-We’re in March, 1968 with the announcement of Robert Kennedy’s campaign, the announcement of Johnson’s non-campaign (cute moment between Roger and Bert), and an NYU student protest against Dow Chemical recruiters. This pace ties with last year with about a month in between each episode.
-We got some Harry Crane and Joan stories in the episode, and neither of them are very happy. Harry continues to feel slighted and jealous of Joan, and Joan, despite her status, still isn’t very respected or well-liked.
-The episode’s title, ‘To Have and To Hold,’ caused me to look closely at different ways marriage was represented in the episode. (‘To Have and To Hold‘ was also the best selling book of 1900, but I defy anyone to read the Wikipedia summary and connect it to this episode.) We saw it in the first scene with Heinz Ketchup Timmy, Dawn’s friend getting married, Megan’s love scene, Megan’s co-workers inviting Don and her to swing, Joan’s friend cheating on her husband. It’s an overall terrible depiction of marriage in the late 60s.
-Right away, there’s double infidelity. Don, Pete, and Timmy from Heinz Ketchup are meeting in Pete’s apartment behind Raymond’s (Sauces, Vinegars, and Beans) back. Timmy used the meeting as an excuse to stay in the city and see a woman, not his wife. He makes this clear by creepily taking his ring off on his way out. “I don’t need much of an excuse to come to Manhattan.” (Also, adults with y sounds at the end of their name are OK as long as it’s not Timmy.) This is also Don being unfaithful to his client, Raymond, and I’m not totally sure how Pete convinced him to change his mind. And then Pete and Don share a special moment with Pete offering up his bachelor pad for Don’s use. It’s like he got a quarter through saying it and realized it was a bad idea, but he couldn’t stop. “Well, it’s available to you if you ever need to spend the night in the city.”
-Don’s secretary, Dawn, went to meet with friend/sister? who is getting married. Dawn’s the maid of honor, but can’t find a date. (Always the bridesmaid, never…) Mad Men’s continued avoidance of race issues in the 60s has been a thorn to many critics. It’ll be interesting to track Dawn this season to see if she’s the only view into this side of the 60s. She also described the life of a non-principal at SCDP, “Women crying in the lady’s room. Men crying in the elevator.” We never really do see how the worker bees live, but tonight at least, Dawn got some good lines. “It sounds like NYE when they empty the garbage.” “I don’t care if everyone hates me here as long as you don’t.”
-Joan has a friend visiting from out of town which gives us a chance to check in on her. Both her friend and mother make much of her title at the firm, but when Joan tries to fire Harry Crane’s secretary, we get an illustration of how much power she really has. SCDP is willing to let her do her thing and manage things as she sees fit, and they were happy to get Jaguar as a client, but they also need to be mindful of what Harry brings to the business. I don’t know if they’ll ever make him a partner, but mostly because Sterling just likes playing with him. I thought the shot of her in the cab while her friend and the manager were making out, replicated almost exactly in the club – Joan set apart, sitting up straight – but then willing to be seduced, oh gosh end this run on sentence. Anyway, that shot made me think of Joan at SCDP. Alone and unhappy, but up for it. Joan’s friend came in from out of town to see what it was like to choose career over family and… “I’m really not you, am I?”
-This episode did focus more on the women characters, Joan, Megan, Dawn. We even got to see Peggy pitch.
-Megan was bound to do a love scene at some point if she continued to get bigger roles, and did you really think Don was going to like it? He starts off gruffly accepting, “If I wasn’t your husband, I would be happy for you.” And then Megan pushes it a little further, “Honey, I can tolerate this, but I can’t encourage it.” Don came to watch the scene, and it wasn’t just a love scene, it was a character betraying his entire family, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, but the guy was a cartoonish version of Don. So… Don, a guy playing someone else, was watching his wife playing someone else while she made out with a guy playing him. That’s a lot to take in.
-Besides the obvious and comedic, two things stood out for me in the swinger dinner with Megan’s writer and castmate. Don’s been an actor his entire life and he’s now married to an actor and here is at dinner with some. “I could cast you.” “I’m sure he’s a man that plays many roles.” The second quotation is just one of what is basically a weekly reminder of how Don is not who he says he is. The second part that stood out was Don saying he was agains the war. I’m not sure if it was just the company he was in or he actually believes that, but I’m not sure how prevalent that opinion was among the NYC businessmen of the late 60s. Not sure how many of them smoke dope in a room with tinfoil on the windows, either, though.
-Harry Crane’s office is ridiculous, but at lease he has the window he coveted for so long. For what it’s worth, his $22K salary in 1968 has the 2013 spending power of $149,003.60. Thus making his bonus worth another $150K or so. Not bad, Harry. Harry continues to have a giant chip on his shoulder, and I’m of two minds. Either it’s unwarranted because he’s not good at his job, or we just don’t see how successful he really is because of how the character is written. I’m going to go with unwarranted based on how SCDP treats him. They give him enough to keep him wanting more. “I was different than you, Mr. Crane, in every way.” “Should we fire him before he cashes that check.”
-The pitches to Heinz. It’s clear Don’s ideas only work on certain clients and others either need more coaxing, or something else to convince them. For their pitch to work, Timmy from Heinz would have had to be more confident in his brand. Interestingly, Peggy’s pitch gave him everything he said was missing from SCDP’s – the bottle, etc – and neither of them got the account. So it seems Timmy just wanted to be wooed. Peggy intro’d her pitch, “If you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation” the same way Don discussed his idea with the Madison Square Garden team in Season 3 Episode 2. “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”
-There was a neat parallel in Don’s pitch, using a customer’s imagination to sell ketchup, and when he went to the set to watch Megan’s scene to avoid having his imagination run wild. “If you can get into that space, your ad can run all day.” Megan did get into that space and it wasn’t sitting well with Don. “You kiss people for money, you know who else does that?” Another prostitution reference that was maybe supposed to go in last week’s episode.
-Mrs. Rosen is praying Don finds peace and I’m too tired to think about it.
What did I miss?
See full post here: Chris Piascik2013-04-22.