race relations on Mad Men.

White people awkwardly hugging black secretaries.

This is the one ad I take a few seconds before hitting the back button during Words With Friends.

This is the one ad I take a few seconds before hitting the back button during Words With Friends.

I need to find this shirt if it’s real.

I need to find this shirt if it’s real.

Mad Men: The Phantom

  • The title of the episode alludes not only to Megan’s chasing of her acting dreams, but probably to the image Don had of her. There’s something particularly off-putting to see Megan pleading with her husband for an audition; by the end of the episode he’s starting to look at her like he did at Betty.
  • JAMES BOND DON DRAPER MASHUP FUCK YEAH. Great montage at the end. I expect Roger to be tripping in his new office space on a daily basis.
  • I will be disappointed to see Embeth Davitz (Mrrs. Pryce) go. Her couple minutes with Don were brief but very good.
  • PETE GOT KNOCKED THE FUCK OUT AGAIN. Can we get all three of these moments from this season on loop? It’s not like he doesn’t deserve it.
  • It’s not like Beth didn’t warn him that she could forget who he was, and yet he still went to visit her. The title could refer to her as well.
  • The client meeting with Topaz early on is the symbol of how much the firm loses without Peggy. Don fights with the pain of losing what grounds him as Don. When his hallucination of Adam tells him it’s not his tooth that’s rotten…yikes.
  • Roger knows more French than “si vous plait,” but that was the best Glen fakeout ever.
  • Trudy is amazingly clueless. 
  • There’s ambiguity in the end for Don, but if we had to guess, he’s going right back to being a slut.

Mad Men: Commissions and Fees.

  • Godspeed, Lane Pryce.
  • Seriously, I thought it was gonna be Pete who offed himself first.
  • You knew it was coming as soon as Bert gave Don the forged check. That scene was one of the saddest ever to witness; one man’s humiliation in front of another. But there’s no way Don could have let him off the hook. Even allowing him to resign is a favor.
  • Don had all that confidence from sniping at Ed Baxter and it just evaporated upon learning about Lane’s suicide.
  • Ken’s machinations regarding his father-in-law Leland Palmer are great. Keep Pete away.
  • Sally getting her period is quite possibly the least surprising of the adult experiences she’s had this season and that’s saying a lot.
  • Roger’s movements are interesting. He is trying to prove his worth again and undermine Pete while he does it, which I think everyone is all for.
  • Of course the Jag didn’t work. 
  • Betty is still a contemptible human being, not only foisting Sally upon Don and Megan when she complains but having the nerve to rub it in over the phone when Sally runs away and hails a cab back to Rye.
  • What can Weiner & Co. pull out in the season finale? What’s left?

Mad Men: The Other Woman.

It’s really hard to make a coherent whole right now in my head, so let’s just get these in bullet points and down:

  • "The Other Woman" is not only a tag line that gets rejected. It’s a fitting title for an episode that’s really about two "other" women: Joan and Peggy, each exercising what agency they’ve been granted and/or taken. 
  • Pete Campbell is a scumbag for even approaching Joan after the head of dealers makes his proposition to Pete and Ken at dinner.
  • It’s even worse that Don is the only partner to say no to it, and yet they vote to negotiate it with her anyway.
  • This was nearly as traumatic as Joan’s rape a few seasons ago. Maybe because this time, she did it willingly, to exercise the one power she is given in what is a dead end situation (newborn child, soon to be divorced) in the late Sixties. A full partner, but at what cost?
  • Absolutely heartbreaking to find out Don had shown up too late to Joan’s apartment.
  • At some point Peggy was going to have to leave. SCDP has a clear problem adjusting to the world around them as it changes, and Don tossing money at Peggy was clear evidence of a mentality that’s on the way out. She may be senior to Ginsberg, but was still treated poorly — and that improv pitch with Harry and Ken was proof she deserves better.
  • That said, it was agonizing to see it happen, because when Don realized she was serious, it was real for him. The power structure he built is crumbling even as the agency wins the account that could put it on the map.
  • It seems fitting that Joan was the only person who saw Peggy walk out for the last time, and that no one else even noticed. 


How can you even approach Joan with a proposition to sleep with the scuzzy head of dealerships?

You lowlife. Every goddamned episode, you sink to new depths.

more Don & Joan screen time, please.

Just don’t let them bang. That would be awful.

Paul Kinsey went Hare Krishna?

Harry is so dumb and crass sometimes. Almost all the time. He deserved the slap in the face.

Lane is fucked. Stealing from the company for a tax bill? This seems to have come out of nowhere, well, almost — there was the whole thing about paying for his son’s private school.

also this GIF is the best:



very nice

Mad Men: Lady Lazarus

The title is a Sylvia Plath reference and thus is our main plot — Megan deciding to leave SCDP for the acting dreams Emile hinted at and reminded us of last week, and it clearly unnerves Don because he’s back to his old working habits with Peggy when the role he and Megan had played out to pitch to Cool Whip fizzles in front of Mr. Belding. 

