This week’s Mad Men, “Love Among the Ruins”


After last week’s eye-brow-raising start, last night’s episode was pretty much back to business…accounts to be considered at Sterling Cooper, family dramas and Roger’s excellent one-liners (“you ever get three-sheets and put this thing on?” as he refers to that  suit of armor that pretentiously hangs out in the corner of Lane Pryce’s office).

**************************SPOILER ALERT, so for the sake of Joan’s incredible swagger, please do not read the rest of this post if you don’t want to know what happened during Episode 2***************************************

First of all,  I’m probably the only person in America, well, besides the kids at Pepsi, who got all excited about the Sterling Cooper meeting regarding Patio, Pepsi’s 1963 version of a diet soda.  Not because I particularly love diet soft drinks, but rather because I actually got something right-ish in my Season 3 prediction post. As you may remember, I listed a few historical highlights that took place in 1963, and one of them was that Coca-Cola introduced their diet soda, Tab, that year. Ok, so I mentioned the Coca-Cola product and not the Pepsi product, but whatever,  I was on to something, and that something is that I’m getting closer to figuring out  how the mind of show creator Matthew Weiner works. All right, all right, enough with the self-congratulating, let’s get on to the rest of the episode.

Mmmm, Mad Men with a side of bitter…lots of angst in last night’s show…Paul spoke  out for the disgruntled masses regarding the eventual tear-down-only-to-be-replaced-by-a-monstrosity Penn Station (foreshadowing perhaps? that Paul will be replaced by someone more contained and generic? the potential client sitting across from him at the meeting even said, “if you don’t like [NYC] then why don’t you leave!”) …Roger’s daughter (that actress bugs the hell out of me, I think she is the only poorly-casted one of the entire bunch, extras and all) and her mother, who due to the divorce has now been driven to drink sherry at 10:30 AM, gave  Roger a hard time about Jane coming to the big wedding…Betty dryly said to Don’s assistant when asked if she would like something to drink, “First, why don’t you tell me how long I’m going to be here.” Oh, snap! Betts has had it with the wife-waiting-patiently routine.

Make Room for Daddy…Don got all protective-husband for Betty against her brother (who Betty is convinced is greedy and only wants to get her father’s house) and demanded that their ailing father stay with them.  Obviously, this new dynamic will create all sorts of problems, but more importantly, I imagine this will help stir the pot for Don and his issues with his own father. Also, as Betty’s brother mentioned, so authoritatively from Bobby’s top bunk bed, that Betty doesn’t remember all the fights that she had with her father. So does this mean we are going to get some more of Betty’s past, perhaps, and see that things weren’t always rosy for her either?

Before there was Carrie Bradshaw…Peggy has become my new favorite. She’s witty, ballsy, and getting more and more assertive. Rawrr! She’s hitting the bars alone, using Joan’s flirtatious jokes,  and taking bites out of other people’s food. So awesome…extend arm, grab burger, take a seductive bite and all without batting an eyelash…that guy didn’t know what the hell hit him.  And then she’s going to boys’ apartments, on a work-night!, and getting into the office early the next morning, without a smudge or wrinkle! She really has taken this Don Draper protege thing to new heights; its only a matter of time before Betty starts keeping spare dresses and pantyhose in her office.

Love and Marriage…just two quick tidbits  worth mentioning…1) Did everyone catch that Roger’s daughter’s marriage is booked for November 23, the day after JFK’s assassination? and 2) When Betty and Don went out with Pryce and his wife they had conflicting answers for how long they had been together…I take that two ways…either Don can’t remember how many years he’s been married, or, that Betty took it as how long they had been married and Don took it as how long they had been involved. Such interesting psychology, and so true to life…marriage doesn’t mean joint perspectives.

Spring Awakenings…ok, well, Mad Men couldn’t leave us without a little ambiguity and a quick glimpse into what Don’s thinking these days. The closing scene featured the Draper’s at Sally’s school’s springtime celebration.  Don, shaded by very dark sunglasses, intently watched  the very attractive and young-like teacher as she danced around barefoot  in the grass. As Don slowly reached down to set his paper cup on the ground, he made a point of touching the grass, gently running his fingers through the blades.  I got two things from this action 1) a reference to the grass is always greener on the other side…there’s Don wishing he could be somewhere else, again and 2) he was connecting with  spring/renewal/blooming, reminded of what it means to begin again (and babies being born soon).

Ok, I think I need a drink after all this Mad Men rehashing…in the meantime, I’m looking forward to next Sunday’s episode, “My Old Kentucky Home,” where there will be parties to be thrown/attended, and the writer kids at Sterling Cooper have a work weekend, which is awesome, because nothing spells D-R-A-M-A more than a group of  insecure, exhausted, self-righteous writers hanging out together in the 1960’s.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Audrey said,

    Wow, this is so thorough and witty! Almost like sitting with you with coffee and rehashing the show. I am going to read your older entries now, as promised. One of these days we must watch Mad Men on your big screen. I will bring the cocktail ingredients.

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