Last week saw a little more of Don Draper’s back story, while comparing how Don Draper and Pete Campbell have affairs. We also see that Heinz ketchup is looking for a new agency. At the behest of Heinz beans, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has to take a “hands off” approach. This week we have a very Joan centered episode, while how really “hands off” SCDP chooses to be with Heinz ketchup.
Here are #5Takeaways from last night’s Mad Men:
We are beginning to get a lot more status details.
One of the most fun parts of Mad Men is the viewer sees Matt Weiner and Co., infuse the politics and culture of the 60s within the fabric of the show. So far this season we have only really gotten to hear a little about the Vietnam War, while this episode was chock full of both cultural and political references. We see Harry Crane using an ABC mug in one scene. In one of the Joan heavy scenes, we see her chatting with a friend who works for Mary Kay, who is interviewing for a position at a rival company named Avon, headquartered in New York City.
Perhaps the most significant cultural nods is Don and Meghan having dinner with one of Meghan’s co-stars at the soap opera and her husband, the head writer of the show. They begin talking about how The Smothers Brothers, are causing distress among their advertisers because of jokes they were making about the Vietnam War. The head writer tells Don that this is censorship, as advertisers are beginning to pull their ads causing the network to start editing the Brothers show before they premiere. Don admits that although he is against the war, he understand why the advertisers don’t want their ads attached to a show that is causing waves among the masses.
Joan is still not seen equally by the partners.
Even though Joan is a partner at SCDP and is doing better professionally than her friend who works for Mary Kay, Joan is still struggling to be seen as an equal by the other employees at SCDP. One incident that is ever-present in this week’s episode involves Harry Crane’s secretary Scarlett. Scarlett wants to leave work early for one of the other “girls” (secretaries) birthdays and asks Dawn if she will clock her out. Dawn hesitantly agrees. Later, Joan finds out about Scarlett’s ploy and fires her on the spot. When Harry finds out about this, he rushes into a partners meeting (that Joan is a part of) and demands Scarlett to be reinstated and asks to become a member himself.
The other partners acquiesce to Harry’s request for Scarlett to be reinstated, but don’t allow Harry to become a partner, even though he just made $150,000 for the firm through a television program (more on that later.) After, a night of barhopping and lovemaking, Joan’s friend admits to Joan that the reason she interviewed with Avon so that “she could live the life that Joan lives” and be more like her. Joan disagrees with her assessment at how independent and free Joan really is. At the end of the episode, when Dawn apologizes for punching Scarlett’s time card, Joan gives Dawn the “responsibility” for taking care of the time cards and files, and says it’s a “punishment” not a “responsibility.” Dawn replies, “I don’t care if everybody hates me here, as long as you don’t.”
Harry seems to be undervalued
Where Don and the rest of the partners find the print media to be the major source of revenue for the firm, television is actually the fastest growing medium at the time. Harry kind of accidentally slides into his post as head of television, but the position seems to work out very well for him. At the beginning of the episode, it seems like Dow Chemical is having a public relations problem, as a lot of its products are being used in the Vietnam War in a hazardous way. The image is not what the company wants. Harry develops a plan for a special on television, where Joe Namath will perform songs with a host of other guest. Dow loves the idea, which spurs Harry to ask for the partner position.
The other partners don’t think Harry is well-suited for partner. In my opinion its because Harry was never really like Roger, Don, Pete or Cooper. He is larger than them, spends time in Hollywood and never really dealt with the other partners that much. In the end, Roger and Cooper give him a bonus equal to his yearly wage of $23,000. I think Harry will leave the company by the end of the season.
SCDP is not as great as the viewer thinks it is.
Even though we the viewer of Mad Men, have a great time being part of their world. It seems that their world is slowly closing up and evaporating. We love spending time with the pot-smoking Stan, listening to Ginsberg’s hilarious monologues and see Don Draper slowly crumble. To the outside world however, it isn’t the best place to work. There hasn’t been a lot of time passed between Lane Pryce hanging himself, and Dawn references to a friend that everyone is constantly drinking a crying. Business isn’t even as great as it used to be.
Pete, Don and Stan decide to take meetings with Heinz ketchup, even though Heinz beans told them not to do so. In a hotel room, Don demonstrates an ad campaign with food that is supposed to have ketchup (hot dogs, hamburger, fries) with no condiments at all. He superimposes a see through plastic that says, “Pass the Heinz.” They exit the room and see Peggy and her boss. Peggy’s presentation simply has a huge billboard in Times Square displaying, “Heinz, The Only Ketchup.” Heinz ketchup loves it, and hires Peggy on the spot. Later, Cosgrove angrily enters a bar where Don and Pete are drinking and tells them that Heinz beans has dropped them as an agency.
Don might be going crazy.
Meghan is starting to get a much bigger role on her soap opera. This means that she needs to have more sexual scenes with one of her co-stars. Don’s objects to the idea at first, but allows her to go ahead anyway. The day of the shoot, Don shows up and after, Don and Meghan have a huge argument about the scene. Don ends of leaving and of course goes to Sylvia. She is wearing a cross, and when Don asks her to take it off, she says “I pray for you, I pray for you to find peace.” Don turns the cross around to her back and the episode ends. It is such a double standard. It might be normal of the times, but why does Don get so angry at Meghan’s fake sex scenes and then just goes have “real sex” without feeling any responsibility. Weird.
Can’t wait till next week.
Also, WHAT IS THE POINT OF BOB BENSON?!?!?!