Joan and…Lane?

 Posted by on March 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm  Characters, Mad Men, Season 5
Mar 232012

I was looking over the marvelous new cast pictures from Season 5, and I noticed that they were a little more Joan-centric than usual.  Not just the typical ‘stand there and look gorgeous’ shots that we’ve seen before, but several were hinting at plot developments.

For example. Joan and…Lane? We’ve seen them in a few scenes together, most memorably the scenes in when she flirtatiously asks for a raise and later  throws roses back  at him in The Good News and when she was ‘promoted’ in Tomorrowland. And we know that Lane appreciates Joan’s business skills and management, after all, they would have been lost without her in  Shut the Door, Have a Seat when they had to steal their files from Sterling Coo.  Joan knows who, what, where, and why  just about anything or one, and that’s a quality that I’m sure Lane admires.  At this point, I think Joan admires Lane, but mostly on a professional level.  But what got me curious about this possible connection between the two was this picture:

Look familiar? (Peggy & Pete in S2)We know that Joan does find some satisfaction in her work, but her personal life is not as fulfilling, the same is true for Lane.  They’ve both had sour romances and demanding partners.    I still love Roger and Joan together, but  who knows?  I just found that particular photo of Lane and Joan a bit unexpected. I think they have a mild love/hate relationship at this point.  There are fans out there who want a Joan/Lane romance (a Jane?) but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Then there’s Joan in her office/observation room. Is she on the outside looking in? It alludes to the S5 poster of Don looking at the mannequins, but this time it’s Joan divided from the SCDP team from the other side.  Her hand is near the speaker, can she turn them on or off at will?  Or is it a reference to her possible leaving SCDP?  I personally think that if Joan stays at SCDP after she has the baby, the writers would need an exceptionally reasonable explanation if she stays.This is still the 60’s, and a woman coming back to work after a baby was unheard of….unless Greg meets his maker, of course. But I digress.  I’ll be curious to see how they handle the Greg/Roger/Baby/Work situation.  Another possibility here is that, as Peggy glances toward Joan, these are two women who know how ad-men operate, and they know that the men may need them more now than ever, Peggy is becoming more self-sufficient, and Joan looks as is she wants more power too. They’ll be seeing the beginnings of feminism soon, and I think that their relationship may grow more into a partnership as the 60’s roll on.  

And finally, in the group shot, Joan is standing next to Roger AND Lane.  Is it March 25th yet?  Discuss.


  34 Responses to “Joan and…Lane?”

  1. Joan and LANE? nah- hes too dry for her . as in, so not juicy

    • Do we know that for a fact? People can surprise you…Lane has already shown that his passion for America is largely founded on the freedom to break out of reserved English constraints. There’s a difference between not being juicy, and simply RAISED to believe a gentleman doesn’t go looking for a squeeze…

      • Even though Joan didn’t see it, the scene between Lane and his father , when his father was so brutal to him, whipping him with that cane- even though I know it was part of the culture
        ( Eton and Harrow and all that public school abuse) that scene was riveting to me in that it conveyed the essense of his character – that Lane took the abuse and the shaming, and gave up the Bunny ( sorry I forget her name ) I think that Lane has learned to accept his limits- and would never take on someone as strong as Joan – look at Lane’s wife, sniveling about the traffic ( or something) I think they can (have learned to ) respect each other and maybe Lane would give her a chance professionally.
        -although I dont think they were less sexist in England- but romantically? Lane doesnt think hes attrtactive enough.

  2. Lane showed plenty of spirit & has also admired Joan. They both could do worse.

    Roger’s refusal to accept his & Joan’s baby was quite understandable–but probably ended that affair forever. He still can’t afford another divorce; perhaps seeing Joan with the child whom he can’t acknowledge will cause some long-overdue inner reflection. Or maybe he’ll just have another drink…..

    At the end of the last season, we saw Joan & Peggy bonding. I want them to continue to work together; Megan’s continuing presence will no doubt remain as a conversational topic.

    Joan returning to work after having a baby? Not really unheard of. Very rare–but when has Joan ever been average?

  3. Plenty of black women returned to work after having a baby in the 60s. I know, I know — Joan is middle-class white. I’m just pointing out the overgeneralization and reminding all of us how different many black women’s lives were/are from those of many white women in the U.S. since race is a theme in the show.

  4. Women returning to work after having children was hardly “unheard of” in the 60s. I was born in 1965 and my mother returned to work shortly thereafter (within months, in her case), as did the moms of a number of my friends. We should remember that even in the 60s (or any other eras of the past), there was a spectrum of behavior.

