Season 4, Episode 12: Advertisements For Myself. Plus, Walk Softly And Carry Your Shoes

by , Oct 13, 2010, 1:30 PM
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Don-Midge-HubbWhat a great episode. As the Heinz guy pointed out, it was all about cycles -- a time to reap and a time to sow, a time for ketchup to blow the beans right out of the, uh, larder. In addition to the mention of Brendan Behan, and beans, the focus was on getting canned, and of how to make the rent, and move on. (There was much mention, too, of physical moving: Cooper keeps saying the agency never should have moved into such an expensive office; Lane just moved his family back to America; Betty wants to move to Rye; Trudy wants to move to Greenwich.)  

I hated the way the Heinz man pronounced the word for the red stuff. ("Catch-up.'') But the "c" word certainly applies to what's happening dramatically. Everybody's playing catch-up and Go Fish. And it all stinks.

Moving doesn't necessarily mean changing for the better, either, as illustrated by the trail of sad, laid-off (contemporary-seeming) employees carrying their file boxes out of SCDP's double doors. Faye manages to label her own forced resignation a "fair trade": She thinks that now that she's no longer connected to Don professionally, she and her creative director can become a real item, out in the open. (Unlike Sally and Glen, the young Romeo and Juliet who hide in the woods, but get shut down by bad witch Betty.)

Nor does the ability to "move on" always equate to personal growth. Take Midge (which was the name of the Barbie doll's sidekick, by the way, and from her dark hair and lack of a torpedo chest, I always thought she was meant to be an intellectual). An independent artist and bohemian, this Midge of the first season was pretty much everyone's second favorite mistress (the first being notable heiress/Jewess Rachel Menken.). She was so cool that she made old buttoned-up Don feel like a dork, and turned down his offer of a trip to Paris.

I found it horrifying that Midge is now living in squalor, a junkie grifter married to a guy who pimps her-Don-Midge out. I got the worst sinking feeling when she arrived at her home with her mark, er, Don. I was afraid that the "brown" they served him was a Mickey and then they would kill him, boil him and eat him (it was the East Village, after all). Or at least beat him and rob him. So the fact that he got off with just paying for Mr. Cordon Bleu's next hit and buying a painting with cash was pretty good.

And whether it was inspiration or revulsion, the painting (which was as fake and washed-out as Midge has become ) plus Peggy's suggestion about changing the conversation, motivated Don's big cri de coeur (or cri de desperation) about giving up tobacco.

And here I was just last week, bemoaning the lack of swimming and journaling, i.e., what ever happened to the New Don? One week later, he's shown swimming, yes, but also pulling the rest of the sissy-boy pages out of the spiral notebook. With this New York Times letter, he's Old Don, he's back, and he's fierce.

Not mentioning the letter to the partners? Less than believable, although there's no doubt they would have talked him out of it. Getting it published in the Times overnight? Well, maybe a day or two was compressed in the telling. Paying for it himself? Well, I had forgotten about the huge dividend he got when he came back from his disappearance in California, and he's not paying alimony or child support to Betty (Henry would not have it.). 

Don's Waverly Place sublet also can't cost much. (Given how much money he has, the choice of that apartment is even more surprising. Like, can't he even give Sally and Bobby a real bedroom? But maybe he's comfortable in that warren of dark rooms -- it reminds him of his childhood. Plus, the low-slung brownstone scale of the Village must remind him of the Midwest.)

DonwithMidgePaintingSo how loaded is Don? Asking each partner to put in $100,000 would be like the equivalent of a million bucks today, give or take. That means with buying Pete's silence, Don had $1.5 million available to pony up. Really, with that kind of dough, why worry about working in advertising at all?

