and patient," Peggy muses, and she doesn't like it, she doesn't recognize him anymore! Stan assumes she's upset that he's found happiness, but Peggy isn't lying when she says that it's more that it concerns her. Because, for better or worse, part of Don's success has been that he has been willing to tell clients off or even dump them if they proved to be more trouble than they were worth. He's had an edge, a temper and a stubborn streak that has served him enormously well as Creative Director: he has a reputation for being temperamental, but also being a genius, a guy who comes up with things that nobody else can and pushes his vision with boldness and energy.

This Don Draper? This man is happy. This man is content. This man has no drive at all beyond reducing his time at work as much as possible so he can go home and enjoy being with his wife. It's a wonderful thing for him personally... creatively and business-wise? Well it could spell doom and disaster for SCDP, and it'll be people like Peggy Olson who suffer because of it.

Stan though is a simple man, content just to make a fart joke before escaping with a giggle to the toilet. Because, just like Raymond warned, everybody's first thought when it comes to beans is farts. You can't make a ballet out of that!

Pete arrives home late, having caught that 7pm train like Howard suggested. Exhausted, he trudges into the kitchen and looks in the fridge. Trudy enters the kitchen too, remarking that he's late, and he sighs that he thought he might have to walk home from the station until he was "lucky" enough to find a cabbie coming out of a bar (Ralph Nader, where are you!?!). He admits that he's also later because he didn't want to disturb her, which she finds sweet, but she reminds him that this house only becomes a home the minute he walks through the door.

Appreciating her kind words and the hand lovingly cupping the side of his face, he sighs that there is no fruit to his labor. She points out that he has a home, an acre of land, a loving wife and daughter, and he grunts that this has nothing to do with work... and immediately realizes what an incredibly lovely thing that was to say. "I'm ungrateful," he admits, and apologizes. Trudy though, forever the devoted wife, points out that his dissatisfaction marks him as a man of drive and vision. She also offers a sweetener, asking if he still wants a dog, and when he admits with a faraway look in his face that it might be nice to have a beagle to scare off the gophers, she offers a gentle,"We'll see" that is more motherly than wifely.

But now that his bad mood has been somewhat soothed, she asks about what has been bothering HER.... mainly the timing of their invitation to Don's party. Did Megan really only invite him TODAY!?! Her parents are able to babysit so they'll be able to attend, but the lack of notice has her suspicious. Pete admits he doesn't know if everybody else only got their invitations today as well, and Trudy notes that Megan IS impulsive. That's all the energy she can muster to worry about social etiquette and power dynamics though, saying she has to go to bed because Tammy is sure to be up soon.

They kiss goodnight, Pete remaining in the kitchen, eating cereal out of the box. No dinner was waiting for him, but otherwise Trudy still appears to be the same loving, devoted and caring wife she ever was in spite of having a young baby that must be eating up most of her energy. The house is spotless, the dishes have been washed and set out to dry, she came out to sooth his worries and to offer him encouragement in spite of her own tiredness. But... you know, she left the house in her robe that one time!

The week passes and Saturday arrives. At the Draper Residence, assembled guests mingle and chat as the band sets up ahead of the arrival of the guest of honor. A somewhat effeminate black man gets everybody's attention, explaining they're five minutes away from the arrival so he'd like everybody to lower the volume to sotto voce and he'll dim the lights. Most of the guests are probably already having trouble enough with him being black, let alone presumably homosexual, but the smile and nod nervously at his instructions, apart from Ken insisting they don't turn off the lights. After all they're Megan's guests and she is the one who brought him in as the Master of Ceremonies.

"My God, is he queer," chuckles Harry to Lane and Rebecca, ever the master of subtext and subtlety. Harry himself appears to have lost a tremendous amount of weight between seasons, while Rebecca has lost a tremendous amount of.... stress? She appears happy, energetic, pleased to be here and very loving with Lane. It seems she has come to appreciate New York at last, or at least to have accepted her place here to the best of her ability. "He reminds me of Lane's brother," she quips cheekily, and Lane gets the giggles.

Don and Megan emerge from the elevator, Don thinking their dinner was his birthday celebration and now he's going to get to unwrap his present: her. Pressing her against the wall, he kisses her, but she insists they get inside, it's only a second away. He can barely contain himself that long, so when she pulls away and whistles for him to follow he does so with great anticipation.

