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

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Made Men: Red In The Face

I've know a few alcoholics, but even they don't drink as much as Roger Sterling does. My God, did you see how much he sucked down? Straight vodka, whiskey, Martinis with chocolate cake. He even brought in a bottle of vodka as a gift for Don and took a glass - not a cup or bottle, but a glass - of booze and drove home with it. When Don said to him the next day that it looks like he got home OK, I was thinking, you knew he was drinking a lot, so why did you let him drink and drive? Even if it is 1960, the fact that Don wondered if he got home in one piece is proof that drinking and driving was a concern back then too.I've been going back and forth on whether Roger is a nice, misunderstood guy or a first class jerk. This episode made me tilt a little toward the latter.

Have you ever had a jerky boss over for dinner? I never have, come to think of it, but I can imagine it being a nightmare. Roger comes over, drinks a ton, eats a lot, then makes a pass at Betty while Don is out looking for more alcohol...and Don blames Betty? I'm glad he sort of acted sarcastic towards Roger the next day, and I'm also glad Roger apologized for it. His story of once being so drunk he "at some point we all park in the wrong garage" and comparing it to hitting on another's wife was kinda gross, but funny.

This guy is already cheating on his wife with Joan but also feels up a coworker's wife? Jeez. I did love his line to Pete though, after Pete said asked if they were talking. "Yeah, Don and I do that all the time when you're not around." Then saying "Goodnight Paul" was priceless (these are the moments when I like Roger).

The gang at Sterling Cooper is working on the Nixon campaign, and they're wondering how to approach. Most of the guys don't think that Kennedy will be the Democratic nominee (he's Catholic, doesn't wear a hat, etc), but Pete does, comparing JFK to Elvis. "That's what we're dealing with here." I have noticed that even though Pete is kind of a jerk too that he's often right about these ad campaigns? But the look that Don gives Roger during the meeting, when he dismisses the ideas of the younger execs...you know he's beginning to think different about his boss.

Speaking of Pete, he uses his lunch hour to return a "chip and dip" bowl to the store. He can't get his $22 back, but he gets store credit (his flirting with the clerk didn't help at all), and he decides to buy a rifle. He points it at all the women in the office (nice camera work showing the rifle view of the women in the office). This is supposedly some macho move, though as Trudy says later, "what are you going to do with that?!" There's trouble in that marriage too.

Meanwhile, in creepy Glen land, Helen confronts Betty in the supermarket about the lock of hair she gave him. "He's 9 years old, what were you thinking?" When Betty slapped Helen I cringed a bit (but Helen's right).

I'm very impressed with this show. We can talk about the production design and period detail again and again and again, but I love the acting and the dialogue. The scenes tonight with Don and Roger talking and smoking and drinking and eating...the way the dialogue incorporated everything from the Russians launching dogs into space to Lucy and Desi getting divorced. It's scenes like this that separate the great shows from the good.

I also love how they drop a line about a previous plot thread, even if that plot thread isn't really explored in the episode. For example, Roger saying to Don,"The way you drop your "g's" I thought you grew up on a farm. Somewhere with a swimming hole." This keeps the "what is Don's secret?" plot alive, and even advances it in a quiet but effective manner (Roger is now wondering about his background in a subtle way). And did that last scene with Don and Roger and the elevator come out of nowhere or what? Great stuff.

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