Mad Men: A Tale of Two Cities

Posted on June 03, 2013

Oh thank God. Hallucinatory drug trips, rioting in the streets, schizophrenic breakdowns, and corporate intrigue. A simple and uncomplicated episode of Mad Men. After the collective online freakout over a T-shirt after the last episode, we can’t think of anything better for the Mad Men conversation: a “moving the pieces on the board” episode, setting up things likely to pay off by the finale, but not necessarily dripping with symbolism and meaning, the way the last several episodes have been. The audience (and a whole bunch of weary recappers and reviewers, no doubt) could use the break.

But here, have a theme anyway:

“They don’t know our name because we don’t know our name.”

Jim Cutler’s admonition about the tenuousness of the newly merged agency is as good a choice for a theme as Mad+Men+S6E10+7any other in this largely themeless episode. If there was any throughline weaving through the various stories, it had to do with characters not knowing who they are or where they fit in the scheme of things, and how that can leave them vulnerable while standing on the shifting sands of 1968.

Let’s talk about Joan first, because she made the biggest leap forward of all the characters. What we loved about this storyline was the way the creators held back from giving the audience what they most wanted to see. Sure, it’s exciting to see Joan move into a new area in her career, but it was a more sophisticated and realistic choice on the part of the creators to depict her as unsteady and making some potential grievous errors. In other words, it would have been fun, but ultimately unsatisfying from a storytelling perspective to just have Joan ace the whole thing from top to bottom. Instead, there were several (quite painful to watch, we have to admit) indications that she was not only in over her head, but that she wasn’t as supremely knowledgeable about the company or her career as we’d all like to believe. First, she completely misread the setup as a date, when her friend Kate (who, as you might remember, worshipped Joan and saw her as way more powerful in her job than she actually is) was actually throwing a tremendous business opportunity her way. To Joan’s credit, she pivoted smoothly on the realization and we had to give a little cheer when she had that revelatory moment of picking up the check for the first time in her life.

But when you listen to what Joan actually had to say both times she met with the Avon guy, it was nothing but banalities about listening to the client. When he pressed her on the specifics of SCDPCGC, the only thing she could mention was media placement, because it was a job she once briefly performed. In other words, it was the only thing she could bring to the conversation, because almost all of her work knowledge is administrative in nature. Notice that when he mentioned checking out of his hotel at the second meeting, she perkily responded with, “If you had been a client you could have left your key at the front desk and we would have taken care of that,” because that’s something Joan would know after almost two decades doing administrative and low-level managerial work for the company. And nothing was more cringe-worthy than the way she describes her job: “I’m in charge of thinking of things before people know they need them.” That’s true in some respects, and she’s admirably good at her job, but it’s depressing that she really only sees herself as someone who serves other people in the company and can’t even come up with an empowering way of saying it. Her self-written job description could be applied to a servant just as easily.

And worst of all, she stepped all over Peggy’s brilliant spiel about her own family’s Avon lady and the emotion-filled memories she has of her. That’s all straight out of the Draper/Olson playbook of instantaneously casting a product or company in a warm glow of emotional responses and connections in order to woo the client. She could have had the guy eating out of her hand, but Joan didn’t see what Peggy was doing. How could she? She has no experience at all in this world. Which brings us to our next painful revelation: everyone who yelled at Joan this week was pretty much in the right. Mad+Men+S6E10+11

It’s easy (and satisfying) to hate Pete, but he had a point. More than a point. Avon is 25 million dollars in potential billings. It’s the height of recklessness for Joan to fuck around with that, not to mention a serious breach of protocol for her to cut Pete out of the meeting like that. She took it on her own to have a meeting with a potentially huge client and made sure that no one from accounts was present. She very well could have been fired for that, partnership or no. In her defense, she has spent years watching the movers and shakers of the industry around her take exactly the kinds of risks she took. She didn’t do anything that Roger or Don or Pete might not have done. The difference is that she has no power to defend herself and very little practical knowledge to rest her risk upon. It’s absolutely understandable why she did it, though. In her own words, she didn’t want to be “pushed off the diving board,” which she’s coming slowly to realize, she’s been pushed off it over and over again in her life and her career. This is a desperate, last ditch effort to secure some power and respect for herself. And let’s be clear here: she’s not a fool. For her to do this for Avon shows a savviness and self-awareness that should be commended. If ever there was a client tailor-made for the charms of Joan Harris, Accounts Woman, it would be Avon. She’s not likely to ever get such a perfect opportunity for herself again and she felt she had to take the risk to go after it.

And she and Peggy finally had the conversation they both needed to have with each other in order to move forward in their relationship. We wondered a couple episodes back, when the two characters were reunited, if Peggy was going to have a problem with Joan’s ascent to partner and how she got it. Turns out, she kinda does – and that’s perfectly in character for Peggy and perfectly understandable given her own story. We know Joan and understand her the way the viewers outside a story can understand a character, but to Peggy – and to everyone else in the story  – Joan is someone who slept her way into a partnership, and that’s not something most people – then or now – could call an admirable act. Peggy would naturally have an especially tough time handling it, given her own history with Joan – and all of that came beautifully roaring to the surface in their argument. If you think Peggy was being a judgmental bitch, we suggest you view some of the scenes between these two characters from seasons one and two. Peggy was right; Joan never really supported her career goals and in some ways, actively derided or undermined them. Remember when Joan had the Xerox machine put in Peggy’s office? Remember when she said “Peggy, this isn’t China. There’s no money in virginity?” We all love Joan now, but it’s good to remember that she wasn’t always the most sympathetic character. And besides, Joan’s crack to Peggy, “You were so brave, letting Don carry you to the deep end of the pool,” was incredibly nasty and condescending.

It’s to Peggy’s credit that she really does want to see Joan succeed, but we don’t blame her a bit for bringing up all the ways Joan put her down back in the day for wanting something more than a husband out of life. And now that she saved her ass with some quick thinking (which earned her gratitude from Joan; something she refused to give when Peggy fired Joey for sexually harrassing her), we hope that these two can have the friendship and professional relationship that we know would benefit them both tremendously. We know it’s probably too much to ask for, but we’d love a scene with Peggy in Joan’s apartment, just hanging out and getting to know her. These two women have felt isolated in so many ways in their professional lives and they’ve allowed their obvious differences to get in the way of having an ally in the struggle. In many ways, the story of Joan and Peggy is the story of second-wave feminism. If they can overcome their differences and harness their collective power in the face of overwhelming opposition, they could change the world. The grand irony of it all is, Joan’s empowering moment rests literally on … Avon calling.

In other SC&P news, Bob Benson is not the horrible slimeball the internet seemed to want him to be. He does Mad+Men+S6E10+1not appear to be a corporate spy, government spy, or Don’s illegitimate son. He’s just a corporate climber whose practice of hanging around and trying to make himself appear indispensable finally paid off this episode with a promotion to the Chevy account. He also appears to have something of a relationship with Ginsberg. Not a sexual one, but they clearly know each other well enough that Bob can punch through Michael’s latest outburst and get him back to the appearance of civility with some good old-fashioned affirmations. His love of the creative department and tendency to hang around down there has been repeated all season long. Our theory that he’s gay got a boost (or got shot down, depending on how you look at it) when Ginsberg asked him point blank if he was a “homo,” and Bob just laughed and avoided the question.

As for Ginsberg, we hate to sound so gleeful about it, but we got a TON of shit last season when we opined that his “I’m from Mars” monologue was indicative of schizophrenia or some other serious mental health issue and we do so love being proven right. We’re petty that way. Really, the question of Ginsberg’s mental health has always been hanging in the air. He’s never been appropriate or able to handle normal communications, and he’s been prone to outbursts from the second he was hired. It seems to us the only reason he’s still got a job is because, first, he’s good at it, and second, the people of the company all have some understanding that he’s not mentally stable, especially if he has a tendency to say things like, “I can’t turn off the transmissions to do harm; they’re beaming them right into my head.” Honestly, we hate to spin out any more darkly murderous conspiracy theories in a season dripping with them, but that’s a pretty ominous line in a season full of ominous moments. “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds,” he says to Bob. As we said in the first Mad Style of this season, “Ginsberg is running headlong into the counterculture styles of the late ’60s, even as he works to sell Dow chemical to the masses.” That dichotomy is proving too much for him to bear. As an aside, his calling Stan a “mother hen,” was the most adorable moment of the season.

As for Don, his latest trip to California turns out to be the worst of any of them. Without the angelic Anna or the too-good-to-be-true, no-crying-over-spilled-milkshake Megan to anchor him, he spins off into overindulgence and yet another flirtation with death. Again, we hate to add to all the conspiracy theories, but it’s pretty ominous that Don hallucinated that dead soldier right after he hallucinated the perfect Megan. Then again, there was a heavy implication that Don was the one in danger of dying. “My wife thinks I’m M.I.A., but I’m actually dead,” the soldier says to the man who’s been M.I.A. from his wife all year. “Dying doesn’t make you whole,” Dead Dream-Soldier adds. “You should see what you look like.” Yikes. Don promptly heads out to the pool (after real-Megan advised him to go for a swim and blonde lady told him “There’s a pool full of water out there”) and pretty much re-enacts his suicidal Hawaii ad from earlier in the year, becoming a suit floating in water.

We didn’t mind these scenes, but they did feel like a return to Don spinning his wheels. He’s dangerously reckless with drugs and alcohol, cynical to a fault (as Megan noted), fatalistic, still wallowing in mommy issues (“There’s an extra nipple here,” says the blonde who offers him the hookah), unfaithful, and still fantasizes about Megan being the perfect wife and mother figure to him; still expecting someone else to save him from himself. “What do you think it is?” he asks Dream-Megan. “A second chance,” she replies. “Everybody’s looking for you” is the last thing she says to him before disappearing. Mad+Men+S6E10+8

And finally, while all this emotional turmoil is going on, Jim Cutler proves himself to be far more than a wry silver fox. We can’t say we quite understand what his long game is, but he’s clearly thinking of the agency in different terms than any of the original SCDP players and appears to be scarily adept at manipulating things to get a desired outcome. So SCDPCGC becomes SC&P because Jim has plans to split the company “And not in half,” as Ted noted. Don, Peggy, Joan, Roger and Pete seriously need to get their shit together, because they’ve let a fox into the henhouse and they’re all so caught up in their own stories that they can’t see what’s happening right in front of them. Once again it’s poor, angry, petulant Pete who sees what’s really going on but can’t get anyone to agree with him because he’s so fundamentally unlikeable. “This is not the same business anymore!” he screams impotently, and he’s right. The old rules and old guard no longer function as they once did. They’re in a dangerous, tumultuous time and Pete sees portential disaster on the horizon. But if no one’s going to listen to him, then he’s going to take a cue from the zeitgeist by tuning in, turning on, and dropping out. Pete smoking pot was easily one of the best images of the entire series to date and perfectly sums up the underlying theme of this season, which is how much the counterculture is invading all aspects of American life. There’s a reason those Carnation executives were so angry.

 

 

[Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC]

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    • Adrianna Grężak

      Maybe this is because Mad Men is currently experiencing warm weather, but Peggy isn’t dressing in the same “power suits” that she did at Cutler Gleason and Chaough. She’s dressing in her old lighter colors, such as mustard yellow, whereas she dressed in bold reds and blues at CGC. She was a lot more aggressive at CGC, but now allows Ted and Don to lead. For example, she didn’t stay in the conference room and defend Joan, but left when Ted gave her “you should leave” look. I can’t think of one male character that would respond like that. I think the whole Bob Benson storyline is set to counter that, as he very actively defended other people in the firm. He was subsequently rewarded, even if it wasn’t directly for defending someone.

      Joan actively changed her role in the firm (or at least how things got done), whereas Peggy was handed her promotions. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of not only the men and the women (how they conduct the meetings, etc), but also between Peggy and Joan.

      Joan seemed surprised that the Avon rep opened the door for a business opportunity and asked her the type of questions that he would ask someone like Roger Sterling and Pete. But she swallowed her uncertainty, whereas Peggy was ready to be led by men and told what to do in the old business model. Also, we should note that Peggy spied on the boardroom conversation the same way Joan did in a previous season. Joan is no longer spying but part of the stressful but important conversations, whereas Peggy is still spying like a child.

      The male account executives repeatedly use prostitution to win over their clients. Pete Campbell was extremely hypocritical when he judged Joan, especially when he was the one who approached her with the idea.

      • Eric Stott

        Pete was truly crappy to her but he had a point – she’s never done this before and an important chance like this is not the time for a solo learning experience. If she is lucky enough to come out of this successfully she had better be very cautious going forward.

        • Adrianna Grężak

          Yes, but I didn’t like that he automatically said that she would have sex with the Avon client

        • Sobaika

          That’s the funny thing – Pete is correct about most things in the ad game and in business, all the way back to the early seasons when he wanted to sell TVs in black neighborhoods. He’s just so greasy that no one pays him any mind. I hope Peggy takes his words to heart.

          • Chris

            Yes! That is exactly what I said in the MM Lounge. He is like Cassandra, he sees the future clearly very often, but because he is whiny and people don’t like him he is ignored when he shouldn’t be.

            • UsedtobeEP

              You were spot on last night. Poor Pete. It’s like being able to see the future, but nobody believes a word you say.

          • Amy

            Yes. Don basically prophesied that in the very first episode: “Keep it up, and even if you do get my job, you’ll never run this place. You’ll die in that corner office, a midlevel executive with a little bit of hair, who women go home with out of pity. Want to know why? Because no one will like you.”

        • 3hares

          I don’t think he was that crappy to her. What she did was HUGE and she wound up not really getting punished much at all, even after she was trying to pretend she hadn’t done it.

        • http://www.tumblr.com/tumblelog/lastbutnotleast janinedm

          Joan wasn’t asking for a solo learning experience. It’s when he said a ride-along was out of the question, that she shut him out.

          • Sean Gill

            True – but in Pete’s defense, he said that after they landed the account he would assign it to her. To a certain degree that is Pete trying to land “new business” without her help as a power move (even if he didn’t want the title of head of new business when Ted randomly assigned to him). But to a certain degree he is probably right in that it would show Avon some respect if their next meeting was with a more senior partner (and he is the senior partner, to Joan, at least.)

            • Darren Nesbitt

              No, Pete’s words were “You can show him around the office”. . . like a secretary, she wouldn’t be his real point of contact. And he used that “I send you to get a cake” line.

            • Lisa_Co

              Joan, who has never been an account exec, would never get a huge($25 million, right?) company as her first account, no matter what the connection. Her only real knowledge is administrative/bookeeping ones. She could start with a small company like Topaz

        • Darren Nesbitt

          I don’t understand how Joan (being the only representation of SC&P couldn’t come to the meeting with Pete. Avon is a big opportunity for the agency because of Joan. They wouldn’t be having this potentially successful risk with out her. Ted ended that conference room convo correctly when he said all business is yours, so chill out.

      • Dorothy & Michael n/a

        Ted didn’t “give her a look” – he told her pointedly “Peggy, this doesn’t concern you.” She had no choice but to leave the room.

        • Adrianna Grężak

          My point is that a male employee in Mad Men doesn’t just leave because he’s told to.

          • Dorothy & Michael n/a

            My point is the show is set in 1968 and men and women behaved differently. Plus Ted is her boss.

            • katiessh

              I think it’s more to do with it being Ted- if it had been Don or Pete she would have put up more of a fight but she has issues voicing her authority with Ted

            • Adrianna Grężak

              Exactly. She literally told Don to “move forward” (grow up) a few episodes ago. That was unthinkable for a woman to speak that way just a few years ago.

            • Adrianna Grężak

              Yes, obviously, but this episode is showing how some people started to challenge these gender roles. Joan is actively challenging the roles, even if she’s breaking rules in the firm and lacks business knowledge, whereas Peggy remains passive.

          • Chris

            I don’t know, Ken is at a pretty high level and everyone bosses him about and orders him around. Even nice guy Ted didn’t care he almost got killed and was limping with a cane. I’d say in his own field he’s on par with Peggy.

            • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

              The difference between Ken and Peggy, though, is that Ken doesn’t really seem to mind. He’s not as ambitious as she is.

            • Chris

              I’ve been wondering about that lately. They haven’t revisited Ken and his writing. He seemed pretty uncharacteristically angered by Bob early this season. Did it mean he felt threatened by him? It didn’t seem like Ken to get so angry and publicly nasty about new guy Bob hanging around the sitting area. He is certainly doing anything and everything for the Chevy people.

            • fursa_saida

              You know, there were times last night when Bob’s body language reminded me strongly of Ken. I wonder if that’s intentional?

        • Travelgrrl

          I completely agree. Joan had already absolved her of any complicity, so she didn’t need to be there for any dressing down. Ted releasing her was as much about that as stripping her of any power.

          • purkoy28

            peggy was just there to be nosy anyway, she does that alot, if i were ted or pete i would ask her to leave, she had only 1 reason to “accidently” go in there and that was to be nosy.

            • Travelgrrl

              No, it was to defend herself that she had nothing to do with shutting out Pete.

              The intercom, that was nosy.

            • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

              But helpful.

            • Travelgrrl

              I loved Peggy hard at that moment. And hated Meredith a little less.

        • anon33

          Uh, Pete said that, not Ted. Ted just gave Peggy a knowing look.

          • Dorothy & Michael n/a

            You are right! In my sleepy state I didn’t remember that. Thanks.

        • Guest

          It was actually Pete who uttered that line, and Ted nodded once in agreeement, sort of cueing Peggy to leave.

        • purkoy28

          he gave her a leave the room look, i noticed it as well

      • http://shellystartsoveragain.blogspot.com/ Shelly

        I have to stand up for Peggy here — She was not handed her promotions. She worked for them. Joan was handed a promotion.

        Joan didn’t “swallow her uncertainty” she looked over at Peggy to step in and do the work. Peggy was up front with Joan in saying she shouldn’t have pushed Pete out. Peggy did her part as well as she could, she said what she knew and tried to salvage the pathetic excuse of a business meeting that it was. Furthermore, Peggy was not ready to be lead by men in an old business model, she was working with what she knew.

        • zingit

          Was just about to say the same thing. Peggy had a little bit of luck in being noticed by Freddy Rumsen, but by and large she earned everything she got.

        • Adrianna Grężak

          I believe the series explores how Peggy is also pretty passive and lets things happen to her – obviously not all the time, but it’s also why we all cheer whenever she has scenes where she stands up to Don or whomever. Even Abe and Don told her that she doesn’t take a side. She’s not racist or sexist, but never expresses any opinion for those social movements. I don’t care that she doesn’t – I’m pointing out that Mad Men is an interesting show exactly because they’re showcasing this kind of character.

          • http://shellystartsoveragain.blogspot.com/ Shelly

            I think Peggy is too ambitious to focus on the world around her. She’s living the feminist movement.

        • http://www.tumblr.com/tumblelog/lastbutnotleast janinedm

          But from where Joan is sitting, it’s very easy for Peggy to say that you have to go through the proper channels to get anywhere, because Freddy, Don, and Ken specifically allowed her to use the actual rungs of corporate power. Joan brought in the Avon prospect and wasn’t given a chance to come along and learn the way Peggy got to work on Belle Jolie. Peggy, bless her, has trouble seeing the reality beyond her own success. She did it, so any other woman should be able to do it by following the rules just like she did and Black people didn’t have it any worse than her….

          So let’s say she takes Pete’s sage wisdom. She would follow the rules in a way that ensured that she doesn’t get anywhere. Because if she can’t get a ride-along when she brings them a $25M prospect, are we to believe that she can ask for an expanded role at a “more appropriate” time (when, not for nothing, she won’t have a bargaining chip)? Yes, Joan bungled the meeting but it was her chance and without her they wouldn’t have had anything anyway.

          • Helenae

            “Because if she can’t get a ride-along when she brings them a $25M
            prospect, are we to believe that she can ask for an expanded role at a
            “more appropriate” time (when, not for nothing, she won’t have a
            bargaining chip)?”

            YES! This! I’ve been waiting to read this in any of the reviews of Joan’s actions last night, and have seen it nowhere. I couldn’t agree more. This is a n incredibly well-written and insightful comment from beginning to end.

            • SuzyQuzey

              But, what kind of expanded role could she have? She has no advertising talent or knowledge, as we saw at the Avon meeting.

            • Darren Nesbitt

              Someone said earlier the account person is there to sell the agency and the creative is selling the work which together sum up to the advertising talent. From her first and second meeting with Avon we can see she is far from clueless about her industry.

            • 3hares

              I think she was a bit clueless. She had learned a lot about the industry through her job, but she’s not an Accounts exec so didn’t know that job the way they do. She probably knows a lot about copywriting too having seen a lot, but she’s not Peggy who actually works as a copywriter.

            • P M

              People can learn, and Joan’s very good at learning.

            • SFree

              She’s smart. She’ll learn very quickly.

          • CozyCat

            Joan had the right instincts, but she failed on the execution.

            She should have just shown up at the meeting, maybe after Pete, Peggy and the client were there. (“Oh! Sorry I’m late!”). Pete couldn’t have asked her to leave. She could have been quiet except for an occasional cooing noise.

            That way she would have established that she belonged on the account. If they tried to move forward without her, the client would have asked “Where’s Joan?”. And she would have had the chance to observe and learn from Pete and Peggy and their greater experience. The guys would still have been p*ssed, but they couldn’t blame her for anything and it would have been a lot harder to shut her out.

            (I did something like that once. Plastered myself to the side of an outside client during a series of meetings with more senior people. Got myself a nice role on a big project that way)

            • Glammie

              Nicely done. And you’re right–that would have worked and Pete would have been annoyed, but not screaming mad.

            • http://www.tumblr.com/tumblelog/lastbutnotleast janinedm

              I wholeheartedly agree with you there. I’m just saying that, all things being equal, I can’t really blame her for taking the chance.

            • SFree

              I think Pete would have blown it with the nice Avon guy. Avon would not have warmed to Pete’s swarminess.

            • 3hares

              Pete’s had plenty of success bringing in accounts. I don’t think everybody he’s worked with just liked smarminess.

          • Thundar99

            Totally agree! And ruminating on the idea that “Freddy, Don, and Ken specifically allowed her to use the actual rungs of corporate power.” It occurs to me that that actually came to pass because none of them viewed Peggy as a sexual object.

            Let’s not forget, as we applaud Peggy for all her proto-feminist hard work climbing the corporate ladder, that when she 1st started (maybe within the 1st episode) she initially came on to Don, who rebuffed her, as a means to achieve her ambitions…such as they were at the time before Freddy”discovered” her and before the “You’re the new girl, and you’re not much, so enjoy it while it last”-rule kicked in. And once it did kick-in…the men in the room were actually able to hear that she had a brain…after she was endorsed by “the man” whom opened her eyes to her own potential.

            None of the above is to take anything away from Peggy but the beauty of this show is how it shows the grey areas and complexities of two women who are ambitious perhaps in different ways but whom are both buoyed and hobbled by their strengths while fighting and flailing to get out of their on way as well as make a way for themselves.

      • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

        I really admired the way Joan handled herself. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a perfect opportunity for her. Not only was it Avon, a great company for Joan, but it was for a potential client who was new to his role, too, and didn’t know how the pitch was supposed to go. So if she messed it up a little, he wouldn’t know it. And Joan really nailed one of the most important part of accounts: building a relationship. Being newbies together might actually work to her advantage.

        Joan broke the rules, but at least this time, she broke them on her own terms.

        • purkoy28

          joan was trying so hard to act like what she thinks don would be like or roger, but she really wasnt good at it except for her flirty demeaner and her talent for dealing with people, especially men, she didnt have the slightest idea that peggys story wasnt rambling from excitement, infact joan undercut peggy and was rude to her by not trusting her to do what she does so well, and thats advertising.

        • Kate

          “Joan broke the rules, but at least this time, she broke them on her own terms.”

          I wish I could agree. She did break the rules this time, but when she got her partnership she was, sadly, following the oldest rule: women have to use sex to get power.

          Also have to point out that when Don, years ago, tried to go after a client on his own he got dressed down by the accounts guys too. That division of labor, so to speak, is a pretty big rule and Joan seems to be getting away with it.

        • buddy100

          I agree with other posters that Joan was out of line in undercutting Peggy, which speaks more to her jealous competitive nature that it does professionalism. The two have always been close, but a little tense. However, I also agree that Joan is a perfect manager for Avon. Ironically, for the exact reasons that Peggy was trying to bring to life in her story: she’s an incredibly elegant woman. Her whole aura is a perfect blend of feminine beauty and powerful professionalism. Men want to pay to have her. Women want to pay to be her. She represents the brand and will understand what women want from it.

          I predict a loooot of soul-searching in the next few episodes as she tries to think about the power of make-up and what it means for her personally. Even if it wasn’t a perfect career move, it was a great move by the writers. This will lead to a lot of exploration as to a woman’s role in the workplace, as well as the depths of Joan’s character, without being overbearing or preachy.

          • fursa_saida

            Oh my GOD. I would die–DIE–to have just about any show, but especially one as well-written as Mad Men, explore makeup and what it means, both in terms of gender roles and as a form of self-expression. If they do go down that route I will be squirming in happiness.

      • fursa_saida

        I have a slight disagreement about Peggy. I think she’s currently regressed to the more obedient, secretarial role we saw her having toward the beginning of the career, but I don’t think it’s true that she never moved on from it. She dominated the creative department at CGC, left SCDP (or I guess this was before it was SCDP) on her own terms, and has stood up to Don more than once. I think the writers are regressing her to show how subtly harmful her relationship with Ted has become to her ability to see clearly and choose wisely at work.

    • sarahjane1912

      “You can’t put yourself in the right place at the right time; you’ve got to BE in the right place ALL the time.”

      That is Bob Benson all over. And I’ve just realised, he’s a true ‘sidler’. Someone needs to put tic tacs in his pocket.

      And now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’m going back to read the recap. I’m sure, as usual, it’s a beaut! Thanks again.

      • Mismarker

        Yes! Bob needs to be omnipresent.

        Adding to some of the more outrageous Bob theories…

        Cutler to Bob: “I believe in you but you are untested.” and “Why are you always down here? Go back upstairs!”

        Bob is a motivational speaker. Bob is a counselor. Bob is a voice of reason over your shoulder (“Michael, what are you doing? That man is your boss!”) Bob wants to serve. Bob helps the sick (Joan and Pete’s mother). Bob is sexually ambiguous. Bob is sent to a meeting with Jewish manufacturers of wines for religious ceremonies and the account ends up in review.

        Is Bob, in fact, Jesus?

        ; )

        ETA: In this “Bob as only begotten Son of God” scenario, Jim Cutler is Satan. I’m now putting Bob Benson on death watch…

        • Adrianna Grężak

          “Why are you always down here? Go back upstairs!” That made me laugh so hard!

          • sarahjane1912

            Me too! LOL! That’s when I suddenly saw him as the sidler that pisses off Elaine in Seinfeld. He’s ALWAYS there, whether needed [or not]. Brilliant.

          • Suzanne S

            another thing that added to it for me was that Bob Benson’s “What are you doing, that man is your boss” sounded SO INSINCERE to me (I watched that bit more than once, just to see Cutler blow up at him). Considering that Bob has turned being ingratiating into a high art form, I was surprised that that line sounded so fake, almost as if Bob didn’t buy into it or something. Maybe I’m over-analyzing (again).

            • http://www.deborahwiles.com/ GoodSally

              I totally agree with this. It felt out-of-character, almost, a heavy-handed pitch, by the writers, imo.

          • Ally08

            I thought that was unfair. Bob is everywhere! He said so himself: “you gotta be in the right place all the time.”

        • http://asskickingadviser.com/ Ass Kicking Adviser

          If Jesus is Dale Carnegie. And let’s face it, pretty close right?

          • Mismarker

            I’m certain Bob has read “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. Google “How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling” by Frank Bettger. I found a bullet point type review of it. One of the author’s principles is Humility: Act like Jesus and Socrates. Honestly, it’s as though Bob lives his life by these principles alone.

            Am not ashamed to admit that since most other story lines are a bit tedious at the moment, I’m solely invested in cracking the “mystery” of Bob Benson!

            • decormaven

              I bet Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” is probably on Bob’s reading list as well.

            • ConnieBV

              Wasn’t he listening to the equivalent of a self-help book at one point?

            • Mismarker

              Yes, it was the record album of “How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling”.

            • mskgb

              Don’t know whether Bettger is quoting or plagiarizing, but the “Humility” principle comes from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.

            • Mismarker

              Probably (hopefully?!) quoting not plagiarizing. I believe Bettger was an admirer of Benjamin Franklin’s life story and accomplishments.
              ETA: Sussing it out, folks…. Bettger read the Franklin autobiography and, inspired, used Franklin’s 13 virtues (one of which is Humility) as a jumping off point for his own 13 principles for success in selling:

              #1 – Enthusiasm
              If you don’t FEEL enthusiastic, ACT enthusiastic. Soon, you’ll BE enthusiastic. Double your enthusiasm and you’ll probably double your income.
              #2 – Order (self-organization)
              Set aside time to plan how you will spend your time. Think about what’s most important. Then do those things first.
              #3 – Think in terms of others’ interests
              Find out what your prospect wants. Show him or her how to get it.
              #4 – Questions
              Questions get you further than comments. Let your prospect talk while you discover his or her wants.
              #5 – Key issue
              Find the prospect’s basic need or main interest. Then focus solely on it! Ask “why” and “in addition to that” to discover the key issue.
              #6 – Silence (listen)
              Good listening works magic in selling. Listen intently intentionally!
              #7 – Sincerity (deserve confidence)
              If you don’t believe in what you’re selling, neither will your prospect. Give your prospect the service you would want.
              #8 – Knowledge of my business
              Keep your mind young by continuing to learn about your business.
              #9 – Appreciation and praise
              Show people you believe in them and expect great things. Don’t go overboard – just give them your honest appraisal.
              #10 – Smile (happiness)
              Smile your best smile at everyone you see. Think about all the things you have to be thankful for … and smile. The world will smile with you.
              #11 – Remember names and faces
              Take a mental photograph of the person’s name. Repeat it immediately in the conversation and then silently to yourself. Associate his or her name and profession.
              #12 – Service and prospecting
              Take care of them and they will take care of you. Follow-up on all leads immediately.
              Set up for your next contact on this contact.
              #13 – Closing the sale (action)
              Proceed through the sales process – Attention, Interest, Desire, Close. Conclude your presentation with the magical question, “How do you like it?” Welcome objections. Don’t be afraid to ask for the money.

              Bob, you’re taking Bettger to heart, aren’t you?

        • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

          I honestly think Bob Benson would make a great cult leader.

          • Mismarker

            I’d follow him anywhere as long as he was wearing those short shorts.

      • MartyBellerMask

        No wonder he didn’t have sex at the whorehouse. He’s not gay; he was hoping to network with other executives. ;)

        • sarahjane1912

          Heh heh. Quite. ;-)

      • CommentsByKatie

        I found it very interesting that his conversation with Ginsberg was almost entirely platitudes. Actually, almost everything he has ever said has been a platitude. “Michael, you look fine.” “I don’t say that to scare you, I say that to inspire you.” “You’ve got a little stage fright.” “You’re feeling fear of opportunity!” “You can’t put yourself in the right place at the right time, you’ve got to BE in the right place at the right time.” “Pull yourself together and be the man that I admire.” “There’s that sense of humor!” It’s all things we’ve heard before, little catchphrases or bland positives.

        In a show where all of the characters are written with depth, metaphor, and ambiguities, his innocent platitudes stand out like a bolt of lightning. What are they going to do with this character? I don’t know the answer but I do know they are doing something very deliberate and jarring with Bob. Maybe a foil for someone or something, or a stand-in for an aspect of 60′s culture..I don’t know! I can’t wait. I love Bob!

        • Kate

          He’s been listening to too many of those instructional LPs.

        • Heidi/FranticButFab

          When Bob Benson spouts platitudes, he’s repeating back the kinds of inspirational phrases he’s hearing in his motivational records (according to Slate, the one he’s listening to in this episode is by a guy named Frank Bettger who made an album based on his best-selling book “How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling,” published in 1949.) If this were the ’70s, he’d be reading Zig Ziglar.

          That’s why I don’t see him as particularly ominous. He seems more like every “go-getter” who’s ever returned from a Tony Robbins seminar.

          Of course, this is “Mad Men,” so I’m probably completely wrong :)

          • CommentsByKatie

            Right, I agree with all of that, I’m just curious why the writers have a character like this on the show, and I want to see where they go with it? What’s the point of him? He stands out so much and it’s intentional, so I can’t wait to experience the payoff of all of the time they are putting into Bob Benson. :)

        • fursa_saida

          The one line that stood out as meaningful in that barrage of clichés to me was the point he was making about Manischewitz not being a harmful company, being a company that makes wine for religions ceremonies “of all faiths.” (Is that true? I’ve always known them as a specifically Jewish-oriented company–they don’t just make wine, they take over a good chunk of the grocery store during Passover with matzah and whatnot.) The appeal to Ginzo’s Jewishness was a little bit of a cheap trick, but I thought the argument he made based on the company itself was actually sort of touching and to the point.

    • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

      Okay Peggy saving the day for Joan- can’t express how much I love this:)

      • Vanessa

        I think she was saving face for herself as well as reacting to her general distaste for Pete, and perhaps rebelling a little bit because of her disappointment about Ted not being the man she thought he was. Brilliant save, though I hope Meredith can be trusted….

        • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

          Pete has been completely distasteful lately.

          • Mismarker

            I will see your “lately” and raise you an “at all times”.

            • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

              LOL I don’t know why I gave him the benefit of a lately:)

            • Travelgrrl

              I can’t help feeling for him (although those sideburns make it very difficult) because his entire world is crumbling underneath him. He’s lost his family, his home, the stock deal crumbled, the new company means he owns less, his chance to end up on the marquee dissolves into “and partners”, he’s saddled with his addled mother, and so on.

              Everything he believed would make him successful has turned out wrong.

              That being said, I certainly wouldn’t want to WORK with him.

            • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

              Me too. It’s hard not to feel sorry for him.

            • melanie0866

              It would be hard to make me feel sorry for him. He’s an odious little prick who got Peggy pregnant on the eve of his marriage, cheats on his wife, has no relationship with his daughter, and only cares about money.

            • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

              His problems are all his own making.

            • http://litbrit.blogspot.com/ Deborah Newell Tornello

              Let’s not forget how he treats women–ALL women–whether staring at them through the one-way mirror as they tried on lipstick, calling them brainless, or telling his latest victim “don’t linger in the hallway, dear”, and then, when she’s putting her stockings back on, “can you move it along, I have a meeting…”. The remark when Joan (I think it was Joan?) received a box of chocolates, waaay back in the beginning “Candy–what a *thoughtless* gift to give a woman”.

              Not only does he have no relationship with little Tammy, he didn’t even consider her as “the thing that matters” about his marriage–he meant having sex on demand, not his daughter (recall his petulant sneer at Trudy recently).

              I can think of countless other scenes that drive home the point: Pete is a weapons-grade misogynist. As much of a pig as Don is to women–and as unfaithful a husband he is–you don’t hear him disparage them, belittle them, and insult their intelligence. Pete would never have been able to get over his misogyny and bring Peggy on board as a copywriter the way Don did. Don saw that as a good business move and not as something altruistic, true, but he acted upon it nonetheless.

              Pete truly hates women, and all his interactions with women are driven by his seething disgust for them. That’s why I have no problem seeing him suffer. He deserves to feel at least as miserable as he has made one of his victims feel, and he’s made many of them miserable.

              Okay, I’m finished ranting. ;-)

            • 3hares

              “What a thoughtless gift…”

              Are you maybe mixing Pete up with a character from Tootsie with that line? Isn’t that line supposed to be faux-feminist?

              I would disagree that Don comes out the winner in a Who Treats Women Better contest, actually, but I suspect that’s a pointless contest.

            • http://litbrit.blogspot.com/ Deborah Newell Tornello

              You’re right. Pete has so many scenes in which he’s a disgusting misogynist, so you’ll have to forgive me for conflating the Tootsie line with one from MM. I almost have a DVR in my brain that I can rewind on command, but not quite, ha!

              As for who treats women better…well, it’s true that both Don and Pete are horrible contestants. But as far as we know, Don did not impregnate another woman on the night before his wedding to Betty (or Megan); nor did he did stalk a mentally unwell woman, have sex with her, and tell her “don’t you feel better now”, to name just two of Pete’s jaw-dropping transgressions.

            • Glammie

              Don’t forget Pete’s coercing of the au pair.

              Main thing is that Don’s worst behavior toward women happens mostly outside the office. If you never sleep with Don, you’ll be mostly okay.

            • http://litbrit.blogspot.com/ Deborah Newell Tornello

              Oh my god, I can’t believe I forgot the au pair! Yes, that was truly awful, too.

            • 3hares

              Given Don’s history the fact that he didn’t get somebody pregnant the night before his wedding is probably more chance than character.

              I didn’t really have any problems with how Pete interacted with Beth (except that it was cheating on Trudy). I wouldn’t consider calling her once and showing up at her house once to ask for another hook up stalking. I think her mental unwellness to him was more like “she gets me.”

            • Ally08

              Ha! I thought of Dabney Coleman last week when the soap director was mocking Megan for being “on the floor.”

            • Write On

              I have long thought that one of the reasons Pete is on the show is because he makes Don look *slightly* less awful to women. I think if we didn’t have Pete around, we’d all hate Don completely. But when he’s contrasted with Pete, Don seems like the kindler, gentler misogynist.

            • http://www.tumblr.com/tumblelog/lastbutnotleast janinedm

              Don’t forget that au pair he raped.

        • Chris

          I think she was genuinely terrified for Joan. Peggy knew exactly what the consequences were. She even lied to Ted about the meeting being last minute to soften the blow for Joan. If Peggy simply said she had no idea Pete wasn’t included until after she got there I think Ted would have believed her. Peggy’s known for being very honest. She was acting for Joan. Meredith is so out of it she probably doesn’t understand what went on. She could barely read off the paper.

          • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

            poor meredith is clueless

            • Jaialaibean

              I love how she was dressed in a costume that, if possible, was even more babyish than the one with the big bow that T.Lo pointed out as a toddler dress. She doesn’t have the wits to knowingly betray someone.

            • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

              or her reading note like she is on Sesame Street

            • http://www.deborahwiles.com/ GoodSally

              And Joan was wearing a dress with a bow, too. Gack. I wanted her to stand up in that meeting and not be seated.

            • Jaialaibean

              It seemed like a defensive “hold the fort” posture. I’d like to see an analysis of how that worked for or against her.

          • MK03

            Oh, Meredith. Such a hilarious dum-dum. I look forward to seeing her appear in a scene, because you just know something delightfully stupid is coming.

            • Darva Sutra

              Don’t let Meredith near any heavy machinery! Hee hee, she will end up dismembering someone or worse!

          • dbaser

            I love that Meredith read the note Peggy had just dictated to her like a second grader who hasn’t quite mastered reading.

        • 3hares

          I think Peggy just hates to watch somebody flailing, especially another woman.

        • Girl_With_a_Pearl

          Agreed. About Ted, he has now disappointed Peggy two weeks running: by how he took the news that Peggy broke up with Abe and in yesterday’s episode, in not reacting to Joan’s news about Avon the way Peggy thought he would. Curious to see how this will play out in whose side Peggy ends up on: Ted or Don’s or neither of the above.

          • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

            I agree with Ted this week.

            • Jaialaibean

              Me, too. I think he’s genuinely trying to be fair-minded and do things right.

            • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

              Right, Ted is a good manager

            • Hyphen

              Oh I so disagree. Ted saw through Cutler’s game, and happily gave the SCDP peeps the consolation prize of SC&P to protect the brand integrity of CGC once it all inevitably collapses and all the new spoils can be divvied up. Ted might play the stand up guy, but he’s the keeper letting questionable morales and activities through the net on purpose.

            • Jaialaibean

              It seems to me that Ted knows what Cutler is trying to do and doesn’t like it, but at the same time, he doesn’t have any control over the guy. He’s trying to get everyone to play well together, but ends up just doing damage control. And what can he tell the other partners that wouldn’t in itself blow everything up?

          • Chris

            I think poor Peggy is going to get closer to Ted (based on the previews for next week) before he repels her. My guess is something inappropriate is going to happen with Ted next episode or so and then he will disappoint her in a really big way. I see a rapprochement with Don by the end of this season. I feel like that is the arc with Peggy, building Ted up then finally seeing him as flawed and coming back to Don who is a jerk but the only one genuinely interested in just her abilities.

            • Ally08

              I’m hoping for a rapprochement with Joan. They can swim to the deep end together and cease relying on various male lifeguards. (Joan used the pool metaphor twice in the episode. I guess she really wants that summer place. Good thing Bob will finagle it for her.)

      • alice20c

        It was great that in an episode that was about opposition and division on all fronts, the only act of reconciliation and unity was that moment with Peggy and Joan.

        • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

          Agreed:)

    • Vanessa

      I am increasingly concerned that we haven’t seen Dawn or Phyllis since MLK was assassinated. Were they really there only for the MM regulars to relate to during the assassination and riots? I know that there are budget issues, and having characters around that are inessential is an unnecessary expenditure but it breaks my suspension of disbelief—as does the fact that we haven’t seen Joan’s beloved son Kevin all season, even though we have spent a substantial amount of time in her home.

      • decormaven

        Dawn welcomed Don back from California in this episode. She didn’t get much screen time because Pete was in a lather to sound off to Don and Roger. Phyllis has been referenced in earlier episodes, but hasn’t had screen time. That may change in the next episode.

        • Vanessa

          But we haven’t seen her “human” side (her friend or her outside work life).

          • the_archandroid

            I kind of despair of anything fun or interesting happening w. Dawn for the rest of this season… hopefully she sticks around next season and has an actual story line. :-/

            • UsedtobeEP

              I think it’s been hard to have the time to fit them in with the merger. There are so many other new characters to work in, and there are so many commercials during viewing now.

      • somebody blonde

        Yeah, Dawn was in this episode, but he didn’t spend much time at his office- I don’t think there’s anything to read into there. We spent no time in Peggy’s office.

      • ConnieBV

        Kevin was all over the episode where Joan’s friend visits and they go out and make out in that dive bar. Remember Joan’s mom brought him in for his bath and she and the friend were in her bed, all hung over?