Megan turns the corner, thrilled that everything is going to plan, that in a few seconds her planning will come to fruition... and discovers Roger and Jane Sterling standing outside the arguing loudly about whether to knock or just walk straight in, Roger complaining that "it" might have started already. Megan freezes, horrified and then furiously resigned to the surprise being spoiled at the last possible second. Behind her, Don is surprised all right, but just like everybody knew he would be not in a good way.

"No," he gasps, not buying Roger's horrific attempt to bullshit out an explanation that they just happened to be in the neighborhood. No," he repeats to Megan, barely contained panic on his face at the realization that he's about to be forced into an incredibly awkward social situation in his own home, one he can't escape from. Megan, frustrated, simply unlocks the door and walks in, followed by Jane, and a depressed Roger motions to Don to follow. Don, knowing he's trapped, walks to his doom.

"SURPRISE!" everybody declares, and lets out a,"AHHHH!" when Roger shamefacedly admits that he blew it in the hall. Then they all laugh, while Don stands with lips pressed together in a forced smile as he settles in to endure several hours of hell. He's never exactly been a social butterfly, and now here he is surrounded by dozens of people he'll have to "perform" in front of, trudging around his house, making noise, wishing him well, eating and dancing and drinking while he waits for the blessed moment when they finally leave and he can actually relax again.

Megan of course sees none of this, she likes social gatherings, she likes having people around being entertained and enjoying themselves. She likes the buzz and energy of people just enjoying themselves, and she loves arranging things so they can. She leans happily against Don, sure as can be that as she promised Peggy, he'll end up having a great time and appreciating that she did this.

First up for an awkward encounter is Frank Keller, who gushes over being including in this close circle on intimates, declares that he predicted this marriage, then hauls a shocked Don up into a bear hug.... before disinterestedly introducing his wife when Don inquires who she is, clearly unimpressed that his wife is short, middle-aged and not model-sexy like Don's.

Elsewhere, the varied guest list sets off combinations not seen before or likely to have ever been predicted. Bert Cooper and Abe Drexler engage in a passionate debate about Communism, observed by Stan who solved his cousin conundrum by... bringing his cousin with him! Cooper is a firm believer in the Domino Theory while Abe insists that monolithic Communism is a myth and Vietnam is simply a civil war. Stan is on Abe's side, appealing to Cooper's capitalist side by pointing out that war is a perfect for-profit enterprise since bombs cost a fortune to make and can only be used once. Cooper makes an appeal to emotion rather than logic, grabbing Stan's cousin - in his Navy whites - and asking if Stan and Abe thinks this young man will be coming home in a bag for nothing! Abe counters that he'll be lucky just to die pointlessly rather than end up like Joe Bonham!

".....I thought there were going to be girls here...." Stan's cousin finally mumbles, looking like he wishes he could be anywhere else in the world right now. A feeling probably shared by the guest of honor.

Roger pours himself a drink and is joined by Don, and thanks him for not inviting Joan and sparing him being yelled at by Jane (does she know about who Kevin's father is? Has he told her he had an affair with Joan at some point? How much does Don actually know about that?). Don points out that it should be obvious the guest list had nothing to do with him, and looks over at Megan who is reveling in her element, sitting on the couch surrounded by her own friends: artists and musicians, young people whose beliefs and attitudes must feel utterly alien to his own.

Harry Crane joins them bearing a gift, even though he admits Megan told all the guests not to bring any (I wonder why Don and Megan don't like him!), cracking a joke about how Jennifer couldn't make it because she couldn't get a date. He offers the gift to Don, telling him to unwrap it, and when Don looks decidedly uneasy at this command, offers that of course he doesn't have to if he doesn't want to... then makes it a moot point by telling him what it is: a silver-handled walking stick.

Jesus Christ, Harry.

"He got you a cane," remarks Roger sardonically, and Harry buries himself deeper by pointing out that Don Ameche (at the time close to 60) uses one! Like... because they're both called Don, he got him a walking stick? Don is distracted by Megan's laughter and Harry turns to follow his gaze, commenting with great pleasure at the combination of "negro homosexual, Canadian sexport and unaccompanied redhead". Declaring them his key demographic, he joins them on the couch.

Roger, no stranger to having a young wife with friends and interests he finds utterly bewildering, warns Don to leave it alone, saying he knows he's assuming they're all laughing about him, and that he can assure him they're not. That in fact may be worse, because it is another reminder that Megan has a life and interests that stand apart from himself. Don stands and stares, almost a sneer on his face, not liking what he is seeing, hating that he is seeing it in his own home.

