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Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012



Sash! posted:

Before about 1985, that was just the general background smell of society. Everything reeked of cigarette smoke. Literally everything.

I miss it so bad. Smoking in bars smoking in restaurants. It was great

The Klowner posted:

Cigarettes and alcohol are the two worst inventions mankind has ever created. This includes the atomic bomb, capitalism, and Crazy Frog's rendition of "Axel F"

Alcohols invention and use predates agriculture. And is a driving force in the spread of agriculture to other societal groups.

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JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


My grandmother's house smelled like cigarette smoke for so long, I assumed it was a testament to how much she smoked in the twenty-odd years before she quit.

Only two or three years ago, after she got the cancer diagnosis, did the smell finally begin to dissipate, and I realized she'd still been smoking in secret since the mid 90's. Took the shock of "this is actively killing you" for her to kick the habit.

Shimrra Jamaane
Aug 9, 2007

Obscure to all except those well-versed in Yuuzhan Vong lore.


And now smoking is back on the rise among kids because of ecigs because ultimately we’ve learned nothing and as long as the poison tastes good it’s hard to get people to care.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Vaping is like 1% as deadly as smoking isn't it?

McSpanky
Jan 16, 2005








sebmojo posted:

Vaping is like 1% as deadly as smoking isn't it?

Most probably on the balance, but vaping harmful chemicals is hardly less dangerous than smoking them. Easier to remove from the mix than all the poisons generated by burning tobacco, at least.

Jury's still out on long-term consequences though, a fraction of vape users have been doing it for a fraction of the time tobacco smokers have.

pentyne
Nov 7, 2012

I just couldn't look at your old avatar anymore
Fucking nauseating!


sebmojo posted:

Vaping is like 1% as deadly as smoking isn't it?

Depends, the quality control and regulations for vape juice are so low you get stuff put to market that basically wrecks people's lungs. It's called popcorn lung, not sure why.

In general it's going to be real interesting when studying the effects of long term, extremely extreme nicotine use, as one of the habits from the heavy users is to buy the highest nicotine content juice, then buy concentrated nicotine "juice" and mix it to boost the nicotine content of their vape fluids.

It took nearly 50, 60 years of the entire world habitually smoking packs a day before there was enough evidence to link smoking to lung cancer. Vaping is going to take a while for any statistically significant evidence to emerge.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Season 3 Retrospective

Season 3 of Mad Men starts having crossed the hump, figuratively speaking. After a magnificent first season, the second season was all above proving this wasn't a fluke, not a one-off that left Matthew Weiner now scrambling to figure out how to go on from here. By the end of season 2, it has become clear the show is here to stay, that this isn't going to end up one of those series that ends up a footnote in history, or a barely remembered blip reduced to an annoying trivia question.

So it somewhat ironic (but to the show's benefit) that season 3 is about how everything is changing, often in spite of increasingly desperate attempts to maintain a status quo. This is evident from the first episode and remains a fixture of the season right up to the astonishing final episode where everything finally, inevitably and irrevocably changes. When those final changes come, they are shocking to the characters and shocking to the viewers... but they have not come out of nowhere, they have been gradually built to and developed across the course of roughly six months of show time.

At the end of season 2, we saw Don Draper reunited with his family thanks to Betty Draper's need (and desire) for stability in an increasingly chaotic world. Not only was she pregnant, but America was convinced the world was on the brink of collapse thanks to the Cuban Missile Crisis. For the first time in her marriage, she had experienced a period of actual separation from Don. Not necessarily independence, but life was continuing without him in it and she had come to the - shocking to her - conclusion that life wasn't all that much different without him. Then the crisis happened, the pregnancy came, Don showed back up begging to be allowed back into the marriage, and she capitulated.

So where does season 3 start? With things essentially back to the way they were. The Crisis ended, the world kept going, Betty is heavily pregnant but life is going on in much the same way it always had. Don seems to have learned his lesson, being more present at home, not spending overnights in the city (and certainly not without letting Betty know first), of seemingly having settled down. Before that first episode is done though we see that Don hasn't changed his ways in the slightest despite his close-call from season 2. Instead he's just gotten better at hiding them, indulging in one-night-stands while on business trips out of town, forgoing (at least at the start) the more involved affairs with women who fascinate or challenge him and settling on banging stewardesses.

The first episode of the season ends with Don lying on the bed with his wife, his adoring daughter playing on the bed with a pin she found and assumed was a gift for her rather than a missed piece of evidence of his infidelity. Just as in prior seasons, Don's infidelity is right there in plain sight, and it doesn't appear to bother him in the slightest that it is so open, partly because he holds an at best unconscious contempt for his wife's ability to figure these things out. He still takes his affairs as somehow a right. But even in this first episode when the status quo is still at its firmest, we are seeing signs that things are starting to crack. When Betty lovingly tells Sally the story of when she was born, and how heroic and charming daddy was, Don at least appears to feel, even if only temporarily, some level of guilt.

Now consider the final episode of the season. Don has been kicked out of the house, his wife is going to Reno with another man in order to divorce Don and marry him, and Betty - adoring Betty - has told him in as plain terms as possible the simple fact that she just doesn't love him any more. Getting from one point to the other is a radical shift, but just as it does with other aspects of change, season 3 makes the shift feel completely natural and often long overdue. Don thought things could go on just as they always had, and in this season that mentality is evident everywhere as the cultural shifts of the 1960s start affecting every aspect of both work and home life for these characters. Don's rude awakening is one felt by many in society at that time. It would be another year before the song came out, but Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changing" sums things up nicely: change is coming, and it cannot be stopped.



Consider Sterling Cooper itself. At the end of season 2, it had been sold to Putnam, Powell & Lowe and Duck Phillips had tried (and failed spectacularly) to bring Don Draper to heel. Season 3 opens with things seemingly largely running as before, but with a few obvious changes that are endlessly frustrating to those who work there.

Joan remains in charge of the office itself, but is wrapping up her own employment voluntarily and her replacement is an unctuous little toadie from PPL who clearly wants to change things up (and take advantage of any secretary he can "charm"). Don maintained his position and saw off Duck (who fell so far that we don't actually learn what happened to him for several episodes) but now finds himself having to be more involved in the administrative side of things: firings, client meetings etc that get in the way of what he considers his actual work.

Cooper is making the best of things and Roger seems largely happy with the way things are, though that will quickly change. The copywriters and accounts men who managed to keep their jobs are happy to have done so, but also irritated at the penny-pinching going on. And right there in the center of it all is Lane Pryce, a newcomer to the series (played by Jared Harris, which was just such a delight to discover) as an eternal reminder that even if things largely seem the same things HAVE changed.

For Sterling Cooper, further change keeps being threatened but never really quite seeming to come, until the final episode where change comes "fast" (after months of build-up) and for many without warning. The Head of Accounts is replaced by Pete and Ken in an ill-advised "contest", but while Pete seethes about it life seems to go on exactly the same for the rest of the season until suddenly it doesn't. After all, along with Peggy, Pete gets offered a good job AND opportunity at Grey and both are actively pursued. But while they do consider the idea they seem reluctant to step away from their positions at Sterling Cooper even if they often complain about them... at least not until it seems inevitable that they either jump or get pushed.

In any case, why not stay? After all, change never ACTUALLY seems to come, right? A wildly all-encompassing mid-season reorganization is nipped in the bud at the very last second thanks to a horrifying (and hilarious) workplace accident. Harry's "promotion" is sidelined and he continues to beaver away doing what he does knowing that nobody really understands or appreciates it. Roger grasps too late that he isn't considered excess to requirements... he simply isn't considered at all.

Then there is Lane Pryce. He gets a hell of a wake-up call about how he is perceived when he discovers he is being thoughtlessly carted off to Bombay only to be saved by that same accident... but then almost immediately falls back into being the good company man and somehow expecting his loyalty to be rewarded. A line to Don after being saved from his fate is to liken himself to Tom Sawyer attending his own funeral, and how it made him realize this isn't the legacy he wanted to leave behind. So why does he keep carrying water for PPL almost to the last, only making his jump AFTER getting it straight from the horse's mouth that they couldn't care less about what happens to him?

Because for all his talk about how he appreciates being outside of the stuffy and repressed class system of Britain, Lane still appears to believe that said system will also continue to protect him. The Bombay assignment filled him with horror, but when he learns that Sterling Cooper is for sale, he appears to assume much like his wife that once the sale is complete he will simply return in triumph to England where some new role will be found for him. After all, it is acknowledged that his gutting of Sterling Cooper's expenses helped make it a attractive proposition for a sale. He doesn't exactly relish the thought of returning to London, but he also assumes there will always be a place for him. After all, he went to the right school, you can tell by the tie he wears!

It takes the utter indifference and frankly presumptuous attitude of Saint John Powell for Lane to belatedly realize once and for all that his masters don't care for him or about him. Hell, they probably don't even think of him. When he asks "SinJin" what will become of him, Saint John Powell's reaction seems to be that the thought is only occuring to him for the first time now, and he simply offers that he guesses he'll work for McCann now? Before offering a condescending and empty assurance that he'll be sure to quickly make himself irreplaceable.... after Saint John Powell already tried to replace him once and then just cast him aside without a thought!



Change is forced on Lane Pryce, just like it is forced on many of the characters in this show who have - either thanks to birth, success or pure virtue of being white males - largely gotten their own way for most of their lives. But while those in positions of privilege might resist it, they still sit in positions that largely allow them to benefit even in a culture and society that is changing. Change also hits those with less privilege too, and they are less well equipped (or allowed) to deal with that.

Consider those at Sterling Cooper who were NOT included in the "heist" and get left hanging in the wind. The secretaries, the Art Department (more on Sal later), the Accounts men deemed not vital enough to grab like Paul or Smitty or Dale. Guys who worked hard from nothing to be something like Ken Cosgrove, who did everything he was told and succeeded at it... and then got left in the lurch. Hell even John Hooker, the unctuous little toadie who quite frankly was just doing exactly the job that was expected and required of him, and was detested even by his own masters for it.

How does Sterling Cooper's sale (and probable closure in the wake of the gutting and the PPL purchase) impact the building itself? Does Hollis lose his job as an elevator operator now that the main tenant of the building is gone and they possibly need to downsize? Change is impacting those at the top, and hopefully leading to a fairer (sadly, not fair) society, but the ones who suffer the most initially are usually those who weren't getting the most benefit in the first place.

That's best demonstrated by the historic backdrop going on that can't be ignored (despite the best efforts of those in charge): the Civil Rights movement. It permeates the season, bubbling to the surface every so often before dropping back down. Paul Kinsey never once mentions it that I can recall, despite being so gung-ho about equality last season before getting dumped by his black girlfriend. But it is there, and shockingly it is Pete of all people who appears to be considering it from the most "progressive" point of view.

Progressive in the sense that Pete seems to somehow understand in a way that his "smarter" and more "sensible" colleagues and superiors do not: money is money. Pete sees that the "negro market" has money to spend, and an interest in spending it on products owned by Sterling Cooper's clients. That's the entire equation for him, he doesn't need any more than that: they're buying, "Sterling Cooper" is selling... what's the problem?

The problem, of course, is good old-fashioned racism, compounded by the fact that Pete seems woefully unaware of his privilege when he enthusiastically decides to expound on equality as a given in America, and cannot seem to wrap his head around the idea that people on both sides wouldn't immediately just be able to look past prejudice to the material benefit on offer. Hollis' horror and careful attempts to walk through the landmine of his conversation with Pete, knowing that any word taken in offense could cost him his livelihood, completely goes over Pete's head. He is baffled by his client's refusal to even consider the idea of marketing to African Americans. He is frustrated by getting chewed out by the partners, and even more so by Lane at least considering the potential of the idea while Pete himself is dismissed so they can thrash out HIS idea.

Meanwhile, away from Sterling Cooper, we have Carla. The quiet, hardworking part-time maid/nanny goes about her days working for this wealthy white woman whose own concerns and problems must seem utterly alien. Throughout the season we see little moments, little nods towards the life and experiences she is having that stand completely apart from the daily goings-on of Sterling Cooper and their associated families.

There's her "confrontations" with Gene Hofstadt, prickly affairs where this relative stranger has stepped into the daily life of the Drapers and appears to view her with suspicion or make allusions to her honesty, exacerbated by his dementia causing him to mistake her for his own black maid... and this is certainly not the first time Carla has experienced a white man mistaking her for another black woman.

Throughout the season she is exposed to the drama and failings of the Draper marriage, and like Hollis has to carefully walk that fine line between not offending a white person while also not letting themselves get dragged in enough to be involved... because she knows SHE will be the one to suffer for it. She knows there is something going on between Betty and Henry long before Don ever does, but while she disapproves she doesn't say anything. She clearly doesn't particularly like that the Drapers don't regularly attend Church but doesn't make any (verbal) judgement even when Sally raises the point. She dutifully watches over Bobby and Sally when Betty leaves for Reno to get a divorce, and surely she has thoughts on that breaking up of marriage vows made before God.

Where we do see her react is in those fleeting moments where the Civil Rights Movement bubbles to the surface. She keeps her face blank when she overhears wealthy housewives chattily turning the entire Southern States into the punchline of a joke when people are being beaten and murdered there for daring to not wanting to be treated as subhuman for the color of their skin. But her emotions are clear when she listens to the news reports of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombings, emotions she has to try and put on hold when Betty arrives, emotions she definitely has to hold down when Betty declares that sad as it might be, tragedies like this mean maybe it isn't "time" for a Civil Rights discussion, as if Americans should wait for people to stop being murderous assholes before making them confront reality (:sigh:). She's told this by a woman who sat and laughed without a concern in the world on Derby Day watching Roger Sterling in black face singing a minstrel song to his young wife.

It takes a national tragedy for the divide between Betty and Carla to be broken down, though of course only temporarily. When JFK is assassinated, Carla arrives at the Draper home for her usual work but there isn't even the thought or suggestion from either of them to do anything but take in the horror of what has happened. Color is forgotten for at least a moment for two American women to mourn the death of their President. They are equals in that moment, peers, wealth and color are irrelevant in the face of the tragedy, and it is sad that it takes something this monumental for them to forget the artificial barriers put between them by history, society and culture. As Miss Farrell notes to Don earlier in the season, people don't start with these prejudices, they learn them.



