Monday, August 30, 2010

"Mad Men" recap: It's an honor just to be so drunk you black out and lose your award

Recap of this week's "Mad Men" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

OK, I've returned from vacation and first, let me thank Mr. William K. Scurry Jr. for doing an excellent job penning the recap when I was away last week. Admittedly, while watching last week's fantastic "Chrysathemum and the Sword," I was horribly jealous that someone else would get to dissect it. But this was a fine ep, too.
Last night saw "Mad Men" collect its third Emmy in a row for best drama series, so it was a funny coincidence (or not?) that last night's episode, "Waldorf Stories," saw Don win some major hardware as well. He takes home a CLIO for that revolutionary Glo-Coat commercial and everyone at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is ecstatic.
Well, not really. You see, Roger is upset that Don is collecting all the glory, when really, it's Roger who found Don in the first place (that perception isn't totally true, as we learn in some interesting flashbacks). And Peggy is annoyed as well, because she worked on the campaign, yet she isn't even going to the CLIO awards (and she has to spend the weekend tethered to that horrible non-Sal of a new art director). Pete is irritated when he bumps into Ken Cosgrove and learns that his once and future adversary is going to be his colleague again.
Even Don isn't really happy. He just seems to be using the award as an excuse to get blindingly drunk. This proves to be disastrous, as somewhere in between winning the award and waking up next to a waitress named Doris two days later, he accidentally sells Life cereal on a slogan stolen from Roger's incompetent quasi-relative, whom he then has to hire. Also, he misses a visit with his kids, which sends Betty into high squeal mode. And he has no memory of anything he's done all weekend, though, thankfully, none of his exploits seemed to involve missing tigers or Zach Galifianakis. Oh, and he loses his award (though, thankfully, Roger was together enough to scoop it up for him).
In the end, the only person who really benefits from the CLIO win is that incompetent semi-relation, Danny, who gets a job out of Don's gaffe (and poor Peggy will probably be given the job of babysitting him).
Let's hope the "Mad Men" peeps fared somewhat better following their win.
And now, some more thoughts on "Waldorf Stories."
* There was a nice parallel between Don's reluctant hiring of goofball Danny and Roger's hiring of the equally aggressive Don we saw in the flashbacks. Of course, even in the beginning Don was more talented than Danny, as that Play-Doh Noah's ark showed way more creativity than Danny's slew of "Cure for the common (fill in the blank)" ads. Yet, in the end, both men win a job due to a combination of persistence and their future boss's tendency to get blackout drunk. At least Roger still had Joan back then to provide him a little comfort in between binges. Don just has a string of random women, as evidenced by that creepy sequence when he fades out under the jingle writer and wakes up next to Doris (who refers to him as "Dick." Yikes).
* I should mention that Danny was played by Danny Strong who wrote the excellent HBO movie "Recount," and has appeared in countless TV shows and movies. However, I'll always remember him as Doyle, Rory's tightly wound editor at the Yale Daily News.
* By the way, that was Betty in the poster at Don's fur shop, right? I seem to recall they met when she was modeling in a fur ad, so it makes sense.
* I don't know what makes me angrier about that new art director Stan -- how poorly he treated Peggy or the mere fact that he isn't Sal. Anyway, he quickly learns that one doesn't enter a battle of wits with Peggy Olson unarmed. When he teases her about her prudishness (Peggy? A prude? Man, this guy is an idiot!), Peggy calls his bluff by stripping nude and suggesting he do likewise. Peggy, as it turns out, is completely comfortable working naked. Stan is, um, not so comfortable. This makes for a fairly hilarious sequence in which Stan awkwardly tries to hide his, um, enthusiasm at the new working arrangements, and Peggy skewers him every chance she gets (her suggestion that he "dip that thing in ink" and take notes with it is particularly inspired). Eventually, he gives in and dresses. Yeah, he also calls Peggy a smug bitch, but she doesn't seem to mind. Oh, and they do finish the campaign.
* A few priceless Miss Blankenship moments this week, the best being when Don asks her to call the bar to see if they found his award. "What's the category?" she asks. "Best actress" snaps Don.
* I don't care if it's completely comprised of stories about being forced to eat vanilla ice cream as a kid -- I would totally read Roger's memoir. I suggest he title it "Crazy Like A Silver Fox."
* Oh, I've forgotten the long lost Duck Philips, who re-emerged this week, firmly off the wagon and making a fool of himself at the Clio awards. Roger and Don laugh at his antics, clearly unaware of how foolish they seem when they're wasted.


Lee Steele said...

I knew I wasn't crazy for thinking that was the future Mrs. Draper in the mink ad. Aside from that, I loved seeing Don/Dick revealing an exuberant side, both at the awards dinner and as the eager young pup in the flashbacks.

Bill Scurry said...

I'm glad you're back -- writing these in your shadow is stressful.

I love how the passage of time back a few years to the formation of Don and Roger's relationship was connoted by hairstyle. Very effective...

And I didn't catch this myself, but a friend made me aware that Mrs. Blankenship (Randee Heller) is none other than Lucille Russo from the "Karate Kid" series. What?