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Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



I like Glen and I like the way Weiner’s kid plays him. Though I do think it’s weird that Weiner cast his son for that role.

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Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Escobarbarian posted:

Him saying nobody ever told him he’s good with people before is such an amazing self-own too

Great moment! It’s the first time on the show that I feel sympathy for Pete. He knows everyone thinks he’s a weasel and now if he wants a really successful career, he has to network for a living.

Of course, it’s a bit generous to be sympathetic to him for this. His name resulted in him being handed a job with a great career track. That’s more than most people get. If he doesn’t like it, he can quit and get an entry level creative job with some small firm that doesn’t know his connections. But obviously he won’t do that, since his entitlement is such a powerful driving force for him. This may not be the job he thinks he wants, but it’s the highest status job that someone would hand him, so here he is.

I still feel a bit bad for him when he says that line, though, because it’s just sad for any person to feel like no one likes them on a personal level. That’s why Don’s monologue in the pilot about how no one will like Pete cuts him deeply. He knows that Don has him pegged.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



I've rewatched Mad Men more times than I can count, and I think season 1, which I liked a lot on my first viewing, isn't so great to rewatch. There are a few reasons for this.
-As the show goes on, the complexities of the relationships between the characters deepen, which makes later seasons more rewarding to rewatch as you pick up on subtleties in interactions that you missed before.
-Season 1 is partially built around the mystery of "Who is Don Draper?", and naturally those parts aren't as engaging on a rewatch,
-and Some of the characters, while deeply flawed in every season, are in my opinion bigger assholes in season 1. I find Don and Joan more sympathetic in the other seasons. Pete remains a jerk, but at least he starts working hard in later seasons. I find them a bit too hard to get invested in, on a rewatch. Also, the show gets MUCH, MUCH FUNNIER. There are simply a lot more jokes written into the scripts in later seasons, and the laughs are excellent. The show misses the comic relief when it's largely absent from season 1.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



sebmojo posted:

Season 1 is the most "things sure were different in the past weren't they? Huh?" season and it can feel like the show is nudging you on the ribs to point that out more than is seemly

Yes, I absolutely agree with this. I think it's fair to call it "heavy handed". They made a good adjustment to how those moments are handled in later seasons.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



algebra testes posted:

When I was younger Don in 5G was like "wow what a jerk"

Now I understand it entirely. Although agree with it maybe not.

Don seems like a sociopath viewing season 1 without more knowledge about his backstory and motivations. He's not. He's a badly traumatized person who uses coping strategies that hurt himself and other people, and he is cowardly in situations that require him to confront emotionally challenging situations. At this point in the series, he LOOKS perfect to everyone else and is on the verge of making partner at his agency, and he is suffering from a delusion that he can fake it until he makes it. And he is so close to "making it" that there is no way he is capable of facing the possible consequences of reuniting with his brother.

What really makes it tragic is that until Adam came along Don never experienced love from anyone. He turns his back on the first person who really loved him, when he was a pitiable whorehouse orphan, because he is scared. It never could have been worth it.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



I don’t think either character is irredeemable. Both of them do a lot of terrible things, but they both finally appear to be making great strides in season 7 in understanding how much they’ve been the cause of their own problems because of how they’ve mistreated the people closest to them. Can they fully atone for their crimes? Perhaps that’s for the people they’ve hurt to decide. But both Don and Pete are a lot more compassionate and respectful at the end of the show than they are at the beginning.

I think Mad Men takes the perspective that we’re all flawed, many of us deeply so, and we do tend to repeat our mistakes a lot, but we do continue to grow and change throughout our lives-sometimes for the worse (Harry Crane is at his worst in season 7), but sometimes for better.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



People both change and stay the same. Both are true. Don (along Peggy and the other principal characters) is clearly different in substantive ways by the end of the show, so the message of the show can't be "people don't change." But we see several examples of people making mistakes that are similar to ones they made in the past, even in season 7. So the message also can't be "people always grow and change and move beyond their problems." I honestly think the thesis is: "Do people change? Well... sometimes! In some ways! Uh, it's complicated! Case-by-case basis, man!" Which I really appreciate, because that's REAL! I think the writers cared about emotional authenticity, and that made the show better and more impactful.

