Monthly Archives: May 2013

Episode 7 – Man wiith a Plan

The Story of O is a French novel published in English in 1965, and I have a feeling Don Draper read it. For those unfamiliar with it, it is Fifty Shades of Grey for adults.  But, Sylvia is not O, so she played along for two days and then called it quits.  I do believe Don did it to push her away, considering that she failed to go away with her husband, and Don knew he was getting in much too deep.

The testosterone rush carried over to the workplace, as Don engaged in more dominance and submission, but this time with Ted.  It must have been quite a rush while it lasted.  Peggy was not amused, but that really doesn’t matter, does it? 

I guess Bob Benson is the man with the plan, focusing on servility rather than work, taking abuse with a smile, and pouncing at the right moment.   He learned at an early age that it is the schemers and not the workers, who get ahead.

Meanwhile, Ted showed raging Pete that one doesn’t have to sit at the table to be a player.

Finally, RFK is assassinated.  He was the last best hope, the man who could bring together coal miners and Freedom Riders.  The event had a much more profound impact on America than the murder of his brother, as JFK’s agenda was advanced by LBJ, while RFK’s death ended an age of hope and the election of Richard Nixon began an age of political cynicism, for as Hunter S. Thompson said, “It is Nixon himself who represents that dark, venal and incurably violent side of the American character almost every country in the world has learned to fear and despise.”  Paul Simon, in his song American Tune, perhaps the saddest non-love song ever written, expressed our feelings of loss of hope and resignation best when he sang, “But it’s all right, it’s all right, You can’t be forever blessed.”

The assassination may split Peggy and Abe.  Even though Peggy loved Bobby, she is not political, and Abe, being who he is, will become more militant. It is time to choose sides, folks, and Peggy’s agency is trying to put a friendly face on Dow Chemical, the company that makes the napalm that is dropped on Vietnamese villages, women and children.

 

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Episode 6 – For Immediate Release

Don seems to be encouraging Arnie to move to Houston. I guess this is the only way he can split with Sylvia; he is much too weak to do it on his own.

I have recently pointed out that what Joan had to do to get her partnership has been lingering in the back of her mind.  When looked at rationally, it was a smart decision, but her disgust with it finally comes out when she uncharacteristically explodes at Don for being unable to lower himself  for the good of the firm.

Peggy is coming to realize that Abe is too bohemian for her.

I love Marie; she is wise and wicked.  She does not suffer fools or being neglected.  She must have been quite a femme fatale in her prime.  I would love to see Marie and Sylvia go 15 rounds.  Marie would win, of course, but she would be badly scarred.

The merger is very exciting; how is Peggy going to adjust to the SCDP folks and vice versa?  I think Joan will feel the happiest to have her back; she needs a female friend.  Don will be glad to have her back under him; she will no longer be a threat.

Get ready for a summer of violence.

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Episode 5 – The Flood

God made a big mistake with the Flood.  It was a good idea, but it wasn’t carried out properly.  He really should have gotten rid of Noah and his brood as well.  He would have spared us all a lot of pain and suffering, fear and trembling.  He knew the whole thing would degenerate again.  After all, He is omnipotent; He foresaw the popularity of internet porn.

His public relations people would have us believe that He spared Noah because He was being a nice guy, giving us a second chance.  Of course, this was just hype.  It really came down to vanity, and for two reasons.  First, He didn’t want to admit a mistake.  People never want to, so do we really think gods will?  Did Zeus ever admit to a stray thunderbolt, or Thor to an errant hammer throw?  Never.

Second, and more importantly, without us, there would be no one to worship Him.  This is the big one, embedded in the First Commandment.  Can you be a God if there is no one to worship you?  I think we all know where He stands on the whole if a tree falls in the forest question.

So, I am disappointed in Him. He should have chucked the whole thing when He knew it wasn’t going to work out.  He should have been a mensch about it.

Turning to the actual episode, we’ve gone from 1967’s Eden, The Summer of Love, a time of innocence, to the decadent reality of 1968’s Babylon. But this new flood is different.  The righteous man  is struck down, and the sinners survive.  But, a hard rain is a-gonna fall.  The post-assassination riots are  just the beginning of a very violent year.  (Blood in the streets in the town of New Haven and Chicago and Paris, Prague and Saigon and on and on.)

Is Don’s drunkenness related to the post-Flood drunkenness of Noah?  Will Don have a problem with Bobby just as Noah did with Ham?  Could they both not cope with their individual realities?  I don’t think I could if I lived over 600 years.

In other news, Peggy’s apartment search provided an opportunity to joke about the still-incredibly-far-from-complete Second Avenue subway.  Then, there is the melodrama of Henry  finally deciding to be his own man. But a state senator! Is that it?!  Ginsberg is a virgin; there’s a surprise.  And why aren’t he and Stan in Viet Nam? I bet Hollis went.

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Episode 4 – To Have and To Hold

In the U.S.A.Trilogy, John Dos Passos writes about American life from just prior to World War I, through the War and the 1920’s up until the beginning of the Great Depression.  It is a literary masterpiece in which the characters are secondary to the epoch it evokes so brilliantly.  Last night’s episode brought this work to mind because it depicted 1968 so vividly.  It was new, exciting, and scary, in short, a world spinning out of control.  And, the year is just beginning.

Don seems to be losing his touch.  But, is he really?  Both the Royal Hawaiian work from last episode and the Heinz work are similar.  They require an imaginative and somewhat sophisticated clientele and audience.  He is taking ads to a new level, but the clients are not ready to go there. Very few clients will embrace the “Think Different”  campaign that Apple  embraced.  But, Steve Jobs was a visionary; most clients are mere hucksters.  Don is getting too artsy.  Now that he has now called both of this wives whores, he has to come to terms with the fact that he is a whore; he is prostituting his imagination, man’s most sacred gift,which makes him the greater whore.

And while we are the topic of whoring, I am sure that this is always in the back of Joan’s mind.  She is one of SCDP’s essential players, as we saw in the birth of the firm, yet she could only get what she earned the old-fashion way.

This episode’s title, To Have and To Hold, is clearly ironic, as it has four betrayals, which is a lot, even by Mad Men standards; Don and Sylvia count as two, Peggy betrays Stan, and SCDP betrays Heinz beans.  There is swift punishment for the latter two betrayals, caused by the coveted ketchup account.  Does this foreshadow an atomic explosion at Park and 73rd?

 

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