Mad Men's 10 Most Shocking Moments

 Posted by on July 17, 2009 at 11:30 am  Season 1, Season 2, Season 3
Jul 172009
 

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  49 Responses to “Mad Men's 10 Most Shocking Moments”

  1. Oh wow! I can't wait for season 3!!

    I feel so excited…

    I keep looking at the building behind the cast members…the clothes, the hairstyles. What's different? What's the same?

    Can Not Wait !!!

  2. Roberta: I am like unto a Goddess.

    Scott: Thank you!!

  3. I'm a moron, actually…I read Roberta's comment as a response to me, instead of her lavishing praise on your mad webmastering skillz…but, you're welcome!

  4. Scott, it's an ongoing thing between me and Roberta. I'm by far the high-tech person on the blog — but only relative to my sister. I set up the site, installed the plug-ins, worked on tweaking with the designer; all of that. The one thing I've never been able to get right is embedding.

    Whereas Roberta, Helplessly Low-Tech Since 1965â„¢, is Queen of Embedment and embeds all the videos.

    Until today. Ha!

  5. I agree with Scott – I loved every minute of this – but the three scenes he named were much more shocking than some of the ones included in this.

    It did look like the actors might have been wearing their costumes from Season 3… so we did get a little sneak preview… I don't think January's dress is one we've seen before…

  6. I read this yesterday, and I was thrilled to see the cast in costume for season 3! It definitely looks like 1963, and Peggy's gone Technicolor! Yet the most shocking thing to me was that Joan's rape wasn't included in the top 10!

  7. Oh, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Betty's dress and necklace and Joan's gorgeous gown (where will she be wearing that?!

  8. This was a very entertaining piece, with a lot of great moments, although I would take issue with some of them being the most “shocking”. I would say that Joan being raped by her fiancee on the floor of Don’s office, or Betty calling Don and telling him not to come home, or Betty having sex with a stranger in a bar bathroom…all of these and more are more “shocking” than Roger throwing up or Sally putting a dry-cleaning bag over her head.

    Still, it was a nice little retrospective, and just amps up the excitement about season 3!

  9. I like the season 3 looks, Joan looks like the most 60's with her matching eye shadow.

  10. Gave you guys a credit, though…plus I have you on my blog roll as “Best Mad Men Blog”. :-)

  11. I noticed that about Peggy, too. She is looking more and more sophisticated every season. I thought the Joan’s dress was lovely on her and her makeup seemed lighter and fresher looking.

    My parents still have some of those glasses that Sally used in the drink mixing scene, they got them as a wedding gift in 1959.

  12. I loved the costumes and sets they showed. Don in brown was a nice change. Peggy looked very nice–her makeup was so grownup. Betty and Joan were just as beautiful as ever. They just make the era look so wonderful.

  13. I think that they might have left out Joan's rape just in case a newbie was watching this countdown and they didn't want to reveal it?

  14. Street corner? What are they doing on a street corner?

    Looked like Don's tie was purple – all the guys had more color in their ties.

    I will be spending the next month inventing a time machine to take me to Aug 16th just a little quicker.

  15. And personally I couldn't care less what they put in the top 10 … it was just great to hear Mr. Weiner talk about his baby.

  16. #16…maybe they were just on set somewhere on the street (NYC? LA?)…maybe the street wasn’t incorporated in the season/episode.

    The actors looked like they were on a break from shooting and were set aside for interviews.

  17. "OMG shocking! The show is so shocking! Hey guys, did we mention that the show is shocking?!" is a strange way to sell the show because it makes it sound like they care more about shock value than storytelling.

    Anyway, I love love Betty's hair and dress and Joan's eyeshadow.

  18. [...] AMC has compiled a 22-minute video list of Mad Men’s “10 Most Shocking Moments,” featuring commentary by cast members. It’s surprisingly great! There are tons of spoilers, but for those who have seen the show and want to confirm their hunch about No. 1, or for MM holdouts who need some background before watching next month’s third season, it’s the best 22 minutes you can spend watching video today. [AMC via Basket of Kisses] [...]

  19. I agree they could have made a few better choices – including the rape of Joan. They could have lost Freddy Rumson wetting himself, for instance. Although that was one of the most tragic moments of the show, it was hardly shocking. We all knew he was an alcoholic long before that.

    It was interesting, though, how many of the moments are shocking more because of the difference in attitudes today than in the 60s – Sal’s proposition, the general treatment of children (and isn’t it cute that the actors have the same sick appreciation for Sally Draper’s bartending skills that we do?), Don’s cavalier adultery, Roger and the twins, even Freddy’s drinking. In the behavior of the time, those were all expected, if not encouraged, actions. Sal, for instance, would have received encouragement from many in the medical profession for resisting his “urges” and settling down with a good woman – but we can all see the damage it is doing to him and to his wife.

    I am so glad they included Betty shooting the birds. The clips don’t really demonstrate how shocking that was – it completely came out of left field for Don’s little Birdy, and was the moment I fell in love with the character.

    Can’t wait for the new season!

