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Vitruvian Manic
Dec 4, 2021

by Fluffdaddy


You folks know all he is doing is a shot-for-shot on the episodes.

Like, you can do that on your own and just rewatch.

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Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



First week of January is always busy with some other threads I run regularly elsewhere, Season 6 starts up again after this weekend, thanks for your patience!

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



Jerusalem posted:

some other threads I run regularly elsewhere

do you have a list? would like 2 post in more Jerusalem threads

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



It's just some regular annual polls/top ten lists I run over in the pro-wrestling subforum, very different to what I post here :)

Devorum
Jul 30, 2005



Jerusalem posted:

It's just some regular annual polls/top ten lists I run over in the pro-wrestling subforum, very different to what I post here :)

This is the crossover we need.

We should rank the top ten Mad Men characters and how they would have performed in the '97 SummerSlam.

Be right back, I'm emailing ScreenRant my pitch.

ANOTHER SCORCHER
Aug 12, 2018
Probation
Can't post for 16 days!


Vitruvian Manic posted:

You folks know all he is doing is a shot-for-shot on the episodes.

Like, you can do that on your own and just rewatch.

I’ve rewatched Mad Men enough, I need someone else to do it and give me their thoughts.

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



Devorum posted:

This is the crossover we need.

“Now, I don’t know about you, but there are some smells that I still remember as vividly as the day I first smelled them. Fresh cut grass in July, the air before a summer rain, but most of all I remember the smell of my father’s cooking. Steak, right off the grill. No matter what kind of day I had, whatever mischief I got into…I stepped into that backyard and smelled that smell, and I knew that was gonna be the highlight of my day.

Years later, I can set foot in any restaurant I please, any corner of the city. Any steakhouse or bistro. But no matter how fancy, how expensive, how skilled the chef or how strong the aroma, nothing quite smells like that, does it? Nothing quite smells like fresh home cooking, hot off the grill in the middle of summer.

…but can you smell…what The Rock is cooking?”

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Paul Kinsey: I just got a job as head writer for WCW, 2001 is gonna be the greatest year of my life!

Devorum
Jul 30, 2005



Just imagine Pete and Lane cutting promos in the lead up to their scuffle.

Of course Paul would get hired by WCW in '01. Probably go all in, too. Sell everything he owns to finance the travel to their headquarters.

WampaLord
Jan 14, 2010



A thrilling episode where Don and the others steal everything they need to start their rival organization, the ECW.

Lane fires them, they all start chanting EC-DUB! EC-DUB!

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Jerusalem posted:

Season 6 starts up again after this weekend, thanks for your patience!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Urqiqjp4SMc

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Season 6, Episode 1 - The Doorway
Written by Matthew Weiner, Directed by Scott Hornbacher

Don Draper posted:

Let's leave it where we want it.

Season six of Mad Men opens with a scream, literally. Eyes open to reveal a POV of a bald man performing CPR while what is clearly Megan Draper's voice gasps,"Oh my God," in horror somewhere just out of sight. This tease immediately disappears as the vision darkens again and we hear the beginning of Don Draper in voice-over, the camera fading back in to an extremely male gaze shot of a woman bare flesh glistening in the sun. She is wearing a two piece bikini that would have scandalized Don only a few years ago (remember when he lambasted Betty for wanting to wear a "revealing" swimsuit to the local pools?), but he doesn't even seem to notice it now as he lays on the beach reading Dante's Inferno.

The woman is Megan, of course, sitting up and happily offering a "Mahalo" to the waiter who brings her a drink, reminding him of her Suite number so he can charge the drink to there. Don's voice-over has ended due to this distraction, but he's very much the third wheel here, unnoticed or ignored by the waiter who walks away without a word. Megan asks Don how long they've been here, chuckling with obvious pleasure that she needs to avoid getting too tanned in case "they fire me", suggesting that between the end of season 5 and now she has finally found regular work as an actor..

Don doesn't answer, oddly silent as he checks his watch and frowns when he realizes it has stopped ticking. He shakes it and checks it against his ear, Megan taking it from him and suggesting it must have gotten wet. For the first time the camera cuts to a wide shot and we see their location (suggested by the Mahalo): they're in Hawaii, relaxing on a beautiful beach in front of sparkling water, the curve of the land in the bay showing a view of mountain and hotel complex both.

"Who cares what time it is," notes Megan with satisfaction, taking sip of her drink and turning around to get sun on her other side. Don simply sits, still saying nothing, seemingly content to enjoy the view, whether of Hawaii or simply his wife.

Sometime later, Megan returns to their hotel suite beaming with happiness over a dangerous "adventure", Don stepping out of the bathroom as she thrills to her journey to a seedy part of town where she purchased a couple of joints. Daringly, she lifts her poo poo to reveal her tiny bikini bottoms, pointing out that this is where she kept her money, excited herself by the "naughtiness" of what she's done, hoping to excite Don too... and succeeding. He takes the joints and puts one to the side, and she happily reminds him that while he might have smoked it before he's never had sex while high, and it's a whole other experience. Don simply beams and lays her down on the bed, clearly thinking that sex with her while sober is already one hell of an experience.

Later, they attend an outside dinner, the sun still out, watching dancers and listening to the music of the Native Hawaiians, Megan laughing happily as she sees a roasted whole pig being carried by. It's tourist spectacle of course, they and the other visitors are buying the Hawaiian "experience, the Hawaiian MC explaining with a big smile that today they're going to enjoy everything they would find in a royal Hawaiian feast.

It's laudable in a way that they want to expand their horizons, but of course it's also rich white people getting presented the most sanitized, carefully stage-managed version of authenticity. The MC offers explanations of what everything is, explaining the exact names but also turning them into jokes, all designed to present the alien in the most non-threatening and in some ways condescending way: "Ono" means tasty but they'll say "Ono I'm not eating that!" to get a chuckle from the crowd of people paying out the rear end to have this experience; see all the natural wonders of the island... by booking one of the tour guides provided by the hotel!

The couple sitting with Don and Megan explain that everything really is authentic, but they've gone that extra step to make sure it's the MOST authentic. Suddenly everything snaps into place. This isn't (entirely) a holiday, this is work. Don and Megan are staying at the Royal Hawaiian hotel because SCDP has them as a client, and this trip is them getting a free holiday on top of Don doing his "research". Clearly it's a lot more welcome a trip than the disastrous Howard Johnson's misadventure, and Megan is fully invested in enjoying every moment of it.

As the sun finally sets and the fire dancers dazzle the guests, a hula dancer places a lei over Don's head with an,"Aloha," and asks him to dance. The Royal Hawaiian executive promises Don this wasn't planned, but when Don makes it clear - not aggressively - that he doesn't want to, he quickly tells her to move on. Megan has other ideas though, excitedly declaring that SHE wants to dance. The hula girl brings her up to the stage with the others and they shake and shimmy before the delighted crowd, before the MC sees the chance for a laugh and steps up beside her, insisting she follow his lead as he rolls his hips, declaring himself the Hawaiian Elvis and with a knowing look at the laughing crowd, exclaims a happy reminder that THIS is his job.



But aside from the initial unimpressed face, Don doesn't seem resentful or upset about some guy up gyrating their hips next to his wife. If anything he just smiles warmly at Megan's happiness, smoking his cigarette and enjoying a presumably all-expenses covered trip to Hawaii, for once grateful for his blessed circumstances. When Megan returns and is suddenly approached by a starstruck woman, he simply smiles and smokes as Megan finds herself caught between delight and embarrassment at being recognized.

It seems that her new regular acting gig is as "Corinne" on a soap opera called To Have and To Hold, and though the fan assures her she knows she isn't ACTUALLY Corinne she still talks about the characters and the location of the show as if they were real places. What is an interesting tidbit when Megan identifies her own name is the nervous little side-eye she gives Don when she calls herself by her maiden name of Calvet rather than Draper. She signs an autograph for the fan's niece (I wonder if she is real?), the whole encounter just going on a little too long and getting awkward, everybody's beaming smile at the table becoming a little more forced.

Don stops paying attention (of course), turning to stare at one of the hula girls instead (of course) and in a neat little cut, we go from the Hula Girl dancing in her bikini to Megan in her underwear in their room, passing Don a joint while she marvels over the fact that she is being recognized in Hawaii by women from Minnesota. She once told a friend that she would kill to get even a terrible part on Dark Shadows, and now it seems she has achieved what her friend couldn't and managed to not only get onto a soap but hold onto her part as well. It isn't Broadway, it isn't films, hell some would say it isn't even really "television"... but she's acting, she achieved a version of her dream, so gently caress YOU mom!

