Mad Men Chat, Episode Five: “How does she not fall over?”

: Let’s kick this off with a bang, or what Sally was caught doing. Isn’t it kind of sad that Betty kind of takes everything personally. Yes, Sally has problems, but to think she’s acting out just to spite you seems awful insecure. She’s damaged goods, you know? I’m beginning to wonder if something happened to her as a kid – she didn’t seemed that phased during her admission of seeing a nudie mag.

Heather: I think Betty, despite her age and experience married and as a mother, has the mind of a little girl. I think she lives in a dream world. Why would her brother her show her that? Does her brother have something to do with this possible negative experience as a child? Betty considers herself a victim. She must, seeing as she takes absolutely everything personally.

Jenn: I don’t know if there’s anything hugely fucked in Betty’s past. We already know she’s had a fucked childhood at the hands of a cold and bitchy mother and an oft-drunk father (sound familiar?). I think she’s just a product of that upbringing. She was taught that looks were everything, that she should grow up and be a good wife and mother, and that everything else will be handed to her. She’s a spoiled little girl living a grown up’s life and she has no idea what to do with it.

Mark: And what about that look she gave the dollhouse after the doctor had finished speaking to her. I’m far from the first person to think Betty seems stunted emotionally, I’m sure. And it seems like she needs the shrink more then Sally does; or at the least, Sally needs a shrink because of her.

how sad is it the housekeeper had to take her?

Heather: I agree, she does need the shrink more than Sally does. Sally is going through the normal things that a young girl (and boy) goes through. She just chose an incredibly inopportune and socially unacceptable time to explore that. The child psychologist will probably help Sally immensely, I figure. The child psychologist may end up with information that may deem Betty an incapable mother.She will get Don involved and shit will hit the fan.

Sally has a strange outlook on things. I’m not exactly sure what the outlook is just yet, but it definitely has something to do with the relationship between her parents, Don and his promiscuity, and Betty’s abusiveness. I almost slapped my computer when Betty slapped Sally for cutting her hair. (I had to watch it today online as I missed it last night.)

Jenn: The shrink scenes were funny to me, as I’ve recently gotten into In Treatment. Sally is totally a future Sophie! Anyway, Betty obviously needs someone to talk to, but that doesn’t mean Sally doesn’t. The girl’s fucked up and lost and confused and has no one in her life to guide her through these problems – her mother’s a psycho, her father’s largely absent, her brother’s too young and I don’t think she has many friends (except for Jeffery Dahmer, I mean Glenn). I think this could be good for her.

Mark: Moving on to the business end, we saw a side of Roger we usually don’t – his ugly, abusive side. It’s either Roger doesn’t like Honda because of the Second World War… or because he’s threatened by other companies. He’s either racist or scared… or both.

Heather: Racist. During the war he was trained that the Japanese were the enemy. He was trained to kill them. Even now it’s hard for some soldiers to come out of their tours without sizing up someone they’ve been trained to treat as the enemy. It’s a hard thing to get over when you have a race of people doing everything in their power to get you out of their country.

I’m not surprised by his initial behavior towards the representatives of the Honda company. I think they may have expected it, hence the request to have the office read that book, maybe?

Jenn: He’s just racist. It’s unfortunate, because I like Roger, but are we surprised? He performed in black face. Even by 1962 (or whatever year that was) that was kind of no longer common or socially acceptable.

Weirdly enough, I do like that the show includes things like this. It’d be inaccurate to pretend that racism didn’t exist, or it was only observed by the characters we don’t like.

All Roger’s racist rants just made me miss Paul Kinsey though – that wannabe-hipster would have been all over this, forming a SCDP Human Rights march through the front lobby.

Mark: The more I think about it, the more I agree with Pete’s good insight into Roger: that he’s worried if Lucky Strike’s share becomes less crucial to SCDP, he becomes less relevant. And isn’t that what racism really boils down to – fear?

Heather: Definitely.

Mark: Later, when Roger came into the meeting with Honda, my “OH SHIT” meter went off the charts. It was like in Hoosiers when the assistant coach showed up drunk for a game and wandered onto the court.

Heather: Wasn’t that crazy?! The Honda representatives handled it very well, as did the other members of SCDP. I was impressed. I was also surprised that Roger would sink that low, but then again, I shouldn’t have been.

Jenn: Oh man, I suffer from serious second-hand embarrassment when I’m watching tv/movies, and I was literally dying when Roger walked in. Literally. Dying of embarrassment. If that scene had gone on one minute longer I wouldn’t have made it through.