Poor Jerusalem. You're gonna be scrolling past black blocks of text for MONTHS.

I look forward to posting unspoilered takes in the future, but season 1 is so opaque and mysterious that it's just not gonna happen often for this season.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



This is the first episode where Freddy Rumsen has a memorable role, so now is a good time to point out that he is played by Joel Murray, younger brother of Bill Murray. Had no idea the first time I watched the series. I think he does a great job with the character.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



I’m pretty sure they just got one, and Trudy wanted to keep it. She tearfully says “that was a wedding gift” and “that was for us!” She regarded it sentimentally.

Pete lied to his coworkers about being a dutiful husband.

Another hint is that he didn’t know to check under her name in the registry. As we will see, Trudy is very good with details. If she asked him to make a return, she would have told him his registries work.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



I think he bought a replacement to placate her (what if her aunt and uncle come over on some holiday and ask if they’ve been using their gift?) and kept the rifle because he liked his toy, but I can’t think of any way to prove it. Whatever the case, he certainly wasn’t a good husband doing a favor for his wife on his lunch break.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Yeah, my friends and I have been quoting the chip ‘n dip dialogue for years. It’s loving brilliant.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Great write up! You always notice things I've never noticed before.

Don tells Roy and Midge they're in love, but in the pilot he tells Rachel Menken that men like him made love up, and that it isn't real. Is he being more honest to Roy and Midge, and was he presenting himself in a false way to Rachel? Or does he feel one way some of the time, and the exact opposite the rest of the time?

One thing that hardly ever gets discussed that's interesting about this show is that Don seems to be an atheist in 1960s America. This country has rapidly grown secular over the past 20 years, but in 1960, the vast majority of Americans considered themselves religious. Don is not only not religious, but his nihilistic interpretation of the universe suggests that he rejects even spirituality. This would set Don apart from most of the people around him even further, when he is already so aloof and isolated for a number of other reasons.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Xealot posted:


S1 Peggy is so wide-eyed, but god drat do I love her character later on. The plot where Joey in the art dept keeps harassing Joan is so good on this point. Joan's plan is some 4D chess to crumble Joey's prospects from within the company. Peggy's plan is to tell him directly, "pack your poo poo. You're done." I get Joan's argument, that this makes Joan look like a secretary and makes Peggy look like a humorless bitch, but goddamn do I think Peggy was still right. Pull some poo poo like Joey pulls, and you get fired. The esteem of his male coworkers shouldn't matter at all, and it's one of the first points in the show where society felt contemporary.

I've always completely agreed with your take in the spoiler. Joey pulls some poo poo, Peggy fires him, and he is GONE. Peggy's coworkers may say she's a humorless bitch... but probably not to her face. And anyway, Joan isn't right about that either. Peggy gets along well with dudes in creative in the latter half of the show. It's pretty clear she's not humorless. She just doesn't care that much if people don't like her.

But Joan was just trying to recapture some dignity. Throwing some powerful shade at Peggy was all she had left at that point. And Peggy should have talked to Joan first before firing Joey, if only as a courtesy.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Peggy and Don are both very good, but Peggy doesn’t craft as much of a genius persona. There’s a sexist attitude in our society that genius is a male trait. Women are often seen as highly competent but rarely brilliant. This is because men, even more so in Don’s era, are given permission or even encouragement to be assertive and bold, whereas women are expected to go along, not make waves, etc.

Peggy’s more workmanlike approach may reflect the fact that society would not reward her for pulling the kind of alpha move Don pulled in the Belle Jolie pitch. When Rachel Menken gets assertive with Don in their first business meeting, he says he won’t be spoken to that way by a woman and storms out. I imagine the Belle Jolie guy would have had a similar reaction, even though it was a woman who came up with the idea for how they should change their advertising strategy.