The party continues on, the band playing and people openly smoking marijuana out on the balcony. The guests have enough alcohol in them to loosen up enough to dance, though in Peggy and Abe's case in a very restrained manner as if they're worried about getting TOO loose. Don has managed to rejoin Megan and they sit on the step leading into the sunken living room with Lane and Rebecca, who is impressed by Megan's bravery and endorses the notion her mother gave her that a woman should surprise her husband every day. Lane cracks a joke about having no lock on the "WC", and Rebecca once again gets the giggles. She seems like an entirely different woman to the one we met in season 3.

Pete fetches drinks for her and Trudy, and on his way back passes Roger and Jane. Roger quips they should put him on roller skates to fetch drinks, and just as quickly Pete offers back that he didn't know Roger was invited... but maybe he just showed up because he heard Pete would be there? Feeling very smug, he walks way, and Roger smirks appreciatively when Jane reacts to this odd exchange by asking the most pertinent question... is Pete going bald!?!

Pete spots Megan's friends smoking dope outside, but more has eyes for the skyline. Peggy and Abe join them, pointing out that it just seems to go on-and-on, while Trudy - who was so eager to have their initial apartment in the city - points out that even with the music you can still hear the traffic. "I know," comments Pete wistfully, clearly missing the night sights and sounds of the city that he spent his entire life living in.

Abe explains his summer has been good because it's been so bad, and Peggy has to clarify that he's a journalist. "Underground papers mostly," Abe says, not able to resist telling Trudy she probably hasn't heard of them. Betraying her own very priviliged position, she asks with genuine confusion what has been so bad about the summer, shocking him (if he wasn't judging her before, he is now!) as he explains there have been multiple riots in multiple cities. He's pleasantly surprised when she nods and admits that the police haven't really been of any help, but Pete quickly jumps in to note he was raised that sex, politics and religion aren't party talk. With a grin, Trudy asks what that actually leaves to talk about, and Pete is delighted when Peggy shrugs and says it leaves alcohol and work.

Ken and Cynthia join them, Cynthia asking Trudy which one is Jane Sterling and taking in the young tanned "glamor-puss" that Jane points out with surprise before commenting wryly,"Marry early and often." Ken admits they're thinking about smoking "tea" with Megan's friends and want them to keep an eye out for Don, and Trudy warmly agrees she'll do so... so long as he's only "thinking" about it. Cynthia though is far less conservative, suggesting they join them, chuckling that Ken gets brave when high and recites poetry, and a happy Ken agrees that Cynthia seems to like them.

Time passes, the party continues to swing, and Don and Megan chat with the "unaccompanied redhead", who is explaining that Megan was the best waitress at the place they worked together. Megan disagrees, she got the most tips which is different to being the best waitress. The redhead explains she laid on her accent thick to enamor the patrons, and declares Megan was a very good actress, which is a bit of a sour note as Megan points out she wasn't good enough.

The redhead is called away (and thus we learn her name is Julia), and Peggy and Abe come by to say hello. They compliment them on the party and the apartment, but after that the four stand awkwardly together not really knowing what to say next. Peggy, trying to fill the gap, says she wanted to make sure they said hi since they'll have to leave soon... after all, she has to go back and redo the Heinz pitch!

Don's eyes narrow, bewildered and none-too-happy that she's bringing this up NOW of all times. "I guess you already knew that," Peggy offers, again to fill the gap, and Don and Megan simply stand and stare before Megan pulls Don away. Peggy blinks, the stupidity of what she just said belatedly sinking in, made worse when a shocked Abe asks what she thinks she's doing.

"Was that bad?" she asks nervously, and Abe shrugs and admits that he's hardly one to talk about putting your foot in your mouth, and gives her a gentle kiss. Somewhat relieved, they turn as Megan calls everybody to attention, standing in the middle of the room to give a speech thanking them all for coming... and to announce that she's had just enough to drink that now she can give her own present to the birthday boy.

For Don, this is a horror stacked on top of another horror as she makes him take a seat in the middle of the room. It was bad enough to have to endure the unexpected party, but at least he could find little corners to hide away in, use the excuse of having to mingle to not spend too long with any one person... but now he's planted in the center of the room with all eyes on him. He tries to "joke" that it's time to call it a night, but a thrilled Megan sees this all as part of the fun of the evening, still positive that Don is going to end up loving this.

