Advertisements
Tag Archives: Peggy Olson

Mad Men Music Monday: Space Oddity

4 May

Transitioning to a bigger firm was always going to be harder for some on Mad Men which is why they did everything they could to stop this from becoming a thing with no success in last week’s terrific outing. We’ve seen how seriously Joan and Peggy were taken in one of their meetings a few weeks ago and Joan’s desire to burn the place to the ground comes back in full force after she propositioned and treated like garbage.

Don has never been one for being tied down and the whole point of starting their own firm at the end of season 3 was to embrace a semblance of freedom. That has long gone and staring out of the window is far more satisfying than listening to another version of himself wax lyrical about dudes and beer. If these words were coming out of Jon Hamm’s mouth it might be different, but through this other guy the spell is broken.

Mad Men 7.12 DonHell, Peggy gets mistaken for a secretary and her new office is not ready so instead she is offered a place in the pool; a compromise she is not willing to take. All this is done via her secretary Marsha and she’s not even worth a phone call from anyone at McCann. Peggy gets the best deal of the episode in that she gets to hangout in the old office with a surprise companion. The moment where Peggy calls out asking out if anyone is there accompanied by creepy organ music is made all the funnier thanks to the person playing said music. It’s not just a soundtrack choice, but Roger putting off going over to his new office for as long as possible.

Mad Men 7.12 Peggy and RogerPeggy notes how this is the most Roger has ever paid attention to her and while she nails the reasons he wants her to stay there – so she can be his audience – these scenes are so much fun that I can only be thankful that they fucked up Peggy’s move. Roger talks in big terms when it comes to how much he feels for the company and while Peggy points out how miserable it was (let’s not forget one partner killed himself not all that far from where they sit) it was far from all bad. Roger has been the one in the past to tell Peggy how it is and that she should ask for things including not going over to McCann at 4 o’clock when she is drunk as they have already made her wait. Instead she stays drinking and now I have a new life goal:

Mad Men 7.12 PeggyMy track record with roller skates means I wouldn’t be able to secure my other life goal which is Peggy’s incredible McCann entrance.

Mad Men 7.12 Queen PeggyThis outfit, those sunglasses, that look; everything is perfection and it’s probably all going to go to shit in an instant. But at least we have this. Without Joan, Peggy’s accounts are going to get picked over and I just hope that Peggy’s career dreams won’t be left in the wreckage.

Peggy has been gifted with Bert Cooper’s ‘octopus pleasuring a woman’ painting by Roger and she proudly clutches it under her arm when making her big entrance. Bert Cooper makes an appearance in Don’s car as a sleep deprived hallucination and I’m glad to see him act as Don’s almost voice of reason while also pointing out that of course he did not read On the Road (I tried to read this book once, but it was very much not for me). Bert is the man who died watching the moon landing and spoke one of the lines of Mad Men – “she was an astronaut” – so it is fitting that he is in an episode that closes out with David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”

Don has his own mission which is to find Diana and while I have no investment in this relationship in the slightest, there is another interaction that warms my heart. When Don’s attempt to take Sally back to school is unsuccessful because she got a ride with someone else he does get to share a genuinely warm moment with Betty. He gives her a shoulder rub which looks like it could lead to more, but doesn’t and there is no antagonism here.

Mad Men 7.12 Don and BettyBetty has followed her dream of enrolling in college to get a Masters in Psychology – repeating my dream of ‘Mad Woman: Therapist Betty Draper’ as a spinoff please – and she’s already started on the reading list. Don calls her Birdie and whenever he uses this affectionate nickname I melt and forget all the shit that has come between them.

Two more episodes to go! Here is Roger to play us out this week.

Mad Men 7.13 Roger

Advertisements

Peggy Olson – Queen of the Sofa Confession on Mad Men

27 Apr

Couches are a vital part of the office furniture on Mad Men; just think of how many times we have seen Don Draper reclining on one. In this episode he does so contemplating how they can keep their independence (they can’t). Don’s reclining experience is not what interests me and it is Peggy Olson who springs to mind when I think of this location. From her early morning encounter with Pete back in season 1 when only a cleaner was in the office to the end of the second year as nuclear annihilation loomed. Pete confessed his love as the Cuba Missile Crisis peppered the unburdening of the soul with Peggy revealing how she “could of had you in my life forever if I wanted to” because she had his child. In “Time & Life” this story is revisited in a couple of ways and Peggy earns her Queen of the Sofa Confession title.

First between the parents who never were.

Mad Men 7.11 Peggy and PetePete is having a shit fit about the merger and after he storms out of the meeting the first thing he sees is a very awkward looking Peggy getting hugged by an over-excited child.

Mad Men 7.11 PeggyAutomatically conjuring up feelings of their big secret it jolts Pete into telling Peggy about the drama which has just unfolded. He thinks it is only fair and no one else is going to tell her. No matter how many arguments they have about work (such as the bickering match last week) they have this unspoken bond and one that is unknown to anyone else. Yes Don and now Stan know about Peggy’s baby secret, but she has never spilled who the father is. On another show this would have probably been worked in along with a final season reunion with their son, but Mad Men is not that show and this is probably all the closure we are going to get with this storyline. If that is the case then I am more than fine as it is dealt with so beautifully this week. There is much space between them so despite their strong connection the void is wide. Now take into account the couch confession at the end of season 2:

Mad Men 2.13 Pete and Peggy couchObviously a lot has changed as 1961 is very much sponsored by the color brown (so is 1970 but there’s a lot more color) plus they both look like babies themselves. Pete’s couch has grown substantially and so has the gap between them; this secret is there forever connection and destruction of what was. There is a tiny part of me that ships these two and of course Peggy deserves so much more than Pete and yet I can’t help how much I relish their scenes particularly when they allude in the vaguest terms to what occurred in the past.

