The Color of Money in A Little Kiss

 Posted by on March 30, 2012 at 11:41 am  Characters, Season 5
Mar 302012

That's what the money is for!

There is a thread of a money theme going through this episode. Some one-offs, and some more plot-driving. What initially caught my eye were specific allusions to how much cash a person had on them (Roger, and later Rebecca) but once I started looking for money, it was everywhere.

Joan’s mother and the formula
Joan’s mother (Gail): “Anyway, I think we’re about to run out of formula. I’ll get your purse”.
This on its own was striking to me–every family is different. My mom, under the same circumstances, would never ever request that money from me (and you can’t exactly call that a request)–she would be looking for ways to help me. But that’s my mom, and I can’t say it’s right as compared to this. But that certainly demonstrates a flavor of their relationship, and of who Gail is.
And then it continues…
Joan: “A ten? You buying his formula or yours?”
This goes a step further, informing us that mom is a bit of a taker, and possibly a lush. Grandma Gail then plays shell game with this accusation by offering to take Kevin for a walk, for which Joan is extremely grateful; willing to overlook this (willing to pay). So it actually becomes a transaction. We’ll learn more about those a little later.

Roger and Caroline
Roger gives the shared secretary $50 to sit outside his office more often (ever). Although it is stated as “buy yourself a hat”. She takes the money, but remains reluctant to man his desk.

A comment from Pete
Kenny asks Pete if he will be at the Drapers’ party.
Pete: “I wish I could get overtime for it”.

Roger and the waiter
Roger tips the waiter as he leaves the Mohawk lunch.

Roger pays Harry to switch offices with Pete
Roger: “What would be an appropriate bonus?”
Harry: “There’s no bonuses here. We have no money. Well first of all it’s more than you could have on you.”
Roger: “Really.
(Roger counts cash, extends it to Harry.)
Roger: It’s eleven hundred dollars”.
Harry: “Why do you carry so much cash?”
Roger: “It’s more than a thousand, Harry. That is a month’s salary after taxes”.
(discussion continues)
Harry: “Well okay, but you’re gonna owe me”.
Roger: “No I’m not. I just gave you a lot of money. This is a transaction.”

(I told you we’d learn more about transactions.)

The entire Lane/wallet plotline
First he finds the wallet and says so to the cab driver. After examining the cash and seeing close to a hundred dollars, Lane decides it is safer in his hands. Is this racist? Classist? Just plain precautionary against a stranger? He then pays (bribes) the cabbie for the wallet (I couldn’t tell if it was $1 or a few singles), and then still tips him for the ride (a coin or two) which struck the cabbie, and me, as odd.
Later on, the owner of the wallet insists on paying Lane, explaining “That’s how we do things here”.

Lane and Rebecca
Lane has not paid St. Paul’s the fall tuition for Nigel Pryce. Rebecca is upset over receiving a threatening letter, Lane insists that Nigel is enrolled in school; he simply does not want to give them the money any earlier than they need it (why shouldn’t it remain in-hand and earn three months interest.)
Later, we see that Lane doesn’t want Rebecca writing checks–she asks him for cash for the grocer. We see a literal “money shot”; Lane’s hand in a wallet full of bills as he reaches in for a ten to give her.

Lane and Joan
They have a private, impromptu status meeting, where we see the agency is suffering, and that it is really Joan, more so than Lane, who is so great at crunching numbers. Lane considers himself a bit of a sham.
And also:
Joan: “Well that explains why you’re asking for all this free advice”.

Underneath this all, back at home, does Lane personally have some genuine money problems? Is he somehow broke–is that what all of this is leading to?

Some others:

Don and Megan
Don: “Don’t waste money on things like that”
Megan: “It was my money, and you don’t get to decide what I do with it”.
Don: “Well could you please not use it to embarrass me again”.

Joan and her mother
after telling her mother she can leave if she wants to
Joan: “I got my money’s worth”.
I’m assuming she flew her mother in (from wherever she lives).

Pete’s train buddy (is it Harold?)
in response to Pete, who is talking about deciding to put in an in-ground pool based on a Christmas bonus
“I never count on a bonus”.

And let’s not forget, the episode, in fact the fifth season opens with with the picketers’ chant, “Hey ho hey ho/We’ve got the poverty, You’ve got the dough”.

