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Ep 9: Exploration of Identity

Posted in Uncategorized on September 20, 2010 by greg1835

Ep 9: More Exploration of Identity.

So we have a core MM thing going on, in the exploration of identity.

Peggy is still between the proto-hippy and the old guard. Yet again the proto-hippy guy disrespects her and cares not for what she her own self cares about, her work; of course thinking and insisting he’s right and gentle and righteous but is really nothing other than a bully. In addition, Peggy needs not nor wants a Superman, but he tries to be, not well rounded enough to know that’s what he’s really doing to her. He’s wrong but insists he’s right.

Sally is at the same time a rebel from Betty, yet a model of Betty.

Dr. Faye is down a certain path, having identity come in to play with her about what she feels Don is assuming she’s supposed to be vs who she really is.

Joan is getting a little bit of it as well. Joan is caught somewhere between the identity of Blankenship, but also she was somewhat the proto-Peggy before Peggy, but she’s closer to Blankenship.

Then Blankenship dies. Bert and Roger are a bit tore up. It’s the beginning of the end of the old guard.

Roger has stared death in the face before. His war experience. His 2 coronaries. And now, the mugging could have gone that way. He dealt with the coronaries through Joan and sex. He dealt with it also through marrying, and more likely sex, with Jane. Here, the mugging, he deals with it through sex yet again.

Identity again with apparently from last episode Don telling Faye Gene thinks his Daddy is someone else. Now here Sally is getting along fine with Faye as a surrogate Mommy, and in the end also hugs greatly, and affects, Megan the hugging secretary. Sally doesn’t like her Mommy yet right now seems ok with someone else being her identity Mommy as long as she’s connected with Daddy.

What’s also interesting is Don had said to blonde Anna he wants her to meet his kids, and after there is no more Anna, suddenly Don is all sweetheart on blonde-semi-Anna/Betty clone Dr. Faye. And here he trusts her with his kid in a home-y sorta way. Don is still searching even if it isn’t overt and our attention was directed elsewhere.

Probably nothing: But, Roger after Blankenship dies, in being with Joan, takes her hand. Roger’s confiding usually consists of telling her she’s the best piece of ass he’s had. Here, he takes her hand. Don took Peggy’s hand in a different way, but still, after Don should have done that with Allison. Roger should have done that before instead of parakeets and jokes, if you remember season 1. He’s doing it now though. They both Roger and Don should have been able to offer that before and didn’t; but they’re both at that point now.

The new young guard is busy angry philosophizing in their moments of angst, the old guard is embracing hands in their moments of angst. Differences.

Two great edits: Don at the end, when you didn’t think he’d take that drink but he does; and the edit is immediately to Peggy doing the same.

Also, the end shot in the elevator. The 3 women, Don’s women and their differences yet all connected by him. Joan: the old guard. Faye: the seemingly Betty surrogate he apparently needs. Peggy: the one who is most mirrored to him. Peggy, the porridge in the middle we all actually want in someone.

It’s another exploration of the idea of 3 they’ve done before and the idea of identity this episode. Great episode. Makes your brain hurt but it’s worth it.


Mad Men Season 4 Episode 8

Posted in Uncategorized on September 13, 2010 by greg1835

Very different episode, very interesting. Was it about relationships?

Was it about Don searching for home? Are they related? Earlier we had Don combating then confiding later a little bit while she is doing dishes in the office with Dr. Faye. The home motif. We had the surprise waitress call him Dick so apparently inebriated he at least was honest to some degree. We had him visit Anna and actually be affected. He has a home both in actual real estate there, and within her herself. And last week we had him lay his head in Peggy’s lap; a man trying to find home. And now, in the end tonight… he goes home. So we have had a current theme of Don losing his place in life.

And here, we have a parallel in Joan, seemingly losing her place. She’s losing her command of the office, and losing her man at home as well. Don and Joan, more emphasis tonight of the theme of being lost. Joan is now starting to get lost. And then later, so is Betty as well.

Enter Peggy. She formerly of the new artsy side of things, yet hasn’t been back there. Last week she spends the day with Don, the old guard. This week she sides with the old guard again in the form of Joan. Peggy is yet still searching, and so is Don, each in their own way.

Two weeks in a row now, Peggy told a guy off. Last week with her weenie boyfriend, and this week firing the guy. And both weeks she got schooled; last week by Don in that relationship metaphorical argument and here tonight also by Joan. Peggy who has embraced young, has now rejected young. Peggy fires the guy this week and in essence, fired the boyfriend last week. But she has also in her embracing of the old guard the past two weeks felt it’s rejection as well. Peggy, like last season, is still caught somewhere in the middle.