There isn't just changes on the radar for race though, but gender as well. Women in this season have an interesting time of it, in both the negative and positive sense. When Mad Men first started, there was criticism (and plaudits from ENTIRELY the wrong kind of people) about how women were treated in the show. Was it simply just a reflection of the attitudes at the time or was the show reveling just a bit too much in it? Women were prizes? Men openly leered at them and made aggressive sexual remarks openly. Panties were a "prize" in after-hours office games (the show actually downplayed this to a degree, Ken only exposed them to check the color rather than pulling them off entirely). Women were asked if they "belonged" to anybody, as if they were possessions or mere objects.

It quickly became apparent through season 2 that there was beginning to be push-back in society around the idea of women being simply housewives in waiting or sexual conquests to be discarded. In season 3, we see the natural progression of this not only through the usual suspects of Betty and Peggy, but also in the woman that may have been seen originally as the ultimate representation of the "eye-candy" complaint.

Joan Holloway (now Harris) achieved the ultimate end-goal that she told Peggy Olson to aim for all the way back in the first episode of the first season. She found a handsome man, she got married, she got to leave her job to enjoy a life of leisure as the housewife of a successful and respected man. She got her fairy-tale ending.

Turns out the fairy-tale was written by the Brothers Grimm.

Joan's perfect man is a disaster. A Surgeon who has "no brains in his fingers" and will never be able to climb the ladder to Chief Resident he desires. Sexually repressed, he lets his mind run wild with fantasies of Joan's experience which only furthers his sense of inadequacy, which in turn builds resentment. Convinced he can be something special, he gets moody and throws tantrums when he realizes that he isn't going to get his own way. He simultaneously resents and relies on Joan's talent and competency. Then comes his big lightbulb moment, when he discovers he can have everything he wanted after all, revealing a plan that would be hilarious if it wasn't so horrifying: he's joining the Army to become a surgeon just as the Vietnam War is heating up.

What was supposed to be a final victory lap and a triumphant exit for Joan becomes a nightmare. Her influence is waning at Sterling Cooper by design, as she steadily hands over the reins to John Hooker, and despite her declarations that she'll be glad to go, it is obvious that it rankles her to see some of the decisions he is making. It all comes to a head in her final week, when the "surprise" she knew was coming is callously revealed, the day that should have been all about her becomes a PPL meeting and the news of the reorganization hits.

With the added knowledge that Greg's aspirations have failed and she will be looking for work as soon as she is done with her big farewell, she breaks her own rule and publicly bursts into tears on the final hour of a formidable term of power. This is not the fairy-tale exit she was promised, and though she gets control and acquits herself remarkably in the wake of the lawnmower incident, it seems appropriate that when she finally goes home it is in a blood-splattered dress following a disaster that has destroyed a career.

She and Greg both share a painful experience, made more painful by the fact that Greg is incapable of seeing they have this in common. Both followed the rules. Both did exactly what they were told they were supposed to do. Both ended up having to start all over again. A couple that could recognize this and use it to support each other could grow stronger and deepen the bond between them... that is not happens with the Harrises. Joan tries. Lord knows she tries. But Greg takes it out on her, resents her, demeans her, and then is shocked when she has finally had enough and slams a vase over his head. Then, in typical Greg fashion, finds a ridiculous solution still convinced he can just magically improve.

What does Joan do? She adapts, she changes, and she takes control of her own fate. She works as a manager at a lady's department store. She makes use of contacts and cashes in on goodwill by asking Roger Sterling for a recommendation, not as a former lover but because she was drat good at her job and they both know it. Through it all, she continues to push the fantasy of Greg as a perfect husband, but unlike season 1 Betty she is fully aware of her Prince Charming's multiple flaws. She lies to others, she doesn't lie to herself.

Come the end of season 3, it is Joan that Roger reaches out to for her expertise, talent and ability. She is the keystone that makes the "heist" work, and it is proof of a reality that should have been obvious to everyone: Joan Harris may be beautiful, she may drip with sensuality, she may have been desirous of a fairy-tale fantasy, she may have equated success with marriage and unemployment... but her greatest asset is now and always has been her mind.

There is a line by Gene Hofstadt that stands out in this season. He is a product of an even earlier time, an even more repressed time. But what does he tell his granddaughter? That she can be whatever she wants to be. He seems to regret that his daughter did not know this, even if she is a product of him and his wife's choice of parenting. But what he offers his granddaughter is something that many more women were learning at this time, or were being allowed to finally express: that they are more than just their gender, that their gender should not be allowed to restrict them, that they have value and abilities and shouldn't be afraid to express that.

Peggy has been learning this and growing from strength to strength throughout the season, culminating in her forcing Don to accept and acknowledge that she is more than just an extension or reflection of himself. One of the first to see her value beyond just being a pretty secretary, Don is actually one of the last to truly accept her for what she is: one of them. Hell, even Paul Kinsey's "nooner" comment to her demonstrates that in spite of his earlier attempts to reduce her successes to her gender or a relationship with Don, he now thinks of her as "one of the boys". Hell, just the fact she is able to carry on a guilt-free relationship with Duck as two consenting adults just enjoying having sex together every so often shows a lot how far she has come in three seasons.

Betty learns the lesson to a degree as she realizes she doesn't have to stay in a loveless marriage with a man who does not respect or value her. The divorce that would have been unthinkable in season 1 (remember her reaction to Helen Bishop's very existence?) becomes first a possibility and then a reality. But forget the divorce for a second, think about the shocking confrontation where she forces Don to FINALLY tell her the truth. Think about the woman who forces her husband's hand there, the clash of head-to-head personalities that SHE wins and dominates.

That woman bears almost no relation to the wife from season 1, and yet it doesn't feel out of place. Like all good shows, Mad Men allows characters to grow and develop across time. Betty does so across the course of three seasons, she finds something that she wants and she finds a way to have it...and she does it without ever ceding the moral high ground to her husband even if she would have every right to do so. Her father told her daughter she could be whatever she wanted to be... unlike her mother. Betty wanted to be married to Don, but what she learned across season 3 is that when she DIDN'T want to be married to him anymore... she didn't need to be.




This is not to say things are just somehow magically better or perfect, or that every woman is suddenly in a position to control their fate. The point is that times are changing, people are figuring out that the old status quo doesn't necessarily need to stay in place, and what was once a given is increasingly standing out as being wrong. Take the horrible situation between Pete and Gudrun, and the way Pete's neighbor is completely blase about the actual rape and more pissed off that this might affect HIM by mildly inconveniencing him.

That's horrible, but 3 years earlier that kind of thing might not have stood out at all. Still horrible, but surrounded by equally horrible things. The growing awareness by women that they've been given a bum deal (women have known this for a looooong time, to be fair), the growing acceptance by men that hey maybe they need to cut this poo poo out, that's why Pete's actions stand out so much. He performs a monstrous act and he gets away with it, but that he does it and that he gets away with it stands out as much as it does is a good sign.

Which leads to another change, and a character who is struggling mightily with it without the benefit of society being caught up to the fact their prejudices are revolting and need to change. That character, of course, is Sal Romano.

In the first episode of the season, Sal parallels Don in that he takes a shot at an extra-marital affair while out of town. The difference being that Sal is allowing himself to finally, blessedly let down his guard and indulge in his homosexuality... only for his worst nightmare to come true and for him to be exposed to Don with the secret he has been trying to hide, repress, ignore etc all his adult life.

When Don tells him to limit his exposure, it feels like a tacit approval and acceptance of Sal being a homosexual not impacting on his abilities and skills in the Art Department. This is cemented for him when Don commends his work on the doomed Patio commercial and tells him it was the one good thing to come out of the fiasco. Sal feels like Don values him, his friendship, and the quality of his work and doesn't give a poo poo about whether Sal likes men or women (nor should he) even if they both understand others won't be as accommodating.

So when Sal finds himself the victim of unwanted sexual advances like so many women before him, it is galling and upsetting and frustrating of course, and being fired is a massive blow obviously. But perhaps what is worst for Sal is hearing Don sneer with contempt,"....you people." He is victimized yet again, this time by a friend, reduced to nothing more than his sexuality.

The last we see of Sal for the season (I have no idea if he will return in season 4 or beyond) is a sad state of affairs. He is no longer holding back his sexual needs, which in almost any other case would be cause for celebration. But he does so because he has lost everything. He repressed an essential part of himself for years for absolutely no cause, because he got fired anyway through no fault of his own AND got blamed for it as if his sexuality - that he NEVER indulged in - was to blame. He's still lying to his wife (who, on some level, knows), pretending to still be employed, hanging out at the park looking for public pickups, seemingly on a road to disaster that we don't get to see. It's a sad and depressing end to a character who deserved far better, and a sign that for all the changes in society in the early 1960s, there was still plenty more work to be done.



Finally, let's talk about Don Draper. For as much as the show has a remarkable ensemble cast, it is Jon Hamm as Don Draper who dominates and ties everything together. Though he is a man who has extolled the virtues of leaving things behind, of not being afraid of the new etc, he is dragged kicking and screaming into change across the course of the season. That's understandable, because after all why would he want things to change? Life is good for Don Draper. He's rich. He's successful. People approve of him or desperately want his approval. His creative chops are respected, his achievements are lauded. Plus he gets to enjoy both the pleasures of a single life and the comfort of a domestic life seemingly unabated even after his close call with the collapse of his marriage in the previous season.

What we see in season 3 is a Don Draper clinging to the past, which makes it ironic that things truly fall apart for him after Betty forces him to confront his ACTUAL past. The spoiled attempt at an out-of-town one-night-stand gets replaced with an incredibly ill-advised affair with his daughter's schoolteacher who lives only a couple of miles from his own house. He thinks he can still just ignore admin duties at work and walk out of meetings that bore him, despite his increased responsibilities under the PPL regime that were the result of HIS refusal to work under Duck Phillips. He treats Peggy like she's still a secretary only recently turned into a junior copywriter, and not a peer.

Early in the season he meets Conrad Hilton, who I haven't mentioned even once so far and yet plays a MASSIVE part in the season. Conrad is one of those world mover-and-shakers whose inner circle Don has been told he is being invited into... except Connie operates on another level of power and control far beyond that of local New York business and politician circles. There Don discovers that his unquestioned ability to come up with clever and creative advertising pitches does NOT necessarily mean he meets with the approval of a man who is used to getting his own way ALL the time even when that makes no sense or contradicts something he said earlier.

Don was right when he said Conrad was just playing with him, but Conrad was right when he noted that Don got exactly what he wanted out of the deal and he's not the one who allowed McCann to buy PPL. Don's bitterness about Conrad being free to come and go as he pleases is because Don no longer has that right. For once, he was the one who allowed himself to buy into somebody else's pitch. He signed the contract with Sterling Cooper to guarantee the Hilton deal that brought him so much prestige at work, but that means he's now trapped while Conrad is free to go as he pleases.

His personal life has fallen apart in the aftermath of Kennedy's assassination, now his professional life is falling apart too as he sees himself forced into servitude at a big, faceless Advertising Agency that he already turned down once before. He longs for those earlier, simpler times when he could dictate terms, when he had the freedom to come and go as he pleased. He used to have that with Betty and lost it. He used to have it with Sterling Cooper and he lost that too.

Change has trapped Don in the one thing he fears the most: a lack of options. Married? He can still sleep around with women! Has a job? He can show up late, leave early, go to movies, and with no contract he can walk out whenever he wants! All that is gone now, his wife wants a divorce. He is going to have a new employer and have to suck it up and deal with it. The marriage he has often been close to walking away from has been cut off from him, and now that he can't have it he wants it. The job that he sometimes found stifling is about to put him into the same position of everybody else: he'll have to show up and do as he's told, when he's told, and do it the way he is told to do it.

So what can he do? Late but not too late, Don realizes that all he can do is embrace change, taking Conrad's advice to not sit and sulk but to take a chance and be in control of his own destiny even if that means failure. First comes the work: he admits finally what he REALLY wants from the advertising industry, to make something of his own and to create ideas. He finds a way to take the good from Sterling Cooper and use it to build something in the image of what HE wants his work to be. He learns to work with others, to admit his faults, to extol their virtues: Pete, Roger, Peggy... he NEEDS them and he finally admits it, and it is quite something that the one he seems to find the hardest to do that for is Peggy. It stops being about him and starts being about the others with him, and he learns what too many never learn: that helping others often helps yourself.

Then comes the marriage. He accepts that he won't get his own way, and that it will harm others to try. There is self-interest there, of course, he has a new business to focus on and that is going to take a lot of creativity and energy. But on some level he must see there is nothing to be gained from trying to fight Betty outside of hurting the kids. And after all, as I have noted so many times before: Don has been willing to walk away from his kids and his wife before, it's just that now he isn't the one who gets to make that choice.



Change change change. I've said it 1000 times, because it's true. It dominates the season, it informs everything. Season 3 of Mad Men is about the long, painful change from the status quo of the first two seasons, with a backdrop of the painful changes also happening in society at the time. There is a lot I haven't spoken about, a lot of characters barely given a passing mention - Ken, Harry and Paul all play major roles in this season, Henry Francis is only mentioned in passing, Gene's time with the family, Betty's relationship with her brother, Lane's tortured relationship with his wife etc - but it holds true for them as well.

The season ends with Don's marriage in tatters but a new drive and energy in his work life as he tries something new and finds an unlikely assemblage of people to make this journey forward into a brave (and terrifying) new world with. Season 1 set the scene. Season 2 solidified what came before. Season 3 was about the change from that status quo. What will season 4 bring? I haven't got a goddamn clue, and I feel like none of the characters in the show do either. That's a little scary, but also utterly exhilarating. What comes next? I don't know. They don't know. Let's find out together.

Season Three: Out of Town | Love Among The Ruins | My Old Kentucky Home | The Arrangements | The Fog | Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency | Seven Twenty Three | Souvenir | Wee Small Hours | The Color Blue | The Gypsy and the Hobo | The Grown-Ups | Shut the Door. Have a Seat | Season 3 Retrospective

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 03:31 on Sep 1, 2021

Devorum
Jul 30, 2005



pentyne posted:

Depends, the quality control and regulations for vape juice are so low you get stuff put to market that basically wrecks people's lungs. It's called popcorn lung, not sure why.

In general it's going to be real interesting when studying the effects of long term, extremely extreme nicotine use, as one of the habits from the heavy users is to buy the highest nicotine content juice, then buy concentrated nicotine "juice" and mix it to boost the nicotine content of their vape fluids.