(From the moment Bobby Kennedy was heard speaking into the phone, I was wondering how they could have allowed such a caricature of a bad Boston Brahmin accent on the show. I was relieved to learn it was a practical joke, and very obnoxiously fitting for the Teddy character. )

But speaking of the matter at hand, I got a kick out of the mention that "Emerson Foote" was one of the people who left a message for Don after his letter was published. At first, I thought naming the guy "Foote" was just more macabre, Weiner-style limb-based humor. But it turns out that Emerson Foote was the Foote of the celebrated agency Foote, Cone & Belding, who publicly attacked tobacco advertising while his agency was handling $20 million in American Tobacco cigarette billings. The novel "The Hucksters" was based on him. Later he worked for the American Cancer Society.

And though Peggy called it a shenanigan, (that's the word Don used when he called her on the carpet for the battle of the hams stunt) she too understands it's the kind of grandstanding feat that might just turn things around.

Still, Bert Cooper is outraged, and thinks he's created a monster in Don. He calls the act cynical,Glen-Sally. craven, and hypocritical (which is all true, although Bert was also mad that his name wasn't on it.) He decides to quit, which evokes one of the greatest lines of the season. "You there, get me my shoes!" he says, as he carries them out. "I didn't think they'd start with him!" Harry says.

If I may, I need to add one aside about Harry Crane's office. How hilariously ugly, oversized, and out of keeping with the rest of the offices' tony minimalist sensibility is that furniture? I noticed it in previous episodes, but this time, adding the model cannon on his desk took the cake. (He is a loose cannon, obviously.)

While everyone at the agency is confined inside, ears to the walls, ready to combust, most of Sally's screen time was out in nature, in front of a shed, looking up at the sky, with her "friend" Glen. Glen was the height of creepiness as a little boy. He's plenty odd still, but in a totally surprising way. Now he's a monstrously large, sweaty football player. Still, he seems like he could be a sweet friend for Sally. Someone with whom she can wax philosophical about the Indian girl on the butter box, (wasn't there a similar comic routine about the Quaker on the Quaker Oats box?) and share Fritos and stories of divorce and therapy.

Although Sally can't completely shed her mother's influence; she tells Glen that his helmet "smells." (It's a "practice helmet." How's that for a metaphor?)

MM-SallyBellyBetty is appalled when she finds out that the two have been meeting secretly; just as with the mother in "The Graduate," Betty's response is less about whether her daughter is too good for him and more about her own shame. She fears that the perverse stuff she did as a grown woman -- having played house with the boy, and given him a lock of her hair -- will come to light. That's why she claims the family has to move to get away from "low-caliber people." ( Like her earlier self.) Although, all along, despite the writings of John Cheever, it was weird for Weiner to place an upper-middle-class, striving family like the Drapers in the rather blue-collar town of Ossining, home of Sing Sing. In Westchester, Rye has much more cachet.

But wherever she's planted, Sally is growing up, moving on, and making "wonderful progress," as Dr. Edna said. And it's not all a con. When faced with her toddler brother banging a spoon incessantly, as if he's in prison, Sally adroitly negotiates herself a place at the grownup table with her mother and Henry. Betty says, "I'll think about it," something of a role reversal.

Of course the question of who is the mother and who is the child is made painfully clear during Betty's meeting with Dr. Edna. Told that Sally can taper off, Betty gets angry and frantic, and says, "She's not better! Her life is chaotic and I'm afraid of losing this influence!" She's speaking about herself, and afraid of losing her own access to the doctor.

Despite the change of husbands, and the possible move to Rye, she still plays the infantilized one with Henry. (We all want to hate on Betty, and though she is a cold, needy Momma, it's not all her fault. It was very difficult to be a middle-class wife in the early 1960s and not lose your footing.)

However, it seems that Trudy, she of the tiny pelvis, and now a baby named Tammy(?) can reallyDon-FayeMegan stand her ground with Pete. In an episode rife with talk of square footage, and rooms (Don tells Pete, "get me in a room!") Trudy forbids her hubby to put money into the business with: "You mean you'd lose your stateroom on the Titanic?"

