"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mad Men: New Amsterdam

I think it's quite interesting that the most subversive, edgy show of the year is one set in the Leave It To Beaver days of 1960. Who would have thought that? I'll take Mad Men, and I'll take Manhattan.

This episode centers mostly around Pete. I finally meet his wife Trudy, and she wants to get a new apartment on 83rd. Of course, Pete only makes $3500 a year (is that a good wage, even in 1960?), so they have to go to his parents. And now I know why Pete acts the way that he does. His parents are very rich and the family goes way back. His mom seems intense and uppity, and his dad seems like an a-hole who isn't pleased with anything Pete does. He also dresses a little like Angus Young from AC/DC. He tells Pete they're not going to give him the money, and Pete lies to Trudy that he didn't even ask. So she asks her parents, and they say yes, and Pete isn't too thrilled about this. I think he's getting as unhappy in his marriage as Don seems to be getting in his, though he's only been married for a couple of weeks or so.

But Pete has other problems too. He's working with Don and Sal on the Bethlehem Steel ad campaign. Don and Sal come up with a series of posters that show what the company has done for the building of America's cities: "New York City - Brought To You By Bethlehem Steel"... "Detroit - Brought To You By Bethlehem Steel." The owner of the company doesn't like it at all, and Pete says they'll think of something else (stepping on Don's toes yet again). I like what Pete says here about everyone thinking he's an account guy and not an idea guy. He tells Don that before he came to Sterling Cooper he used to keep a notebook of ideas: "And then I get here and everyone tells me how great I am with people. Funny, no one ever said that to me before."

Meanwhile, Betty agrees to babysit for Helen, who has to work at Kennedy headquarters. She tries to bond a bit with Glen who...well, it's like the early years of a serial killer. Glen is one strange dude. He plays the piano with a sullen creepiness, he's really quiet, and, oh yeah, he likes to open the door and watch Betty go to the bathroom on the toilet. Betty scolds him for this and they hug, though I really think that Glen just wanted to touch her boobs with his head. He then asks her for a lock of her hair...and Betty gives it to him. Great Betty, when pets start disappearing around the neighborhood you'll be partly to blame.

Pete sells the steel guy on his idea of "Bethlehem Steel: The Backbone of America." Don isn't happy at all that Pete wined and dined the guy and sold him. Personally, I don't see what Pete did wrong, considering he not only got the account but made sure that Don got the credit for the idea. Don fires him, which freaks Pete out a bit because of the new place.But never mind, he's staying. Don and Roger go to Burt Cooper about it, and Cooper explains that they need Pete to stay because of his family's wealth and connections. Don and Roger have drinks in Don's office and talk about how Pete's generation is different from Don's and Don's is different from Roger's. Why different generations drink, and why Don shouldn't try to compete with Pete in life (some fantastic writing here).

Pete and Trudy buy the apartment and her parents come over and they all meet the new landlords. Pete looks out the window as "I"ll Take Manhattan" plays.

No comments: