Tonight's episode of Mad Men was filled with even more cultural markers than usual. It's late September 1962. Kurt, who comes out of the closet in a matter-of-fact "European" way, has taken in Bob Dylan at the all-star hootenanny in Carnegie Hall (9/22/ 62). There are riots in Oxford, Missisissipi, on the day before James Meredith takes his first class at Ole Miss. President Kennedy sends in the troops (9/30/62). Kurt has no TV, which means he will "miss the playoff" -- presumably the
Dodgers versus the Giants in a three-game series necessitated by their
finishing the regular National League season in a dead heat (10/1-3, 62). (The winner will lose to the Yankees in seven games.) The working of the MIRV missile are explained in tones of wonderment and awe.
The symmetry between Roger Sterling and Don Draper is pointed. Roger leaves his wife to be with a twenty-year-old brunette who writes love poetry; Don, in Los Angeles, allows himself to get picked up by a wealthy twenty-year-old Pembroke dropout, also a brunette, who is reading The Sound and the Fury. She prefers their sex to Faulkner's prose. Over the closing credits Johnny Mathis's tenor voice croons Irving Berlin's old standard, What'll I Do? -- stating Don's dilemma in a phrase.
Next week: It's just about time for the Cuban missile crisis.