But back to Sally: She scared me when she started talking about death, but I was relieved to hear of her dream of flying. Not horizontally, like Superman, but upright, like Mary Poppins, over London. (The Disney movie had premiered the previous year. A sweetened version of the more astringent original, it was about a nanny who saves children who get no attention from their cold parents.) Anyway, flying like the Poppins figure, Sally would be the opposite of the falling man in the animated opener. Phew.

Only one episode left for this season! Roger seems pumped about having to learn peoples' names in order to fire them. But perhaps the turnaround will be left to the women. Will Joan get to use her superpowers? I was disappointed that Faye didn't want to have a drink with Peggy. Will Faye mud-wrestle with Megan?

And will Betty fall in love and want to run off with Dr. Edna?

Last season ended with the unbelievable high of the formation of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. What about this season drooping to a close with Draper Olson Harris? Or, should Don choose plural marriage, Draper, Draper, and Draper.

0 comments on "Season 4, Episode 12: Advertisements For Myself. Plus, Walk Softly And Carry Your Shoes ".

  1. Jonathan McEwan from MediaPost
    commented on: October 13, 2010 at 2:08 p.m.

    Dorothy, you're always so insightful, you inspire us all to look deeper... But what of the title of next week's episode? Tomorrowland? And the mouse in the office, the forlorn looking mickey mouse and balloons Lane was holding in his hands when he was waiting to meet his son, but instead met his father? And what of the press conference on November 15, 1965 announcing the intention to build a new vacation resort in Orlando that would include something called EPCOT, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow... I can't take credit for this observation, a friend pointed it out (Phyllis). But it gave me a start... We could be looking at another really upbeat season ending.

    I also noted there were two instances of throwing money at your problems to fix it or make it go away - Midge and the agency. Here's hoping Midge wasn't foreshadowing, but coincidence or contrast.

    So what do you think we're looking at? Upbeat ending? Downer? Or cliff hanger? What do you think?

  2. Karen Rulapaugh from R&R Partners
    commented on: October 13, 2010 at 3:27 p.m.

    I thought Tammy was a weird name for Pete's baby, but I looked up popular baby names in 1965 and Tammy was #11.
    http://www.babycenter.com/popularBabyNames.htm?year=1965

  3. Tom Messner from BONACCOLTA MESSNER
    commented on: October 13, 2010 at 3:45 p.m.

    Yikes!!!!!!!
    The only thing you missed was the New York Times headline on the paper Henry was reading
    heralding
    "Beame Crafts Campaign Plans" or something like that.

  4. Tom Messner from BONACCOLTA MESSNER
    commented on: October 13, 2010 at 3:45 p.m.

    Tammy was a song, I think
    Tammy Tammy, Tammy in love

  5. Rob Frydlewicz from RAF Consulting
    commented on: October 13, 2010 at 4:09 p.m.

    I liked Sally's mention of her flying dreams, esp. because according to dream analysis, they reflect an optimistic mindset. I myself have them on occasion and they're exhilirating.

    However, I was nervous watching the scenes between Sally & Glen because I was afraid these portrayals of innocence might be a prelude to something unsettling.

    Regarding the final episode, I agree with some reader predictions from last week about the Nov. '65 blackout being a plot device.

  6. Deborah Fisher from ilikeshoes
    commented on: October 13, 2010 at 4:13 p.m.

    How could you leave out one of the best scenes in the entire series. . .when Peggy tells Don that she doesn't normally condone shenanigans . . or whatever. In reference to the Ham incident. Genius!

  7. Jonathan Hutter from Garrand
    commented on: October 13, 2010 at 6:21 p.m.

    So much went on in this episode, it was fantastic. What about the upcoming turf war over Don? I loved how Faye and Megan gave each other the once over, the stiff handshake, and then Faye asking Don to have "his girl" make the reservation.