      • editrixie

        I think you’re right in that they were there for the lead-up to the MLK story, and the riots. Now they’ve fulfilled their quota of telling stories that include characters of color, they’re back to the white people, with the black people in the background. It really makes me seethe because it’s just so effing obvious. But we can all handwave it if they’re in the background, because hey, they’re still around (I guess the thinking goes).

      • Nicole R

        I think Dawn is busy with her recent “promotion”. I noticed Don staring at her empty desk several times in the last few episodes since she was given more responsibilities by Joan.

      • CozyCat

        Yes, Dawn and Phyllis were given bigger roles to highlight the MLK assassination. And it’s regrettable that the two black characters haven’t been seen much in a while.

        But, the late 60s were such a swirl of social issues and the show is reflecting that. In this episode we had the anti war riots at the Chicago convention, the women’s movement (thru the Joan storyline), the drug culture, and a reference to homosexuality. It’s only an hour long show, so trying to work in everything that was going on is hard.

    • Call me Bee

      “Hallucinatory drug trips, rioting in the streets, schizophrenic breakdowns, and corporate intrigue.” Ahhhhh the scenes of my formative (teenage) years. Thanks, gentlemen, for bringing them back to me.

      (I don’t watch MM….but I love your recaps…)

    • C. C. Winslow

      “‘I’m in charge of thinking of things before people know they need them.’
      That’s true in some respects, and she’s admirably good at her job, but
      it’s depressing that she really only sees herself as someone who serves
      other people in the company and can’t even come up with an empowering
      way of saying it. Her self-written job description could be applied to a
      servant just as easily.”

      Yes, her sentence was virtually identical to Helen Mirren’s description of her work as the “perfect servant” in the movie Gosford Park. Good catch, TLo.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        That’s EXACTLY the reference we were thinking of.

        • Joy

          I was thinking that as well. Isn’t she the CFO? Did they have that title in 1968? I really thought that is what she took over from Lane. Wouldn’t she have just said whatever Lane’s title was? I felt so bad for her.

          • Sobaika

            She isn’t CFO as far as we know – they never explicitly said who would take over his role. I’m guessing Joanie’s doing his work without his title.

            • Aurumgirl

              She’s doing his work with the title (and she was doing his work after his death, without having the partnership). I think that was acknowledged when she was complimented on it in the prospective “going public” meeting by the Accounting firm’s representative they were meeting with.

            • Chris

              If Joan had an impressive title I think she would have mentioned it to the Avon rep. She’s definitely doing Lane’s work and seems to be in Lane’s situation as well. Both of them felt they were not essential in that office and both tried to up their standing by landing and controlling an account.

            • janneyb

              I had the same thought. In professional service businesses, the perception is that people who work in front of the curtain have the power and those behind the curtain feel like worker bees, even if they are performing roles that are essential to the success of the firm. Lane and Joan both made/make important contributions, but can’t get the attaboy affirmation they crave(d).

              Also — the Lane/Joan parallel continues with the way they each made partner: not through continuous contributions to firm success (which is what Harry Crane keeps carping about on his behalf), but because of a singular incident that emboldened each to ask for a partnership in exchange for a doing something that was important to the other partners.

            • greenwich_matron

              Good point about the singular incident giving them partnership. It’s easy to say the other partners are prostituting themselves, but the big difference is that they are willing to continue whereas Lane couldn’t and Joan won’t. Both of the incidents were morally questionable as well.

          • Chris

            I don’t know what Joan’s title is, if any. It’s definitely not CFO. Much of her journey this season is figuring out what she isn’t at work, not “head secretary” anymore. This is the first time we’ve seen her grapple with what she is or could be.

            • Joy

              Yes, but she handles the books doesn’t she? That was what I assumed she did based on the meeting with the banker for the potential IPO. Also, there was the comment last year about how she could do Lane’s job.

            • Chris

              Yes, she is doing the work but she doesn’t seem to have any kind of impressive title. Also no one in the firm sees it as indispensable work because she wouldn’t be taking any clients with her if she left. The thought would be they could just hire a “money person” to take over.

            • Jaialaibean

              Wouldn’t CGC have had its own staff of professional bean counters? That would make Joan’s role in the finances redundant, and the only thing that could save her would be her administrative knowledge. But that isn’t really enough to provide much security.

            • Chris

              Clearly none of them on CGC’s side were partners like Joan was. It gave her seniority I would think. I don’t know if this is historically accurate but these agencies don’t seem to have any finance guys as a partner in them. That would be unthinkable nowadays. It’s all about the CFO’s etc. Is that what Bert Cooper used to do? He was the one who went through the checkbook and inadvertently alerted Don to Lane’s forgery and embezzlement.

            • Glammie

              Why would it be unthinkable? These agencies aren’t big and their structures aren’t that complex. It’s been a while, but when I worked at a small ad agency, I never heard of any agency with a CFO. I’m not sure what would have changed. Remember, there’s no real inventory, there are no factories, no real capital to manage. I don’t think SC&P has more than 50 employees.

              Bert is on the accounts side as a rain-maker and there was some allusion to his having bought media like Harry.

            • Chris

              It was mentioned the Avon budget alone was about 24 million dollars. That’s over a hundred million dollars a year today. SC easily has that much in billings, more most likely after merging with CGC. A company doing in the hundreds of millions annually is not a “small business” and there is no company nowadays working in the heart of NY at that level of revenue who doesn’t have a financial officer. A CFO isn’t a bean counter, they plan for the long term growth and stability of the company.

            • Glammie

              Umm, you do realize that SC only sees a small percentage of that money, right? That the vast bulk of it goes to networks and magazines? So SC is getting a couple of million from it?

              Long-term growth and stability in a mid-sized agency? It’s all about the getting the client–that’s the name of the game. The Lucky Strike scenario was pretty true to life.

              Billings aren’t sales the way you think they are.

            • Chris

              Most companies in any field only see a small percent of the money as profit no matter what their field. They may pay as much as 70-80% of the resale price for goods, machinery etc. Out of the 20-30% left comes salary, overhead, shipping etc. (Unless you are Apple) The vast bulk of the money is always going somewhere else but dealing with the amounts of money mentioned above there is always a financial officer of some sort.

            • Glammie

              No, the point is agencies don’t see most of that money. Ever. The client pays networks and publications directly. There is then a commission the network or publication kicks back to the agency.

              You do at an agency have someone handle billing the client and the bookkeeping, but it doesn’t at most agencies reach the kind of management implied by a CFO. No real assets, small staffs, straightforward revenue streams.

            • Chris

              There is no agency in New York today handling clients the equivalent of Chevy, an airline, Dow etc. who do not have a CFO. It’s easy to check on the internet if you don’t believe me.

            • Darren Nesbitt

              Glammie is right the the multi-millions spent on media (magazine, air time) doesn’t flow through the agency. SC&P wouldn’t havea whopper of 24 million to handle if they landed Avon.

            • Chris

              So Harry isn’t in charge of the media purchases? He doesn’t buy the air time for the clients? No one said the 24 million was going into SC’s bank account.

            • Glammie

              Harry would act as an agent for the client after they approved his media schedule. But the money never goes through the agency. No point in managing money that’s never yours, even in passing.

              So, 24 million ends up being around $3 million to the agency. You can think of that $3 million as the equivalent to sales revenues. (There’s also a separate production budget and revenues are generated from that as well.). . Expenses are deducted from the $3 million to determine net. Ideally, you want a 60/40 split on the revenues so Avon’s maybe $5 million in revenues to SCP–possibly much less depending on how the contracts are negotiated. I remember one client wanted to do its own media buying and cut SCDP out of the media commission–so substantial drop in revenues.

              (I’ll add here that I don’t know how the financials work with online advertising. I’m discussing traditional media here.)

              As for today’s agencies–I don’t think boutique agencies tend to handle huge accounts the way they once did. Any publicly traded agency is going to need a CFO. You’re also going to have some agencies with CFOs who don’t do much because titles are cheap and ad agencies are all about putting lipstick on the pig.

              But CFOs don’t make or break agencies the way they do businesses that deal with manufacturing and managing inventory.

            • Nicole R

              Bert said in S03E13 that he “didn’t know how to do what [Lane] does”

            • Glammie

              She seems to handle the books and co-ordinate traffic and, until recently, managed the office. Her interest in being an account executive makes sense. If she brings in business, no one will question her right to a partnership. However, Pete was right. His epic fail, though, was not letting her come along in the first place.

              I liked the whole Joan story line–down to her being out of her depths.

        • http://www.lindamerrill.com/ Linda Merrill

          See, I had a totally different reaction to that line. I agree overall
          with your assessment that Joan was in over her head and totally didn’t
          understand where Peggy was headed. But the ‘I’m in charge of thinking of
          things before people know they need them.’ reminded me more of Steve
          Jobs who said “But in the end, for something this complicated, it’s
          really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of time, people
          don’t know what they want until you show it to them” That was the
          overriding mantra of Apple – create products people never thought of
          before and turn them into things people can’t believe they ever lived
          without. Isn’t the Ad game the same? Take a product – any product – and
          create a story behind it that will make the customer feel they can’t
          live without it, even if they’ve never before thought they needed it. I
          can see the potential of this being a servile line, but I thought it was
          a clever way of positioning herself and the agency to a potential
          client. And obviously, she couldn’t say she was in charge of finance. I
          also thought that Peggy wasn’t on her A-game either. She was mad/worried
          about Pete being left out and wasn’t sure of how to work with Joan, but
          she came across as a bit shaky too at the table. Her story – the
          wistful story of the Avon lady calling – was classic Draperism, but her
          delivery was not on par with how Don would have handled it. No matter
          what had happened or how many rules broken, Don would have taken control of the
          table and worked his magic.

          • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

            I don’t know. Don’s magic has been pretty spotty lately.

          • http://osiatynska.com/ osiatynska

            I agree wholeheartedly with both observations. Joan’s line, from the onset, struck me as brilliantly strategic—whether by luck or design. And her recognition of her business role at the onset of her “date” was spectacular, culminating in her claiming the check. That was on par with Khaleesi freeing those slaves, and I love it that Joan is having so many of these empowering moments at last.

            I was very surprised to see Peggy so rattled that Jane went rogue, and I agree that her performance at the meeting was wooden.

            Still, ultimately both women handled the situation fiercely, given the struggles they faced.

          • Ally08

            I thought it was clever too. Creative sells the product to the punters; Accounts sells the agency to the clients. To me, that line refers to her role in the office, but also her role as putative “Accounts man”: she knows how much the clients need this agency before the clients realize it. The line says, “Trust me, I know what’s good for you and I’ll be unobtrusive in getting it for you.”

        • CW

          And just to reinforce the point, Joan said that just as the waitstaff brought the check to the table without being asked for it.

      • somebody blonde

        On top of the fact that it’s not a real job description. I mean, she couldn’t have said “I mostly deal with the finances” or something like that?

        • teensmom99

          couldn’t say she deals with finances when she was trying to win an account.

          • UsedtobeEP

            I don’t think she would be trying to turn herself into an account person if she was CFO. CFO is a title and job description that commands plenty of respect. Joan is constantly looking for respect, both from herself and from her peers—although they don’t really see her as a peer, even though she is a partner. I guess she figures if she is a partner, she should be able to do what they do. And of course she can, but she hasn’t the experience. It isn’t as easy as it looks, as it says in the recap. I have to say I was all ticked at Pete and Peggy last night, but in the light of day, TLo are right. Joan needed some lessons. I wish she had just come forward and said she wanted a different role in the company. It sounded like Pete was even open to it, although he didn’t handle it with grace—she could handle them after he landed the account. That’s exactly what they did with Bob and Chevy. If only Pete had said he wanted her in on the meeting and had treated her with respect. Ugh, Pete. Get over yourself.

            • Glammie

              One, I doubt, even now, that most agencies have CFOs. Second, agency partners nearly always fall into one of two categories: creative–the people who create the agency product: the ads–and account management–the people who bring in business and keep it there. *Everybody else* is pretty much overhead.

              So Joan is looking at one of the two key functions at an agency to prove she deserves her partnership. Lane Price did the same thing–and he was an official finance guy.

              But finance guys don’t count for much in the ad agency business.

            • Lisa_Co

              Even Rogerr gave Lane detailed pointers on how to handle the British Jaguar guy. Joan didn’t know what she was doing.

      • Blue Ashtray

        Yes! And in her apartment last week, when she and Bob were enjoying their famous deli coffees, both held the cups with the inscription turned to face the camera: “We are happy to serve you.” They’re both in a position of service.
        For now.

      • Rose_H_Tyler

        That’s why that line sounded so familiar…I couldn’t figure out why. Thanks for catching the reference!

      • http://thoroughly-me.blogspot.com/ thoroughlyME

        It reminded me of something Lane said to Pete in Season 3 about why Ken was being promoted over him: ”You are excellent at making the clients feel their needs are being met. But Mr. Cosgrove has the rare gift of making them feel they haven’t any needs.”

        So it sounds like that could be an appropriate view of working in accounts, even if it isn’t empowering. Or maybe it shows that it’s NOT the right way to approach the job, given that Lane screwed up when he tried to pull a similar move with Jaguar last year.

      • Write On

        You know, I thought this was the perfect way for Joan to describe her job to an Avon executive. He’s probably used to capable women, but he’s not going to want to see her as too ambitious or grasping. I think in a moment of uncertainty about what to say, she played her strong suit. And she’s selling the agency as the perfect servant for the client. Is that what Don or Roger or Pete would have done? No. And she had no idea what Peggy was up to in that second meeting when she stomped all over Peggy’s pitch. But I’m not sure I buy that it’s a sad choice for Joan to have made to have sold herself as a servant.

        • C. C. Winslow

          Despite that her line was similar to the Helen Mirren/servant line, I don’t think she was presenting herself as a servant per se. It was clever, quick thinking for someone who isn’t an account executive. I agree with your remark that she played her strength.

      • fursa_saida

        I loved that they highlighted the servile nature of this idea by having the waiter bring the bill immediately after she’d said it–before she or whatsisface had thought to ask for it.

    • Eric Stott

      Pete is going to do something drastic by the end of the season.

      Roger is an ass, and his behavior is ample evidence that his brain is fried.

      • C. C. Winslow

        Yes, but we couldn’t stop laughing at him last night. Nice to watch an ep with so much Roger in it.

        • teensmom99

          and directed by Slattery! Yay.

      • MK03

        And don’t forget, Pete still has that rifle…

      • ConnieBV

        This. I kept flashing back to the rifle in his office. Also, this might be a really sloppy theory, but the colors cancel each other out. Green negates red in stage lighting, it’s the opposite on the color wheel. Same for blue and orange (yellow/amber). It’s not only that the times are changing, but the gels (filters) are changing in a way that makes everything look like it’s lit with flourescent rather than tungsten. It’s progress, but harsh and unflattering. Maybe I’m too deep.

      • CozyCat

        Funny, I’ve been thinking that Roger is more on his game than he has been in a long time.

        A few years back his only job was babysitting Lucky Strike and drinking too much.

        Now he’s playing 007 to bring in new business, enjoying the sexual revolution, and doing some consciousness raising thru the drug culture. He seems to be the only original character who has adapted to the 60s.

        • Eric Stott

          Roger can still pull off a sharp business deal, but does he do any sustained work? Is he even capable of it? He seems to do his best work when he can make someone else look bad. Very soon he’s going to do what Don has done, he’s going to insult a client – and Roger will think he’s being funny.

    • Mike R

      >>the soldier

      “The soldier” was PFC Dinkins, nu?

      • decormaven

        Yes.

    • Vanessa

      When I watched (and in mind of your previous comments) I was convinced that Ginsberg was having a schizophrenic break. Hearing voices or thinking something is transmitting into your head is pretty severe. I think that the breakdown is being triggered by what he sees around him. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that as a child of the holocaust, there could be nothing more terrifying than seeing an uncontrolled police state violently attacking unarmed civilians en masse. To see himself as part of that machine would be a personality splitting experience.

      • NightOwl

        Interesting – this raises the possibility that there might be some PTSD elements in there too. I’m still not sold on him being schizophrenic so much as having an unusually abstract language style and a strong imagination. I’m thinking of counter culture jargon like calling the establishment “the machine” from which the “transmissions to do harm” line would actually make some sense. And “they’re beaming them straight into my head” to me reflects the sort of atomic/space age influences of the time – 1969 was the year of Apollo 11.

        • Joan Arkham

          The idea of “transmissions” is classic schizophrenic thought though. Here in DC you sometimes see people talking about or holding signs that various govt. agencies are “beaming” things to them.

          • Vanessa

            Almost *too* classic. As TLo said about the casual “are you a homo” comment to Bob Benson–it almost shoots down the theory because Mad Men is usually not so obvious.

            • Joan Arkham

              I think at this point I’m 75/25 between “literal” and “metaphor.” Which is one of the things I love about this show…they aren’t afraid of a little ambiguity. :)

          • Eric J.

            And if he does have incipient schizophrenia, then his line about drugs making you act crazy has a nice layer of irony to it. We may also be heading for an “LSD in the water cooler” incident, which could trigger a permanent psychotic break.

        • Julie Parr

          I’m sure Matt Weiner wants us to be debating about this.

        • Spicytomato1

          “I’m still not sold on him being schizophrenic so much as having an unusually abstract language style and a strong imagination.”

          My thoughts exactly. When he said “transmissions” I thought of schizophrenia but there was something in his delivery/affect — combined with the fact that Bob could help him pull himself together fairly easily — that made me think it wasn’t truly a schizophrenic break.

        • desertwind

          Agreed.

          I think Ginsburg was having a full-blown anxiety attack and was trying to rationalize it by using the wording “transmissions. I am Death, etc.” short-hand for his feelings & thoughts about the war/police actions/ conflicts over doing work for Dow, The Man, etc, plus the instability from the merger.

          Maybe also as reaction to thinking he’d be making the presentation with Cutler, a man he instinctively mistrusts and actively doesn’t like. His outburst to Cutler was inappropriate (as many of Ginzo’s outbursts are) but what he said wasn’t crazy.

          I’ve got anxiety disorder and the “I can’t breath. I’m thirsty” are a symptom of that. Believe me, one does feel like they’re going crazy and I’m sure others think they are, too.

          Poor Ginzo.

      • MilaXX

        I’m thinking he’s having small episodes but has yet to have that full on break. He seemed to come close to having one when Bob talked him down.

        • siriuslover

          Didn’t Stan have the door locked so no one could come in and then he let Bob in? I’ve only seen the episode once, but that’s what I remember. The reason I say that is it’s telling that he needs to keep everyone out.

          Also, it was interesting to me that Ginsberg had both a clarity and a crazed framework there–one the one hand talking about transmissions, on the other speaking very clearly and knowingly to Stan. He could recognize his surroundings.

      • the_archandroid

        I am totally on board with the splitting, to me that is becoming more and more clear w. Ginzo.

      • C. C. Winslow

        Love your “personality splitting” reference (going along with the title “Tale of Two Cities”). Way back when, at least as far as my childish knowledge took me, schizophrenia was widely considered to manifest as simply multiple personalities. Was voices-in-the-head considered a symptom? Violence? If so, and if I worked with Ginsberg, I’d be pretty frightened right about now. (What a sweetheart Stan was to him.)

        • somebody blonde

          Schizophrenia is very commonly associated with voices in the head. Multiple personality disorder is actually something different. Schizophrenia is more associated with hallucinations of any kind without any outside stimulants. If you want some sense of how “voices in your head” manifest, here’s a video with what they sound like (WARNING: SUPER CREEPY):

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vvU-Ajwbok

          • C. C. Winslow

            I couldn’t get the link to work, and I may not be sorry about that. :)

          • editrixie

            There’s also a movie, called Clean/Shaven, that has the best representation of schizophrenia I’ve ever seen on film. It’s a horrific movie to watch, though, in many ways, but the constant radio buzz that the character has in his head is representative of what it’s like to live that way. The director also made another movie, with Damian Lewis, called Keane, that’s slightly more accessible but also still pretty good at showing what that kind of illness does. They are both really well-made movies, but they can be pretty depressing.

          • BookJunkie315

            Also recommend watching A Beautiful Mind, about John Nash’s struggles with schizophrenia.

        • MartyBellerMask

          I love Stan.

        • Lilithcat

          Schizophrenia and what used to be called Multiple personality disorder (now called dissociative identity disorder) are two different illnesses, though people often confuse the two.

          It’s quite typical for schizophrenics to have auditory hallucinations, including voices in the head.

        • JulieTy

          Schizophrenia and MPD (Multiple Personality Dosorder) are two distinct diagnoses. Lay people often think schizophrenia means “split personality” (and use the terms synonymously,) but it doesn’t. The hallmarks of schizophrenia include delusions or hallucinations (these can be auditory) and disorganized speech. There are several subtypes: not all schizophrenics are paranoid or violent. Schizophrenia most often becomes apparent gradually rather than with a full-on psychotic break. In men, the median age for the first psychotic episode is early to mid-20s. Until this occurs, family members, co-workers etc. may observe what they consider to be a “phase” in which the person begins to withdraw, loses interest in school or work, disregards hygiene, etc.

          Ginsberg is exhibiting all the classic symptoms.

          • C. C. Winslow

            Thanks to you and Sweetpea and Lilithcat! Illuminating.

          • Glammie

            Unfortunately, I have a schizophrenic cousin and, yeah, poor Ginzberg is just the right age and getting more off-kilter.

            I think he is meant to be on his way to a psychotic break, but Weiner’s sly point is that the times are so crazy that no one recognizes Ginsberg’s craziness as such.

          • rivula

            The term “schizophrenia” comes from the Greek words meaning something like “split personality,” so it’s no wonder people get confused.

        • Sweetpea176

          Depends on what you mean by “widely considered.” By psychiatrists, or by the general public? By psychiatrists, auditory hallucinations have always been considered a symptom of schizophrenia, from when people began writing about these things (late 1800′s – early 1900′s). As far as I know, multiple personality and schizophrenia were never considered synonymous by clinicians (although one early author included multiple personality as a possible symptom of schizophrenia, which might be the origin of the popular equation of multiple personalities with schizophrenia). So a psychiatrist would certainly have considered schizophrenia as a diagnosis with a patient hallucinating voices. What I’m less sure about is if in the late-60′s auditory hallucinations were considered diagnostic of schizophrenia alone, or if they might also be attributed to trauma (PTSD as a diagnosis I believe is still on its way in 1968), dissociation, and other causes, as they are today. Violence was not considered a prominent feature of schizophrenia then nor is it now.

          I don’t really have any idea what the general public (or better-educated than average members of the public, like Bob Benson) would have thought. My guess is that he might think that Ginsberg was on the verge of a generic “nervous breakdown.” I don’t think that we’ve established that Ginsberg is having hallucinations, per se. Receiving “transmissions” might not be hearing voices.

          Today most mental health clinicians realize that the effects of early trauma can look a lot like symptoms of schizophrenia in some people in some circumstances. PTSD doesn’t really fit as a diagnosis for these folks, and having a diagnostic name for this syndrome is a matter of hot debate at the moment. There’s also a theory that a serious insult to a developing brain (a holocaust would be an extreme example) could trigger an underlying vulnerability to schizophrenia. Or he could have both schizophrenia and a trauma-related disorder independently of each other. Or he could have an idiosyncratic, abstract way of thinking like Night Owl said, and had had a panic attack.

          I’ve been having a debate about Ginsberg’s possible diagnosis in my own head since we first met him. In a way, I’m hoping that he does not have a schizophrenic break, since that would be almost less interesting to me. As VanessaDK pointed out, the state of the world must be terrifying to Ginsberg, and so I think watching him cope with his trauma stuff and the world around him while maintaining a hold on reality would be more interesting to watch.

          • C. C. Winslow

            I hoped someone would respond who knew what s/he was talking about, because yes, I was referring to lay people in “widely considered,” not a psychiatrist. That is fascinating. Thank you.

          • ldancer

            Thanks to all of you for these enlightening explanations. I’m wondering now about the PTSD. Couldn’t angry outbursts like that be a symptom?

            There’s new and developing research about the effects of extreme maternal stress on the fetus. Not sure how it might affect brain chemistry. My grandmother was pregnant with my aunt in the final years of the war, hiding in the forest from the Nazis. She gave birth to her in a DP camp. My aunt was a robust woman, but she died way too young of a bizarre and rare cancer of the heart, and had been born with some kind of bone disorder that was thought later to be connected to what killed her. My mother was born three years later in a nice Parisian hospital and is pretty healthy.

            But how much actual PTSD would Ginsburg have if he was too small to remember any of his earliest years? I’m overthinking this, because I want more of his story. Also, I love how intentionally wrong-fitting his shirts are lately.

            • Dagny Taggart

              You are spot on, IMO. I worked with schizophrenics in a clinical setting for many years; Ginsberg – to my mind- does not meet criteria for diagnosis of schizophrenia. However, there is a whole constellation of symptoms that psychologists have identified in many children of Holocaust survivors which mimic, or perhaps are, PTSD – and that includes hallucinations and flashbacks. I am thus far convinced this is what we are seeing with Ginsberg.

              That being said, if Bob ever quits the Ad game, maybe there is a career in Psych or Social work waiting for him – LOLOLOL

            • Sweetpea176

              I don’t know a thing about fetal development, but the effects of extreme maternal stress on an infant or child can definitely affect brain chemistry and development, so Ginsberg wouldn’t have to remember the Holocaust to be traumatized by it. That is, if his primary caretaker was traumatized, or if he spent his early years in an environment of fear, his developing brain would be bathed in stress hormones, and he might not have the chance to learn to self-regulate through the comforting, predictable reactions of a grounded, responsive caretaker. Short answer.

              I spend a lot of my life involved in diagnostic questions like this, so it’s very easy for me to get pulled in this direction. Putting the fact that Ginsberg is a fictional character aside, in real life, disagreement or confusion about a diagnosis among clinicians is very common.

      • Amy B

        I don’t know about real psychotic “transmissions” with Ginzo, although the thought occurred to me too that he was losing it. For him to say that and then toss off the “mother hen” comment (and also the “homo” comment when he took Bob’s proferred hand) means that he’s very much aware of his surroundings. Sounds to me like he’s making a theatrical psychodrama out of his guilt over his ethics vs job duties, like a good neurotic would.

      • MK03

        I didn’t see a schizophrenic break, I saw a very nasty panic attack. We know Ginsberg is a total mess, and an untreated anxiety disorder could DEFINITELY explain a lot of his behavior.

      • Travelgrrl

        I think he’s troubled (childhood in a concentration camp being the springboard for all) and the time he was going on about transmissions and that he was from mars was symbolic of his alienation in general, not literal.

        • jhedman

          Ginzberg is in his 20s. It’s 1969. There’s no way he spent any of his childhood in a concentration camp. His father, and other family members? Yes, definitely. But not him personally.

          • desertwind

            He told Peggy he was born in a concentration camp and then was in a Swedish orphanage for five years before being adopted by the dad we’ve met.

            • jhedman

              Right, so there’s no way that he would have any personal memories of being in a concentration camp. Survivor’s guilt and all that accompanies it, yes, but however bad that orphanage was, it was not a concentration camp.

            • Blueathena623

              Kinda OT, but high levels of stress in pregnant women can alter the genes of fetuses (as in turning genes off and on) and make the children more prone to anxiety and mental disorders. Along with prenatal nutrition (or lack therof), even without memories being born in a concentration camp probably shaped Ginsberg a lot more than just survivors guilt (although I’m sure that doesn’t help).

            • desertwind

              But just imagine how confusing it would be to a growing child. He was at the orphanage until he was five.

              All the different languages of the children and care-takers in the orphanage. The stories he’d hear from the older children. Starting to understand and wonder what happened to his own parents and family. A general sense of dread about where he’d end up. Would he get new parents? Would they love him? What language would they speak?. Where would his new home be?

          • fnarf

            I have always assumed that “concentration camp” was a highly-strung New York Jewish boy’s way of joking about his oppressive family.

          • Travelgrrl

            He said he was born in one (1945? which would make him 24 or so) and later was in an orphanage in Sweden before coming to the US. If true, that would make for some difficult formative years.

          • Sweetpea176

            The camps were liberated in 1945, 23 years before current Mad Men time. He’s been at SCDP for a couple of years, and he seemed to have a fair amount of experience when he started, so I would assume that he’s older than 23. I think it’s possible.

      • tlfan

        Many interesting studies concerning the dysfunctional families of holocaust survivors, the next generation (of which I am one) experienced fractured family situations and depression. What Ginsburg is going through was very much what happened to members of my family. I feel for him greatly.

        • ldancer

          Oh yes, it is a very specific set of issues. And it doesn’t stop at the next generation. I carry the cloud.

      • CommentsByKatie

        Right, and schizophrenic break would give that strange scene where he was talking about the Holocaust and the transmissions a place in the storyline. I remember thinking that scene was out of place and random at the time; now we are starting to get a clearer picture of the storyline payoff. Poor Ginsberg.

    • http://viridianpostcard.blogspot.com/ viridian61

      At one point Bob Benson was listening to records that seemed, well, I didn’t quite catch was was going on. Did anyone see the full title or catch what the topic was?

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        He was listening to a recording of “How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success,” by Frank Bettger.

        • sarahjane1912

          Oh god, was it? I didn’t look too closely and I had in my head that it was ‘How to Succeed …’ I thought it was a nice reference to Robert Morse [who of course played the lead in the musical]. Dang. Must watch more closely. Sorry.

        • Jennifer Ford

          Which really is a sign that he’s from another generation. The 70s and 80s self-help fadsters — can you imagine Don listening to that with any earnestness?

          I like Bob. I sense in him determined desperation and I want him to do well.

          • AmeliaEve

            I don’t think that is necessarily true. Don is mostly self-educated. We know he was going to night school when he was “discovered” by Roger. I’m sure he read the classics of his generation from Dale Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale. There’s definitely a difference between “self-improvement” and “self-help,” but they are on a continuum.

          • fnarf

            Those records were very popular, and had been for a long time. Bettger’s book, from which the record was made, was published in 1947, and Bettger’s mentor, Dale Carnegie, was peddling self-help books in the 1910s. That record was probably made ten years earlier. But yeah, Don would never listen, but Don has never listened to anything but the beating of his psychotic little black heart.

            • Jennifer Ford

              Right, but there is a difference between something existing and something being a fad. Carnegie was a big hit but the actual self-help movement with everyone jumping from one self-reform to the next was an ongoing Boomer fad.

            • fnarf

              Who’s jumping here? Benson was listening to one extremely popular record. Bettger’s book on which it was based sold millions of copies. Carnegie’s big book sold 15 million (in an America a third the size of today). I don’t know if that counts as a “fad” or not, but self-help has been around a lot longer than boomers have been alive. If anything, listening to a record of a twenty-year-old book is a sign that he’s from an OLDER generation, not a younger one.

            • Jennifer Ford

              I was making a larger point about the Boomer self-help fad — which was a thing — and that Bob in this environment actively listening to his self-help at work and having this different approach to the workplace from everyone else is indicative of him being part of the new wave the show has always juxtaposed against our stalwarts.

          • siriuslover

            I can’t help but like Bob. Which means, given my poor instincts, he’ll be more than a mere social / business climber.

        • bxbourgie

          Thank you! I saw the record, but wasn’t able to fully read the title. And since AMC didn’t repeat the episode after the first airing, I took that as an opportunity to go to sleep, instead of watching it again for things I miss like I usually do, which keeps me up until past midnight and makes for a very cranky Cammie on Monday morning.

      • TropiCarla

        I had to do a 30-second rewind to catch it. It was one of those self-help things – about how to become a successful businessman. Made perfect sense given his almost formulaic hanging around, carrying an extra cup of coffee and schmoozing.
        I was too shell-shocked from Game of Thrones to catch the exact title. *shudder* I’ll have to watch the Mad Men episode again.

    • JulieTy

      I still wonder if Bob Benson actually works there. Maybe this will come up in Mad Style (cannot wait for Wednesday!), but did you all notice his “office?” It looked like an unused room. And what was he doing in there, listening to “how to succeed” motivational records? One of the BKs wondered last week if he was a J. Pierrepont Finch-type character, and I think there’s something in that.

      • Adrianna Grężak

        He does seem like someone who just showed up and said that he’s an employee at the firm (without actually getting hired). There’s so many people there that I won’t be surprised if they all assumed someone hired him and they do not question it. Even Roger Sterling didn’t know who he was

        • JulieTy

          And that’s how Don Draper himself ended up working there!

      • Vanessa

        I think he is in Ken Cosgrove’s old office, which he vacated to go to Detroit. I’m in for the theory that he is the gay J. Pierrepont Finch of Mad men, especially after seeing him listening to the sales to success records.

      • MilaXX

        Yes he works there. Cutler yelled at him to get back upstairs to his department and asked why he was always down in creative.

        • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

          And he was on the list of employees up for possible layoffs. The J. Pierpont Finch idea is a cute one, but we don’t see how it holds up to any practical scrutiny.

          • Vanessa

            Finch was a real employee–he worked his way up from the mailroom by following a few simple rules….from a book called “How to succeed in Business without really trying”

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Yes, but I don’t really see how Bob could fake being an employee of SCDP.

            • fnarf

              The chances that Joan wouldn’t know if he really worked there or not are zero.

        • JulieTy

          BUT — Cutler met him when he was already “established” as an “employee” of SCDP. When we first met him, he was using the lobby as an office.

      • http://asskickingadviser.com/ Ass Kicking Adviser

        Yes!!! I noticed that too. He was in there listening to self-help records but there was nothing on his desk. What gives? He’s on the payroll or else he wouldn’t have been on the chopping block. Strange….

        • siriuslover

          Didn’t he say in an earlier episode (and maybe Cutler and Roger also noted this during the firing session), that he doesn’t have any accounts (or as much work) because of the lull? It may even have come up in a conversation with Pete at some point.

          • Suzanne S

            I assume that “Bob Benson” needed to be in the office for things to play out the way they did with Ginsberg/and Bob’s subsequent assignment (given by Cutler), but at the time, I thought that he would have been the IDEAL person for Joan to bring to the meeting with Avon (in lieu of Pete), since he’s in accounts, we could have counted on him to (probably) seal the deal AND defer to Joan both in the meeting with Avon and in the aftermath, thereby further cementing his worth (at least in her eyes) to the company. I was surprised that she didn’t go to him considering that they are friends outside of work, at least for some pointers in ‘account-speak’ (which seems completely different than ‘creative-speak’, once the account is landed). If this scenario had played out, what a coup it would have been for Bob, maybe HE could have gotten the next promotion over both Harry AND Pete. I didn’t feel one bit bad for Pete after trying to keep Joan out of the meeting that she got through her connections (albeit inadvertently).

          • http://www.deborahwiles.com/ GoodSally

            Bob does have accounts. He mentioned them to Don in the elevator (by way of introduction, while holding two coffees), and they were all older accounts the firm has had for some time. I think he’s a junior accounts man, one who takes care of accounts after the account executive has landed them.

            This position is what Pete was dismissively holding out to Joan when he told her “how things work” with landing a new account, and told her “don’t worry: you’ll get all the credit!” — which of course she wouldn’t have.

        • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

          I thought the empty office was a nod to the fact that he’s such a blank slate, that people can (and do) project all sorts of ideas onto him…and mostly, he’s happy to oblige.

      • Spicytomato1

        I didn’t think that was his office. I assumed he was just using that room because it had a record player, so he could pump himself up for the presentation.

    • decormaven

      Thanks to TLo for noting Cutler’s sly fox ways. When he said “Pow” when he won the checkers game in “The Crash,” he was announcing his presence with authority. He’s a strategist from the get-go.

      • Glammie

        Look, he’s the guy who got them all crazed on speed and voyeuristically spied on the daughter of his dead partner. He’s as bad a guy as MM has had, I suspect.

        My theory about SC&P is that Cutler wants to destroy the SC part of the firm from the inside and then split off again, his *own* name and accounts intact. He’ll cherry pick the capable and destroy those he deems unmanageable competition.

        Ted Chaough doesn’t seem to be part of this. He generally wants to be in a big agency.

        • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

          Divide and conquer.

        • Chris

          Ted doesn’t have Frank Gleason anymore. Crummy Cutler is the closest thing to a long time friend and confident he has. Ted came into it thinking Don and he were going to work together shoulder to shoulder like they did in Detroit. He always idolized Don and his myth in a way. Now he’s seen his idol’s clay feet and he’s trying to make this work powering through like he always has. His feelings for Peggy plus their ages and difference in status prevents him from having her as his confident. Cutler is the devil he knows.

          • Glammie

            I don’t know if Ted idolized Don, but I agree that Cutler’s who he knows. I don’t know if he likes what Cutler is doing, but I also don’t think he’ll do anything to stop it.

            • Chris

              Oh they made a point of showing over the years how much Ted was dazzled by the “myth” of Don. Remember him grilling Smitty (?) about Don, what he was like, what it was like working for him. Smitty was going on about how brilliant Don was. Don never seemed interested in Ted or his “mystique.” Maybe idolized isn’t the best word but fascinated is certainly fair. I think Ted’s bubble was really burst when he realized Don and he weren’t going to be a buddy act, especially after teaming up in Detroit.

            • Glammie

              Interesting. Unlike TLo, I don’t have a photographic memory for this stuff, so that could be part of why Ted went for the merger rather than simple ambition.

        • Hyphen

          Ted was all for ‘giving’ SC&P a consolation prize with the new name – I think he’s fully cognisant and implicitly accepting of Cutler’s plan, even if his cheerleading and company lines suggest otherwise.

          • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

            It seems like this season, in every episode, someone (usually Peggy) insists that Ted isn’t like the others…and then he turns around and proves that, in fact, he is. I don’t know why people keep ascribing progressive benevolence to him. He’s a shark in a goldfish suit.

          • Glammie

            Hard to say. I read him more as a guy who likes to see himself as “good”, but lets other people do the dirty work without stopping them. He’s conveniently lacking in a certain self-awareness.

            We’re all getting set up for a Peggy loyalty test. It’s one thing to leave SCDP, but would she allow Cutler and Chaough to to actually destroy the agency?

    • porcupie

      My poor, beloved Ginsberg. :(

    • http://twitter.com/susanpcollier Susan Collier

      Great episode. Fantastic recap.
      And just like I thought last week: no one was steering the ad agency, but Bizarro-Roger apparently is! Yikes!

    • MilaXX

      I agree that the confrontation Peggy & Joan had was long overdue, and yes, Joan has been nasty to others, but that remark Peggy made about her sleeping her way into a partnership still cut. Two wrongs and all that. As much as I hope these two develop a friendship, unless they end up working n Avon together, I don’t see it.
      Ginsberg has always read cray to me.
      I didn’t completely understand the name change deal. I’ll have to rewatch.

      • teensmom99

        Of course, a lot of people thought Peggy did sleep with Don so she sort of had to clear that up.

        • MilaXX

          I never got the impression that Joan thought that.

          • Vanessa

            I always had the impression she thought that Peggy slept with Don. I’m sure someone with a better memory than mine can come up with examples.

            • MilaXX

              I guess different viewpoint. I thought the other account men wondered if Peggy slept with Don for her promotion, but I just never got the impression that Joan did. I do think Joan saw Peggy as Don’s pet or protege, but until Megan Don never slept with the employees. He slept with the consultant and he slept with the people they had accounts with like Bobbi Bartlet & Rachel Menken but until Megan there was never a reason to see Don as the type to sleep with employees.

            • bxbourgie

              Don slept with the secretary before Megan. I can’t remember her name. When he got drunk at the holiday party and she had to bring him his keys.

            • Chris

              Allison.

            • MilaXX

              Oh I forgot that one. IIRC it was a one off though, right?

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Just to add to the conversation… I’ve often wondered if Joan figured out that Peggy had a baby. She would have been the most likely person in the office to look at the evidence (dramatic weight gain, leave of absence, dramatic weight loss) and come to that conclusion.

            • 3hares

              Was it before or after the pregnancy that Joan made her pregnancy remark?

            • MilaXX

              Now *that* I wouldn’t be surprised if Joan had sussed out.

            • Paula Pertile

              … and maybe she thinks the baby was Don’s?

            • Chris

              Peggy mentioned her Mom thinks Don was the father and hates him for it because he was the only one who came to visit her.

            • editrixie

              Thank you for bringing up one of my most lingering issues! It’s always bugged me that they never addressed that in any subsequent interactions the two women had. It’s really hard to imagine the Joan of old not getting at least some kind of nasty comment in somewhere.

            • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

              Seems likely. That was a rumor that was mentioned in season 2. I vaguely remember a conversation where someone said, “Peggy went away to have Don’s baby” or something along those lines, and Pete saying she just went to a fat farm. If it was a rumor, I’m sure Joan knew about it and probably thought it was true.

            • Travelgrrl

              Don’t forget, Peggy WOULD’VE slept with Don at first, given her awkward overture in episode 1. (Acting, I think, on advice she felt she got from Joan, what with all the “Off-to-the-birth-control-doctor-on-your-first-day” business)

            • MilaXX

              That was more what Peggy thought was expected as opposed to Peggy being in love with Don or using it as a way to get ahead.

            • Travelgrrl

              I guess I saw it as both expected and as a way to get ahead (in Peggy’s view).

            • MilaXX

              I don’t think season 1 Peggy was viewing it as a way to get ahead. I think she may have thought it was part and parcel with the job.

            • ReelSmartCookie

              Don DID sleep with an employee before Megan. His other secretary, who threw something at him in response to his lame Christmas bonus.

            • MilaXX

              Yes but it was a one off, by a drunken Don not a full fledged affair.

          • Chris

            Of course Joan would think that. Joan would never think it would be any way but that. Joan’s way of dealing with anything has always been to use her wiles. Even if it’s something as simple as removing a vending machine.

          • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

            I was under the impression that *everyone* thought that. Joan would just never blithely comment on Don’s affairs. She’d gossip about a lot of people, but I think she knows Don appreciates discretion and doesn’t want to piss him off.

      • somebody blonde

        I think what they mean by that is that Cutler was willing to cut his name from the title now… because he wants Bert and Roger to be the ones who get cut out when he makes a new agency.

        • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

          Happy to stick Bert and Roger with the losers. I was just surprised that Bert wasn’t alert to the ulterior motive to Cutler voluntarily taking his own name off the roster. Bert’s always been sort of removed from the daily goings-on in the office, but he’s generally smarter and more perceptive than that.