    • I was hasty in using the term ‘unheard of’; I should have said “rare”. Remember the movie “Yours, Mine, and Ours” where Lucille Ball’s character had to go back to work as a nurse after her husband died to support her 8 kids? That was based on the true life story of Helen(North) Beardsley. So it wasn’t unheard of, just not as common. Mea culpa and thanks!

  5. I had never considered Joan and lane …. But I don’t think it’s Impossible. Remember he was recently with a playboy bunny….
    My grandmother returned to work when my father was young. She was a secretary for a large department store They were a white middle class family so I suppose, why not Joan?

  6. Some reactions:

    “steal their files from Sterling Coo” – a Kinseyism! I’d love to see Gladis back as Paul – but I don’t see it happening for more than a cameo/guest appearance.

    “There are fans out there who want a Joan/Lane romance” – Pryce might want Joan. But the feeling would not be mutual.

    “This is still the 60′s, and a woman coming back to work after a baby was unheard of”

    My folks both drove to Anchorage, AK in 1956 to teach high school. My Mom was born in 1924 – so nearly 10 yrs older than Joan – and certainly more “traditional”. Yet she returned to teach the year following the births of all three of us – ’59/’60, ’61/’62, ’65/’66.

    That said, I will also be curious to see how they handle the Greg/Roger/Baby/Work situation. There lies a lot of dramatic potential.

  7. Upon rewatching Tomorrowland, I noticed Lane giving a very admiring look to Joan after giving her the promotion. This attitude was in marked contrast to his dismissive tone in The Good News when she asked for time off and he described himself as immune to Joan’s charms. It’s clear as the season progresses, particularly in Hands and Knees, that he thoroughly respects Joan in a professional sense. However, Joan doesn’t seem to think anything of Lane. Too bad – he’s a nerdy guy who would probably worship her, as opposed to Roger and Greg.

  8. I think it is possible, and I wondered about that photo of the two of them.

    I think that Lane would admire Joan for two serious reasons: (1) she is extremely competent about the office (and Lane admires and respects that about people generally); (2) she’s very sexy and enjoys that about herself (and Lane seemed to enjoy that about the Bunny). The combination? I could see Lane keeping a very stiff upper lip, being very proper–but hiding very strong attraction.

    I agree that the flip side of this–Joan’s attraction to Lane–is less likely. However, I don’t see it as impossible. They already are the ‘mommy and daddy’ of the office.

    As much as Joan likes to have fun and be admired for her feminine charms, I think she must be very fed up with “child-men.” Roger may look like an adult, but in many ways he is not an adult. He is not a grown up. He was fun–before–when Joan was younger and thought she didn’t need commitment.

    Unlike Roger, Joan has regularly had to be a grown up, and she has risen to the occassion. Roger runs away.

    Also–Greg does not make Joan feel secure. It doesn’t seem like she really respects him. He is frequently trying to “prove” himself, but he often seems lacking in competence and sort of overdoing the bravado in a way that Joan doesn’t trust. She doesn’t look up to him (she really didn’t want him to fix her finger in the kitchen). On top of it all, Joan knows that Greg isn’t the father of her child–he is the guy being tricked to care for a child that isn’t his. It is kind of hard to have the same respect for someone you are deceiving like that. Even if he never guesses, their could be damage.

    Lane is not traditionally handsome. He is older. At work, he is very much the responsible “let’s watch the pocket book” organizer. He is a very healthy complement to people like Roger and Don–who don’t really care at all for the nitty-gritty of actually managing a business. At work, he is very much a reliable adult.

    To a woman sick of men who act like children–Lane could become quite attractive. Joan has certainly overlooked age in the past. And she may be sick of attractive, charming men who run away from responsibility. If she actually got to know Lane, it looks like he really can “cut loose” and get a little crazy sometimes. But he would still show up for work the next day and be an adult.

    I don’t think a relationship (if there ever is one) would begin quickly or instantly.

    But I think if Lane and Joan were continually thrown together, were continually helping each other baby-sit the workers as SCDP, and somehow wound up getting a peek behind each other’s masks–there could be attraction. I think it would start with Lane turning into Joan’s “work husband” –the guy who sees her skills, appreciates them, and relies on them. The guy who actually respects her for her work.

