Tag Archives: Roger

Review AMC’s Mad Men: Episode 509 “Dark Shadows”

Before we get to this weeks episode, that despite it’s name has no goofy vampires played by Johnny Depp, we must quickly go over the happenings in Episode 508 “Lady Lazarus” which missed it’s review last week. (sorry)

We start the week with Peggy playing her increasingly frequent new role of being a jealous bitch. She is upset that Megan has had such an easy time being a copywriter and doesn’t seem to be enjoying her success. After taking a verbal scalding Megan decides it’s not only that her father doesn’t believe in her capitalistic ventures, but also that Peggy is right that her heart isn’t in it which leads her to quit SCDP to return to what she believes she is destined for; acting. Don is not pleased but he hides it well, from Megan anyways. At this point if Megan curled up to him and said “Don, I think I’m going to drive across country in the nude murdering and pillaging as I roam because that’s the best thing for me!” you almost feel he would grudgingly agree with her.

The other big development of the week comes in the form of Pete Campbell’s continued emulation of the Don Draper of old. When he finally meets the wife of his train companion, a sexy turn by Gilmore Girls’ Alexis Bledel, Pete eventually caves to her advances and has a one-night fling. We quickly learn the difference between Don behaving badly and Pete behaving badly however. Campbell becomes a puppy and quickly becomes absolutely obsessed with Beth Dawes, following her around and even entering her home on the pretenses of buying life insurance from her husband. She insists it was a one time thing, but ends the episode by giving Pete a glimmer of hope in his schoolboy heart by drawing a heart in the fog of her windshield as he sheepishly looks on.

As the episode closed, we are given a brief moment where, in an attempt to get Don up to speed, Megan buys him the newest Beatles album – Revolver. This scene is present to help display just how out of touch Don is, and it wasn’t a cheap example either. According to the New York Time, the show’s producers had to drop $250,000 to play the track. Which is probably why it picks back up during the credits. Waste not…

In “Dark Shadows” we see a little bit more of what is becoming an increasingly disturbing fact; Don is getting old and losing his touch. As we’ve come to learn, Don has lost touch with modern music and “what kid’s like these days” and has been so head over heels with Megan that he hasn’t been putting in the office time either. At the beginning of the episode he look over the copy work and realizes for the first time what everyone else knows. His hand isn’t in any of it. Thus when it’s time for Don to make the pitch to the Sno Cone execs and the choice is between Ginsberg’s series, which people seemed to prefer over Don’s Sno Cone eating devil. Guess which ad piece got left in the cab. Don’s ad piece isn’t bad, in fact it’s good enough to make the sale but that’s not the point. It’s the first time we see Don’s cracks when it comes to advertising. He sounds lame as he tries to sell the devil’s creepy voice and has clearly become out of touch with not just the youth of the day, but the youth of his own office. This also opens up a new Mad Men rivalry between the young and the old where we find an ignoble and emboldened Michael Ginsberg flying in the face of the man he once so admired. It will be interesting to see how Don handles this new metamorphosis into the figurehead role that has already claimed Sterling and Cooper. As Don regresses it will also be interesting to see if the absence of Megan from his everyday office life will sully the sheen of new love and open the door for the Don of old’s philandering ways.

Speaking of old dogs learning new tricks, Roger has become a little fed up with being strictly a schmoozer and wants to take his rivalry with Campbell to a new level by actually bringing in client of his own, namely Manishewitz wine. As Roger is technically still married to a honest to goodness Jew he enlists Jane’s help to impress his client at his upcoming dinner meeting. He also enlists the other reigning Jew on the SCDP staff, wonderboy Ginsberg, to make him look smart with a winning advertising proposal. The meeting goes well but Roger still manages to make a mess of things when he rekindles the romance with Jane ruining her attempt to start a new life in the blackmail induced new apartment that she was hoping to keep free of memories of their marriage. Roger also manages to piss off an increasingly perturbed Peggy Olsen by using Ginsberg instead of returning to her for his back alley advertising needs.

We also see a little bit from Megan and one of her acting class friends reading scenes for an audition for the show…Dark Shadows. Which they railed. Kind of funny. This whole scene was simply to show Megan finally realizing how people see her, fair or not.

The other major storyline of the week ,or “Dark Shadow” if you will, involves the nest of jealously between Don, Megan, chubby Betty and Sally. Betty has joined the relatively new Weight Watchers in an attempt to regain her control over her appetite, and while the lessons from her meetings seem to help her attitude at home, she can’t help but be blinded by jealously when she sees Don’s immaculate New York apartment inhabited by his svelte and sexy new wife.