      • Chris

        Peggy didn’t make the comment. Joan said Peggy slept with Don to get ahead and Peggy said she certainly did not. I’m not sure where everyone is getting the “Peggy attacked Joan” from. Peggy denying she slept with Don is not her cutting Joan. Joan takes it that way because she did sleep with someone to get her partnership. Peggy has always chosen work and helping other women. I can’t think of one woman at work Joan has ever helped. Remember how she acted with Scarlet over a couple of hours on the time card? At least Pete and Ted had the courtesy to take her behind closed doors.

        • MilaXX

          Peggy did make a comment that Joan slept her way into the partnership. Her saying “at least *I*didn’t sleep my way to the top.” Isn’t denying she slept with Don, it’s pointing out that Joan did sleep her way to her position. I haven’t said that Peggy attacked Joan. She didn’t. I just think her bringing up how Joan got her partnership true or not was a low blow. Again, I also recognize that Joan has been quite nasty to other women in the office, but as I posted two wrongs and all that.

          • the_archandroid

            wait…did Peggy say “at least I didn’t sleep my way to the top” I thought that Joan said something and Peggy blurted out “I didn’t sleep w. Don to get my position” airing out some of her own insecurities about how she’s perceived to have moved up the ladder. I think in that moment peggy was defending herself, because honestly, i think peggy is usually thinking about herself, not others and their experiences.

            • Chris

              That’s what I heard, only Joan implied anyone slept their way somewhere.

            • Lisa

              Joan: So why do you think I should give it away?

              Peggy: I worked my way up.

              Joan: You were so brave, letting Don carry you to the deep end of the pool.

              Peggy: I never slept with him.

              Joan: Congratulations. You really are just like them.

              Peggy: I’m sorry but I never thought I would be in the position to say, “Joan, you’ve made a mistake.”

            • Lisa

              I’m not absolutely convinced from this that Peggy even knows that Joan slept with the Jaguar guy. Joan does take it that Peggy is thinking that, it seems. But Peggy seems to be focusing just on the comment Joan made about Don.

            • Chris

              Thanks for posting this! Peggy mentioned before to Don in the suitcase that “everyone thinks I slept with you” to get the promotion. It really ranked Peggy who is pretty much a straight arrow and had to work twice as hard to get where she is. Joan of course assumes Peggy is talking about her and gets offended when SHE was the one who implied Peggy slept with Don.

            • CommentsByKatie

              Right, I think Peggy said it as defending herself, but Joan heard it as an attack. It’s a topic both of them are so sensitive about. Just another double-meaning tension-creating amazing line.

          • Chris

            I never heard Peggy say anything like that but I will have to watch the episode again.

          • siriuslover

            Wait, I thought Peggy said “I worked my way to where I am,” then Joan said, “Don held your hand as you went to the deep end of the pool” (exact quote in TLo’s recap) and then Peggy said, “I didn’t sleep with Don,” not “I didn’t sleep my way to the top.” So I guess I read that scene completely different.

          • somebody blonde

            But… she didn’t say that. She said “I didn’t sleep with Don.” I think you heard that when she didn’t say it and it changes the whole scene.

            • MilaXX

              You’re right she did say “I never slept with him.” in response to the comment from Joan about Don carrying Peggy to the deep end of the pool, however the implication was clear. (That Joan slept her way into partnership) which is why Joan was hurt. Anyway, yes they were having a disagreement, and yes Joan has historically been nasty to others, particularly other females. I still feel like it was a low blow by Peggy. However, I am curious now that the dirty laundry has been aired so to speak, where their relationship goes. I really hope they get this account and end up working on it together. Sadly I think just my hoping that means it most likely won’t happen.

            • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

              I think regardless of who slept with whom, Joan and Peggy both know the other is extremely competent. Joan went to Peggy first to talk about Avon because she knows Peggy will knock it out of the park, and Peggy made the comment about Joan making a mistake and then bailed her out of that meeting because she knows Joan has a good shot of succeeding.

        • fnarf

          Joan didn’t say that Peggy slept with Don, she said Don carried her to the deep end of the pool. I think you’re misreading that exchange. Peggy wasn’t correcting Joan for accusing her of sleeping her way to the top — she was, accurately, pointing out that Joan did, in fact, sleep her way into a partnership.

          What worries me is that she is now in a position where she’s going to have to do it again. She botched the Avon meeting TWICE, so one assumes that the guy is still there because he’s a horndog, which means the way she’s going to keep the account is sleep with the guy, on her own initiative this time. Ugh. The way these miserable bastards have maneuvered her into a position where her only option is to be a whore is disgusting but wholly accurate way to depict 1960s America. All the women are whores, except Peggy, who is STILL the only person on this show with a chance to get to 1980 with an intact personality.

          • Chris

            Clearly Peggy took it to mean Joan was saying she slept with Don and why else would Don bother “carrying” her to the deep end? If she needed “carrying” it implies she didn’t work or deserve to get there on her own. What other reason could there be for Don carrying her? Don’s not charitable and the only other female he promoted he was sleeping with and married- Megan. Peggy mentioned in The Suitcase that “everyone” thought she slept with Don to get ahead and it bothered her. I think it’s very clear what Joan was saying. Peggy denying it does not equal her accusing Joan of doing it. That’s Joan’s take on the exchange.

            Being a whore isn’t Joan’s only option. The client hasn’t even expressed any personal interest in Joan whatsoever. Joan is the one who thought it was a date.He is new on the job and genuinely interested in growing the business and seeing if Joan and her firm is the one to help do it. She can learn fast, get advice and try to land the account using the excellent creative available to her. If she continues to think her only asset is her ability between the sheets, that’s her issue.

            • fnarf

              Well, yes, obviously it IS “her issue”. It’s why she’s in the room in the first place, because she sealed the deal with the disgusting Jersey car dealer. You don’t think the “Mad Men” universe has a whore problem? Whorehouses and their residents are a constantly recurring theme.

              Don promoted Peggy because she was good. And he didn’t promote her to where she is now; Ted Chaough did.

              And Joan lacks the business skills to land the account. We’ve seen that. We’ve seen it twice now. There isn’t any “excellent creative” because Joan is blocking the client’s view of it. Maybe he’s not going to make a pass at her, but if he doesn’t she’s going to make one herself to try and rescue the situation, and if he’s actually not interested in that kind of “client service”, then it’s going to backfire even worse. The only thing that’s going to get less respect from the men in that office than whoring is unsuccessful whoring.

              Joan is a tragic character. They’re all tragic characters. Tragic characters do not end up in scenes of triumph. This agency is going down, and Cutler is going to walk away with all the pieces. I think all the SCDP people are going to drown.

            • Chris

              Joan lacks experience handling clients which was Pete and Ted’s argument. However Joan is clever and is experienced in dealing with people. If she is willing to take advice and work with people she could come out on top on this. I don’t think every person at SCDP is doomed. Joan has had tragedy in her life but she is constantly learning and growing. Joan wouldn’t be trying to land a client of her own if she hadn’t grown and seen what she wanted to change about her life, she would be trying to negotiate a date with him. Joan is behind in the game but I have hope she can catch up.

            • Travelgrrl

              I don’t think you’re giving Joan enough credit. At the first incarnation of Sterling Cooper, she was the hardworking oil that kept the cogs running smoothly – nothing happened that she wasn’t aware of. She practically singlehandedly pulled off the SCDP schism. The fact the partners practially made her prostitute herself doesn’t take away from all her years of hard work and intellect that got her where she is now.

            • fnarf

              Don’t get me wrong — it’s not ME that’s not giving Joan enough credit. I agree, the company couldn’t function without her. But she WAS made to prostitute herself — nothing “practically” about it by the creeps she works for. That’s the whole point; she’s trapped. The “where she is now” you are referring to is an extremely vulnerable and dangerous place, while all the men she has serviced over the years are rich as a result.

            • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

              Technically, Don promoted Peggy to stick one to Pete Campbell. But. She was *also* good, which made it a viable option.

            • ReelSmartCookie

              I was wondering why no one else seems to remember that Peggy got officially promoted to piss off Pete. Yes, she had talent, but Don was totally pulling a power play.

          • Jaialaibean

            Count me among those who think Joan didn’t botch the meeting. She was a little insecure and, yes, she didn’t know exactly what to say, but she won him over with charm. And Avon isn’t likely to be one of your more chauvinistic companies, because it has to be all about what women want. It’s a perfect starter account for her.

            • fnarf

              Starter account? It was one of the biggest companies in the US, and would be SC&P’s second-biggest account, $25 million in billings. Heck, maybe the biggest — they don’t have all of Chevy, just the Vega. That’s not a starter account, it’s a crown jewel.

              Interestingly, 1967 is in fact the year they dropped the “Ding Dong, Avon Calling” ad campaign.

            • Jaialaibean

              I’m calling it a starter for her in the sense that it’s a good fit for her to start with, not saying it’s unimportant financially. But if she hadn’t brought it to them in the first place, the company wouldn’t have had a chance at it at all, so that $25 million wouldn’t have been theirs, regardless.

            • fnarf

              Which is why, when you get a monster lead like that, you hand it off to an experienced account manager immediately. This isn’t just boys throwing their weight around; as Pete points out, it’s an official rule of the company.

            • Jaialaibean

              But she’s not doing it for the company; she’s doing it for herself, because it’s the only chance she’s going to get to prove her worth as anything more than a glorified secretary. Pete might pay lip service to including her on the account, but it’s not likely ever to land with her again. So she has to throw the rules out the window. It’s a desperation move.

            • fnarf

              Even if she gets the account, the boys will take it away from her afterwards. She’s never going to be an account manager, not at any company Roger and Pete and Don run. Not Jim Cutler or Ted either. I understand her desperation, and I’m rooting for her, but it’s 1968 here. Someone mentioned the “glass ceiling” above, but in 1968, people like Joan were not even within sight of the glass ceiling — not because she isn’t ultimately capable but because of who she is — not just a woman, which was bad enough, but a particular kind of woman. I said it back when she went with the car dealer: “don’t do it, Joan, no one is going to respect you ever again”.

              This is the shape of the box she is trapped in. I’m sorry. I wish it wasn’t true.

            • Jaialaibean

              I think she’ll be okay. But we’ll see!

            • Glammie

              If she has the relationship with the client and actually bags the account, then, yes, she’ll be its account executive. It’s like sales, if you can bring it in, you do get a claim on it. The 1968 part is that she hasn’t been seen as a potential account exec because of who she is.

              But she’s a ways away from bringing in Avon.

              Remember, this is the era of Mary Wells Lawrence. Advertising was one of the few places where women did break through the glass ceiling.

            • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

              I don’t think she’s trying to be an account manager. I think she’s trying to prove her worth by getting an account the right way to replace the one she brought in before the wrong way, and if she succeeds in bringing Avon in, she’ll get away with it.

            • Adibug

              If Joan can bring in Avon (which is close to Jaguar in value), without needing to whore herself to the client, she will have proved to herself that she can earn with her talent, what she previously bought with her body.
              Then she can throw the whole thing in the faces of the entire rest of the partnership as proof that she has greater worth than what the boys club traded on when they sold her to Jaguar.

              I, for one, am greatly looking forward to that.

            • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

              Because no one in that office has ever succeeded by breaking the rules.

            • fnarf

              Boys. Boys in 1968, especially at SCDP, can do anything they want whenever they want to do it. Girls have to play along. Whatever happens to Joan, she’s never going to be Don Draper (thank goodness).

            • http://osiatynska.com/ osiatynska

              And that, possibly, is already something Joan and Peggy are steering their future client toward. Offices don’t have doorbells…

            • Mani @ Iz and Oz

              Couldn’t agree more!

            • desertwind

              I think Pete would’ve botched it for sure. He’d have been skeevy & desperate when what the Avon guy was looking for was sincerity and an understanding of the product.

              I wonder what would’ve happened if Joan had insisted (and explained coherently) that she go with Pete & Peggy to the second meeting.

            • 3hares

              I think it would have been great if Joan went with Pete and Peggy, but Pete’s a perfectly competent accounts man. There’s no evidence he’s driving away clients by being skeevy instead of knowing how to seem sincere or understand the product.

            • Chris

              I don’t think Pete necessarily would have botched it. While he’s an unsympathetic character it has been shown many times he is a very effective accounts man. He got Jaguar back as well as Mohawk airlines (and that was after bad blood in both cases- Mohawk was dropped flat by SC before). That great scene with Megan’s Dad in “At The Codfish Ball” showed Pete really knew how to skillfully flatter and manipulate a skeptical, savvy and educated person. As clueless as he is in real life Pete has been a very valuable asset in his job at SC. Whether he would have tried to cut Joan out is another question of course.

          • Travelgrrl

            I didn’t see it as “she botched the Avon meeting twice” – had she botched the first, the second wouldn’t have happened, and the box of Avon goodies at the office indicates that the account will go forward. Yes, she (and Peggy) were unprepared, but the new marketing guy from Avon didn’t seem accustomed to hiring ad agencies.

          • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

            Did Joan botch it? I don’t think she did. And I think the other guy was so new to his job, he wouldn’t really know if she did. I think he genuinely liked Joan–he seemed hung up on his ex-wife and not particularly interested in her romantically–and open to doing business with her. Joan was definitely green, but she wasn’t a disaster.

        • katiessh

          no, it’s pretty obvious Peggy was comparing herself to Joan, partly because of the way she said it, and the fact that she apologises after Joan gets mad at her. It’s pretty clear she was throwing shade. Has Peggy really gone out of her way to help people? When? She certainly isn’t particularly sympathetic to African Americans; she’s just as selfish as anyone else in the firm really.

          • Chris

            She helped and encouraged Megan, even when Megan wanted to quit, because she was genuinely good at her job. Even though she was promoted because she was Don’s wife, Peggy recognized her talent. Even though Peggy was awkward with Dawn she took her back to her apartment so she wouldn’t have to sleep at the office and asked about her goals and whether she was interested in a career in advertising. Phyllis mentions specifically that Peggy has helped and mentored her at CGC. Peggy went out of her way to get rid of Joey when he was being disgusting to Joan. He wasn’t being rude to Peggy in any way and he was good at his job, but Peggy knew what he did was wrong and genuinely wanted to help Joan (for which she got a classic Joan put down as thanks.) Peggy is far more sympathetic than anyone else at that office and the only one who has been concerned with helping other women. All Joan has ever done is put Peggy down and actively work against her when she first started to succeed. Joan has never shown one bit of encouragement to any other working woman, ever.

            • katiessh

              Ok well first of all, I think Peggy mainly fired Joey because he didn’t listen to her authority, not because of Joan. Second she thought Dawn was going to steal things. Third Peggy was really passive aggressive towards Megan in the early episodes and when she wanted to quit got pissed off because she thought it would blow back on herself. Fourth Joan gave Dawn more responsbility, and though she framed it as a punishment it was clear it was step up in Dawn’s job. Fifth after Don fucked with Allison she replaced her with Mrs Blankenship because she wanted to protect the other secretaries, so to say Joan has never helped any other woman ever is going a bit far. Lastly, I really like your profile photo- Dru and Spike FTW

            • Chris

              I think we have a fundamentally different take on things- Peggy being afraid that Dawn might steal from her doesn’t negate the fact she cared enough to bring her home and ask about her goals. Peggy is an imperfect person but she has always been supportive of women. I don’t remember the stuff you mention about Megan and Peggy they were shown as great friends, Peggy advised her on the party list, congratulated her on the Heinz idea and tried to keep her from quitting because she was talented. Dawn took the punishment as a step up, it’s clear that’s not how Joan intended it, at all. Mrs. Blakenship was Don’s punishment but Joan never helped Allison or anyone else that we saw. Joan has always been very harsh with the women working under her. Punishing Don doesn’t equal helping anyone else. Ginsberg always runs amok and Peggy never tried to fire him for not “listening to her authority,” she fired Joey strictly because of how he behaved with Joan.

              Thanks about the avatar :0)

            • katiessh

              In the first episode of season 5 (?) she makes a couple of cracks about Megan not having to stay late, I thought it was pretty clear she resented Megan having it so easy. And she’s absolutely furious when Megan tells her she wants to quit, partly because she knows Don will get pissed at her. Also remember what a bitch she was to Alison? ‘your problem isn’t my problem’. But Don was punished because of how he treated Alison- surely that’s an indication that she doesn’t want her ‘girls’ treated like that. Ginsberg doesn’t run amok like Joey did- she only fired Joey after she told him to take the picture down and he didn’t, so I don’t think it was the picture, I think it was that he directly ignored what she said. I just think that Peggy is out for herself just as much as anyone else in the firm, like when she said she didn’t sympathize with African Americans because she had to work hard. As if it’s the same thing.

            • Chris

              I think Ginsberg runs amok all the time- he deliberately disobeyed Don at the shoe pitch last season and I think it’s clear after last night no one has any control over him at all. Joey was all about how he treated Joan. Allison was carrying on at work because Don was ignoring her after hooking up with her. Peggy dealt with Peter picking her up and dropping her twice, having an unexpected illegitimate child with him, giving it away and still managed to be the first female creative at SC. Peggy only dealt with work problems at work while Allison was in boo hooing over her love life. Even Megan made a crack about how Allison acted. Megan was granted a golden opportunity Peggy practically had to murder for and didn’t care about the job. Megan could waltz in and out whenever she wanted and Peggy had to take Don’s wrath for whatever Megan’s problems were. Who would love that? It doesn’t negate the fact she helped Megan and devoted all kinds of time to grooming her when Megan knew she just wanted to be an actress. Of course Peggy is interested in herself, who isn’t? Just because African Americans have a hard time it doesn’t mean women don’t, or gays, or Jews, any number of people. If Ginsberg feels he is being discriminated against for being Jewish does that make him a bad person for not only caring about the rights of African Americans?

            • http://dorothydamage.wordpress.com/ Dorothy Damage

              Quick point, but there are African American women, gays, etc. And you can care about and support other marginalised groups while also dealing with your own discrimination. Which was the point of that scene with Peggy and Abe. As a woman pushing her way through a male-dominated company, Peggy should have more understanding of the struggle that other minorities face, and it is a character flaw that she’s so dismissive of the oppression of other groups and only thinks of herself, which has been shown repeatedly in the series. It definitely ties in with her general passivity and unawareness of what’s going on around her.

            • Chris

              Yes and it was also used to show Abe’s chauvinism as he has never shown any interest in the women’s movement and laughed at Peggy. Peggy doesn’t have to be Mother Theresa in order to be a good person. My point was Joan hasn’t really shown any sympathy with any movement, even with other women. Apart from Paul Kinsey no person from SC has shown any interest in any social causes in a genuine and active way.

            • http://dorothydamage.wordpress.com/ Dorothy Damage

              Well, Abe is nothing but character flaws, and his character showed the hypocrisy and oppression of men in the far left at the time. I understood your general point, but I just find it a bit odd that one would equate sainthood with caring about other people who are suffering the same slings and arrows that you are, especially in a tumultuous time where injustice was so in your face that ignoring it would have taken some effort. It is obvious that Peggy is more or less a good person, but it is equally obvious that doesn’t she doesn’t care about other marginalised people enough (unless they are in her direct environment), even if it is in an abstract way, like Megan seems to. I can understand why Roger doesn’t give a toss, because he’s in a world so rarefied that he’ll be forever stuck in the past, but Peggy should be more empathetic because similar crap is happening to her (though I think this is a pretty spot-on portrayal of the fissures and problems inherent in second-wave feminism during this period- a lot of aspirational working white women didn’t really care about the intersecting injustices of other groups, and it led to serious splits in the movement.) It’s a strength of the writing that I want Peggy, who is a stand-up person, to care about others, because she’s the good egg of SCDPCCetc.

            • Chris

              Apart from Megan shedding some tears over the TV I have never seen any real example that she cares about social issues enough to actually do anything, even when she had days, weeks and months free and was sitting home sulking in her luxury apartment. She did go to a vigil in the park after the MLK assassination but it seemed like it was as much about something to do and getting the kids out of the apartment. It doesn’t make her a bad person either but I wouldn’t use her as an example of someone with a great social conscience. The only examples we have of Peggy “not caring” about marginalized peoples is 1.) season 4 when she wasn’t aware of what was happening regarding Malcolm X and 2.) After her boyfriend has been stabbed, has lied to the police in their living room, the same policeman has basically told her she is living in a dangerous place and needs a club and she is in the middle of a heated argument with her boyfriend after realizing she has sunk all her money into a place she is terrified to live in, she doesn’t respond seriously to Abe’s remark about slave ships. She has however, hired and mentored what seemed to be the only person of color at CGC. Peggy isn’t out joining womens protest groups either even though in her own way she is trying to break through the ceiling. I think Peggy is interested in causes apart from herself but effects them in her everyday life in small ways.

            • ReelSmartCookie

              Yeah, but one could make the argument that Kinsey was full of shit and didn’t genuinely care.

            • Chris

              Absolutely you could, and my point is he is still the only one who actively took part in any social movements.

            • katiessh

              Ok, look it’s clear you love Peggy and nothing I say is going to change your perception of her as a white hat. So I won’t bother commenting on most of this, particuarly as parts of it has nothing to do with the argument. I’ll just comment on your last point, where you suggest that I think that people who care about civil rights thus don’t care about women’s rights. You can care about both- Peggy actively doesn’t. She basically said to Abe, ‘well I managed to do it, why can’t I?’ and suggested that advertising execs going to lunches at boys clubs is the same thing as getting lynched for trying to marry someone of a different race. Peggy really doesn’t care about civil rights at all- she didn’t even know Malcolm X was shot and assumed Joey (an asshat) wouldn’t even know who he was. Because Peggy is self-absorbed. She can’t process that it took a racist joke in a newspaper to get an African American hired as a receptionist- you can’t work your way into the creative room when you’re not allowed in the building. Ginsberg has never said- well I’m Jewish so I don’t have to care about civil rights- they can work hard like I do. For the record, I don’t root for Peggy, but I think she can be incredibly self-righteous and is in no way a better person than Joan

            • Chris

              There is no doubt Peggy is a flawed character, even after Ted’s distancing himself from her, she still has stars in her eyes when it comes to him. She has always been one to respect authority, probably more than she should. She’s made mistakes and errors in judgement and will continue to make them. The one thing she has not been, IMHO is deliberately mean. The same cannot be said for Joan who has been mean to a lot of people, male and female over the years for little to no reason. Peggy like most people in life, even in the 1960′s is trying to succeed personally and professionally and is focused on that. The fact that she wasn’t enlightened on every issue a couple of seasons ago doesn’t make her a villain or a bad person. Joan was openly horrible to Paul’s girlfriend and didn’t even know how to act with Dawn after the MLK assassination. Peggy clearly has a good relationship Phyllis and has helped her (according to Phyllis herself). Peggy is self absorbed and like 99% of the people who lived through the 60′s isn’t out on the front lines of protests. Clearly we aren’t going to change each other’s minds on this but I don’t think this means she us “in no way a better person than Joan.”

            • katiessh

              well i don’t think Joan is a bad person. I think they both have flaws and are trying to succeed in a sexist society but they do so in different ways. They have both been treated like shit by their bosses, particularly Don. So i think they’re kind of the same and are more likely to succeed when they work together. But I think it’s wrong to say that Peggy is a better person than Joan

            • Chris

              We are never going to agree on this but I think the record shows that Peggy has always been a kinder and more compassionate person than Joan. It wasn’t until Joan had some severe knocks in her life that she ever addressed Peggy (and many others) without condescension and often outright mockery. We’ve never seen that behavior from Peggy. She can be self absorbed but never cruel for no reason.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Peggy was never furious at Megan for wanting to quit. The only time she got mad at her for it was the time Peggy wound up having to lie to Don about where she was. When Megan actually informed Peggy she was quitting, Peggy was warm and supportive, and said of her, “That took a lot of guts.” You’ve got that part of their relationship quite wrong, we have to say.

            • katiessh

              …ok. Well granted I haven’t seen the episode in a while, but I was pretty sure I remembered Peggy getting angry when Megan first told her. And I thought it was because was afraid of blowback from Don onto her. Not that she wasn’t unjustified in that, but to me it was showing that she mainly thinks about herself. I never said she didn’t have a friendship with Megan or that I think she’s the devil, I just don’t understand why some people on this sight see Joan as a manipulative bitch while Peggy is a do-gooder. I don’t see it that way, but I guess your opinion is the right one?

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              No, Peggy was surprised she wanted to leave and angry that she put her in the position of having to lie to Don. When she actually announced her decision to leave, Peggy was quite supportive.

              I’m only pointing out something that I think you got factually wrong about the history of the characters. Your last sentence is uncalled-for.

            • katiessh

              Well i didn’t mean it do be rude, but I just feel like Mad Men is one of those rare shows that it’s hard to say one person’s opinion is wrong or right. I view Peggy and Megan’s interactions one way, you view them another, but I think it’s hard to know what it actually means because of the subtleties of the show. Which is what I like about it- that people are arguing whether Peggy was making at dig to Joan when she said ‘I didn’t sleep with him’ like I took it, or whether she was just defending herself. I just find declarative statements like your last sentence odd for a show that I often find myself changing my mind on what actually happened several times.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              I’m not debating you on your opinion of their relationship. I’m letting you know that you got one scene of theirs mixed up with another and confused Peggy’s reaction. Peggy was mad at her for making her lie to Don about where she was. When Peggy found out she was leaving, she was supportive of her and said kind things. These aren’t matters of opinion.

            • katiessh

              I think I was referring to the first conversation, but I admit it’s been a while. if I was wrong thanks for the correction.

            • sweetlilvoice

              I think one of main reasons Joan is hostile to other working women is because she never intended to be one herself. She had to become one due to her crappy choice of a husband. Joan was raised to be a wife, just like Betty. Can you imagine Betty in the workforce? She would be just as mean. Peggy, on the other hand, has always sought a career. True, she has gotten distracted by the idea of marriage and kids (like buying that dump with Abe when he tantalized her with a vision of family and kids) but she is usually focused on her career and advancement. Apologies if this has been already stated.

            • Chris

              I want to state first that I like the character of Joan and want to see her succeed. I think she has matured and grown so much over the years. That being said I see Joan as the ultimate mean girl for most of her life. The type of girl who was cruel to the chubby girls and girls with glasses in high school like she was cruel to Peggy. Joan was all about men and looks. She had to be the most admired and loved the attention. I think she couldn’t give it up which is why she waited so long (in her 30′s then was “old”) to finally decide on a guy and settle down. The affair with Roger was a detriment too I am sure. Joan’s goal was always to be taken care of by a man and admired. She thought Peggy was a fool and felt sorry for her. She loved being in charge of the secretaries but couldn’t wait to give her job up to marry Dr. Rapist. Joan reminded me of Scarlet O’Hara in GWTW when she thinks Melanie is such a fool for discussing Dickens with Ashley instead of buttering him up.

            • ReelSmartCookie

              I think Joan’s aggression has more to do with the fact that I really do think she does, deep down, want to be a successful working woman. She was raised to be admired and be a wife, yes, but I think she gets WAY more validation from being successful at work. If you remember how she blossomed with the media buying work, then was crushed when it was taken from her, I think it’s a good indicator of how much she values working. And, she was already a working woman – cattiness and all – before she was married.

          • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

            Peggy tried to help Teddy Rumsen, but that was a long time ago.

            • ReelSmartCookie

              Freddy. :-)

      • Jaialaibean

        The name change was the bone Cutler and Chaough (but mainly Cutler) were throwing to the SCDP partners to distract them from the fact that Cutler’s machinations with accounts have been more to the advantage of the CGC side. He’s a sneaky devil, that one.

        • MilaXX

          Yeah I just rewatched and got that. That’s why poor Pete was so upset no one was listening to him at the end. He sees that.

        • CommentsByKatie

          I love Cutler!! So unexpected and so thrilling. He’s the evil version of Bob Benson. It’s been a long time since we had a bonafide villain! (Or ever?) I’m sure he will be painted in a more sympathetic light eventually, but I love the audience-knows characters-don’t tension created by his machinations right now.

      • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

        I felt like Joan and Peggy were both pretty cutting, although Joan’s always been better at the snide remarks. To me, the conversation read like two people who have known each other a long time and who also generally respect each other, but who also have issues. I felt like the conversation was a lot about clearing the air. They both have misconceptions about each other, but I think they both want the other to do well and realize they might be more successful if they’re on the same side. It’s not the first time we’ve seen Peggy and Joan together commenting on the men they work with. Hopefully it won’t be the last.

        • MilaXX

          I agree they needed to clear the. While I think they both admired how they navigated through a male dominated world, I think they had too much of a Mars/Venus thing going on to truly respect each other. I hope if they get to work with each other on this account they will get to the place where they can respect each other’s journey to get where they are.

          • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

            I don’t know. Peggy was the first person Joan went to for help, and Peggy admitted Joan doesn’t very often make mistakes at work. I think it’s a grudging respect. The Mars/Venus thing is what will keep them from being friends…unless Peggy screws up and sleeps with Ted. In which case…

            • MilaXX

              Grudging respect, I could see that.

    • teensmom99

      Great analysis but one more point re Joan (somewhat in her defense): she’s the link and she can help seal the deal so it was wrong of Pete to cast her out. If Roger, Harry and Don can go to LA for Carnation then why couldn’t Joan be at the meeting with Avon? Pete was so dismissive that he didn’t see that she needed to be there andso she did what she has always done to fight the sexism–manipulated the situation. She used an underhanded tactic to fight their blatant sexism–sexism which could have cost them the deal. Not a great way to behave but I’m not sure what her alternatives were.

      • somebody blonde

        She had an obvious alternative: know when the meeting was and just SHOW UP. It’s not like she couldn’t have asked Peggy when the meeting was, and Pete would have had to pretend she was invited if she had just shown up.

        • teensmom99

          Somebody blonde, while that might have been better ethically, she was trying to see that she wouldn’t be undermined again as “just the admin” person which is how she has been treated by every one. And I’m not exactly justifying her behavior–just pointing out that when Joan fights the patriarchy she uses the same manipulative tactics she used even when she was still working within the system.

          • somebody blonde

            The problem though is that if this backfires and she fucks it up with Avon, she had to see that she’d have absolutely no credibility at all and everyone would be mad at her. It would’ve been a lot less risky to just show up to the meeting and refuse to get shut out of her account than what she’s actually done- if it doesn’t play out right, she might get completely shut out of the business.

            I don’t think the writers would do that to Joan, but there’s no way she doesn’t know that it’s a thing that could happen.

            • Travelgrrl

              Taking risks is a hallmark of the agency, from Don’s numerous gambits to the SCDP splitoff to the merger with CGC. She’s just acting like the big boys do, taking a risk to get a big payoff, not just for the company but for herself.

            • teensmom99

              I’m not defending Joan, but I’m explaining her behavior. I agree that it would have been more strategic to come to the Pete/Peggy/Avon meeting rather than cut Pete out but I think she wasn’t being strategic in that sense (though she was correct in thinking that she should still be involved)–she was just pissed after seeing all season/year that in some ways her hard-won partnership means so little.
              Also, she has been so belittled by Pete that I can see that she would think that if she had crashed the meeting it would be more belittling.

            • somebody blonde

              Yeah, I can see that- that she feared that involving Pete at all would make her seem even more dispensable and unimportant, and she didn’t want that. I really hope it works out for her.

            • editrixie

              I definitely think she got that at the end — the way she stands there, her eyes wide and slightly moist as if she’s almost in tears, showed me that she gets just how bad it could have been for her and that Peggy rescuing her isn’t necessarily the end of it.

      • http://twitter.com/susanpcollier Susan Collier

        Pete has been feeling marginalized and on shaky ground at work a bit lately though. They didn’t put him on Chevy and he lost Vicks because of his father-in-law. He’s an old-school men’s club guy and he’s having a difficult time in his female relationships right now. He wasn’t ever going to really give Joan her due, but especially not this week.

      • the_archandroid

        I think that there were other ways for joan to handle it though, if I recall, she just told pete “I think I really should be there” a couple of times. Pete is too oblivious to understand, and Joan is too demure to outright say HEY this client is MY connection, he thinks I’M an account person and i need to be there so we maintain appearances. That doesn’t excuse the blatant sexism and the fact that she is constantly shut out of things that could grow her career and position, but i expected her to be more adroit.

        • Chris

          Joan has always been about manipulation and doing things on the sly. I like Joan and want her to succeed but Joan never does anything the straightforward way, which is the only way Peggy does anything. The whole situation with Joey encapsulated this and their viewpoints. If Joan had ever asked outright for what she wanted years ago her life may have been different.

        • Itsonreserve

          Not inviting Pete was a misstep; she should have just set up the meeting with Pete and then shown up. Though Joan messed up, Pete’s the one who looks bad in the end anyway, as he basically tattled to Daddy and then threw a hissy fit. Sure, Ted might have sided with him and taken the account away if Peggy hadn’t faked the call, but tattling is never a good look.

      • Vanessa

        Joan is increasingly trapped by the way she moved up in the SCDP hierarchy. Everyone knows she slept her way to a partnership, and it colors her ability to navigate now. Even Peggy, who I think saved Joan because she was now invested & implicated by supporting Joan at the beginning and going along with it at the meeting.

        • ReelSmartCookie

          It really bugs me that everyone seems to know how she got the partnership.

      • Frank_821

        I felt this was not simply a point of Pete being sexist. Ted did not envision sending Joan there either. I doubt Don or Roger would have considered it for the simple reason Joan has no experience in directly handling accounts or creative. Peggy is chief copy editor and would need to be there. Joan would be involved but not at such a critical meeting to win over the client

        • Travelgrrl

          You can bet your boots that had Bob Benson or some other male underling brought in a Fortune 500 account, that they would have been invited to the meeting, even in a subordinate role. The fact that Joan was immediately shut out signaled that she wasn’t going to receive any credit at all, nor be involved in thee further dealings with Avon.

          • Frank_821

            I am thinking that might be iffy if Joan were a man she would have been invited. I think it bears repeating what was mentioned in the other parts of the thread concerning Lane. Even though Lane had the connection to get them Jaguar, he had to make a big stink to be included in the dealings and he had to really argue how critical he would be in wooing them. Joan, nor Peggy, did a good job of justifying bringing her along. Peggy by all rights should have anticipated their reaction and spoke more on her behalf how useful she would be in helping get their business

            I certainly agree though Joan’s gender factored in their response.

            • teensmom99

              Frank_821: it’s not just Pete being sexist–it’s all of them being sexist. Ted may be a nicer colleague and boss but he’s still tied to the patriarchal thinking of 1968.

            • CommentsByKatie

              Wow, you’re right, this is another big Lane/Joan connection. I missed that! They seem to be drawing this comparison deliberately. I wonder why?

        • jen_wang

          Agreed. Why would you send someone with no accounts experience when you can send an accounts guy?

          One thing that surprised me was that Pete (while yelling and revealing that he thinks of Joan as a subordinate) went out of his way to acknowledge that he could understand Joan thinking of the account as hers. I would never have thought of Joan as being in accounts, junior or not. I assumed that other characters thought that too, and that’s why she felt she had to break into that side of the agency.

          • mcpierogipazza

            You send both the person who has the relationship with the potential client AND the accounts person. It’s a little big to have three people, but you’d be covered. I fundraise for a living, and if you’re working to get a major gift, you don’t ditch the person who opened the door for you. You’re building a relationship with the potential donor, not just making a transaction. And if you ask for money too soon, no gift.

            • BookJunkie315

              THIS.

      • Robyn Garrett

        I feel like this episode with Joan was an eerie callback to Lane’s connection with Jaguar. Along comes a client that is, from the outside, perfect for her. It’s just like how Lane initially me the Jaguar exec in a personal setting and they shared a British connection. Both of them fumble around to handle the situation. At least Joan kind of had Peggy available to give her some support at the meeting and then back at the office.

        Joan has been picking up Lane’s financial responsibilities since his suicide. And now this parallel gives me the creeps a little bit. Joan’s certainly being backed into a tough corner.

        • Chris

          I also picked up on the Lane-Joan connection. The difference being Joan has a will of iron when she wants to. We saw through Lane’s relationship with his father and his wife that he never seemed to “wear the pants” in the family. Joan has been wearing the pants solely for some time. Joan cannot let herself fail and if (heaven forbid) she does, she would never leave her responsibilities behind like Lane did. She is just not that kind of person, especially after her worrying about what would become of Kevin at the hospital.

          • CommentsByKatie

            This is fascinating. There does seem to be a deliberate Joan/Lane connection . (Powerless partnerships, ill-defined financial roles, bringing in huge accounts and not being allowed to see them through, etc.) I wonder what for? Suicide is the obvious one, but I don’t see that for Joan at all, and I think it’s TOO obvious.

            It would be wonderful to see Joanie succeed where a male character had failed, and that could be meaningful in relationship to the times. That’s the only other idea I have. I am excited to see where this goes.

            • Chris

              I think it serves to contrast who Joan is vs who Lane was. Joan has had some hard knocks in her life. Like Lane her life didn’t go the way she planned and to Joan it happened more than once. When life knocks Joan down she gets back up. Lane couldn’t deal with the consequences of his actions. Even when Joan was called out on her “transgression” she didn’t fold, beg or carry on like Lane did (even though it could have meant her job as well.) She sat strong and braved it out (with a big helping hand from Peggy). Even last season the clothes Joan wore after Lane’s suicide called him to mind (her glasses, more suit like clothes). Lane gave up and left a son and family behind of his own free will. Joan will go down fighting to the last if she has to.

        • Jaialaibean

          But Joan’s people skills are light-years beyond Lane’s. She has an instinct for what people want to hear that serves as a partial substitute for the knowledge and experience she lacks.

          • Jaialaibean

            Also, while Lane fumbled at the beginning, what ultimately screwed up Jaguar in the long run were the misadventures of the actual account guys — first the whoring around in an actual whorehouse orchestrated by Roger, then the selling off of Joan’s favors which was managed by Pete.

            • 3hares

              The client wanted to go to a whorehouse and they brought him to a whorehouse. The whorehouse was therefore necessary. The guy wasn’t interested when it was just Lane talking to him. The selling off of Joan’s favors helped get them Jaguar, so I’m not sure how that fits in.

            • Jaialaibean

              It also helped them lose it, ultimately, because it was a shaky foundation for the business relationship. Don basically torpedoed the whole thing because Herb thought that since SCDP was willing to sell him one of its workers, he could get anything he wanted. And in the first instance, with the whorehouse, yes, that’s what the client wanted, but it backfired (chewing gum in private places — ick). There’s an increasing sense that business as usual isn’t working anymore.

      • fnarf

        But how is she going to “seal the deal” when she has no idea how to do that? It’s one thing to screw up, but it’s far worse to not even know you’ve screwed up, and Joan screwed up that meeting. But doesn’t know it. This is almost exactly the mistake that Lane made last season with Jaguar.

        • katiessh

          did she screw up though? Like someone else said everything she said led to getting something from Avon. Yeah she was nervous, yeah she fumbled, but I didn’t read it as completely screwing up the account.

          • ReelSmartCookie

            There was also a box of gifts delivered from Avon, for the girls at the office. That doesn’t really speak of failure, even if there was no immediate phone call to follow up.

    • Verascity

      “As for Ginsberg, we hate to sound so gleeful about it, but we got a TON of shit last season when we opined that his “I’m from Mars” monologue was indicative of schizophrenia and we do so love being proven right. We’re petty that way.”

      Sorry, boys, I’m still not seeing how this is remotely a depiction of schizophrenia. Anxiety and panic attacks, sure. High-level neuroses, yes. I think you’re forgetting the context: he was high strung and upset over listening to the Vietnam broadcasts and then called out quite directly on his hypocrisy by Cutler. Being physically sickened right before his next big meeting is basically the textbook definition of a panic attack, far from a thing you need a serious mental illness to have. He speaks in quotations and poetry and the language of insanity because that calls back to the way he thinks of himself: a lost soul, an alien, a trapped figure, someone who doesn’t know how to express himself. Frankly, he’s more likely to be autistic than schizophrenic.

      I’m not arguing he’s 100% mentally sound, but I’m one of the ones who thought you were way off-base back then and I think you’re still hitting far from the mound now.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        “Beaming transmissions into my head” is extremely common for schizophrenics. “Hitting far from the mound” strikes us as a ludicrous bit of hand-waving since Ginsberg is quite clearly not mentally sound. We can quibble over the details of his diagnosis, but sorry, we’re not and never have been “way off base” on this one.

        • MilaXX

          I was thinking about the “transmissions in my head” line as well. That’s almost textbook schizophrenic; transmission, hearing voices, etc….

        • NightOwl

          The same symptoms can be seen with bipolar disorder, a personality disorder, or possibly PTSD. If he does have schizophrenia he’s extremely high functioning since this is only the second time (?) he’s made any reference to his symptoms. I wonder if rather than representing mental illness per se he represents how the line between reality and…unreality? is getting blurred (due to cultural change, drug culture, etc.). In particular since the Apollo 11 space launch was in July of 1969, his reference to “beaming transmissions” seems pretty on theme. The idea of escaping the current reality for an alternate one also relates to Pete’s choice to burn a joint and tune out for a bit.

          • Vanessa

            He’s the right age to start experiencing a schizophrenic break–no reason for it to have started earlier. One of the sad things about schizophrenia. it shows up in young adulthood.

            • NightOwl

              True, but it would be a tricky bit of writing to make him so high functioning that his only symptoms are these oblique references many episodes apart. It’s possible, but given that I know basically nothing about how high functioning someone can be with untreated schizophrenia (I’ve only worked with fairly severe cases) and I’m a psych ph.d. student I wonder how likely it is that the writers would go there.

            • Spicytomato1

              My grandmother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and I always thought of her as “high functioning.” She was able to keep a job when she was younger and also able most of the time to keep a lid on her true thoughts (paranoia, “transmissions” that she occasionally confided came to her through the TV) because she knew on some level that people didn’t want to hear that stuff. She wasn’t, however, able to maintain a social life. I often thought she might have been misdiagnosed, that maybe she really had PTSD (she experienced some real horrors during WW2).

              In any case, I’m not convinced Ginsberg was having a schizophrenic break. I agree with those who saw it as a panic attack. That, coupled with his unique outlook on the world, certainly presents itself very similarly to schizophrenia.

            • Qitkat

              I don’t know enough about schizophrenia to weigh in on that part of the discussion, but I was struck that you mentioned that your grandmother was not able to maintain a social life. Remember the painful date that Ginsberg had earlier in the season, where he was so out of his comfort zone? We all felt really bad for him, thinking that he needed a relationship outside of his father and the office mates, but it may be really difficult for him. I have a brother who has no diagnosis (that I know of, it’s a long story) of any mental illness, but he has always had difficulties with personal relationships, even with close family members.