Taking a toke, Don sets the joint aside and lazily, happily accepts Megan's kiss as she lays on top of him. "I love it here," she smiles, and he smiles back, and they continue to make out. Time passes and sometime post-lovemaking, unable to sleep perhaps due to the heat, Don gets out of bed and makes his way down to the bar to drink.

Once there, his peace is disturbed by a loud, drunken young man bellowing to his passed out friend at the bar. Unable to wake him, the drunk notices Don's lighter and asks if he was in the service, showing off his own, and Don simply shows his own as silent acknowledgement. Unfortunately for him, the drunk doesn't get this is a polite rebuff and takes it as an invitation to join, and he pulls up a stool alongside Don, asking what branch he was in, delighted when Don (in his first on-screen spoken words of the episode, over 8 minutes in) says he was in the army.

Confirming Don was in Korea ("briefly" is as much elaboration as Don will give), the drunk soldier chuckles that he can't help but notice Honolulu is basically the same as Vietnam (one presumes he means the heat/humidity) but he does like how friendly everybody is... he was looking for a fight after all the anti-war protests Stateside in the previous year, but it would have been awful to "show up" with a black eye.

Yes, it's his bachelor party, he's getting married tomorrow (well, today!), and for the first time Don offers something more sincere than just polite grunts, congratulating and offering to buy him a drink. The drunk insists that HE will buy one though, he has plenty of combat pay to go around... then pauses, getting a closer look at the tall, handsome, well-built Don Draper and pondering - much like the Jet Set did way back in season 2 - just exactly what Don does... is he an astronaut!?!

"I'm in advertising," Don explains simply, but the drunk has already moved on without a care in the world to another subject, slurring happily about how powerful the M2 machine gun is, insisting that he could paint this room red if you could see what the gun could do to a water buffalo!

Gee, I wonder why America got such a bad reputation over Vietnam!?!

Don asks how long he has left and the drunk assumed he means till the ceremony (0800), so he explains he means how long left in his tour of duty. He has eight months, a subject he obviously isn't too keen to talk about, shifting his own fears to his wife's instead, saying she has convinced herself that a married man has more to live for and so convinced him to marry her. The trouble is that she's from San Diego and her family doesn't approve, so she's met him halfway geographically by coming to Hawaii (quipping that he met her halfway by getting married!) but has nobody to give her away... so maybe Don could do it?

This surprises Don, and he frowns when the drunk (PFC Dinkins, he finally introduces himself, drunkenly slapping his shirt before remembering his normal name identification isn't there) quietly notes that he doesn't want a hotel employee giving her away since they "look just like the enemy". The casual racism is horrifying not only because it's casual, but because he's marrying a Mexican girl, and yet to him there is no difference between Vietnamese - ALL Vietnamese, he lumps North and South in together apparent - and Hawaiians - who are Americans, even if they only became a State in 1959!

He seems even more leery when Dinkins muses happily that one day he will be the old veteran in paradise who couldn't sleep and ends up talking to a young soldier, and he won't regret that on the day of his wedding he chose a complete stranger to give away the bride. But he's also between a rock and a hard place, it's a hell of a thing to ask of somebody but now if he rejects the idea HE will be the rear end in a top hat causing offense by refusing.

As day breaks, Megan awakens to an empty bed. She sits up, stretches, puts on a robe and steps out onto the balcony. Looking out, she spots something odd, and heads down to the beach. There she sees what she thought she saw: Don Draper standing next to a bride as a priest officiates a wedding for a man in uniform. Touched by the magic and romance of the moment (with no knowledge of the drunken origins) she lifts up her camera and snaps a photo, a snapshot in time of a magical journey with the man she loves.



This is Season 6 of Mad Men, which aired over 10 months after Season 5 ended. When that season ended, Don Draper was asked a question to which he did not respond but which we all knew the answer to. Megan had achieved her dream but at a great cost. Don was feeling increasingly alienated from the happiness that surrounded him for much of the first year of their marriage. So when this season started, there were plenty of questions about what the status quo would be, whether Don would have wrecked everything or if Megan would feel empty about her success or resentful that she needed Don to get it, while he resented her for making him help her succeed in the career path that took her away from where she made him happiest.

Instead we find them seemingly in paradise, still seemingly deeply attracted to each other, still sharing moments together of intimacy and mutual happiness, still delighted to see the other succeed or be happy. In short, they appear on the surface to be still very happily married, and the dangerous note Season 5 ended has not come to pass. On the surface. Because it's over 11 minutes into the episode, and though Don finally did start talking after 8 (outside of that initial, cut-off voice-over) one thing has stood out disturbingly the entire way through.

Don Draper hasn't said a single word to his wife this entire time.

Far from Hawaii but still in pursuit of a fantasy escape, four women are watching a performance of The Nutcracker. It's Betty Francis, Henry's mother Pauline, Sally Draper and slightly older unknown girl. After the performance, reality comes crashing down as Betty is pulled over by the police for speeding, and she is suitably apologetic, explaining that it was hard to see and accepting when the office reminds her this is why she does need to drive carefully. He admits that they do go easy on the speed limit normally, but not in these conditions, and she seems satisfied with accepting that she hosed up.... but Pauline has different ideas.

To the giggling delight of the two girls in the backseat, Pauline self-importantly points out that this is Betty FRANCIS, wife of Henry who works for Mayor Lindsay in Manhattan. The officer, unimpressed, points out that he works for New York State and they have their own Mayor, and in a perfect example of pure privilege, the woman who just tried to influence her way out of a speeding ticket is outraged at him for being sarcastic!

Grumpy, in no mood for this, the officer points out that he is trying to avoid having to scrape them off the road with a shovel and if she wants to yell at anybody it should be Betty for driving like a maniac. He leaves to presumably collect his ticket book, ignoring Pauline's self-important declaration that they be let off with a stern warning, and now Pauline of all people chides Sally for saying she hates cops, pointing out that he's only doing his job!

How the gently caress did Henry end up so relatively well-adjusted?

This has ruined everything complains Pauline, unaware of course that she is the only person causing a problem here, whining that she can't imagine anything darker than giving a minor speeding ticket after attending a live performance of the Nutcracker. "My mom's dead," points out the other girl simply, and Betty can't help but burst out laughing, causing both the other girls to break into giggles again. I don't know who this other girl is, but she's all right!

At the Francis manse, Henry is enjoying a nice beer and presumably a relatively relaxed night at home with just the two boys when everybody arrives home. He turns off the television and asks how the Nutcracker was, and both Betty and Pauline assure him it was magical. He notes his "regret" for not attending, tapping Bobby on the shoulder and gleefully saying there's surely nothing like the ballet, clearly delighted to have escaped. Bobby excitedly asks if Sandy is spending the night, and Sally fixes him with a glare and coldly asks why he wants to know. Instead of answering, he simply rushes off and up the stairs.

They all sit in silence for a few moments, and then Sally - delighted at the tension she can sense from her mother and Pauline - asks if anybody is going to say anything, taking great pleasure in announcing that "Betty" (yes, she calls her by his first name) got a ticket. Begrudgingly, Betty admits it, Henry raising his eyebrows when she says that she thought it would be for speeding but it turned out to be reckless driving. He's more vocal though when he discovers (from Pauline herself!) that Pauline tried to invoke his name to get out of it, pointing out this rarely works even for himself, and explains gently to his mother when she claims he can "fix" it that he way he fixes these things is by.... paying the fine!

An excited Bobby returns carrying a violin case, taking a seat beside Sandy and asking if he can open it. Sally, revolted by her embarrassing little brother, calls him a little weirdo, but Sandy is indulgent, Bobby excitedly explaining that he likes that it looks like a coffin! Henry is enthralled too, asking Sandy if she'd play something for them, and when she seems hesitant Betty chimes in longingly, admitting it makes her "feel so much". Even Sally, who insists grumpily that Sandy shouldn't let them force her to play, proudly explains to Pauline that Sandy will be attending Julliard in the next semester.

Pauline is impressed, noting she wished she knew they were in the presence of a prodigy, and Sandy is quick to point out that at 15 she's too "old" to be considered a prodigy. But she does deliver, standing and moving to the front of the room while Betty takes her place on the couch. All of them sit and watch, enthralled, as she plays the violin beautifully, the music filling the room, the family all gathered together (Pauline somewhat apart, Sally on the edge), the Christmas tree up, the ridiculously enormous house somehow seeming cozy and warm and inviting in this magical moment.... at least until Betty looks over at Henry and sees how caught up he is in the performance, and seems momentarily upset by it. Is she... jealous? Of a 15-year-old girl?