Where do people draw the line? Harry could not turn down $1100. Lane might have left the wallet with the cab driver if it only had $15 in it. Again and again we examine this; what is someone’s turning point when it comes to a dollar amount?

I’m currently taking a 10-session seminar on money, and one thing we are examining specifically is our inner dialogue about money–it is constant and it is quite dominating. Just identifying the ongoing negotiation is fascinating. For example, I’m on vacation (writing to you now from the beach in Puerto Plata) and every time I choose to spend or not to spend, there is a conversation. I found a necklace I adored, and it was $115. No way is it worth $115. I say this like it’s the truth, as though there is a truth. I walked away from it and my friend asks me, What amount would have been okay? And I honestly couldn’t answer. I keep thinking about that necklace, and what is it “worth” to me, (and so far I have decided I don’t want it). It was Deborah, for the record, who pointed out to me that I’m in this seminar and this is the theme I happened to see first in this episode.

I think money– who has it, what value it has for people, what it means about who someone is or what someone can have/not have, will continue to be a very big theme this season.


  86 Responses to “The Color of Money in A Little Kiss”

  1. Money! Such an interesting topic and such a great post, Roberta.

    I thought that Lane kept the wallet partly because he wanted to keep the money himself. Yes, he didn’t trust the cabbie, but in this episode I got the impression that his money woes are real. We may not know yet WHY he has money woes while the other partners seem okay in this regard. And maybe that stray thought of taking the money himself is the reason he tipped the cabbie. And when you don’t have much money, yes, you hold off on paying large amounts AND $15 is a lot, especially in 1960s dollars. I think Lane would’ve taken the wallet no matter what.

    And when the wallet’s owner insists on paying him, it’s embarrassing for Lane precisely because he needs the money. It’s the same $20 bill he later gives his wife when she asks for money for groceries. In Lane’s case in particular, there’s a very palpable connection between money and love. (He steals the photo of the cutie). I wouldn’t be surprised if Lane’s money troubles are related to women.

    I also got the impression that Joan’s mother doesn’t have any money, which is why she has to ask Joan for some. Doesn’t Joan mention that her mother had to go to work when Joan was a kid? So her mother was a working mother, and she doesn’t look very happy about that (the mother, I mean).

    Money is also about value, right? Part of the reason Pete is pissed off about the office is that he doesn’t feel valued. He never does. (I also wondered why Harry got a bigger office with a window and Pete didn’t).

    I love Megan bringing up the fact that she earns her own money. This puts her on a different footing than Rebecca’s wife.

    Roger’s money is his downfall. He doesn’t have to work as hard as the others in order to keep above water, so he’s stopped bringing in clients. His job is now a sinecure. In a weird way, his money is the source of his lack of respect.

    • Lane is the only partner living on his own salary. Don got a huge chunk of change as a partner when the firm was first sold. He also sold Anna’s house. Bert and Roger come from made money or inheritance (in Roger’s case) and investments, most likely. Pete’s in-laws fuel Pete and Trudy’s lifestyle. Lane was a lowly number cruncher sent to Sterling Cooper to pinch pennies. He was expendable to the British buyers. Now he is a partner at SCDP and had to pony up some dollars for that as well. It makes sense that he is cash poor right now.

      • Ah, good points! I forgot that about Lane.

      • I’m not sure about that. Trudy said “don’t even think about asking my father!” when it came to the loan for the firm. And Pete has ALWAYS resisted taking money from Tom (but not his business). I’m thinking Pete put the bulk of the $20K they had in the bank as down payment on the house. The house was probably less than $100K so that was more than enough.

        Since Pete was complaining about overtime, I’m thinking he and Trudy are reliant on his paycheck for their lifestyle and Pa & Ma Vogel now just foot over expensive gifts for Tammy.

        • Well in 1966 the house most definitely would have been under 100k! Maybe 20k? The average home cost about 14-15k in those days. So Pete should still have plenty of his cash left in the bank.

