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Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

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Felicity's disguise

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« In Which I Know You're Drunk, Come Sit Next To Me »

I Felt The Floor Open Up Under Me


Although we will cry for Don Draper and even weep when Don Draper hurts our feelings, it is better when Don Draper makes us laugh. "This is good champagne," Peggy says to Don at the graceless British invasion that brought perishables and emergency room visits. "I don't think so," he tells her with all the gravitas of someone who is simultaneously at the Emmys.

It was better when we didn't think Jon Hamm was acting, when we didn't know he was being ordered around by his intractable pseudo-lesbian wife between seasons. But we do know he's acting, he mugs for the camera at every opportunity. Don is at his pretend best when he's muttering questionable analogies he stole from his British CFO's near trip to Bombay. I hope the snake charmer bought that truculent secretary a better glass of champagne for preventing his journey to his firm's overseas sector.

"He was a pure account man," murmured Maxwell Sheffield, Fran Drescher's boss on The Nanny about the dashing Brit who nearly bossed Don around. Unsurprisingly, it was one of Mad Men's female writers who staged the funniest episode since Sterling read poetry to his younger-than-thou girlfriend over strawberries and prenuptial agreements.

Roger Sterling now spends more time complaining than Joan, and he has a lot less to complain about. Imagine if he came home in the dark and told his significant other he'd lost his prestige and fortune — Sterling would have also lost the price of a plane ticket.

"We took their money, now we have to do what they say," agrees Bertram Cooper reasonably. It turns out they'll say anything to make Don Draper into their personal city mouse. Don's quiet romance with Conrad Hilton aside, his chief virtue for the company seems to be accepting whatever admirers the British send his way. It's a positive trait he shares with Price, whose bosses crow, "One of your major strengths is
that you always do what you're told!"

This valuable business asset strolls home to an unsuspecting family. The only way he knows it's actually his place he's found at the end of a long day is by the particular toy strewn about the yard. The best scene this week was Betty's maudlin sit-down with her daughter: "You're very important to me, too," Betty informs her first-born after handing her a ghoulish present from Eugene the baby.

Someone better keep an eye on Gene before Sally tosses him into a trash compactor just to find something to do. "Only boring people get bored," quips Betty, who has nothing better to do all day than smoke and yell at people for not liking the name of her baby.

When I meet drunk lonely old men at parties, they always want to give me their business, but not like they do Don Draper. Please have someone competent inscribe, "I don't think anyone wants to think about a mouse in a hotel" on my gravestone.

Sally's sleepless journey into the undead haunts of Grandpa Gene and lifeless barbies was most taxing. The set for her room looks like the inside of a woodshed, and the demands she makes on Don are roughly equivalent to a restructuring of personnel. Once the little sucker stops staring and starts asking you for money is when the kid is no longer cute. Exhibit One is resting on your shoulder, Don.

Even among all this show's childbearing and corporate restructuring ("You were the only one in the room who got a promotion"), Weiner still found time to shit on Joan Holloway. Quitting your favorite job for your beloved is a common slip — it rarely adds up on any ledger.

Joan can't bring herself to really confront Greg, or she'd utter those fateful words — "I strongly wish I had known you weren't a surgeon before I let you r me on the floor of my boss's office." All she had to do was follow that up with a MLIA and she'd know the pain most are suffering in '09 depression. The only thing to do with a drunk failure is undress him.

Indeed, all a person requires from the world is that someone be there to turn out the light for them and leave the door to their room closed an appropriate distance. Sleeping in utter darkness is for gollums and other failures at the day-to-day intercourse that mars the world, that broadcasts the subtle signs of our discontent. It is more important to appear to be happy than to actually be happy.

Eleanor Morrow is the senior contributor to This Recording. She tumbls here. You can find her most recent Mad Men essays here and here.

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Reader Comments (2)

"It is more important to appear to be happy than to actually be happy." Eleanor Morrow is a genius.

September 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

Reading Eleanor Morrow on Mad Men makes me want to give it all up and accept the inevitable. She wins. Nobody does it better.

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZoe

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