The music swells into score as Don and Megan return to Manhattan from their trip, lugging their suitcases through the doors of their apartment building. The doorman steps in from a sideroom and seems startled to see them, quickly assuring them he was simply checking on the steam. This is "Jonesy" - played by Ray Abruzzo, Little Carmine from the Sopranos! - the doorman, who we have never seen before but know from references by Megan to his day-drinking.

He asks how their trip was and Megan gushes over how wonderful it was, admitting she didn't miss the cold they've returned to. She asks how Jonesy himself has been, and suddenly he collapses, causing Megan to scream in horror while Don races to his side and then... stops, unsure what to do next. The bald man seen from the opening scene appears, asking Don to give him room, dropping to his knees and instructing Don to get Jonesy's coat open, giving him CPR. Don, who had to be told twice, does as he is told and then simply stands and watches, feeling impotent, watching the other man save the day. His wife Sylvie was told to call for an ambulance but Megan had the good sense to use the phone at Jonesy's desk when she hit the button for the elevator to - by instinct - use the phone in her own apartment.

Suddenly Jonesy is standing again, the other couple nowhere to be seen, and it is only too late that I realize that I didn't notice Don and Megan were wearing different clothes while he was collapsed. That was a memory, this is the present, whatever almost killed Jonesy failed and he made a full recovery, but it was purely thanks to the bald man, nothing that Don did or could have done.



I gotta say though, opening the episode with Jonesy's POV to presumably make the viewer think it was Don having a heart attack or something is kinda lame and gimmicky.

In the present, Jonesy jokes that he's back at work so quickly (so this was a relatively recent event) because his wife couldn't wait to get him out of the house. Belatedly remembering, he grabs an envelope and passes it to Megan, To Have and To Hold sent her the latest script and he made sure not to let it out of his sight. He mentions that he bought them a nice bottle (presumably as a thank you for their part in saving his life, normally it would be the tenants giving gifts to the doorman at Christmas) in case they had trouble reading his handwriting, and with a grin Don notes that he hopes he gave Dr. Rosen a case.

In Rye, Betty joins Henry in bed, making a mild admonishment that he'd decided to stop reading the paper before going to bed. Grinning, Henry admits that for once current events aren't bothering him, and she teases him saying she isn't surprised given he and Bobby had the same look on their face watching Sandy play the violin. Playing it for laughs, all smiles, she points out Sandy is only a year older than Sally so shame on him, and Henry - poor stupid Henry - thinks this is all fun and games and chuckles that nobody would blame him for leaving her for a teenage musician.

"She's just in the next room," notes Betty, motioning with her head to the side, still grinning,"Why don't you go in there and rape her?"

Jesus CHRIST, Betty!

Henry is - understandably! - stunned. Betty of course is making a point and exorcising some of her own feeling of inadequacy, her chirpy offer to hold Sandy's arms down or to take Sally for a ride if he thinks Betty being there would ruin the fun for him designed both to revolt him AND to hammer home the ludicrousness of any misguided fantasies he might be having. He does at least seem to get what she's going for - and thank Christ he didn't take her at face value and show any enthusiasm for the idea! - grunting grumpily,"All right, Betty," and she beams a big smile and chuckles at the fact he's blushing, giving him a little kiss and rolling over to go to bed.

The thing is, any attraction she saw from Henry towards Sandy was entirely imagined so her casually coarse descriptions (again, unthinkable from Betty in earlier seasons) only serve to horrify him. As she rolls over, he left sitting troubled in bed, not liking the things she said and not liking that she felt she had to say them because she thought he might actually harbor feelings for a girl practically young enough to be his granddaughter.

In Manhattan, Don is horrified to find the sliding door was left open a crack by their maid, which let a little snow get in and on the floor, though thankfully the rug rather than the carpet. He grunts that he's going to take the cost of the cleaning out of her pay, but Megan has bigger problems on her mind than snow and dirt on the rug: she only has one scene in her script, and it consists of her being dismissed to fetch suitcases.

Don points out that her character IS a maid, joking that this is more work than their own maid does (I'll wager their maid works multiple times harder than Don does in a given day) and making a joke of it, saying that if she's been sent to fetch Victor's suitcases then maybe the actor playing Victor should be worried. She can't help being concerned though, she's relatively new on the show but she took a vacation, and though she clearly loved that surely she must be thinking of her friend who got cast in Dark Shadows and was promptly written off, and fearing her own fate.

Betty heads down into the kitchen where she is surprised to find Sandy sitting up at the kitchen table, smoking. She doesn't judge her for smoking in the slightest, she's more concerned that she's sitting in the dark. She turns on the light and offers to make her something to eat, admitting that she came down to have something too but has to be careful this time of year because she is "reducing". Sandy, who came down because she couldn't sleep, says she shouldn't worry about that since she's beautiful, and Betty notes that this is a very charming thing to say and Sandy KNOWS that, essentially intimating that it's not true.

As Betty pulls out jars of peanut butter and jelly, Sandy remarks on how her (now dead) mother would wear a girdle constantly which gave her a stomachache. It bewildered her that she'd be willing to go through that pain just so her husband/Sandy's dad would "like" her. Betty sees past that though, pointing out that she lost her own mother a few years ago and so she understands that this time of year can be the hardest. Sandy offers no comeback to that, no denial, just lowers her head, for the moment just a 15-year-old girl who misses her mother.

She states she can't go to Julliard and Betty is again quick to offer her own experience as a guide, noting that though she was older when she went, she was terrified of going to Bryn Mawr, but once she got in everything changed. But it isn't the standard fear of something new for Sandy. No, she CAN'T go to Julliard... because she didn't get in, they rejected her. Betty sits in surprised silence for a moment before quietly, non-judgmentally noting that OF COURSE she would lie about getting in.

With the floodgates opened now though, Sandy unloads, a flurry of overwhelming teenage emotions that at first Betty calmly and even happily understands before she is flooded and finds herself unable to get her feet on solid ground. Sandy - only 15 - complains about how she is too old and all her chances at success are gone; bemoans how quickly people (meaning Betty) can come up with lies; admits that she didn't really care about Julliard but DID want to live in New York; complains about the cycle of domestic surrender that causes couples to abandon the city to live the same lives their parents lived in "the country" (the suburbs); waxes poetic about the "beauty" of living in the reality of the big city; longingly references what Sally told her about Betty's own past as a model and romanticizes what Betty insists was not a glamorous lifestyle; discounts Betty's warnings that the city is more dangerous nowadays; and glows with excitement about her own surreptitious visit to a building off St. Mark's Place she read about in the newspaper where the "kids" were "just living" and it was beautiful.

"Are you on dope?" Betty asks.

No, insists Sandy, but as she tries to explain more Betty cuts her off with a simply reminder that she can go live in the city in two years when she's old enough to live by herself, amused by Sandy complaining that she can't fathom waiting TWO WHOLE YEARS, a reminder that she really is just a child. Reminding Sandy that as she isn't her child Betty has no reason to lie or be blinded by love, she means it when she says from her frequent exposure to Symphonies that Sandy really is talented.

Wisely the younger girl decides to leave it at that, a nice moment and genuine compliment, seeing that she isn't going to spark the same enthusiasm and excitement in Betty that she feels at the thought of freedom and living without the constraints of normal society. So instead the two of them sit there quietly eating crackers, Betty beaming, sure she has talked some sense into the girl.



In that same city that Sandy longs to live free in, a young woman who has managed to make it returns home with the man she is living with without the piece of paper society deems necessary for a "proper" relationship. It's Peggy Olson and Abe Drexler, and oh my God what the gently caress has Abe done to his hair? He looks like Discount Frank Zappa!

He rushes to the toilet, complaining that it's too late for the Pepto-Bismol to save his stomach. Peggy wasn't feeling great herself but seems to have settled, simply complaining that eating vegetarian reminds her of Lent. The phone rings and foolishly she answers, even though nothing good can come of a late night call.

The man on the other end asks for Peggy Olson, then when he realizes it is her demands to know if she watched Johnny Carson. Bewildered, she asks who this is and he seems offended she didn't recognize him... it's Burt Peterson!