            • Alice Teeple

              Yes, my grandfather suffered from it terribly after the war. He couldn’t hold a job for years because he couldn’t handle authority and would act out. He would have episodes where he thought he was back in the war…in the mid 60s. He went for years with improper medications because they weren’t sure what to give him, and it often made things worse. I can’t imagine what it must have been like growing up with that. Whoever is writing Ginzo has hit most of the nails right on the head with a textbook schizophrenic, aside from the constant chain smoking I’ve witnessed.

            • Qitkat

              I was always told as a child that my dad’s youngest brother suffered from shell-shock from WWII. He lied about his age and joined at 17. He spent the rest of his life after the war in and out of veteran’s hospitals, married briefly once, and had difficulty holding down a job. Later in life, mom told me he was schizophrenic. So I do have a possible family tie in with my brother (convo with @Spicytomato1:disqus ) and my uncle. But my brother was never diagnosed, and I never saw my uncle as I grew older, I think dad wanted to protect us from the experience, he used to visit him out of town once or twice a year, and mom never even went in the hospital with him. Every family has secrets, and this is a particularly sad one to me. I imagine your family has a similar sadness.

            • Alice Teeple

              Definitely. Very similar. My parents were straightforward about him from the get-go, but witnessing that kind of behavior as a child really colored how I viewed adulthood early on. I learned pretty quickly that adults aren’t always in control. It’s a stigma to have this in the family for sure, but I’m finding as I get older that a lot of families have similar stories, and it helps. If Ginzo ends up being mentally ill, it would definitely hit home very hard and would be such a great storyline for Mad Men – to have a literal madman in their midst. There haven’t been many characters with believable mental illness on television. They’re usually written off as koo-koo and aren’t terribly sympathetic. I’d be cool with them working on that angle for poor Ginzo.

            • Spicytomato1

              Hmm. So far what we’ve seen of Ginsberg’s social difficulties seem to involve extreme awkwardness more than anything. My grandmother’s inability to maintain relationships came from the fact that she invariably would start to think a friend was out to poison her or steal her identity…sigh…definitely much more insidious and crippling to relationships than social awkwardness.

              But I do know of social awkwardness as I have a son on the autism spectrum…and interestingly I see some very tenuous parallels between what my grandmother struggled with and what my son struggles with. So many neurological disorders are connected, I realize. I don’t think autism is behind Ginsberg’s social struggles, although who knows? He does have a bit of an Asperger-ish quality to him, too.

            • Qitkat

              Extreme social awkwardness, that’s a pretty good description of my brother. It never occurred to me before that he might have Aspergers. He’s over 60, and that kind of thing was unknown that long ago, I suppose. Anyway, it’s off topic. I appreciate how BK’s can always give food for thought, never quite know where conversations will lead. Thanks.

            • Spicytomato1

              So true. I tend to find fiction writing not just enjoyable but often therapeutic because of the insights I can glean about life and MM feels much the same way to me, like a good novel. Thank you for the thoughtful exchange.

            • Glammie

              Mad Men has touched on a lot of mental health issues. Having a character have a schizophrenic break in 1968 is a valid metaphor for the era. As I said above, the joke is that the time period is so crazy that no one can tell if Ginsberg is nuts.

            • mcpierogipazza

              A friend of mine went through at least a year of hearing voices before it interfered with her ability to function. I had no idea anything was even wrong. It was only after she called me after leaving her office during a breakdown that I knew anything was wrong. Her boyfriend later told me that she’d been saying “weird things” for a year off and on, and what he described was auditory hallucinations and paranoia. She’d been done fine at work, had lots of friends, was active in the community. (And fortunately the meds worked right away and she’s fine.) But other than her being in treatment for minor depression, nothing seemed amiss.

            • somebody blonde

              Um… is he really that young though? I was under the impression that schizophrenic breaks usually manifest sometime around very early twenties, and it seems to me that he’s closer to 30 at this point.

            • Shug

              If he was born in a concentration camp he could be anywhere from what…24-27 years old in 1968?

            • Alice Teeple

              Let’s face it. If he really had been born in a concentration camp, he would have been thrown in an oven immediately or murdered in utero, unless he’d been born in 1945. The only stories I’ve ever seen similar to his were babies born just before liberation, and their stories were incredibly rare. I think he’s a few years older than that, isn’t he? No way he would have lived. And even so, how the hell would he have gotten to Sweden during the war, from a concentration camp? And then get randomly adopted by a man who takes a kid to NYC and then raises him in a tenement house? The whole thing is too bizarre. Peggy was suspicious from the get-go.

            • Shug

              Good points. Could just be the writers being a little lazy – I know lazy writing isn’t very Weiner, but no one is perfect. I like the character a lot – I hope we find out more on his back story, as well as the tasty Bob Benson’s backstory…

            • Alice Teeple

              Me too! On both accounts!

            • Nicole R

              Ugh. I have trouble with the “thrown in the oven” phrasing. Sorry, this is shocking to me. Anyway, Ginsberg could have been born between 44 and 45 when the concentration camps were being gradually liberated by the allied forces. He could have lived, actually, and from there, been dispatched to a refugee camp in a neighbor country like Belgium, Poland, Switzerland, etc, or a little bit further, Sweden. There were US army and administration members everywhere in Europe during the 10 years following the war, so someone could very well have found him there and taken him home with him after his service.

            • Alice Teeple

              It could be lazy writing, but I still think his timeframe is as off as his story. I think he’s too old to have been born during the time of liberation. Ginsberg was hired in 1966. That would mean he was only 21 or so, if that timeline were true. I think they established he was older than that. Here’s what the official AMC blurb says about his character: “Ginsberg admitted his loneliness to Peggy and revealed a shocking truth about his past: that he was born in a concentration camp. He also claimed to be a Martian, furthering her suspicions about his volatile mental state.”

            • ldancer

              There were also different kinds of camps, and hierarchies of prisoners too. In very ugly ways. Yes, it was rare, but whatever weird, terrible thing you can imagine happening in that time and place, the reality was often weirder and more terrible.

            • ReelSmartCookie

              Yeah, I wondered how it would be possible that he would have been born in a concentration camp. Chances are high that any pregnant woman would have been slaughtered, or the fetus would have been forcibly aborted or killed upon birth. But, who knows.

          • MartyBellerMask

            PTSD is pretty likely, but I’m not counting out schizophrenia by any means.

        • Verascity

          If you take his ramblings literally, I guess, but it’s a *huge* point of contention and not at all a minor quibble as to whether these are meant to be, just as with the alien speech. I’ve never taken his dialogue to be anything but metaphorical and I really do think that you guys tend to ignore the greater context when it comes to Ginsberg as a diaspora child, a Holocaust child, an adoptee, etc. (and, yes, as pointed out in the comment just before mine, also a product of this age of unreality and science fiction).

          Plus, to be perfectly honest, the way you talk about his “ominous” signs of mental illness tend to rub at least me the wrong way. Even if he winds up being schizophrenic (which I still very strongly doubt), he’s not shown himself to be a movie villain fake-schizo ax murderer.

          • Chris

            No, but he was stone cold sober when he was chucking exacto knives at a stoned/speed taking Stan.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Dingdingdingdingdingding.

            • Julie Parr

              As for those who think he can’t be schizophrenic because he’s only shown two episodes of symptoms … 1. it is a mental illness that often does not appear until one is already a young adult and 2. it would be weird for the whole show to be so Ginz-focused that we were seeing signs in every scene.

            • CommentsByKatie

              Exactly…two whole scenes foreshadowing it is pretty much a flashing red light on the Mad Men scene-time-O-meter.

            • Alice Teeple

              I definitely think you’re right about Ginzo being mentally ill! Hell, his clothes themselves are schizophrenic. Usually people afflicted with that have some massive narcotics addiction. I’m beginning to wonder if Ginsberg consciously avoids drugs and alcohol because he’s afraid it could go that route.

            • Verascity

              But it’s a major part of his characterization that he wants to fit in and doesn’t. It’s not at all out of place that he would try to be one of the pack even while he’s the only one not on drugs, or that he would do something Stan told him to, especially in light of the relationship info we got on them tonight.

            • Itsonreserve

              Peggy wasn’t on speed either: a little drunk from the funeral but Peggy canonically holds her liquor quite well and was dying to throw knives at Stan just like the rest of them, at Stan’s insistence. I think Ginsberg probably thought he was doing Stan a favor by letting the sober guy throw (his poor aim a downfall).

            • Chris

              I don’t remember Peggy wanting to throw anything. She was drunk, Ginsberg mentioned it. He was the only sober person in the building and he was the one tossing the blades. Peggy was the one who was nervous, couldn’t look and told Ginsberg not to hit Stan’s eye.

            • Itsonreserve

              She looks away during the throw, but just before, after Stan gleefully blindfolds himself, Peggy says, “I want to do it!” and then Stan insists they will all get a chance and Ginsberg says, “You’re drunk, I’m the only sober one here,” Peggy says, “You hate him,” and Ginsberg says, very glibly and with full mental faculties the quip, “I hate apples more.” Sure, she lost some nerve during the throw, but she looked through her hands. (I may have watched that scene a few times)

              I’m not saying anyone there was operating with all there faculties during hours 32 of a creative session or whatever, but I don’t think the scene paints Ginsberg as particularly unstable.

            • sweetlilvoice

              And his aim was so lousy that he almost hit a guy standing beside him! As a character, I love him. His relationship with Stan is very sweet. Also with Peggy.

            • sweetlilvoice

              Christ, I just realized those what they were throwing!

            • CommentsByKatie

              Jesus. I had forgotten about those X-acto knives. Nice catch. I tend to be a bandwagoner, so I think I’ll now official proclaim myself on the Team Ginzo Schizophrenic Break and Stabs Someone in the Finale Possibly Megan Scratch That Last Part. It might be too literal/obvious but it’s an exciting thought. Poor Ginsberg.

          • Itsonreserve

            I agree, and I think it could be taken either way, which is what worries me. I don’t so much think TLo is wrong, but I worry they could be right and Ginsberg will in fact shoot up the place or something. It would be an incredibly hacky and offensive plot to trot out, the schizophrenic goes on a work rampage. However between the MLK episode with almost none of the main black character and that Mammy Home Invasion trash I wouldn’t count out something so trite and problematic as that for the show’s climax this year.

            • VermillionSky

              If it turns out Ginsberg does have schizophrenia that doesn’t mean he’s going to “shoot up the place.” I think the more likely outcome is that he will have a serious psychotic break that will disturb his co-workers and possibly a client and he will then be committed to a facility or at the minimum lose his job. This is still a very sad ending for such a bright, interesting young man with so much potential. Chaough called him “lightning in a bottle” this episode when he defended him to Cutler. I think that was more foreshadowing of his mental illness, and to me the signs of mental illness are ominous because they portend his own personal and professional demise.

            • CommentsByKatie

              Or that they’ve ignored the fact that he in a terrible place and needs help because he’s useful to the company. That’s very sad and so classic SCDPCGC&PALPHABET.

        • Joan Arkham

          When he started talking about “beaming transmissions” I immediately thought about this guy and the “ruby satellite”: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/shooting/stories/weston042399.htm

          • OrigamiRose

            I once had to pursue a restraining order against a paranoid schizophrenic. In front of the judge, she repeatedly began rambling on about the transmitters in her teeth, to the point that the judge had her removed for being disruptive. It’s pretty scary stuff in person.

            • Lisa_Co

              I once had a paranoid schizophrenic woman hit me in the head with keys in her hand. Scary stuff, indeed.

            • OrigamiRose

              Ooof. I was terrified of the potential for violence with mine and no amount of reassurance that she had no violence in her past was going to calm me down. She thought I was gangbanging dogs, including hers (seriously).

              It’s sad of course but being a canary in the coal mine of her sickness was not cool with me. I hope you were not terribly hurt when you were hit – though I imagine the fear it gave you of the potential violence of others is a lasting one.

        • Rhonda Shore

          i always thought Ginsberg was talking about the transmissions in a tongue-in-cheek way, not actually meaning that he was having them.

          • decormaven

            Hash back in the day was extremely potent. And who’s to say there wasn’t a little acid in the hookah water to amp the experience?

            • Rhonda Shore

              shows how much i know!!!

            • fnarf

              Hash “back in the day” was significantly LESS potent than it is today, as are all marijuana products. Any dispensary today has stuff that’s literally ten times stronger than you were likely to get back then, when growing practices were in their infancy.

              I thought it must have been laced with something. ’68 seems a bit too early for angel dust, but you never know, especially in Hollywood.

            • decormaven

              PCP, yes. That would be making the rounds on the West Coast.

            • swiss_miss

              sorry, but thats bullshit. Hash is usually way, way stronger now.

          • Julie Parr

            THC can definitely be hallucinogenic. Google it.

            • Rhonda Shore

              i’LL take your word for it! Busy morning at work!

          • bxbourgie

            Me too! When he said those things to Peggy, I thought he was kidding. I mean he had a traumatic experience as a child, so I just figure he was one of those kids who make up things like imaginary friends or whatever to make themselves feel better. I didn’t really think he was SERIOUS about that until this episode.

          • Lilithcat

            Since always.

          • lulubella

            I think it’s possible Don was having those hallucinations as a result of having fallen in the pool and a lack of oxygen to the brain. The hashish cause the trip (haha) and fall, being underwater with breathing issues caused the dream sequence.

            • Onirica

              Yeah, that’s what I thought too. That Don fell in the pool and *then* started hallucinating. Not that he went ‘for a swim’ after his hallucinations of Megan/the soldier.

          • Spicytomato1

            Yes, I thought that was part of his quirky wit, which is part and parcel of what makes him the “lightning in a bottle” creative he is. If he was truly ill, I’m not sure he’d be so successful at work. Unless this is the beginning of a complete breakdown.

        • Shug

          But he is at least somewhat grounded in reality with the “homo” and “mother hen” comments (omg, loved that too). Ginsberg is brilliant, and I can buy that he’s speaking metaphorically/in the abstract. There are definitely some mental health issues, but…Michael’s “transmissions” talk, if he thinks he’s speaking literally, seems a little heavy-handed for Weiner.
          ETA: ok, Weiner CAN be heavy-handed. Just trying to convince myself Ginz isn’t schizo.

          • Alice Teeple

            Schizophrenics are often quite brilliant. That’s what makes the illness so tragic, and sometimes hard to pinpoint. It’s easy to write them off as being eccentric or metaphorical, until one day you realize they’re batshit bonkers and need mad help.

            • Spicytomato1

              Your saying that just reminded me of a guy in college who was like that but his diagnosis was bipolar disorder. On his meds he was fine, albeit a bit quirky, but occasionally he’d slip off them and break from reality. We’d have to take him to the hospital to re-stabilize. Tough way to live.

        • katiessh

          It seems unlikely that he would be able to be in creative and have nobody notice that he was genuinely crazy. I’m going for panic attack, maybe some kind of manic. But schizophrenia? I doubt it. I’m around quite a few, and realistically it would hard for most people actually in a state of psychosis to work effectively

          • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

            Hence the part where we said “We could quibble over the details of his diagnosis.” We’re not insisting that Ginsberg has schizophrenia, although we consider it the most likely explanation, given his dialogue. We’re insisting he has mental health issues that go far beyond simple neuroses or panic attacks. And it seems pretty obvious with this episode that his co-workers HAVE noticed his mental state.

            • Travelgrrl

              Mental disorders in general often manifest in one’s twenties. And given his traumatic childhood, he’s bound to have some challenges – but this episode was a huge leap forward in Ginsburg’s decline. His face was SO RED. Amazing lighting and makeup.

        • CommentsByKatie

          And from a storyline perspective, a schizophrenic character having a break of some sort could be the violent payoff the writing this season has been building towards, be a hell of a season finale, and be right in line with the uncertain chaos of the times. I think it would make perfect sense for the show. Props to the T Lo Instincts as always.

      • the_archandroid

        May be too soon to call but the “beaming thoughts into my head” sounds like a classic delusion of reference. This added to the fact that he is a holocaust baby and it’s quite possible that there is a definite split w. reality as a protective mechanism for his ego. We’ll have to see. I’m leaning more toward a personality disorder for Ginsberg. He can function ok, but simply does not play well with others.

        • Dagny Taggart

          PTSD or anxiety disorder are much more likely, IMO. He DOES play with others, as you say – just not consistently well.

    • somebody blonde

      Yeah, that moment with Stan as mother hen was the most adorable thing.

      I certainly don’t think Megan is doomed, but I kind of wonder about some of the actors she knows.

    • Mike R

      I haven’t understood the “Who is Bob?” speculation on the Internet. To me it was bordering on the bizarre. Why on earth would he be a spy? What is this, a James Bond movie? He’s just a young, gay, proto-preppie, and I predict his character is there more or less to add a Baby Boomer establishment character, a guy who would still be only in his 40s in the 1980s. I think Weiner is setting up a coming-out story but Bob will always be rather low-secondary on the show’s character hierarchy. Why on earth he’s garnered so much attention of late–all these weird theories–is beyond me.

      • egurl

        I don’t know. Even the Mad Men advertisers/producers are promoting the speculation. If you check the Mad Men Facebook page, they have a post linking to an article: “Weeks later, this character still remains a mystery. Who is Bob Benson?” He is a bit of a mystery.

        • Mike R

          He can be mysterious without being one of the outlandish things like a spy that people are theorizing about.

      • alice20c

        He’s attractive. People often confuse that with relevance. I agree, he’s a representation of one version of the future, but not as central as Peggy.

      • swiss_miss

        I think one of the reasons people are speculating is, that he started being around quite a lot but we never really got an insight into him, like for example seeing his family (which we did pretty early with Ginsberg & Peggy and even Dawn had a scene with her friend) without those kind of scenes its still difficult to understand who he is and what he wants.

        • Spicytomato1

          Yes, so true. They do seem to have deliberately been coy about his background.

          • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

            I like that the only thing in his office was a self-help record. It doesn’t get more Bob Benson than that.

    • ashtangajunkie

      I think Ginsberg’s “mother hen” line to Stan might be my favourite line of the season. I’ve been waiting for that conversation between Peggy and Joan – I hope that Peggy saving her from the confrontation in the conference room is a sign that they’ll move forward in a way that is good for both of them. I really do love the relationship they have, or could have, depending on the episode. A few weeks ago I read this description of Pete Campbell on a slate blog: Pete will always be basically right about other people, whether he’s condemning Don for blowing up the firm’s relationship with Jaguar or condemning his father-in-law’s hypocrisy after they run into each other at a brothel. (And he’ll always shoot himself in the foot while pointing it out.) Kind of perfect, no?

      • MilaXX

        Perfect description of Pete

      • Frank_821

        Yup perfect which is why people are still fascinated by him and praise Vincent for his skills

    • Caitlin O’Brien

      TLo, amazing and thorough recap! Thank you.

      But I just want to redirect everyone’s attention to Danny/Daniel punching Roger Sterling in the balls. LOL!

      • ashtangajunkie

        I laughed my ass off!

    • Tom Shea

      I didn’t see Ginsburg’s outburst as a schizophrenic episode but more the demands of the job and his moral conflict with them. After all, the establishment is literally beaming transmissions — commercials — that Ginz connects to the biz hungry powers-that-be. He’s not wrong.

      Chicago PD vs. Protesters really served as a metaphor for all of the Us vs. Them conflicts and status quo disruptions in this episode. Pete vs. Joan, Life vs. Carnation Instant Breakfast, SCDP vs. CGC, Don + Roger vs. California, Roger vs. Danny, Ginz vs. Cutler.

    • Vanessa

      How about Danny and Lotus as Sonny and Cher? Did they bring him back just for that visual pun? Sort of like the Peaches and herb joke?

      • teensmom99

        While the joke works it’s also a great example of the east/west divide and how CA is so much more groovy–even if the East coast is already smoking pot in the office and referencing tv shows and using words like groovy.

        • Mike R

          I don’t think “groovy” was ever a West Coast-centric word.

          • Alice Teeple

            No. It was pretty standard by 1968, but I suspect it never sincerely caught on for long because “groovy” was used in TV shows all the time as an illustration of a generation gap slang word for laughs, like when older characters tried it on for size and sounded absurd. That’s why I laugh every time I hear Ted say “groovy,” because he sounds just as weird saying it as the Professor on ‘Gilligan’s Island’ would. In fact, at the moment MeTV is running a promo where there’s a mash-up of a bunch of characters saying “groovy!” in various sitcoms like ‘Dick Van Dyke’ and ‘I Dream of Jeannie.’ Both of which I’m sure Ted loves. :)

      • Mike R

        I think he was included in part to show how East Coasters who couldn’t make it in the more rule-bound society there have been heading west to reinvent themselves for generations, but in especially dramatic ways in the late 60s!

      • MartyBellerMask

        LOVED THAT. And her laugh was hilarious.

      • greathill

        I thought he was a reference to Roman Polanski because didn’t he say he was a movie producer? And the all girlfriend?

      • jen_wang

        I thought it was counterpoint to Roger’s earlier speech about being a conquistador, and Roger’s geocentric view of the world (where NYC is the center of the universe instead of the Earth). He’s wrong about the Carnation execs being dazzled by them without effort on their part, and he’s wrong to think that he can undermine Danny’s reinvention the way he used to undermine him back in the day.

      • CommentsByKatie

        Oh. My. God. Sonny and Cher. Love this. Love you. Well spotted!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14301272 Kate Gorton

        “She’s just…Lotus.”

        Yes!

    • Guest

      There’s something about Mad Men and Game of Thrones airing on the same day. In GoT, people die left and right, but the audience would rather they didn’t, and with Mad Men, it’s the other way around.

      Everyone on Mad Men is on either suicide or murder watch at this point, and Don’s spill in the proverbial drink didn’t help.

    • teensmom99

      I know the jury is still out on cheough, but I love his tv references.

    • Joy

      So does everyone think he jumped into the pool on purpose while he was on the hash? The face he made when Roger joked about him being a horrible swimmer was pretty telling and so sad.

      Also, I really really loved the Joan-Peggy story. I have always felt a lot of times in the corporate world that women do not work well together. Just because you may be the only two women of power in the room, does not mean you will be friends. It is the same as when I have worked with other black people and we are the only two or three in the place. It doesn’t mean we will bond over the same issues.

      I do agree that I hope they will now be able to move past their differences and try to promote each other in the future.

      • Chris

        I feel like Peggy has always promoted Joan and tried to help her, even when Joan rejected it. Peggy has always helped and promoted other women. Joan never has. I hope Joan will try to promote other women in the future.

      • decormaven

        If women think today’s business climate is tough, just think what it was in 1968. These two women truly were in some uncharted territory. I think they both handled it well, with some ball bobbling. But that what you get when you have hardly gotten in time in handling the ball.

      • Spicytomato1

        I assumed Don ended up in the pool after he started staggering after the Megan hallucination. And the rest of the hallucination happened while he was face down in the water.

        • Travelgrrl

          I took the entire spacey trip to have happened once he was in the drink, drowning.

        • Lisa_Co

          Yes, if you listen to the background dialogue during Don’s hallucination you can hear someone shouting “man overboard”.

      • Golfkat

        I was wondering whether Don ended up in the pool by accident or if it was an attempted suicide fuelled by the drugs and I actually thought more people would be discussing it.

        • CommentsByKatie

          I think so many of us are over Sad Troubled Don at this point. The Sylvia storyline was so painfully boring that I haven’t recovered from it, and still tend to check out a bit during Don-centric scenes.

        • desertwind

          It was a very William Holden in Sunset Boulevard shot, wasn’t it.

          • CommentsByKatie

            I was thinking Gatsby!

    • Tom Shea

      Here’s hoping for a shot of Bob Benson at Stonewall Inn with Sal on his arm.

      But probably not. Sal Romano is to Mad Men what the Russian in the Woods is to The Sopranos.

      • Suzanne S

        Except I personally never cared whether we saw the “Russian in the Woods” again, other than a sense of mild dread that he’d show up (which, by that point, Christopher was already in some far worse circumstance)-the creators of the show know how beloved Sal was (and probably knew that ahead of time when they wrote him so sympathetically and knew that the actor would be a joy to watch). I’d love to see Sal again, I wish that he’d never been written off of the show. I was on some site over the weekend that compared the “Bye Bye Birdie” & Sal’s “Patio Cola” commercials almost frame by frame. I think that he would have been a good asset to Harry’s TV department, he was already comfortable with that medium.

    • siriuslover

      GREAT review! I too was so happy (though uncomfortable at the same time) that Joan and Peggy had “that” conversation. They said what needed to be said, but at the end of the day, Peggy still supported Joan.

      What was it that that Ted called Ginsberg? Lightening in a bottle or something like that?

      And your last lines were intriguing–talking about Cutler as the wiley silver fox, you then lumped Peggy in with Joan, Pete, Roger, and Don…but Peggy has been working for Jim for awhile. I wonder, now that she’s back in that building, is she being “lumped” with the SCDP folks by Jim Cutler?

      • Lilithcat

        Ted called him lightning in a bottle. It basically means he’s brillliant.

        • siriuslover

          Lilithcat, I just spelled it wrong. Thanks, though for the spelling correction!

    • etselec

      I was definitely on Peggy’s side of the argument with Joan, because Joan really does not know what she’s doing as an accounts woman, yet, and she does need to put in the work to become good at it if that’s the career path she wants. And Peggy’s comment about not sleeping with Don, while it did reveal some bias that she herself was probably a bit shocked by, was much more of an exasperated comment about how everyone assumes that she got where she was by sleeping with him instead of through hard work. I don’t think she realized how it sounded until after it came out of her mouth. I do hope that Joan lands Avon and does great things with them and learns as she goes – she’s bright enough to do that, but she needs advice, pointers, and corrections from someone along the way – she needs a mentor. Maybe Roger could be that person, or hell, maybe Bob, but clearly Pete won’t be at this point.

      I really hope that Pete does make a major shift into late ’60s culture and radically changes his way of being. Seems like Danny did.

      • http://pleasewelcomeyourjudges.com/ Brian @ PWYJudges

        Though Joan clearly needs guidance to tackle the Avon account, I think she had to do what she did because there’s no way anyone would give her an opportunity to work on an account.

        • Jaialaibean

          That’s exactly right. Nobody would ever have handed her that opportunity — or tossed it back if she let it go. It was a gift from a friend and, as such, belongs to her.

        • Spicytomato1

          Yes. And I thought it was infuriating that Bob got a promotion after possibly blowing the Manischewitz account. Yes, the business may have been floundering but an experienced account person could have averted the review. Very typical of my workplace experience — good work by women often going unnoticed and borderline incompetence by charming men being rewarded.

          • Qitkat

            Bob’s promotion felt like it came out of left field to me. He’s been a peripheral character all season, gradually getting more airtime, then, Wham!, the big guns of SCDP go out of town, and suddenly Bob is front and center back at the office. it all felt strange and strained to me, and a bit unrealistic.

            • NoNeinNyet

              Cutler is getting his pawns in place for his big move.

            • Qitkat

              But how does it happen that Bob is Cutler’s pawn, since Bob is originally from SCDP? We haven’t seen how their relationship came to be, and there is something suspicious about it to me.

            • NoNeinNyet

              Sure, he’s from SCDP but most of the SCDP partners and senior members find Bob to be annoying. Cutler now has reason to expect some loyalty from Bob and he’s placed him on Chevy.

            • Qitkat

              Cutler is manipulating Bob, plain and simple. Like chess pieces as you originally said. Just feels fake to me.

            • Suzanne S

              Since it’s Cutler we’re talking about, I’m going to say he’s getting his ‘checkers’ pieces all lined up (the game with Roger in the conference room a few weeks back)

            • Ally08

              Nice reminder! I thought a couple of weeks ago that Bob Benson was a Cutler Gleason & Chaough plant, and that may yet prove to be true. Cutler’s promotion of Bob at the end of the episode may be from ‘spy’ to an actual Accounts promotion ladder. While being his usual deferential self, Benson is also oddly relaxed in body language when talking to Cutler and Chaough behind a closed door, standing with his hands in his pockets, even as he announces the imminent loss of the Manischewitz account.

            • Suzanne S

              Wow, great insight and something I hadn’t noticed about “Bob Benson” (it will never be just “Bob” for me) and his body language. Intriguing theory.

            • Jaialaibean

              Cutler is probably just getting Bob out of the way. There’s already someone on Chevy: Ken, who hates Bob. So he gets to annoy Ken and mess with Bob, all in one blow.

            • Spicytomato1

              Sadly, I have been in that situation more than once when I worked at an agency. Clients would shift and in trying to shift personnel to match up, people would get promoted out of left field. I often viewed it as TBTB being afraid of bringing competent, qualified outsiders in to fill the spots…they’d rather promote unqualified people from within because they would be less likely to be upstaged or exposed for their own flaws.

            • fnarf

              That was exactly the point, though. Bob was promoted precisely because he’s not Roger or Pete or Ken. He doesn’t belong to anybody. He’s free for the taking, and he’s so eager to please that he’ll follow anyone who takes him.

            • Qitkat

              Deleting gmail overload. My brain is fried.

            • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

              I think it was funny considering the record Bob was listening to was about turning failure into success.

          • CommentsByKatie

            Right, if Peggy had failed in Manischewitz, would they have promoted her to Chevy in the blink of an eye? Hell no.

            I think it also has something to do with Villainous Ambitious Cutler seeing something in Ingratiatingly Ambitious Bob that he likes. Additionally, people of power always surround themselves with ‘yes-men’ and Bob is the epitome of that! I hope we see more mustache twirling from Cutler in the future, because I am loving it.

            • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

              Cutler didn’t care if they lost Manischewitz. It was an SCDP account, and Cutler is totally fine sabotaging relationships with all of SCDP’s former clients and running with the business once all of the SCDP partners are destroyed. It’s a smart way for former CGC to get rid of one of their top competitors.

            • decormaven

              Keep your friends close, your enemies closer. Good call.

    • Frank_821

      may I say I love this assessment-especially of Joan and Bob and Ginsberg. It’s way more thorough then any other reviewer. It’s easy for us to cheer Joan on battling the cosniderable sexism of the time. And let’s face it no one still sees Joan as bothering with a direct hand in accounts. but it’s important to take a step back and acknowledge that she could have seriously screwed this up. Everyone was justified in being pissed at her. They were extremely hesistant letting Lane handle an account and even then Don, Ken and Pete went with him

    • a fine lass

      I think Bob Benson’s real identity is Eddie Haskell. The timing is right – Eddie would have been about 26 in 1968. I think I remember him saying to Joan “That’s a lovely housecoat you’re wearing, Mrs. Harris” when he popped in on Joan a couple of episodes back.

      • albanassim

        Who is Eddie Haskell

        • Mike R

          Really?

          • somebody blonde

            Are you “really?”-ing the failure to use Google, or the failure to know who he was? I didn’t know until I just looked it up now.

            Edited to add: I don’t think it’s unreasonable to not know the name of the non-titular character from a TV show that aired decades before my birth, just for the record.

            • Mike R

              That show was just incredibly omnipresent in reruns all through the 1970s and 80s. I was born 8 years after Leave It to Beaver went off the air, but I would be shocked if any American my age didn’t know who Eddie Haskell was. I guess I just have to resign myself to changing times. Damn kids, get off my lawn! (Insert smiley face.)

            • somebody blonde

              Yeah… I was born in 1991. And I’m 22. So I think you’re going to have to get used to kids who weren’t around for 80′s reruns of Leave It to Beaver, sorry about that :P

            • Mike R

              It’s good to know about cultural references that predate your birth. And especially a character like Eddie Haskell, whose name is in wide use as a synonym for “sycophant.” Much the way Gladys Kravitz is shorthand for “nosy neighbor.”

            • somebody blonde

              I do know about plenty of cultural references that predate my birth, thank you very much. But expecting everyone out there to know Eddie Haskell now is like expecting everyone who was born in 1975 to be aware of secondary characters on Fibber McGee and Molly. I’ve never heard someone refer to Eddie Haskell or Gladys Kravitz, so I don’t think it’s in as wide use nowadays as it probably used to be. And believe me, I have a LOT more old cultural references than a lot of kids my age. Ask 90% of my peers what Iran-Contra was, or Kent State, or Al Jolson, and they will not be able to tell you. I’m not saying it’s not valuable to know these references, because I think it’s very valuable. But the reality is that a lot of these cultural references are getting dropped, and it’s something that one has to come to terms with eventually. It’s why people my age have been increasingly doing things like wearing blackface to a comic book convention when they’re trying to look exactly like a black character from Star Trek. Most of my peers really, honestly, do not know about the blackface era of performing. It’s not hard to see why- most of us have to ask GREAT-grandparents to know anyone who actually witnessed that era.

            • Alice Teeple

              Oof. You’ve hit the generation gap. I totally understand where you’re coming from. (The fact that you know Fibber McGee and Molly is impressive in itself.) People forget that it’s no longer a land of three TV stations. It’s a shame that when someone asks a perfectly reasonable question like, “who’s Eddie Haskell?” and gets grief and snark for it, it clamps down an opportunity to learn from others. I encounter this a lot with students your age. At first I was incredulous that people would never have heard of a Beatles song, or not know any of the Norman Lear canon, or whatever, but I came to understand that the with the massive amount of media clamoring for attention these days, how would anyone know about obscure references unless they were actively researching it? On a show like “Mad Men,” there’s a lot of cultural talking points that someone of my generation would probably still get because it’s something our parents talked about, we remember ourselves, or we saw in reruns growing up, but by your era, it would be gone from the airwaves. You hit the nail on the head. I’m so glad you take the incentive to learn more about these things.

            • somebody blonde

              Man, you’re totally right about the land of 3 TV stations. I’ve had to look up references from my own generation because I don’t watch every freaking TV show that’s currently on. Also, TV shows are especially hard cultural references to pick up now, because only a few get reruns on normal TV, and even if they do, a lot of people my age don’t bother to have TVs hooked up to cable anymore. Why bother when you can watch any TV show on the internet? Flipping around channels and coming across old episodes of something is a rare experience among people my age, because we have so many other ways to distract ourselves. It’s especially difficult when we’re talking about TV shows that have gone down with kind of a bad reputation, like “Leave It To Beaver,” which is pretty much only referenced to people my age when we’re talking about an example of a pre-feminist portrayal of women. That’s not exactly an endorsement to go watch it, you know?

            • Travelgrrl

              The OP could have easily wiki’d the cultural reference if he/she didn’t get it. Mad Men is full of them, never mind a throwaway comment by a poster. Hence, I think the irritation. Not directed at you.

            • somebody blonde

              Yeah, that’s why my initial question was about whether it was astonishing that albanassim didn’t know who Eddie Haskell was, or that he/she didn’t google it.

            • Travelgrrl

              I felt bad as if people were then piling on YOU. I think people were more fraught with the latter, not the former.

        • Frank_821

          damn I am now officially old

        • jinco

          Eddie Haskell was the iconic teenage character from Leave It To Beaver who while putting forth an unconvincing and unrelenting , smarmy brown-nosing front for all adults, showed himself the minute their backs were turned to be a conniving opportunist. What was brilliant about the character wasn’t just how he acted and the things he said, but the way the adults reacted to him.

        • MilaXX

          You just made me feel ancient. “Now get off my lawn!” ;-)

    • Vanessa

      Can I just say how much I love that the intercom left over from the SCDP focus groups being held in the conference room has come to such good use in the series?

    • http://asskickingadviser.com/ Ass Kicking Adviser

      When the episode was over I thought, ‘wow, not much happened there.’ But then I realized a LOT happened. It was just, as you said, moving the pieces along. Setting up for the big play. No grand gestures but lots of office politics. When Ginsburg was breaking down I totally remembered you guys thinking he had severe mental health issues and you are so right. Other than that, great recap and oh what fun to see Joan and Peggy together. Sometimes in color coordinated outifts no less but that’s for Wednesday.

      • etselec

        Regarding Ginsberg, I can totally understand him having that sort of breakdown after having stood up to / ranted at Cutler. Can you imagine having been born and raised in a concentration camp, and the psychological repercussions of standing up to authority? Would have sent anyone for a tailspin, although I do believe that Ginsberg has schizophrenia.

        • Girl_With_a_Pearl

          I wonder though, if Ginsberg saying that he was born in a concentration camp and that his father isn’t really his father is due to schizophrenia (or if he’s not really a schizophrenic, just a colorful imagination.) In other words, it’s highly unlikely that he was born in a concentration camp and then somehow survived for years there undetected. Is it possible? Yes, but highly unlikely.

          Oh, and I would find it very disappointing if in fact Ginsberg really does have schizophrenia and is not just some quirky guy that tells the uncomfortable truth at times.

          • etselec

            Good point. I hadn’t thought of the possibility of that being a fabrication or delusion, because it’s just too awful. I only think that Ginsberg may be schizophrenic because my schizophrenic uncle would talk in similar ways about beams from outer space telling him to do things, and he would not always talk about the things that were going on inside his head, but would keep them to himself a lot until he would have one of his “spells” (which means he had stopped taking his meds.) He was eventually institutionalized when he was in his 40s, and my grandmother could no longer keep him in hand and her life was threatened. My uncle was abused by his father as a child which probably contributed to his mental state, so I assumed that the trauma in Ginsberg’s past was real and helped to foster his illness.

          • etselec

            Well, it seems that my reply was deleted, perhaps because I talk about my uncle’s schizophrenia, which, since those involved are deceased, I don’t think should have been a violation of any sort. In any case, I do from my own experiences with his illness think that there’s a very good chance that Ginsberg is schizophrenic, and that his disease will worsen over time.

            Addendum: Okay, looks like my disqus aren’t showing up as rapidly as they normally would, not that they’re being moderated.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Your reply is right where you left it.

            • Spackle Motion

              I see what you did there.

            • Alice Teeple

              I also had several family members with schizophrenia, and they would say strange things like “there are helicopters dropping heroin syringes over the city” and “I’m talking to God” and the like. It was a slow build and at first you’d think, “wow, that was weird,” and then they’d have a full-on episode. Ginzo’s in the prime age range for it to show up. For him to say something about being born in a concentration camp and then showing up in a Swedish orphanage…? The story’s always stuck in my craw as being really weird. The fact that Peggy asked Abe to verify his story because she found it strange was notable. Then there’s the whole back story about how he was rescued. Obviously his father is dirt poor, so why on earth would he adopt a random orphan in Sweden after the liberation, and then move to New York? How would an infant born in a concentration camp even get to Sweden, unless he wasn’t born until 1945 and he got rescued? A baby born in a concentration camp otherwise would have just gotten killed immediately. If he managed to be miraculously born during the liberation, that would make him only about 23, and he’s obviously somewhat older than that, isn’t he? Something doesn’t jive. Dude’s bananas.

            • urbantravels

              Orphans were brought to the US in large numbers after the war; an intermediate stop in Sweden would be entirely likely for people being rescued from concentration camps, since the Swedish Red Cross took in thousands of former concentration camp inmates. Truman issued a directive allowing orphans of displaced persons to be brought to orphanages in the US, from which they were later adopted out. There were definitely such orphanages in New York.

              None of this precludes Ginz from being crazy, but none of the steps in his story are impossible or even terribly unlikely.

            • Alice Teeple

              I know it’s possible that this happened, but it’s his age timeframe that doesn’t seem to make sense. The stories I’ve seen about infants that survived concentration camps were all about people born in 1945, just before liberation. If Ginsberg is older than that, the likelihood of him surviving a concentration camp birth before the end of the war was zero to none. If the Nazis had known his birth mother was pregnant, they both would have died. He says he remembers being picked up at an orphanage in Sweden by his father at 5 years old. We don’t know much about Morris Ginsberg, but obviously he has hardly any money, so how would he have afforded to move from Sweden to NYC with a child to feed? The story itself is plausible historically, but specifically for Ginsberg, it doesn’t jive right. It would make more sense if he meant “Swedish orphanage” in the sense of a possible NYC branch, but it’s not clear.

            • verve

              It could have been that he used all the money he had to get himself and our Ginsberg to the US, at which point it was probably difficult for him to assimilate in such a way as to be incredibly successful. (And if his father was also a victim of the Holocaust, he wouldn’t have had much if anything left at the end of the war, and/or he would have been spending a portion of his resources in tracking down Michael. *speculating*)

              Ginsberg is definitely a 20-something (he’d have to be ~23 currently to most realistically fit into the historical timeline, which he could be. I recall that he had great work samples when Peggy was looking to hire him, but that he also had a specious connection to Allen Ginsberg listed on his resume. Sure, he’s a cloud cuckoolander, but perhaps that also suggests he’s young and new to the (or any) profession?

            • fnarf

              Finding any particular Disqus post after it has been made is not a challenge for the easily discouraged.

          • sweetlilvoice

            I remember when it was originally revealed that Ginsberg had been born in a camp, there were a lot of different online articles debating if this could have really happened. I read a few and it does sound probable. It must have been very close to the end of the war though. His whole story is still a bit of a mystery and I (for one) would love to know more about it. Less Don slutting around and more Ginsberg, Peggy, Joan and Stan please. At least Sylvia is gone (for now).

      • CommentsByKatie

        For me this was a fabulous episode. We finally got to see a ton of office people storylines, and not all Don/Sylvia/Megan/Betty! It’s what the BK’s have been asking for. Team Peggy and Joan on the town? Bob Benson getting promoted? Pete throwing petulant fits? Tons of Roger Sterling one-liners? Cutler up to no good? Stan mother-hen to Ginsberg’s meltdown? This episode was a thing of beauty. :)

      • ReelSmartCookie

        This isn’t exactly related, but your comment about their outfits got me thinking about Joan’s dress. Joan is usually in bold, solid colors, with the occasional accent in the form of a scarf or ruffle. That green floral dress was something totally different than anything I can remember her wearing. Is that only me? I wasn’t a fan of it, but it had meaning – it could be seen as more feminine, I suppose. It’s mostly that it is less assured than her usual color/style. May reflect the position she put herself in during the episode?

    • Lilithcat

      “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds,” he says to Bob.

      J. Robert Oppenheimer said the first atomic bomb test reminded him of this line from the Bhagavad-Gita. No intellectual slouch, he had learned Sanskrit in order to read the B-G in the original. (Off-topic: I cannot recommend highly enough John Adams’ opera, Doctor Atomic.)

      Don facedown in the pool reminded me of nothing so much as Sunset Boulevard.

      • Vanessa

        Yes! “Doctor Atomic” and “Nixon in China” both great evocations of the era and wonderful music.