    • I thought the cabbie interaction was telling about more than the money end of things – it shows the wobbly relationship with race that all the characters are struggling with. It hangs in the air as Lane tries to decide the best way to handle the wallet – do I trust this Black guy to do the right thing with all this money? And the taxi driver even goes so far as to point out to lane that it puts HIM (the driver) in an awkward position if the owner calls for it, but Lane reverts to classic white-privilege thinking, and just decides what is best, despite any potentially devastating potential consequences for the taxi driver – loss of job, loss of credibility, etc. It is an interesting statement about how/whether his relationship with Toni could have been genuine, equitable, legitimate, or just a fetish representing his desire to grab onto America, in every way – by leaving his wife, breaking taboos, and fantasizing about this whole new shiny world that he’s found himself in. Given his dis-ease about the Black cab driver’s inherent “honesty,” it seems that whatever he had begun with Toni would have likely unraveled over the Civil Rights movement, if it hadn’t already proven easily forced “back in line” by his dad already.

      It’s yet another example of how all the revolutions of that era, as shockingly fast moving they were, were by no means strictly forward motion, no backsliding. It was all over the place at the time, but looking back on it, it all seems like such a step by step progression.

      • Bridget, that’s how I felt about the cabbie too, a matter of trust from Lane. Great observation that makes me wonder about the further implications of the Civil Rights movement on all the characters. Of course, in the end, it’s Lane who has to tell the applicants that only the women need apply as secretary (a lie he had to make up) and how he jumbled his words when asking the men to go. (you’re free to go, etc). The white population of SCDP will have to enter the real world of color. I look forward to the change.

    • It’s mentioned in one of the Season Three episodes that Pete took the office with the cement column because he wanted to be close to Roger. (The line is actually spoken by Harry, I believe.) And Harry definitely wouldn’t complain when the alternative was the bigger office with a window. Plus, he is the Head of Television. That didn’t mean much when they were at the old Sterling Cooper, but it definitely means a lot now that he’s attending the Emmys and taking meetings with Lucy and Desi.

  2. When Joan told her mother “I got my money’s worth”, I assumed she was being sarcastic and meant she got nothing out of her mother’s “help”.

    • I thought it was just her way of saying “I don’t care if you leave, you’re more trouble than help.”

  3. She takes the money, but remains reluctant to man his desk. –> I’d’ve said ‘staff his desk’. 😉

  4. O-E-O, we’ve got the poverty, where’s the dough? –> Office of Economic Opportunity

    • That title is so funny to me because the agency where I work was recently renamed Dept of Economic Opportunity by the new governor in an attempt to make it look like it’s all positive and forward going, which of course is very far from the truth. Oh, how things move in a circle

  5. Referring to $1100 Roger said to Harry: “that’s one month’s salary after taxes”.

    I lucked into the relevant series of table tables here:

    Given that Roger really knows Harry’s pay, In 1966 Harry and wife were subject to a marginal federal income tax rate of 25% (married filing jointly on yearly amounts between $12,000 and $16,000).

    Harry is well above the maximum for payroll tax – so that has no effect.

    State and NYC tax? Call it no more than 10%. That makes 35% total on marginal earnings (which is what the $1100 is). Divide 1100 by 0.65 – about $1700 – or about $20,000/year.

    A buck in 1966 is worth seven today. So Roger implies than Harry makes an equivalent of $140,000 (2012 USD) – which sounds to me a little on the low side – but perhaps about right for a struggling ad agency.

    • In other words, yes, I would take the $1100 and give Pete the damned office.

      • Harry went from wondering where his next job would be to still-employed, one-month’s-salary richer, windowless, but with a concrete pillar as a bonus (which will continue to be used for sight gags).

        Pete didn’t get what he wanted, but he sure looked satisfied leaning back and enjoying Harry’s old window, didn’t he?

  6. I think Don Draper has an uncomfortable relationship with money. Either he does not know what it’s worth, or he doesn’t know what he is worth. And he tends to give away almost as much as he accepts (to Adam, to Rachel, to Rachel again …). I would even say that he seems to have contempt for money.

    I thought Don’s comment to Megan (“don’t spend money on things like that”) was pretty revealing. He wasn’t just hinting at having the kind of money that someone else could spend without his knowledge: he was getting to his own feelings about it.

    Don seems to regard both the subject and the fact of money as tawdry. I know that’s a Betty word, but I think that in this case, it fits.

