Office parties

 Posted by on August 8, 2010 at 8:00 am  Characters, Season 1, Season 4
Aug 082010

Season 1, Episode 12: Peggy comes into the office, which is trashed following the election night party. She is disgusted, removed, and upset. She doesn’t fit in.

Nixon vs. Kennedy-Peggy arrives

Nixon vs. Kennedy-Peggy is disgusted
Nixon vs. Kennedy

Season 4, Episode 2: Peggy comes into the office, which is trashed following the Christmas party. She easily steps over the mess. She is at home, in command of her own space.

Christmas Comes But Once a Year - Peggy arrives

Christmas Comes But Once a Year - Peggy enters her office
Christmas Comes But Once a Year

Thanks to Tom and Lorenzo, who sent me the screen caps I was having trouble getting.


  17 Responses to “Office parties”

  1. without a doubt, she's more confident, but you've picked a bad example. or maybe a wrong choice of words. in this scene she isn't in command of her own space. her very own de-mystified Santa is sitting on her chair, at her desk, in her office, reading the paper. he says something like "it's the cleanest spot in the whole office." but it's not. Don's office is immaculate, but no-one would have ventured in there, certainly not Freddie.

    but he's not buying that whole "i was your student, not I am the Master" vibe that Peggy had put out the day before. i've gone into offices where i've sat in a superior's chair, and once they come back the protocol is to offer an apology and get up instantly – unless you outrank them or think you will. Freddie offers the apology, but doesn't get up. that forces Peggy to admit he still outranks her whne she submissively sits on the visitors couch. maybe it's because shestill feels the pangs of guilt over calling him old fashioned because, if i remember correctly, she offers him a more meaningful apology than her perfunctory one the day before.

    is she more in command in 1964? absolutely. but she's not Don. Don's confidence is such that he would'a stood over whomever was sitting in his chair and commanded them to move without having to say a word (although, interestingly, i don't think Dick would – maybe Peggy is Dick, with all that talent and intelligence yet all the sensitivity exposed and raw)

    we all know Peggy. she's the kid who's always getting picked on, yet is quite sure why. Dick Whitman also strikes me as a kid who was picked on, but he would'a know why. i can't imagine anyone ever picking on Don. Roger would be the one doing the picking, btw. Freddie, the one laughing, and Pete the one ratting everyone else out.

  2. I knew Peggy walking through the "after party" looked familiar…thanks for illustrating the parallel.

  3. Upon watching this episode again, I noticed that Freddie wasn't enjoying the homecoming as much as he thought. Like the old country song goes… "You ain't much fun since I quit drinkin'". I don't think he hangs around too long.

  4. This time, she probably knows she isn't going to have to be the one to clean up the mess!

  5. @DragonBreath, I was picking up the same vibe from Freddy…like he's trying to reassert his dominance in the relationship (which, I think, he successfully does).

    Peggy may be more confident of her position in the pecking order* and have her own office but she is still battling for dominion of her space and that pecking order spot.

    *As Melissa said in #4, she won't have to help clean up the mess anymore

    Oh! Oh! Oh! I just had a thought! Peggy had to symbolically clean up Freddy's mess when he wet himself and was let go. Now she is discovering that same mess in her office sitting in her chair!

  6. I think we'll know in a couple of episodes if Freddy will be staying or not. He did see to imply, if not actually say, that the Ponds account was SCDP's, even if he didn't remain on board – but he'd have to be the contact.

    Do we know why he left J Walter Thompson (and absconded with Ponds)? If he said, I missed it.

  7. that's "seeM' to imply – sigh – fat fingers

  8. Deb I had the exact same thought–the Freddy thing was a beat later, but this moment, her walk into this trashed, post-party office left her refreshingly unflustered.

  9. I've been wondering that, too, Floretta. Maybe the drinking culture at JWT was even harder to stay out of, and he thought Roger would understand why he couldn't drink anymore? I dunno.

  10. "She is at home, in command of her own space…."

    and with better hair and clothes, this time around. She really does look so much better – and even though I'm not loving her current 'do, the overall effect takes away the frumpiness that she had before and makes her look, to quote Kurt, "modern working woman."