Peggy’s role in this is in an odd place for her to be in: she’s caught in Megan’s initial lie about a callback, providing the wonderful “PIZZA HOUSE!” moment when Don calls and being furious with Megan when she says she doesn’t want to be an ad writer any more. So Peggy’s optimism about Megan’s skill contrasts with Joan’s reference to Betty’s modeling career — “that is what Don likes.” But it’s frightening not to wonder where Don and Megan go from here since they now have to lead separate lives. Does Don relapse? Is the empty elevator shaft a metaphor for him falling?

Or is that elevator shaft for Pete?

Good Lord, Matthew Weiner is doing everything in his power this episode (since he wrote it) to try and make me sympathize with Pete Campbell. Pete is stuck in a life he didn’t really get to choose: country house, wife, child — when he and Trudy wanted to adopt, his folks said no to it — and so he is acting out. This time, it’s with the wife of the insurance salesman he plays cards with on the train. Maybe it’s just me, but Alexis Bleidel has always looked really young in general — and too young to be Howard’s wife.  But her Beth will be the death of Pete as we know him.

The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” is probably a fitting way to end the episode, although it’s very, very weird to watch Don try to listen to Revolver. 

like Sally wasn’t guaranteed a large number of years in therapy to begin with. (GIF NSFW if opening on dashboard.)

Also, Julia Ormond has changed a lot since she was the foreign chick in every movie — including that remake of Sabrina — in the 90s.


"For all we know, Jesus was after the loaves and fishes account."

"One day your little girl will spread her legs and fly away."

Every episode of Mad Men is better when both Don and Roger are around to heighten the tension, from Roger recruiting his ex-wife to dig up info to what had to be the most awkward family table after Sally caught Marie going down on Roger. It’s good to have Sally interacting in Don’s world, even if what she sees a whole lot of is “dirty,” which is what she tells Glenn at the end (tying up the episode with another phone call, which is what gets her into Manhattan — since the phone cord trips Pauline and sends her to the hospital.)

Emile and Marie Calvert…frightening. I don’t quite know to encompass what I think of those two…other than they are probably only still married because conventions might dictate or it’s socially convenient.

Megan saving the Heinz account — grab your first taste of success, and Peggy’s probably right; that’s the best feeling she’ll get at work.

Peggy’s right to stand up to her mother, but I’m not so sure her mother’s entirely wrong about Abe.

I even liked Pete when he buttered up Emile at the table and explained, “That is what I do all day.” Pete Campbell is forever a dick, but he’s very tolerable in small doses per episode. Larger amounts and we start wanting bad things to happen to him.

The final sequence was probably traumatic for Sally in a lesser way: Roger was being a charming sitter, transitioning from lecherous to that old uncle type, but then there’s the back room and Sally goes white.

Scariest part of the show is really Leland Palmer as Ken’s father-in-law. His name is Ray Wise — but he will forever be Leland from Twin Peaks and will creep me the fuck out.

You know it's very interesting, but a lot of times you think people are looking at you ... but they're not! Their mind's elsewhere.

Lots of people that haven't taken LSD already know that, Roger.

Mad Men: Special 30.

This was an episode specifically designed for Pete Campbell loathers, which is most of the Mad Men viewing audience, I’d imagine.

If Joan asserted to her soon-to-be-ex-husband that she was tired of trying to make him feel like a man, then Pete is on a very slow learning curve of discovering a similar problem. He’s made some grave errors in his idolatry of Don, forgetting that he is not Don Draper (or Dick Whitman) and misunderstanding what he wants and who he is. The dinner in the burbs, all a sop to ingratiate himself with Don, and the telling point is that Don can fix the sink he thought he handled with only his hands as Pete runs for the tool box. (Never mind ratting out Ken Cosgrove’s writing secret when Cynthia Cosgrove gets too chatty.)  Lusting after the high school girl in his driver’s ed class, only responding when the hooker calls him “King,” and his final humiliation at the hands of Lane Pryce, whom he clearly derides as the money man. It is a fitting bit of irony that Ken titles the short story he begins working on under a new pen name is “The Man With the Miniature Orchestra,” with a voice-over as Pete sits in the classroom, watching his high-school lust object cop a feel with the strapping, muscular teen he never was and never will be as the strains of the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth, “The Ode to Joy,” play out the credits. Don tells Pete in the cab he did all the same things, and Pete is more than willing to go right down the same road.

It almost makes Pete Campbell sympathetic. Almost.

Lane Pryce was deliciously out of character today — furious with the frivolity of the creative people who blew a sure thing by taking the Jaguar client — the husband of his wife’s friend — to a whorehouse. He was condescended to by Don, Pete, and Roger, and it turns out his instincts were correct all along. The fight with Pete, kissing Joan and realizing what he’d done … he doesn’t get the release the other partners get.

Ken Cosgrove picking another nom de plume and keeping right on is fabulous. I hope he actually gets to make money off his writing. 

Don gets to play eminence grise of sorts, more like the warning sign, now that he’s trying to recognize and rectify the mistakes he’s made. But I can’t imagine having a child with Megan right now is one of those great ideas. It was endlessly amusing for him to not bullshit with the madam and wind up getting his drinks on the house because of it.







Well this is a bit embarrassing

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The Third Shift A vagabond who's made his home in the Pacific Northwest.