Monday, April 22, 2013

Mad Men - Collaborators

Travel back to the year 1968 with me! Previously on our first two episodes of season 6 we learned that Megan got picked up for a soap opera and is grateful but hates how small her role is. Roger’s mother died and he refused to accept its ramifications on his life. Peggy was trying her best to be Don over at her new agency, while still being close with Stan. Bob Benson became a new brown-nosing Pete. Betty changed her hair to black. And worst of all, Don has fallen back into his old habits of womanizing with his downstairs neighbor’s wife.

Pete is giving back coats to two women who are visiting his home. There’s typical Pete flirting. I hate Pete. So much. He thinks he’s entitled to ever vagina in New York. I’m surprised Alison Brie has remained on the show as frequently as she has (as Trudy) while she’s still filming Community. Pete is talking up the Broadway show Hair. The women are vying for the chance to go to the show with Pete. Meanwhile, Trudy is talking up the two women’s husbands about participating as charity chairmen or something boring and community building. The men are flirting with Trudy and the women are flirting with Pete. Fusk is curious if they’re going to become swingers. Ha! That would be awful. The parties all leave and Pete relaxes with the TV.

Don is riding the elevator when the doors open and Sylvia and Dr Arnold are arguing about something that needs cash from the bank today. She’s got her hair wrapped up and is in a robe, it’s all very come-and-get-me-Don. The doors close and the two make small talk. Don says he forgot his cigarettes and pushes his floor button. Dr Arnold says he needs to stop smoking all together. They’re apparently having dinner together tomorrow night as well. Dr Arnold gets off the elevator and Don pushes the Rosen’s floor button. Sylvia answers with, “I knew it would be you.”

Flashback! We haven’t had a flashback to Don’s childhood in quite some time, it feels like. It’s Dick and his step-mother at some sort of brothel like hotel. She’s pregnant with Adam while Dick looks around at the scantily clad women. The woman says that Mac is with her, so that makes him Dick’s uncle. So I guess they’re at a relative’s house (her sister), although that doesn’t explain the slutty women everywhere. Mack takes a liking to the step-mom, and we all know how that ends.

Post-coital and Don’s face is rather empty and vapid looking, sort of like Don. Dick is being held hostage down in the depths of his soul, while Don is the fa├žade, but that’s all. Sylvia says she feels bad about dinner. Sylvia is surprised that Don is fine sitting at a table with both of their spouses while they’re having sex on the side. Don says he doesn’t think about it, plus they’re all good company. “This” didn’t happen, just in their minds. Apparently the only reason Sylvia agreed to dinner is because Dr Arnold wants to impress Don, and the only reason Don said yes is because Megan likes Sylvia. This is going to blow up in an awkward way. What if Dr Arnold and Megan start having an affair!? He then hands her a wad of cash. “You found it in the cookie jar.” That feels weird.

Peggy has a private moment with her receptionist Phyllis. Her underlings are afraid of Peggy because she’s too hard on them. Phyllis says that she should maybe try to be as helpful and encouraging to them as she is to her. I can understand Peggy’s thought process. Don was never encouraging to her, not in any real way, so why should she be to them? Plus it might make her seem like a weak woman in the man’s work place. The 3 of them trudge in and she critiques their ideas. Before they can leave to change them, she takes a minute to be encouraging and uplifting. She hates doing it and it’s incredibly fake. Sometimes though, it still helps.
Pete brings trampy neighbor girl over to his downtown apartment that Trudy allows him to have. He offers her some snacks and a cocktail with some music and she turns everything down. This is clearly a shag-fest only sort of situation. He grabs her and kisses her and it takes her a few seconds before she allows herself to give into it.

Ugh. That looks like a shitty apartment, even by 1968 standards. It’s only true purpose is for screwing secretaries.

It’s Sunshine from Remember the Titans! He’s there with Raymond the guy from Heinz beans (the campaign Peggy worked so hard on). Tim (Sunshine) is from the ketchup department of Heinz, the king of condiments. Tim was impressed with the beans campaign and wants to know if there’s something SCDP could do for ketchup. It’s not an official meeting, just a dropping by sort of situation. Ray hangs back as Tim leaves. He says that under no circumstances are they to do ANY business for ketchup. None. He is mad because no one paid him any attention in the vinegars, sauces and baked beans department and all of the sudden ketchup wants to come in and steal his spotlight. He’s a scared rabbit. “I’d rather retire than watch that guy screw my girlfriend.” Yikes. What a baby! Don is very aware that the beans department came to them when their business was still brand new and they can’t abandoned beans just because ketchup came to the table.