Yes, the former Head of Accounts for Sterling Cooper is calling her on the phone, and judging by his familiarity it's not entirely out of the blue: presumably he works for Cutler, Gleason and Chaough. He's sitting at home with his shirt open, underwear poking out from his pants, crumbs on his lap from the open box of crackers tucked against his side. His wife had died in season 3 when we saw him fired, and it seems he hasn't exactly figured out how to look after himself at home in the intervening years.

She asks if he's all right and he points out that he's calling her at midnight, insisting they're screwed and about to go from DEFCON 3 to 4. Rolling her eyes, Peggy reminds him she has told him before that DEFCON 4 is BETTER than DEFCON 3, but what he has to tell her IS a disaster and why he asked about Carson: Koss Headphones wants to pull the ad that CGC made for them to air at the Superbowl.

poo poo.

The thing is, Burt has no more information than that, HE didn't see Carson either. All he knows is that the top guy at Koss called him at home insisting they had to get rid of the line Peggy sold them on: Lend me your ears. Peggy is confused, what does a line from Shakespeare have to do with Carson? All Burt knows is that a comic was doing a bit about the war and something he said upset the head of Koss, and now Peggy has to change HER ad, and SHE has to be one to call Ted Chaough and tell him as well.

With that Burt gets the hell off the line, having tossed the hot potato. Peggy has no idea what to do now, asking Abe what time it is in Colorado (presumably where Chaough is?) though he's of little help as he groans in the bathroom. She has to come up with an entirely new campaign in time for the Superbowl, and she doesn't even know what the problem was with the idea they already sold.

His holiday over, the next morning Don rides the lift down from his apartment, preparing for a return to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. He smiles warmly when the lift stops and Dr. Rosen steps in, greeting him and quipping that he probably doesn't say Merry Christmas to him. Rosen agrees he can save that for Sylvie, then inquires after his holiday in Hawaii, Don smiling and admitting it already feels long ago and far away.

Rosen, perhaps purely out of searching for something to say, asks Don to remind him which camera his Agency represents, and when Don tells him Leica he asks which model will "change my life?" Don admits with a grin that like everybody else he only knows them by price, but then ponders a moment and passes Rosen his card, telling him to come by the SCDP offices since he has a closet full of them and will be happy to give him one. Rosen is surprised, insisting that he'll pay for it, and scoffs when Don points out he would give one to [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christiaan_Barnard]Christiaan Barnard[/spoiler], likening Rosen's saving of Jonesy to the first ever human-to-human heart transplant.

Still, he's not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, and says he might just stop by after all, joking that now Don owes him a camera just for how terrible that comparison was. Don suggests he come with him to SCDP now but Rosen explains he has surgery until 2, but he might pop by afterwards. Don jokes that he'll want a return of the favor and get to come to Rosen's work too, clearly holding the surgeon in the same kind of high esteem that Greg Harris once longed for, especially after witnessing him save Jonesy's life. They reach the lobby, Rosen wincing when Jonesy - who has reason to adore the surgeon - bellows out it's another beautiful day. "No good deed..." Rosen offers to a delighted Don, and then marches out to meet his admirer.

While Don is making friends, Roger Sterling is.... oh my God. Roger Sterling HAS FINALLY GONE TO THERAPY!

It's.... it's about what you'd expect. I mean, it's fantastic that he's gone, but it largely seems to be an excuse for Roger to just vent about how unfair his fantastically privileged life is. It's a performance, Roger briefly touching on things that actually concern him but also using it as a way to brag about accomplishments: his many affairs, the relative youth of his "conquests", and an undermining mockery of the entire affair as he cracks jokes and puts on a parody of the typical patient begging for help.

His psychiatrist simply sits and writes, not raising to any bait, reminding Roger that he's not being paid to laugh at his jokes, asking him questions at the right points but largely letting him talk, presumably because experience has shown him that once Roger's bluster wears out some actual truth starts getting spoken. Indeed it does, as Roger laments the ultimate futility of life, complaining that all the various doors (and bridges and gates) you encounter in life that are supposed to change you end up meaning nothing, taking you nowhere but on a straight path to "you-know-where", not quite able to bring himself to speak aloud the mortality that he fears/resents/hates.

Even then though he won't fully engage with his feelings, insisting that it isn't fear he feels but irritation, but at the same time revealing the core issue he is struggling with, that all the other things he had mentioned speak to as well: he has lost his zest for life. Things no longer bring him excitement, the various women he sleeps with don't energize him, his accomplishments no longer bring him pride, he no longer feels the thrill of the new, the pride of conquest, the satisfaction of success. He's burned himself out on a seemingly never-ending ride of getting everything his own way and now he's old (and getting older) and can't understand why he isn't happy.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Peggy arrives at work to meet with Burt Peterson, responding to his perfunctory,"How was your Christmas?" to note it was the same as the last 5: ruined by work. She asks him how his own was and immediately regrets it when he reminds her with minor frustration that he's a widower. She apologizes, neither of them referencing, acknowledging or even looking at the third man in the room, an uncomfortable younger guy who feels like he should say something but is too scared to do so.

Burt, who is looking at one of the ads from their Koss campaign in a magazine, has finally gotten info on exactly what the problem with the Carson comic's set was: it was full of jokes about American soldiers in Vietnam cutting off the ears of the Vietcong and keeping them as souvenirs.

Oh.

Of course their number one concern, and Koss', isn't the actual horrific war crime taking place, but how that horrific war crime might impact on what is actually important.... sales of headphones! Burt passes Peggy the ad, which shows a Roman in a toga listening with pleasure to a recording through Koss headphones, with the LEND ME YOUR EARS tagline in giant bold lettering above it.

Not wanting to have to waste all her work, especially since print versions of the campaign are clearly already out and about, Peggy asks what EXACTLY the jokes were. Burt admits he wasn't able to obtain a transcript (does CGC have a media department like SCDP? Do they have a "Harry"?) but he's got the next best thing: Lawrence! Yes, the poor sap also at the table is an employee who loves to watch The Tonight Show, and Burt has hauled him in to recount the comic's set for Peggy's benefit.

Now he could just tell her what the jokes are and move on, but instead he stands up like an awkward schoolkid doing a presentation, and then quickly warms up - especially when he gets some laughs for his (recycled) material from Burt - and effectively runs through an entire bit based on Christiaan Barnard until Peggy forces a smile and sarcastically asks him if he remembers the ear joke or not? Chastened, he gets to the joke about necklaces made out of ears, horrifying Peggy who asks if the comedian said Vietcong directly. Lawrence can't remember, but does remember the final joke that got the biggest laugh (and that Burt STILL laughs at) about a General yelling at a soldier who asked him to speak into his necklace instead.

Peggy dismisses Lawrence, astonished when he sees he needs to work on his performance before the Client arrives, reminding him that they're here because the client already saw the actual comedian, so Lawrence won't be getting a "second show". Brought back to earth, he makes his exit, while Peggy admits that she left a message for Ted but hasn't heard back.

The thing is, in Peggy's mind the work has been done and it's too late to change it, so they're just going to have to tell the client no they can't scrap it. Burt though, who is an Account man, quickly warns her that he's seen far too many Creatives - including Ted Chaough - get caught up in not wanting to change their ideas, but this is the Superbowl, there is too much money, exposure and possible awards at risk to let her pride in her creative work put it at risk.

"loving Tonight Show," sighs Peggy, and Burt stands up and gently admonishes her, pointing out that he thinks it's really the Army that's at fault here!

Don arrives at the Time-Life Building, joined in the elevator by a smiling young man who remarks admiringly on Don's tan and asks if he had fun. Don, who has absolutely no idea who the gently caress this is, offers the politest response possible by simply apologizing and saying his name "escapes" him, and Mr. Smiles introduces himself as Bob Benson, he works "upstairs" in Accounts, dealing with Secor, Mohawk, Life Cereal.... but "in the outfield", meaning he's the junior man who probably mostly does grunt work or makes up the numbers at various points.

He offers Don one of the two coffees he is holding, explaining he picked it up from the building next door, proclaiming what he wants to sound like a motto but sounds dreadfully practiced: that people will take a few extra steps for a superior product. Don points out that the second drink must be for somebody, but with that same pasted on smile Bob insists he always buys two because he doesn't like to share.

So Don accepts it, and something interesting happens when they reach the 37th floor and Bob motions for Don to go first. As Don steps out, his bemused smile turns to one of,"The gently caress is with this guy?", while Bob's... well he doesn't lose the smile, but the "aww shucks" quality disappears from it, and he never takes his eyes off of Don, and those eyes scream,"I'm going to work this guy to get what I want."

