Mad Men Chat Episode Four: “No, but he’s renting it.”

Mark: I’m happy that Allison stood up to Don. For once, somebody isn’t going to be taken in by him and called him on his bullshit. But the thing is, I’m not sure how much of it is going to be taken as the jolt of reality Don needs.

Of course he’s a drunk. He’s sitting in his office by himself, getting sloshed late into the night. Somebody needs to tell him this. But Allison’s words came more out of her trying to attack Don and probably won’t register like they should.

Heather: I was pretty happy with Alison and her throwing that ornament at him after he obviously tried to pay her off with that recommendation letter. She wanted him to write it, but he obviously has nothing to say. Don won’t react to it. He doesn’t care.

It’s just another upset that he was easily able to get rid of. Alison’s personality was too meek. She wouldn’t be able to say anything to Don in order to make him think about what he’s doing to himself. Only a strong woman can do this, and at the same time, right now he is most definitely not listening. I think the only person who could really affect him right now is Anna. She knows Dick (see what I did there?).

Jenn: Honestly, all the poor girl needed was one simple sign that Don cared. The fact that he couldn’t even be bothered to write up a couple sentences about her spoke volumes to how much she really meant to him.

She shouldn’t really be surprised that she was no more than a one night stand, it’s not like Don’s antics could have possibly been a secret, but at the same time it’s not really her fault. It’s Jane’s fault. She had to go and marry Roger and put all these delusions into these poor secretaries heads that if they fuck the boss he’ll marry them. Damnit Jane!

Mark: Well, thing is, Don did try to write her something and it just wasn’t happening for him. He’s in a really bad place right now and not thinking or acting clearly and it descending into drink as a coping mechanism. If he were in 2010, he’d end up on A&E’s Intervention. Instead, Roger hands him a drink before 10am.

Heather: Blaming Jane is a fantastic idea. I also blame Jane. Hussy.

Mark: I’ll call it Don’s Denial. When he’s not in agreement with a hypothsis, he rejects it out of hand and doesn’t consider it. He doesn’t see himself as a wreck or a drunk; he doesn’t agree with the shrink’s consulting. Didn’t he used to be more flexible, or am I misremembering? It seems like he’s forming some bad habits.

Heather: He’s a man of his day. Anything he says or does is right and that’s all there is to it. So, no, he doesn’t view himself as any of these things. He considers “talking to someone” as a weakness. The worse he gets, the more stubborn he gets. He’ll do anything to justify his actions to himself. Misery loves company. At least, that’s what I think about his character.

Jenn: The whole point of Mad Men is to see the old fashioned 1950s archetype get taken through the next decade. He’s not flexible, he’s never been flexible, he just used to fit into the world a bit better. Now that he’s losing his place we’re starting to see him as he really is, instead of just the facade of the perfect man.

Mark: But is she right? Is Don a drunk? It’s an awful half-empty kind of way to look at him; another would be to suggest he’s in a post-divorce slump. I think I’d describe his season by saying he’s lost his mojo.

He’s in a funk, depressed and drinking way too much, but that’s symptoms, not causes, of his divorce. His life only started to crumble when Betty found out about his past, not about his womanizing.

Heather: Don is totally a drunk right now, but only because he’s depressed. I agree with you about his life starting to fall apart after he was completely honest with Betty. Losing Anna is going to be very hard on him, too, seeing as she’s the last person on the planet who loves who he truly is. Everything else doesn’t effect him.

Jenn: The test of alcoholism: if you drink alone, you’re an alcoholic. Don’s an alcoholic. It’s science.

Mark: Oh, if only I could have listened in more on the phone call between Lee, Roger and Don.

Heather: I KNOW RIGHT?

Mark: Another moment I liked was when Lane and Pete were talking in his office. After Lane’s zinger about “that’ll take the sting out”, he came back and was cordial with Pete. Remember the Brits last season and how dry/cuthroat/English Boarding School they were?

I’m thinking we’re seeing America rub off on Lane, like he’s trying to fit in with the boys. Between this and the last episode, I think we’re seeing him start to open up, which I like quite a bit.

Jenn: It made me applaud the set designer a bit. I was all “why does Pete have this random pole in his office? what is the point of this?” and then Lane was able to duck around it and come back in after his snooty exit and I was like “oooh, well played Mad Men. well played.”

Such a thought-out show that even the bizarre mod infrastructure has it’s purpose.

Mark: Peggy’s really having a cool life in New York. She saw Dylan at the Gaslight, she hung out with beatniks and smoked pot and now she’s hanging out with the first wave of the 60’s counterculture.

