Saturday, 27 April 2013

Mad Men Season 6, Episode 4 - To have and to hold

Sometimes you wonder what really is wrong with Pete Campbell.
I don't mean the secret meeting in his flat although his flat 
just reeks of unpolished, badly furnished and dusty egotism.

He offers the use of this flat if Don needs a place in Manhattan.
Don aptly replies, "I live here."
Even in this shot I find he is looking more like Mr Burns.
We are finally in Harlem folks!

Mad Men has been a time capsule but it has managed to avoid 
the elephant in the room in regards to other aspects 
of American social history. So far, the social and professional prominence of women and the emotional and primal burden of men has been the main focus but not to discuss the race issue would have been unrealistic to the specific decade and city.

Sisterly dinner - one is getting married and one can not seem to get a date.  If it was hard for women in general, it was doubly hard for a woman of color.  Official segregation may have ended but she does illustrate that certain sections of the city is not hunting ground for her, even the diner doesn't have white people.

Don finally visits Megan on set and 
the predictable double standard of male sexuality appears.
Close eye: Don cringed as he watched from the sidelines
The conversation is general chit chat but never a truer word than spoken in jest.  They cover the topic of the war, 
and the definition of satire which is threatening humor. 
She does also note that Don is a man who plays many roles.
Not happy: Don was angered by the scene -- despite not having watched an episode before

They have a predictable fight and he accuses her of kissing men for money i.e. a whore.  This part was so prescriptive and unimaginative.  Don is not a normal man so I don't know if he would have reacted that way.  It seemed that he was acting a role that he thought was expected of him - he didn't even look that upset.

Whore: 'You kiss people for money,' Don scolded her

In order to prepare Don for the upcoming increased exposure of Megan's role on the TV show, 
there is a dinner to get better acquainted.

Questionable motives: Megan wondered if the couple's love for her was the reason she was granted the steamy scene

I take my words back in previous posts about the swinging sixties because it seemed it sometimes was a swinging ol' time.

Don likes an old fashioned drink and he is an old fashioned kind of guy.  He is just going to have an affair with his neighbour and steal kisses in the elevator.  Risque.  All that was missing was him pushing her against the wall.

When they meet later on she tell hims that she prays for him to find peace.  He gulps. He also seems genuinely afraid of the crucifix.  He makes her turn the necklace around before he beds her.
Shall we apply a little psychology 101 here?

I feel that Sylvia just might be a perfect woman for Don. For now. He doesn't have to truly take care of her.  She seems otherwise stable and genuinely seems to care for his welfare without using him to externalize and present society with a perfect life.

Back at the office: Don is stressed by a secret account

Don is back to work this episode.  Accounts are coming and going.
He goes into the war room.  

Inspiration: Don and Stan light up as they work on the Heinz account
Drinking whisky is so fifties.  
Smoking doobies is where it is at.

The last few episodes were Gothic but now 
we are entering ancient Greek myth territory.

Foiled: After the pitch, Don learns that Peggy was also meeting with Heinz

The master and the apprentice meet.  
Or in modern terminology - Aawkwaaaard.

Pass the negative space.

Big pitch: Don and Stan have their fateful meeting with Heinz

I quite liked Don's fill in the blank approach and the question that was brought up in the hot dog condiment question.
Some are ketchup and some are die hard mustard.
Pass the Heinz was perfect.

Peggy gets to the point.

At attention: Peggy is a natural, even as the only woman in the room.

But Peggy was tactical and got us upset which drove her point.  If anything, she was aggressive and if we had to choose we would have thought this campaign was thought up by a man.

I loved these pitches from several vantage points.
I tried to see it from a Heinz user from the 60's which was pretty much impossible.  I could only see this from a modern view looking back.  Was this modern, old fashioned or avant garde and would it be as successful now as it was then?

We were waiting for Joan weren't we?

Poweful: Joan carries her weight as she yells at a secretary

It was personally a little disappointing.
A little dull even.
A lot of stuff happened and yet it was all striving to drive the plot for plot's sake but there wasn't any deep character development.
She fired a few people, got drunk with a friend, and is going through company politics but I kept having to suppress the thought that Joan had changed a little.  Something was a little off.
Swinging: The girls meet the bartender afterward to go to a club
She's not a lot of fun anymore, even when she is partying.
Sorry but I am just waiting for her and Roger to get back together.
On notice: Don's secretary took the entire event as an opportunity to work harder and prove herself
Don's secretary Dawn and her sister have the best conversation of the episode.  She has another dinner at a diner with her sister.
Dawn is flustered after the time card punching out scandal.
Her sister asks Dawn if she got fired to which she answers,

"Who can tell at that place?
Everybody is scared there.
Ladies crying the bathroom.
Men crying in the elevator.
It's like New Year's Eve when they empty the garbage and all that is left is so many bottles.
That poor man hanging in his office last year."

Her sister says,
"Gosh, they have it so bad that they must be jealous of you."

I now feel that one hour isn't enough to keep peeling off the layers of each character. In each episode, there are a few characters that are blatantly missing.  This time around, it was Roger and Betty and we just can't keep dropping and getting back on the merry go round.
At least this week, I didn't need a whisky after watching it.

Until next week folks.


  1. I really do need to start watching MM. Should I start at the beginning or can I just jump in?

    1. Sorry Ruth, but for your enjoyment and better understanding yes you do. It is slighly plot driven but it is a bit of social history plus very much character development based. I promise you that you will enjoy it but I will admit this season is hard work but I have known them to long and I am loyal :) Might be perfect to catch up during your "winter" :)

  2. I keep hearing about Madmen...and i tried watching it once but was annoyed at Don...and other womanizing ways, but apparently it's a feminist show? I should perhaps start watching it again. I certainly love the style


    1. Hi Liv, It is like the Dallas equivalent of our era! I don't think it is feminist perse but definitely shows the evolution of women's role during that era which is very interesting indeed!

  3. I preferred this episode to the last, not nearly as depressing. I think Joan is really struggling with herself with how she got to her position as partner - it wasn't earned on merit, but then again, she's smart and she's not had other opportunities to get to that position, so she's done what she had to do, but it doesn't sit well. Loved the Heinz pitch. Mr AV made the comment that he's been in exactly the same situation many times, and it's always awkward walking out and seeing the opposition (he's not in advertising though). xx

    1. It was a lighter mood for sure.

      I hope Joan handles her role as partner well - I am hoping they don't do her over and she gets shortchanged again. I remember in either season one or two where she was doing so well but they turned her down for a position of accounts as she led a successful lipstick campaign with Peggy so it seems like it actually was due but just in a roundabout way. It is a weird mood though still...xx

  4. Reading your commentary of the episode, I wonder if the fact that Mad men never got the popularity of, say, Dallas in France is because it is so intrinsically American. What do you think ?X

    1. Ah...that is interesting. I just thought perhaps the fashion and the glamour of the advertising industry would have enticed the French. But I guess it actually is to do with the loss of innocence starting with the pursuit and loss of the American dream. Plus the cast is rather beautiful as well. But I guess Dallas was universal because it was simply about money and family feuds which need no translation. Thanks Silver Bunny! x

  5. Tut tut, still haven't watched it, but a few things I read and watch seem to make reference to the show, more than any other show actually, so it seems I'm definitely missing out. There appeared to be a lot of hype about Broadchurch too, but I didn't watch that either. I am usually a telly addict, but just haven't got in to this strangely enough. My favourite American series at the moment is Suits.

    Hope you've had a good weekend anyway hun xx

    1. No worries - as John Humphrys says - I started so I shall finish. But you have to start from the beginning anyway so..Hope you have a lovely weekend! x


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