Even though he works upstairs and would presumably take the elevator to the next floor, instead he steps out after Don, making a point of zipping ahead to open the doors for him, explaining energetically that through "low-level corruption" he has gotten tickets to the Cotton Bowl, asking if Don playing football, essentially dangling the offer of the tickets without outright offering them (or even... suggesting they go together?).

When Don jokingly asks what's in his coffee, he pretends to be both simultaneously amused and to not understand, and it's entirely clear at this point what he is. He's one of those quasi-slimy guys who always thinks they're being way cleverer than they actually are, that their painfully transparent attempts to ingratiate themselves aren't... well, painfully transparent!

Racing after Don as he heads down the corridor, Bob steps in front of him to finally "come clean", which itself is painfully transparent, blowing smoke up Don's rear end telling him that while trying to get to know the Creative Team he found they were always raving about him, so he figured it wouldn't be a waste of time to try and spend a few minutes alone with him. Unfortunately for him, Don has caught sight of somebody else blowing smoke: Stan Rizzo.

Yes, he's just openly smoking a joint in the Creative Lounge, ignored or unnoticed or uncared for by the others in the room, including Michael Ginsberg. Don asks Bob to excuse him and steps into the lounge, declaring loudly,"I smell creativity!" Stan, who was passing the joint to the next guy at the table (so they noticed, they were just all waiting their turn!) quickly stubs it out, while Bob shakes his head with phony awe and declares how much he loves it "down here" before making his exit.

Stan (whose new beard actually suits him) declares with genuine awe that he can't believe Don is looking this good after a 10 hour flight, all of them remarking that he looks good and tanned, gently ribbing him about how much work he got done on his "assignment". Don, to his credit, stands there and lets them take their jibes... after all, he did just get to spend a few days in paradise! For them it's been business as usual, Michael (who has a terrible mustache now) seemingly preoccupied with a bet he made with one of the new creatives - a middle-aged woman - about whether mothers could hold their babies on their laps for the entire flight.

But when Stan asks him if he brought anything that might help him produce something for their pitch, Don simply says that he had "an experience" and he isn't sure how to put it into words yet. He leaves, nobody mentioning that it's kind of exactly Don's job to put experiences like that into words! One of the new Creatives mentions uneasily that Sheraton Hotels are coming in on Friday and they still don't have anything, but the others are convinced Don will come up with something. Stan meanwhile ponders longingly what he bets that experience was.... seeing Megan in a bikini.

Don is distracted again on his way to his office by the sound of flashbulbs popping. Looking to the right, he's greeted by Dawn who was watching as photographers snapped shots next to the stairwell put in between seasons, right where Joan said it should go. As Dawn collects Don's coat, hat and briefcase, she explains they're taking portraits for publicity shots: Pete Campbell is gleefully posing on the stairwell - still decorated for Christmas - as they speak, watched by Joan, Caroline and of course Bob.

Dawn explains she moved his scheduled photographs to later in the day in case he missed his connecting flight in LA, as ever working with total efficiency that he hopefully appreciates (but probably doesn't). He joins Joan who eyes up his tan and admits she is jealous, and he promises her she would enjoy Hawaii. Pete greets them too through a clenched smile, while Joan takes the chance to quietly note to Don that whether it is caused by the writers or the photographers, the smell of reefer is starting to permeate the floor.

Pete declares he's done and the photographers agree, and as he steps down to greet Don properly, something happens that Don immediately notices. Without a word, without even a look in his direction, Pete reaches out and takes the coffee from Bob who gives it up without comment, that same empty smile on his face. Don watches Bob just a moment more before turning his attention back to Pete, his thoughts back to the elevator ride and Bob offering him a second coffee and insisting it wasn't for anybody else.

Now a charitable view is that he felt it would have been rude not to offer a nice hot coffee on a cold day but... well let's be serious, we've only known Bob for a couple of minutes and it's already clear he's an rear end-kisser who wants to brown-nose his way up the corporate ladder. Either Pete doesn't see that or simply doesn't care, more than happy to have somebody bring him coffee and indifferent (or ignorant) to the clumsy efforts to manipulate him. But does Bob even consider that Don is going to have noticed? Or does he assume that like Pete himself, Don simply wouldn't notice anything going on that didn't immediately impact him?

Yep, in case you hadn't guessed... I don't like Bob!



Joan is up next, not really appreciating the photographer "subtly" leering, or calling her gorgeous and telling her to "think of important things". She's a Partner, and you can be drat sure he didn't say anything like that to Pete Campbell. She bites her tongue though and takes her pose, this is for publicity for the Agency after all, just one more bit of poo poo she has to swallow in spite of how far she has come.

Roger arrives complaining to Caroline about the shoeshine not being there, Caroline actually snapping back at him like they were an old married couple that his shoes aren't going to be in the photo. He growls at her that he wants her to call him, then notices Don and is all smiles and handshakes for "Don Ho". He looks up at Joan, sighing that he's supposed to be next but he really doesn't want to follow THAT act. Joan offers him a genuine little smile at that, Roger has "earned" that kind of compliment, the photographer certainly had not.

Pete interrupts to ask if Don has anything ready for Sheraton yet, and with a sigh asks if he has EVER returned from an absence without Pete immediately harassing him for work. Pete, not unfairly, points out that most of his own holidays are spent waiting on work from Don. But of course Pete can never leave well enough alone, and when Don simply offers a narrow smile and starts heading for his office, Pete "jokes" that Don also always just walks away. He steps after Don and slaps a "friendly" hand on his shoulder, still "joking" that then Don goes and takes a nap. He pats his shoulder and Don bites his tongue and just walks away. Pete shares that trait with Bob too, he mistakes the restraint of others for thinking he's gotten away with something they weren't smart enough to see.

Harry arrives with a TERRIBLE haircut, nothing that photos are being taken, and Roger explains they'll be done soon. Harry manages to hold his patience for all of 3 seconds and then simply barges past the photographers and Jane, zipping up the stairs quickly and complaining that they need to keep it down out there. He could, of course, have taken the elevator to the 38th Floor if he really wanted to get up there quickly, but I guess he just wanted to be a dick!

Don opens the door to his office at last and freezes, and with a little wince Dawn explains that the photographers moved all his furniture around because they thought it would be better for the photos they take of him later. Don keeps his cool but notes grumpily that he disagrees, and she promises they'll put it all back the way it was when they're done. Chalking this up to one more little annoyance of getting out of holiday mode and back to work, he asks her to remind him where he was before he left and she heads off to retrieve the files on the pertinent campaigns he was working on.

In his office at last, he stares around at the rearranged space, then steps up to stare out the window, the camera slowly dollies in on his back as he lets the sound and smell and problems of SCDP and Manhattan and New York wash away, replaced by the gentle sound of waves from the blissful time he just spent in Hawaii, trying to lose himself again in that moment, that "experience".

https://i.imgur.com/Mjutv0V.mp4

At CGC, the man from Koss has arrived and Peggy is doing her best to talk him down off the ledge, promising that in spite of the comedian cracking the joke about ears nobody else is making any connection between war crimes in Vietnam and Koss headphones. But he's in a barely contained panic, largely not hearing Peggy who had to quietly point out he's repeating some of the points she just made to him as he worries about the potential controversy, or grasping the significance of the print ad likely appearing next to articles about Vietnam atrocities for 3 weeks now without a single complaint made, because the controversy is entirely in his own head.

When Burt quickly insists they can't scrap the Superbowl ad altogether he's quick to acknowledge that of course they won't... but they need to change it, and he's got an idea: they can just scrap the clever tagline and do a voice-over talking about all the great technical aspects of the headphones! Burt, being an Account Man, casts a hopeful look Peggy's way, while she is forced into the position that would normally be Ted Chaough's, trying to diplomatically agree with the Client's terrible idea without committing to it.

The look of pathetic gratitude on the Koss man's face when she says it is a great idea is something to behold, not helped by Burt - who of course just wants to keep the Client happy - insisting that this solves ALL of their problems. Peggy though gently points out that now they'll be showing an ad where some dude is wearing a toga for no reason while somebody talks about how great headphones are. Nervously, the Koss man suggests that maybe... they'll just think it's a sophisticated joke they don't get!