And Peggy and Joan’s relationship is similar to Peggy and Don’s in that it’s both honey and vinegar. The young guy this week was joking about Joan the same way they all joke about Peggy and office sex. She acted like Don in telling them “give me three ideas….” like Don would say to her. Then, Peggy takes the porno picture to Don, for Don to take charge of it.

Similar to the mouse last week, wanting Don to take charge of it. Peggy again, caught in the middle of her own self. This time instead of standing on the chair saying eek! like last week with the mouse, she now takes Don’s go-ahead and puts her hands on the issue and kills the guy, firing him, unlike the mouse last week where she needed Don to do it. That’s what I think the mouse was about.

And we come back to Mr. Draper. Bravo Mr. Draper: Don’s date was not exactly full of laughs. Betty shows up with Henry, with Henry trying to be Alpha male. Don plays it cool. (and of course the irony of Betty saying about Bobbie Barrett.. .”she’s so old” when you see Don’s date’s reaction to Betty) Predictably, Betty looks over more than once. Yet Don never does the same.

Also, coincidentally, Don’s date began rather lame yet suddenly when Betty is here and he knows she’ll be looking, suddenly he apparently had turned on the charm because he now has the girl laughing basically in front of Betty. Don doesn’t need the cue, he knows who and what Betty is. Don’s date did not suddenly turn interesting, he’s turning on the charm with his own date playing Betty’s game.

Don is not the first one of us to have to relegate himself to this crap. But, it does in fact work. And of course, in the end, Betty is in fact somewhat welcoming to him when he comes home. She at least smiles and that’s a start. Well played Mr. Draper.

 Betty wants to play games, Don will play games. We’ve all been there and done that. However later now we have the contradiction. Don was just bad but now tries to be good with Dr. Faye. He had no interest in being good with the younger blonde date. He said yes to she who not matters yet acts like now Dr. Faye matters. Will she buy it? Is he real? Does he mean it? He is in fact looking for a home this season since he has none after being tossed by Betty. He in fact has no home in losing Anna. Is he legit with Dr. Faye, or is he still just Don Draper?

The end was terrific. We have his usual history of affairs being with brunettes and home being with blondes. 3 blondes accept him tonight. The young date finally “accepts” him in the cab, Dr. Faye accepts him as a real date, and in the end when he comes home, (<–the concept of which is an important theme tonight) Betty now suddenly at least let’s him in.

Baby Gene has a different Daddy now with Henry. Don always had a different Daddy. Don comes home and picks up Gene, and not Sally. (Interesting, given last week in a quick shot with Don at his desk vs Peggy you see his family pics of his kids; only Sally and Bobby though. And they’re both blocked by that pic of Anna and Don in a frame however, ( [where Don is playing Roger’s book tape] ).

Who was Don writing to? Anna? Is he actually writing to Betty the same way he wrote to Betty from the hotel room before? His own self, a diary? Is it him coming home to his own self?

He sank deep, arms spread in the pool. He walked in the ocean, arms spread in Cali. His own self is an unknown. Who is he writing to? What really is home for Don? Is it really coming home to responsibility, or is beautifully simply a woman’s lap to lay your head on?

Mad Men Season 4 Episode 7

Posted in Uncategorized on September 6, 2010 by greg1835

SO…. we begin with 2 men needing Peggy. And neither in the way a woman wants to be needed or wanted.

Duck is inventing the idea of a “marriage” in order to woo the girl. Don is needing her for reasons of utility.

Peggy is needed by two men who are drunk. And she is also needed by her lame boyfriend, for reasons other than her. Everyone wants a piece of Peggy from Duck, to Don, to her boyfriend and family, to the new creepy art director, to her new artsy friends who don’t care about her work. But she’s never wanted in the way anyone would want to be wanted.

Is Peggy going to be the next to crack? Is the idea of cracking a theme this year? Peggy finally did crack a little, in the fact that she cried in the women’s room like we thought she’d never do. Then, Don cracks as well. More bonding and similarity.

There seemed to be another theme of marriage and avoidance. Don looks at his pic with Anna, which in position and posture is close to the idea of a wedding pic. He doesn’t call Cali. Peggy has the guy dining with the family, and she is clearly avoiding him and it. Don and Peggy are both avoiding, yet together.

Peggy after the whole season so far away from the old guard, is now for once in with the old guard in the old guard way here with Don. She’s still searching for her identity.

They decide to tie themselves to work in order to avoid. They’re both avoiding personal responsibility when it comes to relationships. They’re both avoiding metaphors with marriage. Yet they engage in a marriage of sorts when they argue like a married couple in that heated moment. That almost vicious argument was more analogous to couple fighting than work fighting. But, they end up tying themselves to each other. They tie their hand together at the end regardless. Relationship analogies?