        • Lilithcat

          “Batter My Heart” may be my new favorite aria.

      • Adelaidey

        I was lucky enough to see the Peter Sellars-directed production of Doctor Atomic at the Chicago Lyric. Exquisite. “Batter My Heart, Three Person’d God” is, well, perfection. Best act closer I’ve seen in any kind of theatre.

        • Lilithcat

          That’s where I saw it! Magnificent production.

      • Lattis

        It has been a long time since I saw Sunset Boulevard, isn’t the whole story told as flashback from the point of view of a dead man? Yikes.

        • StephanieLovesTLo

          Indeed it is. Very insightful comment! :)

    • MartyBellerMask

      Kartheiser NAILED his scenes. As always. The ending was pretty brilliant.

      • sarahjane1912

        I rewound it and watched it thrice. Beautifully filmed, fantastically imagined. Absolutely loved that slow walk, his slow gaze and the smoke curling out of his mouth. Fell in love all over with VK at that moment.

        • Alice Teeple

          VK is amazing in every episode, but wow, this was one of the best scenes he’s ever had. What a glorious ending to the episode. Some weed will do Pete Campbell good.

      • Laylalola

        He really deserves an Emmy.

        • OrigamiRose

          It’s shocking that not a single cast member has won an acting Emmy.

      • JulieTy

        And how about overlaying that scene with Janis Jopiln, “Piece of My Heart?” BRILLIANT.

        • sarahjane1912

          YES! The juxtaposition was just visceral. Superb superb choice of music.

      • sweetlilvoice

        And damned if he didn’t look sexy too! So sad how they’ve aged Pete the last few seasons. He is a sexy guy. I still love Pete, I just don’t care if he’s a jerk.

        • Spicytomato1

          I completely agree. He was oddly hot there in slo-mo. I loved it.

          • CommentsByKatie

            What about Don’s pot-exhaling slo-mo? I laughed so hard at that. That was the Gif of the Episode for me, at least until Pete’s moment.

    • Monica Schrager

      I loved how Stan kept leaving situations this episode, often with witty phrases. “This is my stop” was what he said to escape the Jim/Ginsburg argument and I can’t recall what he said when he left the office when Bob was talking Ginsburg down (after being called a Mother Hen). And I think he just walked away with an annoying sigh when Pete took his joint and sat down next to him.

      • decormaven

        This is not Stan’s first ride at the dysfunctional agency rodeo. Remember what he said to Danny in S4 “Chinese Wall” about being in an agency that was going down? He’s a survivor, and is going to stay out of the way of large falling rocks.

        • sarahjane1912

          “Dysfunctional agency rodeo”. Just wanted to give you snaps for that phrase. Perfect.

          • decormaven

            Thanks!

      • Spicytomato1

        He said “I can’t watch this.” In a mother hen-esque way :)

      • urbantravels

        “This is my stop”

        “I can’t watch this”

        and just “Hey” for the last one.

        This was definitely the Episode Where Stan Leaves the Room Repeatedly. Besides just being cute Stan moments, they show how desperately uncomfortable he is with real conflict, even though the times seem to call for taking sides.

        In fact, I’d disagree with TLo and say this episode definitely has a “theme” – crisis moments that require people to choose a side/take a stand, and how they respond to that challenge. The “two cities” of the title would most obviously seem to be New York and L.A., but then you’ve also got Chicago in the mix. It’s becoming harder and harder for people to avoid “choosing a side” in the anti-war struggle – and, more generally, whether you’re Establishment or counter-culture. Notice the conversations that Don and Megan have about it – they clearly don’t agree at all but they don’t ever let the conflict escalate into a fight. It seems they’re at the point in a deteriorating relationship when you’re strangely kind to each other, because you just don’t want to confront the real conflicts.

        Anyway, it seems like Los Angeles represents the wave of the future, not because it’s so progressive, but because it’s much better at co-opting the counterculture into its industry, as evidenced by the (Hollywood) Hills party, where people are dressed as hippies, but nobody’s talking politics.

    • theotherTLO

      Love the recap as always TLo, especially the observations on Ginsberg. I really didn’t catch onto his having mental problems to that extent, although obvious, the dude is disturbed.

      Question for you all out there: Joan’s efforts with Avon reminded me of Lane and Jaguar last season. Lane really wanted to take some credit for the account coming in, but botched it. Joan seemed to have the same struggle, even though the “botching” isn’t clear (yet). Any parallels here? Help me :)

    • Frank_821

      Forgot to mention I actually liked Bob more after his pep talk with Ginsberg. It’s telling that he calls him Michael and he did say the right things to get Ginsberg out of his funk. Yes he’s an opportunist but he probably does have some accounts skills to back it up and he’s aware enough of who’s got talent and skills and who’s worth hanging around.

      Also I think it was inevitable someone would have given Ginsberg such a verbal smackdown. Jim Cutler may turn out to be a gigantic weasal but he definitely told it like it was at that moment

    • acevedob

      I almost thought Bob and Jim had something between them…who knows..

      • Adelaidey

        I thought so, as well.

        • acevedob

          Ok glad to know I’m not crazy. Yea they had this weird little tense moment where I was like: are they having a secret “father-son” thing going on?? Yea never know with Mad Men. Bob’s getting more prominent, so we eventually will see something about his life outside of the office :)

      • aromatic

        I think either way that plot point shouldn’t be (and my guess is probably won’t be?) dropped completely – the setup and “payoff” of him in her apt was greater than one would expect of nothing to come out of it. Were we supposed to be thrown off this week? i think so, what with the ambiguous outing last week and the misleading previews for this week’s ep.

    • otterbird

      Random thoughts- back in the 90s I worked for a woman who was an agent for TV commercial directors. She always said that all the sunshine in California fried people’s brains. And, anyone else remember how much fans of “Angel” hated Vincent Kartheiser when he was on the show? Now he plays the guy people LOVE to hate. He’s the show’s JR Ewing, but without the successful machinations. Or the charm. Hmm… maybe that makes him more of a Cliff Barnes. I always did have a soft spot for poor Cliff.

      • Supernumerary

        I think about Kartheiser on Angel every time I watch Mad Men. It’s always with a kind of bafflement, as I really and truly disliked his character back then — it was so awkward, came right as the show was running headfirst into the tropes Joss usually liked to subvert. And yet he is pretty damned masterful as Pete Campbell. Katheiser’s come a long way in terms of his career, let’s just say.

        • Chris

          I really liked Connor in the last season when he came back and thought he was a “normal” kid with a loving family. His interaction with everyone was really cute, he thought they were all cool superheroes. You really can’t blame him for the mess the previous season was with the Jasmine plot line and Cordy and all that. Connor was really a thankless part for a while -just a crabby angry teenager.

          • Violina23

            I was just going to bring up the fact that the Connor at the end of the series was such a stark contrast to the immature, whiny guy we had to deal with for most of season 4. Plus, I know I personally never got over the “ick” factor of Connor sleeping with Cordelia. But considering how detestable he was supposed to be, you could argue that Kartheiser did a good job ;)

            I always factor in writing when critiquing actors… Imagine if we judged Natalie Portman on the Star Wars prequels!

    • Laylalola

      How sly is Cutler? Even Bob Bensen, who is so good at gauging people, couldn’t immediately tune in to whatever wavelength Cutler’s on.

      • decormaven

        Cutler is the sensei. Bob’s going to have to be at the feet of the master for a while before he gets those master class moves down pat.

        • Jaialaibean

          I don’t think Cutler’s going to let him. Giving him the Manischewitz meeting and putting him on the Detroit account were both dubious rewards. Bob was set up for failure on Manischewitz, and Ken’s not going to be pleased to share the car business with a junior employee he already hates. Also, it’s a way of sidelining Bob from anything Cutler is working on.

          • Jaialaibean

            Also, it strikes me that while Cutler’s moves have been aimed at cutting people down or out, all Bob’s machinations have been about helping people — in an overly officious way, yes, but I can’t think of a time he has used his inside knowledge to hurt anyone … yet.

        • siriuslover

          or the Sith master and apprentice (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

    • Donna Tabor

      My initial foray into the business world happened at about this same time period. And I have to say, without watching (I don’t have cable, so I read T-Lo until the episodes are available online), it sounds to me as though both Peggy and Joan are fair representatives of women in that era. Peggy is a little younger and smarter than Joan, and she would have “gotten” it faster; it doesn’t surprise me at all that the show is making Joan more hesitant, even as she grabs the golden ring of Avon. We had to make our own chances then (as now, but in a different way); it was not easy to break out of the roles we were cast into then. Call it typecasting, of a sort. If a woman started out as a clerk she had to do something pretty damned drastic to be taken seriously in any other job description.

      I can’t wait to see this episode for real. Sounds delicious.

      • Mike R

        Just FYI: you can watch the episodes via iTunes starting early Monday morning. I don’t have good cable either, but download them right away Monday morning. If you do buy on iTunes, I suggest saving money by buying the SD, not HD, version.

        • Donna Tabor

          Thanks, Mike!

        • Spicytomato1

          That’s how I’ve been watching many of the episodes. I find them so enjoyable because they’re commercial free.

        • rivula

          Or Amazon Instant Video!

      • ReelSmartCookie

        You can also purchase episodes from Amazon Instant Streaming and watch them online – or via a SmartTV with the app, or a bluray player with the app – the following day after they originally air. That’s how I watch. They offer a discount if you buy a Season Pass (it’s like 10 cents off each episode). Each episode is around $2.

    • alice20c

      Cutler’s winning because his team actually focuses on accomplishing the tasks set in front of them. SCDP, as an extension of Don, has always invested it’s time in cultivating a perception of status or cool. That has a limited usefulness in the first place, but it’s especially fragile when they can’t change fast enough to match the world around them. Honestly, as someone who accomplishes things in an office of image-grooming incompetents, I have sympathy for Cutler.

      • Alice Teeple

        I have some sympathy for Cutler as well, but only in the sense that I can see where he’s coming from as a businessman. (As a human being, he’s pretty horrible.) I do think was correct in slamming down Ginsberg’s weird rant at him. He was correct in demanding they come up with a name for the company as soon as possible. I don’t necessarily see Cutler as a villain, but I do see him as a cutthroat ad man, which makes his name so brilliant. To be frank, Cutler and Pete are quite similar in personality: both are weirdly insecure, both are a little devious, and both call a spade a spade. I’d like to see those two work in alliance, frankly. It would be fascinating.

        • alice20c

          In the confrontation with Ginsberg, I agree Cutler was wrong, of course. My opinion only referenced his position in the overall SC&P power grab.

          • Alice Teeple

            Oh, Cutler had a point, though! I think what he said to Ginsberg, about being a hypocrite, was correct. That was a sad truth, which probably fueled Ginzo’s meltdown later.

    • Chris

      I’m going to repeat what I posted on the TLOunge- SC&P is Vietnam now. Don and Roger are losing the war, worse they don’t even know it’s being fought against them. Cutler is actively plotting and planning and Ted is as usual 100% focused on work and getting and keeping clients. For now he’s all about “the team” but as Don and Roger’s attitudes and laziness begin to chafe him more and more and after his treatment by Don he may end up working with Cutler “for the good of the team.”

      • LaurieS

        Personally I don’t think that there’s a conspiracy so much as the entire agency is freaking falling apart. EVERYONE with the possible exception of Ted is just looking out for themselves and attempting to screw over everyone else and the agency in the process. Pete is freaking out, Joan is freaking out, Cutler is freaking out in his own villainous way, Peggy should be freaked out as we saw last week. Roger does still try to hustle, as we saw with Chevy, but he’s not much of a team player either. I feel like all this behavior does is slowly undermine and weaken the business as a whole. As Duck (of all people!) said a couple episodes back, it’s all chiefs and no Indians, and that’s a very bad thing. If you’ve ever been in a work situation where you need a team and the team falls apart, it’s pretty catastrophic to whatever you’re working on.

        • Chris

          There is a huge culture clash between the work dynamic of CGC and SCDP employees. While Cutler is a villain, he wasn’t wrong about how Ginsberg spoke to him. The SCDP employees are used to running wild (and the executives even more so). Cutler is definitely planning something but Roger and Don are just handing everything off to him and Ted and letting it happen. Hopefully they will wise up before everyone is lined up on Cutler’s side of the room.

          • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

            agree, CGC is used to professionalism and anything goes at SCDP.

            • Travelgrrl

              You mean the company where it was common to have a Dr. Feelgood come and shoot everyone with speed, who carried over that reckless behavior to SCDP? I don’t see CGC as any more ‘professional’ than SCDP.

            • fnarf

              They just handle their speed shots better. SCDP are sloppy drunks and sloppier dopers.

            • Chris

              Well everyone at CGC from the top on down actually works everyday. They visit the clients they are supposed to and actively work on creative. Roger and Don both come and go as they please, don’t respect meeting times, blow off work when it suits them and Don even said flat out he is not contributing creative he is just reviewing other people’s work. Cutler may be sleazy but he is there every day meeting with creative and keeping up with the clients. If Ginsberg hadn’t yelled at him he would have gone to the Manischewitz meeting.

          • LaurieS

            I guess I just sort of don’t see the point of Cutler’s machinations. I think he’s just being stupid and emotional, putting himself ahead of the agency’s well being, like most of the other characters. Why merge with a competitor, cut everyone’s staff (including your own), only to conspire to subsequently unload most of the competitor’s people and seemingly purposely lose business? Their supposed newfound advantage here is that they are now a large agency with all this great talent from both of these little agencies, and now he’s trying to get rid of that or undermine it? Don has a great reputation despite his assholery and Ted called Ginsberg “lightning” so he knows that he’s good. I don’t get it. I guess that is an effective, albeit tortured way of eliminating the competition?

            • Chris

              Well I’m assuming SCDP had to eat part of the price of paying out for Frank Gleason. Together they got the Chevy account, but Cutler is clearly positioning himself to skim the cream off the best of both companies and leave the duds behind.

        • siriuslover

          yes, and THIS is exactly what happens when two desperate men in a Midwest bar decide to make decisions for their entire companies without so much as a casual look around the room to determine that “are there any partners here?” TLo said that this was going to bite them in the butts and it’s certainly showing now. Seems to me the only one remotely interested in trying to get it to work is Ted. He sees it as a merged company in ways I don’t think anyone else does…or cares.

    • Lisa

      I wonder what Ginsberg was like in that Manischevitz (sp?) meeting, that the client decided to put the account up for review. Bob Benson handled telling the people at SC&P really well though. They didn’t even ask. Ted blamed Cutler for not going along, and then everyone else was distracted and didn’t ask either. The idea that they had been dissatisfied for a while but didn’t say anything seemed like a cover on Bob’s part.

      • Sobaika

        I thought so too, but Roger also said it had been a long time coming.

        • fnarf

          Roger’s an anti-Semite. They all are. Manischewitz was never important to them, except as a desperation account when they needed whatever they could get.

          I think this is one way in which Cutler and Chaough are slightly more modern than SDCP, which is still very much an old-money, old-New York firm. Cutler’s just as anti-Semitic, but not in the same old-fashioned relaxed, clubbable way as Roger. He’s a bit more laser-focused on business.

      • Spicytomato1

        I wondered how the meeting went, too, and had the suspicion that Bob may have been the final nail in the coffin for that account. I actually thought he was so kind to Ginsberg not because he was truly concerned but because he knew he’d never be able to handle a client meeting alone (not that Ginsberg in that state was necessarily better than being alone).

        Funny, he’s in over his head, blows it (presumably) and gets rewarded. Joan is in the same situation and gets reprimanded. I was outraged.

        • 3hares

          I though that was because Cutler was hoping to lose the account. He was supposed to go to the meeting and bailed because he was being intentionally reckless with it. The SCDP people genuinely wanted Avon badly. They would never have sent Bob Benson to that meeting alone with Peggy.

          • Spicytomato1

            Ooh, good point, I hadn’t considered that Cutler was sabotaging the account. *smacks forehead*

      • siriuslover

        I thought Roger wasn’t bothered with it since he said it was “coming for months.”?

        • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

          Roger said it himself: he’s a child.

    • LaurieS

      I don’t know if someone has already said this (I saw it on avclub), but isn’t the fact that Joan thought she was set up on a date yet more proof that Bob Benson is gay? Wouldn’t she have told her friend who set up the meeting “No thanks, I’m dating a young hottie named Bob?” Because if Bob isn’t gay, as a wise man once said, you’ve gotta lock that down.

      • Lilithcat

        Even if he’s straight, though, she’s not “dating” him. They went to the beach once. There’s no chemistry. And he’s not her type, anyway.

        • fnarf

          But he wants to be her type. He wants to be Roger so bad he can taste it. And with his smooth self-actualization patter, great bedside manner (if not so great IN it, perhaps), his “how to succeed” business records, he’s going to be a great Roger someday, if he can just somehow stay in that closet for another twenty years. Or thirty….

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        Yup. Would a single young straight man be taking a trip with her and her child to the beach for purely platonic reasons? It seems unlikely for the time.

        • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

          me too

        • Travelgrrl

          He might if he was using the opportunity to curry favor with Joan, or wrest office information from her, as he ended up doing with the tidbit about Pete’s situation with his mother.

          • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

            But why would Joan do it? Bear in mind, in 1968 a divorced mother going to the beach with a younger, single man would be an eyebrow-raiser.

            • Travelgrrl

              I can’t wrap my head around that, either. She seems to smart to be used for intel, yet she spilled the story about Pete pretty willingly.

              He also seems younger than her, and with less status than her. I can’t believe she’d go for THAT, either.

      • Mismarker

        Bonus point for bringing Michael Bluth into a Mad Men convo.

      • Sobaika

        Right. And remember how she read Sal after the faux-kiss? If Bob is indeed gay, she definitely knows.

      • Joy

        When I realized she was excited for a date, I thought to myself, I guess they were on their way to fire island last week!

    • Bob Ross

      This review hit it on the nose. I have been shocked this morning with other reviews so missing it. A lot of other people are writing Pete got put in his place and yay Joan. But like always, Pete is right and his personality is keeping other from seeing it. Joan is administrative, and like Layne from last year with Jaguar, is probably lucky she was not fired. I understand why she did it, as she is expendable, but Peggy clearly saw at the lunch she was not good at accounts. She had no idea what to say to the guy. Peggy thought she ruined it and it is still up in the air if they got the account. The new partners are cementing their place and making sure they are on all the big accounts, while costing the old partners theirs.

      The funny thing is Pete feels very insecure now, but as we saw from Ted and Jim talking, he is the only one (maybe other than Don) that they have any regard for at all. Jim wanted to lock all of SCDP out, except Pete. The other thing I thought this episode did was show how the West Coast is ascendant, and they may need to open a west coast office. (this is what many ad firms did at the time). It was highlighted by their old punching bag, Jane’s cousin, being a big deal and punching Roger in the jimmies. lol Also, the Carnation guys showed they were far from hicks and this is not the 40′s or 50′s anymore. Roger and Don were way out of the times, but the second funny thing is in about seven years, Don’s nostalgia ideas will be hot again (Happy Days and American Graffiti hit around 75′) and the 60′s will be on their way out. Finally, first Reagan reference as the execs are Orange County republicans.

      • otterbird

        “But like always, Pete is right and his personality is keeping other from seeing it.”

        You’re spot on about that. I remember a friend of mine once recounting a discussion she’d had with a coworker about a mutual friend. The coworker complained that the mutual friend “always had to be right.” My friend responded that, “She doesn’t ‘have to be right,’ but she usually is, and honestly, that’s probably more annoying.” Very insightful, and so true!

    • Girl_With_a_Pearl

      In Don’s hullucinatory sequence, Megan puts Don’s hand on her belly and implies that she is pregnant. Another Sharon Tate reference.

    • katiessh

      I feel like you might be too harsh on Joanie. I can’t think of any other way she could have gotten the account apart from circumventing Pete- I mean she’s a partner and yet she’s still treated by an underling. Peggy tells her off, and Pete practically calls her his secretary saying that her job is to bring him the cake, not able to touch the cake in any other way. Yeah it was risky and she falters a little, but if she played by the rules she’d still be the office manager with no pay raise because nobody recognizes what she does. Also, for all your ‘Joan is a bitch’ stuff, you very conveniently leave out just how self-righteous Peggy is. Joan was absolutely right when she called Peggy out when she fired Joey- Peggy fired him primarily because he didn’t listen to her, not because he was rude to Joan. And Joan was right; she put Joey in his place in a way that made her feel triumphant; for Peggy to fire him instead did make Joan look less substantial. In today’s world Joan would be running that office, but back then the only way she’d get any power was if she stole it off Pete’s entitled hands

      • 3hares

        I couldn’t disagree more. Joan was completely wrong in her Joey argument with Peggy, as history both on the show and the world has proved. Peggy was right to discipline Joey for what he did. The fact that he escalated it to a firing doesn’t change that Peggy was dealing with the sexual harassment by not tolerating it where Joan was saying women should play along to be considered “fun” and date clients behind the scenes to get them to do favors. Peggy wasn’t labelled a “humorless bitch” for firing Joey and if people saw Joan as just a secretary it was because they saw her that way independently of Joey.

        Joan wasn’t dumb in thinking she needed to make a grab for power, I agree, but it’s not treating her like a secretary to tell her accounts handles these things. The cake was a metaphor for somebody getting a lead on an account. The Accounts department isn’t being entitled by assuming control of Accounts any more than Peggy’s being entitled by not letting Joan go to the meeting as a copywriter or a designer. It’s a job that involves training and experience.

        • katiessh

          I agree that the ‘humourless bitch’ comment, but Joan wasn’t saying women shouldn’t play along. Did you not see the scene where she absolutely reams out Joey and the guys? It looked pretty clear from where I was sitting that they wouldn’t do it again. She felt like she dealt with the problem and Peggy took it over her head. I still don’t think Peggy did it because it was sexual harassment- guys in that office say shit about women all the time (Harry about Megan anyone?) and they don’t get fired. It was because he didn’t do what Peggy said and in that way she undermined Joan.

          It’s not treating her like a secretary by saying accounts should take the lead, it’s the absolutely dismissive way both Ted and Pete dealt with her- like it wasn’t even imaginable for her to attend the meeting even though she brought the client in. You’ll notice they tried to teach Lane regarding Jaguar before they decided to step in. The cake metaphor was basically that Joan fetches and Pete eats, putting Joan in a clearly subervient role, even though technically Joan should have the same authority as Pete does being a junior partner. None of them treat her as a partner, they treat her just like they used to when she was office manager, and I think that was something she had to change for herself, even if it meant she kind of fucked up a meeting

          • Alice Teeple

            Peggy clearly thought the drawing was sexual harassment, although it wasn’t really a term at the time. She told Don she felt it was “disrespectful to both her and Joan.” Removing Joey from the firm was the only solution. Joan’s handling of Joey would have made him more disrespectful to her in the future because she acted like “angry mommy.” The reason why the men were better behaved later on was because they realized Peggy meant business. They likely wouldn’t have taken Joan as seriously.

            And to be fair, it was completely unimaginable for Joan to attend the meeting. She’s not in accounts or creative. Pete has more clout than Joan because he IS an accounts person, and probably has a larger share than Joan does, and he knows perfectly well how she earned her share, so of course he’d be dismissive of her. Additionally, if Joan fucked up a meeting, that’s fucking up a $25M Fortune 500 company, not a piddly account like Topaz Pantyhose.

            • katiessh

              Iunno, they let Lane take the lead on Jaguar which was a pretty big land at that point, right? And you’re making my point for me- Pete knows how she got her partnership because he set it up, and wouldn’t take it seriously. So the only way to get the account was to go around him.

              It seemed by the reactions of the guys at the time that Joan had pretty clearly put them in their place. She tells Peggy that if she had wanted to get them fired she could have by going to Sugarberry so she didn’t want it to go any further. And Peggy only went to Don after Joey ignored her advice to take it down, so it was when he disobeyed her that she decided to take action, not when he drew the picture, making it seem like the firing was primarily about Peggy, just like everything else she does. I have nothing against Peggy, but I think it’s a mistake to think she’s not as self-serving as most of the characters on the show. Not as bad as Don or someone obviously, but not the white hat some people think she is

            • Alice Teeple

              Lane was already an accounts man, and if you remember, Pete shot him down at the meeting over it, correctly citing a need to hire more people and the account not bringing in much money to make it worthwhile. Definitely not as much as Avon – it was only something like $3M. The others weren’t very comfortable with him going solo, either – Roger went in later to give him some pointers. Lane did have the business savvy to know to set up a meeting and get an RFP; something Joan didn’t even know was necessary.

              Peggy likely saw Joey’s disrespect toward Joan as a potential problem down the road for her as well, and considering the fact that she spent most of her time working with him, I don’t necessarily see “self-serving” as a bad thing on Peggy’s part. She saw it as a woman problem in general. Going rogue with Avon wouldn’t be good for either woman’s situation if she was seen as going against protocol with Joan, especially when it was clear Joan was in over her head and ignoring Peggy’s help.

            • katiessh

              I thought Lane wasn’t an accounts man, he was like in charge of finances or something…? Like a CFO maybe? I was never sure of Lane’s job. Yeah i guess i see your points, but I just wanted to point out that Peggy isn’t the saint for women’s rights that has been suggested. She’s just as self-serving as Joan, but in a different way. I definitely think they are better off when they work together and Joan would be served by listening to her. But i honestly don’t know how else Joan would have done it. I think if Roger had been there she should have gone to Roger for help, but I don’t think she would have

            • Alice Teeple

              I think Lane was in charge of finance. He still would have had an advertising degree for that, and an innate knowledge of how accounts were handled. Joan wouldn’t be as familiar with the technicalities of the protocol without that background.

              I do agree with you – I think the point is, Peggy sees the value in team playing, whereas Joan has a more passive-aggressive nature.

          • 3hares

            You’re right, Joan did feel like she’d taken care of it. But I still think she was completely wrong and Peggy was completely right. Joan shouldn’t have to make speeches wishing people dead in Vietnam to scare people in response to sexual harassment. Not every woman is going to be able to do that. I think Joey would have gotten worse after that. Peggy was right to make it a policy of the company that you just don’t do that. Joey wasn’t saying shit like Harry did about Megan. Joey was belittling Joan and trying to bully and intimidate her. If Harry had drawn a picture of Megan giving Don a blowjob he would have gotten fired, probably.

            I also still don’t think the cake metaphor implies that Joan’s bringing Pete anything to eat. It’s an account for the agency to “eat.” Joan wanted it for her own personal advantage instead. It’s not a perk of being a partner that you meet with clients this way, it’s your job if you’re in accounts. Joan is right to think she needs to change things if she wants to be something other than an office manager, but since that is what she is it’s not disrespectful for people to act like that’s her job at the moment. Lane was actually more reason for them to want to avoid unknown quantities at these kinds of meetings.

            • katiessh

              Today you’d handle it like Peggy did, and even now women have a lot of issues being seen as exactly that ‘humourless bitches’ when discoloured jokes are made. But back then, the firing wouldn’t have had any effect except making Joan seem ineffectual and Peggy a bitch. Or are you actually claiming that the firm is more respectful of women after that happened? Because I don’t think they are at all. And are you kidding about Harry? What he said about Megan would absolutely get him fired today- it was belittling, degrading and humiliating towards a coworker. But when he told Roger Roger just laughed. You’re trying to apply the way we deal with sexism now onto the mid 1960s, and thus I don’t think Joan was out of line by the way she got upset.

              The problem is that Joan is a junior partner, not the office manager. The only way she is going to make people respect her is by taking it by force. I still disagree on the cake comment, and by the idea that Joan is out for personal advantage anymore than Pete is. They’re all selfish, they’re all trying to further their own careers, it’s just that Joan has more limited avenues to do that than Pete.

            • 3hares

              But that didn’t happen. Joan didn’t seem powerless and Peggy didn’t seem like a humorless bitch. The reason we handle it that way today is that somebody had to start handling it that way at some point instead of covering up for it and saying it was normal.

              Is the firm more respectful of women? Not in general, no. But they don’t have Joey around threatening and harassing Joan, nor anybody else that we know about doing that. Harry might be fired for what he said today, but Harry was making a private comment to somebody else. He wasn’t telling Megan what he wanted to do to her or accusing her of walking around trying to get raped or drawing porn of her and putting it up for her to see.

              I don’t think Joan was out of line for getting upset, I just think she was still wrong in her understanding of how women needed to get power. I totally agree that Pete is also out for personal advantage–he’s having his own parallel freakout over being made, he thinks, expendable. He was totally personally threatened by yet another person coming in to grab accounts from him. I understand why Joan felt the need to be sneaky about finding a way to open up doors for herself, absolutely. I just think that the riot act that Pete read her was completely by the book about how this was supposed to work and anybody who did what she did, man or woman, would have gotten the same speech. Pete himself got fired (briefly) for pulling a similar stunt.

    • Paula Pertile

      “And nothing was more cringe-worthy than the way she describes her job: “I’m in charge of thinking of things before people know they need them.”” – I immediately thought of Mrs. Wilson (Helen Mirren) in Gosford Park, who says almost exactly the same thing about what it is to be a good servant. **

      Pete sucking that joint at the end gave me some serious life, for reasons I’m not able to quite process yet. It just did.

      This episode was delicious. Thanks so much for your excellent analysis, as always.

      **just read down through all the previous comments, and see that this has already been said. But I’m leaving it in because I feel so clever having thought of it on my own.

      • Lisa

        I’m not sure that Joan is thinking about her own job here. She actually doesn’t spend most of her time doing servant things now — she seems to be more managing the books and the staff. I think that this is her conception of what an accounts person does, and it’s not all that far off. Like the explanation that Lane gave to Pete about why he chose Kenny as head of accounts, back at the old Sterling Cooper: “You are excellent at making clients feel their needs are being met, but he has the rare gift of making people feel like they haven’t any needs.” Having worked in advertising myself, I think she’s right about the job description of an accounts person. Though whether saying it straight off like that to a client is a good idea, I don’t know. Probably they would like to feel that they are paying for something more substantial than being taken care of, even if that’s usually what happens.

        In general, I think that apart from cutting off Peggy (her blind spot always is that she doesn’t give as much respect to Peggy as Peggy deserves), Joan did perfectly fine with the client. I’m not convinced at all that the client would have been more inclined to give the agency the business if Pete had replaced her at that breakfast meeting. Pete would have been more polished, but Joan’s charm and femininity seems to me quite possibly to have made up for that. The client would never have gone out of his way to meet with a woman about business to begin with if he weren’t looking for a different approach than what he’s already getting from his agency. Joan didn’t pull any boners and I think that SC&P will be considered as a real option. Though the idea of her being at the “five yard line” with them was a gross overstatement, I think! That was unfair to Joan, setting it up that way.

        I tend to think the professional thing for Joan to do would have been to demand that she be at the meeting, rather than conniving to exclude Pete from it. Probably she could have insisted and been included, if she’d tried. The fact that she did not do that speaks to her lack of confidence that things will work out for her, if she acts straightforwardly. And since it is 1968 and I wasn’t working then, I don’t know if she is right. it is true that things do not always work out for Peggy, when she acts straightforwardly. And Peggy is specifically talented with regards to ideas, which gives her a lot more innate power in a sexist world.

        • Jaialaibean

          Exactly. Pete comes from a very sexist perspective, and hypermasculinity isn’t what was going to appeal to the guy from Avon. He wanted someone who would understand his market.

      • urbantravels

        Yeah, I thought I must have been the first person to spot the Mrs Wilson parallel too…good thing I checked the comments first.

        The overall speech by Mrs Wilson in Gosford Park is about how she has “no life” of her own because she has become “the perfect servant.” She has trained herself (or attempted to train herself) not to have any needs or desires of her own. (Obviously if you know the movie you know that a major crack appears in her invulnerability at that point.)

        By contrast, Joan has never even come close to being that self-effacing. She’s always wanted control and respect. She controlled the stable of secretaries by dominating them, and most of the men by being va-va-voom yet untouchable, keeping them in some degree of awe. At this point all those power relationships have been scrambled; on paper, she has more power than ever because she’s a partner – in reality, she seems to have less power now than she did as the Office Queen Bee. The other partners don’t really treat her as a partner (Bert Campbell is the only one who even thinks maybe she ought to be there when all the partners are meeting), all kinds of people have seen fit to sneer at her for whoring herself out for a partnership, she doesn’t have a close enough ally in the office to help her out when she’s sick until Hi-I-have-two-cups-of-coffee volunteers for the job…her situation is very precarious.

      • siriuslover

        Pete’s going to be smoking reefers from now on and become a Dead Head… (at least that would be my awesome story line).

    • bxbourgie

      I’ve always wondered about the insistence on calling Ginsberg… Ginsberg… when no one else is ever called by their last name so often. Sure sometimes you hear “Draper did so and so…” or “Sterling is this and that…”but the only time we’ve heard Ginsberg’s first name was when he showed up for the interview and when they were all looking at the pictures of the nurses. Peggy called him Michael as he was walking away. She even called him Ginsberg to his own father when he came to use the “photocopy.” Any other time they call him Ginsberg. Its like they want to throw in your face every time you see him that he’s a JEW JEW JEW!!! I found it nice actually that Bob was actually calling him by his first name, and then he was all “STOP CALLING ME MICHAEL!”

      • Adelaidey

        Cooper is almost always called Cooper. Pete is called Campbell with some frequency, especially by Roger.

      • JeanProuvaire

        I think that’s just further evidence of how Ginsberg seems to have this need to keep his home life and his work life totally separate. He told Peggy he didn’t have any family, and he was so upset when his dad showed up at the office. I can see how it would bother him or throw him off to have someone at work calling him by his first name, when he associates that strongly with his personal life and being called by his last name with his professional life.

        Given that he already seems to want to maintain that separation, how he’s already kind of split himself in half–half of his identity is Michael, half is Ginsberg, and never the twain shall meet–it’s understandable that being called on his hypocrisy by Cutler would lead to such a complete hysterical breakdown. That’s half of his identity basically being torn away. The only escape he has from the pressure of his miserable home life, the only thing that gives him any self-esteem at all, and he knows deep down that Cutler is absolutely right–he’s taking napalm-tainted paychecks, and the only ethical thing to do, by the stringent moral standards he just screamed in a partner’s face over, would be to quit. But he can’t, because his identity is so inextricably bound up in his work.

        I don’t personally think he’s schizophrenic, though the evidence for it is certainly compelling. I’m not arguing that he’s mentally sound, because he clearly isn’t, but I think it’s more along the lines of extreme anxiety and I think his breakdown was a nasty panic attack. I think the alien story and the transmission thing are his go-to metaphors for when he can’t express himself any other way, because if there’s one thing we know about Ginsberg, is that he’s very high-drama. I don’t think his thought process seems quite disjointed enough to be signs of schizophrenia, I could follow him easily and see where he was getting every accusation he flung at Cutler and himself. He was perfectly coherent, it’s just that the emotion was ratcheted up to eleven because he can’t control that.

        • Jaialaibean

          Ginsberg doesn’t have any filters, not just between his mind and the outside world, but also within his mind. He’s suddenly realized that he himself is the enemy, the same way Abe realized that Peggy is the enemy and Megan is starting to think that way about Don. His own brain is a microcosm of the violent clash between the dominant culture and the counterculture, and he can’t deal with it. So I agree that this might not be a symptom of serious mental illness but an instance of just not being able to handle things as they are. Something’s got to change, and with Ginsberg, I’m wondering what that will be. He can’t divorce himself.

    • AmeliaEve

      But the REAL Don Draper IS a dead soldier.

      • fnarf

        That’s what I got, especially from his line “Dying doesn’t make you whole; you should see what YOU look like”. The real Draper’s body was undoubtedly a mess (definitely a closed casket, which helped sell Don’s deception).

    • Paula Pertile

      Forgot to say before how much I loved that conference room secret spy-speaker thing behind the curtains!
      Oh – and “Harper Valley PTA” !!

      • Alice Teeple

        That was an awesome callback to the earlier SC one-way mirror scenes!

      • Mike R

        Loved that song too. Seemed an odd choice for an of-the-moment countercultural Hollywood party (it was a very mainstream song– country, no less!) with all the acid rock choices available, but I guess it was early in the evening yet.

        • LondonMarriott

          Agreed, the song choice took me out of the scene a few times.

      • siriuslover

        LOVED That song choice. I hope it represents some change for the women given the power behind the lyrics.

      • eb1966

        I mentioned above the movie version made the main character a door-to-door cosmetics saleswoman. That’s gotta be one reason why Weiner picked it.

    • Travelgrrl

      I actually thought that Peggy (in her relative inexperience at being the sole creative person at the wooing session – usually Don or Ted would have been there) was as lost as Joan was that the meeting, and in fact, Joan came out ahead.

      First, Peggy entirely missed her cue when Joan called on her to pitch. Then, her reminiscences about Avon could have stopped at “elegant” or at least “vacuuming the drapes”. She wandered off to no purpose and Joan wisely cut her off.

      The “I fix things” in the earlier meeting was an attempt to not say “Office Manager” or “Partner”, either of which would seem odd in the context. And Joan (and Peggy) were able to elicit the true problem facing Avon in a short meeting: that women are increasingly in the office and not at home answering doorbells.

      I thought Joan was spot on in the “Don carried you to the deep end of the pool” comment and that Peggy was a little out of line in castigating Joan so thoroughly; that scene really made me squirm. That said, I cheered when she gerrymandered the save for Joan and for ONCE Meredith did something right.

      I do wish these gals could see that they share so much in terms of wanting more recognition and help each other more. They’re more alike than different on the work front.

      Completely aside, I died laughing when Stan abruptly exited THREE times when things got weird.

      I also thought Don’s ‘hallucination” was his thoughts as he was drowning in the pool. (“A new beginning”, the dead soldier, etc”

      So much blue, green and yellow in the costumes. Mad Style has me enthralled on a whole new level now.

      • Lisa

        Wasn’t Ted in Detroit and Don in California? So Peggy would have been the next logical choice.

        Peggy didn’t miss her cue, I don’t think. She was irritated at Joan for cutting her off earlier and sending a message to Joan not to do it again, in what seemed to me an appropriate way.

        • Nicole R

          “Peggy?”
          “Yes, Joan?”
          Loved that

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14301272 Kate Gorton

            I know! My wife and I both said “oof” at that point.

        • Alice Teeple

          Exactly. If anyone was going to look good at that meeting, it was Peggy, and for Ted to throw that her way was an excellent opportunity. He didn’t even hesitate, because he had confidence that she would nail it. And to be fair, Pete would have probably let her run with it, since it was a woman’s account, and it would have been in everyone’s best interest to put Peggy on display as the token woman. With Joan there, and her relative inexperience, they came across as amateurs.

      • Jaialaibean

        What I think Peggy doesn’t realize is that she needs Joan as much as Joan needs her right now. She needs a non-chauvinist accounts person to give her some respect. She’s gone far, but she will hit the glass ceiling soon without an ally in place on that front.

      • Alice Teeple

        Peggy was doing creative work solo at CGC, and she was sole creative when she won the Topaz account. She knew what she was doing. Joan was the one who had zero experience in this sort of matter, and Peggy was right to be concerned about the protocol for such a huge account. Joan was winging it, and Peggy knew this, and how bad it could look for both of them if they didn’t handle it in the correct manner. Joan’s acting out of spite against Pete was extraordinarily immature on the business spectrum.

    • LondonMarriott

      If Ginsberg feels like Oppenheimer, he needs serious meds in order to stay in advertising.

      • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

        It’s sad that my first thought was Galactus from Marvel Comics rather than Oppenheimer. #dork

      • Lilithcat

        I don’t think he necessarily made the connection to Oppenheimer, who made the comment three years earlier, though he may have done. The Bhagavad-Gita was being read a lot back in the ’60s. I have no doubt, however, that the writers who put the words in Ginsberg’s mouth did make the connection.

    • MaryAtRealityTea

      So… this might sound dumb, but they didn’t get the Carnation account did they?

      • NoNeinNyet

        No, they didn’t. They said that they completely struck out on all of the business they went to California on.

        • siriuslover

          Though didn’t Harry Crane look completely in his element? Unlike being cooped up in his tiny office as SCDP (or SC&P now)

          • sweetlilvoice

            Yes and I loved how he was showing off to Don and Roger too. Also, Roger crammed in the back of that convertible.

          • NoNeinNyet

            Yes. Don and Roger looked so out of place in California but Harry fit in perfectly.

            • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

              Aww I thought Roger looked fine in his Thurston Howell duds but that’s me. I did appreciate Roger getting dick-punched though; Danny Siegel is annoying but Roger was being a bully.

            • CommentsByKatie

              Roger looked amazing in his Thurston Howell duds, yes, but he was totally out of context at that California resort hotel and at that hippie party. Don and Roger stood out like old-school establishment losers, as beautiful as they looked.

          • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

            I just thought Harry looked like a poseur tool, but that was me. Him and his giant ascot. Pffffft. More like an ass-cot.

            • Eric Stott

              He did look like a tool, but so did everyone else – and Harry was one of the few people who wasn’t obviously drinking or drugging. This is where he’s meant to be.

            • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

              I didn’t think everyone else looked like a tool. Harry and Danny were the shmarmiest poseurs but the musician kid Don was talking to (jingles), in the striped jacket – he looked sharp. I coveted that Bowie-esque jacket for myself. I really liked the styles shown in those scenes – it was very chic.

              It reminded me of Annie Hall’s depiction of California, where everyone is sort of phony, but some have more obvious affectations than others. It’s one thing for a musician or an actor to wear crazy clothes, but Ad-Man Harry in his giant ascot? Puh-lease.

            • Cheryl

              I couldn’t figure out who that kid was. Did they give a name for him? He was the most normal-looking, acting person there.

            • Chris

              It looked to me like Don and Roger were dinosaurs that came out of a time machine. It’s like two people from the 50′s were transported to the 70′s (right off Roger’s yacht)

            • CommentsByKatie

              The 70′s are coming! I love giggling at the mustaches, terribly polyester prints, and ascots starting to emerge in the costuming.

      • fnarf

        This is petty of me, but while I have no idea whether Carnation was really led by Goldwater/Reaganite right-wingers in the 60s, I do know that the company was based in Kent, Washington, near Seattle, not LA or Orange County. Hmfph.

        • Mike R

          The corporate HQ of Carnation were absolutely in Southern California in the 1960s. The original farm was in Washington state, but the company was based in L.A. from 1949, at 5045 Wilshire Boulevard. Google that address and Carnation. There’s a good article on Encyclopedia. com. (“Also in 1949 Carnation opened new corporate offices on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. Before that, Carnation managers had been scattered across the country at the company’s general offices in Seattle and Milwaukee…”)

          • fnarf

            Wow, I did not know that! I’m shocked; we here still think of it as “our” company. We even named a town for them! So much for second-guessing. They were probably right-wing, too, then.

