In a show as well-written as "Mad Men," there is always some competition for the best line of the week. Here are my choices.
#2: "I'm a little nearsighted; I'm not blind." Said by Richard, a man in search of an optometrist who lucks into meeting Joan instead and has the wit to keep the conversation going and to land a dinner date with our favorite red-head. Is he good enough for her? We'll see.
Hombres Locos [April 25, 2015]
I love your “best lines of the week” conceit for this week’s blog post.
This was my favorite episode of the (SOB!!!) final season so far, due in large part to generous helpings of Sally, Peggy, Joan, and Betty, all my favorite Mad Men femmes. With at least 3 of them involved in sex-related situations or conversations during the episode, life couldn't be better!
(GIANT ASIDE: Speaking of commercials-as-punishment, which you brought up in your opening paragraph: I sometimes end up re-watching Mad Men episodes on the computer. And while grateful that AMC makes them available this way for further study, the strategy for delivering commercials during these online viewings is heinous. Quartets of commercials abruptly interrupt the show, often at key moments (nothing new there). But unlike watching network TV as you described, where you usually get an array of different commercials each break, online you see the same one or two commercials EACH DAMN TIME. During some of the frequent commercial barrages, you see the same single commercial four times back to back. (I turn the sound off so at least I don't have to hear them.) Highly obnoxious. When this indignity occurs, I console myself by leaving the room, to pet dogs, secure snacks, pee, or take a close look at my eyebrows in the bathroom mirror (always edifying, I find. You can tell your future by scrutinizing your eyebrows.) And I keep a list of the products that are advertised in this mind-battering, abusive way, so I will remember NEVER to buy ANY of them. I feel Don Draper would rather be celibate for life than ever allow ads for any product Sterling Cooper represented, be it peanut butter cookies or pantyhose, to bludgeon a poor, lowly computer user in this abusive way. END OF CRANKY ASIDE.)
I love two pairings or doublings in this episode. ONE: we get to see both Joan and Don woken up as the show opens. Don's overslept and his realtor lets herself in to show his on-the-market house, and thus wakes him. On the opposite coast, Joan, on a business trip, is awakened in her hotel room by her annoying mother, who's babysitting her little boy back in New York, calling too early because she just can't keep it straight about the time difference. We get the fun of hearing what Joan orders for breakfast from room service, which is a perfect character description of Joan via food: “A glass of skim milk, a grapefruit, a pot of coffee..............(significant PAUSE) ..........and some French toast.”
The second pairing is a kind of image/dialogue rhyme. When Joan is having sex with Richard for the first time, there's a little jokey pillow talk about how avid he is. He teases, “I just got out of jail.” She smiles and sweetly replies, “And you're acting like it.” When Sally and Betty are dealing with travelers checks for Sally's impending school trip, Betty lamely tries to extract a promise from Sally that she won't launch into teen nymphomaniac mode on the trip: “There are going to be boys everywhere. So I hope you won't act like you were just let out of a cage.” This is an interesting remark on a number of levels, but the image of surging sexual appetite being analogous to being freed from a cage or jail is arresting (ha ha).
The mother/daughter scene with Sally and Betty was excellent. It made me realize that, in many ways, Sally is more sophisticated than Betty. Maybe this is true of most mothers and daughters, once the daughters reach young womanhood? Betty seemed suddenly hopelessly old-fashioned and out of touch trying primly to warn Sally about “boys.” As you noted, Sally used the opportunity to land a verbal sucker punch.
This episode contains one of Betty’s finest hours, in my view. She is often the beautiful woman fans love to hate, but in this episode, dealing with the distraught Glenn Bishop who's about to ship off to Vietnam, she actually treats him tenderly, with a mixture of maternal and sexual wisdom we rarely see from her. She is kind to him, and rebuffs his awkward advance (I thought) with real gentleness and concern, her vaunted haughtiness and narcissism nowhere in sight. She knows what he needs to hear at this crucial moment. “You're going to make it, I'm positive!” There has always been chemistry between Betty and this kid, ever since he was a small boy. (I also applaud Mad Men's writers, for being brave enough in early episodes to allow their story line to deal with the sexuality of children, and I admire the way they have pursued that plot thread now in this final season, rather than dropping it, though it is a hot potato topic.) It's been so amazing to watch Glenn and Sally grow up and come of age on this show!
I loved Don and Sally’s terse interchange as she was boarding the school trip bus. She may at times seem more sophisticated than Betty, but her relation to Don is a different story, and of course they are very alike. He's able to take on the chin her rather vicious adolescent attack on his parenting, and his reply is to tell her that while she's beautiful, she could be so much more. For all his Don Juan antics, he takes women seriously, and in some cases tries to get them to take themselves seriously as well.
There's online scuttlebutt about Joan's two divorces...claiming she was married to someone named Scottie prior to her tying the knot with the inept Army surgeon, but I'll have to do further research. Glenn has performed that miracle that adolescents do, turned from a lumpy, funny kid to a wonderful creature, a tall, good looking young man (yuk hairdo, facial hair scraggles and sideburns of the period notwithstanding.)
Since you were speculating, David, about what the closing scenes of Mad Men will be, I wonder if the show's last moments are going somehow to involve Don’s so-called “Gettysburg Address,” the speech about the company's vision and future direction that Roger has sloughed off onto our favorite Lothario? What thinkest thou?
Till the next installment,