    Great post, Roberta!

    • It’s interesting that Don often prefers to give people money rather than “other” forms of recognition, credit, or power.

      The money to Allison. The money to Midge. The “that’s what the money’s for” comment to Peggy. He gave money to Anna in some form. The money for the white carpet and the decorating to Megan. The decorating in Ossining for Betty.

      Worst–the money to Adam.

      And while he did keep lot of money stored in his desk, and he didn’t want to spend on a summer home or an air condidtioner—he did loosen up enough to but things for himself that went along with his image–the car, the suits, etc.

      But he did NOT like giving money towards a gathering of people in his house. Funny–do you think his reaction to Sally’s party was more of a reaction to parties generally? The way he left Sally’s party suddenly seems similar to his negativity at Megan’s surprise party. Does even Don understand why? (It may not be more than raw personality).

      He didn’t seem to mind the international dinner or bringing Roger back to dinner with Betty–but perhaps it was the fact it was controlled by him and in each instance it was more like work than anything else.

      Nor does he seem to like giving or receiving a lot of compliments, simple affection, praise, or thank yous.

      • I see Don’s discomfort with parties as you do: a feature of his need for control. Parties are not about control. I’ve seen people try to direct parties to some extent (music playlists, costume guidelines, structured activities), and it’s often awkward.

        But I think there was a real clue to Don’s larger perspective in his comment to his wife: “I didn’t want those people in our home.” Don lets very few people “in”. For a guy like that, the idea of all the people he knows converging on his private space has to feel like hell.

        Those who do feel they know Don, only know him to different degrees. Think about the difference between Peggy and Don’s accountant, both of whom he “likes”. Would those two people, if they ever had a conversation about Don, even describe the same person? There’s a reason he keeps the people in his life separate.

        Poor Megan. She’s an honest soul with an open mind, and she married a cipher.

        • I was thinking how awkward it really could be for Don if they all really talked to each other abour him. Pete knows about about the box and about Faye. Peggy knows about the car accident with Bobbie, Allison and the call from Midge. Bert knows a little. The accountant knows something about the house in CA. Lane knows about the prostitutes.
          Meanwhile, Roger might hate the impersonating an officer part-he’s never learned about that. Peggy might think she knows Don better than anyone, but she knows nothing about Dick Whitman. Megan knows how quickly Don proposed to her…
          Roger witnessed the Jimmy Barrett punch and probably has gossip on Henry Francis and his new wife. Not so relaxing to have them all in your house.

        • Roberta,
          Thank you. This is brilliant beyond. I don’t know how you could possibly be this smart on vacation. I would buy the necklace if you are going to regret it when you get home.

          Anne B., I missed your thoughtful posts. I felt Don’s anguish when he said that line to Megan. A complete invasion. I thought it interesting that Megan was vetting the list with Peggy. Wouldn’t she have had a better handle on who to invite at this point? She does work with them….
          Sad and interesting that he didn’t have a soul to include outside of the industry except tah dah…his accountant.

          • It makes me wonder if Don and Megan invited anyone to their wedding? You would think if they’d had much of a wedding, Megan would already have a list (invitees and a thank you cards). Unless they got married in Quebec, and most of the guests were Megan’s. I wonder if Don’s already met her entire familly, or if they are still a wild card.

            Also–I wonder if Megan accidentally invited anyone she shouldn’t have to Don’s party. While there was some awkwardness at the party, nobody really awkward showed up (Faye, Allison, Connie Hilton, Sal, Paul). But someone may have received an invite even if they didn’t show. Long shot–but it could come up later.

        • Peggy wasn’t too happy about her surprise birthday party (that never happened) in “The Suitcase” either. Similar in the fact that she did not want to celebrate her birthday with people that she really didn’t like…and other ways

      • Anne and Lady K,

        Yes, even after all this time, Don Draper IS a cipher. I never got *why*, or saw it coming, when after building that playhouse well-fueled with (relatively) weak beer, he took off “to get the cake” and stayed away from Sally’s birthday party.

        (why? anyone? anyone?)

        Then of course he shows up with someone else’s dog who Sally named Polly.

        Betty should have ripped him a new one over that.