          • fnarf

            OK, now it’s even funnier: I’ve even seen their building there — because the Carnation Milk Building at 5045 Wilshire portrayed The Daily Planet offices in the old TV version of “Superman”.

            http://betterlivingtv.blogspot.com/2006/02/great-metropolitan-newspaper.html

        • Chris

          Oh on Mad Men all big businesses are run by horrible bad republicans who want war and want to ruin the world. They should all have black Snidely Whiplash mustaches to twirl. And no one liked Mitt Romney’s dad. Ever. Even the republicans.

          • Laylalola

            What on earth are you talking about? George Romney was an extremely popular governor in Michigan and fought hard for civil rights for Blacks in the 1960s. Heck, in 1963 he designated MLK’s visit to Detroit Freedom March Day. What a surly nasty mustache-twirling evil Republican.

            Oh wait. If you mean that’s the way George Romney is portrayed on Mad Men, I missed it entirely.

            • Chris

              I’m joking because of all the controversy around the remark Henry made last year on the show about him being an “idiot” or something and MW tried to say it wasn’t politically motivated writing. The implication was even republicans didn’t think well of him. I was being sarcastic above because on MM democrats never own big businesses or do anything bad ever. It’s amazing Kennedy got elected on MM because everyone on it except the young hip people are republicans. I’m not trying to stir up political arguments I’m just laughing because MW is as subtle as a sledgehammer.

            • Laylalola

              Amazing! I really thought maybe the show HAD referenced George Romney, maybe when the Carnation guy went on his rant, and that I had just tuned it out. It almost would have fit — it was earlier in 1968 when it seemed Romney was more likely than Nixon to become the GOP’s presidential candidate.

            • Logo Girl

              I might not be getting sarcasm here, so forgive me if this sounds pedantic, but Henry Francis mentions George Romney on the phone in the episode where Betty is awaiting her cancer test results. He calls him a “clown”.

            • Chris

              Yes, that is what I was referring to I couldn’t remember the exact words used. The whole over the top bad republican Carnation execs is what called it to mind again.

        • Mike R

          Carnation was based in L.A. in the 1960s. They moved their corporate offices to Wilshire Blvd. in 1949.

    • CatherineRhodes

      TLO: You’re right about Joan’s portrayal. A lesser program would have shown Joan seizing the bold move and swooping in to brilliantly capture the account. But real life doesn’t work that way, and neither does “Mad Men.”

      The scenes between Joan and Peggy were some of the best ever. Joan cutting Peggy off during the Avon lady monologue was Joan’s power move — but a clumsy one, most definitely. Then when the conversation got tricky, Joan pleading “Peggy?” and Peggy letting the discomfort stand for a beat, then asking “Yes, Joan?” sweetly before moving on to say just the right thing. Brilliant writing.

      In the end, I couldn’t tell whether Peggy came to Joan’s rescue for the sake of Joan or from an allegiance to the interests of the firm. Thoughts?

      • Chris

        Oh it was both. Peggy is extremely professional and would never do anything but her best especially with such a lucrative and prestigious client. And though annoyed, she really had Joan’s back. She told her exactly why she was mad and why what Joan did was wrong but she did everything she could to help her at the meeting and with Ted and Pete.

      • LaurieS

        I totally did a real-life facepalm when Joan interrupted Peggy’s Avon monologue. COME ON!!! NOT THE TIME TO BE CATTY! Joan owes Peggy- big time.

        Since I don’t watch GoT Mad Men really is the most exciting part of my Sunday.

        • CommentsByKatie

          I felt like Joan just didn’t understand what Peggy was doing; creating that moment, creating that emotional description of Avon. I think Joan thought Peggy was just rambling on nervously, and that’s why she cut her off. Peggy’s monologue was written in such a way that it could be easily misinterpreted by someone who hasn’t sat in a account-acquiring meetings, like Joan. Pete would have understood it. And so sad to see Peggy cut down by another woman! Poor Peggy and Joan. I hope Avon works out for them.

          • Travelgrrl

            I thought she WAS rambling. She seemed less prepared for the meeting than Joan!

            • 3hares

              I thought it was more that she was dubious about the meeting when she found out what Joan had done so was hesitant about really jumping in. Though also there was possibly a way that these meetings usually went that wasn’t being followed.

              It didn’t seem like she was rambling nervously to me at all. What executive wouldn’t want to hear someone sharing memories of their emotional connection to their product? This is what he’s hiring her to do.

            • Travelgrrl

              She expected Pete to lead, and was thrown. I agree totally with your first point. But I started to wince with her overlong memories before Joan even cut her off.

          • Frank_821

            Oh I am so glad someone brought this up. So many posts get lost in this new format.

            I think so many people are caught up rooting for Joan and talking about the blatant and pervasive sexism of the time that they keep forgetting Joan has no experience wooing a client and how important that first meeting is. People have labeled Pete’s style as smarmy but he’s got almost a decade of accounts experience and he’s a senior accountsman. He knows how to handle and read a client. He knows when not to come across that way. More importantly he knows how to read and interact with whoever there is from Creative as well. It’s a team effect to try to win the trust of the client. Pete and Peggy have worked with each other for years and know how to play off each other.

            Even though Joan has the talent and potential to be great at accounts, she doesn’t know the subtleties involved in getting that okay to set up a pitch. It’s a game that’s part science and part art and theater. It’s a game the client is aware of and expects those from the ad agency to be good at.

            That of course was the root of Peggy’s stress when they had their argument. Imagine if it were today and the account was, say, Calvin Kline and it would mean getting 500 million dollars in billables out of this. There’s no way they would seriously consider someone whose role is primarily administrative be part of that meeting. It’s too important. They would want the highest ranking available people.

            • Chris

              Yes, it is theater. Joan hadn’t rehearsed anything with Peggy and missed her cues. Remember the “just taste it” rehearsals, or as I mention above Peggy and Ted’s plans about who talks in the Fleishman’s pitch. Joan should have set Peggy up to tell her story and work her pitch but she kept interrupting to try to show how clever she was and how much she knew about Avon. Compare it to Pete at say the Heinz pitch and how he built up Don’s ideas to the client.

            • CommentsByKatie

              It’s the tragedy of Pete Campbell. He’s usually correct, but he’s so damned arrogant and smarmy that people often do the opposite of his wishes out of spite! I might have done the same thing as Joan, even though I totally agree with you that Pete was in right. His good advice is so difficult to take because he’s such a grimy little pimp ;)

        • Travelgrrl

          I honestly thought Peggy was ill-prepared and rambling.

          • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

            No, she clearly had a whole lead-in planned about what Avon meant to her growing up. Joan shut that down, not understanding what Peggy was trying to do there.

            • Travelgrrl

              My takeaway was just diametrically opposed to that. I really winced at Peggy’s rambling and she didn’t seem prepared at all. Usually Don (or Ted) would be helming the creative part of such a big meet and greet, not Peggy – and she seemed thrust into the situation just as much as Joan, and as ill prepared.

              The whole “Peggy?” “Yes, Joan?” interchange underscored that for me.

              Team Joan, I guess?

            • Chris

              Peggy has taken the lead on many presentations going as far back as when she singly handedly secured the popsicle campaign with “you take it, break it, and share it.” She’s landed everything from Topaz panty hose on her own with Ken to doing the whole, very important Heinz ketchup pitch while Ted sat back and watched. Peggy was using classic Don Draper sentimentality tying in her own experiences with Avon growing up. Joan saying “Peggy?” was a cry for help and Peggy waited a beat before she rescued her. There is no way Peggy would go to a meeting without a well thought out plan. She and Ted even “coordinate” their actions (I didn’t talk that was the plan- did you want me to talk?”) She’s as well rehearsed as an actress auditioning for a role. Joan was the one who didn’t get the cues.

            • Travelgrrl

              I agree she’s great at the pitch meetings with established clients, because there she is delivering the fruits of weeks of hard work on the agency’s part. I’ve never seen her in an initial meeting to woo a client with a day’s preparation. That is usually Roger and Don’s territory.

              She seemed as off kilter and searching as Joan in the meeting, though I bet they do land Avon.

            • Chris

              Topaz was her and Ken going in “off the cuff” with no prepared artwork and just Peggy’s perspective and ideas on how to pitch to them as a woman. As a result they landed that client- the first new business for SCDP since they lost Lucky Strike. She has been shown repeatedly to be excellent on the fly such as the phone conversation with Harry and Ken where she rescued the television ad the client was going to dump and Don rewarded her by tossing the cash in her face. She also calmed the Koss executive down very easily when he was freaking out about the late night comedian and “lend me your ears.” Peggy is extremely adept at dealing with clients and pitching ideas with little to no notice. The only time Peggy was “off kilter” was when Joan would interrupt, contradict or mess up the pitch. It reminded me of Joan cluelessly talking over Peggy (and talking down to her) in front of Freddy Rumson about the Belle Jolie lipsticks when he was intrigued with what Peggy was saying about a basket full of kisses and being unique as a woman.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              For Peggy to show up to a major client pitch unprepared would violate six years of careful characterization by the writers of the show. It’s simply not who she is.

              And Peggy helmed the Heinz pitch while Ted sat back and let her.

              The “Yes, Joan?” was a bit of passive agressive bitchiness on Peggy’s part because Joan had cut her off earlier and now was floundering in the conversation.

            • Travelgrrl

              In her defense, Peggy had only one evening to prepare and she clearly expected Pete to helm the meeting, hence some of her (to me) discombobulation. She led the Heinz pitch, but that was in a much different scenario with the entire CGC agency’s work behind her. Not an off the cuff pitch, as she tried to give here.

              If Peggy was a consummate professional, she wouldn’t have jibed Joan with the “Yes, Joan?” comment in a tenuous meeting with a Fortune 500 client. She’s still learning, too.

              I hate to quibble. I adore your writing!

          • greenwich_matron

            I don’t think Peggy was rambling, but even if she was, the way Joan cut her off was bad form. Part of her job was to make her colleague look good, but Joan was openly dismissive in front of a client.

      • greenwich_matron

        It really didn’t cost Peggy anything to have Meredith read that note. It was clever of Peggy and shows that she was definitely thinking about how to help Joan and avoid the huge fight that was brewing, but she was taking a very minor risk.

        • Eric Stott

          I love how cluelessly Meredith read that note, stage direction and all

          • CommentsByKatie

            It was perfect! I love how much humor was in this episode; it’s almost like it was directed by Roger Sterling instead of Jon Slattery. ;)

        • Chris

          Well with Meredith you are always taking a chance- she is SO clueless she could have walked in and said “Peggy told me to say Avon is on the phone”

          • CatherineRhodes

            Hahaha…you’re so right.

          • Ma. Gabriella Dutari

            When I saw she was staying in the office with Peggy I feared something awful was gonna happen. Instead she ended up being the “instrument” that helped save Joan!

            • desertwind

              Well, it was a bit of a Hail Mary pass and Peggy had to go with the available receiver.

              Touchdown!

        • LaurieS

          Well if you think about it if Joan screws this up it reflects pretty badly on Peggy as well, because Peggy went ahead and took that meeting with Joan without telling Pete. You could easily assume that the two of them were plotting together and they could both get in trouble.

      • CommentsByKatie

        It’s what makes it so agonizingly wonderful to watch. We all were desperately rooting for Joan, but they wouldn’t give us that easy victory moment; everything was riddled with tension and ambiguity, even though it was overall a victory for her. Beautifully done stuff.

        • CatherineRhodes

          Nicely said.

    • Girl_With_a_Pearl

      Joan has Layne Price’s job. But after the merger and like Layne, Joan’s position is suddenly rather unstable, especially after Jaguar was let go. And like Layne, Joan has tried to get an account to justify her existence. However, she saw what happened to Layne when he let go of his account (he was no longer needed) and she was not letting control of Avon.

      I also find it interesting that the ones who were trying to take the original SCDP public, Joan, Pete and Bert Cooper are probably the most vulnerable in this new firm.

    • BigShamu

      Any episode where Roger gets junk-punched by a small man is a good one.

      • Chris

        Especially when he is walking around dressed like Thurston Howell III and acting like a mean jerk.

        • CatherineRhodes

          Very funny reference to Thurston Howell. I completely agree. After all the nasty short person jokes, I was cheering for Danny.

        • CommentsByKatie

          Yes. Roger is my favorite character on the show and I love him to pieces, but he was really the epitome of establishment arrogance in this episode.

    • NoGovernmentName

      Am I the only one who is feeling really badly for Roger this season? He’s unable to maintain a romantic relationship, gets rebuffed as a grandfather and a father, then gets punched and ridiculed. Granted, he was really asking for it last night, but I feel like Roger is on a downward slide even worse than Don’s. Don’s facade is showing major cracks, but he still has his mojo intact. Roger is just becoming pathetic.

      To me, Peggy was the hero of the night, showing solidarity with another woman while still offering her insight and getting some ancient umbrage off her chest. That scene was so purgative. I hope the Joan/Peggy relationship deepens from here.

      Is Ginsberg schizophrenic? Or is he just deeply neurotic and overly sensitive? As a NY Jew myself, I can tell you, that kind of fretting, obsessive, negativity, accompanied by self-doubt and the horror of real and perceived fascism is pretty much in our DNA. The counterculture movement would only have brought that more intensely to the forefront. I really like Ginsberg and sympathize with his freak outs. They seemed rooted in justified anxiety to me. I thought he was being metaphorical about them beaming transmissions straight into his brain. But I could be wrong about that. A breakdown may well be in his future.

      • Chris

        I don’t feel bad for Roger because he has more than any other character on the show and is worse than Don in many ways. He comes from a loving, wealthy family. He dumped his supportive and intelligent wife for a 20-something secretary and then he cheats on her. He almost collapsed the company by keeping the news about being dumped by the tobacco company from everyone and lying about it. This season he is just so needlessly cruel but because John Slattery is such a charismatic person Roger gets away with it. The way he spoke to his ex- cousin in law was so belittling and mean. The way he treated Burt Peterson was awful (despite being funny). The way he wants to pick up and drop relationships with his family and Joan when it suits him is so self centered. Ditto with his work ethic. He does almost everything Pete does, and sometimes other things just as bad, but because he is handsome and charming he gets away with it.

        • LaurieS

          Definitely. My favorite part of this show is that you always reap what you sow, even if it takes years, and even if you’re charming and rich. Roger is alone, and it’s because he’s a gigantic douchebag who deserves to be alone. All the clever quips in the world won’t change that!

        • NoGovernmentName

          Oh, he’s a mess. I just feel like the birds are all coming home to roost for him now, and he is finally facing the consequences of his actions. I admit that I find him rather compelling, and hilarious, and it is hard to watch someone falling in such epic and pathetic fashion. But you’re right, he deserves it.

          • Chris

            He’s still not doing too badly overall, he’s getting pretty young stewardesses in NY and landing big clients like Chevy. Unless something really drastic happens he will probably always be rich. Sadly there will always be some woman who wants him.

      • pattycap11

        I know Roger was rude to Danny, but I do think Roger calls things the way they are, and that’s why his barbs are so funny. Danny was spectacularly inept and dim-witted in NY and here he is making moves as a producer in LA. The old studio system was breaking apart, and independent producers with no skills other than being rich were probably all over the place (and making “bombs”).

        • sweetlilvoice

          What’s funny to me is that Roger was the one that insisted they hire Danny in the first place. Don openly scoffed at the idea. Then they had to hire him after Don drunkenly stole his “common breakfast” line. Danny punching Roger gets a couple lawnmowers for this episode!

          • Eric Stott

            Roger really did ask for that punch.

        • Eric Stott

          Yeah, but it was plain that Roger didn’t know when to stop- and there’s a line between calling things the way they are an just plain being rude. Roger has been crossing that line and he’ll get into some deep trouble.

          • Ally08

            The Danny-actress visual for me was pure Paul Simon’s Hollywood house party in Annie Hall (albeit 9 years earlier), down to the goofy patterned outfit and proportions with the girlfriend.

          • librarygrrl64

            Yes, he could have just made his point and then walked away, but he was gleefully bullying Danny. There’s a difference.

          • pattycap11

            i think there was more of a point to the scene being written than to show that roger’s a jackass. the whole california trip gave the impression that the old ny pros were falling out of step with the times. it’s not enough to just show up anymore. they didn’t land any accounts and danny, who was a prize idiot in nyc, seems to be doing great in la. down is up and up is down, and it’s not over yet.

      • Spicytomato1

        I think Roger is 100% responsible for his misery. I was extremely annoyed with him on the plane to LA when Don truly wanted to prep and all he wanted to do was drink. It was so childish…and his antics ended up costing them. Again.

        • CommentsByKatie

          He handed Don his paperwork back at the end of that exchange, though. I think he made his point but was going to let Don do what he wanted. I got the impression that Don opened those folders back up after the scene.

      • jen_wang

        I didn’t feel bad for Roger, but only because he was so rueful and philosophical about the trip. He knows he’s a big baby, alluded to liking himself anyway, and seemed more at peace with his own buffoonery than usual this time. Last week was a bummer, though.

      • CommentsByKatie

        Yes, I love Roger and am so sad with his experiences this season. He has definitely done it all to himself, but he’s so likeable that it’s hard for me to watch. That scene with Margaret and the grandson was the worst!! And then to be turned away by Joan, too…just heartbreaking. His character arc makes perfect sense; he’s taken everything in his is life for granted and is the epitome of establishment, so of course his world is coming to come crashing down around him at the end of the 60′s (like Don.) I think the biggest difference between Roger and Don is that Roger has been trying to make amends or find a place for himself; trying to make right with Joan, trying to make right Margaret, and I think he might even try to get back together with Mona eventually. It’s just too little too late unfortunately.

        • NoGovernmentName

          My dark secret is that Roger is my favorite character. Every time he is onscreen, he makes me laugh in some way. John Slattery portrays him so charismatically that while I know he is a rat bastard, he is a character I care about. His life is in the toilet, hot stewardesses notwithstanding. The people he really cares about don’t care about him, and that must suck.

      • librarygrrl64

        Roger was being a dick and a bully to Danny. He deserved that punch in the nuts, IMO.

    • CatherineRhodes

      Not sure it’s fair to say Joan “misread the setup as a date.” Her friend would not have included the detail of his being divorced if the encounter wasn’t meant to be personal. (Marital status usually not being an issue in business transactions.) I think the friend pitched the meetup to Joan as a date and to the marketing dude as a business opportunity, and didn’t give Joan the heads-up.

      Can we assume the Avon campaign has promise, given that he sent over samples with a handwritten note?

      • Jaialaibean

        That’s my reading of the situation. The Avon guy took their idea and ran with it right away.

      • Lisa

        Or maybe the friend just mentioned to the marketing guy that there was someone that he might want to meet while in NY (stating that Joan worked at an ad agency), thinking about it as a date, but the marketing guy thought she was just talking about business? Only at a company where most of the employees are women would that mistake have been made in 1968, I suspect.

        • fnarf

          Most of the employees in the field, but they mostly never came within a hundred miles of the headquarters. Top execs at Avon have always been men. They got their first female CEO in 1999.

          • Lisa

            The thing that seemed most salient to me about that breakfast meeting (at least while first watching it) was not that Joan did not have the experience or that she purposely left out Pete, but that it resulted in two women meeting with the Avon guy.

            I don’t know what things in the ad agency business are like now, but even 20 years ago that never would have happened unless it was for a particular thought-through reason. Having just two women representing the company would have stated “We’re a women’s agency,” just as having two black people would have stated “We’re a black agency.” And while there certainly are black agencies and (to a lesser extent) women’s agencies, that would be perceived as a different category of agency.

            I would imagine that even when Charlotte Beers was promoted to CEO in the 1980s, there would have been hesitancy on her part for her to go to a meeting with only female associates along with her. The idea was to promote the idea that certain women could do the job as well or better than any men, not to get across the idea that women had taken over everything.

            Maybe the Avon guy wasn’t put off by it. But it would have been extremely unusual, I think.

      • http://www.lindamerrill.com/ Linda Merrill

        I agree – Joan messed up on the office side of things, but clearly Avon is still in play.

      • urbantravels

        What’s not being considered is that it’s possible Avon guy also “misread the situation as a date.” A different kind of date. Joan’s friend’s involvement is ambiguous – we don’t really know what she said to either of them. Both Joan and Avon guy could have gone into it knowing it was officially a business meeting but with the impression/hope that it might be something more. People can have more than one agenda going on at one time.

        Avon guy drops a mention of his wife, which could have been innocent, but also could have been testing the waters to see whether Joan was up for a fling with a married man. When Joan blanched at the mention of his wife, there was his answer, and he pivoted back to all-business before Joan did. His very long and awkward pause and then “yeah, I am divorced….I forget sometimes,” was pretty darn weak, but allowed him to save face and change the direction of the conversation.

        • desertwind

          Maybe Avon Guy is still in love with his wife and she’s the one who strayed/divorced him. Maybe he’s shell-shocked. He seems like a decent guy.

        • fnarf

          Avon guy is gay, which is why he forgets he was married, and the accounts guy he’s going be dating is Bob Benson?

    • Qitkat

      Lovely review. Last evening after the show, I searched the internet for other reviewers and came away vastly disappointed. Clearly most folks hastily throw up a blog post, give a half-assed recap, and don’t delve into the underlying issues, themes, personalities, relationships. My viewing of MM is not complete without the astute analysis of TLo on Monday and Wednesday mornings. Thanks again guys!

    • CatherineRhodes

      Another “Sharon Tate” reference for all the conspiracy theorists: Didn’t Danny resemble Roman Polanski, who of course was Sharon Tate’s husband at the time of her murder? Recall that Polanski was also considered short (5’5″) and was a film director.

      • Travelgrrl

        Circa 1968 Polanski had a Dorothy Hamil bob and didn’t dress like a hippie.

    • gefeylich

      I live for these reviews. Bravo. Your analysis of the Joan situation was brilliant, as usual. I’m so glad you NEVER go all “2013 PC” in these reviews (unlike some other reviewers I could name) and always keep context firmly in view when commenting upon the events and situations of this series. It’s laudable and so wonderful to read.

      As for Ginsberg – he may be schizophrenic, but he may also be suffering from PTSD flashbacks after watching the Chicago police on TV, wielding their truncheons and marching around in jackboots. He may not actually remember the camps, but there’s some residual horror there, whether it’s recovered memory or recalling dad’s tales, or both. It was painful to watch, at any rate.

      I don’t think Bob is a sociopath anymore – well, maybe just a little. And now I know why Hamlin’s character is there. I’d been wondering why he would take such a seemingly negligible role, but now it becomes clear. This is going to play out wonderfully.

      • CommentsByKatie

        Cutler, Benson, and Chaough! Please take Peggy, Joan, and Stan with you.

    • Lisa

      I agree with the people who think it’s weird how Bob Benson’s office has nothing in it. And it seems it really was his office, because he got a call while he was in it (apparently from Stan, calling about Ginsberg). I do think he’s a real employee, but it’s peculiar to have the office so empty.

      • Adrianna Grężak

        Maybe it’s because he’s more concerned with what’s going on outside his office. This episode seems to be showcasing how closed off these characters are (and competitive with each other), whereas he actively pursues office relationships and wants to work with them, not against them.

        • siriuslover

          And he said in an earlier episode something to the effect that he had nowhere to go (maybe to Pete?). Just makes me think that he doesn’t have much in the way of personal possessions.

          • bd73

            i think that was just a glib response since he was focused on being available for whatever the bosses need.

      • Mike R

        I think it feeds into the theory that he’s gay. Closeted people had to either remain mysterious or actively lie. An office empty of personal effects reflects the former route.

      • pattycap11

        I think it’s because he’s so focused on where he’s going. He doesn’t want to be where he is and totally lives that positive-thinking thing he has going on. He already sees himself in a better position.

    • FloridaLlamaLover

      Ech, ye gods, I’m so glad I wasn’t a grown up the in the 1960′s. What a suck fest it must have been. My Mom, once invaluable to the war effort, got shoved out of the workplace to be a homemaker, then by the late 1960′s being a homemaker started by frowned upon, as in “What do you do?” “I’m a homemaker.” “Oh.” My Dad labored on the night shift at a tv station, then worked weekends on the side with radio and tv broadcasting, as well as installing intercom and radio systems in doctors’ and dentists’ offices, just so his girls (my sis, Roxanne the Red and I) could have a better life than he had. My sister, who was built like Marilyn Monroe, started high school when Twiggy redfined the female shape. I slurped up bowls of Cap’n Crunch and got my mind twisted by endless hours of tv. At least all I had to endure as a young professional were power suits and floppy bow ties.

      • Cheryl

        I was a young adult (19) in 1968. I got pinned, then engaged, and was in college training to be a teacher that year. It wasn’t all bad! (My fiance got his Masters Degree in 1969, a few weeks later he got the first job he applied for and kept it for more than thirty years. We found an apartment a few weeks before the wedding. Some things were actually simpler then.)

      • Qitkat

        No it wasn’t a suck fest, lol. I was 21-22 in 1968, and just starting out as a young person in the workforce. After working 3 unfulfilling jobs, I got one I loved a lot, which gave me some unexpected opportunities, and great colleagues. Nothing at all like SCDPCDC. We had parties and went camping, had multiple roommates and dated returned soldiers from Vietnam. It was all quite normal, a little pot, a little drinking, none of us were activists, there were occasional bad things that happened, a friend died in a parachute fire two doors down, some people took too many drugs, but none of us thought we were living in a sucky time, just a tumultuous time. I wasn’t aware of being marginalized as a woman. I’m sure my experience is as different from other BK’s of the era as different experiences are now. And of course, the music was fabulous.

    • CatherineRhodes

      One other quick question for the kittens — was the dead soldier supposed to portray someone specific? Was it Dick Whitman’s brother Adam? Could it be the soldier from bar in Hawaii who got married and invited Don to be his best man?

      • decormaven

        That was PFC Dinkins, the soldier we saw in the first episode this season.

        • abby536

          Whose lighter said “In life we have to do things that are just not our bag”.

          Which is a paraphrase of the Latin excerpt they used to make the Die an Existential Death in Hawaii ad…..can’t remember the real name of the hotel.

          That’s Lorem Ipsum which is still used in advertising mock ups for generic text. It’s not random. Part of it is a Cicero quote that roughly translates to…

          “In certain circumstances and owing to the claims of duty or the obligations of business it will frequently occur that pleasures have to be repudiated and annoyances accepted. The wise man therefore always holds in these matters to this principle of selection: he rejects pleasures to secure other greater pleasures, or else he endures pains to avoid worse pains.”

          Cicero is in Limbo in the Inferno as Dante travels the path. Dante was a Cicero fan so he wrote him in.

          Cicero believed in Heaven and said things like “In reality, what you call life is your death” and believed that souls were expelled from heaven and waiting to return to a state of perfection in transcendent death. To a “specific and fixed place in the sky”.

          I’m starting to sound like Ginsberg with his Man from Mars schtick now eh? It’s all connected.

          In the Bhagavad Gita Ginsberg was quoting (via Oppenheimer “I am become death”) yoga refers to union with the absolute or transcendent. Notice his pose on the floor. He’s the truth teller albeit maybe a schizophrenic one. The lightning in a bottle. In Dante’s Inferno everything is cold, watery, frozen. (Blue and Green?) Heaven is on fire.

          I’m not saying Don’s about to die. I’m just saying he, or New York, or the American dream or whatever Weiner believes is the central figure of the story is already low key kinda’ dead and he has the symbolism to prove it.

          I was a religion major so all this stuff leaps out at me but it really makes me wonder if there was always this much subtext in every season and I just didn’t happen to know the references.

          I sure as hell wasn’t catching all the costuming stuff on my own. Not even close.

          • Alice Teeple

            I’m a designer! I never knew what “Lorem Ipsum” meant, even though you still see it everywhere. (I got a D in college Latin.) That is some serious Umberto Eco shit, there!

      • sweetlilvoice

        He really did look like a young Roger for a minute there!

    • bawoman

      It worries me how Peggy seems to still have him up on such a pedestal.
      Has he really merited it?All throughout the episode she kept saying “Ted
      isn’t like this” “Ted will know what to do”.Ted’s an okay guy (not
      better or worse than most) but she seems to have blinders on. Especially
      taking in account how he behaved last episode.

      • Chris

        Peggy is in for a rude awakening with Ted I think. I think it will also lead her to look on Don more favorably though. This is just my theory.

        • bawoman

          I hope it leads her to believe she has stop being in awe of both men.She really needs to get out of both their shadows.

          • LaurieS

            Amen to THAT!

          • CommentsByKatie

            Right!?? For me Peggy has been sort of a viewer anchor; I think we as viewers usually agree with her and see things the way she does (which is why we all love her!) This is the first real issue/annoyance I’ve had with Peggy. I want her to step away from those two toxic bosses and shine! On the other hand, In 2013, it’s easy to say, ‘Girl, get out there and tell them what’s what!” I’m sure it was much more difficult then.

        • siriuslover

          Well, if the teaser trailer for next week is to be believed (and yes, I know they’re not), it seems that she may be drinking (rather heavily?) with Ted when he says “I’m cutting you off.” I say this because the person he’s talking to is wearing green, then we see Peggy locking (or unlocking) that door full of locks, also wearing a deep shade of green. Perhaps that will be her “rude awakening.” Man, I’m traveling next week and have to make sure to be in the hotel room by the time the show comes on (and I’ll have to double check what time it comes on in Salt Lake City. Anyone know?).

          • Chris

            I also noticed Ted is walking into a bedroom (not Peggy’s) that has a lady’s dressing table. To me it looks like an older woman’s dressing table so maybe his wife Nan’s? I just hope he doesn’t bring Peggy back to his place for something illicit, UGH. Also I am concerned about Peggy living alone back at that “s*&^hole” as she called it. That place place is clearly not safe for a woman alone.

            • siriuslover

              I know! I had hoped that once she and Abe broke it off she’d move out immediately, but she’s probably staying in the place until she gets a buyer rather than have to pay a mortgage and rent. She looked kind of scared / freaked out in that clip, didn’t she?

            • Orange Girl

              The description for next week’s episode, entitled “Favors” – “Betty plans for Sally’s future, while Peggy encounters trouble at home.”

              Maybe Peggy will have to room with Joanie, so we can finally see them just hanging out together in Joan’s apartment:)

            • desertwind

              Maybe Peggy will walk in on Abe and some chick…. Or a political meeting…

              I hope she crashes with Joyce! I miss Joyce.

          • SignLadyB

            8 pm MDT then again at either 10 pm or 11 depending on that new show, the kill or whatever it is called (sounds icky to me.)

            • siriuslover

              I must tell my friends I have work to do, lock myself in my hotel room and stare at the television for the entire hour!

            • abby536

              I feel for the AMC marketing department when the 3rd season of the Killing still seems like a dead fish on the doorstep of Mad Men lovers.

      • Jaialaibean

        I still like Ted. He was approached while he was in a hurry to get away, and actually did the best he could with the information he was given. Once it was clear that Joan had control of the account, he backed off. His approach to business is practical, and he seems to want to bring out the best in his co-workers.

        • Eric Stott

          I think that Ted is a bit out of his depth and relying more on Cutler – who strikes me as being a shark very comfortable in a larger pool.

      • Suzanne S

        I know, I was thinking “How much (in show time) has passed since that ‘dis’ we saw last week?” apparently enough (or not enough for Peggy to fully process) that she needs to detach herself from him in everything but explicitly work related matters, and even then, I’m not sure she should trust him fully.

      • Orange Girl

        While Peggy certainly has the hots for Ted, I don’t think she was putting him on a pedestal when she was talking him up to Joan. I honestly think Peggy wants to encourage Joan to interact with Ted so Joan can see that not every one in the company is like Don, Roger or Harry. While briefly, Peggy worked without the SCDP dysfunction in her stint at CGC. Joan has worked at SC for nearly her entire career. She doesn’t know a different way. While Peggy learned tons from Don, Ted encouraged Peggy and allowed her feel confident in her abilities. Joan could use some of that confidence and encouragement, and I think Peggy gets that.

      • Alice Teeple

        Peggy worked for CGC as the only non-secretary female at the company for over a year. This would have given her ample time to get to know him as a boss and learn his patterns of behavior at work. It’s been pretty clear that he’d treated her relatively well there, and she had creative control. I don’t think she has blinders, I think she is trying to be a team player because that’s what Ted encouraged at the old firm.

    • NMMagpie

      I watched this episode and my heart just broke for Peggy. Her relationship with Ted is not what she thought it was and she has no real strategy for dealing with that. She’s allowing herself to be minimized when she’s among the men. I was encouraged by her stepping in and helping Joan; that could be the relationship that SC&P turns on. As a very wise character once said: “The men may be the head but the women are the neck. And the neck turns the head any way it wants to.”

      And where is Peggy’s teased Virginia Slims “you’ve come a long way baby” moment? Is that the empowering moment we have been waiting for?

      • fnarf

        The difference is that Peggy will always be able to get a job, and in fact (as with the last time) the further away from Draper and the gang she can get, the better for her. Joan, on the other hand, is stuck. If she can’t bring Avon home, she’s out on her ass, with a kid and not much in the way of marketable skills. Hmm, we’ve been here before, haven’t we? It seems like the theme of this season is the more things change the more they stay the same.

        • NMMagpie

          Agreed. I hope Joan strives for and achieves much more. I am not worried about Peggy; she’s like many women in our world then and now, talented and adaptable.

        • Laylalola

          Well, even if Joan is out I think Pete said her shares alone are worth something like $1 million (if they want to buy her out).

          • Eric Stott

            The way things go on this show, her shares could go from $1 million to worthless in the blink of an eye.

            • Jaialaibean

              If Cutler has his way and starts splitting things up, Joan could easily end up with nothing.

            • CommentsByKatie

              Joan, make yourself invaluable to Cutler! Cut to the scene a few episodes from now where Cutler or Ted, in a planning meeting, say, ‘We need Joan, she has Avon.’ YES!

            • NoGovernmentName

              After the blowout with Pete, and recent tiffs with Don and Roger, Joan might be ripe to go off with Cutler and Chaough…

        • SFree

          I think that is why Joan took the risk she did. She knows the world is changing and this is her best chance to be seen as a real player in their sexist world.

        • Travelgrrl

          She fecking RUNS that office. No marketable skills? Try office manager at any large business.

          Of course, she wants more than that.

      • Jaialaibean

        Both Joan and Peggy are only starting to learn how to assert themselves in this environment. It looks like they’re on the way to grabbing hold of real power, but neither is there yet.

      • CommentsByKatie

        I’ve always fantasized that the last shot of Peggy in the entire show will be her smoking a Virginia Slims and looking out the penthouse window of her own agency, or something similar.

        • http://twitter.com/NMMagpie NMMagpie

          Totally agree. I thought the same thing when Ted brought her the product to decide on a name for.

      • Alice Teeple

        I think that would be too easy and expected. Peggy is a complex character who makes bad decisions as well as good ones in her career. I find her empowering already, just being as flawed as she is and floundering, because it feels more realistic and relatable. She isn’t fully mature enough to be at that point, if it ever happens (which I doubt it will). But she manages pretty capably with the cards she’s dealt, which is a great thing to see on TV.

    • Carina Green

      Did ya’ll get a load of Joan’s gigantic gold jewelry this episode? Lady was overcompensating a teensy bit.

      • Eric Stott

        The late 60′s was an era for big and clunky

        • Carina Green

          Well, sure, it’s not anachronistic but that’s not good enough reasoning for an obvious costuming choice.

          • Travelgrrl

            She’s been sporting huge brooches all season.

    • SFree

      I was so happy to see Peggy & Joan finally teaming up to get one over on those guys. And I also loved the irony of “Avon” being their vehicle to do it. Even though you are saying that Joan was inept with the Avon guy, I thought there was a high probability that Pete would have blown the whole deal. The Avon guy seems like a decent person – he didn’t hit on Joan, after all. Pete’s sleaziness would not have been well-received. Yay for Joan and Peggy!! I’m surprised you guys didn’t comment on the Democratic Convention. I recall that that was a real wake up call for the country. Seeing “our” kids being beaten up on the streets of Chicago was a shock to everyone. It turned things around completely for the Vietnam War protests.

      • OrigamiRose

        The one thing that surprised me about Joan going to Peggy, though, is the show has taken pains to show over the last few episodes that Joan had developed something of an emotional intimacy with Pete. Something she hasn’t ever had with Peggy. I sort of wondered why Joan wouldn’t take advantage of his expressed insecurity about his standing at the agency to suggest they take the reins to play ball with Avon. She could have pitched it as his chance to solidify his professional ground, while she benefits in the process, sucking up to his neediness and demonstrating her untapped ability to bring in new business.

        She knows he needs a big win – and isn’t that what she said she did, know what people need before they know it themselves?

        • SFree

          She knows, though, that you can’t trust Pete (or any of the other guys in the agency, for that matter) not to steal her thunder. I think T&L are right – she knows this is her (maybe last) best chance to grab for something big. She took a huge risk, and it was good.

          • OrigamiRose

            Fair enough and that absolutely crossed my mind. I just really hope the next episode opens with it being made clear that indeed, she won Avon :)

          • Alice Teeple

            We don’t know that the risk was good, yet. It’s very possible that it will come to bite her in the ass. Peggy’s fake phone call was only a band-aid. Joan knows very well that this could still have the potential to flop, big time. And now everyone knows it was solely her fault. It could be a very devastating karma to her Jaguar “business deal.”

        • Chris

          Whatever she thinks of Peggy she knows she is honorable. Plus Joan knows she would need creative involved to come up with an initial pitch as well.

        • Blueathena623

          The intimacy between Joan and Pete has not been as equal colleagues. When Pete confided on her about his mother, he was still treating her like an admin assistant. I was reminded when don had her rent an apartment for him. As for when they were talking with the financial guy about going public, I could have swore Pete said something that made it seem he still did not see her as an equal.

          • 3hares

            Don was asking her to rent an apartment for him. Pete asked her whether she thought his focus was scattered at work and then they commiserated about having the same problems. There was nothing in that conversation that couldn’t have taken place between equals. Or the one with the financial guys, imo. The thing is, Joan’s job isn’t one of the ones that get the most respect at agencies so whenever that comes up it’s going to be there.

            • Blueathena623

              I can’t imagine Pete showing weakness (asking if he is scattered) with another partner.

            • 3hares

              But he did that. It’s in the scene.

            • Blueathena623

              I’m saying I can’t see Pete having that conversation with another financial guy. Unless he did talk with another partner and I forgot.

        • SFree

          He pushed her aside by telling her not to come to the meeting. If he’d handled it better, she wouldn’t have acted like she did. This is not about emotional closeness. It’s about Joan taking the reins of her own career at last.

          • OrigamiRose

            I love Ms. Joanie. I am pointing out, though, that the trajectory of the Pete/Joan relationship over the last few weeks had definitely led one to believe she might have seen him as a more trustworthy confidante than Peggy (who I have always pegged as a smarmy little snake in the grass). Especially since Joan knew his immediate emotional weak spots.

    • chylde

      Can we please talk about all the coughing Don’s been doing this season? I think he has lung cancer. I’d lay a bet on that.

      • somebody blonde

        Or emphysema. You’re right though, he has been coughing all the time. I wonder what’s up?

        • Eric Stott

          Possibly – but something psychosomatic is also possible.

        • NDC_IPCentral

          If he were emphysematic he’d probably be displaying shortness of breath – gasping and running out of air when speaking. We’re not seeing that.

        • Suzanne S

          not trying to be (more of) a downer, but my Uncle, a 40+ year heavy smoker, the first sign of lung cancer he had was coughing up blood. It was already dire by the point he had his first real ‘symptom’. I shudder when I see “the cough” for that reason.

      • Jennifer Ford

        I think he has consumption.*

        *I do not actually think he has consumption.

        • NDC_IPCentral

          “Consumption” is an archaic term for tuberculosis, so if Don were>/i> to be tubercular (and I know you amended to say you didn’t think he was), he’d be infecting everyone around him, creating a terrible epidemic. In fact, there was a bit on NPR this morning about a tubercular Boston woman who infected her family and friends – a spreading series of infections that weren’t identified quickly. The piece is called “A Boston Family’s Struggle With TB Reveals A Stubborn Foe.” My late father was the tuberculosis controller for My Old Home Town in the 1950s and 60s, so, for a non-physician, I know a fair amount about this disease.

          • Jennifer Ford

            I didn’t amend anything. I was making a joke because all the coughing characters in old melodramas were consumptive which I am well aware is an archaic term for tuberculosis.

            • OrigamiRose

              I’m just grateful none of Don’s coughing led to annoying flashbacks of Alfalfa Dick Whitman.

            • Lilithcat

              Obviously a joke! Because, if he were consumptive, he’d be singing a fiendishly difficult aria.

            • Jennifer Ford

              “He was kawfin’ his brains out and *still* he had to keep on singin’!”*

              *Paraphrased from Moonstruck.

      • Jaialaibean

        He coughed a lot in — when was it? season 4? — as well. There does seem to be a chronic problem there, and lung cancer certainly isn’t unlikely.

      • Travelgrrl

        I took this particular cough to be from residual water in his lungs from his near drowning.

        • chylde

          I think there’s something more to it. It’s been persisting all season.

    • EEKstl

      Please correct me if I’m mistaken, but wasn’t the dead soldier of Don’s hallucination the young man whose wedding he witnessed in Hawaii?

      • somebody blonde

        Yes. It’s discussed downthread, but I don’t blame you for not going through all the comments to find it.

    • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

      I can’t look at Jim Cutler without seeing a more sinister version of Carl from Pixar’s Up.

      • OrigamiRose

        Ha! Now I won’t be able to *unsee* that!

        • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

          BWA HA HA HA. NEXT HE SENDS BOB BENSON ON A SNIPE HUNT.

          Oh man, I’d watch the shit out of that. I suppose that makes Ted the talking dog.

          • OrigamiRose

            I think you need to write this, it’s brilliant and made my afternoon! :)

          • Jaialaibean

            Manischewitz + Detroit = snipe hunt. Cutler doesn’t have pure motives in handing that work to Bob. He’s getting him out of his own hair and into someone else’s.

            • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gaby

              Yeah I agree. That’s why it was Bob Benson on the snipe hunt and not Pete or Kenny.

