Sunday night is TV night which for me means Simpsons, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, and Bob's Burgers. There's not much more of a solid line up than that, and each show offers a different experience. The Simpsons these days is caustic and surreal, a step down from its glory days but still very funny. Bob's Burgers is affectionately weird. Game of Thrones is trashy exploitation hour, and Mad Men is our extremely well made soap. "The Season is a third over!" declared my girlfriend. It made me sad.
My Mad Men recap—after the jump!
If I wanted, I could start every post with the words, "Don hasn't changed at all." But in a larger sense, nothing has changed. "To Have and To Hold" finds the agency going after Heinz ketchup, against the wishes of their current Heinz client, so the work is secret. "Project K," as it's called involves Stan and Don getting stoned in the storage closet. Megan's role on her TV show is growing. Her character has a love scene and she's worried about how Don will react. Joan has a friend visiting who wants to get into some trouble. Harry has an idea for a TV special to help the image of Dow Chemical. Dow is experiencing some PR fallout because, as Ken puts it, "He should stop dropping NAPALM ON CHILDREN."
Joan fires Harry's secretary. Harry demands she stay on, then barges into a partner's meeting, all but calls Joan a whore, and makes it clear that he would like to be a partner. Don and Megan get propositioned by her head writer and his wife. Joan and her friend go mix it up and make out with some boys at a hip club blasting Serge Gainsbourg. After the ketchup pitch, Don and team run smack into Ted and Peggy for the standoff, but in the end no one gets the account. As a bonus, the beans guy finds out and they lose his business. Don drops in to watch Megan's fairly tame love scene on set, slut shames her, than goes home and promptly fucks his mistress. Dawn, terrified of losing her job because of involvement in the time card scheme, prostrates herself to Joan, who takes he under her wing in typically bitchy fashion. Harry is offered a years salary bonus for his sale, but still wants a partnership. Bert and Roger joke about firing him.
My analysis, in points:
—Don and Megan will split, or at least separate. They've been foreshadowing it like crazy. Megan has a lot in common with Betty but she's much more independent. It almost seems like Don wants her to leave.
—I've been waiting for someone to mention wife swapping or swinging. Don and Meg took it in stride. Their conversation after was a nice glimpse of comradery, something we don't often see from them. Megan's costar was right when she spotted Don in the dark. "You like to watch." Don keeps his perversions secret. Or maybe secrecy is one of his perversions.
—The characters are refreshingly, almost casually, anti-war. Don is against Vietnam. Ken has his line about the napalm. And yet they are concerned about how anti-war rhetoric affects their business. Ken aids Dow Chemical, even as he criticizes it. Don worries about how the Smothers Brothers humor impacts their advertising on the show. It's a nice, realistic touch.
—Harry's character has become a lot more odious over the years, but I love how Rich Somers plays him, like he has no idea how disgusting or pathetic he is. It's strange how he's become a harbinger of the new, crass American. I've been predicting him leaving for two seasons, but it's anyone's guess how this will play out.
—It's possible that one of the main reasons Don is depressed is that he's missing Peggy. His pitch, food without ketchup, was reminiscint of the hotel pitch. It offers the notion of something, but not the thing itself. "It feels like something's missing," says the ketchup exec. Then in marches Peggy. Where Don's pitch is the absence of ketchup, Peggy's is JUST ketchup. They go hand in hand, one denies, one gives you only the thing you want. In the end, they both lose.
—Peggy didn't seem to mind her old coworkers giving her shit. Stan is pissed, but I think he'll forgive her.
—The club on St. Mark's Place that Joan went to was the Electric Circus (per Tom and Lorenzo).