        • Jahn, we’ve written SO much about that. It’s mysterious and profound. Use “Marriage of Figaro” in the search box and browse your heart out. It’s really such a big deal.

      • wow…i love this observation! don’s maternal/paternal roots really do shine through!

  7. I know it is early in the season, but I would be interested in the circumstances that brought Rebecca Pryce back to dreaded NYC and the enrollment of their son in a U.S. school. Whatabout the whereabouts of the other children? And, quite a scene at Megan’s party where the prim and proper Rebecca is sitting on the floor.

    • Well, Megan did say the carpet was “beautiful”. (She meant before the party.)

      Rebecca seems to like everything Megan likes. (“Remember to ask for the name of Megan’s real estate agent. And decorator.”) They’re going to be the best of chums, those two.

      • That surprised me…how much Rebecca was into Megan’s lifestyle–that she wanted to emulate what Meg and her friends were into.

        • I wonder if it’s Megan’s European roots that helps Rebecca feel at home with her. As decidedly, and classically, French as the dance sequence was, there was also a bit of Swinging London about it, wasn’t there?

          Perhaps it’s not general “letting loose” that Rebecca finds as appalling as insects, but “letting loose, American-style.” We’ll see!

          (We also know that she and Lane differ markedly in this respect!)

          • The “classically French” aspect of Megan’s song and dance is arguable. On the one hand, its showcasing of female sexuality is reminiscent of the very famous dance by the original sex-kitten Brigitte Bardot in “And God Created Woman” (1956). On the other hand, when Bardot danced (far more lasciviously than Megan), shocking and titillating the onlookers, it was on a mambo performed by black musicians, so that was not a quintessentially French performance, but something quite foreign to France – but it certainly became attached to Frenchness thanks to Bardot’s global fame, that was barely waning in 1966.

            “Zou Bisou Bisou” is a song that belongs to the French “yéyé” style, that was very heavily influenced by British and American pop (its name comes from the “yeah yeah” of pop songs, such as in “She Loves You Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” by The Beatles). Some French songs of that style were successful in the UK. I agree that Rebecca might well be aware that Megan is on the cutting edge of fashion, in a way that the others are not.

    • Do the Pryce’s have more children? I thought they just had the one son (remembering the episode where Lane was expecting to take his son to Disney Land, and his father showed up instead).

    • Me too! Why did Rebecca come back?

      • Why did Rebecca come back?

        Because Lane’s father beat him to the ground, sending Lane groveling back to Rebecca begging forgiveness. And since the flowers mix-up really was just a mix-up, and since divorce was still quite taboo, there was some room for a meeting of minds.

      • He probably can’t afford to have an a divorce.

    • It’s not a US school. Lane said “Saint Paul’s”. That’s a classy school in London. Their son is in boarding school in England.

      When Lane’s father came out as emissary instead of the son, Lane was forced to go back to England to “straighten things out”. When SCDP lost the Lucky Strike account and looked like it might even fold, Lane said ruefully to the others “My family has only just come back”. It looks like this was the arrangement – he must have convinced his wife that he was now while in England he had nothing, but they would still bring up the son in rather the same way as if he had been sent to India after all, as a proper Englishman. His wife still probably sees the American sojourn as something transient, not permanent, even if it might last until he retires, before retuning to England. She’s no doubt still not very happy in NYC, and Lane is probably chaffing.

      • he must have convinced his wife that he was now an entrenched and successful partner in SCDP, while in England he had nothing,

        Somehow part of that sentence got lost as I was typing.

      • Are you sure its not a US school? St. Paul’s is also a very exclusive prep school in Concord, NH.

        • Not sure. I guess either is possible. We’ll find out eventually, I imagine. I can see more reason for them to send him to a private school in England than the US, but who knows?

  8. Speaking of floor covering, isn’t Bert Cooper the ideal guest to invite to a party on white carpet?

  9. First, the thing that struck me most about this post is that you are ON VACATION???? Do they have Mad Men there? Will you be home in time for Sunday night’s airing? Seriously, these are the bigger issues.

    Okay, joking aside, I think you make an excellent point about the transactions and money having a very big theme. Matt Weiner said that this season we would have everyone out for themselves. Money certainly plays into that theme.

    Another money bits, paying for the ticket and the gameboard on the train.

