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Mad Men Open Thread: Guy Walks Into An Advertising Agency

Mad-menPardon my my bluntness and excuse my French, but I think I speak for everyone here when I say, regarding last night's episode: HOLY CRAP.

Don-ep6

Sooooo. GAH. Where do we even start?
  • Poor Joan. Poor, poor Joan. ON SO MANY LEVELS POOR JOAN. I think we all kind of suspected that her Doctor husband (whose name I honestly haven't bothered to acknowledge in any real way, because I just can't see him being a long-term character somehow... maybe that's wishful thinking though) (Oh yeah, Greg. Sure. Whatever) would turn out to be full of F-A-I-L, what with the whole character-defining rape and all. No brains in his fingers? It would seem that's but one of many parts of him without brains. The only real question at this point regarding that whole storyline seems to be how badly all of it is going to spiral out. Is Greg going to take to drinking and womanizing to dull the pain of his failure as a surgeon? Or perhaps use Joan as a human punching bag to let loose his small-penised frustrations upon (that, for some reason, is what I've been fearing all along -- what I fear now, more than ever. I think this is because, from my perspective, I'd reckon that for a guy who can sexually assault a woman -- nay, a woman he would claim to love -- beating and battery would kinda be small potatoes relatively speaking, no?)? The best thing that could happen is for Joan to get her job back and, with any luck at all, start to realize -- while she has the support and resources of Sterling-Cooper available to her -- that she needs to get far, far, away from that douchebag.
  • The John Deere foot amputation: WOW. Just... WOW. I don't even know what to say about that moment except HOLY UNEXPECTED, and perhaps also WHY? Just seemed like such a pointedly extreme and freakish event... is this clearing the way for Don's rise to power?
  • Vaguely-related random observation: More than ever before, it feels to me that the world of the show is poised precariously on the edge of... maybe not destruction, but certainly danger. Almost every story line, every relationship, seems fraught with anxiety and intensity right now, in a way that makes me feel that there's a dark cloud hanging over everything, and that something awful could happen at any moment (like, uhh, someone randomly getting their foot chewed off by a lawn mower in the middle of an office party?). I can't quite explain how/why this is... Anyone else feeling that way too, in a broad, general way?
  • Too little Peggy in this episode. Tracey is not pleased.
  • The whole Conrad Hilton appearance rubbed me the wrong way for some reason. It seems to me -- and I may be alone in this -- that bringing Real Life historical figures into the mix just makes things feel kinda, well, hokey. What's next, Marilyn Monroe swings by to chat with Don about lipstick brands? Ehh, whatever. I get that they're trying to build Don up as a man recognized both within and without his industry as a Major Creative Force, but it's just starting to feel a little heavy-handed.
  • Sally: My statement above about story lines having an air of intensity that's giving me panic attacks? Yeah, this one for sure fits that mold. Since Grandpa appeared on the scene with his non-specific yet notable creepiness, doing things like LETTING SALLY DRIVE THE FREAKING CAR FER CRISSAKES, I've had this sinking feeling that bad things are in store for Sally. Last night, for whatever reason, I kept expecting that her newly acquired nightlight would be the source of some awfulness -- perhaps randomly bursting into flames or something. Just me? The recent focus on her makes me nervous though, I have to say. Maybe I'm projecting. Yay? Nay?

What else struck you about this episode? And where do you see things going from here?

Discuss.







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Comments

lori

Joan's husband is going to do something awful and I only hope that she will be as strong with him as she is with everyone else. I have this icky feeling that when she tries to get her job back she'll have to grovel and will end up working for Mr Hooker the slimeball.

As far as the sense of foreboding, it really does feel that way. I wonder if it's all leading up to JFK?

Stephanie Smirnov

Lori, I've been thinking that too (leading up to JFK); remember in Episode 1 we saw that Roger's daughter's wedding date is November 22nd (if I remember correctly?) Will Season 3 end on the day JFK was shot, just as last season ended on the Bay of Pigs crisis? And of course we had the foreshadowing of Jackie with Joanie's blood-stained dress (Joanie=Goddess and that is that.)
Tracey, I totally agree with you about the sense of dread that's hung over every episode this season. I was wondering if we were headed for a "Sally strangles Baby Gene" plot turn till Don stepped in to actually, uh, parent his grieving child (hellloooo, Betty?) Last night was full of so much symbolism -- how about Roger at the barber, and his "close shave" with having been exiled from the org chart? The references to Iwo Jima and Vietnam coupled with the shocking bloodshed in the office? I'd like to think that Guy being mowed down by a woman presages the turmoil of the women's movement and workplace equality but that's stretching a wee bit -- ERA is still light years away from 1963 and even Peggy doesn't seem all that empowered or liberated (yet?)And finally, I'm down with Conrad Hilton making a cameo -- it would've felt more intrusive if it were somone playing say Joe DiMaggio or Frank Sinatra, someone whose fame would dwarf the plot itself -- but Conrad Hilton is historically important enough without being iconic so that his presence becomes a distraction. I'm just pissed I didn't figure out like apparently the rest of the internet that "Connie" from the Derby Day party was "Conrad."

New Age Bitch

Foreshadowing! Foreshadowing! Huzzah!

Dear Joan, You made your bed (so to speak), now lie in it (so to speak). The end. Joanie's next step involves being on her knees in front of a guy with a suit. But her type bounces back. She'll be fine — next season.

