Tag Archives: Pete Campbell

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.

Bitchy Resting Face, Hostile Listening Face and How to Make it in America

4 Jul

Bitchy resting face has gone from hilarious fake PSA to a segment on The Today Show with Taylor Orci, the creator of the original video appearing to discuss the huge response to this video. I’m pretty sure that we have all at one point or another been told to smile or cheer up when the situation hasn’t required such helpful advice and this is probably why so many people can relate to this video. The Today Show goes so far as consult a plastic surgeon to discuss what you can do to rectify this problem (because of course it does) and there is a procedure called a “grin lift” which is “used to turn a permanent frown upside down.” Yep, that is indeed a real thing that you can have done.

This instantly reminded me of a scene in season 2 of How to Make it in America – which I have just watched for the first time – when Rachel is told by her boss that she has a hostile listening face. This was something that I hadn’t heard of before but my boyfriend immediately turned and looked at me with a knowing look on his face suggesting that this is something that I do. Here is Lake Bell in How to Make it in America demonstrating the twin of bitchy resting face with her hostile listening face. 

how to make it in America hostile listening faceTabloid journalism has been playing photo assumption with people’s faces for a long time (just click on The Daily Mail’s sidebar of shame to see countless examples – “Michelle Williams looks sad walking her dog alone! Is she still heartbroken?”). As discussed on The Today Show video Anna Paquin talks about her own bitchy resting face on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and that she tends to look angry in paparazzi photos (though I wouldn’t blame her if she did look mad at them trying to take pictures of her twin babies).

It’s hard to talk about any kind of bitchface without mentioning the undisputed champion of every type of bitchface and that is Mad Men’s Pete Campbell (who goes way beyond the corresponding asshole face, resting or otherwise) and this supercut of Pete’s biggest outbursts shows why he deserves this particular honor.

Photo courtesy of Tumblr

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