    But I also like the transactions. Some have commented on the give and take of the Don/Megan relationship. Is there something transactional about it? They are both getting something they need?

    And let’s move to the topic of “presents” for the birthday boy. The best present was the shaving brush which was given purely out of love by his kids. Harry’s gift of the walking stick was both obsequious and wrong. Did he expect to earn Don’s friendship with that? How off-base was that? Finally Megan’s “gift” of a song as well as the surprise party. Don rejected the party and was embarrassed by the song. In fact Megan’s song was the source of ridicule the next day. What was her motivation for giving those gifts? Personally I think it was mostly based on love for Don but I think she was also trying to create a more friendly office environment. Didn’t work. The song? Again I think that was a mis-step but I think she did it to please her husband and no other reason. So what is the message of the epic-fail of the party – Don wants uncomplicated simple gifts? I’m not sure. Something to think about, I believe.

    Finally, on a personal note;
    BUY THE NECKLACE! But only if you are having an absolutely wonderful time on vacation. It’ll be a constant reminder of that vacation. Now it’s probably not worth more than half of the price because your a tourist and they have you trapped. Still, if you think it’ll last 20 years then buy the thing. Maybe offer $100 for it but pay the full amount if you really like it. I believe in the “path of minimal regret” as a valid decision making tool. If you don’t buy the necklace will you think about it when you are back home? Just checking.

    Enjoy your vacation.

    • Buy the necklace. If you really love it, it’s worth it. Unless it’s made out of pasta noodles, in which case it is definitely overpriced.

    • Personally, if Megan wants to come over and sing that song to me and my wife, I think we’d be very pleased. But for Don, he said he didn’t “want those people” in his house – I guess he doesn’t feel comfortable mixing his office contacts with his private life. Well, he’s got so many skeletons in the closet that I could see how he would feel that way.

      Don and Megan need to develop a circle of *friends* outside the office that they can hang out with. And then Megan can dance at their parties.

  10. Hey, Roberta is on vacation in the Dominican Republic, party central of the Caribbean and my parent’s homeland! Enjoy.

  11. I think one of the best and most cutting lines on Mad Men was when Betty said to Don, “I see how you are with money. You don’t understand it.”

    That was..ouch. But, on point. I’m sure Betty sized up Megan and thought the same thing.

  12. I doubt Don owns a single share of stock, a bond, or any other equity vehicle. Against even the best advice of his accountant, Bert, or investment professionals. Main Line Betty was aiming to wound there, but she was right. However, Don lives way below his means. The guy would live in a dumpster if he thought no one would know. Without his meaning it, in that way Don is very smart about money. How else would he have 50 large lyin around to make things right with Pete?

    Number of people I personally know that live below to well below their means? 0.0

    • Remember that Don and Betty were a married couple in the State of New York at the time she wanted a divorce. There was a scene with divorce attorneys about the ramifications, in which Henry Francis said he would always support Betty, so she did not need to delay everything trying to get a big settlement from Don. New York was not a community property state, so Betty had severely limited financial rights.

      The only way she could obtain a Nevada divorce was that Don agree and that they reached a settlement under both New York and Nevada law.

      So, Betty received nothing from Don. He would have paid a child support amount, but no alimony.

      When figuring his cash flow in late 1965 and early 1966, in addition to the San Pedro, CA “Anna House” he probably had been paid for the “Ossining Draper House” Under the tax laws of the time he could avoid income tax on those sales by using the proceeds of those sales to purchase another principal residence, such as the co-op loft apartment where he is living with Megan.

      • Interesting. I think New York is still an equitable distribution state, so that all makes sense.

        Also, poor Betty. Assuming she got Don’s consent, she would have gotten the house; but she really could not have managed for long if she had not had Henry waiting in the wings.

      • If Betty wanted to push it, she could have, she could’ve threatened him to just give her anything she wanted. Still not sure why didn’t use the power she had over him more, at least to get the house.

        • @JS, did you watch the MM episodes when Henry Francis took Betty to the best divorce lawyer in New York State who confirmed despite what she thought she knew about Don, she would get nothing in the divorce?

          That was why Betty was urged to take deep breaths and play nice with Don, so he would agree to the Nevada divorce.