Trampy Neighbor tells Pete than the apartment could use a woman’s touch (and I’m sure a bottle of bleach). She says she might come to town on Friday to see him. She gives all these ideas to let him know that she’s thinking of him and wants him. I’m sensing a clinger! This will be a problem.

Megan is down in the laundry room with her maid and there’s a problem. There’s been a list of things the maid has “forgot” to do, and Megan fires her just as Sylvia walks in.  I find it a little funny that with those huge amazing penthouses, they still have a communal laundry room. Megan starts crying and they go upstairs. They talk about her soap and Megan blurts out that she had a miscarriage. Sylvia assumes it was part of the show, but no it was in real life.

This is Sylvia’s oh-shit face. So many things have to be going through her head. Megan says she was sloppy in Hawaii and with the idea of being on vacation that she forgot to take her birth control or something of that sort. She is over-ridden with guilt. She hasn’t/hadn’t told Don about the baby. Megan says Sylvia was raised the same was she was (raised either by a French Canadian, or a Canadian or Catholic, I’m not sure what that means) and she’s hoping she will understand. Megan thinks she’s a horrible person because now she doesn’t have to worry about getting an abortion or do anything because the baby simply went away. Sylvia says she had a miscarriage once too so she sort of understands. She says that no, she does not agree that an abortion would have ever been in her consideration. “I just feel so shitty.” That sounds about right. Don comes in right after she says that. There is a super awkward moment as they stare at each other. Megan hangs up Don’s coat so she is unaware of the moment.

Peggy comes to her desk and there’s a bottle of what looks like baby powder and it’s labeled “Quest”. She takes it to Ted and says it’s a feminine hygiene powder. She’s legitimately confused and then Ted reads the points in the folder included. “Has baking soda. Makes you nicer if you’re stinky. Kills overly critical bacteria. Target-professional women and other Olsen’s.” It’s a practical joke from the underlings. Peggy is annoyed that they’re never this funny when she wants them to be.
We get a shot of Joan and then…

NO!!! What is that fat bastard doing darkening her doorway!? Get the hell out! Leave Joan alone! She has snarky comments for him in response. Pete runs in to take the hotshot of Jaguar away. Joan walks in to Don’s office and simply says, “He’s here” and pours herself a drink. Poor, Joan. I feel for her. Herb is there to pitch an idea to SCDP that he wants them to pitch to the other Jaguar men. The plan is to spend a large pot of money on running national TV commercial that the dealership owners are going to be mostly paying for. As a local dealership owner he wants people to come to the lot and buy, not just put the idea in America’s head that it’s a good idea to buy. It’s hard to see him be a shitty person because he played Grady on Fried Green Tomatoes and he was the saving grace most of the time. Herb wants them to spend a larger portion on local radio spots rather than a national TV commercial. He wants them to present it to Jaguar as their idea, and not his.  Don doesn’t like the idea. Pete thinks they should do whatever Herb wants to make him happy.  Oh and Bob is there for some reason.

Peggy and Stan are on their nightly phone call. Stan is high and Peggy is pouring a drink. Peggy vents about how everyone hates her. “Well that was bound to happen.” I love Stan! He then tells her about the whole beans vs ketchup debacle that happened in the office. They laugh over Ken’s failure to lock in ketchup when Ted walks by. Peggy panics and pretends it’s a fake phone call. “Oh, right! We’ll have your wigs ready to be picked up by noon, ma’am.” Seriously, who doesn’t love Stan? Ted reminds her it’s ok to make personal phone calls after 5, especially if they make her laugh. Peggy then tells Ted the story about ketchup. No! Peggy, stop! Ted is going to steal the account!

Don is running late for dinner and Megan comes out in a house coat to tell him she’s not feeling well. He feels for a fever and she says, “That’s not where it hurts.” Aww. She says he should still go to dinner and have a good time with the Dr and Sylvia. He tells her to go straight to bed. She climbs in bed and looks just hopelessly depressed.

Pete is watching TV and hears a woman screaming. Trudy comes in and there’s banging on the door.

“Hey Campbell, she’s your problem now!” a man yells and a car drives away. Trampy Neighbor Girl got herself in trouble and she came running to Pete for help. She says she’s so embarrassed and asks Pete to not call the police. Trudy sends him out and he’s clearly nervous about the idea of leaving Trudy and her alone to talk.

They arrive at dinner and they have a small minute of war-small talk about the Tet Offensive. Dr Arnold says that we’re losing the war, but you wouldn’t know it looking around. The waiter arrives and Dr Arnold is taken away with a phone call. Rather than be left at the table alone with Don, Sylvia goes to powder her nose.

