Say what? Please tell me it was all a dream -- that Don got to California, looked into the sun, and that we'll find him in the shower of Anna's bungalow when season 5 starts next fall. Was it Jane Austen who wrote, "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in a possession of an engagement ring from the dead wife of the dead army guy whose identity he stole in Korea will impulsively use it within a week to propose to his delicate cipher of a very young French-Canadian secretary?" Sacre Blech!<
What 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.
Don's in a pickle, with or without the Heinz meeting. I watched the evening mentoring session turn into full-on quickie shtupping with horror. Now Don is setting up a parallel sex life to his married one, having a blonde wife and a dark-haired mistress. Who are both mad at him at the same time, all the time.
Cottontails, bunny ears, and tell me about the rabbits, Joan. Talk about Groundhog Day, and chickens coming home to roost.... I hate to go so neg, Mad Blogsters, but after the high of last week's episode, I was at first put off by the stilted tone and implausibly soap opera-ish turns of this week's nonstop depressing -- and even horrifying -- revelations.<
I like the fact that "Mad Men" is increasingly about the shifting identities of women. But at first, "The Beautiful Girls" seemed kind of choppy, and less graceful and dazzling, than previous installments. Then I took a look at Bert Cooper's role in this particular show, and the genius become more apparent. All of the episodes can't be about fluidity and rebirth: this one is about being tied-down and stuck. And being stuck feels bad. And then you die.
Backed by the use of Don as narrator and the loud, modern sound of the Rolling Stones, "The Summer Man" represents a sea change, in style and tone, from the usual "Mad Men" episode. At first, each seems like an alien affectation. The combination of showing Don doing laps in the pool while we hear his voiceover reminded me of "Sunset Boulevard" -- would someone end up floating dead at the end?
Matthew Weiner's script this week was genius, even if it was the most scrotum-nal and scatological episode ever. Indeed, contemplating all of man's vulnerable private parts and/or explosions of the GI tract brought new meaning to the idea of bathroom humor. Ball jokes aside, watching the show was sheer pleasure, from the brilliant writing and direction to the evocative performances by Jon Hamm and Elizabeth Moss as they plumbed their characters' essences through the long night's journey into day.
So the art-imitating-life award goes to Matt Weiner. Along with Erin Levy, a young female protégé on the "Mad Men" staff, he was seen accepting an Emmy for TV writing just around the same time that Don was shown up at the podium receiving his Clio, advertising's Oscar, in the category of floor polishes and waxes.
Sally's acting out, Roger's acting out, Betty's acting out, and Don, for once, is sober. The amazing thing about "Mad Men" is how easily it switches tones.-from Borscht Belt /absurd (Don's new secretary's not-so-delicate Harvey Fiersteinesque voice and Monty Pythonesque moves), to slapstick (all that awkward bowing around the Japanese aliens) to icky/poignant/shocking (Sally's masturbatory scene) to horrifying (Betty's slap) to madcap caper (Don's unexpected, and expert, outsmarting of the Honda review process.) And somehow it all works, while also connecting the many layers of meaning.
Despite the bummer of a title, what's not to like about "The Rejected," an episode that begins with a warning about "brief nudity" and then goes on to show a directing credit for Roger Sterling, uh, John Slattery? As it turns out, Slattery is as wry and agile a director as he is an actor. As an episode, "The Rejected" is about contrasts: running hot and cold, (everybody's looking for ice! Don says he's gotta go -- there's a fire!) giving and yanking away, painful replacements, extractions, pimple cream vs. cold cream, and mostly, young vs. old.