  20. I dunno — up until that point, Freddy was the funny drunk. It was notable for being one of a few moments in season 2 where a point was made that drinking had repercussions. Don’s accident, Carla being unwilling to be driven home by Don, Freddy pissing himself…

    I will say that anybody watching that clip would think half the show involves people vomiting or pissing.

  21. Well, Ms. D., vomiting, pissing one’s pants, and an unintended pregnancy seem to happen every season. At least so far, we’re two for two in all these.

  22. Speaking of season 3, there's a cool not-so spoilery pic in the new EW. Nothing is going on but my mind is racing for reasons that will be obvious when you see it.

  23. JS:

    Is it online?

  24. I think Freddy pissing himself was deeply shocking, because we did not anticipate ever seeing something so graphic and tragic.

  25. I second that, Deborah.

  26. I would agree that Joan's rape was more shocking than any of those things. But it's also the most disturbing scene in the entire history of the show. It's not likely the sort of thing the cast or Weiner would have been comfortable making flippant remarks about, and if they did someone would have given them what-for about it.

    I know we're not doing season 3 predictions yet, but I'm thinking they HAVE to kill off Dr. Rape. Joan is much too proud to dump him or tell anyone what happened, he's certainly not going to dump her when he has her under his thumb where he wants her, and she just can't be married to him. She'd turn into a punching bag, and that would be way too depressing. They have to bump him off somehow, either before or shortly after their wedding.

    Also, it never occurred to me that Sal would have had no actual experience with other men (or boys, when he was younger) ever. But I suppose it's possible, if he's not even allowing himself to think about it.

  27. I think Peggy showing up at the police station, and Betty's father mistaking her for her mother should have been on the list.

  28. Probably not so shocking, but I was surprised after believing that Peggy had probably given her son to her sister to learn in the flashback to St. Mary's Hospital that her sister was very pregnant after Peggy's being institutionilized.

  29. It was interesting to note that most of the shockers came from Season 1 and not from Season 2. Why?

    They should have had Joan's rape, for sure. My personal "big shocker" of Season 2, besides that, was Don's visit to Peggy in the hospital.

    Incidentally, re the plastic bag, I'm roughly Sally's age, and I did the "plastic bag over the head to pretend I'm a spaceman" thing. My mom didn't like it much…but I'm still here.

  30. Now that I think about it, the #1 truly shocking moment for me was the Don and Betty pushing incident. I literally held my breath, thinking "Oh shit, it's about to pop off!" I guess we can't have our main character smacking his wife around, but I genuinely wasn't sure if Weiner was going to go there.

  31. Now that I think about it, the #1 truly shocking moment for me was the Don and Betty pushing incident. I literally held my breath, thinking “Oh shit, it’s about to pop off!” I guess we can’t have our main character smacking his wife around, but I genuinely wasn’t sure if Weiner was going to go there.

    I had totally forgotten about how shocking that was – even as far as the show was willing to go. That moment was such a turning point for the marriage, and then to end it with that sweet moment between Bobby and Don – sigh.

    But that willingness to go where other shows won't – to constantly surprise the audience with the direction of the show and its characters, while at the same time being totally true to time, place and character personalities, is such a hallmark of MM. I was glad to see the actors and Matt Weiner pointing that out during the clips; I think that is a far more important characteristic of the show than it's "shocking!" moments.

  32. Joan's rape: by far the most shocking moment in the series so far. It was the only moment that made me ask myself if I wanted to keep watching. Before that, and since: never a question. But then …

    Other shocking moments:

    1) "Aren't you going to say good night?" (Peggy and what may or may not be her nephew)
    2) The end of the Draper picnic scene, with the beer can and Betty tossing the trash off the blanket and leaving it there
    3) "Is he bothering you?" Scene 1, Episode 1, Season 1: Don and the man in the bar, approached by a white employee of higher rank. That shocked me — and told me exactly where we were
    4) Yes: Peggy at the police station
    5) Betty vs. chair

  33. I found Betty's vomiting more shocking than Roger's. Although in retrospect I should have been expecting it since they made such a big deal about keeping the car clean.

  34. Joan's rape is by far the number 1 most shocking moment on this show.

    Another thing I found, well, surprising, maybe not shocking, was Don's complete implosion when Rachel called him out over drinks in the very first episode. Up until then, we'd seen him as this cool, unflappable, roll-with-the-punches kind of guy, who could quickly switch gears if and when he needed. But in less than a page of dialog, he completely lost his s**t when a woman looked at him — I mean, really saw him — for a brief moment in a bar. That was my first OMG!! moment of the show.

    Bobbie Barrett was shocking every time she was on screen. One of my favorite bits of hers was when she and Don were in his car and she just shoved her nose into his face.

    Other moments include Peggy at the police station, Betty and Helen at the grocery store, Betty and Glen in the bathroom, Betty and Glen in the parking lot, Betty with the pigeons, Betty with the chair, Pete with the rifle (pointing at people in the office, then clasping it in his lap at home and at the office), Pete showing up for the American Airlines meeting, and Ken chasing Allison through the office, then tackling her in front of everyone so he could see her underwear.