    As for Freddy being in Peggy's chair, I just watched that scene again and can offer a few explanations:

    -he didn't move right away because they got into it (talking about what had happened before) and sometimes when you do that, it's easier to just stay where you are

    -he saw her come in but figured she was going to take off her hat, coat, get some coffee, etc., so he'd stay a few more minutes in "the cleanest spot"

    -he's subconsciously trying to feel more comfortable and at home in this office (working with many of his old bosses and co-workers). In Peggy's chair, he can do that, because he knows how kind and understanding she can be. (Remember her loyalty and discretion to him after the pants-wetting incident, in contrast to Pete Campbell's tattletale-ing.)

    -as JulieAnn suggested, maybe he is trying to re-assert dominance or show that he still has a few things to teach her.

    As for Don, there have been times where he had to give up to his chair – first to Conrad Hilton, and another time, to Bert Cooper. In both instances I got the feeling of "the early bird gets the worm" — Don was being punished for being late.

  11. the shout-out to the past with Peggy walking over the aftermath of the office party may have been that last time she wasn't a contributor to the festivities. she was very much on the outside looking in. this time she's on the inside (and still looking in).

    i can't remember which ep, but wasn't it Peggy who complained about her space violation and then felt bad when someone from the janitorial staff got the ax?

    MadChick @10 thanx for reminding me of the previous 'someone sitting in Don's chair' scenes. both of those times it represented a power shift in Don's life, didn't it? Hilton and Burt both demonstrating who was in charge, and Don feeling very powerless to stop them. Peggy on the other hand demonstrates a very feminine view of patriarchial hierarchy. she doesn't mind sitting in the submissive, if it advances her agenda, men on the other hand, will struggle with the whole "who's the Alpha here" thing.

    Peggy, however, isn't scared to get on the very top when she's sure of herself. witness that beautiful setup in ep1 this year when she is confidently sitting atop her desk (and OVER everyone else in the room) and shooting out her ideas, quite sure that they are, if not better, at least the equal to what anyone else will shoot out.

    that was so cool. THAT was the 1964 Peggy i'm so impressed with. that was her assuredness of her ideas and her position being displayed with a casualness and forthrightness that speaks volumes about her character.

  12. @DragonBreath: great observations. I made the same point about the Peggy/Dick parallels in an earlier post. Peggy is definitely a mirror character for Don. I think Weiner, et al., are giving us some insight into how Dick morphed into Don by showing us Peggy's transition from 1950s mousy secretary to the proto-feminist she's on the brink of becoming. Her secret past, her ambition, her brains & her insecurity, all are meant to mirror Don without beating us over the head. Peggy's journey is Weiner's way of letting us understand a little about how Don became Don without having to give us all the flashbacks that it would take. This is much more subtle & "literary."

  13. Peggy looked a little disgusted this time, but not enough to start picking up plates and glasses and clean it up herself. Now, there's someone else to do that.

    I was a little surprised that Joan, who had put the party together with such aplomb on such short notice, hadn't sent the cleaning crew in overnight to pick things up. But then we wouldn't have gotten those wonderful shots.

  14. Dragonbreath, in response to your question:

    "i can’t remember which ep, but wasn’t it Peggy who complained about her space violation and then felt bad when someone from the janitorial staff got the ax?"

    Yes, that was Peggy, and it was near the end of "Nixon vs. Kennedy." I watched it recently. The day after the party, Peggy noticed that her blouse and her "mad money"(five dollars) were missing. The drawer/locker where she kept those things in was flung open, so she asked the guys (Paul/Ken/Sal were all standing around), "Who did this?" Then she got mad and walked out saying she was going to call building security.

    Later on Don opens his office door to find Peggy sitting in there crying. He's pretty annoyed that she's in his office- – this is after Pete Campbell has been threatening him and IIRC it's also after he tried to persuade Rachel to run away with him to California. He's annoyed, but Peggy is upset about the employees that got unjustly accused and fired (she mentions that they weren't even working the day that the theft happened). She says that she doesn't know why she tries to do a good job and follow the rules, and people hate her, but other people, "who are not good," get to do what they want.

  15. Yep, these screen shots were taken moments before Peggy discovered her mad money & blouse were missing.

  16. @12 Steve D-I had never thought about Peggy's rise mirroring Don's, but I can see it. Roger would be the one who saw something in Don, the way Freddy saw something in Peggy.

  17. […] presence in their life? (Spoiler: Nope.) Peggy is particularly empowered this season (click here for a nice visual representation of her character’s progression, in terms of confidence), but […]

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