Monday, August 24, 2009

"Mad Men" recap: How Peggy got her groove back...kind of

This week's "Mad Men" was all about trying to reconnect. Betty tries to reconnect with her dad. Peggy tries to reconnect with her sexuality. Don tries to reconnect with a client that Kinsey has alienated. Roger kind of tries to reconnect with his angry daughter (before deciding that he'd prefer to "win" in what he sees as a power struggle with Mona).
And Pete, as always, tries to reconnect with his dignity, if he ever had it in the first place.
When we revisit our beloved gang of miserable ad folk, Peggy, Ken, Harry and Sal are watching a clip of Ann Margaret in "Bye, Bye Birdie." The guys want to use an Ann Margaret look alike to sell a new diet drink called Patio ("a drink that sounds like a floor," Don will later scoff -- not unreasonably). Peggy objects to using sex to sell a product for women. Actually, she tells the guys that SHE doesn't like the approach and SHE is the intended target for the diet drink. "But you're not fat any more," Harry points out.
Sigh. Remember when Harry was the nice guy in the office?
Elsewhere at SterCoop (yes, that's my new nickname for it. I refuse to type Sterling Cooper repeatedly every week. Embrace it.), Pete is hard at work on the Penn Station/Madison Square Garden project, but Kinsey unintentionally sabotages him by telling the client that he objects to the redesign. Oh, Kinsey you arrogant tool! Pete looks distressed. Don is later able to smooth things over, but the Brits decide at the last minute that they don't want the project. Don is beside himself, and I agree with him. This seems short-sighted.
Why did you even buy us? Don laments to Pryce. Pryce, surprisingly, doesn't know.
Don has a little more luck handling the women in his life. Betty's poor ill dad has been abandoned by his wife. She wants to see him, and asks her brother and sister-in-law to bring her dad by. Don obviously objects, but, admirably, wants to make Betty happy.
He agrees to let her family visit. And then Betty's family arrives and makes everyone miserable. Her brother William, whose identity Don assumed last week, starts making noise about sending Dad to a nursing home. Either that, or William and company will move in with Dad. Betty, upset, assumes they're after her father's house. She feels helpless to stop their descent on the old man...then Don steps in and strong arms William into letting Betty's dad stay with them. Nice touch: he takes William's Lincoln in the bargain.
Meanwhile, when Peggy approaches Don about Patio, Don explains the guys' approach to her. Using a sexy woman to sell a product made for women is effective, Don says, because men want a sexy woman and women want to be her. Peggy grimaces, but reluctantly concedes.
Then, Peggy makes an unusual decision. After denying her own pregnancy, rejecting Pete and insisting that she "wanted other things," Peggy decides it's time to get some. She goes to a bar and puts the make on a guy who -- surprise -- looks a LOT like a certain petulant head of accounts. No, not Ken Cosgrove. He looks like Pete. If Pete were warm, kind and considerably less whiny. He and Peggy hook up, but -- gasp -- he doesn't have protection. Peggy, even a newly carnal Peggy, is a smart girl and refuses to have unprotected sex. But, she tells Faux Pete, we can do other things. Oh, Peggy. You have a whole other side we know nothing about, don't you girl?
Here are a few more thoughts on "Love Among the Ruins."
* I haven't said anything about Roger's storyline. Clearly, Roger is feeling some repercussions from marrying Jane (yes, he's married. And so, apparently, is Joan. Sigh. Poor thing.) His daughter is mad at him and doesn't want Jane at her wedding (which, incidentally, is slated to take place Nov. 23 1963 -- the day after the Kennedy assassination). Mona makes a show of wanting to "compromise," but Roger thinks his little girl's anger is all Mona's fault, and seems like he's going to drag Jane to this wedding even if it causes his daughter to hate him forever. Oh Roger. You ass.
* By the way, Roger, apparently, still hasn't learned how to talk to Betty. He greets the pregnant woman with the less than charming "Looks like Grace Kelly swallowed a basketball." You know Roger, just because you're a silver fox doesn't mean you can get away with treating women like dirt.
*Peggy tells her bar conquest that "I work for a jerk." Wait -- does she mean Don? Does Peggy really think Don is a jerk? Or is she just mad at him for not taking her side in the Patio debate? I hope Peggy doesn't secretly hate Don. The Don/Peggy relationship is one of my favorites on the show. You can reject Pete, Peggy, but don't you dare reject Don!
* Um, how awkward was that dinner between Don, Betty and the Brits? Even weirder, the Brits didn't seem to notice how bored and hostile the Drapers were. Sigh. Silly English.


Peter said...

Don't think Peggy think Don's a jerk - she's just decided she's sick of being her usual, dour self, and is trying instead to play a role in order to manipulate the guy.

Adam Wright said...

Nice post. Great Show. I just picked up Season 2 to go with Season 1 on DVD. I plan to rewatch both seasons over the next couple of weeks.