Posts Tagged ‘Duck Phillips’

Mad Men S03E12: The Grown-Ups

Posted by KAT in Mad Men

November 2nd, 2009, 12:38 PM

The shot heard ’round the world!  Oh boy.  Last night’s Mad Men concerned itself with an event the writers have been building up to over the past season: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy!

The episode starts with Roger Sterling’s daughter Margaret throwing a hissy fit over an extravagant wedding gift Roger’s wife Jane had given her.  That, plus wedding jitters have got the girl thisclose to shutting down the wedding. Roger and ex-wife Mona are able to talk her down and the wedding will go on - on November 22, 1963!

At Sterling Cooper, Pete Campbell gets called in to speak with Lane Pryce, who informs him that Ken Cosgrove, not Pete, has been promoted to SVP of Account Services.  Pete, however, has been bumped up to Head of Account Management, which doesn’t pacify him in the least.  He goes home and is ready to call Duck Phillips about the Grey job, only to be stopped by wife Trudy, who convinces him to wait it out at Sterling Cooper, to see how everything goes.

Duck Phillips, meanwhile, is busy getting sexy with our girl Peggy Olson on a regular basis.  They’re in the midst of one such lunchtime rendezvous when they get the big news: JFK has been shot and killed!

Mad Men: Duck Phillips & Peggy Olson

Everyone at Sterling Cooper has already heard in the meantime.  The phones are ringing off the hook, people are starting prayer circles, the office is general  havoc.  Back home, Betty Draper and housekeeper Carla sit in front of the TV in tears, shaken.

Mad Men: Paul Kinsey, Ken Cosgrove, Pete Campbell, Harry Crane

Don Draper?  Cool as a cucumber!

But Margaret’s wedding must go on.  The next day, we see Don and Betty questioning whether it’s still on, and realizing they must attend.  Pete, on the other hand, is on an anti-Sterling Cooper high horse, and decides to pointedly not go, because no one at Sterling Cooper is upset enough about JFK’s death.  He needs to make a stand!  Wife Trudy follows suit.

Everything at the wedding is a bit of a mess.  Only half the guests were in attendance, a handful were in the back room watching TV, the servers hadn’t shown up, nor had the cake… Oy. 

Betty spots lover Henry Francis across the way and is relieved to find the woman on his arm is his daughter.  Roger gives a charming speech, the bride and groom begin dancing and couples join them on the floor.  Betty can’t take her eyes off Henry, and husband Don, perhaps moved by the moment, gives her a big fat smooch on the dance floor.

Mad Men: Betty Draper & Don Draper

The wedding ends satisfactorily.  Roger and Jane are back at home and he’s annoyed with her.  It seems to me as though the generational gap is starting to take its toll on their relationship - Roger is treating Jane a bit more like a whiny teenager than a wife.  Even further, he relieves the stress of the long day by calling up former lover Joan Holloway.  She’s the only one who’ll say the right thing, he feels.  Uh oh!  Between Baby Jane and Dr. Greg, will we be witnessing a Roger/Joan reunion?  I can’t say I’d be disappointed.

Back at the Draper residence, Betty is still uncontrollably shaken by the murder of JFK…. which takes a turn for the worse when she watches the live murder of Lee Harvey Oswald on TV.  Betty decides to go for a drive and meet Henry, who has a shocking proposition: if she leaves Don, he’ll marry her.  She doesn’t have to decide right away; they kiss and part ways.

Mad Men: Henry Francis & Betty Draper

Betty’s emotions are running high!   She goes home and freaks out at Don, telling him she doesn’t love him anymore, the kiss at the Sterling wedding was passionless for her, that she can’t get past the lies.  Don responds with a calm “Everything will be fine,”  a phrase that is repeated over and over by characters in the episode.  He thinks Betty’s reacting to JFK’s murder alone and will snap out of it - though he’s clearly broken by her admissions.  Sigh.

Mad Men: Don Draper

The next day, Don shows up at the office to find a lone Peggy Olson there.  He declines her invitation to watch the state funeral, instead opting to drink alone in his office.  This is the weakest we’ve ever seen Don Draper; as he sits in his office with a drink, it immediately becomes apparent that his Oliver fantasy has crumbled.  Despite all his efforts, he has ended up truly alone.

