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Archive for the ‘Mad Men’ Category

the color blue

So says eccentric crazypants Bertram Cooper as he and Roger look at a picture of the founders of Sterling Cooper taken forty years previously.  If only he knew that 1963, like 1923, was a year on the cusp of enormous, groundbreaking change!

He doesn’t, of course, and therein lies one of the show’s central themes: some characters profit from the status quo (oh, hi, Paul Kinsey!), and others suffer because of it (Betty, Sal, Joan, etc.) , but no one knows how different everything is going to be in ten years, or even in a few months, after the Kennedy assassination.  Normally this is a good thing, because it adds tension and enhances the drama of each character’s story line.  But lately I’ve felt that the show is nothing but simmering, mounting build-up, and the suspense was beginning to kill me.  Don is more repulsive than he’s ever been; Betty is completely broken; Joan and Sal are getting fucked over, and Peggy hasn’t gotten much screen time at all.  It’s too much to take on a Sunday night, I tell you.

So I was relieved when last night’s episode broke some of all that festering tension.  A few thoughts:

1. BETTY OPENED DON’S SECRET DRAWER OH SHIT!SHIT!

Such was my reaction.  Actually, it was more like, “why do they keep showing Betty doing laundry? did I miss something about laundry? oooh is that a key to the teacher’s place? oh, WAIT. OH, SHIT.”  I’ve been wanting this to happen for so, so, long, and my stomach was in sympathetic knots as I watched Betty sit up with the box, waiting for Don to get home.  I don’t think she suspects his secret identity yet, but she knows about his divorce from Anna Draper, and really, that’s enough to bring the whole carefully constructed facade crashing down on his oiled head.

2. Paul Kinsey is still a douche, but he may have realized that Peggy is a better copywriter than he is.

I wasn’t sure if his incredulous, “oh my God” was supposed to indicate that he was awed by Peggy’s quick thinking or merely furious that she had upstaged him in front of Don again.  At any rate, I think we can all agree that his literally masturbating to his own copy was exceedingly gross.  Also, it was interesting that his lost idea and the telegram theme both highlight the permanence of the written word: Betty wouldn’t have discovered Don’s secrets if he hadn’t left a paper trail.

3.  Don is still screwing that awful teacher

Not only is Miss Farrell less mature and far less interesting than his earlier paramours, she has more than a whiff of craziness about her.  She doesn’t care about his marriage as long as she knows he’s really and truly with her?  Seriously?  I predict that it will end in tears, and they’d better not be Sally’s.

4. Sterling Cooper is for sale.

Does this mean all the brouhaha over Don’s contract is moot?

UPDATE:

Did you know that if you Google, “Betty Draper smiling” Google asks, “did you mean Betty Draper smoking?” Hilarious.

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betty-draper

how could you possibly be unhappy? you have so many material possessions!

Last night’s episode of Mad Men has me thinking of how satisfying it would be to see Betty pull a Nora from A Doll’s House.   She is so incredibly miserable, far more so than she was in the first season.

Betty has undergone two dramatic changes so far, the first being her transformation from the pampered, pretty doll she plays in season 1 to the woman in season 2 who decides to stop maintaining the illusion that Don is faithful to her.  Kicking Don out of the house is the first adult action she performs, and she continues to gain strength and autonomy (albeit in strange ways) until her father’s stroke, which catapults her back into her child princess state.

And then, of course, her father’s illness leads to contact with Don, which leads to hate sex, which gets her pregnant, and then everything is shot to hell.  She had a chance to realize just how empty and suffocating her life was, but with this baby, she’s back to square one.

I think she could get angry enough to do something drastic, though.  She already knows that Don treats her and their children like appendages.  That’s why she made him furious when she asked if he wouldn’t sign the contract because “he didn’t know where he was going to be in three years.”  She’s no longer content to be treated like an accessory to Don’s important, mysterious life, and if Don doesn’t start taking her seriously, something’s going to snap. I hope.

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