Don works hard to project that he is a genius. Peggy doesn’t really do that. She kind of just does the work, and her workplace persona is closer to the “real” Peggy than Don’s persona is to the “real” Don. This is part of why she is happier than Don. Don is successful at crafting and projecting his genius persona, but this just further adds to his intense isolation.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Ken is easygoing and affable, so it’s easy to like him, but the morally corrosive effects of privilege are still pretty noticeable in him.

We also see Ken throughout the entire run of the show, so he’s 10 years older by the end. Not to say he’s perfect in season 7. He’s not, but he’s certainly more mature.

Regarding this episode, I have a tough time rewatching season 1 because the level of assholeishness is at its peak in season 1, and Joan’s behavior in this episode is a good example of how cruel she is in this season. She doesn’t just say mean things to Peggy. She knew that bright red outfit would draw attention to the weight Peggy had put on. She must have. She’s far too skilled at presenting herself to fail to realize how Peggy will look in that outfit. It’s not a generous gesture. It’s Mean Girls-esque bullying. She is punishing Peggy for stepping outside her role and upsetting the system. Joan is thriving in that system, and keeping it running smoothly is part of her job as office manager.

Pete is a jackass in this episode (unsurprisingly!), but we see that he is not 100% useless. His idea to shut Kennedy out of the Illinois ad market is clever. But it’s satisfying to see him miss out on some of the credit by letting Harry “take the blame” at first.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Adjunct Professor Metis posted:

That final scene of Betty shooting the pigeons is such a clear memory in my mind. I had honestly forgotten what the context was, but it's just a fantastic image.

It's truly the first classic gif from the series.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Don seriously could have killed Roger with his revenge ploy in Red in the Face. I think he’s thinking about that when he looks gravely at Roger with his family. I also think he’s upset at the emotional display, because he is never that open with anyone. And he’s upset that he will die one day.

I think Don seeks out Rachel because the pursuit of a woman enables him to be more emotionally open. I believe a central thesis of this show is that emotional openness is necessary for good mental health, and, well, Don is not mentally healthy. He is totally closed off to his own wife. But somehow he finds it possible to show vulnerability while pursuing a woman sexually.

It makes some sense: there’s an associated endorphin rush. We know by looking at his drinking that Don has problems with addiction. He also has a sex addiction. By getting a “hit” of something he craved, his head clears enough to make a confession he needs to make.

Another reason is that Rachel is unlikely to tell anyone about this. Don is the one who is more in the wrong, morally, as he’s the married one, but Rachel also has an incentive to keep the fact that she slept with a married man a secret. Don doesn’t trust Betty with his secrets, but he sees Betty every day. He probably feels “safer” telling a mistress than his wife. Which is TREMENDOUSLY sad!

The confession scene is pretty important for making Don sympathetic, even though it’s not OK for him to behave as he does. We now know he was an unloved orphan. It begins to make sense that he became an impostor who sells false happiness.

Fun casting fact: the actors who play Roger and Mona are married in real life. They do always have good chemistry in scenes together.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Incelshok Na posted:

Part of it is that Don absolutely has a "type" and society has a different "type" that is expected from a man like him. Since he is a shell, he married and had kids with the kind of person he was expected to and not the kind of person he wants. It's a great example of how the patriarchy hurts both men and women while also highlighting that the ways it hurts women are imposed from the outside and the way it hurts men are self-imposed.

Absolultely. He wanted to create a perfect image for all of society to see, and so he married a woman who looks A LOT like Grace Kelly. I actually think it's relevant to Don's character how much January Jones looks like Grace Kelly. It suggests he thought 2 things. One: "My life should look like the movies." And two: "When everything LOOKS perfect, everything will BE perfect."

I do think there's a universe where Don and Betty are happy together. It's one where they don't have kids and they just live glamorously. Remember the season 3 episode where they go to Rome together? They have fun looking the part of beautiful American millionaires. Then they get back to the suburbs and their three kids, and Betty doesn't disguise the fact that she's immediately miserable again. They should have never had kids. But it's just like you said: They were doing what they were expected to do. If they didn't have kids, people would ask questions about that. It wouldn't have looked right, so it had to be done.

I do think they love their kids (despite what Don says in a drunken and self-loathing scene in season 6), but they're not really fit parents and they would have been better off just being a vain, rich, glamorous couple.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Jerusalem posted:

I don't know if I entirely agree with that, though I think you make a very good case. While Don doesn't just openly pursue any and all women unlike Roger, with those he does pursue he still puts up a facade even if it is in the guise of openness. With Midge he wants uncomplicated in contrast to his relationship with Betty, and he gets upset when she doesn't fit into his perception of the role he has decided for her. Both her and Rachel have something in common, which is their independence, and I think to some degree he resents Betty's utter reliance on him even as he simultaneously considers it the natural and right way for things to be. But that's all mixed up with his clear desire for a maternal figure to help a scared little boy feel safe. I think the closest to the "real" Don Draper we have seen so far is that moment he tells Betty he wishes he had a mother like her, and this scene where he opens himself up to Rachel so she can comfort him.

In that regard, I agree with you that Don craves the ability to be emotionally open, even as - as Incelshok Na says - society and his own perception of masculinity tell him is that he needs to remain closed down. I just think that sex is more a byproduct or misconception on Don's part that this physical proximity is necessary to get the emotional closeness he wants. That's why he rejects Peggy's clumsy come-on in the first episode and is a brick wall when Eleanor tries to kiss him, because he has no emotional connection to or interest in either of those women's personalities, and without that spark he finds no physical attraction to them.

Very good points! He definitely wants things uncomplicated with Midge but feels something more intense with Rachel. That was clear from his first kiss with Rachel. The way he sheepishly confesses that he's married and that it shouldn't have happened - that's totally different from how he is with Midge. He knew from the start there was more danger in getting involved with Rachel because he was feeling something more powerful than simple sexual attraction.

I wrote that the pursuit of "a woman" enables Don to be more open, but that wasn't right. As you point out, he is particular, actually. Don is mercurial, moody, and often hard to read, but his desires are not random. I agree that he likes Midge and Rachel's independence. Not only are they both intelligent working women who don't rely on a husband for any of their needs, but they both flout or outright reject convention in their attitudes and communication styles. They raise the possibility that people can be completely different from how they are expected to be. That's inspiring to a man with the background and life story of Don.

Shageletic posted:

But wasn't that just what the Jet Set people were doing in California, something that Don definitively rejected as meaningless and without purpose? Don needed to start a family as a way to redeem or get past his own damaged childhood, even though he was completely lovely at it. Being eternally childless and without any responsibility? I don't think that his sort of escapism.

It was recreating the family, the life, that he always wanted. To aspire to something he could claim as good. Its the heart of his motivation, and his self loathing, his success in business, and his whole life really.


Yes! Don clearly looked down on the jet setters. And yet he also was clearly having fun looking glamorous with Betty in Italy. How to explain the contradiction? I think Don and Betty do have a connection beyond the fact that they're both really good looking. Betty's family was wealthy (she bonds with Trudy in My Old Kentucky Home over their shared experience growing up as members of a country club) and her social graces are excellent. That's part of why she ended up being a pretty good match for Henry, who needed a wife who could say the right things at various functions (though Betty comes to resent this in later seasons). I think that in Betty, Don found a partner who was graceful and elegant. The jet setters are shamelessly hedonistic. And you're right, Don aspires to higher things than that.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



It's cool to see all these similar, but slightly different interpretations. I think it speaks to one of the defining characteristics of the show. Our behavior can rarely be traced to one simple motive. In our biggest decisions in life--careers, relationships, family matters--we usually usually have more than one reason for making the choices that we make. In most TV shows and movies, characters' choices can be explained by a single critical factor. One of the things that gives Mad Men a strong sense of verisimilitude is that character motivations are closer to the complexity of real life.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Paul is a total boob. His pickup lines are bad, his brown-nosing attempts are way too obvious, and his idea of a great piece of writing is him telling the story of the time he got along with some Black people.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



And direct marketing. He invented that. It turned out it already existed, but he arrived at it independently.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



vvEdit: Whoops. Fixed.

