Things Katherine Olson Did Not Say

 Posted by on May 1, 2012 at 5:56 am  Matthew Weiner, Season 5
May 012012
 

Mad Men: At the Codfish Ball-Peggy and her mother

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On the Inside Mad Men video for At the Codfish Ball, Matt Weiner talks about how parents want what’s best for their kids. In this episode, we saw several instances of parents being really harsh to their kids, and Matt defines the message (from Emile to Megan, from Katherine to Peggy) as “I love you and I want you to have what you want, and you know this isn’t what you want.”

I get that. I’m the mother of an adult, and I know exactly what it’s like to say terribly harsh things–things you know your kid will be irritated with you for saying–that you just have to say (like, y’know, write the Walking Dead post already, dammit). Parents say painful things out of love.

You know what parents also say? Loving things. Sometimes we even combine them.

Here are a bunch of things that Katherine Olson didn’t say to her younger daughter:

  • You deserve better.
  • Ask for what you want. Tell him marriage or nothing.
  • Don’t settle. He’ll marry you if you don’t sell yourself short.
  • Don’t worry about being alone. You’re loveable and someone will offer you the whole package.
  • You’ll find someone who will give you everything.
  • Don’t worry, Peaches, you won’t be alone.
  • How can someone as lovely as you are be so afraid of being alone?
  • No matter how lonely you feel, you have your family.

Nope. She didn’t say any of those things. She said “Get a cat.”

I get what Matt is saying about a parent’s messages to a child, but I also get the utter contempt with which this message was delivered. When Peggy expressed a fear she would otherwise be alone, Katherine essentially agreed with her. Is it any wonder, then, that Peggy is so afraid, and so willing to settle?

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  238 Responses to “Things Katherine Olson Did Not Say”

  1. The only time I can recall Katherine Olson saying anything positive about Peggy was in S-2 (Three Sundays), when she was bragging to Father Gill about all the wonderful things Peggy was doing at work. That was certainly more for her benefit than for Peggy’s and, of course, to imply what a grand mother she must have been, to result in such an impressive and important daughter. Peggy even called her on it indirectly, telling Father Gill from the kitchen, that until that, she wasn’t too sure her family even knew what she did.

    • Or in the first episode of S-2, when Peggy came to visit, Katherine told her about the people who had been asking about her and she said that Peggy had “such a pretty face.”

      I think she has some pride in her, but she’s just such a harsh, negative person overall.

      • I took “such a pretty face” to be a backhanded compliment, as in: if you would only do something about the rest of your body… way harsh.

        • If Peggy had been heavy at the time her mother said that, then maybe yes….but she said it in the beginning of Season 2. Peggy was very slim then.

      • In one of the S-2 episodes, didn’t Peggy’s sister tell Peggy about some story Katherine had made up, telling friends of the family that her work took her to someplace in Pennsylvania and that Peggy attended Mass there?

        When it comes to Peggy, Mrs Olson’s main motivation always concerns how what she does or doesn’t do, reflects upon her. Peggy’s needs and desires are secondary, if they’re considered at all.

  2. That scene was riveting, and painful to watch. It was a brilliant enactment of one type of mother-daughter relationship. Much of the insecurity Peggy has about herself as a woman is not only that she has very few models in the world in which she wants to succeed, but that she has a mother who has probably made her feel, through words and deeds, from childhood to that awful dinner, that Peggy was never good enough for anything worthwhile to happen to her – work, love, marriage, you name it. It’s one thing to have harsh words with your child, or to say harsh things to them. Katherine Olsen is in a whole other category, as I see it. She’s out to destroy her child’s self worth, and probably always was.

    At no time in the past 5 seasons of Mad Men has Katherine given any support,encouragement or shown any generosity towards Peggy – and forget about love. Narcissistic, jealous, critical, competitive, and ultimately a destructive influence, Katherine resents Peggy’ for her success, her independence, her difference – and she will never let Peggy forget it. This attitude has been woven through any encounter between Katherine and Peggy. To me, the recent episode is a culmination of all those moments. What Katherine did to Peggy in that scene was unforgivable. The cat comments said it all – get a cat as a companion for the next 40 or so years until you die, you deserve to be alone, that’s what you’re worth. If Peggy is wise, she’ll distance herself from her mother, or she’s doomed to continue her unsuccessful attempts to gain her mother’s love and acceptance. That struggle will filter out into the world around Peggy.