A melancholy episode for sure.  I was stirred by not only Betty’s lack of feelings for Don, but the state of the Mad Men nation as they collectively mourned the death of their president.  I couldn’t help drawing the inevitable and uncomfortably eerie comparison between JFK and President Obama, as I believe the response would be quite similar to what we saw on the screen last night.  A feeling of hopelessness, of unfulfilled promises, of extinguished youth, a fear for the future.

In fact, the entire episode was nothing if not a slow chipping away of anything we ever had to hope for: the death of a promising leader, a disappointing career flop, the deterioration of a relationship in their early stages, the slow killing-off of a seemingly perfect marriage… the list goes on.  The Death of Hope episode ends with a fitting song: “End of the World” by Skeeter Davis.  Give this sucker a listen to further bum yourself out.

WOW!  Interesting, I thought, to have the JFK assassination fall in the second-to-last episode rather than the Season 3 finale.  What could they possibly have in store for us next week?  I’m shaking with excitement over here!

Mad Men S03E07: Seven Twenty Three

Posted by KAT in Mad Men

September 28th, 2009, 10:55 AM

Whoa!  Sometimes watching Mad Men makes me feel like I’m losing my mind.  In the best way possible.  Last night’s episode was no exception!

The episode begins with flash-forward teaser scenes.  It seems we have three different mysteries to solve: Don Draper waking up all bloody-faced in a motel, Betty Draper looking lovelorn (and quite frankly, aroused) on a chaise lounge, and Peggy Olson in bed with a mystery man.  How did we come to these conclusions?  Let’s find out!

It all starts with Betty redecorating the house and meeting with the local chapter of the Junior League.  The ladies in the group want to do something about a proposed water tank in the neighborhood.  Betty volunteers to get in touch with Henry Francis, the Governor’s office employee who felt her belly up at Roger Sterling’s Kentucky Derby party.

They end up meeting for coffee and it turns out Henry grew up in the neighborhood as well.  Unfortunately, it seems the project is already underway, and he likely only met with her because of his attraction to her - which she’s into, being drawn in by the powerful feeling of attracting a powerful man.

On their way out, Henry encourages Betty to purchase this ugly-as-hell Victorian “fainting couch.”  Apparently ladies in the Victorian age were so physically overwhelmed by their corsets that they often had to lie down on such couches.  Betty goes ahead with the purchase, at the dismay of her home decorator.  It’s clear that Betty is attracted to the idea of an escape from the unease of female constraints, both physical and social.  This babe basically inspired The Feminine Mystique, if you ask me.  Sheesh.

Mad Men: Betty Draper

Back at Sterling Cooper, everyone is flipping out because Conrad Hilton is in the office to meet with DonDon enters his office and is greeted by Connie sitting at his desk.   Connie wants Don to work for him, with one catch: he only wants to work with someone under contract.  Roger Sterling and Burt Cooper follow up by drafting a proposal that includes a big raise and three-year commitment in order to lock down both Don and the account.  Don is clearly uneasy with the concept of committing to anything for three years and doesn’t sign right away.

Later on, Don attends an eclipse-viewing session with Sally’s class, and is engaged in conversation with teacher Miss FarrellMiss Farrell basically accuses him of hitting on her out of the blue, telling him he’s like all the other bored, pervy men in the neighborhood.  To me, it seemed more like one of those I’m-hitting-on-you-by-accusing-you-of-hitting-on-me situations (you know the kind!), and Don is definitely weirded out.  “I’m not bored,” he tells her curtly.

Mad Men: Miss Farrell

Peggy, meanwhile, is still being courted by Duck Phillips, with an Hermès scarf arriving to tempt her over to Grey.  Pete Campbell talks to her about it and basically shames her into returning the scarf, likely out of jealousy that she’s being pursued harder than he is.  He also mentions the potential arrival of the new Hilton account, which more than piques her interest.

Peggy obviously goes straight to Don to inquire about the account and is met with a bit of animosity on his end.  He’s clearly feeling the pressure of the proposed contract and, I think, the prospect of “selling out” indefinitely, and he really has her have it.  “Every time I turn around you’ve got your hand in my pocket,” he tells her.  “There’s not one thing that you’ve done here that I couldn’t live without. You’re good, get better, stop asking for things.”