Mad Men 7.11 Peggy and Stan part 1Adventures in Stan and Peggy inadvertently babysitting while at work include Peggy revealing all about the big McCann move to Stan while the girl they’re not watching accidentally staples her finger. Peggy and Stan have a high comfort level with telling each other how it is and despite their many disagreements they are close enough for Peggy to warn him about this merger. Lots of pointing of knees toward each other.

Mad Men 7.11 Peggy and StanAfter the bleeding finger/Peggy joining the list of characters who have uttered fuck this season moment (Sally and Megan being the other two so far) Stan and Peggy end up having a the kind of conversation which pretty much has me wanting to make PEGGY OLSON 4EVA tees/cushions/banners. What starts off as a discussion about what transpired with the girl and her mother moves into very personal territory as Stan finds out his assumptions about Peggy and her feelings about kids are way off base. Stan thinks Peggy is angry she has got to this certain time in her life without having kids and he compliments on everything she has achieved because she hasn’t had kids. It is like a precursor to the “Can a woman have it all?” discussion and Peggy tells him not to “do that.” Double standards feature heavily as Stan makes a joke regarding not having any kids that he knows of with Peggy countering “It wouldn’t matter if you did. You can walk away.” Stan’s claim of understanding because he had a mother who wasn’t great is not enough for him to understand his mother.

Of course this is nothing to do with Stan, his mother or the woman who yelled at Peggy and Stan is intuitive enough to pick up on this and the strong feelings of guilt Peggy is projecting. And Peggy is right that a woman should be able to move on the way a man can in the same situation. Peggy has managed to do this because it was kept so hush hush and because the circle of people who know about it is so small, but this doesn’t stop her thinking about this (remember in “The Suitcase” when she told Don that playgrounds made her think of her son, this line still devastates me now). Also gut-wrenching is Peggy’s answer to Stan’s “What did you do?”

“I’m here… and he’s with a family somewhere. I don’t know but it’s not because I don’t care. I don’t know because you’re not supposed to know or you can’t go on with your life.”

Peggy says she’s fine and my screen is very blurry right now as this scene is heartbreaking/stunning/soul crushing/life affirming/all of the above. Elisabeth Moss is so spectacular at revealing Peggy’s pain without tipping into hysterics and she is particularly good at holding her tears so we can see them but they don’t fall from her eyes. I’m not looking forward to the moment when Peggy Olson is not in my life.

And in other non-Peggy couch moments from this episode that are worth pointing out and another encounter that comes with a lot of feelings.

Mad Men 7.11 Roger and JoanRoger and Joan have both moved on (Roger is still seeing Megan’s mother Marie and Joan is with Richard) they also share the bond of a secret child and a whole lot of history.

Mad Men 7.11 Pete and TrudyA less than happy former couple waiting on a coach at a prospective school for their child is Pete and Trudy as they fail to hide their animosity with each other. All it takes is insults from another, a punch and my new favorite Pete Campbell line – “The King ordered it!”- for Trudy and Pete to go from these faces to a tender moment. Pete is in a rush to get back to the city because of everything that is going on, but there is time to listen to Trudy’s woes including how she hasn’t got many friends because their husbands hit on her. Her worries then turn to ten years time when the attention from everyone stops and actually this might be my favorite Pete line as he tells her “you’re ageless.” Pete Campbell the sweetheart. Catch it soon before he is gone forever.

Mad Men Music Monday: “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (With Bonus Side Eye)

20 Apr

Looking to the past and asking questions about the future is what advertising does by using nostalgia and desire for the things we had/want to shift products. Mad Men explores this notion throughout its seven seasons charting one decade and the two that bookend it. The 50s influence was clear to see at the start of the show from the style to the traditional Draper family setup.

Change has come in an explosive fashion throughout this ten year period and when a new decade begins there are plenty of questions/thinkpieces (even before this term was a thing) about what the future will look like, while examining the ten year period that has just occurred. The question of the future is something that looms over this episode which is kicked off by Roger giving Don the task of writing their Gettysburg Address for his work trip to the Bahamas.

Mad Men 7.10 magazinesThis is the most we have seen Don work in a while, but all he really does is ask other people how they see their future because he has no idea about his own. We see another divorced man celebrating the freedom of no plans, but without anything to look forward to, what is the point? Even the empty apartment which Don swears had some good times – all I can think of is arguments aplenty and Zou Bisou Bisou – is gone by the end of the episode and we are left with Don out in the hallway with no idea what the fuck he is going to do. Enter this week’s killer closing credits song choice with Roberta Flack singing “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and even though Don’s sad face often has me rolling my eyes in exasperation on this occasion and with this song I feel for the dude.

You know who I feel more for? Yep, it’s Sally after she has to endure not one but two flirtatious encounters with her parents and her friends. The Glen/Betty relationship has always included this weird energy and Betty is incapable of not making something about her as she has this desire to be better than everyone, even her own kids.

Mad Men 7.10 Sally, Glen, BettyDon’s problem comes courtesy of his inability not to flirt if presented with the opportunity; on this occasion he claims he played along so not to embarrass Sally’s friend Sarah and even if this is the case it is still worthy of every moment of side eye and snark that Sally sends in the direction of her father. Before she gets on the bus she tells Don that he “can’t control himself” and that if anyone pays attention to either him or Betty then they just “ooze everywhere.” That imagery alone conjures up a whole lot and considering what Sally has walked in on the past it has a profound effect on how she views these interactions. Sally digs the knife in a little further by pointing out that she will hopefully be different to her parents, but Don flips this back on her by telling her “you are like your mother and me, you’re going to find that out.” Run, Sally, run!