    The problem for her is that the seeds of potential self-destructive tendencies, which is one outcome for a child of a narcissistic parent, were sown years ago by her cruel mother. It’s possible that Peggy’s pregnancy, her choice to live with Abe when she was ambivalent, and even telling her mother about her living arrangements, are part of this pattern. It’s hard to tell and Peggy is a very smart of reflective young woman – but she trips herself up badly in her personal life.

    • “At no time in the past 5 seasons of Mad Men has Katherine given any support encouragement or shown any generosity toward Peggy – and forget about love.”

      This seems unfair to Katherine. Clearly she’s a tough cookie, but I remember being moved to tears at the way she said ” I’m going, but I’m not leaving, Peaches” in Season 2’s The New Girl. Indeed, during much of Season 2 we were theorizing that the reason for Peggy’s sister Anita’s resentment of Peggy was jealousy that Peggy was Mom’s favorite.

      • That was the exact quote I thought of, Mel.

        Some people are a lot better at being there for needy people on the bottom than being there for independent people on the top. My first husband was AWESOME whenever I went to pieces, hateful and bitter whenever I was in a good mood. Maybe Katherine is one of those.

      • She needs to read this—- The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir (1949)
        Introduction: Woman as Other (!?!)
        — ‘The Other Woman’ is the name of episode 11
        http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/ethics/de-beauvoir/2nd-sex/introduction.htm
        FYI – I LOVE that Peggy’s Mom never gave up on Peggy for being pregnant– BRavo!

      • My sentiments precisely, Melville.

        Katherine is old Brooklyn Catholic. She’s a dowager. She’s fierce and protective, opinionated and blunt. Her harshness is tinged with unyielding love, rather than the other way around.

        Her approach sounds borderline abusive to our contemporary ears. But make no mistake she loves Peggy and Anita with every fiber of her being.

    • I had a rough relationship with my mother too. My mom was a tradional housewife and mother. I went to college and wanted to know that I could take care of my self and I did not marry until (god forbid) my mid-thirtys. I felt like she did not understand what I was doing with my life but bragged to her freinds that I was successful. It seemed like this was her way of justifing my choices to somehow making it all seem ok. My therapist said that when a child takes a different path, the parent sometimes feels like the path they wanted for the child was rejected or the child is saying that the role the mom had must not be good enough because the daughter is choosing something different, not wanting to be like mom.

      just a thought.

    • I think I agree.

      I think I also saw both Peggy’s conscious and unconscious impulses at work when she did seek feminine advice in this episode — from Joanie, before her dinner with Abe. It was in her questions, the way she described her relationship and her feelings about the dinner (“I think he’s gonna end it”), but it was also in her whole approach to Joanie.

      “Really? That’s you,” she replies, when Joan explains that “when a man insists on a meal he has something important to say. Usually a proposal.”

      Everything about this interaction told us that Peggy sees Joanie as a beautiful, valuable woman, one whose value men recognize. She does not see herself in the same light — even though Peggy is a beautiful, valuable woman herself.

      That uncertain sense of self comes from somewhere. I’m looking at you, Katherine.

  3. Peggy’s Mom was blind sided by this outrageous move of Peggy and Abe’s being sprung on her. Mrs. Olson gave Peggy good advice. Peggy should follow it. Peggy knows that her Mom cares. There were tears in Mom’s eyes. Pegg saw them and Peggy heard the concern. Mrs. Olson knows what is likely in store for Peggy with this fiasco. I didn’t see narcissim. Many parents are not comfortable verbalizing specifically “you are great” etc. Some of this is ethinic behavior. I have relatives of similar background who would never say the specific list of things, but their care and concern would be heard as Mrs. Olson’s was. I rewatched the episode and Peggy certainly was disappointed, certainly was settling, and certainly knows her Mom’s worries for Peggy are legitimate. Joan was being kind. Joan is concerned as well. Moving in with Abe to make it more convenient for Abe, and part of this was motivated by Abe’s displeasure with the guys in Peggy’s office earlier in the day, is not in Peggy’s best interest. Peggy should get a cat. Let Abe do his countercultural thing withou subjecting Peggy to societal scorn. Get married later, if they want to and when they are ready.

    • Some parents are not comfortable expressing warm, thoughtful concern, true — but that doesn’t make a sharp, cold remark suitable for every occasion. I don’t recall Mrs. Olson ever making anything but the latter to Peggy. I think the woman’s never heard about flies, honey, and vinegar.

