Mad Men Chat, Episode Six: “You said ‘welcome aboard’.”

Mark: First off, the Glo-Mop ad. I think it’s kind of funny that for something so well touted in the show’s universe – it’s played a big role in showing Sterling Cooper Draper Price’s successes thus far – we still haven’t seen it beginning to end.

Heather: I wonder why that is. I’m only noticing this now seeing as you’ve pointed it out.

Jenn: I think we’ve seen the whole thing by now – just in snippets. At least I hope we have, how long can that damn commercial be?

Mark: And I think it’s double neat that Peggy seemed to have such a big role in it’s creation, although I’ll be the first to admit we all like to take credit for a little more then we actually did. After all, look at Roger. He says his job is to find people like Don; but Don basically found him, I’d argue.

Heather: I loved that was almost the whole premise of the episode, Don finding him. I love how Don was that excited geek standing there in front of Roger for his big break. Roger shunning him and then claiming in this episode that he found Don.

Did you notice there was something up with Roger this entire episode? I felt like he was missing the promiscuity or something. He would look at Don and see himself.

Mark: That I did. It’s almost like he’s feeling wistful, for some reason.

Jenn: I think we saw a bit of the torch passing from Roger to Don, so to speak. There were obvious parallels between how Don was discovered/how he was discovering that weird munchkin guy, and the role of the bigshot had changed from Roger to Don.

They’ve been touching on this a bit this season, how Roger’s out of touch, how he’s scared he’s not needed at SCDP anymore, etc. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he’s on his way out (although I would be devastated without the silver fox).

Mark: It was great seeing Ducks again, too. Especially “Drunk Maniac Ducks.”

Heather: “Get your hands off me!”

Mark: Did we see Don hit rock bottom? After what should have been his vindication, in winning a Cleo, Don doesn’t just go on a bender, but he blacks out completely, hooks up with a cute waitress and went by Dick; that’s about a deep into the sauce as Don has ever gone. And I wonder if he’s starting to realize it.

Heather: I think this is the escalated start of hitting rock bottom, I’m not so sure he’s hit it quite yet. He made such an ass out of himself in this episode. I couldn’t believe it when that waitress said his name (“Dick”) after he woke up with her. My hand wait straight to my mouth. I don’t think he wants to be Don anymore. He wants to be himself.

Jenn: This has to be rock bottom, purely because I don’t think I want to watch things get much worse. He’s making an ass of himself at work, blacking out for days and neglecting his kids.

He needs to start pulling himself together before we stop rooting for him and just start hoping he passes out in his own vomit and let’s this become The Peggy Olson Show.

Mark: And an interesting parallel to young Don and the new hire whose name escapes me. Don’s early stuff didn’t knock anybody’s socks off; while the new guy only has one trick, it’s a pretty good one.

Heather: The new guy is hilarious. He’s such a hoity toity butt head. He’s going to add some comedic relief to the show, I’m sure. Don stealing his idea whilst drunk was a bad move on his part, and I’m really glad Peggy made him deal with it. Way too funny.

Notice how Peggy is basically Don’s conscience? I did, in this episode, big time.

Jenn: It’s always interesting to see how Peggy and Don interact. He says she is an extension of himself (perhaps his conscience, or what he might consider the best part of him, the part that works hard and is hopeful and hasn’t been screwed over by the world yet), everyone in the office calls her his favourite, yet she doesn’t see it.

She stands up to him often and he actually does listen to her and trust her judgment, but she still seems to feel like he doesn’t respect her. And i don’t blame her – as great as it was that he takes he advice and doesn’t pull the “I’m the boss, you don’t get to tell me what to do” card, wouldn’t it be nice to have him not yell at her at work every day?

Seriously, she’s the only one who does anything in that whole office!

Mark: Speaking of young Don, I really liked the stuff showing how he found his way into Sterling Cooper – by being a consistant pest with a lot of balls. Throwing his portfolio in with a fur coat is a bold move.

Heather: Totally. You have to be pushy sometimes in order to get what you want.

Jenn: Not to mention how he basically tricked Roger and hired himself? Very ballsy, young Draper.

Mark: It’s striking to see how different the two Dons felt, at least to me. One is a guy trying to find his way into what he wants and isn’t sure of himself yet; the other is almost too confident in himself and thinks he can do anything, right down to creating a slogan on the spot. Hamm deserves an award for this episode alone, I’d argue.

Heather: Holy shit, I agree. I love you, Jon Hamm.