Expectation versus reality comes into play throughout the episode and while advertising is fleeting – Don lightly scoffs at Peggy’s desire to create something with lasting value – it uses certain hopes/dreams to sell a product to us. No, this new vacuum cleaner won’t turn a house into a happy magical home, but they might use that idea to get you to buy one. So when Glen comes to see Sally, he’s really there to see Betty and he’s hoping to get something good out of his Vietnam predicament. Betty isn’t the reason Glen is going to fight in a war we have previously seen him want to protest (as Sally pointedly reminds him while also asking him “are you fucking stupid?”), but if he can re-establish his connection to Betty through this, then maybe there is a point. The same goes for Joan and Richard as his version of a post-divorce plan is ruined by Joan having a four-year old, something Joan inadvertently yells at Kevin about, but luckily her resentment is directed at the babysitter and then she feels like shit about it. Later on she snarks at Richard how she ditched her son for him.

There is a lot of disappointment oozing its way through the episode and a whole lot of side eye and angry face going on as demonstrated by this picture parade of brilliant reactions to dudes pissing off these ladies:

Mad Men 7.10 PeggyOh, Pete.

Mad Men 7.10 JoanOh, Richard.

Mad Men 7.10 SallyOh, Don.

And Sally isn’t the only one in Don’s firing line this week as Mathis takes Don’s ‘no apology’ advice after a horrific pitch meeting and ends up getting fired because he is no Don Draper. Mathis breaks the whole thing down saying how Don can get away with behaving like this because of how he looks and how the Lucky Strike story where he doesn’t give a shit about offending the clients is different in reality; it was only because Lee Garner Jr thought he was hot that earned him a valued seat in those meetings. Ahh, the handsome bubble. See expectation versus reality. You can dream big all you want but there will forever be obstacles in your way. Whatever magazines dare to envision for this new decade as hope springs forth will get mired down by what has come before it and the Vietnam War is not just going to go away because it is 1970. The past will haunt the present and while this allows us to dream for a better future, this won’t always be the case.

What do you see for the future?

Peggy Olson, Don Draper and the Shared Experience on Mad Men

26 May

Television has the ability to stir an emotional response in us and it’s one reason why so many of us write about it, whether on a blog like this one which talks equal parts style and plot, or with the plethora of excellent sites that produce astounding work on a daily basis. Mad Men has explored notions of shared experience and isolation for seven seasons now and as we reach the break this comes into focus through Don and Peggy. It is significant they made such inroads on their formally fractured relationship last week, followed by a passing of the baton of sorts in “Waterloo” just as mankind took a giant leap (sorry I couldn’t resist).

Mad Men 7.07 hotel roomThe build up to the moon landing plays a significant role in this episode and it hinges on the excitement of a potentially grand achievement rather than the previous shared experience TV has delivered of death; the JFK assassination being the defining first televised moment like this. There are daily death notices as the Vietnam War ticks on in the background (according to a Gallop Poll in 1969 52% of Americans personally knew someone who had been killed/wounded in Vietnam) and there’s a general atmosphere of uncertainty hanging over the nation. The moon landing is a joyous moment anticipated by many; however fear and cynicism still hang in the air. Fear they might not make it and another tragedy will play out in front of the world (it will also impact their pitch if something horrible happens). The cynicism angle is voiced by the disaffected youth with Sean – the son of Betty’s friend – referencing how much this mission is costing and the problems back on Earth. Sally mimics this later to her father, but hope is not something you can put a price tag on (even if Sean has a point).

Everyone is doing the same thing as they sit with their family – or in the case of Pete, Peggy, Don and Harry their work family – glued to the screen together; cynics and believers as one. Let’s take a moment to marvel at Sean’s pants in this scene. They look like they come from Felix’s closet on Orphan Black.

Mad Men 7.07 the Francis FamilyDon rings the family Francis to experience this with his kids and it’s significant that we only see him interact with Sally because by this point that’s the only relationship we’ve seen cultivated. Though I would have loved to see his chat with Gene, just to see this kid talk and Bobby’s also become somewhat endearing thanks to his bad bartering and stress stomachaches. However, Sally’s sass complete with her scarily accurate Betty smoking posture is what we’re really here for. Plus she kisses the boy least expected and is doing her civic duty by being a lifeguard. For all my worries about Sally, I think she’s going to be ok in the end.

Mad Men 7.07 Peggy and DonLast week Anne Helen Petersen wrote a terrific and terrifyingly accurate essay entitled “What Peggy Olson has Taught me About Doing it My Way” and like both Petersen and Peggy, I am in this same age bracket (I turn 32 in September *shudder*). Both this essay and Peggy’s sentiments rang true (so much so that even thinking about that scene makes me teary) demonstrating how TV can be a shared experience on a whole other level. Watching Peggy struggle and flounder in her interactions with others this season (the Shirley/Valentine’s Day mix-up is the lowest Peggy got for me) has been hard because Peggy for me has always been the one I want to succeed the most.

In “Waterloo” we get our Peggy victory as she pushes past her insecurities and uses the huge event from the night before to forge an association going way beyond the “voice of moms.” It’s an incredible performance from Peggy as she taps into the hope from the night before and spins it in a way to sell burgers through togetherness. For Don to finally understand Peggy’s worth he had to be reduced to a position of nothing. By handing over the pitching reins Don is giving Peggy the one thing she has always desired; his approval and confidence in her abilities. So while she panics and laments the lack of liquor, this fear also gives her strength.

