I thought you didn’t go in for those kinds of shenanigans.
Quote of the week right there. Why? Because it was a great scene, a sweet quote, a lovely knowing moment from Peggy Olson, beautifully played by Elisabeth Moss, and because it was absolutely about the episode.
Don’s ad in the New York Times was stunningly modern. I don’t know how historically accurate or inaccurate that sort of thing might be, but even if someone made that sort of move in 1965, it was an exception. It was simply not how people did business. In fact, it was the sort of thing I remember being kind of new and surprising in the mid or late 1980s.
The 1980s was, actually, when I remember a lot of things changing. I was a little bitty kid in the 1960s, and I do know the world changed then (duh). But I was a young adult in the ’80s, and I remember a different kind of shift, and I specifically remember a shift in advertising. Things became more abstract. American Express had these full page magazine and newspaper ads that were about integrity and hope and stuff like that, and didn’t mention the product at all. I suppose you could call it a kind of blurring of advertising and publicity. (Despite the fact that I’ve been writing about this show for more than three years, I’m not an expert on advertising and I don’t work in the industry. Yet that particular shift was very noticeable to me as a plain ol’ consumer.)
Don Draper, hat in hand, was ahead of his time. Far ahead. So far ahead that no one got it. I have to say that when the partners were all furious and outraged, I was more surprised even than Don was. I was anticipating applause. It was so clearly a brilliant move…to me. In the 21st century. In a world saturated by ad campaigns based on being bold, startling, and reversing expectations. SCDP doesn’t live in that world.
Peggy got it, and Don genuinely needed someone to understand what he was doing. The phone was already ringing, and not just with prank calls and pro bono. Yet the partners didn’t hear it, not even Lane, to whom Don reached out. Without Peggy’s understanding, Don would have been devastated. But then, he knew she’d understand.
Because there are people out there who buy things, people like you and me. And something happened. Something terrible. And the way that they saw themselves is gone. And nobody understands that. But you do. And that’s very valuable.
Peggy sees the world in the new way, and Don understands that value. Now Peggy knows that Don sees the world in a new way, too. A way that includes, yes, shenanigans, but that also includes making a bold statement, putting it out there, and letting people come to you because they want some of that boldness.
I have a lot of things I want to write about this week, all while planning a finale party (okay, Roberta does most of the planning), but here are some quick show notes that I don’t think are really going to fit in anywhere else.
- Sorry, John Slattery, you are well loved here, but your cuts were choppy and odd. There were cuts in the first conference room scene, with Atherton, that looked like inserts added later, and when I stop to think that, you’re not doing your job.
- Lane has just moved his family back. Does that mean goodbye, Bunny?
- I don’t normally notice the fashion symbolism all that much, but even I picked up on Peggy in funereal black, waiting for the death knell.
- Matt has always talked about curiosity as as one of Don’s defining traits, and here we see it again. As disgusted as he is by what’s become of Midge, he still pauses to ask what heroin is like. Pure Don Draper.