      And I know, I know, we all speak in anger at times, but if there was ever a situation where an opposite reaction would have been suitable, this was it. Maybe that’s what kills me most of all, because I have a strong aversion to speaking out of anger.

      I’d love to know if Mrs. O was any different before her husband died. I wonder if she blamed Peggy at all for being present at his moment of death.

      And I disagree strongly that a cat will fix Peggy’s problems, but then, I like dogs, not cats. 😀

      • I agree, she should get a dog, and bring it to the office.
        Seriously, Katherine is a bitter, anxious and conventional person whose own intelligence and drive appears stifled. (Does she work?) What kind of advice can such a person give to a daughter like Peggy who actively seeks more and better?

        BTW, it did seem ridiculously naive to think that Katherine would react positively to the shacking up news. Did Peggy truly expect better than what she got? Her mojo isn’t working lately. First her fumble with Heinz, now this.

        • At best, I think Peggy would have gotten. I don’t agree but it is your life.

          I wonder if Mama Olson is worried about how others will think of her as a mother of a daughter who lives in sin. She seemed like she would rather it be a secret that she does not have to aknowlege.

          • I’m sure she is burdened by yet another Peggy secret she has to carry. Tell her friends at church the latest news? No way. Every time Peggy takes another step toward modernity, it’s a stab in her mother’s heart. Oy.

          • I will leave it for others to point out Mrs. Olson’s flaws. Here, Mrs. Olson is spot on. I am more of Sally’s generation than Peggy’s, and yet this scenario played out time and again for young women my age. Mrs. Olson’s warning, he’ll use you for practice and then he will get married, and when he does, it won’t be to you, was correct. Mrs. Olson is not a mother of year award recipient, and there may be some self-interest on Mrs. Olson’s part in that Peggy is embarrassing the family, but mostly this is genuine, realistic concern for her daughter. Oh, Peggy.

          • In response to Marylou and others:

            I don’t think we’re arguing that Mrs. O’s reaction wasn’t period-correct, nor that it doesn’t indicate part selfishness, part concern for Peggy. I think some of us are just lamenting that Mrs. O does the things she does. They make us wince because they are so true-to-life, and I think most of us want better things (and people) for our dear Peggy.

            By the way, I’m in my mid-thirties and living with my (male) partner, and last year, my stepmother told me she’d “like to see a little more commitment.” Also, when my uncle and his soon-to-be-wife moved in together (some 14-15 years ago), their home was called the “love shack” by close family members, and the term “shacking up” was thrown around, both in jest. So, some things never change.

          • Marylou, Mrs. O doesn’t know how to frame this in any other way besides “he’ll use you for practice”. We do. If they live together and then don’t get married, well, that’s life. They weren’t supposed to be married and they figured it out. Period accuracy notwithstanding, I’d like to think we are watching Peggy challenge her mother’s prediction, like she’s challenged so many other predictions and expectations, even though she clearly wants the validation of being proposed to. But c’mon, she’s not ready. There is no reason to think this couldn’t be a valuable experience. I’m sure I am biased as someone who doesn’t believe any relationship has to be on a straight line to marriage. I just outright cringe at this either/or of Peggy either insisting on marriage or becoming some used practice doll that Abe throws out with the trash. This is Mad Men, it’s not going to be that simple–just like like life is never that simple.

          • Yet, if Peggy lied by omission and mamma found out, ther would be hell to pay. She would be equally pissed about her marrying a Jewish boy as well. She’s a big bucket of fun, that one.
            I used to work for a very pious couple, which is fine untill they started to pressure me about going to church with them, knowing I’m agnostic (and a failed catholic) I suppose a big ol sinner like me was a big get for them. Soon, my lack of interest in their churchiness began to be reflected in my reviews, especially when he refered to me and my BF (now husband) as “the fornicators” with a straight face. I had nothing to loose with my response. “Jealous, much?”

          • kturk – I think the church failed you, not the other way around (in my experience) so go with lapsed, not failed, catholic.

            Mrs O has always been a piece of work, a lower class version of Betty in a way. Probably had an equally damaging upbringing from HER mother. Plus anxieties from being widowed and raising two daughters largely on her own. Anita’s husband is no prize – who’s actually supporting the family, anyone know? Maybe Katherine’s late husband left a nice insurance payout or annuity.