    I'm on the side that Sally's boyfriend is the start of her rebellion. Sweet? Hardly. First cigarettes, then marijuana, then s*x!! Unless I get the order wrong.

    My biggest fear is that we won't know nearly enough until next year. What will I do until then? Watch Deadliest Catch??

  8. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited
    commented on: October 13, 2010 at 8:32 p.m.

    The name Tammy - it was a popular song. I had the 45. It was sung by someone like Bobby Darren or Paul Anka. Faye is a royal bitch. She really thinks she can conquer Don, too. I think Peggy knows and she has more ammo not amorous, motives than picking her brain. Megan is not strong enough to have Don on her plate either. If the series progresses as much, Don will remarry more than once. How many times have we heard men say they will keep doing it until they get it right?

    1964 was the World's Fair in NY, a rather big deal then. There hasn't been a reference. ? A Small World after all, no? A lot came out of that expo.

    Glen actually was the one who told Sally how to handle her mother. Yes her to distraction. It's been working. Next? Sally will listen since he seems the only one telling her the truth.

  9. Jonathan Hutter from Garrand
    commented on: October 13, 2010 at 8:48 p.m.

    Faye is the smartest woman Don's been with. She'll get him. If she doesn't, she'll order a hit.

  10. Maddy Mud from McMarketing
    commented on: October 14, 2010 at 1:47 a.m.

    Don's letter to the NYT coming out of his visit to the junkies and Peggy's speech was so cool. You could see how each moment influenced the other. Not to mention when Betty got spanked by the child pysch, you knew that it was kick-the-Dog time soon for poor Sally. The only question was -- how would she do it?

  11. Tom Messner from BONACCOLTA MESSNER
    commented on: October 14, 2010 at 7:47 a.m.

    Debbie Reynolds sang Tammy.
    After she broke up with Eddie.
    World's Fair was over by mid-1965, but the Mets had moved into Shea as did the Beatles breifly. The Apex of Queens life, awaiting the Bunkers.

  12. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited
    commented on: October 14, 2010 at 8:36 a.m.

    Tom, thank you for filling in my memory.

  13. Jonathan Hutter from Garrand
    commented on: October 14, 2010 at 1:09 p.m.

    1965 was just the start of Simon & Garfunkel. They were from Forest Hills (I think). There's a lot of The Graduate that could be reflected in Mad Men themes. But that's still a few years away. What a great show this is.

  14. Keith Katz
    commented on: October 14, 2010 at 5:05 p.m.

    Great recap as always Dorothy. Just a small point of clarification: $100k in 1965 would be about $700k in 2010 dollars. Still a huge sum of money to have sitting around in liquid assets to be sure, but not quite "millionaire" money. Keep up the good work!

  15. marjone jones
    commented on: November 3, 2010 at 5:36 a.m.

    I think Joan did not go through with the abortion. She mentioned that her daughter was 15 because that's when her first abortion happened (this would be her third.) She told the other mother that her daughter was beautiful; between what the doctor said in scolding Roger and the mother's mistake, it hit her that she's getting long in the tooth, can no longer trade on her own beauty, and this could be her last opportunity to have a baby.<a href="http://www.trainwithmeonline.com/programs.asp">Workout Routines</a>

  16. marjone jones
    commented on: November 3, 2010 at 5:39 a.m.

    I think Joan did not go through with the abortion. She mentioned that her daughter was 15 because that's when her first abortion happened (this would be her third.) She told the other mother that her daughter was beautiful; between what the doctor said in scolding Roger and the mother's mistake, it hit her that she's getting long in the tooth, can no longer trade on her own beauty, and this could be her last opportunity to have a baby.<a href="http://www.trainwithmeonline.com/programs.asp">Workout Routines</a>

  17. marjone jones
    commented on: November 3, 2010 at 5:39 a.m.

    My blog can’t even get threaded comments. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.<a href="http://www.trainwithmeonline.com/programs.asp">Workout Routines</a>

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