Tag Archives: Peggy

AMC’s Mad Men: Episode 511 “The Other Woman”

It’s 1967, a whole new year for the Mad Men crew, and nothing seems to be more important to the SCDP staff than landing their first big automotive contract in the form of that elusive beast; Jaguar. There are so many people working on the Jaguar pitch that characters we’ve never seen are coming out of the woodwork. Seriously, there are two extra guys in the room with Ginsberg, Stan, Cosgrove and Draper working on the pitch that I can’t ever remember seeing before. The elusive perfect pitch line is not coming easy for anybody but as we soon learn their sale may depend on an altogether different type of pitch. It’s not mentioned lightly that the “car people” are a bunch of sleazeballs, and it quickly comes to the forefront that the lynchpin of the Jaguar deal has a proposition that he says will seal the deal; Joan. If it had been anyone but Pete Campbell taking the meeting you might imagine that the deal would end right there. In fact if it was Don taking the meeting he might have hit the guy right in the face even in the middle of the restaurant. Pete however not only has the nerve to bring it up with Joan, but also to follow-up with a partners meeting to see how much they can raise to bribe her. Thus begins one of the elements of this weeks major theme: upward mobility of the 1960’s woman.

For Joan, who has an absentee husband who is divorcing her, a young child and nagging mother at home, and 13 years invested in the firm as a secretary, the opportunity of hitting a huge payday for a night of her services provides too much of a temptation. Lane, who is still freaking out about bonuses and the money he embezzled, has convinced Joan that her best bargaining chip is a 5% stake in the company, becoming a minor partner as opposed to a lump payoff. While certainly good advice for her long-term security, it is ultimately underhanded of Lane as he is also highly concerned that if he uses the $50,000 extension to bribe her, he won’t get his bonus and will be found out. It turns out that there “Will be no bonuses this year!” as Cooper booms so it seems like Lane’s fraudulence will be somehow linked to the season finale. Joan’s whole encounter with the sleazy salesman is handled with typical Mad Men brilliance, as we are treated to a bookended scene of Don’s efforts to keep Joan from prostituting herself. In the middle of the bookends we see Don making the sales pitch of the unattainable, which has become attainable (the Jaguar) crosscut with the unattainable (Joan) who has become attainable for a price and the metaphor is complete.

Two of the other women in Don’s life are also making their way forward as best they can. Don and Megan continue their domestic power struggle as Megan’s successful casting call gives her an opportunity to be in a play which is being staged in Boston. The thought of Megan being away for three months ignites the internal conflict of Don’s wish for his wife’s success coupled against his desire for her to be at home in the traditional sense. Megan, in her fiery way, recognizes this and accuses Don of not having thought of her leaving because he never believed she would succeed. Don, as he also proved with Joan, is at heart a good person who wants whats best for the people he cares about comes around to make peace with Megan and her dreams. Megan ultimately doesn’t get the part, and similarly to Joan is herself judged as a sexual pawn as she is ogled and asked simply “to step forward and turn around” in her second casting call.

Lastly we get to this week’s developments with Peggy Olson. It has been a long time coming that Peggy has been feeling more and more neglected, jaded and under appreciated at SCDP. Similarly to Pete Campbell copying Don’s lecherous past, Peggy is also following in the footsteps of her idol and doing what she thinks he would have done. The pact between Peggy and Ken Cosgrove to move on together has been mentioned frequently in the past weeks episodes, and Peggy has flirted with other advertising companies in the past, but the day that no one ever thought was really going to happen has come. After lunching with former Sterling Cooper salesman Freddy Rumsen, Peggy gets herself a meeting with Don’s arch-rival in ‘Cutler, Gleason, and Shaw’ who butters her bread and makes her an exceptionally attractive offer. 

As we learn from Peggy’s heart-wrenching dialogue with Don as she gives her notice, it’s not about the money. Don initially thinks she’s making a power play to get her much deserved raise, but quickly realizes that what Peggy really wants is to make a name for herself out from under the shadow of Don Draper and to further become the model of a self-made woman. Hopefully for Mad Men viewers Peggy doesn’t make herself a stranger as she promises to Don as she is one of the more enjoyable Mad Men characters.

