Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mad Men - The Color Blue, or Peggy and Paul's Excellent Adventure

Memo to Don: get a safe deposit box!

But before we get to that big reveal, I want to talk about the fractured morality tale that went on between Paul Kinsey and Peggy Olson. It was great to see Peggy in her element, without the shadow of Pete lurking over her. However, we caught a deeply depressing glimpse into Peggy's psyche when she replied, "He hates me," after an accusation that she was Don's favorite. He doesn't hate you, Peggy! You remind him of himself! Someday you'll platonically run away together and start your own ad agency!

We saw Pete's absurd jealousy that Peggy developed one of his ideas into a usable format, and then it became perfectly clear why Paul needs a little help in the idea department. Although he pictures himself an avant garde intellectual, Paul is secretly an icky, procrastinating layabout who does things in offices that no person should ever do in any office no matter what time of the day it is. Throughout this montage of disgusting, we saw clips of Peggy, also working late, though diligently and politely. She even excused herself for a burp in an empty room. Adorable!

In the morning, the industrious ant succeeded again after Peggy struck gold on an off-hand comment of Paul's. That'll teach you, Mr. Tiger Tones!

When Don wasn't at the office, critiquing ads (like it was his job or something), he continued his absurd affair with Little Miss Sunshine, Susan Farell. Ugh. Susan's epileptic brother was in town, and Don took a strange liking to the little schemer, and essentially helped him con his sister out of $300. I'm not sure that if the message of their whole interlude was that, like women, African Americans, Jews, and pretty much everyone that wasn't Don Draper, epileptics had it tough in the 60's, so they had to scrape by however they could, or if this guy was just another con artist who managed to scam Don. Regardless, Miss Farell continues to be cloyingly sweet and annoying. She's also taken a shine to the classic stoner philosophical question of, "Dude, what if, like, the color that I see as blue, isn't what you see as blue. What if it's, like, yellow, or something. Whooooaaaa." Give me a break.

Back at the Draper household, where Don spends less and less time, we added another name to the privileged few who know about Don's secret identity - one Elizabeth Draper. Betty was still recovering from the malaise left in the aftermath of the Rome trip when Don's secret drawer key was found spinning round and round in the tumble cycle. Another good reason to do your own laundry.

First off, I've always had trouble with the "Betty doesn't know" conceit on which this whole thing is based. Sure, everyone was repressed in the 60's, but not asking where your husband's family was? Not being suspicious that you never met a single member of them? I can only imagine that conversation:

"And where are your parents now, Don?"

"They're dead. All dead. Everyone. No use asking any more questions about them, as they all died in a horrible fire and their remains were unidentifiable."

"Oh, okay, then."

Anyhow, Bets chose not to confront Don about his former life (including a Californian first wife - what will the neighbors say!), and instead, passively aggressively almost make him late for his big celebratory dinner.

But, he arrives in time, and the credits roll as Don gives what I'm sure was an rousing (Churchill rousing, not Hitler rousing, of course) speech on the past, present, and future of the ad agency.

P.S. Turns out Lois still works at Sterling Cooper, although she's been demoted to Paul's desk! So, just to recap: not giving in to coerced gay sex: fired. Run over a dude's foot with a John Deere: not fired. Damn.

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