Monday, August 2

MAD MEN: "Christmas comes but once a year..." ep. 402

Second episode and I’m still searching for a theme. One thing is very clear: Don’s new love interest has arrived and it’s Dr. Faye Miller, the psychologist whose personality test Don avoided taking. She’s pretty and smart and will stand up to Don, I think, giving her the potential of a Rachel Menken. And after he asks her to dinner and she declines they end on the sour note of her prediction that he’ll marry in a year. Oh, that’s right, she says to an annoyed Don, people don’t like to think they’re “a type.”

And she presents to Don what is our “deepest conflict” which, in a nutshell, she says, is “what I want versus what is expected of me.” Hmmm. That certainly applies to Don who failed at Betty’s expectations while pursuing what he wanted.

What Don wants is to remain unknown while he is expected to seek publicity for the fledging agency, and to give revealing answers about himself in a test.

Don also wants to bang his nameless secretary (although I have seen it as "Allison" in another blog) and is expected by her to be treated differently at the office. How sad that she thought that indiscretion was more like a date. Only he acts as if the squalid little tryst on the couch never happened. Are we seeing more of the unattractive side of this attractive man?

Miss Blank even did his Christmas shopping for the kids and wrapped the presents! And when she brings him the keys to his apartment (how did he get into the building?) she doesn’t just hand them over but opens his door and like his mother, fetches him aspirin, serving it with a glass of water. If the women are objectified, the men are often infantilized.

Worst reality in the episode is how SCDP is totally in the thrall of first-class bully Lee Garner Jr. who last season was responsible for Sal’s unjust firing. Now he’s even more powerful and surely knows that he controls almost three-quarters of the firm’s billings. It’s “jump!” and “how high?” in the Time-Life Building. I would really love to see this weasely little closet-dweller’s comeuppance this season.

Glen is clearly still angry with his mother who’s remarried, and remember how he told Betty “I hate you”? He’s getting his revenge. First by vandalizing the Draper house (but sparing Sally’s room.) Sally recognizes Glen’s knife left in her room. Surely that was intentional and surely she knows the vandal’s identity. She’s not going to rat him out, though, because she’s even angrier at Betty for driving her father out of the house.

It’s through Sally, I predict, that Glen will get his own back. These are two angry children of divorce and remarriage who aren’t afraid to act out. (Sally’s smoking and stealing; Glen’s running away.)

Freddie’s return is a bit of a bright spot and his sobriety seems to have taken root. Too bad his advertising ideas and attitude toward women are so backward. 1964 and he thinks Tallulah Bankhead or Barbara Stanwyk would be great spokespersons (oops, sorry, they never would use that term in ’64) for Pond’s cold cream? And as he says to Peggy, maybe if the young women used Pond’s and got married they wouldn’t be so “angry.” Oh, the old “she’s a bitch because she doesn't have a man" myth.

Peggy is right. Freddie is old-fashioned. But so is she. She wants to sleep with Mark her nebbish boyfriend, although why is beyond me. There is nothing appealing about him. And he thinks she’s refusing to sleep with him because she’s a virgin. And even after they do the nasty he’s still clueless because he asks her if she feels “different.” So again it’s desires versus expections.
But Peggy didn’t play virgin with Duck. And was that because Duck was never more than a fling and Mark is a potential keeper? Peggy, darling! You can do so much better. Take a look at Joey! He’s been flirting with Don’s secretary and drawing her portrait and he's cute and smart.

As ususual, Mad Men leaves us with unanswered questions. What happened to the Duck and Peggy show? Did she find out he abandoned his Irish Setter? (That would be a deal breaker for me.)

When are we going to see Ken Cosgrove again? His name is still in the credits. I miss him and Paul and most especially, Sal.

Funniest line of the episode: Don says Lane has scaled back the party to “a glass of gin and a box of Velveeta.”

Truest line of the episode: Roger reports that his father always said “This is the greatest job in the world except for one thing—the clients.” Oh, yes!

Mad Men will do well to show us more and more how twisted is the relationship between the powerful client and the agency at its mercy. The creatives want to do good work but the client expects them to dance to their tune.

No comments:

Post a Comment