It took nearly 50, 60 years of the entire world habitually smoking packs a day before there was enough evidence to link smoking to lung cancer. Vaping is going to take a while for any statistically significant evidence to emerge.

It was first discovered in the lungs of people working in microwave popcorn factories, and was the result of inhaling various vaporized flavoring chemicals... usually diacetyl, I believe.

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007


[url=https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3897992]



KellHound posted:

https://www.wired.com/2013/04/mad-men-season-six-premiere/ Here. My friend transitioned after writing this article. So it's credited under his deadname. He goes by Jay now. Also, me and him watched all of Mad Men together shortly this article came out. And watched season 7 together.

Oh and this episode being his first has made them say "I think I love Stan more than warrented because my intro to him was his joke in the season 6 premier" aka the "does this make you think of suicide?" "Of coarse! That's what makes it great"

Edit: I reread the article and forgot that he refers to Pete as "Connor from Angel" :P

Is there any other show 6 seasons in that would make someone write it like this:

"Ultimately, Mad Men is roughly the same mix of familiar and uncomfortable as dinner with someone else’s dysfunctional family. It’s breathtakingly stylish, infinitely clever and quotable; its narrative clockwork is intricate and beautifully paced, and if many of its characters read as clichés, none come off as two-dimensional. The acting is fantastic, and the cinematography is solid if a trifle heavy-handed."

I'd argue not, and thays why Mad Men is my favorite show of all time.

E: the Raymond Carver short story reference is also right on point. I used to say Mad Men is New Yorker Short Stories: the TV show

KellHound
Jul 23, 2007

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

Mad Men is a show I can honestly talk about for hours and hours. I'm glad my bud watched the rest with me after this writing that article. He also made me a book jacket that is a 60s style penguin paperback cover for "The Man with the Miniature Orchestra" by Dave Algonquin

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


lmao that's awesome. post a link

Shimrra Jamaane
Aug 9, 2007

Obscure to all except those well-versed in Yuuzhan Vong lore.


Man the plot arc of Joan being pressured into sleeping with a prospective client is gonna be a whopper, especially due to her negotiating a partnership out of it

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


Shimrra Jamaane posted:

Man the plot arc of Joan being pressured into sleeping with a prospective client is gonna be a whopper, especially due to her negotiating a partnership out of it

that's in season 5 so it's kind of a ways out. Pete's miniature orchestra episode is also in season 5.

pentyne
Nov 7, 2012

I just couldn't look at your old avatar anymore
Fucking nauseating!


Shimrra Jamaane posted:

Man the plot arc of Joan being pressured into sleeping with a prospective client is gonna be a whopper, especially due to her negotiating a partnership out of it

One of the interesting things about Mad Men is there is so often a dichotomy of business vs friendships. How much each of them mean to each other, and to what levels they will let the cost of doing business and making money impact that.

Cooper always seems like the ultimate capitalist, but with a strict set of person rules for how he treats people. Everyone else is kind of in a gray area from their position of privilege/drunkenness/wealth/status etc.

I think on of the most important readings on Roger's character is when he follows Don home to eat with because he's bored. He ends up making a move on Betty, which Don blames her for. Her point "what do you want me to do, he's your boss?" is such a crucial part of any relationship Don and Sterling have at that point, because no matter what Roger does, he's still the one with the real power. Roger never even really apologizes, just gives a long winded metaphor about how his name on the door is his excuse for his bad behavior.

When it comes down to it, all the professed feelings and relationships they've developed personally don't really mean all that much to many of them when it comes to their business. Their highest concern and priority in life is the the further accumulation of their wealth and business status.

Solkanar512
Dec 28, 2006



Shageletic posted:

being aloof and mysterious is just being a pain in real life, and its cool the other characters recognize it. Imagine this dude was your boss. I wouldnt want to talk to him.

Reminds me of how the main character of The Wire is a cop who's a "loose cannon" that "plays by his own rules" and instead of celebrating that, you instead see repeatedly how loving obnoxious that really is.

Beamed
Nov 26, 2010

Then you have a responsibility that no man has ever faced. You have your fear which could become reality, and you have Godzilla, which is reality.




pentyne posted:

One of the interesting things about Mad Men is there is so often a dichotomy of business vs friendships. How much each of them mean to each other, and to what levels they will let the cost of doing business and making money impact that.

Cooper always seems like the ultimate capitalist, but with a strict set of person rules for how he treats people. Everyone else is kind of in a gray area from their position of privilege/drunkenness/wealth/status etc.

I think on of the most important readings on Roger's character is when he follows Don home to eat with because he's bored. He ends up making a move on Betty, which Don blames her for. Her point "what do you want me to do, he's your boss?" is such a crucial part of any relationship Don and Sterling have at that point, because no matter what Roger does, he's still the one with the real power. Roger never even really apologizes, just gives a long winded metaphor about how his name on the door is his excuse for his bad behavior.

When it comes down to it, all the professed feelings and relationships they've developed personally don't really mean all that much to many of them when it comes to their business. Their highest concern and priority in life is the the further accumulation of their wealth and business status.

I disagree, but it's hard to disagree without talking about things from future seasons we haven't yet touched on.

KellHound
Jul 23, 2007

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

The Klowner posted:

lmao that's awesome. post a link

Here's a crappy photo. It's getting kinda old. I might frame it so it doesn't get in rougher shape

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



pentyne posted:

[Betty's] point "what do you want me to do, he's your boss?" is such a crucial part of any relationship Don and Sterling have at that point, because no matter what Roger does, he's still the one with the real power. Roger never even really apologizes, just gives a long winded metaphor about how his name on the door is his excuse for his bad behavior.

Similar things could be said about Don and Peggy.

So much about their friendship grows between the cracks of Don's authority. The moments where Peggy breaches that, where they have a genuine emotional connection, feel almost transgressive because of the rigidity of Don's status as the boss. It echoes other ways that Don's rigid masculine posturing (or his refusal to stop being that way) damage what would otherwise be meaningful relationships...e.g. refusing to look vulnerable in front of Megan or Sally and instead becoming inscrutable, or accidentally showing his rear end to Faye and later dumping her for someone who still sees him as an idealized figure of masculine strength. "Father" and "Husband" are just other forms of being the boss for Don, and with it come boundaries he's reluctant to transgress.

The irony is that Don's most abusively mean treatment of Peggy as her boss is often followed by his most honest and kind as her friend. He tells her to pack her poo poo to join SCDP, then gives her an incredibly heartfelt reason why. He throws money in her face to demean her, then tenderly kisses her hand as she resigns. "The Suitcase" is my favorite, where he's an absolute rear end in a top hat who treats her like disposable garbage on her birthday, then shows her more of his inner feelings than perhaps anyone living, and takes her hand in a private gesture of intimacy to thank her. The logic of it is like an affair - something people literally suspect of the two - but those shadows are the only place where Don ever lets himself show real intimacy.

It's also no coincidence that one of their most honest and beautiful moments comes after Don's authority has fallen away. Working on the Burger Chef pitch, Don tears down all the walls that used to be between them. He isn't there to save her, doesn't have a better idea, isn't in charge. She is, and he trusts her. The two of them dancing to "My Way" is only even possible because of the self-effacement Don had to endure following his leave, and he's almost definitely a better person because of it.

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007


[url=https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3897992]



Now I'm thinking of what Don's authority figures he modeled himself could have been. His dad, an abusive drunk he hates, his uncle Mack, a woman beating pimp, and debonair silver haired playboy rich boy.

No wonder he really leaned into the rich inscrutable act, he didn't really have a viable model to build off, with Sterling as close as it got for him, something that lost power no doubt as Don slowly lost respect for him.

Instead he just relied on a media manufactured notion of authority, Father Knows Best crossed with How to Make Friends type of business conquering. talk about your terrible models.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Season 4, Episode 1 - Public Relations
Written by Matthew Weiner, Directed by Phil Abraham

Peggy Olson posted:

It was going great until it wasn't.

"Who is Don Draper?"

It's a question viewers asked for the first three seasons of Mad Men, even if the answer was right in front of them: he's a veneer of masculine perfection hiding a frightened little boy with severe commitment/women issues. The answer is always sure to disappoint, because the image is everything. Don Draper is a master of selling things, of giving them an enticing air and making them desirable... because he already did it to himself as the ultimate product. The food never looks as good as it does on television. The fancy watch doesn't come with a beautiful woman and a glamorous lifestyle attached. The carousel doesn't truly magically transport you to an idealized past. Don's an ad man who took it to the next level (or rather, started there and worked outwards to the exterior career), and of course people want to see behind the curtain, where they'll inevitably be disappointed to discover the Wizard of Oz is an old carny pulling tricks to get people to do what he wants.

Season 4 opens with arguably a bit of a lampshade, or a least a wink towards the audience's own common questions, by having this line the first thing heard. It's a stranger's voice against a black backdrop, before a cut to a close-up on Don's always perfect exterior. He frowns a perfect frown, not expressing confusion but almost disapproval, straight up asking what kind of question is that?

He's at lunch, being interviewed by a reporter - Jack Hammond - from Advertising Age, and he can't quite believe this is the type of question he is being asked... but he is curious, how do OTHER Creative Directors answer that question? His intention here is twofold: to distract from having to answer the question by asking one of his own... and also to get a sense of how others act. Don, all the way from the very first episode of the show, suffers Imposter Syndrome, always convinced he is one bad day away from being exposed as a fraud. Even though he's long since become the thing he was pretending to be, and turned the name Don Draper into an actual identity long distinct from the man who was born with it (and in death was called Dick Whitman and buried far from his own home and his wife).

Hammond is happy to talk, sharing the "cute" stories Creative Directors offer, like calling themselves lion-tamers. Don smirks at that, a superior and knowing look that invites Hammond to laugh along, to make him crave Don's acknowledgement and chase a sense of belonging by being "invited" to scoff at those "lesser" men who rely on such pathetic tricks.

But Don is offering nothing else, beyond that he comes from the Midwest where it is considered rude to talk about yourself. He doesn't correct Hammond noting he's married with two kids, but nor does he agree to the statement, simply asking who told him this as if he can't believe anybody would bother with such gossip. The only time Don offers anything is when Hammond finally turns to talking about his work, lighting up as he wistfully describes how his recent Glo-Coat campaign was designed to feel indistinguishable from a movie.

He wanted the audience to see a story, not an ad, and in that it seems he succeeded: he's being interviewed by Advertising Age after all, and they're enjoying lunch in a nice restaurant... it appears that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has survived their leap from PPL's all-encompassing embrace and the impending doom of the sausage factory of Grey into the perils of being a smaller Agency. Don's description of his enormously successful Glo-Coat campaign sums up in many ways what the audience of Mad Men keeps getting from this show: they might think they know what the story is about, and then some new twist comes along to put everything into a brand new context.



For the interview though that will have to be enough. Don won't be drawn on himself, only his work, so the reporter tells him he has enough for a few hundred words and a picture at least. As he is collecting his things, Roger Sterling and Pete Campbell arrive and Don introduces them. Roger is all charm of course, if his usual sardonic self, but he can't help but offer a knowing smile where Hammond stumbles as he stands. It's clear he thinks Hammond had a few too many at lunch, a vice he is more than familiar with... until he sees Hammond's foot is turned at a 90 degree angle.

There are no screams, no blood, no panic. It's clearly an artificial leg, and hiding his own embarrassment Hammond snaps it back into place, mumbling,"Korea," when asked how it happened. Pete immediately lets him know he is grateful for his sacrifice, and Roger and Don remain civil of course. Roger goes so far as to pass his business card with an aside about "bending his ear" when it is time for him to release his own book (because as much as he complained about Ogilvy, of course he wants to do it too!). But as Hammond limps away, both the older men stare after him, clearly uneasy or disconcerted.

It is rather fascinating to see that it is Roger and Don who react like this, while Pete is more concerned with having made sure to credit Hammond for his service. This says a lot about a lot of things, not least of which is the myth of the American war hero. Roger served in World War 2, and obviously enjoys, appreciates and also assumes as his right to be lauded and beloved for his service. From what we've heard, it seems he was a Navy man, and while it's never entirely clear how much action he saw himself, he DID serve. He would have seen injuries, people hurt and suffering from damage both temporary and permanent.

Don served in Korea. He has a Purple Heart. He was injured in the line of duty serving his country fighting the "scourge of Communism". That's the story anyway, and while technically it's all basically true, as mentioned above Don is very good about making people think they're seeing something they're not really seeing. In an earlier episode, Don himself admitted to Roger that the soldiers from World War 2 took "all the glory", but he's benefited plenty himself from the social cachet of his service. He too has seen injury, pain, death. He has literally seen a man's charred corpse up close and personal.

Beyond that, Don grew up poor on a farm: he will have seen people with missing digits, limbs, eyes etc. Roger tells a "fun" story about an Uncle who was missing a leg from hitching a trailer and would ask people to scratch the toes he didn't have, and in the past has told the story of his father's fatal accident severing an arm. They're familiar with amputations both surgical and non-surgical... so why are they so clearly alarmed by Hammond's lack of a leg? Especially considering Don's distaste last season for the cavalier manner in which Putnam, Powell & Lowe discarded Guy MacKendrick without a care in the world.

I'd argue it's because.... it's an unpleasant reminder of the reality behind the lie. Don is the handsome, perfect face of the valorously injured Korean veteran. Roger is the supreme confidence of the brave World War 2 veteran who "saved the world" and then came back to raise America to its greatest level of prosperity in history up to that point. But behind the facade of the heroic veteran is the reality of the cost. PTSD is far beyond the level of empathy or understanding of the time, but even without taking that into account the treatment of the physically disfigured in this time period was very much an "out of sight, out of mind" mentality. Hell, even Suzanne Farrell's brother was ostracized and put through the wringer for the "crime" of being an epileptic, complaining that everybody saw him as somehow inferior.

It's depressing to consider the people whose lives were forever changed beyond any ability to "bootstrap" yourself out of. It doesn't matter that Hammond has clearly worked hard and made sure his "handicap" doesn't stop him from being a productive, skilled asset to his business. He's "lesser than", and as Roger rather callously puts it he's not a "full reporter", by which he also means he's somehow less of a man. Why? Because he was unlucky enough to get a limb blown off fighting the same fight Roger (and Don) fought in? Should he simply hide away and not "bother" people by coming out in public?