    On initial viewing, Don's post-coital confession to Rachel was pretty shocking. Not necessarily the confession itself — we'd already seen glimpses of his childhood to know about his upbringing — but that he chose that woman in that moment to divulge everything was pretty amazing to me. Now that we're aware of all this other stuff, that scene doesn't mean so much any more, but when I first saw it, my reaction was WHAT?!?!!

  35. And oh, yeah, Don and Betty shoving each other. That still astonishes me — even after seeing that episode three or four times. You NEVER see stuff like that on TV. The threat of physical violence is sometimes implied during domestic disputes, but I don't ever remember seeing a show's *protagonist* actually lay hands on his spouse in the midst of an argument. You see bad guys do it, they may hint that creepy neighbors like Carlton do it, but NOT the main character of the show…

    Oh, wait. There were scenes from I Love Lucy where Ricky actually spanked Lucy. But that's how rare something like that is. As long as Lucy has been on TV, I don't think those particular scenes have aired in 30 or 40 years.

  36. There are three or four episodes in which Ricky spanks Lucy. One time, he literally played Babalu on her ass. For the most part it was both fake-y looking and played for comedy with, of course, the subtext of it being his right.

    There was also an eppie where the Mertz's think he's beating her and — since there were no Very Special Episodes of I Love Lucy — was played as funny.

  37. Oh, right, Ms. D. But do they even air those scenes any more? I think they've been edited so you never actually see the hand coming down. She's over his knee, and the hand is raised, but then the scene fades to black or something. Like you, I remember seeing the complete scenes, but I think the show got a lot of criticism about it in the 80s, so they chopped them.

  38. Hmmm, I don't know. They're available on YouTube.

    In season 1, I thought Pete and Peggy could have an interesting BDSM relationship — but now I'm not sure which one would be the top and which one would be the bottom. ;)

    Peggy was clearly aroused during Pete's hunting story in season 1 — I wonder if it would have had that effect in season 2. I know her romantic feelings had waned, but would it work for her on a fantasy level — or had she moved beyond that?

  39. The threat of physical violence is sometimes implied during domestic disputes, but I don’t ever remember seeing a show’s *protagonist* actually lay hands on his spouse in the midst of an argument. You see bad guys do it, they may hint that creepy neighbors like Carlton do it, but NOT the main character of the show…
    Right. I was watching The Sopranos over the weekend, and thinking about that show in relation to this post. Tony punched the wall right next to Carmela's head during their fight in "Whitecaps", but I don't think even he would hit his, wife as morally ambiguous a character as he is.

    I guess it says something for our culture that physical violence against women has become an unpardonable sin pop culture-wise. The only instance I can recall of a protagonist hitting a woman in anger was Bud hitting Lynn in L.A. Confidential, but that took place in the 1940s, and unfortunately prostitutes (even high class ones) aren't allowed the same indignation as regular women when they meet with violence since the culture already views them as "fallen women".

  40. *I guess it says something for our culture that physical violence against women has become an unpardonable sin pop culture-wise. The only instance I can recall of a protagonist hitting a woman in anger was Bud hitting Lynn in L.A. Confidential, but that took place in the 1940s, and unfortunately prostitutes (even high class ones) aren’t allowed the same indignation as regular women when they meet with violence since the culture already views them as “fallen women”.

    Well, L.A. Confidential is a movie; movies don't have the same constraints as television programs. They can show more, there's generally more leeway in terms of what we get to see and what we in the audience will accept from the characters — even with TV movies. Lifetime has made a fortune showing women in danger movies, and often the ones endangering the women are spouses or significant others. Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez, Uma Thurman, and a host of other big movies stars have done films about being in abusive relationships.

    But episodic television is different — even cable and premium channel shows, as well as soap operas, which are notorious for testing boundaries and stretching the limits of TV behavior, tend to shy away from the topic where the main characters are concerned.

    I think the shoving match was so shocking because the main characters were engaging in violence toward each other, but also because it's such a real emotional response in strained relationships like that.

  41. Oh, the hunting story scene! That was one of my all-time favorite moments.

    I think it's appealing to both Pete and Peggy because it IS fantasy. It's as far from their everyday personalities and roles in life as they can get.

  42. Lifetime has made a fortune showing women in danger movies, and often the ones endangering the women are spouses or significant others. Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez, Uma Thurman, and a host of other big movies stars have done films about being in abusive relationships.
    Right, but in those cases the abuser is portrayed as pure evil and our protagonist is the woman trying to get away or fighting back.

  43. Joan's rape left me sick to my stomach for days afterward. I'm stunned that it didn't even make the list.

  44. [...] 1963, as if it were Lost or something. Does Mad Men even lend itself to easy spoiling? Despite the marketing, our enjoyment of the show has always come from appreciating its subtleties and the overall shape [...]

  45. Not a comment about shocking moments. Love that part in the video when Jon Hamm talks about kids today needing to wear helmets in the bath. Hee!

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