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Mad Men Recap(ish): Love Among the Ruins

Peggy_mad_men_s3_ep2Hello! Kdiddy, here, filling in for Sweetney for this week's Mad Men recap(ish). "Ish" because for the other shows that I recap, I take detailed notes. For Mad Men, I just watch and drool, so forgive me if I miss something huge, but please feel free to mention/discuss such things in the comments!

So, with that out of the way, let's check in with our friends at Sterling Cooper. Pete and Ken are hard at work on their first campaigns as co-heads of accounts. Pete is working with Paul on the Madison Square Garden campaign and Ken is working with Peggy, Harry, and Sal on the campaign for Patio, which was the first version of Diet Pepsi. I agree with Don's later quip about the name: "Everyone wants a drink that sounds like a floor."

Paul and Peggy both turn out to be the voices of dissent in this episode. Paul is supposed to work with the MSG guys to help them overcome the negative press against the Garden headed by the New York Times. Problem is, he sympathizes with the NYT since he is also very fond of the gorgeous Penn Station, which the MSG folks want to (and eventually do) tear down and they don't find his commie beatnik sentiments all that inspiring. However, their work is all for naught when the British overlord shuts down the campaign. Apparently, he didn't exactly get approval from his bosses when the MSG deal was on the table. Don flat out asks him why they bought Sterling Cooper in the first place and he blandly replies, "I don't know." Good business sense, that one.

Peggy is not impressed, to say the least, with the inspiration for the Patio commercial: Ann-Margaret's rendition of "Bye Bye Birdie." The singer's juvenile demeanor and shout-singing delivery of the song has the guys all riled up. But Peggy notes that she is rather annoyed with the performance, and she is the one who would be buying Patio, even though, as Harry politely notes, she's not fat anymore. Peggy goes to Don and he agrees that Ann-Margaret's purity and sweetness is what men want, and what women want to be, which is the basic formula when marketing to women. Duh, Peggy!

Interestingly, Peggy decides to put this Ann-Margaret juvenile approach to sexuality to test. She sings a few bars of "Bye Bye Birdie" in front of her mirror, but when she stops into a bar in Brooklyn after work the next day, she uses a joke of Joan's to grab the attention of handsome undergrad. And though she doesn't correct him when he assumes that she is a secretary, she is not shy about her attraction to him. They do "other things" at his apartment in the absence of a Trojan and Peggy politely slips out in the middle of the night.

Elsewhere at Sterling Cooper, Roger's recent marriage to former secretary Jane has caused quite a rift between him and his daughter, Margaret. Since Jane and Margaret are nearly the same age, Margaret is mortified at the prospect of seeing her on her wedding day and doesn't want her to attend. Roger...doesn't really seem to get what the big deal is. I mean, just because he abruptly left his wife of 20 years for a woman less than half his age, doesn't mean that everyone has to get all pissy about it! Also worth noting is the fact that the date of Margaret's wedding in November 23, 1963, which would eventually be the day after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Sooo, no matter what, Margaret's wedding is going to kind of suck.

Ep2-don-betty Moving on to the Drapers. Don and Betty have an awkward dinner with the British boss and his wife, who make it quite clear that they are rather unhappy in New York. Afterward, Betty tells Don that she's worried about her father. His girlfriend, Gloria, has left him and Betty's brother, William, is really angling for their dad's house. Betty invites her dad and William and his family to their house for the weekend. William tells Betty that they are going to either put their dad in a home or William and his family will move in with him. When Betty tells Don this and is clearly upset, Don gives William one of those Don Draper talks, the kind that are calm and serene but also fucking terrifying. Betty's dad will move in with them, with William's financial support, and William and his family are to leave the Drapers' immediately. Betty is pleased with this arrangement...until her dad starts dumping all of the booze down the drain in the middle of the night, apparently confusing fire alarms with prohibition raids.

We also got to see some of the Don Draper method of parenting. When William's kids and Bobby and Sally are goofing off, he simply opens the door and loudly says, "Cut it out." And they do. I was watching an episode from the second season the other day in which Bobby broke the stereo and Don settles the matter by saying to him, "Mommy says you broke the Hi-fi. I believe her. Don't do it again." And that's IT! Amazing. Also, did anyone notice that they appear to have a new kid playing Bobby? This bums me out. I liked the original little squirt.

The general feel that I got from this episode was that the grumblings of revolution that would come to define the 60s are starting to peek through the seams. Peggy is becoming more comfortable with her sexuality, but rejects the notion that she should follow some rules determined by men. She's defining her own femininity and at the same time having ideas (scandalous!) about how companies should market to women that might actually be more effective, especially since women like Peggy, who have careers and make their own decent salaries, will have stronger purchasing power. Thoughts?

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Good recap! I loved the Don Draper method of parenting. That was our house. If my dad yelled for us to cut it out then Holy COW did we ever cut it out. It very very rarely took more than that!

I had been wondering how they would approach the Kennedy assasination and now I guess we have a bit of a sneak peek.

I loooooooooooove this show. (I watched the first 2 seasons in just under 3 weeks so I'd be caught up... um. yes. obsessive). I've been finding myself comparing stuff to Mad Men all the time lately, much to the annoyance of everyone I know b/c none of them watch it...

Suzy Q

The Don Draper method of parenting, indeed. I know it well, from my own childhood. I wish that more parents would use it today.

You know what was terrifying in this episode? Joan's boobs. Have they gotten even bigger?

Love this show, thanks for the recap, kdiddy!


YES! Joan's boobs were HUGE!
and I am loving Peggy, she needed some sass...i was worried that she had gone all tranquilizer last season.
as far as the Don Draper parenting method...wasn't there a big thing in the first season about how his dad beat him, and he didn't want to be that kind of dad? one of his endearing qualities, i think.


Go Peggy!

The Don Draper Method of Parenting was/is my dad's method. He never said much. When he did say something, he meant it. Don does it with everyone, not just his kids, though. I was terrified when he took Betty's brother into the den and laid the smackdown. It's like he uses The FORCE!!!

Joan's boobs and hips in the dress were all, "POW!" and I was all, "HAWT!" and my husband (who never watches the show) was all, "Who's the hot chick with the red hair? Dang!"

Amy C

I'm with Peggy: that Bye Bye Birdie song was like nails on a chalkboard; not pure and invigorating so much as shrill, breathlessly phony, and contrived. So typical of the general lack of sophistication of the era. I can't wait for Peggy to get a makeover. I hate how frumpy her hair and her clothes make her look when she's such a great character. President Bartlet's daughter deserves better! And I thought Don's take on MSG was marketing genius: New York is in decay and MSG will be the phoenix rising from the debris. Good stuff.


"I'm with Peggy: that Bye Bye Birdie song was like nails on a chalkboard; not pure and invigorating so much as shrill, breathlessly phony, and contrived. So typical of the general lack of sophistication of the era."

Oh God! Ann-Margaret was deliberately singing in that manner, because she was spoofing teenage girls infatuated with rock stars. BYE-BYE BIRDIE was a satire.


I really like how Peggy's character has really taken off. She is one woman to be reckoned with. Interesting how she downplays her status in order to get some action with the guy from the bar who is a lookalike for Pete Campbell. This time she gets to wear the pants in her revenge-fuck. Brilliant

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