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Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






I love the finale of the show very much, and always boggle at people's opinion that it was anything less than stellar. One thing I never really see talked about or even considered, is the exact impetus that brings Don to have his breakdown and hug the man in group therapy. He's sitting there, pretty passively, until he begins talking about his dream. It's only when his isolation, his inherent unlovable nature, his fundamental flaw is articulated in a capitalistic manner of an unused product, that Don begins to react. He is being advertised to in that moment. As this man describes the dream from his subconscious, what Don is hearing is a pitch for a commercial, of a condiment that no one will ever apply. But what's stunning about it is that that's not what he (as far as we know) takes from this experience. The emotion behind the pitch, as he says many times in the show, is what gets through to him, and makes him realize that he's not alone in this world, and he's not alone in how he feels. THAT'S the sentiment that brings him to the Coke ad. That sometimes all an ad has to be is a genuine expression of togetherness, of care. That a pitch doesn't have to be disingenuous, or cynical. It's very easy to view the Coke ad in our modern hindsight as those things, as riding the wave of the late 60's just a couple years too late, but I truly think that when it was made it was genuine, and doubly so in the fiction of Mad Men, and the key to it is that fridge dream.

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Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






Xealot posted:

Lane made his own decisions and his own mistakes, but Don's still a little complicit, right? Lane was in a desperate situation and Don was his last resort, and Don's rejection of him was pretty ice cold even if it was justifiable. Clearly, he does feel guilt over it: why else would he hallucinate Adam everywhere afterwards? And he does try to money away his guilt; he personally gives Rebecca a huge check and is then scolded down for it. "Don't think you did this for anyone but yourself!"

Mostly, though, I think Adam and Lane point to how warped Don's capacity for human connection is. Telling a desperate person on the brink to "just abandon your current life and start over" is insane, a very cruel and devastating thing to say. Don thinks this was showing Lane mercy because "starting over" is what Don did, what he imagines doing all the time. It's a worldview that reveals how conditional and temporary he thinks every connection he has actually is. And how invested can Don truly be in his relationships - with friends, wives, children - if he's prepared to vanish after one bad day?


i don't think don was treating lane's suicide the same as adam's, but i do think why the show is drawing a parallel is because lane's is what finally makes him actually critically analyze his hand in adam's. its not something hes come back to thinking about since anna died, and it was never something he seemed to think too deeply about his role in in the first place. but lane dying so directly after their final interaction and in exactly the same way adam did forces don to compare and contrast, to realize that even though there were months between their final encounter and the news that adam had killed himself, that he was just as involved. they killed themselves for pretty different reasons, lane because of his weird british pride/shame and adam out of pure isolation and despondency that his idolized big brother would abandon him not once but twice. but the superficial nature of lane makes him reflect on adam, and this i believe is part of a direct line to why he brings his kids to see where he grew up.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






GoutPatrol posted:




also this is the second time Jerusalem has mentioned Megan by name. Amazing good they were at planting it


i think that they way the did it was also a pretty big tipoff to how things were always going to end up. a lot of the early integration of megan into things is "oh, just go get megan to do that thing no one wants to do right now." reliable, called upon to fill a position or perform a duty no one else is interested in right now. the logical conclusion to that is of course marrying a drunk, pathetic, emotionally defeated don that's completely adrift and unmoored after losing the previous two people in that position left because the work sucked and the job became vacant (betty) or out of control circumstances (anna).

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






Boxing was a much bigger deal culturally back then, though not quite in the way you'd think of like baseball or anything. You'd go to a fight in a suit and tie and stay seated, it was a high society sort of thing to attend. A lot of the luster of the sport wore off in the late 80s/early 90s due to many factors, chief among them the fact that it simply got very boring to watch as by then it had become a "solved" sport where the dominant style was (and still is) to play relatively defensively, and the birth of MMA as a counter sport full of (at the time, its now boring and solved too) exciting crazy matchups. Why pay hundreds of dollars to go see two guys juke forever when you can see what wins in a fight, sumo or kickboxing??? the mike tyson stuff in the 90s didn't help the sport's image either

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






The Klowner posted:

"Money can't buy happiness" is kind of cheesy when you just say it but the show does a good job of exploring that from various angles through its characters.

you say that, but one of the most memorable moments in the show (and easily in my top 3 favourites) is when the show does overtly say that through song and dance to Don, and to the viewer by extension

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






Xealot posted:

S7E2 The later episode that reminds me of this is when Don drives Sally back to school. It's after she caught him cheating with Sylvia, after she called him disgusting and ducked all his calls, after learning where he grew up. He admits that he lost his job, that he's estranged from Megan, and is generally at a profound low point. But she still says, "I love you." And Don's reaction looks to be surprise: how could she possibly? And yet, somehow, she does.