Don uses his personal life to inform his pitch and Peggy does the same as she discusses the 10-year-old at home. At no point does she refer to Julio as her son, even if he has become a surrogate of the child she has given up and Pete visibly flinches at this reference (their child would be slightly younger). Earlier in the episode when Julio tells Peggy he is moving, she weeps silently as she will lose one of the few real bonds she currently has (which is depressing in itself) and if anyone is starved of human contact on this show it is Peggy.

Mad Men 7.07 Peggy and Don hotelIgnoring Harry – which is on point – in the hotel room is a trio who have deep insight into each other thanks to the secrets they share. Family is a vague term that Pete doesn’t like; Pete’s real family is a closed off dysfunctional mess so it’s no wonder he’s not too fond of this concept. There is another family and this one has been just as complicated (if not more so), however they’ve also been a lot more accepting of his flaws and often undesirable personality traits.

Pete is the one with the most information as he knows about Don’s past and that he is the father of the baby Peggy gave up, Don knows about the baby, but not Pete’s involvement (I doubt he would be as favorable to Pete if he knew) and well, Peggy of course is aware of her baby secret and is in the dark about Dick Whitman. The connection between these three characters exists not just because of these secrets, but it certainly adds subtext and a bond that doesn’t exist with anyone else at SC&P as Bert was the only other person to know about Dick and now he’s dead. So long Bert and your no shoe wearing policy, I’m glad you got to see the moon landing even if I wish you weren’t such a horrific racist. Cool song and dance number too. Bravo.

Mad Men 7.07 BertYeah this happened. It was delightful and bonkers. Plus it fits in with Don seeing the ghosts of those who know about his past. This is the first time singing and dancing was part of it, but hey it is 1969 and everything is a little off-kilter.

Mad Men 7.07 hugBack to Peggy and she lands the account; there’s little fanfare as everyone is busy with multimillion dollar making (and Don Draper saving) business deals and saying farewell to Bert Cooper. There will be celebrations and these will come off camera as I’m sure time will have passed when we return next year, instead we get this moment instead and it feels just as good. Peggy did it and the relationship she has with Don is the closest either of them have. This might sound depressing, but remember where they both were at the end of last season. Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss continue to deliver exceptional performances revealing the pain and potential happiness these characters can achieve and both have a place on the ultimate glassy eyed Olympics team I am forging (see also Aaron Paul, Julianna Margulies and Caroline Dhavernas).

Don appears to have lost Megan for good this time as his suggestion of moving to LA was met with silence and then a sigh; it’s been a facade for a long time as they’ve essentially been playing husband and wife, rather than living it. Instead Don now has a confidant again – yes he has always had Roger, but their friendship is something else all together – and for Peggy it is important that she is no longer adrift either. Who knows what they can achieve together and like the moon landing there is now hope for a happy ending.

Mad Men 7.01 “Time Zones”: How to Peggy and Megan your Wardrobe

14 Apr

Kicking off the season 7 Mad Men chat neither with an essay discussing the gut wrenching Peggy collapsing to the floor scene – if I could reach into the screen and give her a hug I would – nor with a look at Don’s working status and his Freddie Rumsen proxy. Instead I’m going to share something I tried last summer (thanks to a Megan headscarf in “The Better Half”) and how a Peggy outfit in the season 7 premiere includes the office version of this accessory. A sort of Mad Men Ate My Wardrobe if you will and one that means it’s time to play serious face poses with Emma Fraser.
photo3Peggy works the red, white and blue classic palette like a pro and even though she’s never going to be fashion forward like Megan (and her attempts at this will end in big bowed disaster), her work wear has consistently improved throughout the seasons. She’s found a way to dress for work that’s neither dowdy (as it was in season 1) nor is she trying too hard. This doesn’t hold the same striking power play look as this AMAZING pantsuit and why would it when she is not standing in Don’s shoes. It’s still relatively conservative style wise for 1969 and yet the knitted beret is something that wouldn’t look out of place today. The scarf is not so 2014, which is why it works much better as a head scarf.

 

photo1 (2)First of all the front facing camera quality isn’t the best, but rather than posing awkwardly again for a new photo I wanted to use the one from last summer and oh boy am I regretting the pout and lack of lipstick. The scarf is very much like Peggy’s and it is vintage (from my favorite vintage shop which just closed down *sob*). As I mentioned the inspiration came from Megan in “The Better Half” and I have to say that short hair with a headscarf like this made me long for a ponytail; it can work with either long, short or mid-length hair. It’s also something that Megan isn’t going to ditch anytime soon as we saw her wearing Don’s gift in her hair in “Time Zones” as their marriage continues to look like something out of movie from the outside. Gifts can only go so far and when there’s not enough time to argue, it also cuts down any examination of how hollow this relationship is. Unless you count chatting to Neve Campbell of course. OK so there is some episode analysis among the headscarf vs. neck scarf suggestions.

Megan 7.01Pairing this scarf with a ruffled blouse in “Time Zones” is giving off some old timey pirate vibes.

The TV Ate My Wardrobe weekly Mad Men coverage isn’t going to be the same format with each episode and I think there’s already a tome of incredible reviews out there so I will be trying to avoid this structure. Even if this means awkward/serious selfies. 

New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down: Mad Men Season 6 Roundup

30 Jun

The season 6 finale of Mad Men aired last Sunday and once again I am joined by Kerensa Cadenas to discuss all that went down in the finale, the season as a whole and what our hopes are for the final year. Mad Men is a show that sparks a multitude of articles (including here on TV Ate My Wardrobe) and these discussion pieces have been the most fun as we lament the actions of Don and cheer on the likes of Peggy and Joan as they continue to navigate a world dominated by men. One of us feels more sympathy towards Don by the end of this episode, but it’s actually Ted who is on the receiving end of our Sally Draper-esque disdain. We also discuss why everyone suddenly wants to move to California and the all important new addition this year; the wonderful and mysterious Bob Benson.