I find it interesting that Don gives Peggy that creative advice, in such a helpful and mentorly fashion. We don't see him doing that with Paul. Does he identify with Peggy, perhaps because his route to creative director was an unlikely one, and now she has the unlikely assignment of writing advertising copy?

Dr. Wayne is horrible. Don is right to believe he's shaking him down. But what can Don expect? He obviously searched for a psychiatrist who would give him secret reports about his wife's thoughts. You aren't going to find compassionate and ethical psychiatrists that way. You'll find creeps like Wayne. Betty might be making progress processing the grief of losing her mother and dealing with the malaise of her youth ending as a bored suburban housewife if she had someone compassionate to talk to, but Don was the one who found Dr. Wayne, and he had other priorities.

I think Betty tells Don about the salesman because she knew he wouldn't like it. It was a tiny act of rebellion against his control. It also induced his "protective" reaction, which is one of the only ways she can tell that Don cares about her at all.

Yoshi Wins fucked around with this message at 18:40 on Oct 29, 2020

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Yeah, Don probably didn't have to look hard to find someone who would give him reports. But I think if Don cared about Betty's right to privacy, he could have found a psychiatrist who considered it ethically essential to keep their sessions confidential. Privacy in counseling was generally moving in the right direction around 1960. For example, by 1960, in California, psychologist-patient confidentiality was legally equivalent to lawyer-client confidentiality. But California was not the country, and even if the Drapers lived in California, that would not guarantee a better situation for Betty. Good laws are often ignored anyway. Schools remained segregated following Brown v. Board of Education, for example.

I think Betty expects confidentiality. That's why Don is sneaky about how he contacts Dr. Wayne. It's another example of how Betty is trapped in a marriage to a stranger. She doesn't know who he is, nor what his intentions are when he finds a psychiatrist for her.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Jerusalem posted:


"Why can't you just give me what I want?"

That's the crux of the matter. Pete believes himself superior, but more than anything he can't understand why Don doesn't do what everybody else has done all his life and just let him have whatever he wants.

Not everyone! Remember when Pete asked his father for money? His father said no, wouldn't tell him why, and became angry when Pete brought up that his father had recently given Pete's brother some money that he needed.

Pete is clearly unloved by his father, at the very least. His mother didn't seem a beacon of affection in that scene either. But also in that scene, Pete's father emphasizes that it is a great privilege for Pete to bear the family name. Then he belittles Pete at length over his choice of profession. It's pretty clear from Pete's reaction that he's heard this type of thing before. It seems like Pete grew up getting two messages: 1. By birthright, you're a prince. 2. As an individual, you're unworthy. You're garbage.

Don has some pretty obvious differences from Pete's father. Most importantly, he didn't come from a privileged background. He had to work and display merit to get where he is. But his demeanor with subordinates at work is reminiscent of how Pete's father is with Pete. He is cold, demanding, and authoritative. Pete feels Don's rejections on a personal level. It ties in to his issues with his father.

Of course, I agree with you about all the privilege elements in play in this episode. But I also think that there's a personal side. Pete has powerful unresolved resentment towards his unloving parents, and when he feels like he's not being loved or appreciated, he has a tantrum. "LOVE ME, YOU loving ASSHOLES!" It's a terrible strategy, but he really has no idea how to make people like him. Perhaps he should try not being a prick all the time.