OH SNAP!  Peggy got told!  She does, after all, represent everything Don despises: an opportunistic, entitled, corporate ladder-climber.  Locking himself down to three years at Sterling Cooper (”the man”) might make him no different.  Eek!

Back at home, Betty picks up a phone call from Roger Sterling, who tries to convince her to put the pressure on Don about signing the contract - which she still hasn’t heard a thing about.  She basically gives Roger the over-the-phone middle finger, and angrily inquires about the contract when Don gets home.  They get in a huge fight (we get it, you don’t want to be tied down, Don) and he runs out the door with his whiskey in hand.

Don starts driving and picks up a pair of young hitchikers, on their way to Niagara Falls to get married in order for the boy to avoid the draft.  Don clearly loves their purity, free-spiritedness, and damn-the-man ‘tudes (especially now that he himself is being asked to sign away his freedom), and pops two of their Phenobarbital pills when offerred.

Mad Men: Hitchikers & Don Draper

They all stop at a motel room where where they start partying down. Don dances with the girl but soon starts fading from his pill/booze combo and sits down.  He has one of his trademark Dick Whitman visions, in which he pictures his father sitting in the chair in front of him.  Daddy tells Don he’s worthless, that he can’t settle down, that he grows bullshit for a living.  At this point, the two free-spirited kids notice Don still hasn’t passed out and whack him over the head and rob him.  Oy.  Party over.

Meanwhile, that night, Peggy decides to meet with Duck to return the Hermès scarf and talk.  What happens is more than surprising: Duck hits on her and they end up sleeping together in a hotel room.  One can’t help but make the connection between Peggy’s disastrous meeting with Don and her now sleeping with Duck, the anti-Don.  Seems our Peggy is slowly realizing that sex means power, self-worth.

Mad Men: Duck Phillips & Peggy Olson

Don wakes up face down in his own filth the next morning, and returns to the office with a bandaged-up face.  He’s met in his office by Burt Cooper, who wants to discuss the yet-unsigned contract. “Would you say I know something about you, Don?” Burt asks him.  “When it comes down to it, who’s really signing this contract anyway?”

Oh maaaan, do you get it?  Burt’s basically blackmailing the guy by implying he knows a thing or two about Don’s past.  Don gets the message and reluctantly signs the contract, dating it 7/23/1963.

What is the significance of seven twenty three, our episode title?  It’s the day Don signed his soul away, duh.  His life, both professional and personal, is now bound to Burt Cooper & co.  Oh noes!

Fantastic episode.  You know there’s nothing I love more than subtle artistry, and S03E07 was chock-full of it.  On top of that, many plot points we’d almost forgotten (finally, some more Dick Whitman!) were pushed forward, while new ones craftfully put into place.  Bravo!

Mad Men S03E05: The Fog

Posted by KAT in Mad Men

September 14th, 2009, 11:31 AM

BORING!  A full hour of Don Draper behaving himself?!  I didn’t sign up for this, Mad Men!

An even slower episode than usual last night, methinks.  It starts off with Betty and Don visiting little Sally’s teacher Miss Farrell - the same teach who entranced Don during the school’s Maypole dance - to speak to her about Sally’s recent behavioral problems.  Apparently, Sally got in a little catfight with another student. Miss Farrell asks whether anything has changed in Sally’s life recently, and is stunned to learn of the passing of the little girl’s grandfather and the fact that she hasn’t been afforded an opportunity to grieve for him.  Betty leaves the room upset - though more likely unwilling to deal rather than grief-stricken, as per usual.  This leaves Don alone in the room with teach, who starts apologizing for bringing this all up, how she knows what it’s like to lose someone at a young age.

Mad Men: Miss FarrellMiss Farrell later calls the Draper household with a drink in hand, hair mussed up, and bra strap all hangin’ down.  Don picks up.  Obviously a bit tipsy, she blubbers out another apology, which Don, of course, accepts

Don clearly finds her quite charming, which begs the question: who WON’T Don Draper sleep with?!  I mean, nothing’s happened yet, but they’re totally gonna do it, right?