Suitcases are about travel yet they both stay home, yet away from home.

Another Mad Men exploration of the idea of 3 in the idea of there are 3 kinds of suitcases. Similar to the idea of 3 classes of people we saw in the Kentucky Derby episode last year, among other examples of the idea of 3 we have seen before.

Another idea of 3 is that we found out Don really did visit her in the hospital, and they’re bonded in that way; and Pete has a place in each of them in Pete’s knowing of what she did, and Pete’s knowing what Don did regarding Korea.

Again like a couple, they not only fight, but they bond as well. Don tells her about growing up on a farm, his Dad, Uncle Mack, Korea etc. He never does this. But he does now, with Peggy.

In the very end, she sleeps on the couch in the office, just like we’ve seen Don time and time again. And in talking over the account at the end, did you notice she critiques him in the same way he critiques everyone?

Their whole thing is backward. The whole episode begins as a metaphor of a marriage and obligation and frustration, and yet ends up as a first date if you think about it.  It’s backwards. They begin with the necessary evils and obligations and arguing, and end with the fun and interest and innocence of a first date. Their night ends with his head innocently in a knowing girl’s lap. That’s all the man wants even though he probably doesn’t know it yet.

But then maybe he does, gently taking her hand similar to the pilot episode when she took his. In the pilot she did so because she thought it was her duty and thought it was right. But here Don does so because it’s right and more importantly because he wants to, and something he should have and did not in fact do, with Allison. Did Mr. Draper learn?

One of the basic motifs of the show is lines drawn and differences. They have a line drawn between them in their differences, yet like anything that spins around and around that eventually comes back where it began ( I feel another motif of the show but that’s just me), they time to time come together just for a brief moment.

His taking her hand, I was reminded of the U2 song “One” with the line, “We’re one but we’re not the same”

The Joan Leg shot

Posted in Uncategorized on August 30, 2010 by greg1835

The Joan legshot. To me, I thought excellent use of sexuality to distract us to make us think it’s rooted in male competition for a woman. But, I thought both of them taking her hand was more about the original line from Joan in the pilot, to Peggy, “most of these men want a mother and a waitress.”

They’re both Alpha males, constantly in competition on more than one level. But in the face of hopefully the moment of triumph instead of high-fiving and chest thumping and male posturing etc….they each independently, unknowing, took the woman’s hands instead, at the moment of climax.

They could have shot it with both of them taking her hands above table in group joy. But 2 things:

They both hid it from each other, so it was under the table to not let the other see.

But second, they’re both grown men reaching for her hands, the woman, in this moment which could mean a lot.

It was way more personal, visually, seeing the two Alpha males both reach for the comfort of femininity; and her legs were the symbol of that femininity to us the viewer as both Don and Rger took her hands.

Mad Men Episode 6

Posted in Uncategorized on August 30, 2010 by greg1835

The spherical cigarette dispenser thing Allison threw at Don back on the coffee table? I think so.

Peggy is wearing slingbacks.

Interesting Don and Peggy dynamic. In the beginning, Don is actually chummy with her in turning down someone. But then challenging later on is their interaction. It’s a hallmark of their relationship; both honey and vinegar. Yet in the end it works.

Roger talking about comedy duo relationships. Then you have he and Don in apparently their first meeting ever, kinda both doing a comedy routine for us the viewer. The way they dialogue back and forth with the furs looked like an homage to old school comedy duos. And they do it immediatley after, when we get back to the present, in their drinking.

The flashback with Roger and Joan, the next edit is Roger in present calling in Caroline to say he has, “another work story”.

At the ceremony after Duck being old-Duck, “Gentlemen let’s pace ourselves” is the announcement, and Roger takes a long pull from his drink.

The creepy guy to Peggy mentioned something about hunting, similar to the Pete dialogue she had back in the day…

SO, we find out in the flashback Don did the whole gift idea in trying to get a job with Roger. Roger didn’t like it. Remember when CocaCola did that regarding Betty, and Don didn’t like it?

At the end when Pete was talking to Cosgrove, taking charge, I was disappointed to not see Pete’s rifle in the background, like we used to see whenever Pete had a changing moment.

The random and accidental waitress after all that? Anyone who has ever lived will vote to submit this one for the Emmys, if not 2 episodes ago.

Later, Don pulling the old and patented Cock Block by stealing Dr. Faye from some guy. Classic. Barvo Mr. Draper.

Ep 5, Combat, confiding and Peggy on the carouself motif

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2010 by greg1835

Episode 5, combat vs confide, and Peggy on the carousel theme.

To me, the most interesting scene was Don with Dr. Faye.