Peggy, still being diplomatic, agrees that this removes any possible controversy but also neuters the joke, and a bewildered Burt - who only cares that the client is happy AND that they still get paid - asks what the hell that means. The Koss man is getting a little irritated too, complaining that Peggy doesn't know what to do (!) so he has told her what to do. Very careful to keep herself as calm as possible - she learned from the disaster with Heinz - she agrees that he HAS solved the problem... but this needs more than a solution, it's the Superbowl and they need to come up with a great replacement ad.

Trying to set him further at ease, she promises that they've made a great start with his (terrible!) idea, and now he just has to rely on her to work on that and develop it into a new great idea they all love. She reminds him that it took a lot of time and hard work to come up with "Lend me your ears".... and REALLY has to swallow her anger when he seems bewildered by this and states dazedly that didn't just just of... come to her all of a sudden!?

Oh my God she's going to knife somebody, probably Burt.

Instead she simply reminds him that he rejected a lot of ideas, and has to hold it in even more when he hopefully asks if they can just go ahead and write, cast, shoot, edit and score an entirely new ad from one of those rejected ideas before the Superbowl! She pretends like she really regrets that she has to tell him they don't have time, and then having held her temper and kept her calm, it comes time to turn on the charm, to pull a Don Draper special and dazzle him with confidence, authority and creative vision.

She weaves a spell, that this isn't about her work but about producing a great ad, and that they're aiming for a huge, drunken, male audience that he wants to associate his headphones with smiles, laughter and good times. Terrified, he admits he doesn't know how to do that, and she promises him that SHE does... and he just needs to give her a couple of days to do it. He allows relief to wash over him, oh God this disaster (that is entirely in his own head) is going to be averted and she's the one to do it. Burt leaps up with a thrilled smile when he agrees to give her the time to come up with an actual solution, and Peggy continues to radiate confidence as she shakes the client's hand as he leaves.

But once he's gone, Burt turns and quickly whispers that she HAS to get hold of Ted, and she clearly agrees, because just like Don Draper her confidence and authority was entirely manufactured to hide the terror of having to come up with an entirely new idea on short notice. She sold the man from Koss on her ability to fix things... now she has to fix things!



In the Creative Lounge at SCDP, Don is reviewing work from two of the new Creatives for Dow Oven Cleaner, pondering why they all have the word love in them. The Clients wanted it is why, but Don complains it's too big a word, looking over some of the sample art, taking exception especially to one showing a groom carrying a bride into a kitchen that.... where the oven has just been cleaned?

"This couple doesn't exist," complains Don, who once WAS that couple with Betty,"Anything matrimonial feels Paleolithic." The others joke about showcasing "modern" love instead, cracking jokes about "long-hairs" and Don complains about that too, saying he doesn't want to be like all the other advertising agencies that are currently going all in on making fun of the "ubiquitous hippies". He demands that they either come up with something that captures the true sense of the word "love" or they give up on contributing to the trivialization of the word.

As he gets fired up, laying out with his usual smooth delivery the power of love, of "eros", the difference between a husband at the door and a sailor getting off a ship, the ELECTRICITY of love, he's observed by Dr. Rosen. Meredith has lead him to the Creative Lounge to find Don, and catching his neighbor in the midst of an impassioned defense of the electrifying and exhilarating power of love, he's stopped Meredith from announcing him so he can bask in the unfiltered Don Draper experience.

Meredith holds off as long as she can before getting Don's attention, and he quickly ceases his exhortation, Rosen insisting he doesn't want to interrupt the work at least even if he knows the true experience is over now. Don promises that he was just finishing up and tells the surprised Creatives that the work is great, then joins Rosen and leads him out of the lounge, probably thanking his lucky stars that the reefer smell is gone by now.

Rosen remarks that this is quite a spread, unaware of course than until recently EVERYBODY was crammed onto this floor and there was barely any room. Don actually seems uncharacteristically nervous, still somewhat in awe of the surgeon he saw save the life of their doorman right in front of him, nervously offering him coffee before leading him on to the supply closet.

But he isn't the only one impressed, Rosen pointing out that if he looked like Don AND could talk like him he'd never have needed to bother with Medical School. Don is quick to tell him there is no way to compare or equate what the two of them do, clearly meaning that what Rosen does has far more meaning/import, but Rosen admits that while he wasn't doing that... he has to admit that part of him was hoping that Don's (very handsome) head was empty. He doesn't outright say it but the implication is clear: Don is intimidating, he's tall, handsome AND clearly very intelligent, it's hard to compare... even if you are a surgeon!

"Can't resist cutting people open, can you?" chuckles Don, heading into the closet to fetch the camera. Rosen waits patiently, openly eying up one of the passing secretaries. Don returns with a Leica M2, saying he thinks it is the best one. He only half jokes that the only he wants in return is for Rosen to perform the first successful North American heart transplant.... and then appear in a magazine ad attributing his success to his Leica!

Dawn arrives looking for Dawn, but seems momentarily at a loss when she sees Dr. Rosen, who is quick to shake her hand and introduce himself. She explains that the photographers are waiting for Don in his office (which is why he was in the lounge to be see by Rosen in the first place), apologizing to Rosen that she didn't know he was coming. Don is quick to explain it's just a visit by a friend and not business, but something... seems weird? Dawn's reaction is far more than simply a secretary caught by surprise by her boss having a meeting she didn't know about, and though Rosen introduced himself it kind of felt like she already knew him? Or maybe I'm just reading way too much into this?

kalel posted:

My read here is that Dawn is caught off-guard by the fact that Rosen isn't an account. Don doesn't really have friends, so there's no protocol for how she ought to behave in this situation, so she has to think for a second about how to proceed

This makes a lot of sense!

In any case, Rosen reveals that he suspects Megan and his wife Sylvia are cooking up something for New Years, but insists he made it clear it would have to be in the building. Don shrugs and says if it means he can keep his shoes off he's fine with that, and they shake hands and part ways. Does.... has Don made an actual honest-to-goodness new friend? In his 40s!?! Good for him! :3:

In his own office, Roger is flirting over the phone with his latest fling in her 20s, wanting to see her tonight. Whatever her job is (another coat-check girl?) is at night though, so he insists she call in sick, not exactly doing a great job of being seductive when he insists it is easier for them to cover her absence than it would be for SCDP to cover his! Yep, hard to get somebody to sit in a giant office drinking all day, punctuated by long wet lunches with clients before returning to drink some more!

There's a knock at the door and he gleefully tells his potential date to hold on before calling for whoever it is to enter. It's Caroline, red-faced and crying, sobbing that she had no choice but to disturb him. Grumpily he sighs for her to come in, telling his date that he'll have to go because it looks like something bad has happened, but still going through a song and dance of multiple sweet little "byes" as he hangs up in spite of Caroline sobbing a few feet away.

She tells him to sit down before she gives the news but he insists he'll be fine, pouring them both a vodka and at least reclining on the edge of his desk, furious when she starts to explain that his Aunt Jessica called... THAT is what he got off the phone for?



For a moment he is at a loss. It's too enormous a chunk of information to really take in. Then slowly his mind reasserts itself, and as gently as Roger Sterling can he reminds the sobbing Caroline that his mother was 91-years-old and this can't come as too great a shock, especially since she spent the last 20 years insisting every Christmas would be her last.

Caroline of course is inconsolable, recalling how polite she always was on the phone... when she could hear Caroline that is! Roger ponders what happens next, will he have to make the arrangements? Caroline offers to get his aunt back on the phone but he dismisses that, claiming she is a fruitcake who'd want to hold a seance. He asks HOW his mother died and offers a quiet,"I did ask..." admonishment to himself when he learns she has a stroke in the bathroom, that particular mental image not a particularly nice one.

But he's holding it together just fine, telling Caroline to go and find Joan because she will know what needs to be done. Collecting herself, Joan knocks back her vodka in one long gulp and starts to leave, then lunges back and hugs Roger tightly, alarming him seemingly more than the news of his mother's death. Finally she unlatches from him and makes her exit, and Roger is left alone.

"Cheers," he offers to the sky as he knocks back his own vodka. He stands there, not moving, not speaking, not doing anything. What is going through his mind? Is his lack of reaction purely shock or has even this momentous event failed to shake him out of the malaise he described to his therapist? Or maybe he's just thinking about that straight line to "you-know-where" and how his mother finally reached the end of the line... and how that just means he's one door closer to his own end.