I think this also plays back into the finale where he relates to the guy in the group session. Don is very struck by him specifically saying that it's not that people don't love him, but it's that they do and he doesn't know what love actually is, and therefore is incapable of receiving it. We as viewers may make the "and yet, somehow, she does" connection, but in that moment Don absolutely does not. It's pure confusion and self loathing.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






this is one of the episodes of the show that always gave me the biggest sopranos vibes. a privileged/powerful person potentially seeing any consequences for his actions and crimes, careening around violently with no real solution other than treating people around him like poo poo, getting what he wants because everyone else folds, and then ending on a note making it clear he got everything he wanted but it still just can't fill that hole inside of him and it just won't be enough.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






i always found the crowd of people getting angry at posters saying betty is childish to be kind of concern trolls, considering the show itself is basically screaming BETTY IS A CHILD at us quite frequently, and this episode in particular is one of the biggest exemplars. it's not just betty desperately trying to manipulate the psychologist so she can keep getting therapy without having to admit to therapy, but it's the way she behaves in comparison to sally, who is far far more mature than her, and to a degree more mature than quite a number of characters on the show in general. sally is calm, understanding, takes aboard criticism and thinks it through and really considers it, doesn't require other people to emotionally regulate for her because she's learned the skills to do that herself through her time in therapy. betty is the polar opposite, both in this episode and in general. as a direct citation in this episode, there's henry's tensing and fear when betty is about to start up her pitch to move house. you can see the split second where he's clearly anticipating her having a blow up and throwing the potato in his hands to deal with. to make him regulate her negative feelings, because she is literally incapable of it, the way a child is. there's also the direct comparison to glenn: he has the same childish insistence that he can put one over on the psychologist that betty must harbour considering the look of satisfaction she has when the psychologist capitulates to her demands, thinking she has slyly used her daughter to keep her own therapy intact. he also makes no real overture to sally and treats her as a kid would imagine adults treat each other, because she has that maturity, whereas his interactions with betty have historically been...:mrwhite:

Paper Lion fucked around with this message at 17:10 on Aug 24, 2021

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






were so dang close to the fireworks factory signal 30

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






KellHound posted:

While the fight is nice, Ken writing the man with the tiny orchestra while Pete pouts about a teen girl not fawning over him is a end that always sticks in my head. Ken is actually a good writer! I would 1000% read his books. Also, I bet Paul unknowingly reads all his books too

its not that shes not fawning over him, its that he has to sit there and watch her kissing this dudes neck to stop herself moaning during the film reel while he fingers her right there in the classroom. he's entirely emasculated and brought low. possibly the lowest pete ever truly feels in the show, honestly, and informs his buck wild swing into the behaviour that leads to his other problems, because hes trying to compensate for the events of this one episode.

also re: ken i dont think he ends up bitter in a general sense, he seems to have a sense of humour about the situation at the end. its just that his sense of humour is being able to laugh at how the tables have turned, and now he can make them do whatever he wants. its been a long time since ive seen it so feel free to correct me, but the vibe i always got was "you are basically still guaranteed my business, but im gonna gently caress with you if i feel like it" which is entirely within his right. trolling his former employer that ignored his concerns and had him maimed as a result isnt really bitter or malicious, its just turnabout being fair play.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






Yoshi Wins posted:

Yeah, Megan in particular shows off some interesting looks as a fashionable (and rich) young woman of the mid-60s.

oh god, i hope he doesnt get himself on board the stupid "megan wearing this shirt means she will die at the tate house manson family murders" poo poo like so many people did when it was airing weekly

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






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

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






the harry megan scene is possibly the single most awkward thing in the entire series

also i love how roger challenges pete to fight for the office and everyone takes it as the farce it is, so that by the time signal 30 rolls around and we have an intensely disrespected lane challenging an emasculated pete desperate to assert his manhood to fisticuffs, there's this odd sense of precedent to what would have otherwise come almost entirely out of left field, and the events of the show and the setup of how lane is feeling more and more boxed in and desperate and the events of signal 30so far for pete make the choice to actually engage in the fight make perfect sense for the characters. all from this one offhand comment!!!