Jenn: I always feel a twinge of sadness at the young Don Draper flashbacks (as opposed to the Dick Whitman flashbacks which never really held my interest). He’s at the stage in his life where he’s moved past his traumatic childhood and is just so naive and hopeful. He’s trying his hardest to please everyone and find his place in the world, and we all know he ends up sad and jaded and alone despite it all.

He’s still at the threshold in these flashbacks, right about to have it all, and then we cut back to the present where he’s had it and lost it.

Mark: Was it a surprise to see that Roger and Joan have a shared past? I’ll admit, I was surprised. I didn’t think it went back so far – I’m going to guess mid-1950s by all the double breasted suits. Remember Joan’s discussion with her doctor from a few episodes back? I wonder if that fur coat played a role there.

Heather: That didn’t even enter my mind while watching it! Oh man!

Jenn: I didn’t even clue in to the coat being for Joan until we got to it. Very nice bit of continuity there.

Mark: Roger defines his job as finding people like Don. I’d throw in finding people like Joan, too. I’m starting to wonder if he elevated her to her current stature.

Heather: Maybe, but she is a strong woman. She probably made her own way there.

Jenn: Joan Halloway is a self-made woman, I’ll bet. Roger wishes he could take credit for her.

Mark: I’m not sure what to make of the Peggy/Rizzo sidestory in this episode. It was funny and it goes to show how she’s willing to beat you at your own game, but I’m not sure it really went anywhere. Compared to the Roger and Don story, it didn’t do a whole lot for me.

Heather: I think it’s showing how Peggy is growing to be stronger as a woman. Remember how meek and shy she used to be? Now she’s bustin’ everybody’s balls. This could work out in her favour or she might get too cocky.

Jenn: I do think it’s a chance to show the growth in Peggy’s character, and how she stands up for herself more, but I’ll also wager it’s a way to show how the times are starting to shift. Peggy (and all working women) are starting to throw a wrench into the old boy’s club way of doing things.

Women have to do twice the work to get half the respect, she’s not going sit back and let some guy fuck up their copy and get Don to blame her because he wants to read Playboy.

Maybe in season one, 1960, that’s how things would have been, but now it’s 1964 and she’s climbed up the corporate ladder and does not have to take your shit anymore. Also, she’s fucking awesome.

Mark: Still, it was funny. Peggy completely called his bluff and worked naked (and cut him down to size along the way). And then she came up with a solid idea, too, one that her partner is willing to work with.

Maybe it goes to show she’s slowly gaining confidence in herself. Maybe I’m reading into it too much.

Heather: Peggy is awesome. You know my stance on the matter. Hahaha.

Jenn: Peggy is flawless, I think we can all agree.

Mark: Not sure what to make of the band coming back together – Ken and Pete, those star-crossed coworkers. Pete gave the impression that it’s a challenge from Lane, but I think he’s crazy insecure; remember when he lashed out at Roger? Was that just him projecting his insecurities on somebody else?

Heather: Possibly. Pete is a pussy. Always will be. He doesn’t handle competition well, either. Ken always was that for him. I like Ken, I hope he puts Pete in his place.

Jenn: You know, I like Ken as well, but I think the reason Pete always resented him was because Ken Cosgrove is one of those guys who’s just good at everything. You know? He’s cute and likable and gets published in the Atlantic and everyone wants to be his friend and his accounts all love him, whereas Pete tries so fucking hard to charismatic and likable and always comes up short.

It just doesn’t come naturally to Pete, which sucks because he just wants to be successful. Ken has all the natural talent, but Pete has the ambition, so they make pretty good rivals.

Mark: I think Pete’s threatened by Ken and it won’t end well. I don’t think Lane seeing it coming, either. He called Pete’s fit a tantrum; I don’t think he expected Pete to get all passive aggressive.

Heather: I love how Lane sucked up to Pete after Pete told him off.

Jenn: I thought it was so cute when Lane was all “I like you as a person Pete, it really hurts to hear you say otherwise.” Aw! Lane wants a bromance with all the guys in the office.

Mark: Finally, Roger’s book sounds amazing and is something I’d buy, especially if the writers crank it out during the offseason. I would imagine it’d read a little like this (a book which is really good, by the way).

Heather: I would totally buy his book as well. I’m a little upset about the fact that this is a television show and I won’t be seeing the story hit the shelves. We better get the run down or I’ll be upset.

Jenn: Roger’s book sounds like it’ll be something he works on on and off for about 8 years before giving up and never having it published. It will end up a 1387 page manuscript on his desk table with chapters about how his lack of chocolate ice cream affected him later in life, how he played poker all through Korea and a graph ranking all his favourite hookers. An unfinished masterpiece.

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