Minutes later,  Betty walks in and nonchalantly announces she’s going into labor.  “Who was that on the phone?” she asks.  “Nobody,” replies the Drape.

Whilst at the hospital, Betty acts her usual can’t-be-bothered, bratty self (”But I don’t wannnnna give birth, wah wah wah”).  Something, however, is clearly weighing on her mind, as she has two trippy, drug-induced dreams.

Mad Men: Betty DraperThe first: she’s walking down an idyllic street, looking lovely, and all of a sudden a green caterpillar springs down from a tree, right in front of her face.  She looks at it, quizzically.

The second: a bit more intense. It’s her father, Grandpa Gene, mocking up blood, while her mother wipes blood off of an African-American man wearing a suit.  Her mom tells her to be thankful for what she has, while Gene basically confirms everything she’s ever thought about herself in a single statement: “You’re a house cat and have very little to do.”

WEIRDED OUT!  What does it all mean?!?!  Where’s my dream dictionary when you need it?

Meanwhile, Don is in the waiting room with another father-to-be: Dennis, a corrections officer from Sing-Sing.  They start bonding, sharing a bottle of scotch.  Dennis tells Don he’s a good man, and that he’s going to strive to be a better person, with the birth of his child - something which Don seems to take to heart.  Strangely enough, when Don later sees Dennis in the hospital halls with his wife and gives him a smile.  Dennis won’t even look him in the eye.  Huh?

Back at Sterling Cooper, Pete Campbell is feeling the pressure of being pitted again Ken Cosgrove for Head of Accounts.  He takes on the Admiral TV account and, in analyzing the sales statistics, realizes the product is quite popular among African-Americans.  What ensues is an awkward conversation in the elevator with the black attendant Hollis, about what television he purchased and why.  Awkward!

Mad Men: Hollis & Pete Campbell

Pete DOES come up with an intriguing idea, however: integration.  He suggests that Admiral market their television sets to both blacks and whites.  Unfortunately, this idea isn’t received well, as Admiral doesn’t want to be known as a “colored” person’s company.  He gets flogged for his failure by Roger Sterling and Bert Cooper (Roger: “Well if it isn’t Martin Luther King, Jr.”), while the British dude, Lane Pryce, thinks there might be something there, in America’s current climate.

In another Pete storyline, he gets a call from Duck Phillips, who is now at Grey and wants to get lunch.  When Pete shows up, he finds Peggy Olson sitting at the table as well (Side note: a full 40 minutes into the episode to get some Peggy?!  Sheesh.).  It seems Duck wants to woo both of them over to Grey and, shockingly, tells them he knows they have a secret, mutually beneficial “relationship.”   Stunned, Pete denies the allegation and, pissed that Peggy was invited to the meeting as well, walks out. Peggy doesn’t seem to know what to think.

Mad Men: Peggy Olson & Duck Phillips

When Don returns to work, Peggy meets him in the office for a chat, asking for a raise.  The government has enforced equal pay for equal work among both men and women, after all.  Don, however, can’t grant the raise, as Sterling Cooper has been counting every paperclip lately.  Peggy, clearly not thrilled, fingers a baby slipper attached to a gift in the office and tells him “You have everything. And so much of it,” which Don can’t deny, and seems to also take to heart.  One gets the feeling that Peggy isn’t talking just about his career.

Integration, racial struggle, equal pay, feminist issues?  SO TOPICAL!!!!  1963 rules.

Don seems to do a lot of contemplation on what he has, and we see him in a few tender moments: attending the parent/teacher meeting, cooking Sally a midnight snack, bringing Betty flowers, and so forth.  Will he change?  Or is he gonna hook that hottie, Miss Farrell?  We’ll have to wait and see.

At the end of the episode, Betty brings her new baby boy home - named Eugene Scott Draper, after Grandpa Gene. Betty is asked about the labor and describes the labor as “a fog.”  She seems, for once, happy.

Mad Men: Sally Draper, Bobby Draper, Betty Draper, Don Draper

Everyone goes to bed and as they’re drifting off, baby Gene bursts into tears in the next room.  Betty sleepily drifts into the bedroom to attend to him.  Back to reality, babe. Fog lifted.

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