MM_612_JT_0325_0692

Emma: We have a lot to talk as so much has happened since our last Mad Men discussion post; crazy conspiracy theories never amounted to more than just chatter, Bob Benson has shown that could teach Don Draper a thing or two about leading a new life and Sally started to spiral after picking a terrible time to try and retrieve a love letter.

I’m going to start with Don as he was the subject of our first discussion as we had both become increasingly tired of his behavior and descent into assholeville. Since then Don has continued to be a tough character to route for but they did something in the finale that made me do a 180 on my season 6 Don Draper feelings – he told the truth. This wasn’t a forced confession like his one with Betty, but a moment of clarity where he let the veil drop and he revealed part of his true self. It doesn’t make up for all of his actions this year (particularly when it comes to his affair with Sylvia) and it doesn’t justify all of those flashbacks (really did we need that many to understand that he is damaged because of his whorehouse upbringing), in fact hearing Don talk about his experience gave a lot more insight into his feelings about that time in his life than the flashbacks did. I get that we needed to see the exterior of the whorehouse so the final scene would have a bigger impact, but I don’t think we needed every other flashback that we’ve endured this season.

It’s the 1960s so their version of an intervention is giving someone an non specified leave of absence and while Don has done many terrible things in the past and probably needs to take a break, it’s a shame that it was a moment of reflection and honesty that has his partners kicking him to the curb and like I said in my review at least Freddy Rumsen got a night out and not a Thanksgiving morning ambush. The look or lack of look that Joan gives is heartbreaking and while I can’t judge her too hard (she’s got Kevin to think about after all), it’s sad to see him out on an island by himself in all of this. To top it off he gets to see his likely replacement and old nemesis Duck. It’s surprising that Don takes it as easy and as well as he does but he is resilient and been through much worse. Instead of hitting the bottle he takes his kid on a tour of the places he grew up and like the brief moment on their California trip when he took them to Anna’s house he reveals part of who he is.

Unlike the partners at SC&P they don’t turn away from him and the look that Sally gives him is one of wonder as she finally gets to learn about her father and who he really is. Sally has already seen one part when she walked in on Sylvia and Don sleeping together – Don lied and this is what he does best. Last week she uttered possibly the most devastating line of the series as she smoked with her mother “My father never gave me anything,” though both of them spending the night in a variation of a drunk tank shows that he gave her something – a desire to get drunk into oblivion. I pretty sure I’ve said this a million time but it’s worth repeating – Kiernan Shipka is one very special actress and I’m spellbound whenever she is on screen, it’s hard to believe that she is only 13. All I want for her is to end up as an Elijah Wood child star example and that she stays free of any kind of Lindsay or Amanda Bynes post child star shenanigans.

Ted is has been positioned as Don’s antithesis – he is light where Don is dark, he is sober when Don is drunk, he’s reliable etc and the one person who has consistently beat the Ted is awesome drum is Peggy. Last week Peggy called Don a monster and while his actions have been pretty despicable, he’s never led her on in the same way Ted has done. Oh Ted you finally succumbed to temptation and desire, did the classic “I’ll leave my wife” and then did the standard switcheroo and is now running away to California. Don spent the whole time trying to convince Peggy that Ted wasn’t the white Knight, partly out of his own selfish needs but also out of protection in a way as I think that Don really cares about Peggy, he just doesn’t know how to express this kind of sentiment.

I have WAY more that I want to say about Peggy (and especially that AMAZING pantsuit and being in Don’s office at the end) but I want to throw it to you and see what you think about Don’s clarity and revelation in the pitch meeting. Has this finale changed your opinion on Don?

MM_613_JT_0416_076

Kerensa: The finale didn’t change my opinion about Don at all. I do think that Don did realize something in that pitch meeting perhaps about himself and perhaps about how he will treat his children going forward when he shows the three of them the home where he grew up.

But in another truly Don moment, he comes to clarity at a time where it’s completely self serving. It’s all about his emotional growth, his path with no regard to what talking about his growing up in whorehouse means for the business, the other partners even Hershey’s. Yes, maybe it’s a step in the right direction for Don emotionally but like with all his other actions it still doesn’t take anyone else into account. Like everything else he did in the whole episode, I’m especially thinking about his rash decision to go to California and then take it back without really thinking it through at all or how it would affect HIS WIFE MEGAN. And also that he didn’t even second guess taking the idea from our boy Stan–who would be a much better fit in California with that fringed jacket and all his joints.  I’m increasingly becoming convinced that Mad Men is about a bunch of scared boys who can never deal with the responsibility of their actions and have to runaway to deal.

With Don’s leave of absence, I’m guessing a lot of that is that how do they fire him if he’s a partner? But I think they had every right to do so. Don’s behavior all season in the context of his work has been sloppy to nonexistent. He’s at the bar more often than he’s at the office. I feel like we’ve had many scenes where Don will just come in bewildered “We have a meeting?” They had to do this. While I would say I don’t know if I saw Don as rock bottom as like say in “The Suitcase,” (think that’s right) it’s been an increasingly downward spiral that his luck, good looks and perceived sexual charisma (I say perceived here because that sweaty Don/Sylvia sex that Sally spied made Don completely vile to me) could only carry him so far before he fell entirely.