Megan joins the band, picking up the mic and kicking them off in French. They begin to play, and before everybody's stunned eyes Megan performs Zou Bisou Bisou. But it's not just that she sings it. She PERFORMS IT. A remarkable, deeply sensual performance straight from the heart. Playful, sexy, powerfully erotic and all for Don's benefit.... except it's all happening right in front his "closest" friends, associates and work colleagues. It's... it's really quite something.

The assembled party-goers burst into rapturous applause as the song ends, Roger whispering to Jane why she never sings to him like that, and Jane returning just as quickly asking him why he doesn't look like Don! Megan sits on Don's lap and they kiss, everybody still cheering though some look a little pained at having to have been present for such a seemingly intimate performance by a wife to her husband. Betty Draper would never have done anything like this, of course, but that's kind of the point of Megan: she's a very different generation from Betty even if they have a fair number of superficial similarities (multi-lingual, world traveled, former models). The 60s are a decade of change, and in 1966 they're past the halfway point and very much moving into a time that is becoming increasingly alien to the Princes of the City who ruled over New York in the 1950s and early 60s.

Roger takes the chance to get a little spotlight of his own, calling for a toast ("HAPPY BIRTHDAY DON!" bellows Stan's cousin immediately) and getting in a few wry little digs: he thanks Megan for letting them see the smile Don reserves for clients (big, flashy, charming... and very much put on for their benefit), and notes that the only thing worse than not getting what you want is seeing somebody else get it. People take that as a compliment, but perhaps more likely it's a dig at Jane: Megan is the young, sexy wife that Roger thought he got with Jane, but the bloom is off that rose and she isn't anywhere near the vivacious, energetic, creative force than Megan is.

Megan gives Roger a peck on the cheek as thanks, then announces that as the neighbors haven't complained, there is no reason everybody shouldn't continue to dance. She hauls Don into a dance, others joining them, and the party continues on and on further into the night.

Finally an exhausted Don is released from his torture as the party winds down at last and he is able to stagger into his bedroom and collapse into the bed. Megan follows him in, removes her earrings and pondering whether she should clean up now rather than in the morning. Don grunts for her to leave it for "the girl", and when Megan points out that she doesn't come till Monday, he grunts to call her to come in on Sunday AND Monday... there, problem solved!

Megan is amused, settling onto the edge of the bed and asking if he had fun. Wisely he doesn't answer, but when she giggles at him to move over he has had enough of letting her have her way and complains that he just wants to sleep. She keeps prodding though, good natured and unaware that she's courting disaster as she teases him that she knows he had fun tonight in spite of his reservations.

"I don't want to talk. I just want to sleep," he mumbles. In nature, the equivalent of this line would be a rattlesnake shaking its rattle, but Megan doesn't pick up on the warning. "HEY!" she insists, still happy, giving him a little tap to make him turn around and talk to her.

Knowing he shouldn't but too tired to do the sensible thing, Don turns and stares forlornly up at her, telling her not to waste money on things like this. Amused, she reminds him it was HER money and she can do what she wants with it, and that causes the bomb to drop, as he mutters that he'd like her to please not use it to embarrass him again.

Even now she doesn't quite comprehend that he's actually pissed off, chuckling which just makes him angrier, asking what's so funny. Playfully, teasing, thinking this is all just a lot of fun, she laughs that he's acting upset because he doesn't like turning 40. He snaps back that he's been 40 for six months already, a line that in most circumstances would cause utter confusion and perhaps lead to an exhausted confession.

Instead, something remarkable happens. Megan knows EXACTLY what he's talking about. "Only you know that," she sighs, actually more annoyed than surprised by his statement,"This is your birthday now."

She knows? SHE KNOWS!?! Don actually did the right thing and told his new wife his back story? How much of it? Everything? That's... that's huge! I mean sure, it's still not as healthy as actually dealing with it so it doesn't forever hang over his head like Faye recommended, but at least he isn't keeping this giant secret from his current wife!

He explains, clearly not for the first time, that he doesn't like birthdays. He never had one growing up, and never wanted one when he was an adult. Megan, for whom birthdays are a major life event full of cherished memories, can't believe that, laughing off the notion that he for real never actually had a birthday, saying Betty must have surely thrown him one. She didn't, Don insists, because he forbid it, but she still isn't grasping how serious he is about this.