But then there's Pete. Pete of all people - who has a bizarre mix of progressive and deeply, deeply regressive ideas - is surprised by the leg but that is overridden by what he has been taught: to value and appreciate the sacrifice of the "heroes" who fought wars on his behalf. For him there is no real difference between Hammond and Don: both fought in Korea, both were injured, both are "heroes". It's just that Don's wounds healed and Hammond's didn't (and can't).

Why talk about this in such great detail? Probably because of what I assume is the reason for putting this reporter in here in the first place. It's the early-mid 1960s. Vietnam is happening. Television coverage is about to showcase the reality of war to Americans in a far more in-your-face and constant way than even the shocking release of images of dead Americans at the Battle of Buna-Gona in World War 2.

The veterans of Vietnam will not have the same overwhelming support/love from an American public shocked, tired and often disgusted by the coverage of the war. The soldiers in wheelchairs, on crutches or missing arms or other obvious injuries would not remain tucked away for the benefit of those who wanted to indulge only in the sanitised, heroic image of the American soldier. There will be far more "Hammonds", and far less of them will be willing (or able) to treat their lacking limbs as a dirty little secret to be hidden away as much as possible.

Also... maybe Roger's just a jerk!



Despite Roger's effort to try and settle in for a drink, Pete makes them move on to their next meeting, this one being held at the Sheraton. Last season ended with Joan warning the pioneers of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce not to bring clients to their tiny hotel suite, and while the assumption is that they've since moved on from there, it seems like the days of once again entertaining clients in their own offices like they did at Sterling Cooper are still in the far future.

The meeting is with Jim and Bob (not Murray, he stayed home!) from Jantzen Swimwear, and they are VERY eager to meet Don. Don is cordial but doesn't share their enthusiasm, because they've made no attempt to hide the fact that despite their fervor for Don's Glo-Coat campaign, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is NOT the only advertising agency they have seen today.

They have a decidedly unique problem: their industry is becoming more popular. Or rather, one aspect of it. Bikinis are becoming all the rage, smaller and smaller swimwear, and it is has created a moral dilemma. For decades, they have been a family company that prides themselves on good morals. Everybody else might sell bikinis, but THEY sell a two piece bathing suit. Bikinis are underwear you wear to the beach, nothing more, and they don't want to be in that business. The trouble is, their consistent 25% share of the swimwear market is starting to come under pressure from other companies selling smaller outfits that they don't mind flaunting in their catalogues.

Roger already regrets his jokey comment about "spending time" with the Jantzen catalogue, and feels worse when they complain that they don't want theirs looking like a "girlie magazine". This is the conundrum they are bringing Don: how do they stay relevant in an increasingly permissive society without letting go of their morals. Don considers and poses a question neither can actually parse about their customers' perception of their two-piece vs. the bikini, but they take that as a good sign. This is the genius behind Glo-Coat (Murray thought it was a Y&R campaign, Murray's an idiot!), and surely if they can't understand the question that means he's smarter and more creative than them and sure to solve their seemingly impossible problem!

Don, Roger and Pete return to the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, Roger laughing that one of these "moral" men is probably leaving New York with a venereal disease. Now we finally see how they have upgraded from their hotel suite. It's impressive... but not as impressive as Sterling Cooper, which is only to be expected. It appears they have a floor in a building, but the front receptionist now sits alone in a room with guest couches instead of at the foot of an enormous secretarial floor. The first initial of each name partner makes up the logo SCDP, because it's a bit of a mouthful otherwise. The inner offices are obscured behind closed doors: where Sterling Cooper was all about exposing their size to impress, SCDP appears to be about keeping the clients in the dark about their still modest size.

Don asks a man waiting for him to wait a little longer when he spots an anxious Cooper waiting, and he has no problem with that, casting a not particularly subtle appreciative stare the receptionist's way. Inside, we get more of an inside look: the secretarial floor is back... but peppered in and around other spaces and internal sections, secretaries essentially fit in wherever a place can be found.

The Creative Department is now a semi-open space in the middle of the floor where Peggy Olson and a young man we haven't seen before are going over plans. They feel comfortable and relaxed enough to openly ask the passing Roger, Don and Pete how the meeting went... though Cooper feels just as comfortable maintaining his old position of authority and snapping at them to get back to work.

One upgrade is Joan Harris. Presumably still the office manager, she now also has her own office - not as large as Peggy's was at Sterling Cooper, but it is hers and hers alone, and it isn't a small one by any means. She works at her desk, taking notes while talking on the phone, observing the passing Partners, as always fully aware of everything going on.



Cooper strides with purpose into Don's office, Pete following dutifully after though Don can't help but notice Roger doesn't hesitate to just walk away and not be part of what looks like a trademark Cooper dressing down. Don shares a look with his secretary, telling her to count to 100 and then buzz him, obviously meaning he wants an excuse to escape the meeting. He doesn't have to be worried about his secretary not understanding him, of course, because in a rather lovely reveal we discover that it's Allison. It seems despite leaving her weeping disconsolately about being abandoned along with the rest of Sterling Cooper, the moment they moved out of the suite they made good on this one matter of abandonment at least.

Yes, it seems the only woman that Don Draper is willing to let down is the one he made a vow before God to love, honor and obey for as long as he lived!

Luckily for Don, he won't need the 100. Cooper is there to complain for sure, but mostly just so he can vent. Don missed a visit by Jeff Atherton, who expressly came to see him (the great Don Draper, architect of the Glo-Coat triumph!), leaving Cooper to give him a tour of what to him is a decidedly tiny and unimpressive office space. He made the most of it, not disabusing Atherton coming up with his own explanation for the lack of a conference table, assuming it was by design to encourage conversation with clients. He does share some of the blame himself, of course, it was him who pushed for them to get an office space downtown even though they could have gotten something larger in a less premium location.

But he won't be a party to Pete's charade telling clients that there is a second floor that only staff are allowed to use... and that's it really, he just kind of wanted to have a bit of a moan, and with that he's out the door. Roger knew it, he's known Cooper his entire life, and even Don and Pete are a little more relaxed about him now, probably due to the fact he's no longer their employer, just a partner (did they make Pete a - non-named - partner as promised?). So off he goes, and Don doesn't even remind him of a fact he pointed out at the start of their conversation... he still has no idea who Jeff Atherton is!

Left alone though, Don doesn't mind giving Pete a (very minor) dressing down more akin to their time at Sterling Cooper. He doesn't like that Pete put him into a room with clients they're probably not going to get, complaining that Y&R were waiting in the corridor to be the next meeting after they left. Pete though is far more confident in his position now than he ever was in Sterling Cooper, reminding him they've had to do "cattle calls" before and stressing that the two mid-tier Agencies pitching will cancel each other out, and Y&R's size works against it because they can't give the personal touch... which just leaves small, "scrappy" little SCDP with their trump card of being the only Agency with Don Draper in it.

Don had complained that his time needed to be carefully managed to make sure they're getting the most return for it given their small size now, and still isn't happy with what he sees as a losing battle with Jantzen... but he's also not entirely above being flattered, and Pete has actually gotten a LOT better at being flattering without being so obviously oily. It's Pete who leaves with confidence, while Don moves on to the next unpleasant task of the day: seeing his accountant.

In the creative "office", Peggy and the new guy - Joey - mimic Stan Freberg when Pete walks in carrying a single Sugarberry canned ham, and now all his swagger and confidence is gone. He informs them that it is likely to be the last Sugarberry give them, this "gift" is a clear sign that the client is extremely unimpressed with the work on offer from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

Peggy offers somewhat of a defense: Sugarberry was only willing to test in four supermarkets in Queens, you have to spend money to make money. Pete's rebuttal makes sense though, if they'd been able to make that testing work then Sugarberry would have shifted to a national campaign and the money would have rolled in. Joey's concerns are more personal, Sugarberry represents a third of his work... if they lose them, does this mean he drops down to only working two days a week? He clearly likes working there, but he needs money to live.

Pete isn't particularly sympathetic, after all it's not like they had a campaign they were happy with either: Don hated what they had. This actually goes back to his line about his time being precious now, they no longer have the numbers to carry the load and allow Don the luxury of sitting back and inspecting/critiquing and often rejecting work until it comes back at a high enough quality to pass muster. Joey cracks a joke about giving Don the ham since he'll probably have Thanksgiving alone, and Peggy isn't impressed, warning him not to say things like that and not taking the bait when Joey tries that Freberg "Marsha" line on her again.

Thanksgiving? There we have it then. It's November of 1964, just under a year since the end of the last season, close to the 1st anniversary of JFK's assassination.

Joey's right in one respect though: Don is a lonely man. Sitting with his Accountant, they're discussing things of great importance that Don simply can't bring himself to care about. On paper he's a wealthy man, even with Uncle Sam getting a taste (in February of that year, the top Federal tax rate was cut from 91% to the unbelievable, unheard of, astonishingly low figure of 70%), but he has other expenses to consider. He can get life insurance under a company policy, which will be a guarantee of money for the children should anything happen to him (certainly unlike when Archibald Whitman died)... but the matter of the house remains.

Don doesn't like this, but his accountant has a point: there was an agreement that Betty would be out of their Ossining home by October 1st, and she is showing no signs of going. Don sighs, admitting that when they agreed on that date it seemed so far away, and he's not thrilled at the idea of starting World War III with his ex-wife, especially not around Thanksgiving and with Christmas so close. As the accountant points out though: he owns the house, they had an agreement, and currently he's paying the mortgage, insurance AND taxes on a home he doesn't live in while his wife lives for free not only with their children but "him".

It's more trouble than its worth though, or rather it's a distraction for Don away from what he is trying to devote his entire life to now: his work. He tells the accountant to leave it alone, who settles back with his drink and offers his best attempt at a make-good, asking him how his balls are... is he enjoying himself? Don smirks, waving off the suggestion he's out there sowing his wild oats enjoying the single lifestyle. But just like with Hammond, he doesn't outright dispute the idea... but nor does he explicitly confirm it. As always, Don knows the importance of selling an image... or sometimes letting the image sell itself.



As Don considers how tough it is being incredibly handsome, single and rich, Peggy is venting to Pete and Joey about Sugarberry, and all clients really. They poke, they prod, they say they don't like it or it isn't exactly what they want, change the ideas, fiddle with them... then look at the final product and complain they don't like it as if it is HER fault. The three of them have been drinking, commiserating what is likely to be a significant hit to the Agency: this isn't like the days at Sterling Cooper, where you could lose a client and be a little peeved but know there were plenty more and likely to be others coming soon.

Now that she's a little loosened up and has gotten some stuff off of her chest though, Peggy as usual turns her problems into creative energy. What if they bought out every ham at one of the markets? That would be too expensive explains Pete, so she adapts... what if they paid 100 people to stand in a line outside a store? That would also be too expensive, and with great distaste he reminds her that this would be a PR stunt and they don't do that. Joey asks why not, and the answer doesn't speak to any moral values, it's simply that they don't get paid by their clients for PR students.

Peggy is on a roll now though. Okay 100 people is too much... but maybe TWO people? Fighting over a ham? REALLY fighting. Going at it tooth and claw for that precious, precious Sugarberry ham. They could hire a couple of actresses, get them arrested and raise some attention. Pete is intrigued, because while this is a PR stunt he can think of a few ways to cover the costs and make it pay for them.

He can bribe a reporter he knows to write up the story with a case of booze, and the booze can come from Harry's stash since he gets sent some every month for brown-nosing a television network executive. The actresses can be paid out of his expense account so long as he - and this is just a beautiful look at the inherent hypocrisy of any moral stance any of these guys will ever take - claims it was to pay for whores for clients!

This raises the question though... do they run this idea by Don first? Pete has her hold off on that, he wants to see if he can get it all in motion for and make it practical. Then they can worry about Don.

The man in question is napping in his office when Roger walks in without being buzzed in. Don wakes and Roger is already in full flight, taking the fact he is half-asleep as a good sign because it means he has him when he's vulnerable. Over the past year it appears they really have put their former animosity behind them, because Roger is inviting him not for the first time to celebrate Thanksgiving with him and Jane.

Joey's earlier line, Peggy's almost pitying admonishment to him for it, now Roger's gesture... Don may be the master of selling his image to clients and even his accountant, but the people who work with him have a fairer idea of how his life is going, it seems. To belabor a point, this isn't Sterling Cooper anymore, they're a tight-knit crew now and while Don remains a cypher they're far more aware of what is going on in his life than they ever were before, even if Don tries to laugh it off and claim he hasn't exactly been a monk.

But Roger knows Don isn't out living a sexy swinging single lifestyle, and he has an idea to sweeten the pot for Don: Jane has a friend called Bethany.... and she's a gymnast! Plus he works an old Accounts trick, offering a "compromise" in order to get exactly what he wants: Don can take Bethany out for dinner this weekend, and if they hit it off he can come to Roger's for Thanksgiving and "stuff" her.

Don chuckles and Roger doesn't wait for an answer, instead striding to the door and informing Allison to book an 8pm Saturday spot for Don and Bethany at Jimmy's La Grange, before insisting that Don try the Chicken Kiev. Don offers a half-hearted protest but Roger is already out the door, using that other old Accounts trick... leave before they can say no!

Returning home to his apartment, there is a woman in Don's life after all... but not a romantic one. Celia is his hired housekeeper it seems, putting the finishing touches on cleaning up for him as he arrives. She's made him porkchops as well, assuring him they'll be good cold as well as hot, murmuring to herself that he doesn't eat anything when he distractedly tells her he looks forward to it.

Unable to find his shinebox, he's a little irritated when she tells him she put it on top of his closet before asking if the kids are visiting this weekend. He mutters no, then complains that she should put things back where she found them. As he goes to collect it, she murmurs again that she didn't want to leave it in the middle of the floor, and in barely 10 seconds we've already gotten a wonderful look at both their relationship and her personality. She's the hired help, and he's in charge... but she's certainly not above expressing her feelings about his lifestyle choices in a way that Carla never, ever dared to express (verbally, there were plenty of quiet disapproving looks when he wasn't able to see her).

As he settles in front of the television and starts to shine his shoes, she collects her coat and tells him to have a good weekend, before admonishing him to eat something. She leaves, and finally, blessedly Don is left alone. Even better, he's rewarded as on the television a movie appears to start: it's a small boy behind bars, shadows cast dramatically over his face, atmospheric music setting the scene as he bellows to be let out... only for the story to be something else, as the lighting and framing suddenly changes to reveal the "bars" are a chair set upside down on a table, and the boy's "jail" is playtime.