Notably absent from this weeks stories of the burgeoning Women’s Lib movement is Betty Draper. This is because like her counterpart Trudy Campbell, an increasingly rare Alison Brie appearance, Betty is still a throwback to the 1950’s housewife who has built her life around being a debutant and keeping her efforts on the home front. Unlike Trudy however Betty doesn’t seem to relish in it, and will likely experience more conflict between being a housewife or a professional in the Mad Men future.

Overall this was another example of Mad Men at it’s best, interweaving multiple story lines with social commentary in a seamless and cinematically beautiful way. It’s sad to say that there are only two episode of Mad Men left this season so enjoy it while it lasts. Hopefully these last two weeks will be as amazing as this one.

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AMC’s Med Men – Episode 507 “At the Codfish Ball”

Something happened last night. As I was watching Mad Men a wave of familiarity washed over me. The whole episode felt like it was compiled from deleted scenes out of The Godfather – the tone, the ascetic, the way it was shot – all seemed reminiscent of the Coppola classic to me. An underlying darkness and the anticipation of something terrible about to happen all resulted in showing just how unhappy everyone really is. Anyhow, enough about the feel of the episode, and on to the substance. Remember that letter Don wrote after Lucky Strike left? The one that Roger said would kill business? Well Don is receiving an award for writing it, and we’re all invited to the Codfish Ball…

This great honor has prompted Megan’s parents to visit from Montreal, and we quickly discover that Megan’s father, the scholar, is a communist. So he obviously has no affection towards Don’s profession and is concerned that his daughter will be ruined by the lavish lifestyle that they are living. This opinion is only amplified by his own failures and feelings of inadequacies. Something he takes out on those around him, namely the wife he believes doesn’t respect him – cause she doesn’t. She displays this in her competitiveness with her daughter, and her flirting with Don. Megan’s mother seems irresponsible and argumentative, and it’s clear that Megan is more fond of the father who hates her husband then of the mother who likes him.


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Review AMC’s Med Men: Episode 506 “Far Away Places”

Mad Men producers have never been afraid of messing with your head (see episode 504), but this weeks theme has that very notion at it’s heart. The “Far Away Places” we travel to in this episode turn out to be Platssburgh, NY, Mars and wherever it is that LSD takes you.

This week’s episode, in continuation with it’s theme, also uses the now ever-popular technique of disjointing the timeline through overlapping stories shown out of sequence ala Pulp Fiction. This trick seems wholly unnecessary apart from keeping Don and Megan’s story line uninterrupted, and seems a ploy to make certain plot points, ie. Don’s frantic phone call, more interesting. Thus the week starts with Don and Megan skipping yet another Heinz pitch session much to the chagrin of one Peggy Olson. Unfortunately Heinz is yet again indecisive about what they want for their ad campaign and while Peggy gives them the verbal abuse they much deserve, her misplaced frustration with Don gets her booted from the campaign.

As an aside: the only time we see Pete this week is when he levees the bad news to Peggy and we don’t see Lane at all so the two of them must’ve needed some recovery time from last week dust up. No lingering black eyes for the make up department to deal with at Mad Men HQ! Peggy is beginning to feel the crush of being the creative lead and having to make up for Don’s absentee office work. In this episode it leads her to fight with her boyfriend, work late hours, drink too much and have random sexual encounters with strangers. Hmm sounds a bit like the old Don eh? I guess the new straight-lace Don, or the love-leave don as Bert Cooper phrases it, has had residual effects on his underlings. Someone’s got to be boozing and sexing to get the advertising done it seems, and there’s only so much Roger can handle. Continue reading Review AMC’s Med Men: Episode 506 “Far Away Places”

Review AMC’s Mad Men: Episode 504 “Mystery Date”