Mark: It’s always good to see Cooper getting in on the fun, too, as he did when trying to decipher Honda’s signs. He’s literally the best.

Keeping with an Eastern theme here, I feel like Don the Dragon is waking up. Not only did a big client all but demand to be treated in a way outside the lines, but he has a guy gunning for spot, a real competitor, in Ted. It’s yet another sign of how successful Don has been off-screen. Not only are companies specifically asking to see him him – the bikini company – but now rivals are directly targeting him.

And man, does Ted want to take out Don, which I’d argue was his undoing. He was so focused on beating Don, he lost sight of the big picture: getting Honda. He even lost sight of his edge on Don, with his little mole. The mole spelled out exactly what Don was planning, but his advice went unheeded because of Ted’s single-mindedness (or insecurity?).

Heather: I’d go with insecurity. He thinks he is better than Don and he’s not, hence why he didn’t see SCDP’s clever stunt coming. I thought that was great. Don’s plan to confront the Honda folk about their not honoring their own rules was fantastic, and was exactly what they were looking for.

Jenn: Best part of the plan – watching Peggy drive the motorcycle around in circles in a studio. “It’s a closed set.”

Mark: It’s probably too early to say, but the challenge looked like the kick Don needed to get into gear. We didn’t see him drinking anywhere near as late into the evening and for the first time this season, he came up something approaching genius. When Don and Ted met in the Japanese restaurant and he challenged Don, it was like putting cayenne pepper in a sleeping dragon’s nostrils. A bad idea.

Heather: Game on!

Mark: Also, I wonder if Don was the only person who actually read the book Honda recommended.

Heather: Probably.

Mark: Isn’t it interesting how Mad Men uses hair as a metaphor for when women make a big change in their life? When Peggy shed her stupid haircut, it marked the beginning of her coming out as a more confident member of the staff; Sally’s seems to be marking her coming of age, at least mentally.

Heather: As silly as this might sound, I don’t know if I can speak for most women, but when I decide to do something new with my hair, it’s refreshing. You feel like a new person, and it does slightly change your attitude towards life and your surroundings if that is what you were looking for.

Cutting your hair, for a woman (or at least for me) is a drastic change. I’m a hair freak or maybe I’m vain? It means I’m ready for something new. And it’s never for anyone, it’s a decision I’ll make for me. So, I get it, I guess.

Jenn: It’s totally true, for whatever reason. Women (not all of course) put a lot of self-identity into their hair.

Take for example the amount of girls who break down and cry on the makeover episodes of America’s Next Top Model because they feel like they’re being forced to change their identities (or just really hate the tacky weaves Tyra picked out for them).

A lot of girls chop their hair off or do something drastic to it after a big breakup – it’s a way to physically signify a fresh start. Also, this is all totally reminding me that I need a haircut. Where’s Sally and her scissors?

Mark: Never really thought about it that way, although it makes sense. I know as a guy, when I make a change in life, I start drinking a new beer (the latest: Lebatt 50).

I wonder what show it was Sally was watching. Seriously, while that scene was pretty creepy, showing her face the whole time, I can’t say it’s a total surprise. The cut to Sally while Don screwed the other night week makes a little more sense in this context. Sally is getting messed up; no wonder her and that creepy kid are hitting it off.

Heather: That scene was uncomfortable.

Mark: Any predictions for next week? I think we’ll finally see Joan’s husband get called off somewhere and Glenn will come back into the picture – maybe even at therapy!

Heather: I’m not sure if it’ll be next week’s episode, but I think we’re going to start seeing SCDP start to boom. Sally is going to start learning more about herself and Don and Betty are going to start having to face their issues with their children and themselves. I think that’s all I’ve got so far.

I hope we have a Peggy episode next week. I heart Peggy.

Jenn: Things I think we’re going to see: a lot more of Pete and Roger at odds, especially now that Pete’s a partner and actually showing potential at his job; Don getting his groove back, professionally speaking; Don still striking out, personally speaking; Henry Francis slowly starting to realise rushing into marriage with Betty wasn’t the best idea he’s ever had; Sally hitting a hardcore rebellious phase where she only wears black and graffitis the side of the house with Betty’s favourite lipstick; Joan’s husband finally dies; Peggy remains awesome.


1 Response to “Mad Men Chat, Episode Five: “How does she not fall over?””

  1. August 26, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    lol I just wanted to say yay to Jenn for mentioning In Treatment..lol yeah I forced you into that.

    That being said…this was my first Mad Men episode I watched and I enjoyed it. I may look into it after catching up on In Treatment, and Weeds.

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