          Under New York law then had Betty tried to improve her settlement by threatening to disclose what she knew about Don’s background, it would not have helped her and she could have been prosecuted for felony extortion, in which case she would have lost custody of her children.

          • I’m saying she could’ve threatened him *privately*, which would have been enough to scare Don. There’s no way Don wouldn’t have caved. She didn’t tell that divorce lawyer anything about Don’s identity issues and Henry certainly doesn’t know either.

            I’m not sure why that was glossed over, but I’m guessing it was to make that point that Betty would rather run into the arms of the white night than go it alone as a single divorcee.

        • @JS, Henry Francis and the best divorce attorney in New York State made it clear to Betty that in a divorce she would get no money from Don.

          As I have share previously, had she attempted to threaten Don, then she would be open to prosecution for felony extortion, in which case she would lose custody of the children.

          We know Betty did not get the Ossining house because in the closing scenes of Tomorrowland she turns over her keys to that hose while having a drink with Don as he waits for the real estate agent.

          • had she attempted to threaten Don, then she would be open to prosecution for felony extortion, in which case she would lose custody of the children.

            That would never have happened and Betty knew it. Don would never expose his desertion in order tell a court the nature of Betty’s extortion. Betty saw how terrified Don was and lost respect for him over it, but did not use it against him.

          • But couldn’t you argue that Betty was the victim of fraud on the part of Don? As the victim–wouldn’t she have a legal right to take Don to court if she wanted to? If she proved fraud, she may have been entitled to an annulment, child support, and possibly some form of damages? I don’t think she would have been charged with extortion if she asked for the house–especially in light of the fact that that is where she’d lived for years with her children and Don’s deceptions caused her significant damage.

          • Folks,
            You can speculate how you would prefer the law to be at any given time, which does not change the law.

            Already Matt Weiner provided one of the best researched scene in Mad Men when Henry introduced Betty to the excellent new York divorce attorney. That information was textbook New York divorce law of the period.

            Is Henry Francis a currently licensed attorney, or did he go to law school without taking and passing bar exams. Anyway, the divorce attorney is an officer of the court.

  13. Does anyone else see the not-so-subtle message of the first episode and the contentious negotiations between AMC and Matt Weiner?

    Roberta – the value of that necklace is whatever you are willing to pay and is acceptable to the seller. Not to get all mystical but its all about perception and is completely arbitrary – e.g. the Los Angeles Dodgers. All of the other bids came in between $1.3 to $1.4 Billion and the winning bid from the Magic Johnson consortium was $2.1 Billion (Yes Dr. Evil, “Billion”). What did Magic see that resulted in his offer being 50% higher than the competition? Who knows but it goes to show that whether its a necklace or a Major League baseball team, value = perception.

    On a complete side note – ever wonder why a Diamond is Forever? DeBeers has had one of the most successful advertising campaigns in the history of capitalism by convincing the world that a diamond = love and that a man should spend three months salary for the love of his life. A guy like Don Draper (or maybe Peggy Olson) came up with these ground rules of love that make anything else seem unworthy in comparison.

  14. When the cab driver told Lane that Lane was putting the cabbie in a tough position because the owner of the wallet would call looking for it, it looked to me like Lane was giving the cabbie a business card. I thought I heard Lane saying “this is me” or something like that. so the cabbie could then protect himself by showing his boss Lan’es business card and how Lane insisted on taking the wallet. Really felt for the cabbie. He was in a tough spot. When Lane got out and gave the cabbie the tip, although I couldn’t see the amount, I read into it that it wasn’t much of a tip. At least the look on the cabbie’s face made me think it wasn’t much.

  15. I could be wrong but when Lane gives his wife the money she’s asked him for, I thought I saw the photo of the girl that he’s smitten with tucked inside his wallet in between the bills. I assumed that he gave her the cash as a way to show the viewer that he had it secreted there. Unless I imagined it. But I don’t think so because I remember thinking, “Will she see it?”

    • @charlz616: My wife pointed out to me as we were watching she definitely saw the hottie pic in amongst the bills and said, “OMG is Rebecca going to see that?!?”

