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

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mad Men: Long Weekend

"Remember Don...when God closes a door, he opens a dress." - Roger Sterling

I'm having a real hard time trying to figure out if Roger Sterling is just misguided or an out and out sleazeball. He's married and has a daughter he desperately wants to understand, but at the same time he's having an affair with Joan and also tries to boff any cute girl that might come into the office. Or, in the case of this episode, two girls that come into the office. Twins, to be exact, that he chose for a new ad campaign. He even asks them to kiss each other at one point. Joan's going through that too, with her best friend Carol coming on to her as well, telling her she's been in love with her since college. All of the Mad Men episodes seem to have a theme, and tonight's seems to be "girl on girl action!"

OK, maybe that's not the theme, but it's interesting that it came up not once but twice in tonight's episode. Joan and Carol (just fired from a job at a publishing house) bring home two men from a bar. Joan has sex with her pickup, and even though Carol doesn't want to, she lets her guy do whatever he wants with her.

It's the long Labor Day Weekend, and Roger wants to party with the twins before the working world comes back the following week and they have to work hard on the Nixon campaign (before the weekend starts the gang looks at a Kennedy commercial and Don compares it to a commercial for Maypo - they also lose Dr. Scholl's as a client, something that pleases Pete).

Roger's all over Maribelle, even riding her like a horse at once point. Her sister Eleanor likes Don, but Don is actually restrained (hey, he cheats on Betty, but he has standards - "Maybe it's this office, but you're selling too hard."). Roger and Maribelle go at it though, but maybe they shouldn't have tried a second time: Roger has a heart attack and has to be rushed to the hospital. In the hospital room he seems truly upset about where his life is going, and even cries to wife Mona that he loves her. From sleaze to sincerity.

Meanwhile, the bizarre relationship between Pete and Peggy continues. She actually seems normal in this episode, just doing her job and not knowing what the hell Pete wants. Pete treats her oddly and even insults her. Ah, young love.
Good to see Rachel Mencken come back, this time with her father. Don convinces the old man to let Sterling Cooper redo a floor of the department store and do the advertising. Don stills wants something to happen with Rachel, but she's all cold towards him. No sign of Midge (maybe she's with her beatnik boyfriend), and maybe Don wants to move on to Rachel.

At the end, Don shows up at Rachel's door, disheveled, worried about Roger but making a move on Rachel. She tells him to stop it. They sit on the couch together and Don talks about life and death, which seems to convince Rachel that yes, in fact, she does want to do it with him. But he won't do it unless she wants to (she even says "yes, please" - yikes). After they make love, the revelations come pouring out of Don. Like Rachel's mom, Don's mom died in childbirth. But she was a prostitute. His dad remarried and he died when he was ten and then his mom remarried that jerk I saw in an earlier episode.

Another fine episode. I particularly liked the subtle nod to The Apartment at the end (a movie Roger and Joan talked about earlier), as Rumsen tells Joan about Roger's heart attack and tells her not to waste her youth on the old. They get into an elevator and he asks her to press the button for the first floor.

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