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






Yoshi Wins posted:

Yeah, definitely an intentional symbol. It comes up a lot.

I disagree with your interpretation about the wine stain. Don is a vastly better person in season 7 than he is in the previous 6 seasons. I think he is just willing to accept that he's not perfect. I think what happens in the Hershey pitch that changes Don's life and results in him finally being less of an rear end in a top hat is that he realizes he can accept things, even if he wants them to be different. Basically I agree that he's accepted that he's broken, but I don't see that he views himself as unchangeable or refuses to try to be better. He's repairing his relationships through humility and acceptance and although his visit to the family of the waitress is misguided, it is undertaken out of a desire to help a person in pain. I don't think these are the actions of a person who has given up on being better.

Don finally improving how he treats other people is actually really important to how I feel about the show overall. I would like it much less and it would mean much less to me if he didn't.


i agree entirely, and want to add w/r/t the ending, that his desire to help others and repair things, only to fall into his self destructive and near suicidal point only to rebound at the end, make it pretty clear imo that the final moments and the coke ad are entirely sincere and not cynical. he just wants to help people, to pay things forward, and exist in a way where he can look at himself in the mirror. he truly just wants to buy the world a coke

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






i think its a bit more neutral than a spiral or downturn. he's just more adrift, looking for things that make him feel or looking for things that might make things right. when he gave megan the $1m, its to me supposed to parallel the whole "thats what the money is for" outburst but with an actual emotional weight before. hes apologized or thanked or otherwise substituted using money for expressing an emotion before, but here he is trying to slowly bridge the gap by using money and emotion. its the half way point before he learns to open himself up and, one could presume in the future, just related and interacts with emotion entirely and not with money at all

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






double fisting hamburgers he bought for his family but then decided to eat entirely on his own to leave them hungry while complaining that they all suck and marriage sucks and he hates going home to the boss whos wife he did a big workplace sexual harassment on, after a night of openly leering at teenage girls.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






the question isnt whether i could eat 20 sliders, the question is that knowing i could eat 20 sliders, would i only buy 20 or would i buy 40 for the whole family

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






nevermind the period, people still fall for that to this day for the exact same reasons. it doesnt have to be overwritten, what matters is joan wanted this thing to work and put on blinders to make it work. some reasons are obviously societal, and some reasons are her own that we as viewers may or may not ever get to know. fictional characters can have interiority that we are never privy to, just look at don draper!!!!!

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






easily my favourite episode of the show, the pugilism scene is top 3 in the show for me (behind the cooper song and dance, and the refrigerator monologue in person to person). i think the really important takeaway from this whole character study is that pete is constantly moving in ways that he thinks he is expected to. hes not happy because he fundamentally doesn't understand what the people around him actually want from him because of the expectations he THINKS they should have of him due to his somewhat warped upbringing and the poo poo his father instilled in him. hes the only one fixated on the sink, hes the only one fixated on his power games at work, hes the only one fixated on banging the teenager, but we also know that longterm none of those things will actually give him any real pleasure or sense of fulfillment. he already cheated on his wife with peggy, and that gave him nothing. hes tried being a doting husband, and that gave him nothing, hes already won stupid power games at work (with making the big leap, with getting harrys office, with everything involving ken) and it gave him nothing. because it doesn't actually mean anything to him, and he can't understand why it doesn't. thats the thing gnawing away at him the most

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






its important to note that LSD wasnt actually illegal yet, that only came with nixon's drastic expansion of the war on drugs. at this period in history it was a pretty normal thing for well to do people to have a socialite connection with someone on the inside track of all the drug therapies going on and have mind expansion parties like this. the dr leary namedrop is very intentional, as he literally did exclusively this as a service basically after he got fired from his professorship.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






its great in the episode where theyre all on speed that they never really do any kind of "inside the mind of x character" stuff, you just see it played out rather flatly. ken dancing, dons "creative spark" as hes running around. it feels exactly like walking into a methheads house lmao

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






Sash! posted:



Fighter pilot Roger would have been hilarious, but instead we got B-17 pilot Jim Cutler. I like to pretend he was one of the radar equipped aircraft that made the decision to firebomb Dresden's city center, because it seems in character.


id honestly always inferred that from the show somehow rather than consider it "headcanon" but for the life of me couldnt tell you how or where

