Mad Men Discussion: ‘Everybody Likes To Go To The Movies When They’re Sad’

With the exception of last week’s offering, I’ve felt an overwhelming sense of “meh” immediately after every episode of Mad Men I’ve watched in season six. However, given some time to ruminate on them a bit and perhaps watch them again, I’ve always come back around to appreciating each one. But that just doesn’t seem to be happening with last night’s episode centered around the assassination of Martin Luther King, one I was really looking forward to going in. It just rang a little hollow to me. Anyway, let’s dive in, shall we?

– So I guess Megan and Don are cool now after he insinuated that she was a whore for kissing other men for money last week? Good to know!

– That apartment we see Peggy touring on the Upper East Side reminds me of so many other apartments in high rise, doorman buildings in that part of town built in the 60s and 70s. I’ve had a few friends who’ve lived in places like that and they look virtually the same today. The parquet floors in particular are a common element. Just extremely stale and vanilla. No character to them at all, but I guess they were kind of a big deal at the time.

– Kudos to the writing staff for accurately nailing the soullessness of most Manhattan real estate brokers. The fact that Peggy’s broker tried to use the MLK assassination as leverage to get the apartment at a cheaper price rings very true to form with me. Love that coming in with a lower offer wound up losing them the apartment. That place sucked anyway.

– Something else about that apartment scene: the broker makes reference to the forthcoming Second Avenue subway line. That’s a line that’s been in planning since 1929 and is still under construction. People have lived full human lives waiting for that thing to come to fruition. It’s currently scheduled to be completed at the end of 2016.

– Speaking of Peggy, if she and her boss aren’t already secretly in the Bone Zone, then they will be soon.

– All this time I thought it was the Jewish mothers who were always trying to marry off their children. You mean to tell me that the fathers are that way too? Oy!

– I really want to like the Ginsberg character — and most of the time I do like him a lot — but I’m not feeling the fact that the writers of the show seem hell-bent on having him exhibit every extreme Jewish stereotype known to man. To think that he’s so anxiety ridden that he’s never had sex (he has to be at least thirty on the show, right?) is just kind of ridiculous to me.

-Okay, so here’s the main problem I have with last’s night’s show: I just don’t buy the reactions to the King assassination that some of the characters had. Specifically, the confrontation scene between Harry and Pete irked the sh*t out of me. I simply don’t see Harry being that big of a dick about the whole thing, nor do I buy the righteous indignation from the historically rat-like Pete Campbell. If anything, the roles should have been reversed, in my mind, with Pete being the one to callously wring his hands on the event’s financial impact to the firm, while Harry exhibits some humanity over it all. Sure, both of these guys are changing this season — that much is abundantly clear — but this just felt like a reach to me.

– Additionally, I don’t really buy Don’s solemn reaction to the assassination. That too felt a little forced. I completely buy the women on the show being deeply moved though, Joan’s awkward hug and all.

-Via Bobby Big Wheel, here’s the story of how James Brown saved Boston from riots following the MLK assassination.

– Just when we all thought it was safe to like Betty Draper Francis, she goes and plays the c*nt card again. On the bright side, she appears to be getting fat again, and Fat Betty is the best Betty, always and forever.

– Now we know where Roger Sterling gets his LSD from: Tom Cruise’s cousin. Also, nice to see former People magazine Sexiest Man Alive Harry Hamlin getting some work!

– Speaking of Tom Cruise’s cousin, love, love, LOVE that Rizzo appeared to be overcome by the weed giggles in that meeting with him. Rizzo is just the best.

– “I don’t think I ever wanted to be the man that loves children. But from the moment they’re born, that baby comes out and you act proud, excited, and hand out cigars. But you don’t feel anything, especially if you had a difficult childhood. You want to love them, but the fact that you are faking that feeling makes you wonder if your own father had that same problem. Then one day they get older, and you see them do something, and then you feel that feeling you were pretending to have.” — Don Draper.

– I’m guessing the quote above was inspired by this little moment of tenderness in the movie theater?

– Love Don explaining to Bobby how no one gives a rat’s ass about Henry Francis, thus there isn’t any need to worry about him being assassinated like MLK.

– Bobby Draper’s obsession with TV obviously means he’ll be a TV blogger when he grows up.

– Is there anything sadder than sad Pete Campbell having a sad Chinese takeout dinner for one is his sad little bachelor pad. No, there is not.

– We’ve had a good time poking fun at Mad Men‘s utterly useless previews of upcoming episodes. Matt Weiner talked about this on NPR’s Fresh Air last week.

“The network, when we first started, wanted to show those scenes from next week, and they have a very different definition about what teasing is: They think people enjoy things more [when] they know exactly what it’s going to be. I think that the commercial identity of the show is related to not knowing what’s going to happen. And I stole that from The Sopranos.

“It was harder to find out back then, and you’d watch these trailers that were really very deceptive on The Sopranos. They’d show an explosion, but you didn’t know what it was. So I asked them to start constructing stories like that. And they’re very hard to do — and, more importantly … it is my belief that the audience’s relationship with the show and their desire to come back and watch it the next week happens in those moments as the credits are rolling, and they’re listening to that music and thinking about the episode.

“So I didn’t even want a commercial for the show there. And then these commercials would come on that might ruin the next episode, and so I eventually just — through negotiation and haggling and such … we got it down to ‘Could you tell a deceptive story with these things?’ And I think it’s … I wrote them one year, and it’s very difficult. And the promos department basically arrived at this to satisfy me. … I have 26 seconds which we have carved out of the end of the show where they are not allowed to do anything but let the credits roll, and that’s the part that I was protecting. So I apologize, but I really don’t think you need scenes from next week. I think it would be great to just roll out and go to the next TV show.”


Your thoughts and feelings are encouraged in the comments.