            Peggy will never get validation from her mother, even if she wins a Pulitzer (“nice, but does it keep you warm at night?”) Peggy has been a disappointment to Katherine since she didn’t go straight from high school to the altar and started popping out grandchildren, which was the expected route at that time in her neighborhood. You want to work, clerk at the local store until you get married – it’s a way to meet a nice young man. Personally I don’t see Abe and Peggy together down the road – Michael, maybe. I think his personality works better with her than Abe’s – but that’s just me.

    • she was too mean to even leave the CAKE !

  4. I think Sally Draper received a very mixed and convoluted message in at Codfish Ball. You don’t want me to wear go go boots or make-up,yet I can witness the mother of my father’s wife preform a sex act on my father’s business partner.What Mr Weiner are you thinking when you speak of parents wanting best for their kids? Megan and Peggy are both adults, Sally is a child. I can watch Don and Roger destroy themselves,I will not continue to watch Mad Men if you continue to write scripts that this.

    • Agreed. I didn’t think much of that scene either.

    • Not sure I follow why this particular scene is more offensive to you than others. Besides, intentions and realities are often different, and perhaps nowhere is this truer than in parenting.

      So much of MM is true-to-life that I’m not sure why you’re singling out poor Sally being the recipient of an arrow that may have been meant for Emile.

      • This was a scene of a child watching a sex act.Weiner went way over the line on this one.I have no problem with consenting adults having sex.I have not seen gratutious sex in Mad Men until tonight.Sally is a victim plain and simple.It showed no regard for Sally.She can not confide in either of her parents.She could confide in Glen. I don’t want to see that on Mad Men either.

        • But… children DO walk in on sex acts between consenting adults, and do see things that they shouldn’t (some of which are not sex acts). I don’t think that MW portraying this as disrespect for Sally, at all. I think it’s his way of showing us just how clueless and disrespectful the adults ARE, and how it affects the children.

          This is a long way from exploiting Sally by having her be victimized by someone else’s unwarranted attention. And, by the way, that does happen. The catcalls, the sexual come-ons, Sally is at the age in which it starts. Really. Many a woman will tell you so.

          • That’s right. The moment breasts pop out, it starts. It’s a very very strange transitional moment. Sally’s transition is harsher than some because of the behavior of the adults in her life.

          • The parallel I instantly drew to Sally’s experience in this episode was the time she was shooed away from the grown-ups discussing Grandpa Gene’s death and witnessed the news story about Thich Quang Duc lighting himself on fire.

            In this case, she was not shooed away from the grown-ups, but nonetheless got a much larger dose of reality than anyone realized.

        • A victim of what? The overwhelming feeling I get from MW DVD commentary and interviews is that he wants to tell the story of Mad Men like real life. He doesn’t seem to want to gloss over the not-so nice realities for the sake of a TV show.

          Like MarlyK said kids DO walk in on sex and are in general exposed to many things they shouldn’t be, in real life. Just as it is also a reality for many kids that they don’t feel secure enough with their parents to confide in them or they choose not to for some reason. This is life, why are we getting upset that a TV show is portraying it?

          And really, are you saying it is worse for Sally to walk in on some sex than it is to be well aware of her father’s cheating philandering ways? To me, the latter would be more damaging.

          • This is a show, after all, that put the same actress into a plastic bag, while playing with a neighbor child, in Season 1. Certainly putting a plastic bag over your head is as dangerous to a child, if not more dangerous, than walking in the wrong room at the wrong time.

            Now, you would have a legitimate concern about the actress being exposed to things above her understanding, especially because Kiernan Shipka has said in the past that her parents do not let her watch the show. From the way the scene was shot, I really wonder what she actually saw for her scenes, and how much of the explicit stuff was shot with her off set.

          • I did wish that Sally had only seen them kissing. That would have been shocking enough.

          • CPT, I agree with you: How the scene was shot I don’t think Kiernan actually saw what the show showed she saw.

            Stephanie, I don’t think kissing would have been shocking enough. Sally has seen kissing and probably discussed it with glen at least.

          • CPT_Doom:

            I would be beyond surprised if Weiner had young Kiernan witness “the act”. It would be wholly unnecessary – and would almost certainly damage the trust he has undoubtedly earned with The Parents over the years.

            I’d be fascinated to see how her direction went with the reaction shots and aftermath approaching and at the table – those were very effective IMO.

