Spin Cycles

 Posted by on March 17, 2009 at 11:46 am  Characters, Season 2
Mar 172009

Okay, so this is pretty funny. I was doing my laundry the other day and I (ahem) found myself thinking about Betty in Indian Summer.

Indian Summer is an extraordinary episode for many reasons, only one being the thread in which both Betty and Peggy discover masturbation.

But what also was apparent was Betty becoming aware of the availability of an affair. The air conditioner salesman comes into her home, and she is affected. And you see it, in the fantasy that accompanies the spin cycle. She sees that this is not so far away. She sees, perhaps for the first time, or perhaps it is reawakened (from her earlier days) that she could just do this. That she is one touch away from diving in. And that, my friends, is a knowledge that leaves a woman all kinds of tingly, and terrifically empowering”when a fantasy is suddenly within reach.

Fast forward to Season Two, where Betty comes within flashlight’s reach of a very large mechanic. At this point we aren’t sure–does she even realize how close she’s coming? Does she fully understand this game she’s playing?

One telling moment was in Six Month Leave: It’s a switch you can flip on and off, you know. That line, to Sarah Beth about her attraction to Arthur, showed that Betty’s awareness to the dynamics at hand have been heightened. She’s now thrown Don out. And she’s been thinking about all of it, about how it works, about how these things start.

And so her fling in Meditations in an Emergency was not out of nowhere. It was not something she’d never considered. She got drunk, she may have allowed herself to not fully plan it in her mind, but she was ready and fully informed as to how these things worked.

Don Draper (about the Rejuvenator): From what I understand it provides the pleasure of a man–without the man.


  24 Responses to “Spin Cycles”

  1. That is one of my favorite quotes. I don't think I included it in the collection, but I love the way he says that.

  2. You did–that's where I pulled it from.

  3. I loved Betty's growing power in S2. The comment about throwing a switch: I took that as being about her sexual power. As Don's wife, she has a reflective (and repressive) role. Without him there, she can admit to things she had only thought about or toyed with before.

    The night at the roadside with the mechanic. The yellow swimsuit, and the anger (at least) it aroused in her husband. Even going as far back as that S1 night in the kitchen with Roger, there is something there that Betty can either use or pretend she isn't using at all. THAT is power.

    Her fling in Meditations In An Emergency is the moment when the tension and the opportunity meet the desperation of the last chance. Betty's pregnant now, still angry, still frustrated. She is as curious as she has ever been, if not more. She strikes, while the iron is red-hot.

    That's what makes the fling in the bar such a great scene. It isn't that scene itself: it's the year and a half of buildup that leads us to it. 🙂

    • That’s what makes the fling in the bar such a great scene. It isn’t that scene itself: it’s the year and a half of buildup that leads us to it.

      And yet, the scene itself. I mean really…

  4. Okay okay okay. But I like tension.

    It was great watching Betty get her freak on in a bar. I just loved wondering where the Betty Bomb was finally gonna go off …

  5. What I've noticed is that Betty definitely has a "type," and they all resemble Don — dark, mysterious, aloof, gorgeous. I wonder if either the tow truck driver or Arthur (or even Roger) had more closely resembled Don like the air conditioner salesman, Glenn Bishop, and the guy in the bar, would she have gone all the way with them?

  6. Glenn Bishop…dark, mysterious, aloof, gorgeous.

    Um, WTF?


  7. LOL, Tom.

  8. I kind of love that Betty had an affair with Captain Awesome…thank god she avoided Arthur, it would've been a downgrade.

  9. I love that we call Betty's bar fling Captain Awesome. I started watching Chuck after it, but it is so fitting.

    Okay, with what AnneB was saying about Betty's power in that she allures most, if not all men, some of that has been conditioned into submissiveness. She was a charming hostess in Red in the Face, but I don't think she expected Roger, to hit on her nor did she have a ready response. And Don was assy about it for days. Using that scene as start up, she really is in more control S2.

    <a> Dedicated to Betty (okay it is not entirely appropriate, but it is fun).

  10. Forget that last line. I tried to link to this

    which is kind of unrelated, but otherwise related and I like.

  11. OMG, portiaslegacy, that song is hilarious!

  12. Until I heard this song, I totally forgot that another word for vibrator in Spanish is "consolador", soother.

  13. Marly, really?

    That is wonderful. I am sooooo going to tell my (Spanish-speaking) husband.

    Or perhaps I will not. 🙂

  14. I always felt that the Betty-Washing Machine relationship was given short shrift.

  15. But the right gadgets!

  16. I was just think about Betty and Arthur, and I don't know if this is worthy of a whole post, but I find it an interesting parallel that he's engaged to Tara and "marrying up", kind of how Don was in relation to Betty. He tries to start up with Betty, but she rebuffs his advances and then he's later successful in wooing Sara Beth.
    For once Betty gets to experience the side of the other woman and I'm wondering how that colors her view of Don's cheating? She was quite upset with Sara Beth later, so on some level she must believe that it's up to the woman to keep her paws off of spoken for men (I'm so tempted to quote Nene from "Real Housewives of Atlanta" right now), but yet she wasn't totally averse to Arthur's attention.

  17. A snippet from an interview of Sarah Ruhl by Paula Vogel, to give context for the Rejuvenator:

    PV Do you want to talk about the new play?

    SR It’s about the history of the vibrator. This unique moment at the dawn of the age of electricity when doctors, who had actually been manually stimulating their patients to cure them of hysteria, could suddenly use the vibrator. So what had taken hours before, now took a matter of minutes. We’ll see.

    PV You must have read that book on the vibrator, The Technology of Orgasm.

    SR It was my inspiration. One physician quoted in the book argued that at least three-fourths of women had ailments that could be cured by the vibrator. Which is kind of stunning. The economy for vibrators, even then, was vast; I mean, it was a million-dollar enterprise.

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