Season 3 absolutely ends on a grassy knoll. No question. Look how slowly the summer is going. I am squeamish with all the sleeveless dresses and bright colors and seersucker.

The John Deere incident? The writers' crack allowance was increased this season. Hey! Nobody got sued! That was funny!

Sally? Now that we all like her, she'll be killed off, but not before they find all her Barbies lined up in a neat row on her bed, disturbingly headless and with their panties off. Hope the neighbor's cat doesn't mysteriously disappear, too!

Betty is doing what she can to bring back Attachment Parenting. Later this season she starts a band. She'll be the drummer.

Don is due for a ladyfriend, and soon.

anna

I felt so sorry for Sally when no one explained how the Barbie got back inside and she didn't ask anyone; between the gift being from Baby Gene No Really It's True Uh-Huh (great job freaking out your child) and "appearing" in her room, you know she still believes her grandfather's ghost is around.

I also believe it's quite sad that the only character who really took interest in Sally as a person and looked out for her was Grandpa Gene, who seemed so creepy because of it.

Suzy Q

I think Joan may indeed end up as her husband's punching bag...but not for long. She'll seek help from Peggy. I'll bet they end up as roommates. Then, Peggy can be the one to help Joan, as Joan helped Peggy in other ways.

The guy's foot being run over by a durnk secretary on a John Deere was shocking, awful and...funny. Yes, I have a macabre sense of humor. And Joan totally saved that guy's life. Maybe she'll become a nurse!

I LOVED the Conrad Hilton thing. Something's cooking up there for Don, for sure. The only bad thing is that it made me think about what a waste of space Paris Hilton is and mostly because of Conrad's smarts and money.

Can I just say that, even though Betty is not Mother of the Year, at least they gave her a realistic post-pregnancy body. And some fluctuating hormones, too, it seems.

I also felt bad for Sally in that she didn't explain what made her scream. I also thought that maybe it would occur to Don to tell her that they could share a secret and use the baby's middle name when Mommy was out of earshot.

That Grandpa Gene let Sally drive the car didn't faze me one bit. Yes, I know it was fraught with potential danger. But, parents (and kids) where a heckuva lot different back then, and the result is that kids were more confident in their own abilities and became adults who are much more self-sufficient.

Tracey, if your parents or grandparents are still around, ask them how old they were when they had their first driving experience, legal or not. I'll bet at least one of them was on the lap of a parent or some other equally horrific thing by today's standards.

Washington Cube

I had a few quibbles with last night's show. At the hospital, when Joan and others get a Dr. Pepper from a vending machine...in New York...in 1963? Wrong. Dr. Pepper was firmly planted in Texas and the South, but Eastern Seaboard from D.C. up North did not get the Pepper until later.

Also, Roger's daughter getting married on the day Kennedy was assassinated? Kennedy was assassinated on a Friday, and very few brides get married on a Friday, or a Friday night.

There were a few things that did impress me. How that British man was going to be shipped off to Bombay....after being successful in NYC with no control over his life....or his family's. Of course now he's spared, following the accident.

Also, Roger again. This was a toss off line to his boss, but I found it rang very true. After being ignored on the hierarchy chart at work, Roger says to Mr. Cooper, "I'm being punished because I make it look too easy," and I've found that to be true in the business world. You do superior work. Everything is being taken care of. It gets taken for granted; time and again.

Personally I liked the Conrad Hilton snippet because it shows that "voodoo" aspect of Don Draper where he just exudes wisdom in what makes businesses succeed in advertising. There are many times when they play on that quality and turn him into a mystic.

I find it hard to believe that Betty would persist in naming the baby Gene against her husband's wishes--especially in that era. Of course I loved how she drank and smoked during her pregnancy, and that was true to the period.

As for Joan. I love her competency. While others were losing it during the tractor accident, she was cool and collected and a figure of strength. I am most curious as to how her character will play out over time, and yes, of course, they will bring her back into the office. She's too important to the show.

Another little slip, I thought. When the British owners were coming and everything had to be perfect and ship shape...at one point they suggested retiring to the conference room for coffee and cake. If they were that hellbent on impressing these men, they also would have offered tea. Remember. This was pre-Starbucks, and even today Brits drink more tea than coffee, but even moreso then.

As for Sally driving the car? My father taught me when I was small. Just little spells on country roads. Some children just take to machinery. I was the same with a bicycle--very young and no training wheels. I think Sally is the symbol of what's coming in the sixties. In a few more years, she'll be a teen and in full blown anti-Vietnam Flower Power rebellion.

Nikki

Personally, I'm convinced she's gonna do something to the baby... Betty will walk in to find Sally holding a pillow over the baby's face... ugh. I REALLY hope I'm wrong.

ali

I totally called that there would be an accident with that John Deere as soon as I saw it in the office....but I definitely did NOT see Guy losing his foot, OMG.

Gray Matter

First off I am in awe of Washington Cube (coffee and cake? Helloooo, tea and krumpets anyone?).

Also, did anyone get the whole recurrent themes of lights?

In regards to Baby Gene's name...I think that problem can be solved by a nickname.

Could be generic, like "Scooter" which of course would be "Thcooter" whenever Sally says it, which would be awesome.

Aloeskin

Just wanted to say that I am pretty sure that Roger's daughter's invitation said "November 23," not "November 22." I remember thinking it was the day after, not the day of.




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