      I hope Matt Weiner and the writing crew read this blog and the comments so they can learn all the hidden motivations behind the characters’ actions. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      This is clearly the best fan site that exists. How nice to have us so committed to the characters and the show and so engaged!!!

  16. Roberta, reading this gave me an aha moment — wow! it is all about money here! I bet that swanky apartment cost Don a pretty penny. Thanks for listing all these references. If the agency is on the border of hit or miss, it will be interesting to see how money plays into it in the next few episodes. At the moment, everything seems stable, but this wouldn’t be a drama if everything remained so!

    And as to Lane, did anyone else think that the girl in the picture resembled Joan?

    Glad youre feeling better, or at least well enough to write this excellent post! Hope you had a great time!

    • As noted up the chain, Don probably avoided taxes on the sale of the Ossinning house and Anna’s place by rolling any profit from those sales into a new primary residence of the same or higher value – the new Chez Draper.

      My late father-in-law told me that people who lived through the Great Depression had one of two feelings about money: [a] either they were desperate to never ever be poor again (the Scarlet O’Hara model) or [b] if didn’t matter much to them because they had survived the worst and knew they could do it again if they had to. Don understands that money is a useful tool but he doesn’t obsess over it. He adopts the trappings of the well-to-do because it serves him. He keeps cash on hand probably for two reasons – a residual mistrust of banks and to have it ready for impulse moves (literal or figurative.)

  17. Betty did not use the secret out of some sense of being magnanimous. She only was thinking about herself. The scuttlebut that would ensue from airing that dirty laundry in open court would’ve made Betty the center of an image destroying shitstorm. ‘She was married to a guy who what…….?’ Even Francine would probably bury her as well. Only after that would Betty even consider the damage to the children.

    The steadying hand of Henry, who wanted to start his marriage to her thisquick, helped Betty from trying to hurt Don vindictively. She was more than willing to play the hurt, little white noise in the air, mainline brat whose reputation was sullied by that gutter rat. Betty doesn’t respect Don. The man who provided her with everything a kept woman could want. How has Betty ever EARNED anything in her life, especially someone’s respect?

  18. Update from my last few hours in the DR– I ended up falling more in love with a ring, which was just as overpriced (same stone; the latimer which is the national stone). But this I had to have, and after thinking about it for a few days, I went in this evening and paid what I feel is a fair price for it. It’s gorgeous, I adore it, and I will wear it forever.

  19. Congrats, Roberta. God, you ‘re making me miss the DR so much. When is my vacation?

  20. Very good points on money and how it snakes around and through every arc. The demonstration at the beginning frames your point of money in another more obvious way– money is power. Or at least it’s becoming this. Whereas money is seen (traditionally, I guess), as a means to a better life with Pete looking to build himself a pool with his bonus, throughout the episode it’s money that drives every power-play. Harry’s office space can be bought. Joan getting her money’s worth from her mother. Megan’s use of money to embarrass the usually unflappable Don.

    I’m still trying to figure how it plays into Lane’s story, though. Maybe he’s discovered that money has a different sort of power over him and that all those visits to the Playboy Club and tossing around big thick steaks as if they were playthings is the power it has over him. He seemed a little bothered though when he saw the owner of the wallet in the reception area, as if he were expecting someone like him, a person in a suit, to be the paramour of the woman in the photo. Judging by how he reacted to the amount of money, he almost seemed to expect it. Maybe that’s the epiphany, that money is the real power and that a suit doesn’t really make a man. Or maybe I’m completely wrong and he was hoping the woman in the photo to be waiting in the reception area.

    It makes me think of something my dad said to me once, a favor is a favor but once money is involved, it becomes a transaction and no longer has the same emotional or social undertones. A transaction, exactly, as you have said at the top.

  21. The thing about Lane is, money is supposed to be a very uptight subject for Brits: not just inappropriate for discussion, but awkward to handle in general. I realize this is mainly a caricature, and an antiquated one at that, but this is the 1960’s so maybe there’s a shred more truth to it? OTOH, against that backdrop we see Lane growing somewhat more comfortable with money over time, roping Joan into an anxious discussion about the firm’s finances (opportunism?) and the aforementioned wad of cash in his wallet. Money doesn’t just mean power, it also means/brings change, and Lane IS changing: he’s becoming more Americanized.

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