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






Emile definitely would have been involved in the university to felquiste pipeline and probably even personally knew the professor that lead one of the cells. but from what else we know of him so far, im sure he also pussed out and renounced everything during/after the october crisis

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






a lot of really great unhinged ginsberg in this one. i will never understand the people that insist his fate comes out of nowhere, or that he was just kooky but never actually volatile. its on full display in basically every episode he's in

the whole thing with don not getting the beatles is interesting because, to the best of my recollection, he has never once made any real comment about music. certainly not music as an art or as something he would go out of his way to listen to or have an opinion of. its not a rejection of the beatles, its a fundamental lack of ability to even perceive what is happening to this artform right in front of him because he has no frame of reference (pointed to by the fact that he cant even recognize a 30 year old song). its not that hes out of touch, its that he never was in the first place. a piece of his artificial construct persona he never had to bother building because it was simply not relevant to the people that he needed to have observing this persona. i distinctly remember thinking when i first saw the episode and realizing this, "what other aspects of don draper are fully unrealized and how can the show bring them to bear? what would happen if enough of them were exposed? would he shore up those gaps and turn don from a facade into a proper personality, or would he crumble before our eyes?" hopefully it is a question you keep in mind too, jerusalem

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






this is getting a little into the weeds and ahead of things, but i both agree and disagree. the problem is in what you think don sees as what he needs. what he actually needs is unconditional love and validation, but is too unable to actually accept it and too insecure in who he is to believe it. his whole marriage to megan is him initially trying to believe that she could see him the way he's always wanted someone to and is as honest with her as possible about his life upfront, but his core belief that hes an unlovable garbage boy whore orphan keeps rearing its head and as megan starts wanting independence it becomes conflated with the idea that she is rebuking him personally and not simply the expectations put on her as a wife and woman in the late 60s (and partially by dons possessiveness and not liking her being on tv. why would she want the attention of so many people if i were actually enough? i must not be enough after all, the love must be a lie, etc). the reason he only likes the start of things isnt, in my eyes, because he grows bored or is flippant. when he tries throwing caution to the wind and making a hard commitment to all his previous flings, its because in those moments hes sort of testing them. will you actually care about me, to the point that wed throw our current lives away together if it meant you could be with me? that kind of "testing" mentality mixed in with an earnest desire for the result if any of them said yes. i think thats also why he never followed up with the teacher he left in the car in season 3. a self defeating "she hates me now, i hosed this up" self loathing.

basically, don draper is shinji ikari if he hosed a lot and could project the facade everyone expects of him rather than just be openly sad all the time

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






kalel posted:

so what you're saying is (Evangelion movie spoilers ahead)

he needs to go the Anti Universe and fight Archibald in a giant mech?

honestly, what worked for shinji is what worked for don too: get out of his own head, find an environment where people accept you unconditionally, and touch some fuckin grass

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






ginsberg is easily my favourite second tier character in mad men, though its close with stan cutler and chaough

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






Shageletic posted:

The central crux I think I'm picking up on my current rewatch of Mad Men is Don's constant fear of commodification. That he is selling a product. That he is a product.

The first ep with the psychologist, his warning to Peggy there that Jerusalem mentioned, down to the last season and walking away from MCcann when that marketer described ppl as interchangeable. Maybe it's the trauma of growing up in a whorewhose, bit Don is terrified of being seen as a prostitute of capitalism, and has a deep and hypocritical distaste for those he sees as being that.

Which is why the last ep of this season unspooled the way it did.

God I love this show.


im sure ive posted this before, but this is what i love about the finale. the thing that gets him to understand not only his own feelings but the feelings of another person purely and unconditionally is when he compares himself to a condiment in the fridge. he pitches an ad about the lonely condiment that everyone looks past and no one wants to use, and thats what breaks his emotional walls down.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






outside of the original airing, ive never been able to watch this episode and the season finale spaced out at all. they really do feel the closest mad men ever gets to a 2 parter

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






i also forgot about the literal two parter at the start of this season because even at initial airing it was just a big two hour block lmao.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






if theres any season i hope we can get jerusalem to go back and immediately rewatch once hes done the whole series, its 6. im sure there will be a lot of vitriol to don in some of those recaps and getting all the way to the end and having that knowledge when you see it all really shows just how sad and in pain he is. season 6 don is at his core a man that is utterly convinced that no one will ever love him, no matter what effort he puts in or how honest he is, because he is fundamentally broken, so why bother trying anymore? but to a first time viewer it doesnt look that way at all, even with some of the backstory we already have.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






hamm was a high school drama teacher before this role, lets not act like he wasnt the embodiment of sweaty desperation once either. he taught ellie kemper!

