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

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mad Men: 5G

Am I a horrible, cynical person because I thought that Don was going to pull a gun out of his suitcase and shoot his step-brother? Oh, come on, I know others thought it too. The way they didn't show what he took out of his private, locked desk drawer, the way they set the scene in the hotel room with Adam talking to Don with his back turned, the way Don was waiting for just the right moment to reach into the briefcase. I thought the show was going to take a dark, Sopranos-like turn.
Luckily, even though Don has a lot of secrets, like affairs and a secret identity, murder isn't on his menu. But I can see how much Don wants to keep "Dick" in the past, so much that he even pays off his step-brother 5G (I was wondering if 5G was going to be a dollar amount or a hotel room number - turns out it was both!). It's interesting how he's so unhappy with his life that he's having an affair with Midge, wants to have an affair with Ms. Mencken, and is always contemplative and quiet, but he'll still spend $5000 (which is more than Pete makes in a year) to keep that life. Doesn't sound like his previous life was that great (when Adam tells him Don's stepmom died of stomach cancer, his reaction is "good."). I guess the summer house Betty wants is going to have to wait.

The part I most identified with in this episode was Ken having a short story published in The Atlantic. 1960 was a great time for short story writers, with a ton of outlets. It's not like that anymore, and that makes me a little sad. Pete and the rest of the Sterling Cooper guys aren't just angry that Ken had the story published, they're practically seething with anger, to the point of almost insulting him. (Paul tries to explain he's acting that way because he didn't know he was in competition with Ken too - Ken just says "you lost," ouch.)

Pete asks Trudy to ask her former boyfriend to publish his short story (about a hunter who imagines a bear is talking to him), and Charlie wants to have an affair with Trudy. She declines, but he'll publish the story anyway ... in Boy's Life. The scene where Trudy tells him it's Boy's Life and not The Atlantic or The New Yorker, well, it's almost like Pete wants Trudy to sleep with her ex if it will get his stories in better magazines."Boy's Life - it will probably be next to an ad for an exploding cigars."

At the start of this episode I saw that Don won an advertising award, a plaque with a horseshoe on it. Before the scene even ends the horseshoe comes undone and turns over (nice quality job there), symbolizing that Don's luck might be running out.

Peggy accidentally overhears him and Midge on the phone, he has to spend the money to get his step-brother out of town, and even when he's not off sleeping with Midge, Peggy thinks he is (funny family photo of the Drapers - almost like an Xmas photo taken during a hostage situation). Come on Peggy, Don's not going to be sleeping with someone every time he goes out at noon. And Peggy, telling Joan about Don's affair... bad, bad move.

This show is getting juicier, more complex, and the characters have really taken form. It's one of the very few shows I'd get upset about if I were to miss it.

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