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Monday
Oct262009

« In Which You Want To Be On Some People's Minds »

How To Get Men To Talk About Their Feelings

by MOLLY LAMBERT

Mad Men

Season 3, episode 11

"The Gypsy and The Hobo"

Betty pulled the old "we're going to Philadelphia" trick on Don, giving him the opportunity to make even more wild promises to Miss Farrell. Sarah Silverman will be coming out with an "I'm Fucking Don Draper" video any second now, because that is who Miss Farrell looks like. Like all gentile men, Don is into Jewish girls.

Betty read Mary McCarthy's seminal proto-feminist novel The Group last week in the bathtub, and as a result is inching ever so slowly towards becoming a person. She summons the strength to tell a lawyer about Don's secret box of secrets. 

Annabelle Mathis, who wants Sterling-Cooper to sell horse meat, would also like some of Roger Sterling's horse meat. He even jokes about how big it is (his D) in front of the ever patient Bert Cooper. Roger you are incorrigible and I love it.

Roger gives Annabelle a bit of the old verbal in-out in-out somewhere French. They go to a place with "lovely wines" and talk about old times in their life in Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. She says Roger walked around like he a character in somebody's novel and was an amateur boxer (I'm looking at you Jonathan Ames)

Annabelle tells Roger about watching "Casablanca" and thinking how she fucked up by leaving him for someone lamer, Then he calls her Peter Lorre (LOLrre), because he does not give a fuck about this woman at all. Roger uses his newlywed status as an excuse for ditching horse meat lady, but we know the truth, it's Joan he's thinking of. Or Jane, it's actually totally vague and ambiguous. No clue really.

Suzanne Farrell cooks some pasta with cream sauce, and then she takes you down to a place by the river and feeds you tea and oranges. Don loves those bohemian types. Don lies about being happy and I seriously thought the bitch was finally gonna go Gloria Trillo on him and throw a steak at his (beautiful, cut from stone) face. Suzanne tells Don that she's catching feelings for him and Don, typically flattered/ego-stroked, tells her it's awesome and that they should go to Mystic, Connecticut.

Meanwhile Joan calls Roger and they have phone sex (BASICALLY, "what am I wearing?") Joan covers for Dr. Cut-Up and tells Roger she needs a job. Roger thinks about jobs he would like Joan to give him "You want to be on some people's minds" and Joan calls his bluff ("Are you asking if I miss you?") and then hangs up on him like a boss. Dr. Rapist tells Joan she doesn't know what it's like to want something your whole life and not get, and Joan breaks a vase on his head (LIKE A BOSS). 

 

Peggy shows up for a focus group. Where the hell is Ken Cosgrove, my blond prince of the maple trees? Harry Crane and Paul Kinsey both got full episode arcs this season. Whither my boy Kenny? Roger is kind of an asshole to the horsemeat heiress. She tells him he was the one and he says "you weren't." Annabelle assumes he means Jane, but we know the truth which is that Roger loves Joan Holloway Harris.

Don just likes dark-haired women. He has followed the Tony Soprano school of "marry a blonde, fuck brunettes." He tells his mistress to wait in the car while he packs a suitcase, and that's when Betty pulls the old Philadelphia surprise on him, i.e. she and the kids are not in Philadelphia. Then there is a lot of dramatic tension and suspense.

Somehow Betty takes control of the situation for the first time in her life and points out all the plot holes in the Chekhov's Gun that is Don Draper's box of Dick Whitman's Samplers and then calls him out for dodging with his usual techniques ("I can explain," "I need a drink") and deflates all his bullshit ("I don't know who you are.") The offscreen baby summons Betty, giving Don one commercial break to consider taking the money and running to the car outside where his bohemian lover is reclining.

Don decides to legitimately man up for the first time in his life and gives Betty three seasons worth of exposition on his backstory. Having an honest conversation with Betty for the first time in their marriage somewhat logically seems to improve their relationship. And then DON DRAPER CRIES. I hate to break this to you this guys right before the holiday season, but there is no such thing as James Bond.

Roger gets Joan a job after describing her an expensive beautiful redhead with a whip (brb making new business cards). Then Joan's husband admits he was an ass but tells her he solved their problems by joining the army as a surgeon (D'OH). He might have to go to Vietnam ("if that's still going on") and then tells her she can stay at home again! Fuck! Waiting for Joan to turn feminist is heartbreaking. She is a 5 star bitch.

Half the suspense in this show comes from wondering where people are when they wake up. Spoiler alert: Don stayed home/didn't run away from his problems this time. He is straightening up like that time when McNulty straightened up. He calls Miss Farrell to break the news that the best sex of her life is over. Then in the most thuddingly obvious section of the show, Sally and Bobby dress up as a hobo and a gypsy. Because Dick Whitman's real parents are a tramp and a hooker.

Most of the real suspense in Mad Men comes from waiting for things you are "expecting" to happen and then they don't happen, and something completely different and unexpected happens. In this way it is exceptionally true to life.

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She tumbls here and twitters here.

"Paperback Head" - Tegan & Sara (mp3)

"The Cure" - Tegan & Sara (mp3)

"Red Belt" - Tegan & Sara (mp3)

The new T&S album, Sainthood, is available tomorrow.


References (1)

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  • Response
    Response: this content
    Amazing Web-site, Keep up the excellent job. Thanks for your time.

Reader Comments (3)

well put

October 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhilary

Re: thuddingly obvious

"He died of lung cancer" [cut to Don lighting a cigarette]

October 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDanish

Don seems really gay to me now

November 1, 2009 | Registered CommenterAlex

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