On the Sally front, I completely agree that last week’s line was beyond devastating. And it does seem like Sally has unfortunately inherited Don’s tendencies for self-destruction. However, I am going to disagree with you about the look that Sally gives Don. I thought it was a mix of pity and even disgust–and in that sense might end up understanding Don better than she realized. I do agree that Kiernan Shipka is completely brilliant–if she is able to stick with Miss Porter’s–I want a Sally at boarding school spinoff.

Ted. Ugh. I have a lot to say about Ted. But before we get to discuss more about Ted and specifically Peggy, I want to know what you think about what happened with Megan.

MM_612_JB_0326_0368

Emma: I really want a Sally Miss Porter’s spinoff – it will be like Gossip Girl in the late 1960s (but better). Plus Sally already has the headband/manipulation skills to perfection.

Oh Megan, I’m glad that she finally stood up to Don and that they left it ambiguous as to whether she has left him. All season she’s been set adrift and suffered the same issues as Betty with trying to fit her into the overall story. I know some people resent the screen time Megan takes up (this is very much the opposite of how I feel) and my only criticism of her this season is how oblivious she has been. Maybe oblivious is the wrong word, she’s known that there has been something wrong all year but she’s been willing to ignore it and pretend that everything is ok. The California move would be perfect for her as an actress and now that she has quit her job I think she’ll make the move anyway, especially as LA seems far less unstable than the East Coast at the moment (of course that will all change Megan conspiracy theory alert). There’s an interview with Kevin Rahm who plays Ted over at Vulture and he mentions a Megan, Ted, Pete Three’s Company type spinoff – I totally want to see that.

The only tie that Megan has to New York is Don and it’s hard to see them having a bi-coastal relationship (though it’s not outside the realm of possibility). Megan deeply cares for Don’s children, even if she refers to them as damaged; it’s very telling that she is not part of the trip to the whorehouse (fun for all the family!). Don calling Betty “Birdie” is a sign of affection and this can’t be pleasant for Megan to hear – if only she knew what went on at the cabin – especially as she has been trying to break through his many walls all year and been met with nothing. When Don tells Megan that he loves her, I really believe that he does but Megan’s “Fuck the agency” is also her way of telling Don “Fuck you.” This line loses some of its dramatic impact thanks to AMC’s censorship and it will sound better when I get the DVD.

I’m hoping we get more Megan next season, but at this point (like all things when it comes to Mad Men speculation) it is unclear.

And then we will move on to our girl Peggy.

Sally Draper and Blair Waldorf

Kerensa: OMG in a Sally/Blair face-off, who do you think would ultimately reign? I don’t think I could even guess!

I agree entirely. I really hope Megan did leave him. And I agree with you on the oblivious criticism–Megan’s not stupid, she knew there was something wrong and never addressed it for whatever reason. I hope she makes the move to California as well (although I don’t want to lose her on the show) and I agree that I think it’s hard to see Megan and Don having a bi-coastal relationship.

I didn’t think about Megan’s absence on that trip to the whorehouse–but you are right, it is super telling. On that phone call, when Don calls Betty “Birdie,” you could just see the hurt on Megan’s face. It was heartbreaking. And yeah, maybe Don loves Megan, but I don’t think he’s really capable of loving anyone especially in the ways they need, you know? Ultimately, I think Megan’s much better off without him.

So, there’s so much to talk about with Peggy. You already mentioned Ted a bit–should we start there?

MM_613_JT_0417_692

Emma:  Now I want to see face-offs between different TV characters much like that show that puts different historical groups against each other (the internet tells me it was called Deadliest Warrior). For this one I think Sally might have the edge, mostly because of who her parents are, but it would be a close fight that’s for sure.

We’ve seen this pattern with Ted this season where he’ll kiss Peggy/tell her he loves her/sleeps with her and then the next day he pretends like it hasn’t happened. In the moment he’s super into the idea of being with Peggy, but in the cold light of day he remembers that he has a wife and kids. With Peggy it would be a HUGE scandal and while men like Don and Roger have ended up marrying their secretaries there’s never been anyone in the position that Peggy is and it would hurt them both professionally (this is why I think Peggy tells Ted to slow down).

So Ted panics and joins the “I want to run away to California” club because this is the only way he can see a way out, even if it’s the coward’s way out. Peggy is so right to yell at him and it really cuts through everything when she says “Aren’t you lucky to have decisions?!” Because everything that has happened with Peggy with Ted has been on his end and so has her return to the SCDP offices. Getting away from Don was such a defining moment for Peggy last year and the fact that she had to return is frustrating for her. At least she has her friendship with Stan and I’m glad that these two are still firm friends – while I’d be happy to see something more between them, their friendship is pretty great.

There were two big outfits for Peggy – the one that had everyone practically drooling and we’ve never seen Peggy rocking that much leg or cleavage. It’s not how we’re used to seeing Peggy in the office but it did what she wanted it to and she snagged Ted (for one night only). This was in response to the look Ted’s wife Nan gave Peggy; Nan’s got to know right? And she definitely smelt the Chanel No.5 on Ted when he got in.

The other amazing costume was the Pantsuit of Power (thanks Tom and Lorenzo for that name!) and Peggy in Don’s office at the end. Now this is a sight that was striking and welcome and I hope next season sees Peggy continuing to break that ceiling. This feels like the first time she’s worn pants in the office and she just seems so in control. I love it!

What did you think of Peggy and Ted in the finale?

I sense a Bob Benson discussion soon, because I think he could be the season 6 secret weapon.

MM_611_JT_0314_0011

Kerensa: Fuck Ted.

I mean I knew he’d never leave Nan–like you said all season he’s done the dangling one thing or another in front of Peggy and then takes it back again. He’s just SUCH a coward. He’s defined everything between them so that “Aren’t you lucky to have decisions?” line was cutting but so perfect.