For those who wondered what historical time frame Mad Men was currently operating in, we got a pretty definitive answer Sunday night as much of the episode revolved around a murder case that occurred in July of 1966. We first get news of the infamous murder case when Peggy’s Time magazine photographer friend crashes the copy-writer meeting to show off the grizzly photos she’s collected from the crime scene. We get a taste of all of the societal elements being touched upon in this week’s episode in a nice little package. The re-introduction of Peggy’s professional lesbian feminist friend let’s us know that we will be seeing elements of the women’s rights movement. The discussion of how the murder case is trumping stories about the race riots in Chicago is a tip off that we will be dealing with more of the civil rights movement, and finally we get the juxtaposition of attitudes about the murder case itself as Ginsberg is horrified by everyone’s giddy fascination with the explicit photos. Before we follow through on these topics and visit the first true “Holy Shit” moment of the season lets get move on to bigger and better things, ie. Joanie.

Greg has returned from Vietnam to the anticipatory arms of Joan and his newborn son but we soon learn that he’s returning for another year of duty, as a volunteer no less. The somewhat hapless doctor has found a place where he is important and respected and is eager to return. Joan doesn’t take guff from anyone and lets face it, Kevin isn’t really Greg’s son anyhow, so she promptly shows him the door. Goodbye Greg, good luck in the late 60’s Vietnam, I bet his return in a year won’t be so damn proud and patriotic. As we see in the teaser at the end of the show Joan will soon be returning to the office where the awkwardness between her and Roger can resume.

Meanwhile at SCDP Roger is again caught with his pants down as he is completely unprepared for the upcoming Mohawk Airlines meeting, and he is forced and coerced into bribing Peggy to get his campaign in order. I missed the mark when it came to a potential Peggy/Roger romance last week, but their exchange was peppered with a bunch of great one liners.

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Review AMC’s Mad Men: Episode 503 “Tea Leaves”

For all the Mad Men fans who thought they were getting an extra hour of their favorite show this season I’m sorry to report that last weeks season 5 premiere counted as two episodes and so accordingly this weeks review will be of episode three.

We quickly learn that, as promised at the end of last weeks episode, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has indeed followed through on their pledge of diversifying the office by hiring a black secretary who is ironically named Dawn and is assigned to handle desk duties for Don, rounds of mistaken identity jokes ensue. The larger portion of the office action this week surrounds another new hire. Mohawk Airlines has been confirmed as returning to SCDP and Peggy must search for a new copywriter to handle the extra responsibilities.

Enter the plucky Michael Ginsberg (Ben Feldman) who is clearly a talented young ad man but rubs Peggy the wrong way with his brash antics. Peggy’s ultimate fear is of disappointing Don but after reigning himself in for the second interview Ginsberg passes with flying colors and gets the job.

Ginsberg looks to be an interesting new addition to the show as he seems like he will add some energy to the SCDP office and it his unbridled enthusiasm may well be something Peggy appreciates in contrast to the always cynical Stan Rizzo. The relationship between Peggy and Michael will be an interesting one to see develop as one of the overall themes of this week is to be wary of ones inter-office competitors. This is most blatantly demonstrated as the episode ends and Pete belittles Roger in front of the entire office in regards to the handling of the Mohawk account. Roger has been given control of the account but Pete makes it well know that he landed the account and that he will be monitoring Roger. The warning, as Roger says to Peggy “That’s the last guy I hired”, is that you’ve got to watch your back in the politics of office aspirations.

The biggest shocker of this weeks episode was that Betty Francis (formerly Draper) has gotten a bit fat. Betty’s notable absence from the first two episodes was apparently to illicit the maximum effect of having an episode three “shocker”, ie. January Jones in fat suit makeup. After being convinced by her mother-in-law to see a doctor about diet pills we get a bit of extra drama in that Betty might actually have Lymphatic cancer. The writers decided not too make this a strung out drama, cancer-wise anyhow, as we learn by the end of the episode that Betty’s lump is benign and her weight issues are probably more linked to the depression of being a 60’s housewife and her new found love of sweets and the plague that still haunts us today; Bugles. Betty’s cancer scare does play out some subtle battle lines in the lives of the divorced as we find Betty seeking seeking solace and reassurance from Don, Don’s concern for Betty and the kids and Henry Francis’ smug satisfaction when he learns that Betty hadn’t informed Don when she found out she was OK.

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