He claims he doesn't need to be the center of attention, an idea that on the face of it seems nonsensical. It's true though, even if it is also true when she states he loves attention. Don likes being the center of attention at times of his choosing, when he is in his element and everybody is in awe of him delivering the perfect pitch, or finding the perfect angle on an idea, on impressing everybody with his creative genius. She points out he twitched every time she spoke with somebody else, confusing jealousy and a dollop of paranoia for wanting her all to himself.

It would be easy to believe the latter given his reaction to the party, but the fact he happily has her at work with him (imagine him ever doing the same with Betty!) shows that he's fine with her spending time with other people.... at work. At some social gathering elsewhere. Hell, even here in the apartment when the kids are here and she plays with them. But when it's just supposed to be the two of them, and suddenly other people are intruding? Suddenly he has to completely reorient his emotional and mental compass just as he was ready to allow himself to relax?

"Fine," he complains, too tired to argue and deciding it's better to just agree with her that he's not upset about his inner sanctum and place of true peace being suddenly turned into a stressful social gathering he wasn't prepared for, but just that he's turned the dreaded four oh, something he clearly doesn't give the slightest poo poo about.

"Awwwww," she giggles, still playful, still thinking he's just being a bit of a grouch but isn't REALLY upset (after all, how could you be upset, you just had a birthday party!) and leans in closely to faux moan that nobody loves Dick Whitman (holy poo poo, she really does know everything).... but SHE loves HIM. That's why she thew him a party!

That should be the moment that everything is fine. She gives him a kiss, expecting him to reciprocate or soften and admit that yeah he had a good time, or to sweep her up in his arms and make out with her. It is only now, when he doesn't return the kiss and his expression doesn't change, that she finally grasps that he really is upset, that he actually is pissed off with her despite the great party she threw for him.

"I'm going to sleep," he mutters,"You can do what you want."

Uncertain, confused, upset herself now, she retreats from the room, turning off the lights and shutting the door. Now she's alone in the detritus of their expansive apartment, what should be signs of a phenomenally successful night now a mocking mess. She steps out onto the balcony with her drink, staring out over the New York skyline, utterly bewildered and miserable. What is wrong with her husband?

Because.... yes, Don has a right to be upset, but so does she. Yes it was presumptuous of her to assume his dislike of surprises was somehow performative and REALLY he actually loved them and would love having a surprise party. Yes she failed to grasp how embarrassed he was being thrust into this unexpected social gathering, since it's the type of social environment she thrives in. But she didn't do this maliciously, she did it out of love. He doesn't like his birthday, well loving fine, then enjoy it as best you can for her and then make it clear the next day after a good night's sleep that being forced into that kind of environment upsets you... talk about your loving feelings!

All he's managed to achieve now is making them both miserable, and it's a sign that in spite of him taking some actual good, proactive steps over the last year he still hasn't done what Faye told him he needed to do. He's shared his past with Megan, but he hasn't shared his feelings. He hasn't made the enormity of the toll an event like this takes on him clear, or why it's something he has to prepare for and build himself up to. She was wrong to do it (and got plenty for warning from Peggy) and wrong to trivialize his objections, but people make mistakes and you learn from them. Punishing her is the act of a petulant man, upset at not getting his own way, and at 40 years old he should know that marriage shouldn't be about getting even for a partner's mistakes.

In this first half of the premiere of Season 5 of Mad Men, we've had a rare look at what Don Draper is like when he appears to be genuinely, truly happy. We've also seen just how fragile that happiness is, and just how easily it falls apart the moment something intrudes on his vision of perfection. Through the first four seasons, we watched Don trying desperately to maintain an image. For 45 minutes we saw what finally looked like a Don Draper at peace, only to realize that despite a few baby steps in the right direction, all he did was forge a brand new happy facade to put up to the world. Until he confronts these issues head on, he may be doomed to forever know only brief islands of happiness before his own bad decisions come back to haunt him yet again.

Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 11:10 on Sep 16, 2021

Nov 27, 2019

The only Real Science is Military Science.
Staffwork, Tables, Estimates, Maps - STEM

Yesssss! Thank you so much, Jeru!

Love these writeups so much

Oct 17, 2009

*Stupid Moddie*

Jerusalem posted:

Don prepares breakfast, and Sally isn't the only kid staying over. Bobby (yes, a new season means once again a new actor for Bobby!) and Gene are there too, Gene still young but old enough to sit up by himself and eat the same food as everybody else. They sit at the kitchen counter as Don fries up bacon in an electric frying pan, the reflected skyline seen through the balcony window indicating that this is a (large) apartment rather than a house, and that Don still lives in the city as opposed to in the outer suburbs.