At CGC, Peggy is making another seemingly futile effort to reach Ted. Wherever he is, it appears she has to go through a pastor to get to him, and in a wonderful bit of (one-sided to us, hearing only her) comedy she finds herself caught in a conversation where her side-comment about being a Catholic leads to her having to answer a series of questions about her parents, her lineage, her father's death and his cremation before she snaps back to the point at hand.

She asks him for the third time to pass on a message to Ted that it is vitally urgent he call her back about the Superbowl. He promises he has written that all down and she demands to know how he could have possibly written all that down so fast! This of course only leads her to be drawn into a conversation about the Superbowl itself which quickly tires her out. "Also with you," she offers back to the pastor's unheard,"Peace be with you," goodbye, and she hangs up and drinks her coffee, considering again how the hell she is going to fix this Koss mess.... and realizes her coffee has gone cold, just like her creative energy at the moment.

In Don's office he suffers through make-up, complaining that it really isn't necessary to give him a tan considering he's just gotten back from Hawaii. The photographer explains that he's backlit so it looks like he hasn't slept, not acknowledging in any way that Don is only backlit because THEY set up the office this way!

Noticing Don is rolling down his sleeves he asks him to roll them up instead, getting inspired by what he is seeing (odd that he doesn't call Don gorgeous!) and telling his assistant to forget the tripod, he wants to shoot handheld. Don asks what he should do and the photographer gushes about wanting to see him lost in confident thought, being the real brains of the operation. A little surly, Don points out that normally that would entail sitting behind his desk rather than leaning against the front edge... and the desk would be on the other side of the room!

Ignoring that, the photographer tells him to just do what he does, and with a sigh Don moves around to the other side of the desk, absentmindedly taking out a cigarette and his lighter as he does. He's not doing anything deliberately, not posing, not trying to look "lost in confident thought", but the photographer loves what he is seeing, snapping shots, offering encouragement to a model who has no idea the photoshoot has already started.

As Don lights up, he notices an inscription on the lighter,"In life we often have to do things that just are not our bag", which evidently isn't one he recognizes from his own lighter. Turning it around, he sees that the name on the lighter isn't Don Draper, it's PFC Dinkins, the drunken soldier from Hawaii whose wedding he attended as the "father" of the bride.

He stares down at it, lost in memories and thought, exactly what the photographer was looking for... until his face starts to quiver. The photographer asks what is wrong, and Don snaps back to reality, listening confused as he is asked to put his hands on the desk and give a real "I'm looking for answers out that window!" look.

Still momentarily shaken by whatever memories the lighter resurfaced, perhaps remembering that his own ORIGINAL original lighter would have read PFC Whitman (did he still have that? Did he have Draper's? Did anybody ever notice or check?), maybe simply just remembering the "experience" of Hawaii? He looks up at the photographer and asks him what he wants, and the reply is a simple one that of course simply isn't possible in Don Draper's enormously complicated life: he wants him to be himself.

At this point in Don Draper's life, does he have any idea who that actually is?



Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 21:44 on Jan 12, 2022

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



this is the first part of a two-parter so some of the questions it poses will be answered directly in the next episode

quote:

Rosen remarks that this is quite a spread, unaware of course than until recently EVERYBODY was crammed onto this floor and there was barely any room. Don actually seems uncharacteristically nervous, still somewhat in awe of the surgeon he saw save the life of their doorman right in front of him, nervously offering him coffee before leading him on to the supply closet.

Don's demeanor here reminds me strongly of a tween boy on his first date, except in reverse, because while he is very confident around women, he is utterly incompetent when it comes to making a friend he didn't meet through work. It's so adorable :3:

quote:

Dawn arrives looking for Dawn, but seems momentarily at a loss when she sees Dr. Rosen, who is quick to shake her hand and introduce himself. She explains that the photographers are waiting for Don in his office (which is why he was in the lounge to be see by Rosen in the first place), apologizing to Rosen that she didn't know he was coming. Don is quick to explain it's just a visit by a friend and not business, but something... seems weird? Dawn's reaction is far more than simply a secretary caught by surprise by her boss having a meeting she didn't know about, and though Rosen introduced himself it kind of felt like she already knew him? Or maybe I'm just reading way too much into this?

My read here is that Dawn is caught off-guard by the fact that Rosen isn't an account. Don doesn't really have friends, so there's no protocol for how she ought to behave in this situation, so she has to think for a second about how to proceed

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


Jerusalem posted:

Don Draper hasn't said a single word to his wife this entire time.

You know, I don't think I've ever caught that little detail before - Don's typical stoicism makes it so easy to overlook the lack of personal interaction of any kind during that sequence.

quote:

I gotta say though, opening the episode with Jonesy's POV to presumably make the viewer think it was Don having a heart attack or something is kinda lame and gimmicky.

It is, and I suspect this has a good deal to do with why this episode has a reputation as a "weak" season opener. (Combined with the fact that it's pretty much entirely table-setting, even moreso than the first half of S5's two-parter premiere.)

quote:

"She's just in the next room," notes Betty, motioning with her head to the side, still grinning,"Why don't you go in there and rape her?"

Jesus CHRIST, Betty!

Betty making tone-deaf attempts at humor, especially out of a deeply ugly place like assuming her husband is lusting after his stepdaughter's friend, doesn't seem out-of-character at all. Though it seems like it should have gotten a bigger reaction from Henry (Unless, of course, this has become routine in their relationship by this point.)

quote:

Yep, in case you hadn't guessed... I don't like Bob!

Bismack Billabongo
Oct 9, 2012

Wet


I love this episode and do not have the slightest clue why it takes so much poo poo from people. I mean, I get it, but those people are wrong. Will save further comment until the next half.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009







*snap*

thats going in my cringe collection

edit: this was in repsonse to jerusalem not liking bob "based" benson

Paper Lion fucked around with this message at 17:35 on Jan 6, 2022

Mover
Jun 30, 2008

Goodness no, now that wouldn't do at all!


There’s no question that Stan looks way better with the beard

roomtone
Jul 1, 2021

The rising star of GBS!


stan with a beard is much better than other stan

ram dass in hell
Dec 29, 2019

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




Bismack Billabongo posted:

I love this episode and do not have the slightest clue why it takes so much poo poo from people. I mean, I get it, but those people are wrong. Will save further comment until the next half.

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


For the record, I also enjoy this particular episode.

Mover posted:

There’s no question that Stan looks way better with the beard

It's no surprise which characters adapt very well to late 60's styling and which ones flail at hip relevance and fail (Harry Crane, I'm looking in your general direction.) More outstanding costuming all around from Janie Bryant. Here's my pitch to fashion magazine editors - when the 10th anniversary of the series finale rolls around, get the cast back together and have Bryant dress them in period fashions beyond what we see on the show. I'd love to know how she thinks everybody's tastes evolve with both the times and their lives.

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



it's because of the incredibly dumb and pointless in media res opener + the strange intercut of timelines in the scene where Don and Megan return to new York and greet Ray Abruzzi's character ten minutes later. I refuse to believe a human being cut this episode thinking that bit was good unless they were being mind controlled by an AMC exec

plus Christopher Stanley's weirdly muted reaction to Betty's horrifying remarks. her rape joke is shocking to the viewer who has gone without mad men for a year and is watching the opener for the first time, but it would be a lot more palatable if an audience surrogate could react with equal shock. again this is a problem that's easily fixed in the edit, just insert a hold on Henry's face while Betty goes into lurid detail.

however, this episode also gives us beard Stan. in short "the doorway" is a land of contrasts

Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011

“また遊んであげるわ!”


Yeah I always felt like Stan was the only character that really benefitted from the evolving trends in facial hair. Dude reads so much better as a bear or a hippie than a jock

I also love Bob but his intro with no other context is definitely "early Pete Campbell" levels of schmooze. which now that I'm thinking about it might explain why he was so drawn to him!

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






Blood Nightmaster posted:


I also love Bob but his intro with no other context is definitely "early Pete Campbell" levels of schmooze. which now that I'm thinking about it might explain why he was so drawn to him!



i immediately liked bob BECAUSE i could tell he was schmoozing, but he was A) slightly more competent at it than pete ever was broadly speaking and B) nowhere near as odious in his manouvering as anyone else we've seen do it on the show so far. he was immediately interesting to me, and in his patience with the whole situation. pete takes the coffee, says nothing and moves along with his life and bob basically shrugs and walks away. no disgusting need to ensure that there is credit given for the action, no attention drawn. a man clearly in the long game mindset.