        • I was — I’d almost use the word traumatized — by the Sally scene.

          It wasn’t because something cruel and unusual was happening to Kiernan Shipka. It wasn’t even because kids should never see that, because of course they have, and probably still do.

          It’s because that is what happened. I remember the 1960’s and ’70s. We might as well have been invisible, for all that we mattered to the adults.

          • The thing about seeing that? It’s so unattractive. She is old enough to have sex fantasies. They are romantic. They fade to black. Clothes melt away. Bodies lay at attractive angles. Soft-focus lighting is real. Heads bobbing up and down? Do. Not. Happen.

        • Sally has been confiding in Glen for years – he is the first child of divorce she knew and has always given her straight advice. He doesn’t lie to her about important stuff and he is a few years older and more experienced in life, such as it is. Kids talk more with each other at that age; the only difference is her confidante is a guy, not a girl.

          Can you imagine Sally trying to talk with Betty about what she saw? Ye gads the fur would fly: at Sally, at Don and Megan (even though they know nothing about what happened) at Roger (appropriately) and if she reads the phone bill, at Glen and his mother and again at Sally.

          And while normally I think she might ask Megan, given that it was her mother involved with Roger, there is no way Sally would bring it up with Megan.

          Calling Dr Edna!

          • Sadly, Dr. Edna is history. It will be off-camera, but let’s hope that Sally reruns her shocking story with Glen before Betty cuts off the phone privileges.

          • I wish Dr. Edna would come back! They could send Bobby also. For Sally to tell Glenn what she saw would have meant giving Kiernan too much information.

          • Sally is already disillusioned (even damaged) – not too much, we hope. A place to vent is a good thing.

            Good point about Kiernan – I’m not suggesting they dramatize that particular phone call.

    • These are two very different things. It’s not like Don sanctioned Sally’s “revelation” at the Ball, if anything she stumbled upon it.

      Besides, isn’t that kind of the way of real life: no matter how much parents think they can control the actions of their children, there are SO many thing parents have absolutely NO control over. Like walking in on a scene like this. Besides, Sally is at an age when she is becoming interested in sex and she certainly is not going to go to Betty or Don for info…perhaps Megan but more likely Glen and magazines.

      • As a precocious kid who went to many “grown up events” at around the same age as Sally, never once did I stumble on anyone doing anything like this. Heck, as a grown-up I’ve never caught anyone doing anything untoward at a social event. And I don’t consider my crowd to be particularly staid. So I am going to cut Don a break about the advisability of taking Sally to the ball.

        • Exactly! It’s not something that is on a parent’s check list…

          I keep thinking how would Don react if he knew what Sally saw…me thinks it would not bode well for Roger.

        • I did. On more than one occasion. I remember very little of them, except by the time I was Sally’s age I was all eyes and ears before entering an out of the way room or dark corner lest I saw something I couldn’t unsee.And I did not grow up in swingerville, either. It happens. If there are enough adults and alcohol, it happens.

          • What was distasteful was were the PLAYERS in this little act, probably more so than that she was an accidental voyeur. Although from what I remember after discovering my Dad’s Playboy stash, at that age sex looks like it’s positively disgusting. I remember learning about it in Sex Ed class and thinking to myself, “Well, I’ll just have to grit my teeth and be brave.”

      • Sally’s experience at the Ball was because of neglect as is so often the case for her. Roger is the salesman, Don didn’t need to be away from the table the entire night. I thought Roger was sweet to Sally and there was nothing wrong about his saying she was his date. Sally would have loved to have Don say that and have some attention from him. Megan will leap to the ladies room with the other wives but was too focused on herself and Don to go with Sally. She doesn’t really care about bonding with Sally

        • That’s an odd interpretation. Sally got up to go to the ladies room — not neglect. She wandered about a bit afterwards, curious as to what a real ball was like — not neglect. Don was up and around and circulating, but also quite clearly, as we saw, was also at the table with Sally. Megan might have gone with her, but when “wives” go to the ladies room, they go to fix makeup and gossip. Sally wasn’t wearing makeup, wasn’t privy to gossip, and was too old to require accompaniment.

          It’s really not neglectful parenting to assume a 12 year old can leave the table at a private party, pee, and come back, without witnessing a blowjob. In fact, IMO it’s helicopter parenting to assume she needs accompaniment.