We now enter endgame with Bobbys.

And what a star making performance for Jessica Paré with Zou Bisou Bisou. When you need to make everyone watching think and remember "this person is main cast" you lay that out there.

Also of note: Abe was 100% right about Vietnam.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009

theres always a lot of talk about how betty was one generation and megan is another just because theyre such different people, both from you and from other people that talk about mad men. what most people fail to put together is that theyre only born 3 or at most 4 years apart (the show gives two conflicting birthdays for megan). many of their differences are, to me, purely environmental, and signs of how access to higher education (megans dad is a professor after all) starts to influence the broader counter culture, which then seeps into the culture itself

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS




Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

With the Campbell's in the 'burbs and the Francises in the haunted mansion, ALL of the sets from season 1 are gone. How often do you see a show do that? It does a lot to give the show the feeling of the passage of time, and how time sweeps everything away eventually. The Ossining house seemed like it'd be with us forever. Instead it's been replaced by something imposing and unsettling.

I love Don and Megan's penthouse. It's my favorite set on the show. If you tried to decorate your living room like that now, it wouldn't really work. It would just look like you were trying to ape the 60s. But it feels so sleek and chic but still comfortable.

Joan's mother's personality explains a lot. It perfectly explains how Joan could be so cruel to Peggy in season 1, and how (as Peggy eventually realized to her astonishment) she was doing so because it was her way of being helpful. It's perfectly clear that Gail loves Joan, but man, you'd have to learn to think of criticism as love with her as your mom. And those asides about Joan's dad being a piece of work may help explain why she ended up marrying such a bum, when surely she could have done much better. No positive example of husband in her upbringing.

Jul 1, 2021

The rising star of GBS!

Paper Lion posted:

theres always a lot of talk about how betty was one generation and megan is another just because theyre such different people, both from you and from other people that talk about mad men. what most people fail to put together is that theyre only born 3 or at most 4 years apart (the show gives two conflicting birthdays for megan). many of their differences are, to me, purely environmental, and signs of how access to higher education (megans dad is a professor after all) starts to influence the broader counter culture, which then seeps into the culture itself

your general point is right but i think it's a bit more than 4 years. megan is (mentioned after this episode but i don't think it matters) 26 in season 5, betty i think is supposed to be mid 30's by this point, january jones is just young looking. back then especially, i think the 8 or whatever years between them was significant. betty also had access to higher education - she studied italian at college and speaks it well, so it's not just that either. the environmental thing is really the difference, though.

roomtone fucked around with this message at 13:48 on Sep 16, 2021

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


It seems he's not the only latecomer though, the only person sitting in that room is Bert Cooper.

Oh thank God, Cooper is still in the show!

Hi Hi Bertie! :wave:

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS

Julia is introduced, and her name specifically called out, in a manner similar to Megan in season 4 (Joan refers to her by name in a throwaway line that's pretty obvious in retrospect). I wonder if, when this episode first aired, viewers at the time suspected a similar trajectory for Julia, maybe entering a relationship or affair with Don later on. It didn't quite work out that way, but in reviewing the episode one can clearly see the production very deliberately makes sure the audience knows who she is.

ram dass in hell
Dec 29, 2019

posting power flows from an av with the barrel of a gun

The saddest that an episode of a tv show has made me feel before, just utterly crushing

Aug 26, 2004

roomtone posted:

your general point is right but i think it's a bit more than 4 years. megan is (mentioned after this episode but i don't think it matters) 26 in season 5, betty i think is supposed to be mid 30's by this point, january jones is just young looking. back then especially, i think the 8 or whatever years between them was significant. betty also had access to higher education - she studied italian at college and speaks it well, so it's not just that either. the environmental thing is really the difference, though.

yeah they're definitely "of the same generation" in that both of them are silents, but betty is definitely more in the middle of the generation whereas megan is almost a boomer. they're almost a decade apart. feels like the difference between someone born in 1985 and 1995. technically the same generation but wildly different in practice

Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.

Their life experiences also aren't remotely the same. Megan grew up in Montreal with a glamorous alcoholic for a mother and a Revolutionary Marxist academic for a father, while Betty grew up in an extremely average upper-middle-class American suburb with a father like Gene. The differences in their ages explains part of it, but even if they were born on the same day they'd be very different people.

