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Mad Men Open Thread: Wee Small Hours

Mad_men_salvatore Is anyone else totally depressed this morning after watching last night's Mad Men? It was so...unsettling.

In a way it sort of dovetailed with a lot of emotions that I've been experiencing lately, since the theme of the episode seemed to be somewhat pessimistic with regards to things changing and how they seem to stay the same or revert to what's comfortable, even if what's comfortable sucks. And I've been really wrestling to find reasons to get out bed in the morning some days.

Mad_men_suzanne The growing presence of the civil rights movement framed "Wee Small Hours." Don scrunches his nose at his daughter's teacher, Suzanne, when she says that she's going to read Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech to her students when school begins. He's picked her up while she was jogging very early in the morning and he was on his way to spout some ideas for Hilton into his dictaphone. He can't tell whether Suzanne is dumb or pure, with her belief that if the children hear MLK's words from an adult, they'll more firmly believe what they already know.

Carla, the Drapers' housekeeper, continued to move quietly through their lives, and is increasingly uncomfortable with her relationship with Betty. She knows something is up between Betty and Henry, but plays along, sort of, when Betty uses Carla in her alibi to Don. While listening to the funeral service of the four little girls who were murdered in Birmingham when their church was fire-bombed by Ku Klux Klan members, Betty serenely asks if she needs a day off (yes, Betty, one day to mourn children lost in a hate crime and to ponder her status as a black woman in the U.S. should do it!) and muses that perhaps this isn't the right time for civil rights. You can tell that something big is brewing between them, and while I believe that Carla genuinely cares for the Drapers, she's realizing more and more that something has to change both in the Draper residence and in America.

Mad_men_sal_lee_2 Salvatore's experience with Lee, the Lucky Strike heir, was so, so upsetting. The entitlement was just dripping off of Lee and while I get that Sterling Cooper needed to keep the lights on, the fact that Don just fired Sal was so disappointing. His disgust as he referred to Sal as one of "you people" broke my heart and you could see the hurt in Sal's eyes. While I don't imagine that he ever expected to be out and proud, I think he found some comfort in the fact that Don was at least an understanding ally. And not to joke about Sal's firing, but if we see him working at Bonwit Teller next week with Joan, I'm going to start drinking heavily.

Don's dressing down by Hilton was interesting, to say the least. Hilton is eccentric/crazy and I don't think Don was wrong for not realizing that Hilton was being literal about that whole on-the-moon thing. Don could not accept the fact that a client didn't love his work and he started taking it out on people through his usual underhanded ways. He leaves Betty in the middle of the night to go sleep with Suzanne and it was so disappointing to see him revert to that, especially after his reconnection with Betty last week.

Betty also did some reverting, beginning last week when she rebuilt the walls around her. She indulged her interest in Henry but when it was time to decide whether or not to go through with the deed, she couldn't do it, explaining that it's too tawdry for her tastes. She much prefers storage rooms in bars, thank you very much.

As an aside, I found myself wondering how the Lucky Strike and Hilton folks feel about their portrayal on this show.







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Comments

rebecca

when don fired Sal, my heart broke a little. He was on my good side this season! Oh, SAAAAAALLLLL! No Sal, no Joan, where is peggy and duck??? they better step it up soon, or i might have to agree with my husband's negative opinion of the show...

Suzy Q

Sal! I can't believe they fired him, and in such a matter-of-fact cold manner. No support whatsoever for fending off the sexual advances of a client, homo as those advances may have been. Would he have gotten a gold star if he had gone through with it? Poor, tortured Sal.

I agree that things between Betty and Carla are not going well. Betty is extremely self-absorbed, and her treatment of Carla is so dismissive.

Keli

I'm surprised at how the mood of that show has stayed with me all day. I keep reminding myself it's just a television show, but I was so hurt by what happened with Sal. And god damn it now I'm angry.

Don was a complete dick in this episode. His treatment of everyone except Hilton was condescending and rude. I was glad to see him put in his place.

I hope that crazy-night-runner freaks out on him.

Devon

I totally agree! I am getting tired of the whole Don is SpongeBob Cheaterpants plot line. I wish they'd develop his character a little more. I feel sorry for Betty--I just can't help myself. If I was married to Don, I think I'd be pretty emotionally fucked up as well.

TasterSpoon

It's so Betty, to decline an affair not because it's immoral or disrespectful to her marriage or a violation of her vows, but because it would be TACKY. Poor kid. I don't like her, but at least I'm starting to understand her.

Do not like the teacher. At all.

Don is getting sloppy. He seems exhausted all the time. I'm getting tired of him, too.

I'm having a hard time sustaining enthusiasm for a show where I simply don't LIKE the characters. Felt the same about Gone with the Wind.

anna

Joan and Sal should start their own agency. I haven't got a clue how just those two could do it (but Don was pretty rude about Smitty and Kurt, so maybe they could come along) but at least Joan wouldn't be stuck at a department store with Sal unemployed and shamed.

Karina in T.O

I have a bad feeling Sal is going to work for Duck....I couldn't believe Don fired him, couldn't believe it. I was even more depressed when Sal called his wife from the park to lie about still being at the office.....where the hell was he? He looked ripe for a mugging. We all knew Don would eventually stray again, but I have to agree with one of the other commentators here, he's getting sloppy. And I don't like that teacher one bit even if she appreciates the civil rights movement. She pontificates about how Don is a philandering father, and then falls into his arms the first chance she gets. Pfft!

Suzy Q

@Karina

Sal was in a gay cruiser park, probably about to get blown and/or blow someone. I suppose that could be termed a "mugging."




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