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






Lady Radia posted:

Do you have a source on this? This is the first I've heard about it.

Harris himself. http://hollywood-news-now.blogspot.com/2012/06/for-mad-men-and-actor-harris-shocking.html

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






a lot of really intricate writing and layering in this episode. the phantom being adam, lane, megans acting career, enlightenment, happiness. dons fear of losing megan being woven into the other stories as well. i love that the final question is specifically "are you alone?", its the exact phrasing that you can see don sit there and really, truly ponder before turning his head to answer.

i disagree somewhat on your read of pete in this episode. i think he does fully understand everything he is saying to beth and has internalized it. hes going home upset but ready to give up on his own phantom, seeing the pain of that situation, seeing (and being directly told by both beth and howard) that cheating isnt actually going to help his depression, only for the swerve of capitulation to him having an apartment...what else could he do but sit there and stay silent? after all, maybe he was too quick to give up...maybe just being in the city sometimes will be enough. maybe THIS is the thing that's missing! like i said in an earlier post, i dont view pete as malicious. hes someone that was told to want certain things, and isnt happy now that he has them. his malaise is that he doesnt understand why they dont make him happy, and he doesnt understand what would instead. its honestly a terrible emotional cage to be trapped in

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






the way they shoot don leaving the set is the answer to the question of what hes really seeing when he watches megans demo reel: shes radiant, and in that high opinion and love for her, he feels self loathing for himself by contrast.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






its blunt, but it works, and the reason why is because it isnt for OUR benefit, its for DONS benefit. hes the one trying to ignore problems, and this tooth is the physical manifestation of that. which he then continues to ignore!!! this is his subconscious spelling things out for him as plainly as it can because he refuses to acknowledge anything consciously. the other reason why i believe this is because, frankly, i DONT think theres anything inherently wrong with don as a person. hes just traumatized as gently caress and has no tools to handle it. this is his own self loathing talking to him. the showrunners arent communicating that he is a bad person to us, its adam communicating what don really thinks of himself back to him.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






i dont think thats entirely fair. on the first watch through, there is a lot of subtlety because you can tell that the actors are trying to convey SOMETHING but you dont really have that window into their minds yet, until we get information later in the show that really informs the earlier performances. don draper can be read like a book once you know what his deal is, the problem is that we dont find out the full extent of things until the crash in season 6. some characters we never get that full interiority for and are left making assumptions or putting the pieces together ourselves.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






Xealot posted:

Yup, every criticism here is one a character feels or expresses within the actual text. "It looks like you skipped the struggle and jumped right to the end," however Emile says it.

That shot of Don walking away from Megan on set is so perfect. There's this little island of light, where Megan is a literal princess in a fairy tale, but as Don realizes the absurdity and the self-delusion in the ways he idealized her, he leaves the entire artifice behind him and ventures into the darkness. Don's second marriage arc in less than a minute.

I agree that it's disappointing that Megan had to rely on nepotism to get a gig, and a pretty lame gig at that, but she plainly doesn't deserve the reaction Don gives her. She's a human being, who's fallible and insecure, and she took the opportunity she could reach. If her behavior feels like some betrayal, it's because Don expected way too much of her. I can only assume that Don felt some quality of Megan would redeem him or transform him, that she was some magical external force that could fix everything wrong inside of him. But that's clearly impossible: even if she WAS literally perfect, Don isn't and his problems are his own to deal with or ignore and let fester as he sees fit.

i dont think thats the reason for don being in shadow there. it has nothing to do with him being sad she had to ask for help as though its a character flaw, but it ties back into his statement about helping someone until they leave you. hes helped her, and now feels like the other shoe is going to fall and he has set in motion events that will result in her leaving him. this is reinforced by the question "are you alone?"hes right, but its a self fulfilling prophecy, because of the choices he makes due to the sadness about this perceived inevitability which create actual material reasons to be sad, which is the loop that causes his spiral down to rock bottom.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009







*snap*

thats going in my cringe collection

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

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

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Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






Blood Nightmaster posted:


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



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

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