On a separate note, I think the episode aims to convey that Don intentionally fooled the army as a desertion tactic. They did a lot to establish that he was very scared about being in Korea, and Rachel calls him a coward in this episode, and it's written all over his face that he believes she's right. And, as you note, it would be weird even for a person with a concussion to peel the dog tags off of their CO's charred remains to wear them.

What do you make of the fact that he's brave sometimes (hiring Duck despite Pete's threats and boldly criticizing Belle Jolie for their close-mindedness to Peggy's new approach) and a coward at other times? Is his level of bravery context-dependent? Or perhaps dependent on his mood?

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Cooper is a ruthless bastard with horrible politics but he’s somehow hard not to love anyway. Robert Morse is such an appealing actor.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



I think we need to be able to have spoiler chat. Mad Men is a giant tapestry where the pen someone uses in season 2 can change how we interpret their feelings in a scene in season 7 (fake example, but you get the idea). Everything connects to everything else, so sometimes people will think of a good point about a later episode or season, and it would be hard to remember to bring it up later, because there are so many good points to make.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Jon Hamm is a great actor who had the misfortune of going up against Bryan Cranston for best actor in a drama again and again at the Emmys. Normally he probably would have won several. What can you do? I'm not a huge fan of Breaking Bad, but Cranston was incredible.

It does kind of amaze me that no one else won an acting Emmy for Mad Men. Elisabeth Moss and Vincent Kartheiser in particular are also excellent. But so is everyone, including January Jones, who sometimes gets singled out as weaker than the other major players. I found I appreciated her performance much more on rewatch.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



GoutPatrol posted:

It also took a while to find the right bobby

I honestly think the Bobby who stayed with the show the longest is the worst actor of the bunch. But at least they found one who would stick around!

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



I remember an AV Club review of a Mad Men episode that ended with them summarizing the preview for the next episode. "Next week on Mad Men: Several people open or close doors!"

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



JethroMcB posted:

January Jones delivers a flat line read from time to time but she also has one of my favorite "ACTING!" moments in the entire series; it's a single scene, it's an entirely physical performance, and every time I watch it I'm like "drat, that's good" all over again.

It's when she breaks the chair in A Night to Remember, isn't it? I love season 2. It's the most underrated season IMO. That's one of the brilliant moments that makes me love it so much.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



they actually started setting up his schizophrenia from early in season 5. In a scene that is very poignant in retrospect, he tells Peggy he has a paranoid suspicion that his father is not who he says he is. He also claims to be a Martian who received a message from Mars to stay where he is, but that he’s been unable to find any other Martians. Peggy assumes he’s expressing some angst in a creative way. He’s actually displaying early symptoms of schizophrenia, but he just happens to come across as a quirky creative guy.

They drop other hints too. He makes some paranoid remarks in season 6 and I think he says something about his head buzzing after he has a moral dilemma about SCDP working for Dow.

But he does go from about a 5/10 to a 10/10 on the madness scale in a single episode, that’s true. Maybe that’s how it works though? I don’t know too much about how those symptoms progress in real life.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Beamed posted:

There's... a lot more going on in that scene than creative angst or paranoid delusions. He's rationalizing to himself the fact that he's from a concentration camp and managed to keep living. There's obviously some element of the future schizophrenia there, but it's way more nuanced than that.

I never said otherwise...? If that scene didn't simultaneously accomplish other things, more people would have picked up on the schizophrenia hints. But you're right, though. There is quite a lot going on in that scene with Ginsburg. He was such an immediate compelling character.

Yoshi Wins fucked around with this message at 23:37 on Nov 7, 2020

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



JethroMcB posted:

It's her hallucination in "The Fog" where the silkworm drops into her hand. As she goes from admiring the worm to wrapping her fist around it, her expression shifts from dreamy wonderment to this cold, cruel smile; there's a second where her eyes go wide, marveling at her power over a living thing, and that's when I think both "Ohhh, I suddenly have an understanding of how Betty views motherhood, and it's kind of terrifying" and "This is a really good performance for somebody pretending to crush a bug on a green screen."