          • That makes sense about Sally and the makeup. Sally is neglected a lot but not that time.

    • So many of you folks don’t seem to understand (or care?) that this sort of thing happens. I clearly remember walking in on people at a large party my parents took me to. Yep, an ad firm’s Christmas party, not that it would have to be an ad firm. It seems rather childish to draw the line at “that sort of script.” Grow up.

      • Glad the office parties I went to with my parents were outside at a park-like Slavic social club. The only wiener I saw was on a bun.

      • Really? Is this the norm – strangers meeting and a couple hours later engaging in extremely intimate activity in a side meeting room where their colleagues and family are having an event? In a room where anyone can walk in at any moment. Good grief.

        • Seriously. I don’t know whether I should feel appalled or deprived.

          • Deprived, certainly. But surprised? People have been quickly hooking up at parties starting in high school. All that’s required is semi-privacy and opportunity.

          • and hah! to you

            Glad to be deprived. I would have been traumatized. At this age, reading a very dirty book I found (at a sleepover party) gave me nightmares for weeks. Seeing this? I’d have been a basketcase.

        • At one time, it was. Believe it.

          We really have to take our 21st-century-parenting blinders off for this one. Fact: there was a time when people just didn’t care what their kids saw.

        • I’m not sure I would classify a blow job as “extremely intimate” but maybe that’s just me.

          Frankly, the part that truly surprised me was the actual choice of the sex act shown. I could had totally seen them getting it on on one of the tables in the room or something, with maybe Roger’s pants around his ankles or similar.

          Up until that moment I have not viewed Megan’s mom as someone who would so willingly just service a man she just met hours ago. I got the impression she held herself to a higher standard, so to speak.

          • I do/don’t want to know more about how MW views service sex (eg hand jobs and blow jobs). These acts seem intended to convey all manner of complex meaning. I’m not sure I am really getting that meaning.

            I’m thinking of Peggy and Marie Calvet in recently episodes.

          • Ivona, we were wondering the same thing at our house. I believe the actual comment stated was “what’s in it for her?” You stated it more explicitly( no pun intended) than we did.

          • I think she did it for the payoff of emasculating her husband. She didn’t even do it for her own pleasure.

          • I think in the case of Peggy and Mrs. Calvet, they were seeking male validation and their respective partners weren’t offering it. Peggy got a thigh stroke and free pot from an attractive guy in the movie theater; Mrs. Calvet got the razzle dazzle from Roger. I think it’s interesting how MW characterizes these reactions to male attention. (Compare it to Joan when Lane kisses her unprompted, for example.) Everyone seems to be on different levels of tolerance.

          • Nope, Marie has been “flirting” with any male with a pulse for some time, I think, in response to her husband’s “graduate students” (mistresses/flings.) She wants to continue to feel young – she is much younger than her husband and competitive with Megan, so Megan tells us. And the touching Don six times in an hour is not “just French” as he surmises. Roger lit on Marie from the moment she tied his tie in the apartment, had been watching each other all evening, and her little speech at the bar of never being too old to try something (someone?) new was the last spark. The only surprise to me was Sally accidentally walking in on them.

    • Kiernan wouldn’t have even been needed on set that day. When she did the scene they could have told her that Sally saw something inappoproprate which isn’t too specific for a 12 year old. Sally has certainly seen plenty of things like that! Don telling Bobby and Sally to watch TV and going to be with Megan to listen to his parents was him just being a kid himself. I have seen that happen more this season, maybe being with Megan is taking him closer to being Dick Whitman.

      • I could totally see the direction being something like, open the door, and pretend to see something shocking, disturbing, and slightly gross.

        • Yes, I imagine that as well. I don’t think MW or Kiernan’s parents would have had her actually witness that. I agree Marly, that it was payback to Emile for his calling his student. I also think she is the kind of woman who would still want to know men find her attractive.

          All of Roger’s judgement and newly minted ambition flew right out of his head and on to the other one…anyone, could have walked in on them, including all the execs he was wooing all night.

          • Except, in 1966, none of the execs would walk into the ladies room.

            Roger might be a horndog but surely not that careless.

      • I have never met Kiernan’s parents but even if they are not as protective as has been written about them, there are laws about what language and scenes can be done in the presence of children. In a previous season after Sally was caught masterbating at a friend’s sleepover and the friend’s mother brought her home during the night, Sally was immediately sent upstairs before the other mother told Betty what had happened. This was done because by law Kiernan could not hear the dialog.