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



I also feel like the scene where Sandy and Betty talk in the kitchen is way too long. Sandy's character in general seems to have a disproportionate amount of screentime in relation to what her character contributes to the show. It seems her only purpose narratively is to get Betty to be jealous and to realize that young hobos exist. Sandy is given the introduction and initial screentime of an important recurring character but she disappears from the show and from every character's memory after the end of the next episode. maybe Jerusalem will give his thoughts about the character next time but next time will be his only opportunity lol

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



kalel posted:

again this is a problem that's easily fixed in the edit, just insert a hold on Henry's face while Betty goes into lurid detail

I'm showing my rear end because I quickly checked and there is a quick cut like this, but Henry looks, I don't know, amused-shocked? I feel like a detailed rape fantasy joke should evoke a stronger emotional reaction, and his reaction should be the focal point of the scene. If it really is a case where Henry is used to it I'd really like a little more context in the moment to establish that

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






remember when this episode first aired and goons thought she was being literally serious lmao

KellHound
Jul 23, 2007

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

I love everything with Bob this season.

stromboni
Dec 22, 2008


He’s so perfectly off-putting

KellHound
Jul 23, 2007

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

Him hitting on Pete is one of my favorite scenes (the other being Pete falling down the stairs). Because as phoney as he is, it's funny that he thinks Pete is gay because 1.) Pete doesn't live with his wife anymore 2.) he is fussy 3.) he dresses well (I think Pete does a good job of updating his appearance without making it look like a sad attempt to look hip.) and 4.) he has a complicated relationship with his mother. The whole story with them is a trainwreck.
Anyway, there are 14 slashfics on archive of our own about Pete and Bob.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



I also liked the episode, surprised to hear it has a bad reputation, though I agree the editing is rough in parts. Also yeah, Stan's facial hair looks good but Jesus Christ everybody else's looks terrible. I didn't mention it but I love that Pete's trying to give a little more volume to his hair to keep in style but his rapidly receding hairline makes it look ridiculous.

Roger's hair change is appropriately more muted, and I like that Don's look remains timeless: same perfect tailored suits, same perfect hair, same perfect face, and how that that very timelessness may actually indicate that he is losing touch with modern sensibilities, like we saw with his failure to get a read on modern music last season. The world is changing, but Don doesn't seem to be.

roomtone
Jul 1, 2021

The rising star of GBS!


kalel posted:

I'm showing my rear end because I quickly checked and there is a quick cut like this, but Henry looks, I don't know, amused-shocked? I feel like a detailed rape fantasy joke should evoke a stronger emotional reaction, and his reaction should be the focal point of the scene. If it really is a case where Henry is used to it I'd really like a little more context in the moment to establish that

I don't know, I always thought the reaction felt genuine. If someone said that to me out of nowhere I wouldn't immediately spit out my drink and scream 'WHAT?!', I'd be confused more than anything else for a few seconds.

Also, when I heard it, I also thought - this is the 60's. I'm not sure, but I think the idea of a man forcing himself on a woman was something people joked about a lot more casually than they do now, so I doubt this is the first time Henry's heard that, just that it is the first time from Betty.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



kalel posted:

My read here is that Dawn is caught off-guard by the fact that Rosen isn't an account. Don doesn't really have friends, so there's no protocol for how she ought to behave in this situation, so she has to think for a second about how to proceed

Oh that's a really good point, that kind of makes it all make sense to me now. And yeah, it's super adorable that Don has made a friend in his 40s. He's even doing the thing where he gives them a present because he really wants them to like him :3:

KellHound
Jul 23, 2007

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

Jerusalem posted:

I also liked the episode, surprised to hear it has a bad reputation, though I agree the editing is rough in parts. Also yeah, Stan's facial hair looks good but Jesus Christ everybody else's looks terrible. I didn't mention it but I love that Pete's trying to give a little more volume to his hair to keep in style but his rapidly receding hairline makes it look ridiculous.

Roger's hair change is appropriately more muted, and I like that Don's look remains timeless: same perfect tailored suits, same perfect hair, same perfect face, and how that that very timelessness may actually indicate that he is losing touch with modern sensibilities, like we saw with his failure to get a read on modern music last season. The world is changing, but Don doesn't seem to be.

So, I actually think except for Pete looking like Pete, he is pretty well dressed. His is adjusting his wardrobe to update with the times without looking like a sad sack older guy chasing trendiness (see Harry).

And Don isn't updating his wardrobe, which we see as a good thing because that look has aged better in our eyes, but in the context of the time period he is gonna be more and more out of place for being old-fashioned

Bismack Billabongo
Oct 9, 2012

Wet


Some of the looks Pete rocks in season 7 are especially delicious. Thinking of s7ep1 specifically.

I think this episode takes a little extra poo poo from people because it is very long and nothing happens (this describes every episode of mad men) and because people’s recollection of this season is “the bad one”. It’s good though. Those people are wrong, and bad.

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



Jerusalem posted:

I also liked the episode, surprised to hear it has a bad reputation, though I agree the editing is rough in parts. Also yeah, Stan's facial hair looks good but Jesus Christ everybody else's looks terrible. I didn't mention it but I love that Pete's trying to give a little more volume to his hair to keep in style but his rapidly receding hairline makes it look ridiculous.

Roger's hair change is appropriately more muted, and I like that Don's look remains timeless: same perfect tailored suits, same perfect hair, same perfect face, and how that that very timelessness may actually indicate that he is losing touch with modern sensibilities, like we saw with his failure to get a read on modern music last season. The world is changing, but Don doesn't seem to be.

The rest of the show is a rough ride, aesthetically. This is all my personal tastes, but the approaching 70's is *goddamn hideous* to me. The clean-lined, tailored, muted look of the mid-60's is awesome, but everything gets gross from here on out. Long sideburns, weird bucket-hair, puke colors, gaudy patterns, jackets with massive lapels and fringe and sparkles...ugh.

You've arrived at a relevant thematic bit about Don moving forward, that he's trapped in a certain era and the world is changing around him. What was a smart, slick, tailored look in 1960 becomes stodgy and old and stubborn through shifting context. But the point never really lands viscerally for me, because after a while I'm like, "I know the show is telling me Don is a dinosaur, but he's the only one in this crew not dressed like goddamn poo poo."

kalel
Jun 19, 2012



that's only true for the men however. Joan and Peggy continue to look fabulous

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



kalel posted:

that's only true for the men however. Joan and Peggy continue to look fabulous

Sorry, yes. The menswear. Joan and Peggy and Megan and so on continue to look good, I agree.

Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011

“また遊んであげるわ!”


I never thought this episode was particularly bad either but I also don't really think of the two part openers as separate episodes. The back half might be my favorite just for the funeral scene alone, lol

KellHound posted:

Him hitting on Pete is one of my favorite scenes (the other being Pete falling down the stairs). Because as phoney as he is, it's funny that he thinks Pete is gay because 1.) Pete doesn't live with his wife anymore 2.) he is fussy 3.) he dresses well (I think Pete does a good job of updating his appearance without making it look like a sad attempt to look hip.) and 4.) he has a complicated relationship with his mother. The whole story with them is a trainwreck.
Anyway, there are 14 slashfics on archive of our own about Pete and Bob.


I went and looked out of morbid curiosity; apparently somebody wrote a one-off about Pete having Bob take him to a gay bar in order to do "undercover" market research for a fake brand of pomade and now I'm kind of upset that's not an actual episode

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Bismack Billabongo
Oct 9, 2012

Wet


Jerusalem posted:

I also liked the episode, surprised to hear it has a bad reputation, though I agree the editing is rough in parts. Also yeah, Stan's facial hair looks good but Jesus Christ everybody else's looks terrible. I didn't mention it but I love that Pete's trying to give a little more volume to his hair to keep in style but his rapidly receding hairline makes it look ridiculous.

Roger's hair change is appropriately more muted, and I like that Don's look remains timeless: same perfect tailored suits, same perfect hair, same perfect face, and how that that very timelessness may actually indicate that he is losing touch with modern sensibilities, like we saw with his failure to get a read on modern music last season. The world is changing, but Don doesn't seem to be.

I would tread lightly here BUT bloggers Tom and Lorenzo do fashion analysis of every episode of the last four seasons as well as season overviews for the first three seasons. They can be pretty interesting IMO. I am linking the oldest entries first so you can avoid spoilers.

https://tomandlorenzo.com/tag/mad-style/page/3/

The recaps can be a bit spoilery and sometimes the screen caps that accompany them will have important moments in them so maybe wait until you’re done. 🤷🏻‍♂️

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