I forget what Warhol’s clique was called, but she went to what looked like a killer show at what I assume is The Factory. And was that the Velvet Underground playing?

I think what’s happening with Peggy is really interesting. She’s the one who’s got a feel for what’s going on with the kids. The shrink was brought in to capture youth – I think they said the median age for the secretaries was 22 – but Peggy’s the one who’s actually connecting with young, dynamic people.

I’m not sure what the right word for it is, but I think what’s happening is important.

Jenn: I think the fact that Peggy befriending another strong female is important, too. That’s kind of how the women’s movement began back in the day; women networked and formed groups, rallied around each other, etc.

I hope Peggy doesn’t just sit back and enjoy how far she’s come, but sees how far she can really go. There’s no reason it can’t be Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Pryce-Olson in a few years?

Mark: I’ve been saying for a little while that Mad Men is secretly Peggy’s show and I’m feeling more and more convinced in that now. What’s to say that Olson won’t pull a coup on Draper? She has connections, great ideas and sees he’s vulnerable. What if she pounces and tries to take Don’s position by force (and maybe some help from Joan)? I wouldn’t rule that out.

Heather: In the beginning my mind was going that way as well (Mad Men being Peggy’s show), but then it opened up and we got to know all of the characters. I’m with Jenn on this, eventually we should be seeing Olsen as a partner. I hope, I hope.

Just imagine if Peggy ended up with Don’s position! He’s probably commit suicide seeing as that life is all he knows and he can’t seem to bring himself to simply be Dick Whitman.

Mark: Also, she seemed awful suspicious of Don, all creeping into his office through the window. She’s awesome. And it wouldn’t be the first time she’s had doubts about Don, either. I’m starting to wonder if she’ll be the one to get caught up in the counterculture, not Sally.

Heather: Peggy is such a fantastic character. She’s so fascinated by people, and I think that’s why she does so well with her job. I’m not exactly sure we’ll see Peggy hit a downward spiral just yet, but something dramatic will happen. I’m not so sure it will be because of the people she’s hanging out with, either.

You might be right, though. Sally, on the other hand, is going to have an interesting story. I have no idea where they’re going to take it and I hope we see a little bit more of it in the next episode or two.

Jenn: I totally knew that Joyce had the hots for Peggy in the elevator. Did you not love Peggy’s response to Joyce telling her that her boyfriend doesn’t own her vagina? “No, but he’s renting it!” She’s so sweet and she’s always really nice to everyone. Haha. I find her hilarious. The best part of the episode was when she took a peek into Don’s office after climbing up on her desk. I also loved it when Peggy freaked out on Alison.

Don has done nothing but help Peggy, so I totally understand why Peggy was offended when Alison assumed that something similar to what she experienced with Don had happened between them.

Mark: What’d you all think of the artist Peggy kissed while hiding from the cops? My ‘90210 love triangle’ sense went off like a rocket all throughout that scene. I can see this being a really awesome subplot.

Heather: I totally forgot about this! That guy was pretty. Much prettier than her current boyfriend. I don’t condone cheating, but it’s a show, and Peggy’s on a roll. I wonder what kind of trouble this guy will get her into.

Jenn: Question, we all know Don was drunk that night he fooled around with Alison. Was Alison inebriated at all? I don’t remember. I still think Alison is a twit. I kind of wished that the ornament actually hit Don, though. I wonder what he would have done. He looked like he was going to explode.

Mark: Pete Campbell is a shithead. And he don’t care. He not only dumped his father-in-law’s one business as a client, but then he basically told him what he’s going to get. And he did it in the least tactful way he could have, by prefacing it with a snarky “every time you guess, I respect you a little less” line.

Oh, and then he went around telling people he had the clients all wrapped up.

Heather: Pete is definitely a shit head. Every time he’s on screen I kind of want to flick him in the face just to hear him whine. You know he would.

Jenn: I do kind of have to respect Pete though. I mean, he’s totally an asshole, but he owns it. His father-in-law is all “oh you son of a bitch” and Pete just shrugs and keeps pouring his drinks. That’s commitment to your douchebaggery.

Heather: Good way of looking at it. Never thought about it like that. I might have a little more fun watching Pete’s character now. Thank you for that.

Mark: Thing is, I don’t remember his father-in-law actually saying anything. This feels like a eggs-before-hatched kind of affair, and Pete will end up with them all over his face. (he could probably use some Ponds for that).

Heather: I thought of this to. Pete always knows how to stick his foot in his mouth, and I think this is another instance.


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