    • Orange Girl

      This is why I enjoy your MM analysis. You guys are always completely objective in your criticism. Of course we all love Joanie. She has become a very likable and sympathetic character. But your assessment of the Avon situation is right on. Joan is just like every other character on this show – not perfect.

    • Suzanne S

      I took Don’s ‘trip’ to be an actual “Near Death Experience” (or actually a death experience). In addition to his “Death ad” pitch for Hawaii, I remember his somewhat macabre fascination with his apartment’s doorman when the doorman ‘died’ and was resuscitated. This is on top of all the different episodes where we’ve seen “the cough” (as someone put it). Also, Don’s incredibly unhealthy lifestyle is catching up to him. I was going to say “Not everyone is Roger and can live like that unscathed” but then I remembered that Roger has had 2 (or is it 3?) heart attacks on top of goodness knows what else is going on inside his body. So I took the Meghan (+ baby) not to be a sign that Don was idealizing things again, I was truly terrified that he would get home (after we found out that Don didn’t ‘stay dead’) to find that Meghan was either dead or had been near dead (especially with all of the “Sharon Tate” theories that went wild over the past week). The baby could either have been the one she miscarried OR she could be pregnant again. I’m not unconvinced that this wasn’t a combination of a NDE (or actual “Death Experience”) and if nothing has happened to Meghan yet,. perhaps a premonition. I rewound and watched that minute or 2 (starting with Don sitting down at the hookah and ending with Roger reviving him) at least 4 times. The first time through, when Don saw his own body floating in the pool, I was convinced the series had killed him off. That’s how spooked that sequence made me. I’m not sure that the soldier isn’t really dead-I was especially convinced by the “Everyone’s looking for you”-this could mean people on the other side. I actually expected this to be the big thing everyone would be talking about today, but then again, I tend to have more of an interest in this type thing than average (Near Death Experiences, communication with people who have passed on).

      • Suzanne S

        Oof I thought I was posting at the end of things, but I had newest post first. My apologies if this has been said already, I haven’t been through all of the comments yet.

        • OrigamiRose

          No worries, I think everyone’s thoughts are welcome.

      • Golfkat

        I think you’re making some interesting observations. The thing about Megan is – we didn’t see her after Don’s “trip” (or whatever it was) as far as I remember. So we don’t -know- that she’s okay. Don did say “Get my wife on the phone”, but we never really got any confirmation that he got a hold of her.

        • Alice Teeple

          She shows up on the “next on Mad Men” promo. I think she lives until the next episode at the very least! Unless she’s now a resident ghost….

          • AlisonS

            But he looks confused as to why she is there. Like she’s not supposed to be…. Then again she’s wearing red pants so he could just be disgusted with her as opposed to exhibiting confusion.

            • Alice Teeple

              Uh oh. Did you see that new Mad Men “Megan’s Already Dead” theory this morning? I’m sure TLo are already shuddering at that prospect. :)

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              When the hell did everyone get it in their heads that Mad Men is Twin Peaks? Is this a Reddit thing?

            • Alice Teeple

              Oh lordy. There was an article posted this morning about a connection between black and red outfits, characters that die, and analyzing next week’s promo. It’s already making the rounds on Tumblr. http://www.uproxx.com/tv/2013/06/reading-too-much-into-mad-men-evidence-that-megan-draper-is-already-dead/

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              This stuff just misses the entire point of the show.

            • Alice Teeple

              Yeah, there’s a lot of Umberto Eco action happening on Reddit of late. I think people are getting enamoured with the idea of a “conspiracy,” rather than really paying attention to what is going on with the characters’ development.

            • AlisonS

              I thought about it because it fit, but the more I read about from the guy the more his theory breaks down. He doesn’t know about the “RED” color theory like T-Lo. He just grouped it with anger and passion. Amateur.

          • Golfkat

            Good point. I usually don’t watch those, because they never tell you anything. It’s all: ‘Next week on AMC’s Mad Men: “What?” – “Are you joking?” – “Get her on the phone” – “He’s not coming” – “Close the door on your way out” – “Coffee?” ‘.

      • dashransome

        You know, I didn’t really buy into the Megan/Sharon Tate death thing, but you do make some compelling points. Last night I thought it was strange that Don went straight to work and asked to get her on the phone after the trip rather than home. If something did happen to Megan, it makes for better drama to have Don to find out from work rather than walking in on her at home.

    • tamsta99

      I loved that last scene with Pete and the joint so much, I wish I could believe in it. Isn’t the same Pete who always hacked when pressured to smoke a cigarette? He’s the only one who never smokes, saying it’s “bad for him,” but he smokes that joint with ease? I’m naive when it comes to all things smoking, so if it’s possible to have such a strong, breathless reaction to cigs but the ability to smoke a joint with no problems, please correct me. I’d like to believe that Pete “oh-fuck-it-all” moment.

      • http://www.tumblr.com/tumblelog/lastbutnotleast janinedm

        I went to college with many people who absolutely hated smoking…cigarettes.

      • etselec

        I find it really doubtful that Pete would immediately take to pot-smoking as a non-smoker without a bit of hacking in the process. But I rather like that he had his OFIA moment, as you say. I think you could say it was poetic license.

        • Qitkat

          I never heard that acronym before. Good one. Haven’t we all been there? whether smoking pot or something else.

      • somebody blonde

        I’ve seen it, personally. Sometimes it’s the taste of the kind of smoke that’s going down that bothers people, not the act of smoking itself. Depends a lot on the person.

      • Mike R

        Hey, man, it’s 1968!

      • 3hares

        Speaking from my personal experience-yes, totally possible. Not that my experience is universal, but to me they’re very different . Also the circumstances of having a bully force you to suck in a lungfull of tobacco smoke is different than taking a puff of pot at your own speed. But even beyond that, regular smoking makes me turn green and vomit and pot doesn’t.

        • Lisa

          I had never ever smoked a tobacco cigarette (my mom smoked and they just seemed gross). But I didn’t have any problem with coughing or anything the first time I tried pot.

      • Logo Girl

        Totally different. Smoking makes me retch. Pot (I don’t smoke it, but, hey, I live in Colorado!)… KEEPS me from retching.

    • Elizabeth Moore

      [" I see a rapprochement with Don by the end of this season. I feel like that is the arc with Peggy, building Ted up then finally seeing him as flawed and coming back to Don who is a jerk but the only one genuinely interested in just her abilities"]

      I don’t want to see a scenario in which Peggy has to choose between Don and Ted. I want her to realize that she can be her own woman without any male “mentors”.

      • Chris

        Well Peggy will probably always be in Don’s world in some way or another until the show ends. I want Peggy to do well on her own but I want her and Don to have a relationship of some sort. (not romantic) they were a huge part of each others lives and each had a positive effect on the other in many ways. I’d hate for that to be gone forever. Ted also gave Peggy confidence and showed her how to be an inspiring leader not just an intimidating one. Just because they are men doesn’t mean these relationships weren’t important or that they didn’t contribute to Peggy’s ascension. I’m not sure how realistic it would be financially if Peggy just up and opened her own agency in her late 20s.

    • MarinaCat

      I don’t know if if this is really for Mad Style, but I couldn’t help but notice that when Joan first told Peggy about Avon by the staircase, her dress was a perfect color combination of Peggy’s dress and that of the secretary who was sitting there (can’t remember her name) as if her dress colors were caught between both those worlds.

      • CommentsByKatie

        Nice catch!

    • PowerfulBusiness

      There’s obviously a huge catastrophe of SC & Partners on the horizon, but I keep thinking of what Don said a few episodes ago – ‘What is it that holds people together – a shared history.’ These two merging companies have no shared history, so I’m wondering when/if it falls apart if its the people with the most shared history that will survive. I guess that essentially means SCDP would just regroup again because they have the shared history….but…that line by Don stuck with me. Don also says to Peggy about Chaough, “He doesn’t know you.” There just seems to be an emphasis this season on the idea that in constant turmoil, newness, and change, that there is something to be said for the old, the comfortable, the familiar, the known.

    • SoulMo

      Maybe it’s just me, but Ginsberg’s “Homo” comment seemed very “reverse 4th Wall.” And a huge wink at the discussions about Mad Men Characters.

      • Mike R

        The show was taped before any of these comments were made. And the comments are just a reflection of gaydar pinging, so if he is gay, the show’s unrolling and the comments flow from the same source.

        • SoulMo

          I guess I see it as they knew the character would “ping gaydars” so that Ginsberg quip seemed like a humorous acknowledgement to what a portion of the audience would conclude about Benson.

    • purkoy28

      interesting to note that the mail addressed to the company had the names of the 2 dead partners and… roger.

      • CommentsByKatie

        Well spotted!! This seems like the perfect kind of subtlety that Mad Men likes to traffic in; if he dies next season or this season, viewers will have a chilling ‘Aha’ moment on rewatch. I had so many of those when I recently re-watched the first 5 seasons. The most innocuous throwaway lines were always the ones that directly foreshadowed a future event. Now I’m worried for Roger!

        • Alice Teeple

          The other phrasing that was weird was Bert Cooper saying “I will gladly withdraw my name, along with the other deceased parties.” Maybe he’ll croak.

    • Eskimoe

      The “I am become death” quote is from the Bagavad Gita and was famously Robert Oppenheimer’s reaction to the first atomic bomb blast during the Trinity test. I know Ginsberg’s ravings sound like schizophrenia, but I think it actually makes a lot of sense; the “transmissions” he’s talking about are advertisements – he’s just now realizing how complicit his industry is in a machine that’s perpetrating genocidal violence on a massive scale, and he was *born in a concentration camp.* It wasn’t until the ’60s that the generations affected by the horrors of the Third Reich really started to deal with it in any kind of direct way. Ginsberg, in his small way, is grappling with what it means to embody the banality of evil, just like Oppenheimer (also Jewish). I think the use of the Manischewitz account for this purpose is particularly symbolic; if advertising can also help the Jewish community become a more accepted part of the larger society, is advertising really ALL evil? I think there’s some commentary going on there about not confusing the medium and the message à la Marshall McLuhan, which would also be timely to 1968. That’s why Bob’s argument wins him over. If, instead, Weiner were setting up Ginsberg up as a lunatic who’s going to commit some kind of unhinged act, Weiner would be the worst Jew ever.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        Yes, he’s “grappling with it in his own small way” by rocking back and forth on the floor talking about the transmissions to his brain that tell him to do harm.

        Honestly, we’re flabbergasted the lengths to which people are going to wave away his behavior here. This is, to our eyes, behavior that clearly goes beyond simple anxiety attacks or “grappling with evil.” Stan had to lock the office door to keep people from seeing him like this.

        • Eskimoe

          But this is in an office where Don went on a three-day speed bender dragging the whole staff through his mommy issues. I think sanity is a pretty relative thing at Sterling Cooper & Partners. I’m way more freaked out of Pete Campbell’s supressed WASP rage than I am of Ginsberg’s transparent struggles.

          • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

            I’m not sure what one has to do with the other. Don’s issues are quite well documented.

            I guess I’m just floored because so many people argued all season that Bob Benson was a sociopath, but Ginsberg exhibiting classic schizo behavior keeps getting explained away as an anxiety attack.

            • Eskimoe

              I’m just saying that a lot of people in that office act completely mental on a regular basis, they just expect everyone else around them to deal with it. I mean Peggy stabbed her boyfriend! Cutler spies on his dead colleague’s daughter having sex! Roger brings tripping buddies in to pitch dreams about MLK. I’m not sure Ginsberg’s rantings are supposed to be so separate from the general weave of things.

            • Eskimoe

              Also, I was more suspicious of what was going on with Ginsberg until Weiner put Oppenheimer’s words in his mouth. The only other time we’ve heard this more fringe-y monologue from Ginsberg was when he was talking about where he was born; that made it connect up in to something much more deliberate and meaningful for me. (BTW, I so love your Mad Men posts, nice to discuss with you personally!)

            • NoGovernmentName

              I agree with your assessment, Eskimoe. I don’t think Ginsberg is any crazier than anyone else in that office, probably a lot less so than many of them because he is not afraid to just blow it all out.

            • Eskimoe

              Thanks, I’m also having some trouble with what seems like it could be a spiritual crisis being cast as mental illness, just because he’s not being all stoic and clenched about it (Don) or glib and careless (Roger). They constantly define him as being culturally different from the rest of the office, so even his distress is going to manifest that. This is not to argue that he isn’t also kinda nuts and socially maladroit.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              He was on the floor, rocking back and forth and talking about the messages being beamed to his brain telling him to harm people.

            • Eskimoe

              My question is how different is that not also an accurate description of beamed radio and TV messages telling everyone that it’s ok to kill Charlie in the name of good ol American freedom?

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              What?

            • Eskimoe

              The Vietnam War? The military-industrial complex that SC&P is tangentially a part of by working for the company that makes Napalm.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              What does that have to do with him receiving messages to his brain?

            • NoGovernmentName

              Do you think that was literal, as in he was actually hallucinating? I thought he was being metaphorical.

            • Eskimoe

              Yeah, I mean the crux of this conversation is the question of whether he was metaphorically describing the airwaves full of a media soup of hateful messages, or literally talking about voices in his head. Incidentally, “In The Medium is the Massage (1967), Marshall McLuhan [argued]…that all media are ‘extensions’ of our human senses, bodies and minds,” which is what I’m talking about when I say that Ginsberg’s “transmissions” are metaphorical; it’s part of a discourse that was very prevalent then of a near-biological media interaction with/ control over human actions.

            • NoGovernmentName

              His weird way of expressing himself is why he is so good at his job, but not so good at the restof his life, andhe’seven screwing up his job too because of his uncontrollable mouth.Poor Ginsberg. I hope he doesn’t totally losehis shit this season, but we maywellbe heading there. Why should Peggy be the onlyoneto take a trip to the asylum?

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Obviously, I think he was literal if I’m making the argument that he sounds like a shizophrenic or someone suffering from a serious mental illness. This is not the first time he’s claimed to receive messages. He told Peggy he was waiting to receive messages from Mars from his true mother because his father lied to him about his past.

            • NoGovernmentName

              I didn’t take him literally then either,so that is probably where our differences arise here.

            • NoGovernmentName

              And that is triggering some serious guilt and anxiety for him. I agree.

            • Eskimoe

              And at the risk of being extremely cliché, guilt of this kind is often considered a particularly Jewish art form, but Weiner’s not going to a stop at a point where we might mistake Ginsberg for Woody Allen. Also the first cultural linkage to Ginsberg we had was the reference to Allen Ginsberg, whose spiritual rantings were far more lunatic.

            • NoGovernmentName

              As the child of someone who was the same age and grew up in the same location as Ginsberg, with a very similar background, I can tell you, it’s a cliche for a reason.

            • Eskimoe

              Hear, hear. I’m from Long Island,so I, too, am familiar.

            • Alice Teeple

              I don’t know any Vietnamese people named Charlie.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              “Victor Charlie” was the military slang for the Viet Cong, which often got shortened to “Charlie” and broadened to refer to all Vietnamese.

            • Alice Teeple

              OHHH. Thank you. I really was confused there. I’d never heard the term before.

            • NoGovernmentName

              Generalized anxiety, and panic attacks, is not in the same category, mental illness-wise, as what Don or Pete are suffering from. He is a good person, they are terminal assholes. I sympathize with Ginsberg because his anxiety has a strong basis in his real experiences, from childhood on. It’s not WHAT he is freaking out about that is the issue, it’s the extent to which he is freaking out, and how he is expressing it. Ginsberg often says things out of his anxiety that really alienate people, which is too bad because I think that is a decent person and not really “crazy.” He’s weird, and he’s freaking out. It’s interfering with his life, so it’s serious. I did not take the “beaming into his brain” comment as literal. I do think he was being metaphorical, and that he is feeling a lot of guilt and excessive personal responsibility for being part of the “establishment” that is hurting people. His comments about fascism were revealing. As a post-Holocaust Jew, he is hyper aware of being part of any oppressive government establishment. And handling it pretty poorly. But we saw Abe, also a Jew, basically saying the same thing to Peggy that Ginsberg said to Cutler. Abe was in a much more stressful situation, but the sentiment was similar, and probably deliberately so on the part of the writers.

            • NoGovernmentName

              Downthread, you and I both revealed that we are NY Jews… so maybe we are over-identifying with Ginsberg? I mean, maybe TLo are right and the show is hinting that he’s truly losing his mind and not just socially inept and in a stressful situation. We’ll have to see where the story takes him. I will be really sad if, after identifying with and sympathizing with him so much, he turns out to be full tilt crazy… but that’s why it’s such a great show I guess.

            • Eskimoe

              Actually, I’m not of the tribe, I just grew up in an area that was very culturally Jewish and had several friends who were grandchildren of survivors. So, I can’t identify myself with it, just empathize, and be mystified that others don’t seem to recognize what we’re discussing. This is a show that is so richly layered and metaphorical and somehow with Ginsberg’s character that all gets thrown out the window and he’s read literally. Wasn’t this a show with an episode called “Lady Lazarus” based on a poem by Sylvia Plath? Didn’t Don’s story this season begin with The Inferno? The title of the episode is “A Tale of Two Cities” – “it was the best of times and the worst of times.” These writers, or at least Weiner, are lit.er.ar.y. There wouldn’t be a character called Ginsberg for no reason. Why is Mad Men’s Ginsberg being pathologized instead of being allowed to scream about “Moloch!”?

            • NoGovernmentName

              I would be shocked if the writers choose to make him a schizophrenic. I think, considering his past, his oddly blunt and sometimes fantastical way of expressing himself, and his overt neurotic tendencies, a breakdown might be coming his way, but not due to schizophrenia. The many Jews I have known and loved tend to be hyperbolical in the extreme, esp when in distress, and that was what I saw in Ginsberg’s panic attack. Of course it was Manschewitz that made him freak out. That is the most anxiety-provoking, selling bullshit to your own people when you already feel guilty about what you’re doing. Sometimes, the only sane reaction to an insane world is to have a breakdown. This too is well-covered territory in literature (cf. Holden Caulfield, Hamlet, etc) and seems to be a theme of this season. I wish there was a way for me to PM you, but Disqus doesn’t seem to allow for that… alas.

            • Eskimoe

              Yeah, all that. Exactly. I’m glad you joined in the thread. Why doesn’t Disqus allow that? Try Eskim0e on Reddit.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              I honestly don’t know what that means, “separate from the weave of things.” That the other characters have a range of psychological issues or dysfunctional behavior doesn’t negate that Ginsberg has exhibited some classic schizophrenic behavior, or at the very least, a somewhat serious mental condition.

            • NoGovernmentName

              Peggy wound up in a mental hospital, actually, remember? So her mental health issues are well covered territory. That office is chock full of personality disorders.

            • CommentsByKatie

              Additionally, Ginsberg’s specific issue has been repeated 3 times now in
              long, dramatic scenes. That’s a red flashing light in a show with so
              much subtlety and so many characters to devote screen time to. Very different than the chaotic scenes involving other characters.

            • Chris

              Yes, they have been building this up for a while now. I had thought it was a little silly on Janie Bryant’s part for Ginsberg to keep dressing so badly for so long. He was the whiz kid of creative and we saw even secretaries who must make far less start buying more expensive and better looking clothing the longer they worked there. I kept thinking “He’s an intelligent guy who can look around and see how others dress and how ill fitting, unmatched and awful his clothes are. They are pushing this artsy creative personality business too far.” As more and more incidents arose with him I understood Bryant was showing his lack of connection through the clothes. He’s not following the norm because he is outside the norm. But not in a “hippie” wear a fringed jacket like Stan way. He is just not connecting with people or society on some level.

            • bd73

              cutler was tripping when he did that

            • Eskimoe

              Drugs don’t bring out anything that isn’t in there already, it just makes it more likely to surface. Also, calling in Dr. Feelgood to dose your whole office is of questionable judgement in the first place, even if it was done by a lot of people at the time.

            • Travelgrrl

              He was on speed, not tripping.

            • librarygrrl64

              Peggy didn’t stab him on purpose, though. It was an accident, not a character flaw. I don’t think we can compare it to the other instances you mentioned.

            • Alice Teeple

              The other characters all have their hangups, problems and fetishes, but Ginzo has been consistently volatile since he was brought on board in all aspects, and he’s gotten even more so as the show has progressed. It is obvious he hadn’t been able to hold a job beforehand. I found it weird he was munching on a huge Hershey bar while listening to the radio. Did anyone else catch that? Mentally ill people often have an insatiable sweet tooth.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14301272 Kate Gorton

              Perhaps this waving-off is the reaction Weiner & Co. wanted? It’s like the time when everyone was at the awards dinner and the announcement came over about Martin Luther King. From the SCDP POV at the back of the room, even the audience was leaning forward and trying to figure out what was happening. I imagine that nearly everyone in the office has very little context of what schizophrenia or any mental illness really looks like and simply wave Ginsberg’s behavior off as eccentricity, as everyone here is doing: he’s weird and says weird things. That’s just Ginsberg! I can’t say that’s not how I initially felt, and I wonder if that’s the point: to get at society’s dismissal of mental illness until it’s too late.

        • NoGovernmentName

          Before I was a teacher, I worked in the mental health care field, and I think Ginsberg was suffering from a panic attack. The intense fear one feels can veer into paranoia/bizarre thoughts, and classic self-comforting behaviors like curling up and rocking, along with physiological symptoms that can be quite frightening. This is not to say that Ginsberg isn’t schizophrenic, but schizophrenia generally manifests earlier than this, age-wise. He also would not have snapped out of it with a little talking to from Bob Bunson. To me, Ginsberg has been portrayed as someone with lots of anxiety, and the pressures of work and the trauma of the upheaval in American culture may be finally taking their toll. He may well end this season with a breakdown, but to me that’s different from a psychotic break. Lots more symptoms would need to be present for a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

          • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

            Just want to repeat what we’ve said several times already in this comments section: we can quibble over the diagnosis, but it’s clear to us that the show has demonstrated several times over that Ginsberg has some serious issues beyond mere anxiety attacks.

            • NoGovernmentName

              Generalized anxiety disorder is not just panic attacks. To minimize it as “mere anxiety attacks” betrays a lack of understanding of the condition. It is actually a pretty serious mental health disorder that can severely impact a person’s life functioning. It screws up interpersonal relationships (perfectly illustrated by his date with the cute teacher), it messes up your work relationships (seen over and over, most recently last night), has scary physiological symptoms, causes severe insomnia, etc. To me, from my personal experiences with people with GAD v. schizophrenics, he presents as classic GAD. Schizophrenics are much more disturbed, much less articulate when presenting, and have a host of other symptoms that would make much of Ginsberg’s life impossible. I could be wrong in my armchair diagnosis of Ginsberg and you could be right, but I think a strong case could be made that Ginsberg is being swallowed up by anxiety that is getting worse and worse.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              God almighty, the nitpicking today on this one point has been over the top. We were trying to say that we agree with you that it’s not necessarily a diagnosis of schizophrenia and that our point all along was that Ginsberg is suffering from some form of serious mental condition.

              In other words, you are arguing with us even though we’re mostly saying exactly the same thing you are.

            • NoGovernmentName

              GAD is serious, but it is a far, far cry from “classic schizophrenic behavior,” your words. I am not nitpicking in disputing that choice of phrase, and if I can venture to say, you were doing some nitpicking of your own by picking out Eskimoe’s “grappling with it in his own small way.” Any way he grapples with it is going to be small, no matter how big his problem is. Yes, we agree that Ginsberg is freaking out, and that he is really unhappy. Schizophrenic is a badly abused, poorly understood term that I think is generating all the quibbling that you seem to object to so much. It’s an incurable disease that would likely be a life ruiner for Ginsberg.

              I think a basically anxious person, coming from Ginsberg’s background, experiencing America in the late 60s would, as Eskimoe said, probably be challenged mightily by all this, might even have a breakdown. But I think his erratic behavior is a sign of the times, just as we are seeing all the various characters’ (mostly poor) reactions to the cultural shifts. Some embrace it, most feel freaked out and express it in their own, often destructive, ways. I don’t see Ginsberg’s reactions as THAT irrational either, frankly. Every time he has freaked out, I could see a totally valid rationale, channeled through his rather socially inept, highly anxious, first generation Jewish personality. We can just agree to disagree if you find that to be quibbling.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Yes, I’m objecting to the focus on the word “schizophrenia” because I have repeated many. many, MANY times over, including to you, that we weren’t strictly attempting to impose that diagnosis on him. So yes, that’s really kind of insanely annoying to have people continue to nitpick that point. And since you want to keep nitpicking it even after we’ve said we largely agree with what you’re saying, we can only conclude that you just really want to nitpick the hell out of this one, so we’re out.

              And not coincidentally, you left out the part of my quote that comes after “classic schizophrenic behavior”

              ” or at the very least, a somewhat serious mental condition”

            • CommentsByKatie

              I think the point is, from the perspective of the show’s writing and arc, that Ginsberg’s particular diagnosis doesn’t matter. What matters is that he is in seriously ill mental health and is likely a ticking time bomb.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Exactly. It’s not about diagnosing Ginsberg. It’s about noting that the scripts go out of their way to give his few scenes an undertone of mental illness, when you look at them all and note some of the things that he says. Regardless of whether he meets the exact criteria for any set of mental illnesses, a show as meticulously scripted as Mad Men does not have a character say lines about receiving messages from Mars or messages to his brain that tell him to harm other people for no reason. They are clearly making a point about his mental state and our point is that it’s worse than people realize.

        • LaurieS

          You would be AMAZED what people will cover up or wave away at work, all because as I society we do not know how to deal with the mentally ill, and apparently it was much the same in the 60s. I’ve seen it in my own work, NO ONE wants to be the one to go to someone and say “I think X is sick and she needs some help.” They’ll talk about X behind her back until the cows come home, but acknowledging an illness and helping someone deal with it? Hells no! The best thing a friend would probably do is shut the door like Stan did.

        • librarygrrl64

          Agreed. My brain immediately went to, “Oh, god, that’s schizophrenia. Poor Ginsberg.”

    • Lisa

      So just to make it clear (because no one has come right out and said this): Cutler is happy to call the company “Sterling Cooper & Partners” because he is planning to break off and re-start CDC again? And he is planning to take along not only the accounts they came in with, but other accounts as well?

      Apparently none of these people has a contract then?

      When Peggy told Don that the reason he did that merger was to get her back, I thought at first she was being delusional. But the more I think about it, the more I believe that’s exactly why Don proposed that merger. Which was reckless, really. He should have just invited her to lunch.

      I agree with Cutler and Ted that Cooper, Sterling and Don are liabilities. Pete is still an asset — I can see why they would want him. Joan may turn out to be an asset in their eyes too, if the Avon business is attached to her. And that being the case, maybe she was smart to make a play for it. If SC&P is going down anyway (and it seems that it is), she doesn’t have much to lose anyway.

      • bd73

        didn’t ted chaough propose the merger?

        • Alice Teeple

          No….Don did. Ted agreed to it.

      • Eskimoe

        Hehehehe, CDC. They’re going in to a whole new business, maybe they’re responsible for the virus in the Walking Dead. It all started with Dr. Feelgood’s shots.

    • PowerfulBusiness

      Can Peggy, Joan, Meredith and Stan just break off now and start an agency? I’d have that show on a loop 24 hours a day.

      • LaurieS

        Does Meredith really NEED to be in that group? Do they really need the dumbest secretary? Couldn’t they take Dawn instead? Otherwise I vote for this.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14301272 Kate Gorton

          Meredith could be the comic relief. “Someone else opened it, NOT ME.”

        • PowerfulBusiness

          I should have clarified. I meant let’s take the most entertaining people to a new agency. Meredith cracks me up. She’s a dimwit, totally agreed, but funny.

          • Chris

            She is a dimwit which makes me wonder why Joan picked her to “run” the partner’s meetings. She had already exasperated Joan so badly with the “airplane” incident it never made sense to me. Surely there is a brighter bulb than her in the secretarial pool who could do it. Wasn’t that one of Scarlet’s jobs before? (“Also there should be danish.”)

            • AlisonS

              I think Meredith was picked because she’s so dim, she barely knows what they’re talking about, so for her to repeat anything said –and get it correct, seems highly unlikely.

      • katiessh

        swap out Meredith for Trudy. Surely there would be something for her to do

    • NoGovernmentName

      Regarding Ginsberg, I wonder if it’s a coincidence that today is Allen Ginsberg’s birthday, the man who wrote “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night… “

      • Eskimoe

        The show deliberately linked them, so the timing may be a coincidence, but the sentiment is not.

        • NoGovernmentName

          When I heard this on the radio today, I thought of Mad Men’s Ginsberg… I hope he is not destroyed by madness this season, though it is being strongly suggested that may well happen.

      • ailujailuj

        I think this is prescient. ginsberg is an odd guy and much in his life and his character is contradictory. I don’t take his words literally or proof that he has lost his mind… he’s a creative so he generally speaks poetically and viscerally. his emotions are getting the better of him because nothing around him makes sense. His ire and frustration is not isolated and he’s venting in a pretty organic way. I wish I knew yiddish.

        also – I have always thought that most of the emotionally intelligent young people in the 60s had to make a choice about emotionally disconnecting or going all-in.

    • Blueathena623

      I don’t think Bob is gay because I don’t think it would add anything to the overall story. We had Sal (I love you Sal!), older generation, in the closet, fired for being gay, even though he didn’t do anything. We also had that young foreign guy (John?) who was very open about being gay. When the group found out, they were surprisingly, perhaps unrealistically, tolerant (considering the time period), and being gay did not contribute to him being let go (actually, I don’t remember when he and his partner left).
      So if bob is gay, what then? I don’t think MW would “make” someone gay without it having an effect on the plot and meaning something, but what else is there to explore? It would be weird for the staff to become more intolerant, but unrealistic for them to be even more tolerant. So what would be the point? Unless he hooks up with Ginsberg, I don’t see it.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        We’re a year away from the Stonewall riots.

        • Blueathena623

          I know, y’all are probably right about bob, since y’all are right about everything, but I see Ginsburg remark more as a reflection of Ginsburg than bob. Hypocrisy is so prevelant on this show. We just saw Ginsburg rail against cutler for being oppressive, we see him having an episode of mental illness, we feel sympathy, but bam, hypocrisy again. Ginsburg is such a liberal, but god forbid a homosexual may be helping him.

          • NoGovernmentName

            I didn’t see that scene that way at all. He was just asking, and he’s the only person in the office who has noticed anything real about Bob. The use of the word “homo” was not necessarily meant to be an attack on Bob. In the end, he listened to and was calmed by Bob, and not Mama Hen Stan.

            • Blueathena623

              Again, I’m probably wrong, but that’s how I saw it.

            • NoGovernmentName

              Ginzo is turning into the most controversial character on this show!

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14301272 Kate Gorton

          They HAVE to mention it, right? Maybe we’ll see a shot of Sal climbing a lamppost or something.

          God, I miss Sal.

          • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

            The likelihood of 50+ year-old Sal participating in the Stonewall riots is slim to non-existent. Honestly, we’d hate it for being so unrealistic.

            It’d be nice to see what he’s doing now, but we’ve long argued that it would be highly unrealistic to have him take part in anything gay rights or gay movement-related.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14301272 Kate Gorton

              Oh, of course. Hence the “God, I miss Sal” and the absurd image of Sal, at any age, climbing a lamppost. Just desperate to see him :)

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14301272 Kate Gorton

              Of course! My suggestion was intentionally absurd.

      • http://www.tumblr.com/tumblelog/lastbutnotleast janinedm

        The gay dude was from Jaguar, so they’re going to kiss up to him no matter what.

        • desertwind

          It was creepy Lucky Strikes, Junior who made the play for Sal and then demanded he be fired for not putting out. Wasn’t it?

          • Blueathena623

            Yes. Such a sad scene.

      • Blueathena623

        Oh, and to put it out there, my theory is that bob is Pete 2.0
        I get that my reasons are tenuous, but here goes. One of, if not the, first time we see bob he is majorly sucking up to don. Pete used to be a major don suck up. Pete is an accounts man who has thwarted creative dreams (I have ideas! I carry a notebook! I can write a short story!), and bob is an accounts man who is constantly down in creative. Pete has a parent who needs a nurse, bob has a parent who needed a nurse (if you believe him). There are a few more, but I’ve forgotten them.

      • Travelgrrl

        The two European guys were left behind when SCDP was formed in the schism.

    • Joel

      Don blew off Peggy and she quit. He blew off Lane and he killed himself. What will happen after he blew off Pete?

      • abby536

        Return of the rifle!

        • decormaven

          Return of the chip n dip!

          • abby536

            That would be MUCH more terrifying.

    • texashistorian

      I likened the theme to identity, yes, but also conformity. I love how this show depicts the struggles of the era through the characters and their personalities. I also think Bob Benson is almost like a throw-back, a nostalgic sense of “what used to be…” He doesn’t really fit in the office and the era, and this is why it feels odd, having him around. Oh, and I loved it when someone (I forgot who) said (and I paraphrase), “Why are you always here?” to Bob. The writers are very aware of our confusion with this character, and what’s so great is that they wrote it without experiencing our reactions. Absolutely fantastic writing.

    • Kate

      It’s crazy but I have been wondering whether we’d ever see Danny again. I love that little dude.

    • SuzyQuzey

      A better merged name would have been Sterling, Cutler & Partners. But, of course, that wouldn’t play into Cutler’s plan to take the clients and run.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=60708357 Tamani Green

      Between Ginsberg freaking out and Megan Tate continually popping up, I have to wonder if they’ll come out of left field and have Ginsberg turn out to be some distillation of Charles Manson. Seriously. Ginsberg was having a sort of major psychotic break there. Who knew that BB would turn out the be the Ginsberg Whisperer?

    • annmarmae

      I can’t stop thinking about Don/Dick, Dead Dream Soldier, dreaming, and the concept of being whole in death. When Anna died, Weiner et al. incorporated that odd/cheesy “ghost” image of Anna; wasn’t she “whole” and walking fine in that vision/whiskey-soaked hallucination? Just thinking aloud.

    • pattycap11

      i was remembering that line today, “paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep,” from that buffalo springfield song used awhile back, and i’m wondering if bob benson being introduced as such a cipher (until this last episode) was a way for the writers to give the viewers that unsettled feeling. i mean, he was just odd, and suspicious, and cagey, and here he is listening to that motivational record, just a very positive thinking kind of guy, grooving on post-dale carnegie, pre-tony robbins inspiration. now i think he’s fun to watch and am sorry he may be written out because he has this new sitcom or something. i was thinking, how can he be so happy and wholesome? i mean, really? and now i know. it’s that record! too bad he’ll probably run off with jim cutler and we’ll never see him again.

      another thing i was thinking about the paranoia of the age is, it’s hard to overstate, for me (though i was just a kid) the overwhelming sense of dread that the existence of the draft produced in that era. not only was the vietnam war confusing because, why were we there, but it was a total nightmare jungle crazy thing — and you could get sent there because you were unlucky!!! your number came up in the lottery!!! wtf!!! and it went on and on for years. if we had the draft today, in one hour you’d see the same kind of marching and mayhem, people just wouldn’t put up with it. paranoia strikes deep!!!

      oh, and pot smoking being so ubiquitous through that age, it didn’t help lessen that sense of paranoia, as anyone who’s smoked the wrong or too strong or too much pot can tell you.

    • Mark Lyons

      Pete’s frustration is really understandable if you think back to Season 1 when he almost got fired for pitching his own creative to a client. He saw the direction his industry was going and the arbitrariness of this distinction between corporate roles way back then and almost got axed for his trouble. Pete is a man born too late (after his family money has already been squandered, and in an environment where his privileged status as a male Deikman is every day less of a guarantee of success and security) who thinks he was born too soon (too tied to the old hierarchies to really advance only on the objective merit he has always very much seen in himself.) If Pete were entering the ‘real’ world in 1968, having gone through his Ivy league years knowing the family fortune was gone (among other personal and cultural revelations beyond his control, but very much to his taste), he would be a very different person and I think he is painfully aware of the fact.

    • Mark Lyons

      Speculative Note: I would not have noticed this without last weeks brilliant observations about the care being taken with Moira’s costuming, but when Joan and Peggy are having their big moment by the elevators, Moira and Jim Cutler get out of the elevator and walk right by them. Perhaps Cutler, seeing that everyone else has done well to find a female protege, is lunching with his own? Or, at least having sex during lunch, which, on this show, is sort of the same thing.

      • Chris

        He was after her when we were first introduced to him in Ted’s office where Ted finds out Gleason has cancer. He is following her out the door saying “what is that…Shalimar?” about her perfume. It does seem significant that those two were strolling in together.

        • decormaven

          I just loved that she was wearing gloves during the day. Those days, they are gone.

        • Alice Teeple

          Also, we haven’t seen much of a Moira/Ted interaction before the merger. Ted seemed nonplussed when Cutler made a joke about Ted’s liking memos over women; then followed Moira out like a puppy. By that point, they’d already established a lingering attraction between Ted and Peggy. It’s hard to say what the Peggy/Moira dress connections are at this point, even though they’re pretty clear cut.

          • Chris

            I never subscribed to the theory Ted and Moira had something going on. She just struck me as a busybody- the way she acted with Joan etc. At one point a few episodes ago Ted goes into his office and shuts the door right in her face (it looked like she was trotting in after him). I never got a romantic vibe from him regarding her. She may idolize him and be protective of him. She probably knows everything going on at SC (being a busybody) and would be a great person for Cutler to cozy up to.

            • Alice Teeple

              Exactly. I get the busybody vibe from her as well. It was interesting that she referred to Ted’s wife as “Nan” in front of everyone, when the other secretaries refer to Megan as “Mrs. Draper.” Does Moira know her personally? That casual familiarity is odd. So far, Ted seems oblivious to Moira other than being polite and needing things arranged. I could see Moira being trouble in a gossip context, especially if Ted was going on about kissing Peggy within earshot. If he were in a thing with Moira, or gave her a second thought, why would he be that careless? On the other hand, if Moira and Cutler had an affair, that would be an interesting twist. Especially if she gained more power or status from it…like Jane Siegel did. Remember, Jane made some unsuccessful plays for Don first before ending up with Roger. We don’t know anything about Moira’s personality yet, though; if she’s ambitious, or what. She does notice everything going on around her, though.

    • Laura Kaufmann

      Dawn finally came back!

    • forward_slash_PRS

      After reading almost all of these comments and the many preceding re Bob Benson, it finally dawned on me who his character reminds me of: Pfc Kelly in Robert Altman’s Nashville.
      SPOILER ALERT (but if you haven’t seen the movie, you really ought to)
      The character is semi-creepy and arouses dread & suspicion in the viewer, but at the denouement, it turns out he is “normal” and even heroic.

      • decormaven

        Excellent parallel.

      • Jaialaibean

        I’m beginning to believe Bob Benson will turn out to be a better guy than many of us thought. It would be interesting to see something happen that would burst through the “How to Succeed” platitudes he’s been living by and elicit some deep emotion that would show us who he really is. I want to see him get mad, and then get even, but in a smart way that doesn’t throw away “nice Bob” completely.

    • ailujailuj

      one thought about miss joan… she, like sooo many women pioneering their own way into a man’s world (creating generations of dysfunction) has had no professional role models other than men. In that era (and in my profession it is still quite prevalent) women generally had to figure out on their own how to be a successful WOMAN. Very few men have been interested in truly mentoring for the woman’s benefit and if there was attention paid it was usually for the wrong reason. And if a woman was lucky enough to have an influential mentor (albeit male) he would be teaching her how to succeed as a man, which we all know doesn’t work in the same way for a woman. And women experiencing only how men interact (compete) usually approached other women the same way (complicated by the inherent societal issues between older/younger women). So far, I have found relatively few surprises in joan’s or peggy’s actions in the firm.

      • Chris

        I think it was Joan’s friend from Mary Kay (Karen?) who provided inspiration and a role model (despite her being impressed by Joan). Joan saw her succeeding and reaching for more and it inspired Joan, because the friend was still overtly “feminine” and like Joan in many ways. Peggy has always been a bit “masculine” in her reach for the top (in Joan’s eyes) I think. Faye is the only other professional woman apart from secretaries, spouses, family or clients we have ever seen in that office and as I recall Joan seemed annoyed by her but Peggy found her inspiring.

        • Alice Teeple

          Good point. It’s telling that Joan gets her “feminine success” inspiration from a woman working her way up the ranks in pyramid marketing directed solely toward women, rather than observing how Peggy did it. Mary Kay has always targeted women with promises of success and independence – by investing in the company first and being rewarded for paying your dues. The inspiration Kate gave Joan, along the lines of “be your own boss” and “take matters into your own hands,” is linked to that Mary Kay/Avon mindset…at the bottom of the pyramid.

      • decormaven

        Remember Bobbie Barrett’s advice to Peggy, “You can’t be a man,” she advises. “Don’t even try. Be a woman.”

        • ailujailuj

          oh yes… bobbie barrett – what a saucy alliteration of a woman. And she said that after watching how peggy interacted with The Don. IIRC in the scene, peggy really tried to understand what she was saying. but without repeated interaction with another woman, in the work place (in the trenches, on the front line) and observing how a successful businesswoman (I don’t think pegs saw bobbie as “successful – couldn’t see past the drunken mess) handles the bullshit… she forages her way through it all rather awkwardly.

          Setting aside my own opinion of faye (I didn’t really like her character and saw little purpose other than yet another corruptible snack for Don and not at all an interesting female character) – in some ways she was seen as successful by peggy but the storylines were less about her professional relationships/influences at SCDP and more about afternoon delight with don. they could have done more with her but i’m glad they didn’t.

    • Liz

      I didn’t think Peggy was speaking judgment about Joan’s rise to partnership. Through the whole series, we’ve seen Peggy battle the assumption that she only got her job because she slept with her boss. I felt it was the same old defense she always is called to roll out, “Oh here we go… someone else is insinuating that I slept with Don again…” Then only once she says it, and Joan takes it personally, does Peggy realize that it could have been interpreted as being more directed, and she apologizes.

      • Logo Girl

        That’s how I saw it too. Peggy is always nose-to-the-grindstone Peggy. She may be the least gossipy-person in the office, because she is all about The Work.

        • Ally08

          I know! Last we heard, she and Stan didn’t even know whether Joan and Roger had been an item, and you’d think that would be established SCDP lore by now. I imagine it’s just people guessing as to how the office manager suddenly makes partner — they figure she must have slept with someone.