And of course they both played their games with one another–when Ted brings his family in–and Peggy in that AMAZING dress and her Chanel No. 5 line. But all season there’s been talk about how Ted is the anti-Don (which you’ve talked about right?) and I actually think that maybe Ted is worse. I think that much of Don’s self-loathing and alcohol problems come from knowing he’s not a good person. And he’ll be out rightly terrible to people in ways that I don’t think Ted would be. I’m not sure on this but has Don ever told any of his affairs that he’d leave his wife for them? Not that I can remember.

Ted is the guy whose cowardly, bullshit behavior is coated in a mock turtlenecked, nice guy veneer. He’ll tell Peggy he loves her, but then tell her he’s leaving her (even though he loves her) because it’s better for her this way. Which is true, but ultimately the person it’s better for is Ted. He can go back to his life after his tryst with Peggy, runaway to California with his family and never think about it again if he doesn’t want to.

While I know our girl Peggy is super resilient–I know I’d be hurt. And like you said, she’s stuck again with Don because of Ted. She gets to go to the agency where she worked with Ted at every day. He gets a clean slate and she gets the reminders.

God I sound bitter, don’t I.

But I do hope that next season Peggy is just crushing it and she can rub it in Ted’s face while wearing some incredible pantsuit.

So, what are your Bob Benson thoughts?

MM_613_JT_0417_180

Emma: I like that you are straight to the point with your Ted assessment because he’s done enough flip flopping this season to deserve this. As you said Don knows that he’s awful with women but Ted genuinely believes that he’s done the right thing.

I do think that next year we’ll see Peggy rise above it and even though her gender will make it hard for her I think she’ll be on top in the end.

Ah Bob Benson, where to start?! When Bob first appeared I was happy to see James Wolk after his string of cancelled shows but who knew he would become one of the most talked about aspects of this season?! And that he’d be the downfall of Pete? While we still know a little more about him and that he’s effectively Don Draper 2.0 he’s still a mysterious figure and his motives aren’t all that clear – does he just want a good and prosperous life or is there something more insidious at play?

I think the answer to this question is whether he knew what Manolo was up to (and whether Manolo did kill Pete’s mother – I’m leaning towards yes, so this season did have a murder after all) and from his reaction I don’t think he did. We’ve seen that Bob is good at lying but he’s also let that good old Bob Benson smile drop a few times with Pete and this didn’t feel like a moment of deception. What Bob did though was ensure that he was the most valuable account man for Chevy and he did that by exploiting his knowledge of Pete’s lack of driving skills. As I’ve said before I like Pete so I was sad to see him humiliated this way, but it proves that you don’t fuck with Bob Benson.

One issue I did have with this story is how quickly Pete backs down and ends up reluctantly on the California trip. Considering Ken got shot in the face, Pete got off really easy. His discussion with Trudy where she told him he was free was heartbreaking, Pete’s been forever trying to find the thing that satisfies him and it’s never been his family. This could be a defining moment for him or he’ll end up miserable with a tan in LA. Can any of them find happiness? Also Vincent Kartheiser wins the award for best line reading with his “Not Great, Bob!” I’m going to miss Pete and Bob sparring with each other.

There’s someone else who’s wary of Bob and what his intentions are and that’s Roger. It’s hilarious that Roger can’t even fathom the idea that Bob and Joan can be buddies so all of his warnings to Bob read as completely ridiculous. Their unconventional Thanksgiving dinner was made all the more wonderful with Bob’s mini apron.

Roger’s another tragic figure of his own making but his moment with Kevin is adorable. And also if my daughter turned out like Margaret then I’d be a little sad too, she’s really awful.

Are you happy with where Bob ended the season? Is he a good guy?

MM_613_MY_0415_0471

Kerensa: Oh Bob! I love James Wolk–he’s on my ideal men list, so if he’s reading this, he should give me a call.

I don’t think we still know that much about Bob at all. And I don’t know if I’d say he’s Pete’s downfall–although he certainly helped. Much of what brought Pete down this season was an accumulation of seasons of what he’s done to himself.

Yeah, I still don’t really know what to make of the whole Manolo plot. It just feel so weird and soap opera-y? And will we ever get any conclusion with it? Also is it horrible that I don’t think I really care either way?

That Pete and Trudy scene was so so heartbreaking. It’s kinda like everyone on this show though, they always want what they can’t have and when they get it, realize it was never what they wanted in the first place.

Vincent Kartheiser should win something just for “Not Great, Bob!” Which a friend of mine told me is how he’s going to answer anyone when they ask him how he’s doing now.

I feel bad for Roger and then I don’t. His threatening Bob was laughable. And I don’t think Joan has any pretenses at all about anything happening between her and Bob. And Margaret is pretty awful.

Overall, I don’t know what to think about Bob still. But I do know that if we get James Wolk in short shorts again next season I’ll be so happy.

Anything else for you about this last episode? Predictions for the next season?

MMS6_0159

Emma: As far as predictions go to be honest I have no idea and it’s this uncertainty that makes Mad Men such a fun show to watch/discuss, in terms of things I want it’s Peggy and Joan ruling things at SC&P and Megan happy in Hollywood. Oh and I want more Betty, which is something I never thought I would say but she’s been so fantastic this season.

Have you got any predictions/hopes for next year?

Kerensa: Agreed. I have no idea what’s going to happen either. I hope Sally doesn’t go down a self loathing spiral. Totally want Peggy and Joan running everything. And I want Megan to get super famous and like be sleeping with Warren Beatty or someone equally sexy and famous.

I hope Nan leaves Ted.

I also hope that even though Trudy and Pete aren’t together anymore that we still get to see her.  I think that’s all I’ve got for hopes basically.