His mother enters the room, a perfect and shining example of the domestic goddess housewife whose only interest is in cleaning and beaming love down on her imaginative, creative son. There are no beatings or verbal abuse here, no calling the boy a whore-son, no drunk father killed by a horse. It is, of course, the Glo-Coat ad campaign that Don has been lauded for, and he sits and drinks it all in gleefully. This is what he left Sterling Cooper to do, to produce HIS ideas without bureaucracy or accountants or payroll concerns: to make movies; to tell stories... and on some level, to exorcise some of his own deeply embedded psychological issues. That boy is him, that mother is the mother he wishes he had and, yes, the wife he wished Betty would have been satisfied with being.



There he is, Don Draper, handsome and muscular and tall and perfect, a lauded creative genius.... sitting alone in his apartment basking in his own glory, ignoring the mess he has made of his personal life and seeking redemption, acceptance and satisfaction in the stories (lies?) he creates.

The weekend comes and Don of course spends it working. There is football on the television, but he's taking the time and silence of living alone to actually get some work done on this impossible Jentzen account. There are no kids, no wife, no distractions, it's great! Certainly better than going for a drive with the family or playing with the kids outside or taking the dog for a walk or dancing with his wife in the living room or getting day drunk with her while reading their respective books! Yes haha, this is the life right here!

Come the evening he dresses up in perfect Don Draper fashion once more, checking his hair (not a strand out of place of course) and confirming he looks the part before heading out to fulfill his obligation to Roger. Once at Jimmy's and seated across from young Bethany, he makes a point of asking about HER to avoid having to talk about himself... or, to put it more accurately, to avoid having to avoid talking about himself.

Bethany is young and attractive as Roger promised, but there's something he didn't mention (and probably didn't even notice)... she's also charming! Sure she's young at 25, but this is a woman who is clearly used to holding court, and she expertly manages the conversation by making it look like HE is managing the conversation. Offering the appearance of shyness and nervousness, she both manages to remind him of her youth as well as offer the image of a conservative woman who doesn't date often. She charms by claiming to have borrowed the dress (perhaps she did, but she doesn't look like she has any lack in her wardrobe) and letting him "convince" her to stand up and give an awkward little pose to show it (and herself) off.

Once she is settled back in, she allows herself to be more serious, which again is designed to endear her to him by impressing with forthrightness. She wants to "lift a shadow off the evening", admits she knows this is his first date, and that she herself is breaking a lot of her own rules by seeing a divorced man. Don of course presents his usual facade of effortless charm, but his "casual" correction that this is the first date.... that Roger had a hand in, is just another way of trying to suggest a more active social life than he really has. Presenting and maintaining that (pointless) image is more important to him than anything else, especially when he hears with some alarm that Jane has made Don one of her personal projects.

He offers a sarcastic aside that there are plenty of other problems in the world and she either misses his sarcasm or takes the chance to shift the conversation away from Jane. Instead she agrees that the world is do dark right now, and exclaims with some wonder that she actually kinda sorta not really but technically knew Andrew Goodman, astonished that somebody from HER social circle could ever suffer a fate usually preserved for the poor and particularly for minorities.

One wonders if Paul Kinsey was involved in Freedom Summer.

She can't believe it, is THAT what it takes for change to happen? A rich white person getting killed? Sadly yes that seems to be the starting point for a lot of longstanding issues suddenly getting confronted. In any case, Don can't help but be intrigued. She is a little all over the place, but she's also charming, a little weird, and most importantly to him... interesting. You can be drat sure he wasn't expecting that last one, and he's further fascinated when she explains she's an actress but currently is a "super" in the opera.

He takes the bait happily, having no problem admitting he doesn't know what that means. She's a supernumerary, essentially an extra though she doesn't get to sing. Deliberately she makes sure to mention that many of her background roles have some sensual/sexual element: she's a wench or a courtesan or a member of the harem etc. But as she talks about being backstage, of the quality of the costumes, of the storytelling etc, her eyes and face light up with a genuine enthusiasm that Don finds himself unexpectedly drawn to. He admits that while has been to the opera many times, it was always for business and thus he never truly enjoyed it, and she insists she'll get him tickets, since she is given those rather than any kind of decent wage.

The waiter arrives and she immediately declares she'll have the Chicken Kiev, further impressing Don when she admits she doesn't care that he's heard it can get messy. Betty would never have allowed herself that indulgence when all dolled up, and so Don agrees to join with Bethany on an adventure, and orders the Chicken Kiev too.

Two Chicken Kievs later, the decidedly unsplattered Don and Bethany pull up in a cab outside the Barbizon, Don remarking that would be a good title for an opera. He leans in to say goodbye, making it clear he is looking for a kiss, but before she'll give him that she wants something from him: will he be at Roger and Jane's for Thanksgiving? Don hesitates, maybe considering if he should go, maybe considering if he should lie and say he is going, and then finally settles on an unusual thing: the truth. He's tempted, but he has plans.

She nods, agreeing that things must be complex during holidays, referring none-too-subtly to his divorce. Rather than talk about that though, Don leans in for that kiss, and she allows it. Breaking away afterwards, with a little smile she says he might be out of the habit of reading signals, but she wants to see him again. Not to the point she'll lose her head though, when he suggests they can see each other again right now she isn't fooled, telling him they can hold off till New Year's and if the interest is still there from both of them maybe they can consider it.

He offers to walk her in, but she's REALLY no fool, telling him she knows that trick (if only poor Gudrun had) and declining. She leaves the cab and he watches her go, utterly fascinated before but even more so now that she has turned down his advances. She is nothing like what he expected (another Jane?), though she is perhaps far more like Betty than he might ever consider.

Attractive, blond, perfectly poised in a social setting, most likely from a wealthy family and familiar with a culture and way of thinking that remains alien to him even after over a decade of blending in. Of course she is different in many ways too, though as always it pays to remember that Betty was the way she was largely because Don insisted that was to be her role in their lives, even as he simultaneously resented her for it.

He doesn't resent Bethany, he's impressed and can't quite believe he let her walk away like that. Finally he tells the cabbie to take him home, and he's driven away. It was a successful night, a drat good first date, and it isn't entirely sure if he's aware of not just how carefully she managed him all night long to make sure that was the case... and if he does, if that doesn't just fascinate/impress him all the more.



On Sunday, a pleased Peggy sits in a diner with the two actresses from her Sugarberry PR stunt. The event went off without a hitch, she's delighted to say, though the two women look sore and a little grumpy at each other for being more aggressive than was necessary, one of them hit the other which caused her to attack back with equal ferocity. Pete arrives with his money (from presumably the section of his expense account marked "whores" for tax write-off purposes) and hands it over in envelopes, telling them with immense happiness that their pictures will be in the Daily News.

The two actresses are reminded not for the first time that discretion is important, and it would also be for the best that they not be seen together (either the two of them together or either around Pete or Peggy). Peggy hands one woman some aspirin from her purse and they all stand to go... at which point the taller woman - Daisy - grabs at the shorter's - Gladys - hair and tugs it angrily. Pete is quick to split them up and have Peggy rush Daisy out of there, while he checks on Gladys and then quickly gets her out of the diner to take a cab, worried about all the eyes in the diner being on the four of them.

Come Monday, an incredibly sunburned Harry bursts triumphantly into Joan's office, declaring with great satisfaction that he found it very difficult to leave Los Angeles. Despite saying that though, when Joan admits she would love a vacation he reminds her he was there on business... also has somebody been using his office? Roger has, Joan admits without hesitation, it's the only one on the floor that has a television.

Harry lets that pass, in too good a mood (and probably still intimidated by Roger after all this time) to complain, telling her he wants the conference room at 11am.... no make that 1pm... also do they have a table yet? Joan makes a note but informs him he'll have to settle for 1:30pm, and no they have no table yet. Joey pops his head in the door to ask if they have the rough cut of the ad for Secor, then leaves promptly when Peggy calls across the (small) office that she found it. That distracted Joan from Harry, who gets her attention back by asking if she wants to know WHY he is calling a meeting? She didn't particularly care but he's asked so takes the bait, asking, and beaming with pride he declares that he managed to sell a Jai Alai television special to ABC.

She is sure to coo her appreciation, somehow making it sound like she's going to put a kid's scrawled drawing onto the fridge. He asks her to get him a coffee and a grapefruit juice, then pauses in the door to remind her that this is HIS news to give out. With a smile she assures him she won't even tell anybody about it AFTER it has aired, and he lets that pass, in too good a mood to let her undercut him. He's hit a home run here, for once Harry Crane knows that what he did can only be seen as the good, right and more importantly financially lucrative thing for the company.

Don arrives and is greeted by Allison, but summoned by Roger. His tone conveys clearly that this isn't one of those,"You can ignore me or blow me off if you really want to" conversations, and Don heads straight over. Roger is standing with Lane Pryce, who is reading through a newspaper that Roger snatches out of his hand before asking Lane to excuse them for a minute. Despite their equal standing as named partners, Lane isn't upset or irritated at this treatment, in much the same way as Don isn't objecting to being summoned. Roger clearly has a bug up his rear end about something, though at this moment Don is probably thinking he is going to be mad because Bethany told Jane he won't be coming to Thanksgiving.

It's not that at all, it's far worse. After ushering Don into his office (a good size but nothing like his enormous Sterling Cooper version), he hands over the paper that Lane was reading, and a troubled Don finds himself reading the Advertising Age article on himself... and it is NOT a good read. It's not an assassination piece by any means, but Hammond (who is credited in the article as George Witherbee?) has presented the best he could manage with the limited information Don gave him. So what it is, is an incredibly dry article - apart from a brief allusion to Dorian Gray - that mostly relies on facts on record... whether they're out of date or not. One of those facts is that Don Draper is married with children, irritating Don who complains he never said he was.

Roger's point is a good one: Don didn't give him ANY facts, so the reporter made assumptions. Taking a seat, he complains that this was a missed opportunity, a chance to make Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce shine. He bought multiple copies because at first he wanted one to read and one to frame in the lobby, and then he just wanted to buy them all so nobody read it at all. This was an opportunity to capitalize on the buzz they had generated from Glo-Coat, and Don completely fumbled it.

Despite himself however, he allows Don's assurances that nobody will remember the article mollify him somewhat. He's still not happy, but he lets himself get distracted by Don reminding him Hammond (Witherbee?) only had one leg, agreeing that somehow this disqualifies him from ever being able to criticize anybody else, as if the lack of a leg is a moral failing. His spirits actually lift as he talks about how Bethany seemed to like Don even if he did get grabby in the back of the car, joking that maybe if he'd fondled Hammond he would have gotten a better write-up.

Don notes one more time that what's done is done and that's that, and makes his exit from the office. He's not happy but also a little relieved perhaps, maybe now he won't be asked to do PR like this anymore. He dislikes doing so for many reasons, not least of which being he really, really, really does not want any reporter doing any kind of investigation into his background. But before he goes, Roger offers one final important piece of advice: Don might be modest when it comes to publicly tooting his own horn, but after the year of Creative success he had (Glo-Coat was just the shiny coat on top of a lot of good work, if you'll excuse the pun) and the still developing state of SCDP... it's not appropriate for their Creative Director/Name Partner to be modest anymore.



Peggy and Joey walk into Pete's office, Peggy calling out to Pete's secretary (Hildy? Please tell me Hildy got saved from going down with Sterling Cooper?) that they're expected. Indeed they are, an excited Pete giving them the good news: Sugarberry are thrilled with the coverage they're getting. At first they thought the article would be a nightmare and they might get sued, but then other papers started running the story as a human interest piece, and suddenly Sugarberry Hams is getting free press in multiple papers, a story about how two women wanted one of their hams so badly they came to blows over it!

There's just one problem though, Sugarberry are delighted about the exposure and of course the increased sales sure to come... but they have no idea that this was all cooked up by Pete, Peggy and Joey, who can't charge them for it (as Pete warned) and neither Joey or Peggy can put a newspaper article into their "book" as an example of their work. All that is true, but Pete notes now WOULD be a good time for Sugarberry to seize the moment by increasing their media budget, which should work out for them as well.

As Pete thrills to the thought of bringing Lane an extra ad buy from Sugarberry, Peggy's mind is racing as it so often does in these situations. She pitches and dismisses her own ideas out loud, more to herself than anybody else, Joey watching confused as she runs through her process. "The winner of the ham battle is you" gets quickly discarded, "our hams are worth fighting for" is considered then refined, and then she nails the Thanksgiving angle: a cartoon pilgrim and an "Indian" in a tug of war with the ham.

Pete likes that idea, but he's also a little put out: that idea is good enough on its own, why couldn't she come up with it two months ago BEFORE they paid two middle-aged woman to beat each other up? Peggy defends herself and the creative process: a slogan is nothing without an idea to go with it. She sends an eager Joey (this will keep his hours up) off to work up some art, while Pete asks his secretary (Clara, so no Hildy sadly) to get Sugarberry on the phone. Peggy moves to leave but Pete asks her to stay in case he needs her to explain the idea.

As an aside, look how easily they all work together now. There has always been a tension between these two, but somehow the potential disaster of the two of them working in close proximity did not come to pass. Instead they work side by side as colleagues now. When Pete says he might need her, it's a completely open and unconcerned expression of faith and respect for her abilities. For her part, she doesn't second-guess his motivations, and she doesn't mind stepping back when his time to run the Accounts side of things crop up.

Before Sugarberry can happen though, he's informed that Horace Cook Jr. is on the line. He quickly sidelines everything else for his whale, Peggy beating a quick retreat without needing to be told. "Ho-Ho" is a money tree, and they want to keep it basking in the sunlight of their attention.

1:30pm comes and it's time for Harry's moment to shine, but for the moment he's being overshadowed by discussion of Don's article. They look ridiculous seated in a circle around a non-existent table, and Lane can't quite believe that Harry - a salesman - says he wouldn't mind being described in as mysterious a fashion as Don is in Advertising Age. Cooper is pissed off too but like Don he seems to understand that what's done is done, and it's time to move on.