Oh yeah, that's a good one too. That scene really struck me the first time I saw it. Season 3 is a little more free-wheeling in terms of how they tell the stories, and I just wasn't expecting that kind of surreal sequence. I think it works really well, and the otherworldly expressions on Jones's face are an important part of it.

I didn't know until recently that those things sting. I watched that episode with my parents, and they told me they'd both been stung by caterpillars like that as kids, and that it hurt like hell. Maybe that's common knowledge, and I just should have spent more time outside as a kid, but learning that gave that scene a little more impact, and it's just like you say - it suggests Betty has deeply mixed feelings about motherhood. It is beautiful and painful at the same time.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



This show is very good at finales.

Numerous great scenes in this episode. Don’s pitch is legendary. Betty figuring out she can use Dr. Wayne to communicate with Don is brilliant. But I think my favorite scene in this episode is Betty crying in the parking lot with Glen. Glen has real compassion for her, but this must be frightening, to see an adult break down like this and assure him that adults don’t know ANYTHING.

I think this is the first appearance of Betty’s beautiful blue coat. Love that costume for her. It exudes beauty and sadness in a way that fits her so perfectly.

I like that you touch on Don’s ambiguous motives for promoting Peggy. I think he must have been genuinely impressed with her work, but he also seems to be trying to stick a knife in by promoting her in front of everyone as Pete’s tantrum is just beginning.

I don’t know the exact dates the episodes are supposed to take place on, but I think Peggy got pregnant in the pilot, rather than the episode where they have sex on Pete’s couch. I think the implication is that she didn’t know that you need to wait a little while after starting the pill for it to be effective. She just started on it that day.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Jerusalem posted:

Ken Cosgrove is surprised at this read, pointing out that Lucky Strike is a tobacco company and that should count as a pharmaceutical (even though they can no longer argue health benefits). Rather than explain himself, Duck chooses to subtly put down Ken's standing, asking if he's the man behind the "Rejuvenator", basically reminding him that he's dealing with small time companies at the moment while they want bigger ones.

Huh. This is weird. I've never seen/heard this dialogue from Ken about Lucky Strike in that scene or Duck's comeback about the Relax-a-Cizor. I've only seen the version where Ken doesn't speak in that scene. I just rewatched it to confirm. Everything else you describe is in the version that's available through iTunes and matches how I remember it when I watched (and rewatched) Mad Men on Netflix.

I'm sure you didn't hallucinate it, but I"m not sure what's going on here. Does anyone know? Are there alternate versions of Mad Men with deleted scenes? Are you watching through IMDB TV or... some other means?

I've tried googling info about the episode, looking for why there's more than one version of this scene out there, but I can't find anything helpful.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Jerusalem posted:

That's weird, it's definitely in there - I'm watching the blu-ray versions, maybe they added in extra stuff that had to be cut for TV time and those are the versions on Netflix and iTunes?

Here's the segment in question.

Yeah I guess the blurays are like director’s cuts or something. On Netflix and iTunes this scene jumped straight from “no automobile, airline, pharmaceutical” to “I’m offering a $100 bonus”.

I’m sure they won’t be all that different in the end, especially later in the show’s run when Weiner became more powerful and could get whatever he wanted.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



There are a lot of special features up on Youtube with Janie Bryant, Mad Men's costume designer, talking about the costumes in each episode. She is very good at her job.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Yesssss season 2. I think this is where the show really finds its voice.

The sequence where Peggy retools the Mohawk ad to make it more sentimental is just incredible. You covered most of it, but there's one other thing I want to bring up. The two crude men in the elevator undermine Don's belief in sentiment for the Mohawk campaign. These are exactly the type of people they're trying to sell Mohawk flights to: Young businessmen. And what approach would work better on these assholes? A reminder of familial love? Or a reminder that when you take a business trip, you might get a chance to cheat on your wife? Two guys in an elevator is hardly exhaustive research, but you'd definitely be more successful selling air travel to these guys with sex rather than love. Don is over here trying to make something beautiful, and in the elevator life gives him a splash of cold water that says, "A lot of your customers are assholes."