    Then there would need to be some sort of trigger–a very vulnerable moment–that caused them to see past the “work spouse” aspect. Perhaps a very kind favor done when the other really needed it –given respectfully. Or perhaps Lane is actually a very kind father to his own children, and Joan’s baby visits work, and Joan happens to look up and see Lane being perfectly awesome with her little one. I don’t think Lane would ever charm or sweet-talk Joan like Roger–it would be far diffent. If he ever admitted anything, it would be far more earnest. And maybe earnestness isn’t always such a bad thing–even to Joan. While it is true Lane cheated on his wife with a Playboy Bunny–he actually seemed to earnestly develop feelings for her. He didn’t use her and carelessly drop her. Even when Lane tries to “play” I think he still winds up with earnest feelings.

    Another possibility–there is some function and Lane gets TOTALLY HAMMERED and the two of them have a moment that neither planned or expected. We’ve certainly seen a different side of Lane when he’s drinking.

    If the two ever had some sort of “moment,” it would probably be followed by a period of ‘retreat’ or freak out. A “we can’t do this” or a “how can I feel that way about HIM???” He has a wife. She has a husband, maybe a child, and her jealous lover is right in the office. They would try to pretend there was nothing.

    Unless some event finally seemed to overwhelm them (or Lane surprised Joan by making a bold overture).

  9. Calling Greg “demanding” is too charitable. He raped Joan. Mrs. Pryce might be obnoxious and a horrible snob, but as far as we know, she has never actually abused Lane. His dad, OTOH, is another story, and Lane might only be staying married to a woman he has come to dislike because of him.

    Lane and Joan probably would be good for each other, though. He was kind of an asshole to Joan in the “fried chicken” scene in The Good News, but he was probably in the shittiest of moods then, and he strikes me as the kind of guy who can own when he’s been a jerk and make amends for it (as he attempted to do with the flowers). And Joan, of course, deserves someone who sees her as more than just a bombshell to show off for colleagues.

    As far as Joan going back to work after the baby…I definitely think she’s the kind of woman who won’t find diaper-changing as fulfilling in practice as her fantasies have suggested, and does love her work more than she has ever wanted to admit. It seems like she wants a baby because it’s on the Real Woman Checklist, not because she really loves children (unlike Trudy, who I think actually does love kids). But Joan would not want to hang around an office visibly pregnant; her vanity wouldn’t allow it. And in a milieu like that, where she would be meeting clients, at that time it would have been a no-no to be visibly “expecting” anyway.

    So I have to believe she would have checked out of SCDP the minute anything started to show. And since she has always said that the minute she got preggers she was out of there, it seems unlikely that they would expect her to return and hold the job open for her for the next six months. OTOH, those pictures do suggest that somehow, they manage to make room for her again. There’s always something they can fire her replacement for, right? And it’s not inconceivable that Joan will decide that Greg is a shitty husband and she’d rather be single, even with a tatelah. (I still have trouble buying the “he’s going to bite it in Vietnam” trope, unless it’s some kind of freak accident.)

    • I’m not trying be mean/sarcastic/snarky. What is your definition of freak accident? Would a jeep/plane accident count? While he looked far from the front-lines when we last saw him, he could be transfered closer to the front. As for firing her replacement, maybe they re-organize. I don’t have this scenario fully thought through, but it would involve titles and minor reorganizing of staff and responsibilities.

      • I was thinking more like a needle stick that causes a massive infection, something like that. But yeah, vehicular crash counts, too. It’s just that U.S. military surgeons dying in Vietnam was a rarity; only one death was recorded in Vietnam among Navy doctors in 10 years, so extrapolating that to Army stats, maybe there were three Army doctors who died. Frontline medics dying was more common, but I don’t know enough about military stuff to tell you if there was any such thing as a surgeon being “demoted” to a medic. (Although if anyone could manage that feat, it’s Greg.)

        • I realize “M*A*S*H” is not historically accurate, but I was thinking about something along the lines of Winchester. He started out the war in a hospital far from the front lines, and then was transfered closer to the front. I had never heard the statistics about doctors before-that’s really interesting.

  10. When I first saw these photos a few weeks ago the first thing I noticed was how soft Joan looked. In the past pics she was always tough and “striking a pose” (much like Peggy is in these). In these, Joan looks a little more timid(?). I never thought about Joan and Lane, but I don’t think I see it (it is interesting though).

  11. From what season is/was the group shot?

    Is Bert Cooper back for Season 5?

  12. My reading of the third photo is that Joan will be literally separated from the office when the season starts – most likely because of the baby – but she’ll be longing to get back to work. I wouldn’t be surprised if she has a relative (maybe her mother or Greg’s) move in with her temporarily so she can go back to SCDP.