GoutPatrol posted:

We now enter endgame with Bobbys.

Enter the Bobby-verse, a multiverse team-up of all the Bobby Drapers. The one from The Expanse can come, too.

Xealot fucked around with this message at 18:55 on Sep 16, 2021

Dec 28, 2006

roomtone posted:

your general point is right but i think it's a bit more than 4 years. megan is (mentioned after this episode but i don't think it matters) 26 in season 5, betty i think is supposed to be mid 30's by this point, january jones is just young looking. back then especially, i think the 8 or whatever years between them was significant. betty also had access to higher education - she studied italian at college and speaks it well, so it's not just that either. the environmental thing is really the difference, though.

I would guess that the sort of college Betty went to was more of a finishing school rather than the more typical college experience we think of today that Megan likely got.

Anyway, despite being uncomfortable, Don is a gigantic horse's rear end in the way he treats Megan here. She put out everything she had to honor her husband and he just threw it in her face and treated her like poo poo for it. The mature thing would be to actually loving communicate and respect the fact she did a ton of work, even if he doesn't like big parties. I still remember watching this live and thinking, "Don, go gently caress yourself" and my mind clearly hasn't changed.

Aug 12, 2018
Can't post for 19 days!

Betty went to Bryn Mawr, which is an elite women-only school. Not sure where Megan went. I do enjoy how immediately you can place her friends as unlike Don and his crowd without too much being said except for Harry’s jibes.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS

gently caress surprise parties though

Oct 7, 2003

I'm not ready =(

The Klowner posted:




This song has been stuck in my head since the last time I rewatched this show(two months ago when I couldn't wait for Jerusalem to finish his watch and writeups). The whole party is great but that is one standout 2-3 minutes!

sure okay
Apr 7, 2006

Solkanar512 posted:

I would guess that the sort of college Betty went to was more of a finishing school rather than the more typical college experience we think of today that Megan likely got.

Anyway, despite being uncomfortable, Don is a gigantic horse's rear end in the way he treats Megan here. She put out everything she had to honor her husband and he just threw it in her face and treated her like poo poo for it. The mature thing would be to actually loving communicate and respect the fact she did a ton of work, even if he doesn't like big parties. I still remember watching this live and thinking, "Don, go gently caress yourself" and my mind clearly hasn't changed.

How much poking is too much though? He practically begged her to drop it, even for just the night. Next morning he wouldve been far more diplomatic but he was exhausted and she just would not let it go.

I also have far less sympathy for characters that stubbornly disregard answers they dont like for ones they do. “It couldnt be he didnt like the party. It MUST be because hes turning 40. I will continue to needle him about this because I want it to be true.”

Hes an rear end for sure and Jeru is right its stupid to try and score points over your own partner. I think theyre equally culpable though. They can both go gently caress themselves!

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

I love Zou Bisou Bisou. It' s a unique Mad Men moment. What's funny is that there was a pretty large minority of viewers who hated Megan, and Zou Bisou Bisou just fills them with rage.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

Don and Megan have, uh, pretty bad communication issues. I'm OK with Don making it clear he had a bad time, since it's the truth, but when he just lies there like a rock while she kisses him, it kind of feels like he wants to punish her for putting him through this. There's no need for that.

But neither of them makes an effort to really engage with how the other person feels. There's research on romantic partnerships that shows that paying attention to and empathizing with your partner's emotions are the key to staying together. A couple that fights regularly but during those fights try their best to show that they understand the other person's perspective, and tries to make it clear they love the other person even if they're mad right now, that couple is more likely to stay together than a couple that never fights but doesn't do those things. For that latter couple, unless they happen to want exactly the same things all the time, emotional pain and resentment is going to stack up for one or both of them over time.

Don has learned SOMETHING from killing his marriage with Betty. We can see that because he told Megan about being Dick Whitman. But if there's a problem he still just wants to shut down his wife's behavior and shut down any emotional exchange. He could have sympathized with her doing all this work only for him to not like it. But she also could have recognized and empathized with him a lot more. He actually brought up his past as an explanation for why he hates the idea of having a birthday party. He never would have done that with Betty, because his childhood was so sad and messed up. That should be a signal that he was actually pretty seriously stressed all night.