          But I do think that Peggy underestimates how her effective currying of favour (mostly non-sexually) with key agency players has aided her career, i.e. Joan’s line about Peggy being carried to the deep end, beyond her creative powers. Peggy still has breathless (somewhat Catholic) respect and deference for the patriarchy/hierarchy and it serves her well.

          • Chris

            I think it has hindered her in the past. Anyone else would have spread their wings long before Don tossed a handful of cash right in their face. Peggy is a Catholic school girl at heart and as you say perfectly has “respect and deference for the patriarchy/hierarchy. With Ted it probably helped as he seems to like order and was concerned about the people working under him (like at New Year’s Eve) but Don just barrels over anyone who doesn’t stand up to him.

          • 3hares

            I thought they did know Joan and Roger had been an item. They were just speculating about whether or not it was still going on.

    • Ally08

      I thought Joan handled it quite well, with a seamless transition from “date” to “meeting”. I think you grossly underrate her performance, when all we have seen of Accounts so far points to it being a combo of pimping, “babysitting” and tap-dancing. Not much to live up to, frankly, and Joan is a buttering-up-the-client genius.

      Moreover, the Avon guy has apparently worked in cosmetics for much of his career, and is working mostly with women on a daily basis (hence, perhaps, his respectful demeanour toward Joan and his preparedness to see the encounter as a business meeting), so I doubt that Pete’s smarmy schtick would have worked better on him than Joan’s patter.

    • eb1966

      Another boost to the “Bob is gay” theory- would Joan really have accepted what she thought was a blind date if she had something going with Bob? I don’t think so- that isn’t really what we would expect of 1968 Joan.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14301272 Kate Gorton

        Why not? Ladies dated casually back then; it was quite normal to have several dates in a week with different guys.

        This doesn’t mean that I think she and Bob *are* in any kind of a thing. There is zero chemistry/spark there.

    • prettybigkitty

      The symbolism is almost too blatant for me. In the past, I’ve felt the same way about books that everyone else, including critics, raved about (‘A Prayer for Owen Meany’ & ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ come to mind). Books I really wanted to love, but left me feeling almost flat and almost disappointed in how they fell short of true brilliance. Don’t get me wrong, I think Mad Men is genius (and your analysis each week, exceptionally so!) but in some ways I would prefer more subtlety and depth in the plot and character’s actions for more of a critical analysis and contemplation.

      • NoveltyRocker

        I’ve felt the same way about this past season. I think the show has built up so much good will over the years that inertia has peeps more keen than ever on examining every last detail. It still feels like there’s plenty to examine but for me MM has been moving toward “here are the consequences” soap-style episodes as all the story lines funnel through to resolution (as in where the show ends cuz I don’t expect a whole lot of real resolution from the MM writers). For me, the kind of contemplating that felt rewarding through season 4 just doesn’t apply as much anymore. I don’t think that’s good or bad or even unintentional, just a noticeable shift.

        I could watch the early season episodes like little morality tales set in a magnetic world played out by characters I enjoyed for how each of their archetypes moved the story. There was an overarching story but a lot of episodes felt like their own unique meditation on it. That viewing framework hasn’t really worked with this season. I’ve heard it said that Wiener intends to mirror the energy of the late 60′s tonally in the last couple seasons. Those tones also make sense if he’s telling the story of Don stalling out. The result is still entertaining mostly but TLo framed it beautifully when they pointed out a couple episodes ago that all the subtext in the show is now text. Now we get a whole lot more whack upside the head symbolism. It’s too blatant for my taste too and leaves less room for satisfying pondering. Instead, I’ll find myself pondering what ultimate statement the writers and Wiener are trying to make but that is NOT the satisfying kind of pondering when thematically all I see is fear and cynicism and self-made hells (and who says the artists are even trying to make one ultimate statement)(but I wish they would).

        I do like hearing about all of the history, literature, and fashion references I didn’t catch. And I like the recaps on here because they come at each episode from an angle that helps flesh out my understanding of the story more, rather than a critical, “don’t know if the writers are writing this right…” stance. (That bit isn’t in response to anything you said, just drawing my line in the sand over what kinds of MM analysis I’ll be looking at for the rest of the series run).

    • librarygrrl64

      “I can’t turn off the transmissions to do harm; they’re beaming them right into my head.”

      So disturbing. That, plus his age, plus a few previous moments led me directly to, “Oh, god, that sounds just like schizophrenia.” Poor Ginsberg; I really like him.

      And you’re dead right about Pete. Unpleasant as he can be, he is the only one who sees what’s happening, and it was not out of line for him to be angry with Joan.

      • Laylalola

        Pete twice explicitly tried to warn Don (and Don and Roger together) about the behind-the-scenes machinations and how the rug is about to be pulled out from under them. He even used the word dire. It really is like Pete suffers from the Cassandra Complex.

    • verve

      I wonder if Joan is now revising her previous sentiment that Pete was the only one at the office who hadn’t disappointed her…

      (Also, to jump the Style gun a bit: did Peggy’s dress at the end have a fish scale pattern to it? If so, it seems an interesting parallel to Don’s water/swimming/drowning motif.)

      • Chris

        It did have a scale pattern! I can’t wait for Mad Style this week if only for Joan’s stunning aqua (water again) suit. I think it is one of the most beautiful and flattering outfits she has worn on the show. She looked like a movie star. Some of her stuff has been a bit Mumsy at times. That was pure glamour.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14301272 Kate Gorton

        But how did Pete disappoint her? He was just trying to do his job. The man is completely guileless, really. He just wanted to follow procedure.

        • verve

          Letting Joan join him and Peggy on the breakfast meeting would have still allowed him to do his job. I can excuse him for not understanding Joan’s desire/need to establish herself as somebody who counts, but she asked to go along, with Peggy’s support. In any event, just because he was rationally insisting on normal protocol doesn’t mean Joan can’t or wouldn’t feel disappointed because of it.

          I do disagree that Pete is “completely guileless,” however. He’s been a little weasel since season 1, when he got Peggy to let him into Don’s office, where he proceeded to pilfer the psych report from Don’s trash. In this particular situation, I think that while he was sticking to protocol (and that’s not a bad thing for a very big potential account), this is a post-Vicks Pete who also got left out of the Mohawk meeting by Ted and Don. He is not in a frame of mind to share an account, even in the smallest “Joan sits in to make introductions after some coaching” way.

          • 3hares

            I do think Pete was probably being completely overly controlling because of his current state. There would be nothing wrong with Joan coming to the meeting, but Pete didn’t want any unknown quantities there, I suspect. And didn’t realize he was hurting Joan personally by doing that, probably.

            Of course, Joan completely out-weaseled him in this ep. Ditching him and showing up herself pretending to be the Accounts rep–and dragging Peggy into it too–and then trying to pretend it was all a big mix up while actually feeling entitled to it all was classic weasel Pete. It just looks so much better on Joan.

            • verve

              “It just looks so much better on Joan.”

              Haha, story of Pete’s life: too charmless to ever be applauded. ;)

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14301272 Kate Gorton

            But he’s never been a guy that let other people in on “his” kill (now, every lead assigned to him is his, as a partner and lead accounts man). I don’t think anything he did was surprising. Hurtful? Sure. But not surprising. He was simply following protocol, which is what Pete does. No distractions, straight to business. Just because he likes Joan as a person doesn’t mean he’s going to give her a chance. He’s not Don Draper (no matter how hard he tries).

            And, yeah, he was SUPER sneaky in Season 1. How did he EVER manage get past a brand-new secretary on her first day? He’s never had game.

            • verve

              Oh, sure, I totally get the rational, reasonable logic about not bringing Joan in (and I bet even Joan did, too). I’m just saying, Joan found it disappointing that she was, albeit predictably, being ‘shoved off the diving board.’ (More swimming imagery!) It WAS a let-down for her, even if it was a logical one.

              My point was more that Pete turned to weasel tactics from his earliest days. He can’t always (or often) pull them off, but he has no qualms about acting the weasel. For an example of a recent weaselly success: how he handled the acquisition of Jaguar. Plenty of truthfulness without an ounce of honesty.

        • 3hares

          I think if either of them were shocked at sudden duplicity it would be Pete.

    • ldancer

      I really just wish that in his confrontation with Cutler, Ginsburg had countered him by pointing out that he was born in fucking Auschwitz. I really wish that. Because that makes him as qualified as anyone to talk about war.

      How does schizophrenia manifest at the beginning? I understand about the hearing voices, but other than that, does it manifest in any of the other ways poor Ginsburg is exhibiting?

      The looks that passed between Joan and Peggy when Ted brings Pete into the Avon conversation were easily the most nakedly feminist moments on the show to date.

      • Eskimoe

        Yes, I really wish he had brought it up, too, it was hanging heavy over that scene that he was born in a concentration camp (don’t think he specified Auschwitz).

        • ldancer

          Oh, I think you’re right! Don’t know why I’m remembering it that way, but my memory of late is pretty terrible.

      • Laylalola

        Cutler poked a sore spot with the comment that Ginsberg is a hippie who rants against the war but takes money from Dow Chemical. (Chemicals. Gas chambers. Poison gas.) The fact that he survived the gas chambers isn’t something that would win him this argument — in fact, it makes it so much worse. “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” I don’t know if he’s schizophrenic but TLo is correct that it’s too much for his mind, he can’t deal with the profound dichotomy; at the very least it would seem he’s on the verge of a complete break.

        • not_Bridget

          “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds” is a phrase Robert Oppenheimer used after witnessing the first A-bomb test. Of course, he helped create that bomb. It’s from the Bhagavad Gita & Ginsburg surely knows the story. As would most literate people of that time. (I’m one.)

    • supernintentochalmers

      To my fellow Game of Thrones viewers – I’m seeing a lot of similarities between Pete and Cersei lately. Both are ambitious, privileged, entitled, spiteful, intelligent, etc…Who agrees?

      • the_archandroid

        I think the difference, and it’s an important difference, is that Pete’s positions on things are kind of based on fact and pretty much correct. That is, his complaints and his perceptions of things are right on the nose, but his personality makes it hard for people to accept pretty much anything that comes out of his mouth. Cersei’s thoughts and positions come from faulty counsel (pycelle) and a core of complete irrationality. That chick is off the reservation.

        • supernintentochalmers

          That’s very true. Cersei has a warped sense of reality and often acts based on irrational fears and beliefs, while Pete has a keen sense of awareness. Still, they have similar attitudes and are both love/hated by fans for similar reasons (I think).

    • supernintentochalmers

      Re: Ginsburg’s mental health. He’s definitely got some issues, but that doesn’t necessarily mean something as serious as schizophrenia. I see him as obsessive-compulsive, panicked by distressing thoughts particularly at stressful times. He confides about his anxiety to Stan and Bob, and I feel someone with schizophrenia would hide their illness or likely not even be aware of it. Anyone with more knowledge feel free to correct me!

      • Eskimoe

        I think the main point of all these questions of Ginsburg’s mental health is that this show is TV literature, not a procedural, and characters’ actions should be read as allusion that’s just as layered and referenced as the show’s costuming (bless you, Janie Bryant).

        • supernintentochalmers

          I like that interpretation too – maybe we will never get a “diagnosis” for Ginsburg, but the important thing is how his mental instability parallels the social instabilities in the setting of the show (both the era and the fictional business world).

        • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

          Yes, that’s pretty much exactly the point. The nitpicking over the exact diagnosis completely misses that.

    • eb1966

      Regarding the song chosen to play in the background at the California party, “Harper Valley PTA,” I think it’s significant that the 1978 movie based on the the song fleshed out the main character by giving her a job- selling cosmetics door-to-door. Knowing Matt Weiner’s level of meticulousness, that isn’t an accident.

    • Dagny Taggart

      Ginsberg is definitely not schizophrenic: this is the opinion of someone who has worked with that population for 20+ years. If so, he would not be able to work in the pressure-cooker environment of Mad Ave. If untreated, his delusions and psychotic processes would render him basically unrecognizable to both friends and loved ones and would render him completely unable to function in a normal capacity (like go to the office or dress/groom even approaching normally). He would not respond to Bob’s platitudes nor would he be affectionately able to respond to “mother hen” Stan. The time period would be a particularly difficult time to be schizophrenic; if in treatment, he most likely would have been in a state hospital, or if an out-patient, would be exhibiting the “Thorazine shuffle, ” as this was the go-to treatment at that time, or the alternative, ECT (“shock therapy”), with either insulin or electric current. It was pretty gruesome at that time with a longer recovery rate BY FAR, nothing like today’s ECT, which is MUCH more effective, less intense and yields greater therapeutic results, but not in schizophrenics AT ALL — more so with those suffering from severe OCD, or OCD as part of a Bipolar diagnosis.

      Psychologists working with children of Holocaust survivors have found that many suffer from PTSD, which makes much more sense in Ginsberg’s case. He may suffer some psychotic-like symptoms but is fundamentally grounded in the here and now. Ginsberg is oriented to time (upset over the political climate, aware of impending meeting), place (knows he has to go to Manischewitz meeting, knows he is at the office), and person (knows his name, doesn’t believe he is someone else – in fact, he is intensely aware of who is is, thus his conflict). These 3 orientations are the hallmarks of diagnosis in floridly psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

      ETA: Generalized anxiety disorder is also a great differential diagnosis. All that being said, I LOVE YOU TOM & LORENZO; you are brilliant.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        The diagnosis doesn’t matter. You can’t diagnose a fictional character. The point is, Ginsberg is suffering from mental health issues more serious than the people around him realize.

        • not_Bridget

          Well, Dagny’s diagnosis is more meaningful than the amateurs. I used to know a child of Holocaust survivors & he had definite issues.

          Of course, the presence of all these amateur experts is meaningful; today, it’s understood that there are various “mental health issues” that are treatable. With varying levels of success, alas.

          Back in the day, would people have been more likely to think he was just an eccentric creative guy? Surely there was more of a stigma about mental health problems. What treatments were available? I knew there were fewer medications. Shock therapy? Could he get help without losing his job? He seems to be supporting his father….

          • siriuslover

            But how old was Ginsberg when he was snuck out of the camp? He couldn’t have been more than three given his age on the show, and I don’t know that children can get PTSD from that young an age. I appreciate the information about the traumas of the Holocaust, particularly on children of the Holocaust, but I agree with TLo on this one. I think it is a mental-health issue along the lines of what buddy100 said earlier. If not full schizophrenia, it is certainly in the early manifestations of it, or in a spectrum.

            • Alice Teeple

              I keep saying, I think his concentration camp story is along the same lines of when my aunt suddenly started talking about “helicopters dropping heroin in hay bales.” Peggy thought it was a weird story and actually went to Abe to verify it. Stan is clearly alarmed by his behavior, enough to keep Ginzo’s breakdown on the downlow.

            • inchoate

              The doctor and author Gabor Mate attributes some of his own mental health struggles to spending his earliest years in Hungary during the Holocaust — his mother being horrifically stressed and fearful over the murder of her family, and unable to give him the care she otherwise could have. Obviously this is his opinion, and people do disagree with it, but we hear plenty about the importance of safety, routine, responsive caregivers, etc. for babies and small children. If Ginsberg was born in a concentration camp he was probably separated from his mother in a traumatic way and then moved around a lot, all of which would be really upsetting and disruptive to an infant or a toddler. I don’t know that we’d call the results PTSD but it’s not hard to imagine they could be quite serious and lasting.

        • greenwich_matron

          Can we call him schizo-phictionic?

        • pattycap11

          i think ginsberg’s issues remind us that the times themselves were schizophrenic. in a sense, he’s being driven mad by his clarity. isn’t it still crazier not to think about the fact that your firm is promoting a company that burns clothing off of children (napalm)?

          all of society is buckling under the strain and splitting off into different factions. out west, you have southern california bigwigs making a hard right (might have been john birchers?) while nyc liberals thrash and agonize. sadly, the malaise and uncertainty that come from fighting undeclared wars are familiar to us by now.

      • LadyKateC

        All good points, Dagny. (I also work in mental health.) But at some point wasn’t Ginsberg talking about thoughts being inserted into his head? Bizarre delusion…? Also, general social awkwardness and his sometimes lackluster grooming. And perhaps this is an inkling of his first psychotic break? But, I agree that severe PTSD is a distinct possibility and can look like psychosis. Perhaps also a personality disorder (i.e. schizotypal?). Whatever the diagnosis, I was thinking that his early experiences in the camp must have been severely disorganizing for him, and all the violence around him would be incredibly stressful for the poor guy. Agree with TLO that ultimately we cannot diagnose a fictional character, though we can sure try.

        • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

          “But at some point wasn’t Ginsberg talking about thoughts being inserted into his head?”

          He told Peggy last season that he received a message from Mars, telling him to “Stay where you are.” He said this episode that “I can’t turn off the transmissions to do harm; they’re beaming them right into my head.”

          • 3hares

            I had taken his words in this ep to be just his way of saying that being in the ad agency was making him a bad person, but after reading this recap and especially seeing this connection I think you’re right. It does seem very specific to have him use that metaphor in very different ways. I would even wonder if it’s also reflected in the way he seems very close to his father but is also focused on having “no family” and saying his father’s a liar as if he’s a stranger. Not that it wouldn’t be natural to feel conflicted with his background, but I seem to remember when he told Peggy the story the way he spoke about his father seemed a bit colder and more isolated than a person just saying they were adopted.

            At the same time it’s easy to believe that when he says things like this people just assume he’s speaking metaphorically and brush it off, which if true is probably the intent.

      • CatherineRhodes

        I enjoyed your commentary. An Ayn Rand fan, I suppose?

      • Logo Girl

        PTSD strikes me, from personal experience, to be a solid, POSSIBLE Dx. It does cause very disoriented thoughts while one is still perfectly aware what is actually going on. You can be reliving a nightmare, going into a total panic over it, and the fact that you know you are sitting there and that you are you does nothing to prevent you from going into “nightmare mode”. PTSD is a pretty darn serious Dx, though it is not delusional.

    • LadyKateC

      I think Ginsberg’s schizophrenia also serves as a reminder about deinstitutionalization happening at that time. Up until that time, seriously mentally ill people generally lived their lives in state mental hospitals. But during the 60′s there were legal challenges to this – that it was a violation of civil rights to force people to live in state hospitals, even if they were seriously mentally ill. (In theory, a network of community mental health resources was supposed to offer services instead, but was of course never properly funded. Plus schizophrenics are notoriously noncompliant with treatment.). The result was that people who had been previously hidden away from society were now visible.

      • ailujailuj

        a little OT but the deinstitutionalization was the beginning of its own evolution to institutionalization of the mental ill currently taking place within our justice system. Unintended consequences: our detention/corrections/prison facilities have now become de facto mental health facilities.

        • LadyKateC

          Agree. Yes, prisons now house many people who, in an ealier era, would have probably lived at the state hospital. This in itself is a problem. But the mentally ill who manage to avoid arrest often develop substance abuse problems and become homeless; the prototypical disheveled guy talking to himself on the street corner. I saw it as another commentary on the breakdown of the old order, how things that were disturbing and unpleasant used to be hidden away and not discussed, were now out in the open, confronting people. Don’t know if this is how Weiner and company intended it but that’s how I experienced it.

          • ailujailuj

            ok – going OT again… but I have a strong belief that the mid-century wholesomeness and sanitized family values were a product of a contrived political campaign after WWII to show cultural dominance and control to the world. It was effective because all anyone wanted post-war was safety, security, back to status quo. But it wasn’t authentic or sustainable, thus the civil unrest in subsequent decades. Many people over the decades (still) “long” for that romantic era where everyone knew his and her place and resent change – and the breakdown of order. Now everything is creeping out to the open, confronting people: mentally ill; blacks; women; homosexuals.

            But my take on GInsberg is a little different than most. I think he represents the more typical jewish immigrant in his own personal post-holocaust hell thrust into a cultural scramble desperate to get back to what is supposed to be status quo, who also happens to be creatively brilliant and emotionally connected. Speaking strictly from a demographics perspective there are more ginsbergs in NYC (think 5 boroughs) than there are madsters. MM is an anomaly in that environment. But a really huge MM storyline is how global and local politics and economics shift the culture. NYC is metamorphasizing. It’s a fantastic study, actually – how NYC changed during that period and how and why it is what it is today. If the writers are doing what I think they’re doing with his character, it’s a great way to tell the story from another very relevant perspective.

            • LadyKateC

              Yes, I think that Ginsberg could also potentially a symbol of the.trauma and horror.that WWII inflicted, obviously for.Jews in particular. Ginsberg was essentially born a.POW and the awfulness of war and violence.are very real to him. And i think.someone commented.on Dow Chemical and allusions to gas chambers. I also love the study of NYC this.show is doing….i have lived in Brooklyn for.almost ten years.and in recent episodes.the.city seems so recognizable. More chaotic and noisy, like the city i know. The NYC of the.early seasons seems so quiet and constrained. From my Android phone on T-Mobile. The first nationwide 4G network.

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            • ailujailuj

              oh yes – that was a brilliant find – the reference btwn Dow and gas chambers. I think that sort of guilt punching by association went on frequently for a period after the truth about the holocaust emerged – and was accepted. I lived in W Village for 5 then E Village for 5 and while they are different (bohemian chic takeover aside, off-beat culture has always kind of meandered around the city looking for space, community, and an affordable life – but where are they now?) I think Bklyn is by far the most transformed. Mostly within the past 15 yrs. Gentrification and Economics ftw (/sarcasm). My friends and I had lots to say when peggy was looking at RE (can you imagine buying UWS brownstone for the present-day equivalent of $16k?). But the more things change the more they stay the same. I know Manhattan natives who have never been to NJ, NJ natives who have never been to L.I. And I thought of that every time don would come home for dinner, then go back to the office… how connected it was to its surroundings.

      • inchoate

        An interesting point, although I don’t really see it in Ginsberg so far. As far as we understand at this point in the series, he’s never been institutionalized, hence, not deinstitutionalized. I assume that, as a kid growing up poor in a Lower East Side tenement, Ginsberg wouldn’t have access to psychiatrists. As others have noted, whatever mental health issues has has haven’t yet stopped him from functioning at SCDP/SCDPCGC/SC&P.

        They may be working up to a plotline involving a decline in his mental state, though. He may be past his early twenties but he is still under thirty — i.e. still in the age group in which schizophrenia typically begins to manifest.

        • LadyKateC

          I don’t know if Ginsberg will be institutionalized literally, I was just thinking it was more a way to showcase reactions to someone mentally ill from the elites of the day, i.e. Cutler, who wants.Ginzo out of sight.and out of mind. And schizophrenic or not, I still think Ginsberg.is much more attuned to the awfulness that was going on. Way to go Bob Benson, talking Ginsberg down! And yeah, Ginsberg is.at that age when people start to.have their.first episodes. From my Android phone on T-Mobile. The first nationwide 4G network.

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    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14301272 Kate Gorton

      You know what I kept thinking about as you broke down the fact that Megan was juxtaposed with a dead man in Don’s death-dream? When she was sitting on the couch telling Don how she was scared to ask for time off.

      “I don’t know why I’m nervous. They write people out all the time!”

      Of course, this could mean nothing.

      About Ginsberg: When he was talking about the “transmissions to do harm,” I just thought it was a Ginsberg way of saying that he couldn’t keep himself from saying things that would sabotage everything. Just like that whole “I’m a Martian” bit was about feeling alien after being born in a concentration camp: a place of death. I think he’s eccentric and has a certain way of saying things, but that’s what makes him, as Ted said, “lightning in a bottle.” But, yes, there’s definitely something deeper and more disordered happening, be it schizo or whatever else. I’m really loving his character.

      It was so good to see Joanie off-kilter for a bit. I feel like it was a huge step for her character in a lot of ways, and also for her relationship with Peggy. That fight felt so cathartic! I think they could be a dynamite team, if Joan learned the accounts ropes. They could take SC&P, or their own agency, by storm!

      …And now “Sisters Are Doin’ it for Themselves” is playing in my head.

    • Sorena

      I’m surprised so many seem to assume Peggy knows about Joan and Jaguar. Peggy quit the day Joan got promoted, and only heard about the promotion from Don just as she was leaving. And there’s no indication Stan knew about it, right? Or have I missed something?

      Anyway, more to the point, that scene was all about women speaking unwitting truth while getting the actual facts wrong. Peggy’s line about how she worked for her success was meant to castigate Joan for cheating with the Avon meeting, but Joan received it as a barb about Jaguar (which Peggy didn’t intend, but which is what really stung). Then Joan intended to sting Peggy about Don, but actually reinforced Peggy’s position because she didn’t actually sleep with Don. However, a second later, Joan makes a throwaway comment about “better than being screwed by Pete Campbell,” and THAT’s the remark that stings Peggy and makes her actually feel residual guilt.

      It was a nicely constructed exchange, I thought, but it relies on the audience knowing truths about both women that they don’t know about each other.

      • DeniseSchipani

        I had the exact same reaction to that showdown/throwdown. Pegs and Joan were trading barbs that had more to do with how each of them felt or what they understood about the other, and the zings were landing in places they didn’t intend. Meanwhile we (those of us who know the history) saw it all happening and realized what they DIDN’T see. Which is awesome writing.

      • Mike R

        Hello, office gossip? How would Peggy NOT have heard something, even if it was thirdhand and not totally accurate.

        • Chris

          Joan and Roger had a full blown affair for years, some of which went on while Peggy worked there but it seems it took Stan to bring it to Peggy’s attention. Even then she didn’t seem to believe him. It’s possible Peggy didn’t know unless someone like Stan heard and told her.

          • Alice Teeple

            I’m thinking Stan probably gossiped that bit to her as well. Peggy knew enough of office politics when she was in the secretarial pool, so I’m sure that floated around the office and she probably would have noticed things. It sounded like a subject they’d talked about before.

        • CatherineRhodes

          I completely agree. Something as momentous as Joan becoming partner would invite speculation. “Can you believe Joan made partner?” whisper, whisper “But you know what I heard….”

      • Laura Curtis

        Brilliant breakdown of that exchange, thank you.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        Ken Cosgrove knew that the Jaguar salesman asked for a night with Joan to secure his support. The day they landed the Jaguar account, Joan was made partner. From there, it was just a matter of time before it became general knowledge. How else do you think Harry knew about it?

        • Sorena

          Maybe. Probably how Harry knew, yeah, or he put it together himself with his jealous watcher’s eye. But not only did Peggy leave the day she found out and didn’t have time to stop and ponder; she also broke the pact with Ken, right? (I always wondered the repercussions of that, and we haven’t seen any real interactions between them since.) And Ken never comes across as a likely gossip. Also, the generation that knows about it is also largely the generation that has secret-keeping much more ingrained in their everyday practices.

          Peggy might assume Joan made partner because of her affair with Roger, too, which she and Stan were (finally) gossiping about earlier in the season. But the fact that no one knew for sure about that after a decade is a) a testament to secret-keeping and b) another perennial example of us-the-audience understanding what’s going on when few in the scene actually do.

          It could go either way but I don’t think it’s a given.

          • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

            I think if Harry and Ken both know, then it wound up hitting Peggy’s ear at some point. She and Stan stayed close, after all.

      • greenwich_matron

        The Jaguar salesman had no incentive to keep it quiet, and after Don fired him, he had an opportunity to tell everyone else in the business.

        • CatherineRhodes

          The Jaguar salesman was married (remember Peaches and Herb?) so probably wouldn’t brag too publicly about his tryst with Joan. Beyond that, he engaged in bribery, certainly an unethical business practice he would be unlikely to publicize.

          • greenwich_matron

            Given the prostitutes routinely used in their business, I don’t think having sex with the head of secretarial would be considered that unethical. He also struck me as the kiss and tell type, despite the fact that he had a wife shuttered up in Jersey. He’s pissed at Don and Joan rejected him, so I would bet he would manage to bring it up in many conversations.

    • CatherineRhodes

      There have been a lot of comments regarding Ginsberg’s mental state, so I thought I’d add my .02.

      There is a difference between crazy-seeming behavior and true mental illness.
      Some posters have noted that in office full of “lawnmower” incidents, is Ginsberg really that bizarre? Sure, there is behavior that is reckless, inappropriate and boorish — and then there is mental illness. They are not the same. Ginsberg isn’t odd because he shot up speed in the office, he’s odd because he’s sick.

      Mental illness is not a yes-no diagnosis.
      While some conditions in life are “yes or no” (eg: you’re either pregnant or you’re not), mental illness is different. It operates on a continuum — You might be a little sick or somewhat sick or very sick. Some posters have noted that if Ginsberg were mentally ill, he would not be functional, but it’s just not that cut and dried. He could have a minor or emergent case of a serious illness, even if he does not present all the symptoms right now.

      • Perditax

        I guess an office full of ‘lawnmower’ incidents is the perfect place to go undiagnosed and the worst place to get any help!

      • Mary Nease

        Exactly. Mental illness doesn’t have to equate to full-blown crazy. Because it’s still a misunderstood and somewhat taboo topic, most people don’t seem to realize that a large portion of the population suffers from some form of mental illness. I happen to be bipolar manic depressive, but I’m hardly a psychopath. At my worst, I am completely apathetic, somewhat suicidal, and getting out of bed is a major accomplishment. At my best, I am a euphoric and extremely productive member of society. Not unlike Ginsburg at his best, to be honest.

    • Chris

      I just wanted to toss this out because it hasn’t been discussed here yet, probably because Don and Megan have become the most boring part of the show. What a sad commentary on their marriage it was when Don tries to convince her to go back to Disneyland with him and she “jokingly” replies she made the worst decision of her life there, Don later “jokes” “I hate actresses.” I don’t think either one of them was kidding. What a change from when Megan was going on and on about taking time off to have a vacation with Don. The one person trying in that marriage has finally given up.

    • buddy100

      Just a nitpicky mental health note from a psychologist…Ginsberg does not meet the criteria for schizophrenia, as he is able to maintain relatively normal and stable function most of the time. A schizophrenic would not be able to demonstrate the organization of thought and affect that he does.

      He does, however, meet some criteria for schizoaffective disorder, which is often diagnosed possible precursor to full-blown schizophrenia, or schizotypal personality disorder. Based on his age and level of functioning, I believe he *could* be diagnosed with the former. Schizotypal people are known as “eccentric” and often exhibit some signs of schizophrenia, such as odd delusional thinking and social anxiety. However, the difference is that it’s a matter of personality style and personal preference, as opposed to a very serious mental illness with a strong neurochemistry basis.

      Some people are just weird with weird ideas and there’s nothing necessarily deeply pathological about that. The reason why I make this distinction is because schizophrenia is not well or widely understood in modern society, let alone the 1960s. I really hope that this doesn’t end in Ginsberg being dragged out of the room to one of the death pins they called mental institutions.

    • desertwind

      I’ll be curious to see how California is shown in 1969. I’m Sally’s age and lived on the East Coast. My bedroom walls & furniture were painted yellow with those big psychedelic daisy stickers plastered on. Also that neon Endless Summer poster. Wore Hang Ten tee shirts.

      The Manson Family murders scared me out of my California dreamin’ for years.

      Maybe a change in view of California is what Megan’s Sharon Tate red star tee shirt is fore-shadowing.

      ETA a day later: Hmmmm. just read something that reminded me MW always says that a big arc in MM is the shift from NYC to Los Angeles… I guess that sorta blows my theory of the tee shirt outta the water.

    • desertwind

      Also re The End of the Sixties, After MM final finale next season, I recommend watching “Withnail & I,” which takes place in London late Fall of 1969. It’s hilarious and sad and a great film.

    • Nolakai

      Ginsberg’s “I am become death, destroyer of worlds” is not a sign that he’s going crazy. He’s quoting the Bhagavad-Gita, or rather most likely quoting Robert Oppenheimer quoting the Gita in a TV documentary about the decision to drop the atomic bomb that aired in the mid-60s. He’s feeling culpable for the war because he’s an essential part of the capitalist machine that he sees is driving it. That doesn’t mean he’s crazy; it means he has woken up to his own role in the whole mess.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        We never said the quote from the Bagavad-Gita was a sign that Ginsberg is going crazy.

        This quote, however, is:

        “I can’t turn off the transmissions to do harm; they’re beaming them right into my head.”

        Why do people keep ignoring that he said that?

        • Nolakai

          Because that also doesn’t sound crazy to some of us. There is an endless beat of pro-war, pro-violence rhetoric and images now just as there were then. He is coming to understand his own culpability in the “military-industrial complex” and he doesn’t like it. Sure, I might be wrong and he really is “going crazy.” But honestly, there is no evidence yet in my opinion. He’s freaked out because he’s of draft age and 200 men are being brought home in body bags every week. I’d be freaked out too.

          • Alice Teeple

            I think the “can’t turn off the transmissions to do harm” part is the really worrying part for Ginsberg’s sanity. He’s sitting on the floor hiding from Stan and Bob under a desk, rocking back and forth, just before he comes out with that. Stan was worried enough about his condition to call in someone else to talk him down, and to be discreet about it. I don’t think this is an example of adorable Woody Allen neurosis. He needs some meds!

            • Eskimoe

              Stan had to call in somebody because they were supposed to leave for a meeting and he’d been excusing himself from every scene of conflict through the whole episode.

            • Alice Teeple

              I don’t blame him for jetting! Who would want to be associated with someone who flies off the handle constantly? Especially if you’re stuck in a room with him all day. Who’s to say Ginsberg hasn’t flipped out at Stan, too? They all react like this is a regular occurrence.

            • Eskimoe

              Watch “Wild Man Blues” about Woody Allen behind the scenes on a tour, his neurosis is far from adorable when it isn’t being played for laughs.

          • Chris

            Just because Ginsberg’s point is reasonable about the war doesn’t mean he is reacting to it in a healthy way. There has been a very gradual build up with Ginsberg, and the audience was so conditioned to think of him as odd and socially awkward many people dismissed his outbursts before as just “quirky.” This episode finally came out and showed what a lot of people have been speculating. Nothing written on Mad Men is by accident. By deliberately choosing for Michael to say “I can’t turn off the transmissions to do harm, they’re beaming them right into my head” the writers selected practically a stereotype of a type of mental illness. Coupled with Ginsberg’s behavior and total breakdown huddled on the floor (so bad Stan had to barricade creative so others wouldn’t see it) I don’t see how anyone can say this isn’t mental illness. I think it’s also very significant Ginsberg always makes a point of saying he never drinks or smokes pot. This isn’t chemically induced behavior this is 100% Ginsberg.

          • SFree

            Seems like Ginsberg is showing a reasonable reaction to what’s going on, but since no one is really hearing him, it is pushing him further to the edge he was already hovering on. From our vantage point decades later, it seems quite reasonable to shout about the war and corporate culture. But in 1968, that was not the case. I agree that this might be a little closer to home – the draft was a very real fear for a single guy like him. And he is a child of Jewish WWII immigrants, so he has even more to be anxious about. I feel his frustration – surrounded by people who are clueless about him, a father who will worry, and no apparent contacts with anyone outside work. More and more isolated. Poor guy!!

          • Eskimoe

            In going through old posts looking for a pic of one of Peggy’s dresses, I realized that Ginsberg’s last divergent moment, about Mars, was in “Far Away Places” which was also filled with characters on both literal and metaphorical journeys, and rife with delirium across the board. What else was going on in that episode: drugs (check) Don and Megan separated by a trip with reference to California/Disneyland (check); Roger getting punched in the wallet/ nuts over his breakup with Jane (check), Peggy having difficulties with being a woman in a “man’s” job (check); references to death and psychology (the Tibetan Book of the Dead/ Don’s near-death experience) (check). There, Ginsberg’s monologue is prompted by Peggy having met his extremely working-class, Jewish father (to Ginsberg’s dismay) and asking questions about his background. I felt immensely sympathetic to Ginsberg and his oddness in that scene, and clearly so did Peggy, because it made her reach out to the other jew in her life, Abe, after they’d had a serious fight. Now Abe is out of the picture, but not before he started to look like a completely different person and ramped his political rhetoric up to an extreme degree – while Peggy is alone and more Peggy than ever. I’d argue that every situation from that episode was revisited and heightened here: Don and Megan aren’t even on the same trip anymore, they’re an entire continent instead of only a state apart. And so Ginsberg, whatever you think the issue is, has also been brought to a crisis point.

        • mhleta

          I found that whole mini-monologue of his to be completely alarming. He referred to himself as a “thug” too. I got the idea he was afraid of his own impulses.

    • maiaexpat

      this is, gloriously and by far, the best –the very best– MM recap I’ve read: all season and every season and EVER!!!! i’m now officially reading these recaps first and before anything else and might actually stop reading any of the other ones! Way to go, this was fantastic!

    • Graig Fravel

      You mention Joan’s description of her job as, “depressing.” However, if you go back to season three, when Lane basically tells Pete he’s choosing Ken over him, he says that Ken has the unique gift of making the client feel as if they haven’t any needs. That, to me, sounds a lot like Joan’s description of, “thinking of things before people know they need them.” In my mind, it makes her the perfect account person.

      • Chris

        I agree that Joan could be a great accounts person once she “learns the ropes” and it’s clear Peggy does too as she tells Joan flat out that she really thinks she can do it. The big difference is Joan wasn’t referring to clients. She was talking about taking care of the people in the firm which is administrative and support work. If Joan had said “Thinking of things before the clients know they need them” well then that sounds like an accounts person.

    • Stratos Bacalis

      Funny you seem to miss one important part of the episode: Meghan, the real one in NY, not the one Don imagines in LA, all alone and scared, in dark, ominous surroundings. This, combined with the Sharon Tate connection (red-star t-shirt) in the previous episode, does not bode well for her.

    • alex

      Don’t know quite how to put this because I was not looking for anything…but something struck me. I fully admit I could be off-kilter, but… in the scene at the foot of the staircase in the SDCPCGC agency—when Joan and Peggy inform Ted and Pete about the possibility of acquiring Avon— the battle between agencies/partners begins, and Pete leaves up the stairs in a huff. As the camera panned to him marching defiantly up the stairs (the famous stairs where he also took a tumble) I noticed a faint swagger in his hips, from stair to stair. As I said, I certainly was not looking for anything, but I did watch the theatrics of his storming away from the scene. In the next shot, we see Joan also full of frustration— to which she also leaves the scene— swaying her hips (characteristically) from side to side. Am I seeing things?? I am not trying to fabricate anything!

    • desertwind

      Just thought of something and can’t recall which season or episode it was in, but it would’ve been before Ginsberg told Peggy about his birth and adoption, I think.

      Peggy gets off elevator. Through the glass you can seen Ginsberg with his father and Ginsberg appears embarrassed about the blending of his two worlds. When Peggy enters reception and says hello, Dad expects to be introduced to her, but Ginsberg wants to hustle him out of there. Dad says he’s just there to Xerox his “case.”

      I wonder what the case is and if it will ever become part of Ginsberg’s story-line.

      • Eskimoe

        I just posted about this downthread – it’s in “Far Away Places” the Acid Trip/ Howard Johnson’s epsiode, which this episode echoes in just about every way. I’m pretty sure that the case Ginsberg’s father is making has to do with reparations from the Holocaust, since it was mentioned in such close proximity to Ginsberg saying he was born in a concentration camp.

    • Silveryellowshoenail

      Call me crazy, but I think all of this Sharon Tate business is alluding to Megan getting pregnant alright. However it’s her soap opera characters that will get killed off, not her!
      And isn’t that what Don has wanted all season?

      • supernintentochalmers

        I love this theory! I want Megan to have a career but it’s an interesting plotline to have her fired – maybe for being pregnant?

      • Glammie

        Yeah, I was watching an older episode where you first see Arlene and she says something to an actor about being able to have him killed off. So, I think Megan’s character will killed after her latest rejection of Arlene. A Megan without a job is a Megan who has time to get into trouble in other ways.

    • mhleta

      1) I found the dialoge at the very beginning with Megan sitting on Don’s lap to be completely chilling. They were cuddling and smooching all the while saying awful things to each other in a tone that suggested they were teasing each other, but with words that are probably closer to the truth than any they’ve spoken. “Well go back to Disneyland,” Don says. “From what I recall, something really amazing happened there.” And Megan says, “Yes, that’s where I made the worst mistake of my life.” Don chuckles about it, but it’s TRUE! Then Megan says something like, “I don’t want you hanging around all those actresses.” And Don says,”I hate actresses.” Also true. He would never have fallen for Megan if she were a mere actress. Their passive aggressive banter is, in reality, fairly brutal.

    • mhleta

      2) The other thing I find ominous is Ginsberg’s mental illness coupled with his quote, “Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds,” words that were uttered by Oppenheimer after successful testing of his nuclear bomb. I’m concerned that Ginsberg may the one who comes unhinged and murders Megan. Unless…what ever happened to that rifle Pete traded in the chip and dip for back in Season 1? Chekov said, if you present a rifle in act 1, it had better go off by act 3. (Unless I’m mistaken, Pete’s rifle still hasn’t gone off, right?)

    • mhleta

      3) The third idea I’ve been wondering about has to do with the real Don Draper already being really dead but falsely alive, and the real Dick Whitman being falsely dead but really alive. I keep going back to this idea of identity, binary relationships, light and dark, true and false. This episode of Tale of Two Cities dealt largely with binary relationships. Don and Roger, Peggy and Joan, Bob and Ginsberg. Don is also essentially in a binary relationship with himself, the Dick Whitman he symbolically murdered by becoming Don Draper. Consider the previous episode and the discussion of butter (the real thing) and margarine (the imitation of butter, the fraudulent butter, if you will.) Consider Jim Cutler’s threat to split the body of SDP & Partners in half, but not quite in half. Everything that happens in this show is cast through the cracked lens of Don/Dick’s relationship with his other self. I don’t think it will be the case, but sometimes I wonder if this whole thing will end up being one big hallucination of the head-injured Dick Whitman. Think of the film “Jacob’s Ladder” or the book “Johnny Got His Gun.” I don’t have the time to work this idea to completion, but I’m wondering if anyone wants to kick this idea a little further down the road.

    • Rebekah

      Just a point that I’m not sure everyone picked up on… the Dead Dream-Soldier was the guy from Hawaii that Don met at the bar (and then attended his wedding). His nameplate read “Dinkins”. Also, he appeared as the arm lighting Don’s cigarette– significant because of the mix up of their lighters that Don doesn’t realize until he’s back home.

    • greenwich_matron

      I really thought it was the low point in writing. I find it interesting that so many people are arguing about what fictional flavor of crazy Ginsburg is when supposedly sane men gave up 5% of their personal wealth for a woman to have sex with someone else.