Mad Men Discussion: Hot Tooth

Sigh. Last night’s Mad Men season five finale signifies the start of our long national nightmare: it’ll be months before we get to experience the pleasure of watching the show on Sunday nights. Thus, this will be our final Monday afternoon Mad Men discussion for a while. (Sniffle, sniffle)

So let’s get right to it, shall we? Here are a few notes I made during last night’s Mad Men about characters, scenes, etc. I found interesting for one reason or another.

– Personally, I thought last night’s episode was, on the whole, much less enthralling than some of the season’s earlier episodes, but I get that considerable time needed to be given to set up what’s to come in season six, in addition to reflecting a bit on season five. I did, however, find this particular episode to be even more laden with symbolic imagery and metaphors than most others, and I get a bit of a kick out of trying to interpret those. In such, the shot captured in the GIF above of Don walking briskly away from the sharp colors and bright lights of Megan’s commercial shoot and into the darkness was one I found particularly striking. This came after he’d had that nagging “hot tooth” of his pulled — something I interpreted to be a metaphor for all of the things that have been nagging Don all season long. Does this mean that Don will be shedding Megan, who’s become considerably less likeable since she left SCDP to devolve into the stereotype of a crazy actress, to embrace his past life as a swinging dick ad man? We can only hope that this is indeed the case.

– “I thought it would go away.” – Don Draper

– What the hell is a “hot tooth” anyway?

– Regarding the use of symbolic imagery, I loved the shot of the five SCDP partners — with Joan sandwiched right in the middle — fanning out in what will presumably be their new office space.

– Of course Pete appears giddy to finally be, in his view, on par with Don, at least in terms of office view. It’s going to be so great when Pete, who is more clingy than a recently deflowered teen with ole Crazy McWhatsherface, gets cuckolded by the mojo-recharged Don Draper next season. So. F-ing. Great. You just know it’s coming (no pun intended). Trudie Campbell’s not gonna know what hit her as she’s obviously never been taken to the bone zone by a real man before.

– Speaking of Pete, if there’s one thing this episode surely lacked it was him getting punched in the face by other men. Two was just not enough. #MissULanePryce #neverforgetwhowasthefirst

– FYI, the Hotel Pennsylvania, the hotel where Pete has his final rendezvous with Beth, was hailed as the world’s largest hotel when it opened in 1919 but is now a bedbug-ridden dump that’s rumored to be haunted and is slated for demolition soon.

– Because I don’t hate myself as much as I probably should, I’ve refused to watch The Killing after the sh*t sandwich the show served its loyal fans in its finale last season, so I found it kind of funny that AMC was running promos during Mad Men hyping the season two finale with the same “Find Out Who Killed Rosie Larson!” line they used last year. Seriously, how is anyone still watching this show? And wasn’t the Larson murder supposed to be resolved early in the current season?

– “I’m not talking about black coffee out there.” — Racist a-hole panty hose exec.

– When Megan mentioned to her mom that someone had been calling the Draper home and hanging up when she answered, I was absolutely convinced it was Creepy Glenn, who once harbored a crush on the pre-blubbery Betty Draper. Never in a million years would I have guessed that it was actually a horny Roger Sterling calling to try to set up a shag session with Megan’s free-spirited mother. Gold.

– It dawned on me last night that John Slattery appears in and does the voice-overs in Lincoln commercials that run during the show. Similarly, Jon Hamm does the voice-overs in the Mercedes spots that air during Mad Men. Now, I know Matt Weiner has said in past interviews that Jaguar essentially being trashed on the show in every way was just random, that he and the writing staff picked a car manufacturer out of thin air to center a storyline around, but I can’t help but think that maybe just maybe there’s a minor product placement conspiracy going on here in which Mercedes or Lincoln — perhaps both — approached AMC and said, “Look, rather than pay you guys to say nice things about our cars in the show, how about we pay you to trash one of our competitors AND we’ll buy commercial airtime to run our own ads?” If you don’t think something like this is possible, I’m afraid you don’t know how cutthroat the car business is.

– Okay, I won’t make you wait any longer — here is your bare-assed Roger Sterling on LSD GIF, people…

– And speaking of Roger on LSD, you just knew that the show would have to explore one of its characters experimenting with psychodelic drugs at some point — Peggy always seemed like such a natural to be that person — and I’m beyond delighted that the person Matt Weiner chose is Roger.

– At least for the sake of the actor who portrays him, I hope Matt Weiner figures out something to do with Bert Cooper next season other than wandering around shoeless in the office. I can’t think of another character on the show who’s so painfully less developed. He’s just…there. Maybe next season he can drift off into dementia and start crapping his pants in the office or something, igniting a drama revolving around his ouster by the other partners. Maybe then they can bring Peggy back to replace him?!

– Speaking of Peggy, after that scene where she looks out of the window of her Virginia hotel room — which I’ve still no idea what its greater meaning is — to see two dogs humping, I’m convinced that it is she who comes up with the state’s tourism tagline, “Virginia is for lovers.”

– That shot of Don watching Megan’s screen test alone in a room reminded me a lot of “The Wheel” scene from the season one finale, the scene I still think is the best Mad Men scene ever.

– The question on every Mad Men fan’s mind today is whether Don slept with that girl’s friend or not. Because, as John Ness pointed out, he’s apparently back to drinking the Old Fashioneds he drank during his man-whoring heyday, it’s obvious to me that Don nailed BOTH OF THEM.

Oh yes he did.

Your thoughts/feelings/observations are of course welcome in the comments. And be sure to check out Maske’s “Best Of” season five GIF roundup.