All of this is just communication failure. None of this strikes me as immoral or cruel behavior. It's fixed by talking openly. We can see that Don is more open than he was in season 1, where he was the most opaque man in the world, but is he capable of a healthy level of emotional communication?

The fact that he's her boss and 14 years older than her makes it extremely hard for Megan to communicate with him too. You know, I'm starting to think this marriage might have been a rash decision.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

It's definitely a case where both of them are in the wrong, and both handle it in very bad ways. Don I think deserves the greater share of the blame though, precisely because according to his own rules and the still predominant mindset of 60s society he's supposed to be the "adult". He's older, he's got more life experience, he has the benefit of a failed prior marriage to know what mistakes to avoid and what are potential landmines. This isn't to discount that Megan is very much an adult herself, but she's coming at this whole situation from a position of,"I love him, he loves me, what better way is there to show that love than in public in front of his friends?" and of course she can't help but feel insulted/devastated for him to essentially throw that love back in her face.

Real life and relationships are complex, messy affairs, and this episode and that scene in the bedroom in particular really nail that kind of hosed up situation where you can be the wronged party and still end up being the bigger rear end in a top hat regardless.

Jul 25, 2007


God there were so many undercurrents and little moments in that party, even if you just zero in on the Zibbou Zibbou Zou. Trudy and Cynthia looking at each other in sheer pleasure, Harry just being a hilarious scumball, admiration (I think), what an iconic TV moment

and as an aside and a bassist I was salivating at that classic Fender. Nowadays something like that would cost thousands of dollars.

E: meant to say admiration from Peggy

Shageletic fucked around with this message at 15:01 on Sep 18, 2021

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013

I think the thing to do at that party would be to hang out with Ken and hope that his high poems actually are good.

Bismack Billabongo
Oct 9, 2012


Ken is definitely the best guy at sterling cooper to hang w/

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012

Bismack Billabongo posted:

Ken is definitely the best guy at sterling cooper to hang w/

It's Roger and it ain't even close

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I'm not a "man who can keep up" and so Roger's insistence on drinking like a fish would kill me in an afternoon.

Ken seems to have his head screwed on right, is generally chill as gently caress, and knows that work isn't the be-all and end-all of life. He's certainly had his fair share of scumbag moments but he really seems to have matured/gotten perspective since getting married. It probably didn't hurt that he got left behind at Sterling Cooper and ended up being one of those people who learns:

A. Your workplace ultimately doesn't care about you.
B. Losing your job doesn't have to be the worst thing in the world, life goes on and you can recover.

Sure he's in a hell of a lot more privileged position than many others and has a lot of advantages they don't to help him be in a position to learn those lessons (how many secretaries got completely screwed over by Sterling Cooper being bought out).... but at least he seems to have learned them. Him telling Don, Roger and Pete at the end of season 4 that he's not interested in risking his ACTUAL life to help the company is a hell of a moment, and one to be applauded.

Mar 16, 2001


Betty went to Bryn Mawr, which is an elite women-only school.

Not just elite in the fancy way, like actual elite in the academic way. It may have been the top school for women in the country at the time.

Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011


Wikipedia says Betty apparently got an A.B. in Anthropology (should I even spoiler this? Lol, can't for the life of me remember what episode that comes up in though. It also says the main character of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel graduated from Bryn Mawr as well, which reminds me that I've always meant to watch that since it's a period piece from a similar time frame.

Has anyone here seen it? How does it compare to Mad Men?

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012

Somewhere in season 2 I think Betty mentions it

Lady Radia
Jul 13, 2021

Despite everything, it's still you.

Blood Nightmaster posted:

Wikipedia says Betty apparently got an A.B. in Anthropology (should I even spoiler this? Lol, can't for the life of me remember what episode that comes up in though. It also says the main character of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel graduated from Bryn Mawr as well, which reminds me that I've always meant to watch that since it's a period piece from a similar time frame.

Has anyone here seen it? How does it compare to Mad Men?

it's very bad


Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.

Lady Radia posted:

it's very bad

It’s not trying to be Mad Men, for sure.

The tone is basically parodic of the setting it’s depicting, and lives or dies by how much you like or hate the protagonist’s quirks. A friend of mine (who’s himself Jewish) described it as a “Jewish minstrel show” and the accusation makes sense.

But verisimilitude is not a concern for it. MM cares about the reality of its characters and setting, where Maisel is basically a fast-talking cartoon in a magical stage play version of 1950’s New York.

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