She’s in an office, yet in the kitchen. Shoes off. Doing dishes. And the only time in the episode, Don actually confides rather than combats. He talks personally which he rarely does. There’s no element of vinegar in their presence, like it was before and like to a small degree his dates with Jane’s friend, no matter whose fault it would be.

Since she’s both in an office and a kitchen, which is the real environment Don is seeing?

Is it simply because she’s a psych and it mirrors the Sally angle? Or is it something more, about the homestead blonde. Is that what unlocks the first lock of a safe with many locks to go through until he opens? Is that his pillow, is that his oasis his mind wants to finally rest upon and within? Anna does after all give him a bit of that as well.

Did he see the idea of a Betty without combat, in her? He’s also straight with Anna. He sees nothing worthy of substance in Dr. F until that scene. And he is neither alpha male nor bossy toward her, choosing to confide. Most every other scene was one of combat and confrontation with him tonight.

And later with work, did we see Don employing the Cold War strategy of an arm’s race?

In addition, Tonight we saw Don on different sides of things. The visual near the end was great, of Don in his chair and Pete and Layne in a big office with plenty of space, but sitting together away from him. With his coworkers, his wife, his date, competitors etc he was always on another confrontational side. Yet he was only together, and for only a few moments, with someone he was formerly on the other side of in blondy Dr. F.

Later we saw Betty in Sally’s psyche’s office looking wistfully at the idyllic playhouse. Not to mention her with Henry hanging together listening to the music in the living room like we saw with her and Don before. Also not to mention Betty complaining to Henry about parenting, yet telling him he’s soft. She did basically the same to Don when he wouldn’t smack Bobby.

(and unrelated it would have been very Joan as well looking at the playhouse; meanwhile Peggy is riding the Honda around and around in a circle [carousel style] ).

Which brings us to another unanswerable point: I’ve always believed in the carousel motif of unencumbered spinning round and round like a child with no admitted beginning or end, no worries as one of the underlying themes of this series (the Kodak presentation, and the visual carousel the episode we met Suzanne Farrell, and the emphasis on globes which spin around and around). Peggy, who we know has a lot of Don in her, visually spinning around and around tonight. We saw her within a round set, traveling around and around, and they could have had her do anything. Or maybe it’s just a bunch coincidences through the seasons. Who knows.

Peggy, the unintended trophy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2010 by greg1835

The competition over Peggy:

Last year, Duck trying to woo Peggy from Sterling Cooper.

The priest competing both with and against her in season 2 for the truth.

Her mother competing with Madison Avenue to keep her home.

Her sister endlessly competing with her due to sibling rivalry.

Don, wanting to bring her from SC to SCDP.

At the party tonight, the guy in the closet and Peggy’s friend both having eyes for her competing for her.

At SCDP Peggy is in an implied competition because the old guard likes her work and wants her; Freddie, Don and Roger only care about who makes money. But the new guard shows up for her not exactly being shy about it. The old guard takes her work seriously which is so important to her, even if they still have a boys will boys attitude that she has to put up with. But the new guard cares not about her work. The new guard doesn’t care about one of the very things so important to her.

Does Peggy stick with those who take her work seriously even though they don’t treat her like one of the boys? Or does Peggy join those that take an interest in her but have no care for her work, which means a lot to her?

The conflict that defines Peggy steps to another level.

What defines Peggy?  Her work means more than a lot. Those here tonight that accept her with no questions care not at all about her work, something that is her very core though. Those who care about what is her very core, her work, don’t treat her like friends.

Peggy is a girl who gets no attention, yet is unaware of all the attention that she actually has. It manifests itself in the competition on different levels about her. Yet, it’s competition that’s not about her as her own person, it’s competition about her being an object.

What was great about Duck sending her the scarf last year was that Peggy doesn’t have the simple things like a guy sending her a simple gift. Somewhere underneath everything Peggy is still a girl at heart. That’s why she wanted to keep it. Peggy finally had attention that was a good personal thing even if it was fake, it was a personal item even if simple. But even though she knew better, she’s so starved she liked it.

Peggy has been completely starved for attention because she’s either been an object as an office tool or a family tool or a utilitarian tool, but here tonight she (seemingly because you never know what will happen) was given attention not for a personal use, but finally as an accepted peer. Even in the 3 parties episode last year she was still treated as a lark and not seriously with the Paul gang.

Peggy is in need of an identity and made a decision tonight. Was it really the right one?

It’s those who accept her as a peer yet care not at all about what is so intrinsic to her core, to part of her heart, what really matters to her SO much, her work. They couldn’t care less.


Those who give her the validation of her work, yet don’t count her personally as a peer.

Which group is the real user?

Peggy, who wants what any normal person does, attention, gets none yet gets too much; just too much of the wrong kind. Not exactly new in life, huh?

The conflict that is Peggy continues…