Mad Men Gets Romantical
This Week’s Episode Focused on Three Very Different (But Still Similar) Show-mancesWarning – Spoilers Galore!
This week’s Far Away Places looks at Peggy, Don, and Roger, who are all in long-term relationships (Don and Roger being married to the secretaries they dumped their starter-wives for, and Peggy still dating the reporter guy that no one else on the web cares enough about to name – except for me, because I’m a TV-obsessed-nerdling, his name is Abe Drexler, and he’s played by L&O/CSI regular suspect/occasional pedo Charlie Hofheimer) – and all three have their kinks. The episode plays out over the same weekend for all three couples, as they go in very different paths.
Peggy and Abe are arguing because Peggy’s too consumed with work. He storms out of her place and she goes into the office and totally BOMBS the Heinz pitch for like, the umpteenth time. Seriously – what’s it going to take for Raymond (Heinz guy) to like something? I want to strangle his puffy face with his too wide tie. Peggy lashes out at him in total Don Draper style – but since she’s not in possession of a penis, this pisses Raymond off and he fires her from the campaign. She decides to go see a movie at lunch to um… blow off some steam, and ends up giving some rando dude a handjob after he shares his joint with her. She gets back to the office and falls asleep, gets wakened by Dawn who has a frantically cryptic Don on the phone, then she runs into Ginsburg, who tells her that he was a Holocaust orphan, which upsets her. She goes home and calls Abe and asks him to come over and I got the impression that he was pleased she did – he asked what was bothering her, and he probably thought he was going to get something work related, so when Peggy surprised him by telling him that it was something she heard that upset her, it humanized her in a way that Abe probably needed to hear – granted this is all me reading way too much into 2 seconds of airtime, but that’s the impression I got.
We then jump to Roger – who tries to convince Don to have a guy’s weekend with him and go scope out Howard Johnson’s. The “New and Improved” Don declines, and then decides he wants to take Megan instead, that could actually be a good idea, but he totally fucks it all up – I’ll get to that later. They split at Don’s office, with Don walking off and the camera following Roger as he gripes about now having to accompany Jane to a dinner party with her friends. We cut to the party, and it’s totally Dinner at Arabella Mansion – I started having flashback’s in more ways than one. We may be horrifically dysfunctional, but damn we know how to a throw a good dinner party.
Much like many an Arabella party ends, Roger and Jane’s party concludes with all the guests retiring to the den to drop some LSD. Hilarity ensues – you have to watch for yourself – they could’ve done a bit more with the audio, or with people’s faces – but the cigarette disappearing in no time, the music overlapping, looking at yourself from afar while you do all these things – totally right on, they must’ve done their research (at my house).
After they return home, still tripping, they take a bath and then lie down on their bedroom floor and stare at the ceiling and they reason out with one another that it’s time for them to end their marriage. It’s a very adult conversation, full of honesty, and not one you’d expect from Jane Sterling. Sure enough the very next morning she’s “forgotten” all about it and acts surprised when a peaceful and refreshed Roger starts jumping into plans for their divorce. Were any of us surprised? The man can conveniently forget that Jane told him beforehand she was taking him to an LSD party but give him an out in the relationship in the middle of an acid trip and you know he’s going to take that opportunity and run right to Big Red with it.
Moving on to Don’s story – earlier, when Peggy was getting her team ready for the Heinz pitch, Megan arrived and tried to dive right in and roll up her sleeves in her new role as Jr. Copywriter. I think that the men in the office assume she got the promotion because she’s married to the boss, and yes, she probably did – but Megan’s not the kind of girl to bag the boss and retire for life (cough, cough, Jane) – she wants to contribute, she wants to have a career and DO something – so she enjoys her new role, and Peggy seems to be on board with utilizing her. But before Megan can really get into the ideas she’s got about Heinz, Don pokes his head in and pulls her out – much to the consternation of Peggy (and Megan).
He informs her that she’s coming with him to visit the flagship Howard Johnson’s to scout advertising opportunities, and she tries to protest by telling him she’s supposed to be at the Heinz pitch – but he laughs that off and orders her to pack. This is the first act of the play I’ve been waiting for – “Don Fuck’s Everything Up”. I assumed that it would be due to his inability to keep his dick in his pants, but there was also his raging ego to contend with, and it looks like the ego won the “Drive her Away” battle.
It was a succession of fuck up after fuck up to the point that I’m sitting there shouting at the TV for this jackass to just shut up and be quiet already before he ruins everything. First he ignores her desire to see her parents since they’re going to be nearby, then he lights up a cig while she’s trying to sleep (with all the windows rolled up, no less) and when they get there he belittles her desire to work right before he launches into his own work, he disregards her food order and orders for her, and he basically just acts like a royal prick in general. Megan can’t stand it anymore, hilariously stuffs the stupid orange sherbet down her throat and huff’s off.
Now we get to the most gigantic fuck up of all – as Megan’s standing there trying to get through to him that he doesn’t listen to her he gets in the car… and DRIVES AWAY!!! He leaves her stranded! What the fuck?? Look – fella’s – I get it, okay – I get that bitches be nagging, and all that – but come on. Your wife?? Your new, nubile, French speaking, adorable, Chiclet teethed wife?? Really? That’s who you’re going to leave on the side of the road in a strange city?
I don’t even understand the logic behind that. Of course Megan bounces – I guess she went inside and asked for help and some gentlemen helped her find the bus station to go home – but she’s gone by the time Don realizes he’s an idiot, and the waitress tells him she was last seen with a group of guys – nice move, waitress! Make him sweat a little! We’re now on the “Oh this makes sense” end of the Don/Peggy phone call – and when Don finally drives home and discovers Megan’s there and she’s locked him out, he drives the last nail in his coffin by kicking the door down and chasing her around the room before he tackles her to the ground.
I couldn’t help but think about the growing feminist movement of the 60’s as I watched all of this – Megan is probably the most representative of the modern woman. She’s loving and domestic, but still ambitious and searching for respect from her peers. Jane seems to want equality a little too late for me to take her seriously. She’s fine with not working and having Roger support her, but then gets angry when he doesn’t listen to her and take her seriously. She acts like a child but wants to be treated like an adult and she can’t have it both ways. Peggy’s story in particular was the most interesting to me if taken in the angle of feminism – she’s no more career-consumed than Don or Roger, and while Abe has never expressed any desire for her to be more of a homemaker, perhaps what he wants is to feel needed, and more like a man in the relationship. Unfortunately Peggy’s had to shove down almost everything feminine about herself in order to get any kind of respect at work, and even that’s very flimsy. I think she went after that guy in the movie theater because it made her feel in control. She didn’t want him to touch her; she wanted to be the one doing the touching. She wanted to be the aggressor, the man. But once she got that out of her system, and she went back and bumped into Ginsburg, she became upset, and needed comforting – she slipped back into that feminine role, and Abe seemed pleased to be the one she reached out for support.
While this week lacked the awesomeness of last week (Lane Pryce’s left hook now has its own Twitter account), I have to admit it was just superb – incredible story ideas, questions raised, and there are so many things to ponder!