Pete and Trudy are trying to find somewhere for Trampy to stay. Trudy suggests a nearby hotel and leaves the room to get ice for her face. Pete takes the moment to shatter her dreams. She wants him to take her to the city so they can be together. Pete refuses and when Trudy comes in he offers to get her a cab. Trudy says she’ll drive her to the hotel nearby. Apparently her name is Brenda. I think I’ll still call her Trampy. Pete is terrified now that his wife and sexual encounter are going to be spending time together when she’s in an emotional state.

Dr Arnold is going to have to leave, but he doesn’t want to be put in bad graces (is that a thing? I’m making it one if it’s not) with the restaurant after he worked hard to get in, so he begs Don and Sylvia to stay and order for 4. Sylvia is visibly uncomfortable. They have a little dance incognito about what’s really going on about them and what the others wants. It’s uncomfortable. Don apologizes for thinking it was possible for them to spend time together outside of her maid’s bedroom. BURN! Don gets aggressive with her verbally and sexually using only words, in a way that only Jon Hamm could translate. Sylvia says that their affair started because Don said he and Megan were drifting apart. Now Don says, “I want you. I want you all the time.” The waiter comes over and asks what she would like. Now is her moment to commit or back out. She bravely orders for him first and then for herself.

Yeah, she commits. She warns them they can’t fall in love. “I won’t be so French anymore.” Ah, so she’s French Canadian as well I guess.

Pete is sitting watching TV, on edge, watching the door and the phone, waiting for the Trudy bomb to either go off or go to bed. Trudy finally comes home, while he’s lying in bed. She turns off the light and goes into the bathroom, showing him she’s not in a mood to talk.

Don comes home to find Megan weepy on the couch. She tells him about the miscarriage and he pauses to react. He asks if she’s ok and how far along she was. 6 weeks. He wishes he’d known. Megan explains she didn’t know how he would feel or what he would want. He says he wants what she does and she admits that yes she does want a child. Don says they can absolutely talk about having a child together. Oh man.
Pete comes into the kitchen the next morning to leave for work. Trudy is stiffly sitting at the table and tells Pete the kids are at the park. Just as he goes to leave it happens. She says she let him have that apartment and she thought there was “some sort of dignity in granting permission.”

She’s pissed because he wasn’t discrete and Trampy Brenda lives on their block! Pete tells her not to jump to any conclusions. Come on, Pete. She doesn’t want to be an object of pity while Pete whips his dick out whenever he wants. She calls them done. She won’t get a divorce because she is not a failure. The new arrangement is that he will only be at the house when she tells him to be. There is a 50 yard bubble around the house and if he so much as zips down his fly to urinate she will destroy him. Whoa, mean Trudy is mean. She has every right to be. Pete tries to make her out to be wrong and the bad guy. What a dick.

Ted is in Peggy’s office when she comes in, and he has a file on ketchup. I told you, Peggy! I told you to stop! Peggy refuses to take the account and Ted refuses to accept her refusal. He has faith in her, and I think he has faith that if she lands the account, he’ll get in her pants.

The big staged meeting with Jaguar is in motion and Herb is setting up the ball on a tee for them to knock it out of the park. Pete swings up the bat and just before he strikes, the British guy asks what Don thinks. Don takes the ball off the tee and replaces it with a bomb. He throws words around like, “mailer” “New Jersey” “low price” “truck drivers” “used cars”. He is agreeing with the idea and is planting the image of a low class poor man buying their cars instead of the exclusive clientele the way. It’s quite brilliant. The Brits want to stick with their national plan instead of radio spots.

Angry Pete has arrive to announce he’s angry. Don says he did what the pitch was supposed to be. Don says this is just like Munich. Pete doesn’t understand what that means. Roger (who is only in this one scene) says that in Munich we gave the Germans whatever they wanted, and that only made them want more.

Pete is standing in his office at the end of the night realizing his life really is turning to shit. Bob pops his head in to say how great he thinks this job is and that he’s grateful for the opportunity. He offers to get Pete a sandwich and he says now. Pete says his wife asked and he forgot to pick up, but could Bob run and pick up some toilet paper.And so begins the downward spiral of Pete Campbell.

Don knocks on the secret door to the trash shoot where he and Sylvia meet for their sex romps. Sylvia is irritated because Arnold is home but not really, because she wants Don.
We get a flashback again to the brotel house and Don watches through a whole while Mack has sex with his pregnant step mother. “You’re a dirty little spy” says one of the hookers. Don then walks to his own front door, and instead of going in he just sit down on the floor in front of it. He’s charade has worn him out today. It’s sort of an odd note to end on.

Next week we see Stan walking around and not letting anyone know what’s going on. And there’s more vague comments made to people we don’t see. We do see a moment with Burt Cooper though, who we haven’t really seen yet this season. These previews are such fluff. It’s strange.

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