So NOW it is Harry's time to shine... except suddenly Pete Campbell and Joan Harris come barrelling into the conference room. Pete has news, and it's not the good Sugarberry news. It's Jai Alai.... Ho-Ho is pulling out of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Harry gapes in horror, he's WHAT!?! Apparently he was upset that Don didn't mention Jai Alai in the Advertising Age article, and when a stunned Don realizes everybody is glaring at him he complains that he didn't mention any of their clients, claiming that is the reporter's job. He's further stunned when Harry - who has blurted out his "news" at last but too late to even enjoy a brief moment of triumph - sinks his head in his hands, because now even Harry Crane of all people is judging him?

Harry finally manages to blurt out a demand that Pete fix it, but it's gone beyond that now. Somebody called Todd (an old college friend of his and Ho-Ho's?) worked a full-court press, getting all the partners from an Agency called CGC to put in calls to Ho-Ho and make him aware of the article and insist that it was proof SCDP was taking advantage of him, hell they were probably secretly laughing at him the entire time they were taking his money!

Well... I mean.... they were!

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



"I think he was crying..." Pete nervously admits after Harry demands he go camp out in Ho-Ho's driveway and make him see sense. Cooper had ended the discussion on the article but now he is glaring at Don, and he's not the only one, Lane is also staring a hole through him. Trying to act like it's no big deal, like they're still living in the Sterling Cooper/PPL world where they could lose a client and shake it off easily, Don insists that Ho-Ho must have been close to being tapped out anyway, and they'll survive without him.

They will, Lane agrees... but for how long? His specialty is working the numbers that Don finds so dull and unappealing, and with Jai Alai gone, Lucky Strike now accounts for 71% of their total billings. That is an utterly unworkable percentage for long-term survival: they will be completely beholden to Lucky Strike for everything, and losing them would put the entire Agency out of business without any possibility of survival. At least with Jai Alai (and hopefully more to come) they had somewhat of a buffer, they might have been able to limp on in the event of a catastrophe like... oh I don't know, most of the country's businesses and greater bulk of its population going smokefree!

All Pete can suggest is that Harry wait an hour or so and then call Ho-Ho himself as if he is completely unaware of the severing of their relationship, and then maybe he - who after all has that ABC Special sold - can convince him to stay. Harry leaves, bitterly complaining he wishes they did have a second floor so he could jump off of it, and once again all eyes are on Don.

He's used to all eyes being on him, but it is usually in adulation, not hostility or worse still pity. He kicks a chair across the room in frustration, while Cooper considers and offers his own potential solution: he's going to organize another interview, this time with the Wall Street Journal. Don, not wanting to admit fault and also certainly not wanting any reporter digging around his past, complains again that his business should speak for him. Cooper's response is cold and to the point: his job is turning creative success into business, and right now he has failed to do that.

Everybody leaves the room in silence, until it is only Don left seated and Joan standing. "It'll pass," she offers sweetly, and leaves the room. Now, just like he is at home, Don finds himself all alone.



Thanksgiving comes, and all across America families gather to enjoy (or tolerate) being reunited. One such family is the Francis', overseen by matriarch Pauline, who in true grandma fashion insists that Eleanor and her boyfriend (husband?) Jamie must eat something even when they arrive late reminding her they ate at her mother's (so Henry is divorced, not widowed? Or is that Jamie's mother?). Henry sits at one head of the table, the obvious oldest son of Pauline and thus default "man of the house" as his father is presumably dead. Beside him sits Betty, with Sally and Bobby next to her.

Eleanor greets her father warmly, and though she doesn't speak to Betty there doesn't appear to be any great animosity, particularly as Eleanor and Jamie bought gifts for the kids, who technically speaking are now her step-siblings. Betty makes sure they thank them without offering a warning reminder that they can open them AFTER they eat.

As in most thanksgiving gatherings, there is some underlying tension however. Grandma Pauline can't help but note the traffic Eleanor complains about is due to what the country has become, everybody has TWO Thanksgivings to attend nowadays. Henry offers thank that this just means everybody has twice as much to be thankful for, but while Betty squeezes his hand in appreciation, he can't help but glare disapproval at his mother who gives it back just as hard.

She is a grandmother however, and she is far sweeter when she inquires after Sally picking at her meal, asking if she's not hungry. Betty is outraged when Sally offers back a rude, perfunctory,"No," response, and insists that she is being silly since she knows Sally likes all the things on her plate: cranberry sauce, sweet potato, marshmallow etc. Sally's complaint appears to be that they're made differently to how she likes, by which she means of course that she's having her first Thanksgiving without her father and this is a stranger's home and a stranger's family.

Betty of course either doesn't see this or refuses to allow her to get away with it, going so far as to collect up some sweet potato and force it into her mouth. Sally holds it for a moment then coughs in revulsion and lets it fall out of her mouth. Betty is immediately up, declaring Sally must have a fever and pulling her from the room as Sally manages to get out a quiet little apology to Pauline.

Removed from the room, the Francis family sits in awkward silence as they hear Sally complaining that Betty is pinching her. Bobby's lack of reaction only serves to enhance Pauline's suspicion, this is clearly not an uncommon occurrence, and she casts a meaningful look Henry's way who doesn't appreciate the silent condemnation. Luckily the tension is broken by of all people Bobby who, like always, is concentrating with laser fixation on his meal (which could just as easily by the reason for his lack of reaction to Sally being hauled out) and suddenly chirps out that he can't understand Sally's problem.... he loves sweet potato! Everybody (except Pauline and Henry) chuckle, amused, and another awkward Thanksgiving dinner rolls on.

How is Don spending his Thanksgiving? He has a date! He lets a woman into his apartment and she enters with obvious familiarity, clearly knowing her way about the place, disrobing even as she enters. Don offers her a drink but she explains she doesn't have much time, she has supper with her family, and Don isn't at all offended or even jealous, just taking this as it is.... while also counting money out of his wallet.

Yes, she's a prostitute (a real one, not an actress getting paid as one!) and it seems Don has been making up for his lack of a romantic life over the last few months by simply paying for sex. It might seem a bit odd, even if he is overworked or fixated on building SCDP, Don has never been shown as having trouble going out to get what he wants/needs, aided immensely not just by his wealth but his frankly astonishing good looks. So it is just for convenience sake that he is forgoing all that for the simplicity of paid sex work?

Not quite. It seems Don wants something he is unwilling or too paranoid to ask for from those he might seek out to be consensual, unpaid sexual partners. As they have sex, he lies passively on his back and lets her do all the work. She is all business, and knows exactly when to let just enough contempt into her voice when he starts giving her instruction, reminding him that she knows what she wants. She slaps him across the face, then harder and then harder again at his request.

You know I'm starting to get the vague, incredibly subtle impression that this Don Draper might have women issues.

He has never shown any masochistic tendencies before, indeed when Bobbie Barrett tried to be the more sexually aggressive of the two he was quick to cement himself as the dominant partner. So why is he now allowing himself to be the passive one, to be struck, to take such obvious pleasure in the abuse? It is armchair psychology for sure, but I suspect it's part of the same reason he has allowed Betty and Henry to remain in the Ossining home that HE is paying for: he feels guilty.

He blames himself for the dissolution of his marriage (and he absolutely should take the lion's share of the blame), but he hasn't really been all that punished for it. His career has gone on to new highs, he has a creative and business freedom he enjoys in spite of the devastation of his personal life... and perhaps on some level he feels like he deserves some kind of pain. So he doesn't go out on dates, he lets Betty continue to live at the house, he pays a woman for sex and has her dominate and (lightly) physically strike him. All in some kind of hosed-up attempt at flagellation.

Or maybe, just maybe it's because... he doesn't feel bad about the marriage being over? Maybe without Betty the thrill of pursuing other women is gone? Maybe she's gone and he is confused to find it doesn't really bother him? Maybe paying for a prostitute and letting her hit him makes him feel something, which in turn helps him push away that yawning feeling of emptiness inside of him that outside of a few fleeting highs nothing has been able to fill: success, family, recognition etc. All of them always end with him feeling nothing once again, and so he goes on to the next sensation/pursuit/accomplishment always hoping one day he'll feel like a whole human being.

Also, could be the dude is just horny and likes a bit of a slap every now and then too!



As Don enjoys a relaxing sleep after his bit of slap and tickle, a ringing phone finally proves too much for the prostitute who answers it and brings it to him, telling him that "surprise surprise" it's for him. He's startled and a little alarmed that she answered, and she admits the caller rang three times and she couldn't take it any longer. He answers and closes his eyes in resignation but maybe also a little relief when he hears who is on the other end: Peggy Olson.

He knows this means two things: it wasn't Sally (or Betty, to a lesser extent) so he doesn't have to explain who called... and she would only be calling if something was really a problem. She admits she didn't think he'd have guests (they REALLY have his number as being a loner right now), and then at his prompting finally blurts out what she needs: $280 for bail.

That certainly wakes him up, and he asks where she is. It isn't for her, she explains, obviously thinking the same thing he is thinking: of that night she came no questions asked and bailed him and Bobbie out of a drunken mess he'd gotten the two of them into. So if the money isn't for her, who is it for? She assures him he'll laugh, and his face falls, because any story that starts with that line is sure to mean what he's about to hear is NOT funny.

He listens, exasperated and disbelieving, seemingly aging 10 years as she explains about the Sugarberry Hams stunt, how it got them a bigger media budget and everything was going great... until one of the actresses charged the other with assault, and now they need $80 bail AND $100 for each of the actresses as hush money. Irritated, pissed off at having to clean up somebody else's mess on Thanksgiving (he's trying to enjoy a nice nap after paying a prostitute to slap him around here!) he complains that she should call Pete.

Quietly and a little irritated herself, she asks him if he really thinks he was the first person she chose to call about this. Obviously either Pete didn't or wouldn't answer, and after all why would he: it's Thanksgiving, he's with his wife and probably her parents (maybe, MAAAAAYBE with his brother or tolerating his own mother?) and not thinking about work. That's for the likes of Don Draper.

Not longer after she arrives at his door, a fresh-faced young man standing a few feet behind her. She tries once again to play off the potential seriousness of her scheme, saying she promises he'll be happy with the end result. He's not having any of that though, he's pissed off about being bothered with this bullshit on Thanksgiving, perhaps more pissed off because she is usually so much smarter than this. He harangues her for not running this by him first (she of course planned to do so initially, but Pete had her hold off and then she got caught up in it all) so he could have stopped it and made sure she didn't look like an idiot... or worse, make HIM look like one. "Do you want us to look like idiots, Peggy?" he demands, like a father dressing down his daughter for doing something stupid.

The stranger steps forward now in defense, snapping at Don not to resort to name-calling. Don stares down at him (he's a little below average height, Don of course towers over him) and in particular the Thanksgiving dish he's carrying as they were presumably on their way to a Thanksgiving dinner themselves. "Who are you?" he demands at last, and nervously the young man gets out that he's her fiance.

Wow, either Duck looks way better than I remember or she's had an eventful year!

She quietly tells him not to do this, calling him Mark, but he's succeeded somewhat in distracting Don and taking a little of the aggression out of him purely by confusion. He peels off the cash, asking why she brought him up if she didn't want him involved, and she apologizes again. This is the same Peggy who dressed Don down and stood up for herself at the end of season 3, but that was an entirely different situation. There she had not only power but leverage, here she is coming to him for help and knows she was in the wrong for the way she handled things.

Don gives her the cash and goes back inside, leaving her and her fiance alone for a moment. "Fiance?" she asks, and Mark admits quietly it just came out. She doesn't respond, just walks away and he follows. It seems he overstated the depth of their relationship just a little, while also revealing his obvious intentions/hopes for where they might be going. Of course Peggy may have an entirely different point of view, and this scene with Don notwithstanding, she's no longer the type of woman to just go along with something for the sake of a man's ego.

That evening, Henry and Betty settle into the same bed where Betty spent close to a decade beside Don Draper. They sleep on different sides of the bed to the Don/Betty arrangement, but otherwise this is as cosy and relaxed a domestic scene as any we've seen in this house with her former husband. They even chat like an old married couple, asking if the dog was put out (it's too cold, she's sleeping in the laundry room) before curling up happily together to bask in the completion of a long and tiring Thanksgiving.

Betty is especially happy to be in bed with this husband, kissing and sidling against him: they're married now, her long restrained desire for him she maintained during their emotional affair before her divorce has been set free and even after close to a year it is clear she is still very much in the honeymoon phase of desire for him (to be fair, after years with Don she told him that she often "yearned" to be with him physically, a very polite and cultured way of saying she was horny - Betty has a healthy sex drive that time and her background would tell her was inappropriate even for a married woman).

But their fun times are sidelined by the sound of a phone being dialed coming from the hall. Pissed off, Betty heads out into the hall where of course she finds Sally trying to make a late night call, having presumably assumed her mother and stepfather would just fall asleep the moment they were in bed (what else is there to do in bed!?!). She takes the phone from her and says,"Hello?" but there is nobody on the other end, the call didn't go through in time. She was, of course, calling her father, wanting to wish him a happy Thanksgiving, knowing that it would mean more on the day despite Betty's reminder she'll be seeing him tomorrow.

Betty of course suspects she really wanted to complain about her, and warns her daughter that daddy won't feel sorry for her when he hears the full story. "Don't!" moans Sally, who probably really was just trying to call her father because it's a family holiday and she misses him and doesn't want him to feel alone/forgotten. Betty sends her to bed, then returns to the bedroom complaining she is going to have the phone pulled out.

Francis surely overheard the conversation, and he makes a suggestion: if Don is taking Bobby and Sally tomorrow, maybe they can get Carla to look after Gene and the two of them can take a drive up to Essex and enjoy a day together at the Griswold Inn? She seems surprised by the suggestion but agrees to it, but then he settles back and quietly mumbles that he's really full. It seems the moment has passed for him (once all he could think about was bedding her, now he is turning her down), apparently something about hearing his wife argue with his stepdaughter about the ex-husband did NOT keep him in the mood! She accepts, but she isn't happy about it.... as mentioned, Betty has a healthy sex drive, and having to shut it down once she has fired it up probably brings back some unhappy memories of her time with Don.



The next day, Don arrives at the home he is paying for but has long since stopped being his home. Bobby answers the door and is delighted to see him, hauled up into the air by his father who comments on his weight and asks how much he ate at Thanksgiving, Bobby proudly proclaiming he ate EVERYTHING. Sally joins them, wincing to be kissed on the head by her father... but also standing close up beside him to be as present with him as she can.

Sally descends the stairs and informs him simply 9pm tomorrow, which he accepts before asking where the baby is. She tells him Carla has him and he's understandably disappointed, he's only taking the two older children with him but he had expected to at least see his other son before going. She doesn't respond, though she does turn her head away, knowing on some level it is unfair to deny him this. Luckily for her Henry enters the hallway at this point as he pulls on his coat, greeting Don who responds civilly if a little icily: after all, this is "the other man", the "Government Man" who Don didn't even know existed while seemingly everybody else in the world knew was having having an affair (none of them knew it was non-sexual) with his wife.

Don leads the kids out and Sally closes the door behind them, not saying goodbye to her children who don't say goodbye to her either. They head into the garage and get into the car, Betty half grumpily instructing Henry to get the garage door. But that bad mood disappears as Henry suddenly whips off his coat and excitedly answers her question to say she knows exactly what he's doing. Thrilled, not at all worried about the "tawdry" nature of it all, she embraces him eagerly back, as they prepare to make love in the car mere minutes after the children were out of the house.

They're still essentially newlyweds, and it's healthy and refreshing to see a married couple so obviously still physically aroused by the other... but there's something a little off about the timing. Is the appeal based on Don having been in the house? On him taking the kids away and now it's just the two of them? The pursuit is often more exhilarating than the catch, is Henry dulled by domestic life but finds appeal in the reminder of the danger/scandal of his single-minded pursuit of Betty back when she was Mrs. Draper?

Or maybe he's just horny and feels more comfortable now that the kids aren't underfoot!

That evening, Bobby sits on the bottom bunk of the kids' room Don has set up in his apartment, complaining the button back off his pajamas. He's surprised to learn that his father can sew, Don agreeing he isn't the best but can handle a button at least. He gives both him and Sally a kiss on the head goodnight and lets Bobby know he'll leave the bathroom light on so he won't get scared. Sally tells him goodnight and he returns it to both of them, standing in the dark of the doorway for a few moments after turning off the lights before heading into the living room.

Sally hasn't said much, but in that moment as she said goodnight the obvious adoration in her face was there. She's happy here. She - much like her mother before her - is a daddy's girl, and though this is ALSO a strange house and a strange place, she obviously feels far happier and more secure being here with the father who dotes on her than with the mother who disciplines her and the stranger she now shares a bed with.

The next day continues the domestic content, as the kids watch television on the living room floor and eat popcorn while their father quietly works away, all of them perfectly happy just to be together. Before the know it though, the night and day have passed and it is time to return home... which is when the problem happens.

Don stands at the doorway, Bobby asleep in his arms, ringing the doorbell to a house he owns and getting no answer. Finally he asks Sally if she has her key, because of course he no longer has one. She does, and lets them in, but the house is empty. There is no sign of Betty or Henry, and Sally whispers they could be asleep despite it being only 9pm. So he leads his children upstairs and puts them to bed, lets Polly inside and then settles down on the couch to watch television and wait for his ex-wife to return.

A horrible thought crossed my mind, the kind of hamfisted nonsense a lesser show might have taken part in. The idea that Betty and Henry were dead in the garage, asphyxiated by carbon monoxide because they left the car running while having sex or something. It would be the worst kind of fridging, a horrific waste of January Jones, and yet I felt an ominous sense like maybe was going to happen.

Thankfully I was utterly, utterly wrong. Rather, Henry and Betty arrive home happily some time later, having just been out later than they thought, Henry annoyed to hear Polly barking asn asking why she's inside. Betty, giggling, tells him to go to bed and she'll wait, and is startled to suddenly hear Don asking what she will be waiting for? She twists around, giving a little disappointed,"Oh" to find him in HER house, as he complains that it's almost 10pm, she can't wait because he's been here close to an hour already.

"I thought you said 10?" comments Henry with smooth, practiced politician-speak, but Don is having none of it, not allowing himself to be drawn on if he got it wrong and simply stating as a fact that she did not. Betty snaps back that she waited for Don plenty of times, which is absolutely true but also completely not the point not a viable excuse: it's one thing to make him wait, but the kids shouldn't have to, and it's just lucky that Sally had the key that they didn't end up stuck sitting on the doorstep waiting.

Don doesn't say any of that, instead he gives out a sigh and asks Henry if he minds, making it clear he wants to talk family business with the mother of HIS children. Henry isn't going anywhere without Betty's say so though, and gets a little irritated when she doesn't make it entirely clear if she wants him to stay or not, making her say out loud (much to her consternation, she doesn't want a divided front before Don) that she wants him to stay. She is in the wrong here, but her face is set and her mind is made up - her days of kowtowing to Don or letting him have his way are done, even if in this case she is the one who screwed up.

So Don goes to the nuclear option and riskes World War III after all: when are they moving out? That catches them by surprise, suddenly the talk has shifted from them being late to Don reminding them they're supposed to have been out of the home they're living in for free well over a month ago. Why does he jump to this? Partly because he's pissed that they wasted his time/took him for granted, and partly because of Betty's attitude towards him now. She's in the wrong, but he's overreacting... but he's also got a point, they had an agreement of October 1st and she hasn't kept to it.

Surprised, she resorts to invoking the children, saying they haven't found a place suitable for the kids yet. Don though has another ultimatum, if they don't find a place soon then he's going to start charging rent, and that outrages her: he's going to make his children (i.e, her and Henry) pay rent!?! It is that simple though, and Don offers another solution that is also completely reasonable: Henry could just buy the place from Don, rather than enjoying living in it, raising his kids and sleeping with his (ex)wife while Don foots the bill.

Now Henry appeals to Don's sense of reason, after all this situation is only temporary. Don can't resist, that old smugness creeping as he agrees cattily that everybody thinks "this" is temporary, adopting a condescending tone to belittle the one man who has probably done more psychological damage to his ego than any other man in his adult life with the sole exception of maybe Conrad Hilton.

With that little zinger he says good night and walks out, and an irritated Betty complains about the nerve of the man. Henry tries to be careful, but there is no way around this minefield as he makes the point that as much as she may not want to hear it, Don is actually right. She isn't having that, complaining that the kids have been through too much change already and besides there's nothing good out there. "You're not looking!" he complains, and she snaps back that Don isn't the one who gets to make this decision. She storms out, leaving behind Henry miserable and hunched over the counter of a kitchen that really isn't his, in a house that really isn't his, worrying about children that aren't really his (there has been no real indication of how deeply he feels about them, but at least a couple of signs that he's happier when it is just the two of them) with a wife who absolutely is his but that he still in some ways has to share with another man.

The joy and happiness of that day and half with Betty has just been blown away like it was nothing, and now the bedroom that seemed to inviting only a few minutes ago is one he will be dreading, because their perfect post-Thanksgiving weekend has ended on a sour note.



A new week dawns at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, and Don is woken from a half-nap by Allison buzzing in to inform him that Miss Olson is here. He tells her to send her in, and Peggy enters carrying a Sugarberry Ham, explaining that one has been sent to the entire team (a nice gesture but also it's after Thanksgiving, this will just be excess stock!). Don accepts that this shows Peggy's strategy works, but notes that they could have just as easily been fired for the risk they took.

Peggy agrees... but they weren't, instead they sold more hams, and now Don gets to decide if he wants to tell them why... and she thinks they'll be impressed if he does. Don considers that and then offers what to him (and what he thinks for her) should be more important: HE is not impressed. He tries to avoid these kind of "shenanigans", and he thinks she knows that too or else she would have told him about it before the fact.

"It was going great... until it wasn't," admits Peggy, who has just learned one of the horrible truths about PR: these things always go great until they don't, just ask the poor bastards tasked with the seemingly home-run idea of telling America invading the Bay of Pigs was a great idea... after all, everybody hates the Commies!

Don thanks her for the ham, and somehow it is that final nicety that seems to really get through to Peggy, and she admits that she should have told him (notice though that even now she never throws Pete or Joey under the bus). As she goes to leave, Don offers an olive branch of a sort, remarking that she has a fiance now, and she admits that this was overstating the case... before getting a bit of her moxie back and pointing out he didn't need to handle things the way he did in front of her.

Suddenly this has gone from a Boss dressing down an employee to a mentor giving a teachable lesson to a protege. Don points out that she brought Mark with her because she thought the social contract would prevent Don from embarrassing her. She offers somewhat of a defense, noting that this at least shows she is thinking ahead, and he can't help a little bit of shared self-deprecation in pointing out that doesn't always work out for people like them.

But now she's on slightly more even footing, she brings in a a little bit of the fire that sometimes frustrates but often pleases him. When he reminds her she needs to think more carefully about the image of the Agency, she sweetly offers back that as nobody knows about the ham stunt the image of the Agency is exactly where HE left it. He takes in this rebuke with a measure of surprise, then offers back that he doesn't want her in the Jantzen pitch today, and this irritates her... now he's being spiteful? Not at all he returns smoothly, for the pitch he is offering he doesn't want a "girl" in the room, and she's just going to have to accept that.

As she leaves, she can't help but offer a teachable moment of her own. She reminds him of one undeniable fact: everybody who joined in the heist/escape from Sterling Cooper did so because they wanted to continue to work with him. Every single one. "All we want to do is please you," she states, and walks out of the office. He's left there with his canned ham to consider her words: the business family he embraced after his personal family fell apart, people he is letting down just as surely as he let down his wife and children, all because he can't get out of his own way and only ever thinks about himself.



Henry Francis is being the good son, helping his mother reduce the expanding table to its regular size, bemused at her insistence the extra panels go into the basement despite Christmas being so close. Pauline asks if the children enjoyed their gifts and he assures her they did, and is more bemused when she says she is glad there will be something nice for them to remember about this holiday, assuming she's upset at Sally for "ruining" the meal and laughing that next time he'll tell her not to get sick.

Whether he truly believes Betty's line about the fever or not, he's working the agreed upon story, but Pauline is not having it. She doesn't blame Sally, quite the opposite, she feels bad for her, because it plain to her that the children live in terror of Betty. Henry is taken aback but tries to make light of it, saying she doesn't know what she's talking about and asking her to give Betty a chance since she loves Pauline. But he can't pretend not to hear when Pauline declares Betty is a "silly" woman and then offers incredibly cruel words, saying that Henry could have gotten what he wanted from Betty without marrying her, and she can't understand how he can live in "that man's dirt."

Offended, pissed off, outraged, Henry still isn't going to take it out on his mother. So with a glare he collects up a table panel and carries it away, not wanting to be in the same room as her any longer.

The Jantzen pitch has come, and Jim and Bob (and not Murray, to hell with Murray!) sit waiting to be awestruck by the legendary Don Draper as he reveals the master plan he has come up with to sell their swimwear without reducing to sex and bare flesh to get them the uptick in sales they want. They are one of the few clients to be invited to hear a pitch at the SCDP offices, Roger making the small intimate room seem cozy and inviting to avoid admitting that it's just a small room without a table. Don begins the pitch, and it seems like he's right in line with their concerns: how do you distinguish underwear from a bathing suit? Where is the line drawn? Does it all come down a gentlemen's agreement not to acknowledge a state of undress that would otherwise be considered scandalous?

Roger and Pete are there too, also ready to be inspired, watching as Don reveals his masterpiece... a topless woman with a black bar and some text over her breasts. They're horrified. This is the exactly opposite of what they wanted, it's suggestive, it's immodest, it's lewd! Don though says suggestive is exactly what it should be, a wink but not a leer, a way to acknowledge sex appeal without resorting to sex, a play on words to draw the mind to the breasts while also using the wordplay to acknowledge the structural support and strength of their quality product.

Except Jantzen doesn't want even a wink, and they aren't happy that Don can't seem to grasp the point: the fact he's technically hiding more flesh doesn't change the fact he's using exposed flesh to sell the product. They won't or can't accept Don pointing out that modest people want stimulation too, and the way they're hiding the actual two piece top will make them more eager to see it. They don't see the value in Don noting this subtler use of sexual appeal will make their competitors seem crude and obvious. To them it boils down to one thing: this is not wholesome.

Don sighs and rubs his forehead, and offers a sarcastic suggestion of what they might like to see, getting further irritated when they eagerly nod their heads at the idea of a generic image of two women bouncing a beach ball while a little girl builds a sandcastle. Disgusted, he stops holding back and lays it out for them: their competitors are eating them alive because they're too scared to show off the skin their own two-piece was specifically designed TO show off. Sex appeal is the point and they keep denying it is. Now they have a decision to make about what kind of company they want to be: comfortable and dead, or risky and possibly rich?

"All I know is we don't want that," Jim finally speaks up, about as clear a statement as can be made, gesturing towards the model on the poster.

And that's that. Don simply turns the poster around and informs them that if they wanted to see what a Creative Agency (stress on the "Creative") they've now seen it, and he hopes they enjoyed their peek through the window. With that he stands and leaves, shocking everybody in the room including Roger who leaps up and chases after him. As Pete begins doing his best to smooth their ruffled feathers, Roger catches up to Don and grabs his arm, telling him to cool off while Pete calms them down and gets back in a week to hear different ideas. "What? No! That's not the point!" complains Don, and turns right back around and marches back in, immediately demanding they get out of here. Pete is horrified but Don won't be moved, roaring at them to get out of HIS office. Mortified, they gather their things and go, chased by a desperate Pete, their exit watched by Jane, Harry and Lane poking their heads out of their office doors to see Don Draper "firing" a client: something he has a long reputation of doing but isn't really able to afford to do here and now.

Don though has made up his mind, he has made the decision that he was really speaking about when he asked Jantzen to consider what kind of company they wanted to be. He commands Allison to get in touch with Bert Cooper's man at the Wall Street Journal, and marches into his office determined to execute his fresh plan of attack.



Don has decided to take a risk. He and the others who followed him to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce did so because they wanted to do their own thing, and increasingly he has been playing it safe both for his own benefit and because the Agency needs the security of money. Those two things have been clashing though, and Jantzen was his last bid at trying to make the two work in harmony without risking the other. Glo-Coat was a success, and so has other work been, but SCDP being smaller makes him larger, brings him more into the focus, and trying to shy away from that cost them Jai Alai. Coupled with his personal issues, Don found his work suffering and his dream at risk, and so he made a decision: if coddling a company like Jantzen is the price he has to pay to make SCDP an ongoing thing, then he'd end up dead and comfortable. Instead he is going to take a risk (kinda like Peggy and Pete already did! Does he grasp that they had the balls he didn't?), and hope like hell he ends up rich(er).

