Let's Get Liberated
by MOLLY LAMBERT
In a totally premeditated ballsy move, this week's Mad Men was about the CLIO awards and aired the same night as the Emmys. Matthew Weiner definitely cares about winning awards, so if this episode was his attempt to defuse industry gossip that he is an insane egomaniacal credit-hungry Pete Campbell of a showrunner, it didn't work.
But if there's anything we know about Mad Men, it's that Pete Campbell is the secret (male) hero of the show. The only thing younger people envy about older people is their jadedness, and you don't even know that's what you are envious of until you get there, by which point you don't give a fuck whatsoever because you are jaded too.
What was the craziest backstory revelation from this episode? That Don was just some schmuck working in a fur coat shop when he met Roger? That Joan and Roger's fuckmance predates Don and Roger's bromance? That Peggy Olson can control rogue boners with her mind like Matilda? That Sookie Stackhouse is a human-fairy hybrid?
This episode had some of the best reaction shots in Mad Men history. I demand GIFs of the following: Don's face after he falls asleep while getting blown and then wakes up next up to the ugly waitress. Pete Campbell's face when Lane tells him they're going to bring Ken Cosgrove (ACCOUNTS) on. Don's wasted lean in to smell Dr. Faye's neck.
The hand holding. Peggy's face when that douchebag congratulates her on winning the smuggest bitch in the world award. Pete's face when he tries to stop Don from drunk pitching the LIFE cereal people. Don's entire drunk pitch to the LIFE cereal people.
Speaking of Don's drunk pitch, seriously, it's like they just can't not let Jon Hamm be funny anymore. Sure Don Draper's unfuckable coolness quotient has been nullified through silliness but who cares? Mad Men has been considerably slap-happy this season and it just leads to me dying of laughter several times each episode.
Jon Hamm's portrayal of Don Draper this season has occasionally reminded me of (his BFF) Paul Rudd in Wet Hot American Summer. Just the ways in which straight male peacocking can be hilariously flamboyant and veer into behaving like a petulant child.
Don's attempt to hit on Dr. Faye was so cartoonish and basically completely accurate. There's nothing like a swing and a miss rooted in misplaced beaming drunk confidence. It's a thin line between attractive self-assurance and arrogant buffonery.
The big twist tonight was learning that Don Draper bluffed his way into Sterling-Cooper and then Buellered his way through the rest of the late fifties/early sixties. When Alex Carnevale found me and I got him drunk and hired myself for This Recording I was more or less working at a fur shop (oF thE MIND, INcePTioN!)
Don's ancient secretary is beginning to remind me of the rotating secretaries on Murphy Brown. I know a lot of people hate her hijinks and find it too hacky and broad, but I'm sure she'll be disposed of with a riding lawnmower in the near future.
Peggy's daughterly relationship to Don is being ruined by the fact that Don is a pretty fucking terrible dad. He likes the praise that comes from bestowing favors and the occasional compliment, but he will never show up for your proverbial recital. He might even have some real sounding excuse but it won't make you feel any better.
Peggy is also starting to resent that part of the reason she is generally tolerated by her male peers is because they are so totally unthreatened by her sexuality. The flip side of this of course is Joan Holloway Harris, who is praised and noted constantly for her sex appeal and appearance but never for her impeccable workwomanship.
There's an old saw about telling smart girls they're hot and hot girls they're smart, but the real point Peggy was making was that women getting compartmentalized into those categories, which are always enforced by the likes of Douchebag Art Director Guy, has absolutely nothing to do with what they are really like as human beings.
Unfortunately it seemed like Peggy's attempt to demonstrate that the Madonna/whore construct is a falsehood/duality didn't exactly go over/make a dent in that guy's thick skull beyond giving him a confused and unattended to erection. Let's just say that sometimes it's hard to have arguments about serious things with total idiots.
Peggy is getting increasingly sick of the glass ceiling, the corporate ladder, and all the bullshit associated with both. She is starting to realize that Don's approval is not worth what she once thought it was. Like Roger she is sick of doing Don's below the line work for him and then not getting any credit. She is sick of not being recognized.
Roger knows he inadvertently created a monster, even if he doesn't realize that he is also a monster (and a child). The chapter on Roger's childhood keeps getting bigger as he keeps getting older and weirder. The theme of aging as return to the pure id expression of childhood came up a lot towards the end of The Sopranos.
I love Roger's memoirs. I would like to see some webisodes just based around Roger dictating his memoirs. He and Kenny Powers are the two fictional characters whose autobiographical audiobooks I would actually really like to listen to. Yo and how about when Joan and Roger and Don almost did the Human Centipede under the table.
I certainly can't complain about the idea that we'll be getting to see more of Ken Cosgrove, magnificent flaxen haired prince of the people, in the future. You just know he's going to slam dunk the fuck out of the Mountain Dew account (and my heart).
"The Needle and the Damage Done (Neil Young cover)" - Laura Marling (mp3)
"Ohio" - Neil Young (mp3)
"My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)" - Neil Young (mp3)