    • Or Carla!

      • I can’t see that scenario (Carla/Joan) even though it sure would be nice to have Carla back. I’ll be curious to see if Betty has a new maid (whom we meet). Carla is the only maid we’ve seen, right? But of course all the other families must have at least one; certainly Pete, Roger and Lane would. Kenny probably does — his wife is an heiress. But maybe Lane’s wife would have brought someone over from the UK. I can’t see her managing a relationship with an African-American.
        As for Joan and Lane — well you just never know, but I am skeptical.

        • Did Lane’s children come to the U.S with him? I find it very likely that the children were already in a boarding school, and that the Pryces didn’t have them switch schools. Pete and Trudy do not yet have a maid/nanny, but will probably have one when the season starts, or soon after.

  13. I can see the Lane-Joan thing. It would be a slowly evolving friendship built on mutual respect, admiration and eventually, love. Lane (Laine?) likes efficient, smart, resourseful people(who can spell worth a shit) and Joan sure could do with a real gentleman who can be reliable. I doubt she’s ever been with one before.

  14. Joan and Lane are a true pairing! Both understand that staples and pencils are unwanted expenses.

    No, but seriously, I loved their scenes. Even unromantically, Lane seems like the one person who sees that Joan is a bloody good manager, not a pair of thighs and breasts.

  15. If we’re going on who’s standing with whom does that mean Peggy’s going to sleep with BERT?

  16. I have always thought that!!! Always!! I even said something about it a long time ago and everyone said I was crazy…Joan–Lane..I can see it…

    Two more days!!!!!!!!

  17. I wouldn’t have thought of Joan and Lane either, but it’s not completely out there. Lady K made all of my points and more, so no need for a rehash of their possible mutual attraction. However, I don’t Joan entering another office tryst, and I think Lane is too professional to do that as well. I do see them having a moment with some steam, and then maybe they just go on about their business, remembering their moment. I wouldn’t count Lane out as a man who can impress a woman in bed. You have to watch the polite, quiet ones. Of course I just love Jared Harris so I’m sure that has something to do with it.

    And no, it is not yet March 25. Damnit.

  18. I would not be surprised – and would be more than happy about it, actually. I think the signs of a Joan/Lane relationship were telegraphed as early as the beginning of Season Three, particularly with ‘The Good News’. They start off severely underestimating one another and their roles in the office, only to revise those opinions and gain mutual respect. Initially, Joan thinks that Lane is just another easily manipulated man whose highest opinion of her belongs to her beauty/physical assets, which is why that’s the tactic she uses to request days off. She’s wrong. Lane thinks that because this is the tactic Joan most often employs to manipulate others, that there’s little below the surface. He’s wrong. The look on his face when she calls his secretary “egregious” is precious.

    I don’t think it was a coincidence that Lane’s admiration for intelligence in a woman was driven home later in the episode when Don’s escort tells Lane that his own escort went to Barnard “because guys like him like that”.

    Even though they share little screen time together throughout the rest of the season, other characters constantly make reference to them as a pair. (My favorite instance is Pete telling Lane, “What would put me at ease is you and Madame Defarge not plotting behind my back!”)

    I’m not saying they’re going to be involved in some torrid love affair any time soon, or even this season, and I would be just as thrilled with just a strong work friendship/bond, but considering their unfulfulling marriages… I would be very surprised if the two of them aren’t endgame for the series. I also agree that I don’t envision an affair. I think they would make very conscious decisions to leave their spouses first, which would also be great character growth for both of them.

  19. Only one more sleep until the premiere! Excited!!!

  20. Our Joanie and Lane? Doesn’t make too much sense, so that probably means it will happen. However, if it were to be, I agree that it wouldn’t be a mad moment of passion, they’d form a relationship. Why? Because it doesn’t make sense, that’s why. The ugly guy, gorgeous girl conundrum is forever fascinating. ‘ How on earth did he land HER?’ Well, cause he’s cool in that wise gentleman way. She’s tired of being hurt by looks-appropriate bozos. He’s the nice guy, who takes the time to be patient, is so kind that it’s actually romantic, he ‘gets’ her.
    Joan is going to have to have a Peggy tells Pete in Meditations conversation with ever-underwhelming Greg. Frightening to think of the level of rage that can be summoned up in Grey’s mind about being disappointed with Joan, or anything else, for that matter. Obtw; Don has never betrayed any allusions as to Joan and her breasts, thighs, or wings. Lane is not alone in this area.

    Roger is Betty, only with more money, a personality, and devastating one-liners.

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