I agree with wanting more Betty. I want to see her being the HBIC of all these political wives.

Emma: Thanks for joining me Kerensa and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these post-Mad Men chats. It’s a change of pace but join Kerensa and me for a look at Lisa Kudrow’s The Comeback as part of our summer rewind project.

Kerensa Cadenas is a writer living in Los Angeles. She is a staff writer for Women and Hollywood. She also writes for This Was TelevisionForever Young Adult, and Bitch magazine. She was the Research Editor for Tomorrow magazine. You can follow her on Twitter and read her ridiculous thoughts about teen television at her website.

Mad Men Music Monday

27 May

This week’s Mad Men presented some of the characters with choices from their past and present in both professional and personal capacities. Peggy and Megan face conundrums that cover both of these aspects of their lives and the song that closed the episode really pulled the focus on Peggy. Peggy stood in the middle between the offices of her two bosses and she has just been rejected by Ted as he doesn’t acknowledge their previous conversation where they both admitted they had feelings for each other. Peggy has earlier told Don that Ted has never made her feel the way Don does, but now that isn’t the case either. Peggy has already had the night from hell as she accidentally stabbed Abe (she thought he was an intruder) and then Abe broke up with her in a semi-delirious state saying  “Your activities are offensive to my every waking moment; I’m sorry, but you’ll always be the enemy.” Peggy has been set adrift by her boyfriend and her current mentor and the song “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me” by Lou Johnson that plays over this end scene perfectly fits the tone of this moment and this episode that has had so many characters looking to the past (Roger, Don, Peggy). Peggy, Megan is also crying out for a friend and one that doesn’t hit on her so I would suggest you give her a call.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

3 May

It’s “Look of the Week” time! Once again there has been a rich amount of different costumes across various shows this week. This is a snapshot of what I have been watching and each pick is for a variety of reasons including; what it adds to the storyline, what it tells us about the characters involved or simply because it looks good. This week we take a look at a couple of season finales and it is an all female edition. Near misses include the many flashback looks of New Girl and the return of Bert Macklin on Parks and Recreation.

Winner: Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife “What’s in the Box?”

The Good Wife finaleThe costume design on The Good Wife is flawless; from Diane’s epic statement jewellery to the tailored perfection of Alicia’s courtroom suits. Daniel Lawson who is the man behind these pieces writes an episode-by-episode column for InStyle and explains how he alters certain outfits and discusses the reasons behind his costume choices. Color is really important on The Good Wife and we have seen red used on multiple occasions to express how Alicia is feeling and this can impact the mood of the scene. Lawson explains that this Antonio Berardi dress was chosen because “Julianna and I didn’t want her to look like the typical candidate’s wife.” It’s a simple black dress with a twist and this is indicative of this final moment where it looks like Alicia is meeting Will, but instead she is making a huge move in regards to her career.  Bonus points go to the bold lip color (which I now really want – no surprise there). This was an excellent way to end the season and I cannot wait to see what the costume department brings us with all the change that is coming in season 5.

Runner Up: Megan Draper and Peggy Olson on Mad Men “The Flood”

MM_605_MY_1219_0624Every week I could simply write Janie Bryant is a genius as she continues to work her costume magic on Mad Men. In this scene Megan and Peggy are at an awards ceremony and both are in bold patterns that the late 60s is famous for. This isn’t a period for a wallflower when it comes to fashion and even Peggy is embracing the trend. Peggy’s dress is not as fashion forward as Megan’s and she is still playing it safe with bows and flowers. Megan is an actress after all (even though she is up for an advertising award) and so she is wearing the most flamboyant dress of all the female characters we see. It has an I Dream of Jeannie feel and even though these two women clash in both pattern and color there is warmth to this scene and between these two characters. I would love to see more interaction between Peggy and Megan as they could both benefit from a close friendship. The costuming in this moment contrasts with the rest of the episode after the news of Martin Luther King, Jr’s death is announced and the far away place the Megan’s dress evokes is just a fantasy.

Runner Up: Elizabeth Jennings on The Americans “The Colonel”

The Americans ElizabethThis is the third week in a row that Elizabeth Jennings from The Americans has featured on the list, but as it is the season 1 finale it felt appropriate for the show with the best wigs and disguises on TV to appear once again. This look is pretty similar to how Elizabeth usually appears, her hair is blonder and those aviators are not something Elizabeth would wear but other than that it’s not an elaborate disguise. It’s on this occasion that Elizabeth is closest to being caught by the FBI and if she had been apprehended it wouldn’t have taken Stan very long to ID her. It’s also fun to see how quick Elizabeth and Philip can shed their disguises and hopefully in season 2 they will show the process of how they become someone else. The Americans is so much more than wigs and costumes, but these aspects add a layer of fun to this spy drama.

Who would you choose as your look of the week?

Julie Hammerle

Nerds Need Love Too

Sofa and Remote

I love talking about TV as much as I love watching it

Ellie Writes Stuff

About this and that

Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Authors, Bloggers, Fashion Assassins

Twitter Music Club

A rotation curation music club, based on Twitter, mainly for Kiwis

INTO ROW Z

If you enjoy a challenge, like Claude Makélélé, read my blog. Its about sport.

lost somewhere in new york city

We rock a lot of polka dots

sankles

We rock a lot of polka dots

frocktalk.com/

Just another WordPress.com site

Cultural Learnings

Television Reviews and Analysis

judgmental observer

film, tv, popular culture, higher ed, unicorns

Rookie

We rock a lot of polka dots

ScreenFad

TV show news, reviews, recaps, spoilers, and photos

The Frisky

We rock a lot of polka dots

Tell Us a Story

stories about true things