Before moving on from that though, let's just call a spade a spade... his Jantzen pitch sucked. Did he know it sucked? Did he really spend all weekend working on something like that and think it was good? Is this why he didn't include Peggy? Because he knew she'd see it? Or he was embarrassed that he was playing on the same thing he warned her off from in season 2 when she went with the tired old adage that sex sells? His proposed campaign was dull, unimaginative and needlessly meta to his own situation (the line on the breasts-hiding box about not needing to see the second floor because of the strong foundation). He could dress it up all he wanted, but in the end it would amount to lipstick on a Sugarberry ham.

All that is moot though, because the first episode of season 4 ends just as it started. Don sits in a restaurant, where he is being interviewed about his work in the Advertising industry, and the type of Agency that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is. This time he doesn't shy away. Burrowing from Hammond's mocking description of other Creative Directors, Don gives the Wall Street Journal reporter exactly what he wants. He tells him a story. He's not a lion-tamer, he's a cowboy, drawing his guns and going out in a blaze of glory as he tells the thrilling adventure of how he, he personally, stormed into Lane Pryce's office and told him to fire them so they could make their own Agency, an Agency that wasn't afraid to take risks and shake up the system. Within two days they were working out of the Pierre Hotel, less than a year after that they had "taken over" two(!) floors of the Time Like building.

The reporter eagerly scribbles it all down, taken away by Don's story. There is truth to what he is saying of course, but the best lies are often based on the truth. Don Draper has finally admitted that he needs to do what he already did a long time ago before trying to hide away in the success doing so brought him: he's making himself the story, himself the product, and selling that to an audience eager to buy. This, it appears at least from this first episode, is what Season 4 may be all about : image, and making people see what you want them to see, to make them invested in asking what's going on in the story now, before being surprised and pleased to learn that oh, it's something else.



Episode Index

GoutPatrol
Oct 17, 2009

*Stupid Moddie*



I'll say this again: season 4 is where the 60s begins. The stodgy environment of the old SC offices have opened up. Jerusalem appears to be not impressed but the lighting the color of the new office is them showing their more modern attitudes. Freedom and expressing yourself are in. The slapping scene is part of it. You already see it in how everyone acts with one another, you are saying there's still a hierarchy, but there is a more... egalitarian way people address each other.

which always plays off well when they do Robert's rules of order scenes

Mover
Jun 30, 2008

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


Marsha

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



I've only seen the one episode so far, and perhaps I'm unfairly judging it against the standard that Cooper et al, had grown used to, but it seems cramped and the secretaries being jammed everywhere, the creative space being kind of slap-bang in the middle with open sight lines through from either side, Joan's office having doors coming in and out.... the whole thing has a slap-dash "we fit in everybody wherever we could manage" feel to it that I think is the intent but also makes me feel like people are constantly going to be getting under each other's feet.

It certainly, absolutely does a great job of differentiating entirely from the feel of Sterling Cooper though. There is no doubt that despite the familiar faces, this is very much a DIFFERENT ad agency than the one we watched for the prior 3 seasons.


John

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


quote:

It's more trouble than its worth though, or rather it's a distraction for Don away from what he is trying to devote his entire life to now: his work. He tells the accountant to leave it alone, who settles back with his drink and offers his best attempt at a make-good, asking him how his balls are... is he enjoying himself? Don smirks, waving off the suggestion he's out there sowing his wild oats enjoying the single lifestyle. But just like with Hammond, he doesn't outright dispute the idea... but nor does he explicitly confirm it. As always, Don knows the importance of selling an image... or sometimes letting the image sell itself.

My interpretation of the line about Don's balls was an accusation that his ex-wife was emasculating him

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



The new office feels more modern, in both good and bad ways. The old Sterling Cooper had a much classier look, with nice wooden doors and spacious offices for the execs. The new one is clearly more cost conscious, with more painted metal, and less square footage per person. But it also has a dedicated creative lounge, which would have been a pretty novel concept. Don told Lane in season 3 that they let copywriters be unproductive so that they can be more productive later. Now that philosophy has been enshrined in the very architecture of the office. When Peggy and Joey do their "John" "Marsha" exchange, that space is functioning as intended.

I gotta say, I do not find Bethany charming AT ALL. Maybe Don does? He's definitely smiling in many shots during their date, but JEEZ does she make it awkward in weirdly condescending ways. Just so many references to him being wounded and alone, which, of course he is, but I can't imagine that being my approach to talking to someone on a first date. She does have a very pretty face though!

Regarding the slapping by the prostitute, in addition to assuaging his guilt, I think he also craves discipline. He seems to be a damned mess without the stabilizing influence of Betty.

The Jantzen pitch sucked, but I think Don knew that and didn't care. He didn't respect that they wouldn't admit who they were or what they were about. If they had met him and said that they weren't going to make bikinis at all, and they were just going to make one piece bathing suits for modest women, he probably would have thought they were a couple of wet blankets, but then he would have come up with a better campaign. He shows such contempt for their desire to be everything to everyone. Which is, of course, exactly what Don himself has been doing for the entire series. Don can clearly see the Jantzen execs need to be braver and more honest. That's exactly what Don needs to do as well.

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


I prefer the SCDP offices to the old SC. Yeah, there's a definite "sticking bodies wherever we have space" thing at play, and a few people have workspaces so bad that they become running jokes (Joan's two-door active thoroughfare, Pete's floorplan being dominated by a support pillar.) But I prefer the light, open feeling to SC's oppressive, impersonal nature...a lot of those office spaces felt like caves. Here you've got Don's spacious corner with the big windows, Roger's oddly groovy Mod room, the freewheeling open-air creative space. Overall it just feels more inviting.

"I love sweet potatoes!" is one of Second Bobby's best moments. A wonderful combination of youthful naivete and being so used to Betty and Sally's squabbling that he's oblivious to how it must look to this new "family."

Jerusalem posted:

A horrible thought crossed my mind, the kind of hamfisted nonsense a lesser show might have taken part in. The idea that Betty and Henry were dead in the garage, asphyxiated by carbon monoxide because they left the car running while having sex or something. It would be the worst kind of fridging, a horrific waste of January Jones, and yet I felt an ominous sense like maybe was going to happen.

:same: and for the same reasons; worse shows had trained me to expect some kind of unearned drama. For a second it seemed like a morbid way to upset the new normal that the hour had been establishing and get the kids back into Don's new life full-time.

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007


[url=https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3897992]



Jerusalem posted:


He made the most of it, not disabusing Atherton coming up with his own explanation for the lack of a conference table, assuming it was by design to encourage conversation with clients. He does share some of the blame himself, of course, it was him who pushed for them to get an office space downtown even though they could have gotten something larger in a less premium location.


So this is the first time I'm actually following along by watching the ep, and just wanted to make a quick possible correction. Cooper, at least I think, was saying that he wished they had gone downtown, and they would have gotten more space there.

Which makes sense, since in NYC mid-town, where Sterling Cooper was, and where SCDP is possibly, is where all the high priced firms and businesses have offices.

Downtown traditionally has been dominated by finance and is a little of a ghosttown, up to the present day.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


Harry's impotent plea for Pete to "FIX IT!" always gets a lol from me. The immediate transition from triumph he extols to Joan into failure, coupled with a perfect line delivery, it's just a great moment.

JethroMcB posted:

:same: and for the same reasons; worse shows had trained me to expect some kind of unearned drama. For a second it seemed like a morbid way to upset the new normal that the hour had been establishing and get the kids back into Don's new life full-time.

That's incredible, I never thought that in a million years and honestly felt pretty :chloe: when Jerusalem brought it up as a possibility

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Really love Joan's "I won't even tell people after it's aired."

Also, re: Bobby's love of sweet potatoes. That boy sure does remind me of Ralph Wiggum sometimes.

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007


[url=https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3897992]



GoutPatrol posted:

I'll say this again: season 4 is where the 60s begins. The stodgy environment of the old SC offices have opened up. Jerusalem appears to be not impressed but the lighting the color of the new office is them showing their more modern attitudes. Freedom and expressing yourself are in. The slapping scene is part of it. You already see it in how everyone acts with one another, you are saying there's still a hierarchy, but there is a more... egalitarian way people address each other.

which always plays off well when they do Robert's rules of order scenes

The music really sold it too. That's the thing that struck me so far in this umpteenth time I'm watching the show. It has some of the most apt and unobtrusive music out there.

Really brings into focus after watching something like Invincible, where pop hits arrive with the subtlelty of being hit by an AC and are just as welcome. The music reminded me of all the swinging 60s business movies I've seen before, a big departure from the Apartment type feel of some of the previous seasons.

Also how quickly 40 minutes can pass. goddamm!

Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011

“また遊んであげるわ!”


I had zero context for the John/Marsha exchange the first time I watched it and was very, very confused. Turns out it was actually used for a real television ad a few years after the song's release:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7l4oj5DPBvU

Mameluke
Aug 2, 2013
some dirty-sneaker-inbred-out of the woods-Pabst beer pussy methhead-junkie running all around town telling EVERYONE EVERYTHING ABOUT ELON MUSK


I'm so excited for you Jerusalem, and for myself to read your recaps as well. The new office is such a breath of fresh air for the show.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe by the start of season 5, ALL of the sets from season 1 are gone. The Ossining house, the old Sterling Cooper, even the Campbells have moved out to the suburbs by S5:E1. I always loved that. TV shows love status quos. The complete changing of the sets underscored Mad Men's emphasis on how life constantly moves and changes. And the old sets were so great. It was bold to put them away for good. Of course, the new ones are also great. Don and Megan's apartment is probably my favorite set from the show.

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



The total lack of boundaries and feeling of people stacked on top of each other is exactly how I've felt in my adult work life, so the SCDP offices are a big part of why the show started to feel like a recognizable social reality to me in S4. A modern, open-layout office where every space but the executive offices are communal and you have no privacy has been accurate of almost every (media industry) workplace I've ever set foot in.

Of course, the people on Mad Men are having way more fun than my work life has ever looked. But someone working on projects while someone else a foot away does a bit with a coworker, or a random Creative Director or client walkthrough looking over your shoulder while you're focusing on something, was a regular occurrence for me prior to the pandemic. The old Sterling-Cooper looks "nicer" just because the idea of even junior copywriters having a furnished, private office sounds insane to someone in 2021. My current WFH reality is the closest I'll ever get to that experience, I'm guessing.

Towards the end of Mad Men, the office spaces get incredibly bleak, though. SCDP turning its creative lounge into a sterile 2001 computer room is bad, but mostly McCann looks *loving miserable*. The narrow hallways, blue-grey wall-to-wall carpet, paneled drop-ceiling...the whole thing is soulless 80's corporate monoculture killing all joy. I fully believe the intense, almost apocalyptic fatalism people have over "being absorbed by McCann." The show does a fantastic job of making it look like an oppressive Office Space hellscape.

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007


[url=https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3897992]



You work in advertising? I have a buddy in advertising that moved from an agency to a network pretty much doing Harrys job.

The way he talks about the last of the Mad Men type ad ppl died out in the aiguts but he had funny stories about his bosses ducking out for lunch around then and coming back totally plastered

Boxman
Sep 27, 2004

Big fan of :frog:




Blood Nightmaster posted:

I had zero context for the John/Marsha exchange the first time I watched it and was very, very confused. Turns out it was actually used for a real television ad a few years after the song's release:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7l4oj5DPBvU

It's possible we've posted about it in this thread, but my wife and I always find ourselves turning on old commercial reels when we just want something for background noise. At least partly because of Mad Men, we find them great little time capsules of society.

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

Of course there are literally endless amounts of these on youtube from every television era. Also great are when you get a commercial for local news, since its a little 30 second reminder of what was happening in the world.

GoutPatrol
Oct 17, 2009

*Stupid Moddie*



Yoshi Wins posted:


I gotta say, I do not find Bethany charming AT ALL. Maybe Don does? He's definitely smiling in many shots during their date, but JEEZ does she make it awkward in weirdly condescending ways. Just so many references to him being wounded and alone, which, of course he is, but I can't imagine that being my approach to talking to someone on a first date. She does have a very pretty face though!

Regarding the slapping by the prostitute, in addition to assuaging his guilt, I think he also craves discipline. He seems to be a damned mess without the stabilizing influence of Betty.


Well Don is entering his "I sleep in a racecar" phase of his life. Newly single guy who has no idea how to take care of himself.

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



Shageletic posted:

You work in advertising? I have a buddy in advertising that moved from an agency to a network pretty much doing Harrys job.

Adjacent to. I do video post-production work in-house for what's essentially a small agency in Los Angeles. My current company (but also several other places I've worked) does creative work-for-hire with commercial and corporate clients, so the business model is pretty similar to SCDP (we pitch for jobs, and live or die by winning contracts.) The work is mostly nonprofit PSAs or messaging films nobody sees, but occasionally it's genuine advertising work. In Mad Men terms, I'd basically work for the art department.

Nobody I've worked with is, like, a Don or a Roger though. There are directors and executives who are interesting characters or big personalities, but things are way too buttoned-up and corporate now for that kind of overt misbehavior. For various reasons, I've interacted with big-time agencies like Wieden+Kennedy or Ogilvy, and they felt similar to me. The modern open floorplan communal workspace thing also very much applied there.

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The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


Xealot posted:

Towards the end of Mad Men, the office spaces get incredibly bleak, though. SCDP turning its creative lounge into a sterile 2001 computer room is bad, but mostly McCann looks *loving miserable*. The narrow hallways, blue-grey wall-to-wall carpet, paneled drop-ceiling...the whole thing is soulless 80's corporate monoculture killing all joy. I fully believe the intense, almost apocalyptic fatalism people have over "being absorbed by McCann." The show does a fantastic job of making it look like an oppressive Office Space hellscape.


I was thinking about this on my latest rewatch, but it's almost metatextual how closely going to McCann is equated with death. There are multiple allusions to death/dying in the episodes leading up to the main character's failed SC West pitch, but then the show makes it explicitly clear what McCann means for the main cast straight from the mouth of Jim Hobart: "You've died and gone to advertising heaven." Don spends the next three episodes in an almost suicidal haze of ennui. And, of course, the absorption into McCann also heralds the literal end of the show. McCann is death, everything it represents is death. It's a stark excoriation of, among other things, the rise of the corporate monoculture that McCann exemplifies.

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