Her weapon of choice, as always, is the young Sally Draper who is more than willing to become catty and petulant when she feels shes been lied to by Megan. Betty’s scheming ultimately backfires however when Megan recognizes her meddling and keeps Don from flying off the hook which allows a more aware Sally to turn the whole ordeal into a hurtful jab towards her mother. If Mad Men lasts long enough for Sally Draper to televise her teen years then watch out! She’s only 10 or 11 on the show, but already has all the attitude and maliciousness of a teenager with the “bad boy” boyfriend to boot.

Mad Men seems to really be hitting it’s stride season and it seems there will be no end to frustrations and controversy in the SCDP office. Jared Harris will finally make his return next week as he has been noticeably absent from the series since his dust-up with Campbell. We should also expect a lot more of Pete and Beth in more that the fantastical version that aired this week as it seems that Pete’s obsession is coming to a head. With only four episodes left in the season you can feel the tension ramping up in the Mad Men world and we should be in for a great last few weeks.


Quote of the Week – Betty Draper:

“I’m thankful I have everything I want, and that no one else has anything better.”

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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 505 “You’re My King”

This weeks episode of Mad Men should probably really have been called “Pete gets his ass whooped”, but that would have ruined the surprise of what is especially rare in Mad Men; an “action” scene. The central theme for the week seemed to be the balance between the usefulness and inadequacies of men and who better to focus on than one petulant Peter Campbell. Pete’s biggest problem is not that he is a whiny, conniving little twerp in a slight frame, but that he compares himself to Don Draper.

First under the microscope this week is the P in SCDP, Lane Pryce. As one of the figure heads of SCDP Lane feels his position in the company is somewhat useless, so it is fortuitous when he meets the American Jaguar representative whom he hopes he can bring under the SCDP advertising umbrella. It should be noted that the English pronunciation Jag-Ewe-Arr is used prolifically and it was all I could do to keep from adding a “Yeahh Baby Yeaaah” every time it was mentioned. Unfortunately for Lane his client is more of an Austin Powers type Englishman than a proper gentleman, and all sales technique handed down from Roger is wasted.

Lane must turn to the “A-team” in Don, Roger and Pete to reel his client in and “show him a good time”. It quickly becomes abundantly clear that Lane’s client is looking for more than a sales pitch which makes it Roger’s time to shine. Other than setting the groundwork for one of the more hilarious reason for losing a client, his wife discovers “chewing gum in the pubis”, we get to see Peter compare himself side-by-side with the new Don Draper and here is where his youth shows. Pete feels like Don is being hypocritical and unfair by judging his indiscretions at the brothel, while giving Roger a free pass.

What Pete is missing is that Don was holding him to a higher standard than Roger, and is almost fatherly in his hope for Peter to make better life choices than his own. If anything this reveals that at some level Don actual cares for Pete. And maybe no scene in the history of the show said more about Campbell then when he is instructing his “lady friend” as to what character she should play in the bedroom – hence the episode’s title: “You’re My King”.

Continue reading Review AMC’s Mad Men: Episode 505 “You’re My King”

Mad Men: Season 5 Premiere

It’s been a year and a half since the finale of Mad Men season 4 and about the same amount time has passed in the Mad Men world bringing the show up to sometime in 1967. The episode begins with one of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s competitors throwing bags of ice water from their office building onto the marching civil rights protestors below which in turn sets off a series of plot points which will inevitably lead Mad Men along the course of the Civil Rights movement. But first let’s catch up.

Because a lot of time has passed there are some seemingly major events that were missed including Don Draper’s wedding to his new wife Megan whom he suddenly proposed to at the conclusion of season 4. Based on the reception Don gave to Megan’s surprise 40th birthday party in this episode I’m guessing their wedding was probably of the Vegas style anyhow. Last season we also learned that Joan was pregnant and it was the result of a rekindled affair with Roger Sterling while her husband was overseas in Vietnam. In season 5 we catch up to her post-pregnancy and get further insight into her cattiness as she is tortured by her mothers “help” with the baby. Somehow they managed to get through the episode without any breastfeeding jokes but not without Roger exclaiming ‘There’s my Baby!” after Joan visits the office quickly amending his statement wryly with an added [and some child as well]. Having a baby in the office winds up being a vehicle for multiple uncomfortable moments as it is passed from person to person until Peggy is left alone with the child only to run into Pete in the hallway where they resurrect the family that never was.

Continue reading Mad Men: Season 5 Premiere