It sort of mirrors the disappointment Peggy feels when she returns to her office after doing a great job. You can tell she feels her work is special and meaningful, and then she gets back to her office and the spell is broken. When Don and Peggy are collaborating, something magical is happening, something significant. Otherwise, Sterling Cooper is a pretty mercenary place and not very humanizing.

Also, it sounds to me like Don is kind of critical/dismissive when he compares Kurt and Smitty's work to Julian Koenig. In season 1, when the Volkswagen Lemon ad debuted, he said he hated it but didn't elaborate. But by this point it's become clear that Don's work IS sentimental. It's not ironic, like the Lemon ad. Koenig may have enjoyed creating that ad, but he probably didn't dig deep into his own psyche, his own emotions to come up with it. He told a witty joke. This may make advertising seem less meaningful to Don.

Don is upset at being dismissed by the Master-of-the-Arts-in-the-humanities-looking dude in the bar (did I mention that Janie Bryant is brilliant at her job?) because the man assumes that Don doesn't have an artistic side. He looks at Don's suit and tie and general demeanor and he sees a man who only cares about making money. This isn't actually the case. Don has a strong creative side. But in constructing his persona, he fully donned the uniform of the money-making class. It's important to him to convince himself that he has artistic characteristics. And he does. But would the man in the bar be impressed with Don's ability to appreciate poetry if he also knew that Don's most important business task was convincing people to keep smoking cigarettes now that everyone knows they cause cancer? Probably not.


Betty has replaced her worthless therapist with a form of therapy of her own choosing. You point out that she gets to be alone when riding, which I'm sure is a big part of its appeal. But I also think that the horseback riding is cathartic for her as a metaphor for dealing with her husband, an incredibly difficult person to be married to. A horse is big, powerful, beautiful, and usually silent. All qualities that Don has. And now Betty is in control. She even opts to do a dangerous form of horseback riding, and she is doing well at it. We can see in this season premiere that she's become much more assertive and self-assured in the past 15 months. I think a big part of this is that she found an effective form of self-therapy.


I also want to bring up a few other interpretations of Don's inability to perform at the Savoy, because I think it's a good example of how Mad Men uses ambiguity.

1. It's health-related. Don's got high blood pressure and he just started some new medication. Maybe one or both of these factors are affecting him. But he doesn't bring this up to Betty, who blames herself for his performance trouble.
2. Don is kind of tired of her, sexually. In season 1 she tells Dr. Wayne that sometimes when Don makes love to her, it's "obviously what someone else wants" - that is, she believes Don is fantasizing about other sexual partners while he's with her. But we see that he's currently in the habit of going straight home after work (and pounding whiskey), and it's possible he's been faithful ever since Betty used Dr. Wayne to communicate to Don that she suspects his infidelity. She told Dr. Wayne that "maybe I'm not enough." She might have been right about that.
3. Don just found out that Betty's former roommate, who surely had a life very similar to Betty's, became a prostitute. Prostitution is psychologically fraught for Don to think about, as his stepmother never let him forget he was a shameful whorechild. This may tie in to your theory that Don's trouble has to do with thinking of Betty as a mother rather than a wife.

It's impressive that they fit all of these possibilities into a scene that plays out so naturally.


Jerusalem, what do you think of Duck so far?

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Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



The Klowner posted:

The exchange between Duck and Roger is so pregnant with meaning and unspoken context, I never gave it much thought in the past but it's really a fascinating scene.

Yeah, I quite like Jerusalem's idea that Roger played up how big his role in the company was when he was in the midst of his health scare and then started goofing off again when he realized his position was secure.

BrotherJayne posted:

Y'know, is Betty on the spectrum?

Whoa. I don't think so, but I can see how one could make a case.

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