    • Sally wasn’t supposed to see the oral sex scene. It wasn’t like it was happening out in the open. It was behind a closed door, and Sally opened it by mistake.

  5. Several observations:

    – this should have been a conversation that Peggy had with her mother alone, instead of pushing Abe on her during that dinner
    – does Peggy really want marriage? I don’t think so… she thinks she SHOULD want marriage because that’s what good girls want (flashback to that gaudy pink dress every girl should want to wear she was clearly uncomfortable in)
    – is Peggy afraid she’ll end up alone? Probably, and that is where all those loving statements from the mother should have come

    On a more personal note:
    Having seen how my husband is treated by his mother and constantly put down, I have to say that some parents just flat believe their kids are doing everything wrong. a lot of parents just don’t know their children and interpret all of their children’s desires and wants through their own self-absorbed looking glass.

    Is Mrs. Olson one of those? I don’t believe so, not entirely but she certainly has a VERY defined idea of what kind of life her daughters should have.

    “I’m not giving you cake for living in sin.” Ha!

    • I also thought Peggy looked uncomfortable in the pink dress. Like she was trying to wear a dress to play apart. Do you think the pink dress wa Joan like? Maybe matronly? I can’t figure it out.

      I also do not remember Peggy wearing pearls before.

      • Peggy’s a woman in a man’s world, especially at work. She has a uniform, almost armor, for work. Pink is feminine and personal. She can let out who she really is — and who she might want to be — with Abe.

        This is my interpretation because I didn’t wear pink until a few years ago. I wasn’t comfortable with it because I always thought I saw “girly-girl” women wearing it; it stood for a type of personality I couldn’t stand. I remember wearing a lot of drab-colored and shapeless clothing until I was about 25, I think.

        I changed my mind because I changed my perspective (on many things), and now I wear a few shades of red and red-purple a few times a week. I own my pink!

        • So is blue. Remember Peg “crashing” the “boys only” client party at the strip club?

          • Do I ever! That’s one of my favorite Peggy scenes, not only for her action, but for her appearance. She wore her (longer at the time) hair down in that scene, too, and I don’t remember her ever wearing it like that outside her apartment.

            Let me ask, though: “so is blue” what? I confess that I miss your point.

      • I don’t think Peggy would try to pull of a “Joan” since that cringe- inducing time she tried in the bar with the clients.

        Peggy clearly doesn’t consider herself as very pretty and has low self-esteem. The whole get up to me, seemed like Peggy trying to look like she thought she should. She was wearing the whole package, the hair, make up, pearls and the dress and from the locked in smile on E. Moss face it read to me as “I’m playing a role”.

        The only thing that was pure Peggy was the watch.

        It wasn’t really about the dress being pink as much as it was just not a “Peggy dress”. It was a Trudy or Cynthia! dress, but not Peggy, not Joan and certainly not a Megan.

        • That’s really true. It was not a Peggy dress and it did strike me as a Trudy or (on a slobby day) Jane dress. Peggy’s attempt to look like her peers. That to me seems to indicate that she is not really that keen on marriage, at least not traditional marriage, if she had to dress up like one of them to play the role of eager fiancee.

        • peggy looked like she was wearing a school girl uniform when she was talking to Joan and then went out and bout the pink dress. I agree, it is not about the color but the style. maybe we were suposed to see Peggy as a young girl and then as a woman?

      • In my recap, I defined the pink dress as Peggy’s little-girl Princess dreams (she thinks she’s going to marry a prince) and the blue high-neck number as womanly and reality (no she’s not).

        • Good point! I haven’t noticed until T&Lo’s Mad Style post but Peggy’s blue number and Megan’s blue/green dress when her parents arrive are quite similar in colors and pattern.

          Another great point was about Peggy’s blue dress being her “church and visiting home” dress. Makes sense she would put on something more expected (than her work outfits that would just annoy Mrs.O even more) for the dreaded news delivery.

      • Peggy has lost any sense of style. She looked better in season 2. The dress she was wearing to talk to Joan was just weird and the pink dress was not becoming on her. Pegg’s makeup has been done to look bad this season. The dress she wore to have her Mom cover over looked like she had borrowed it from her sister.

        • She has some stylish numbers, that green (girl- scouty) dress, the racing stripe black, and the one she wore while they were eating lunch at the office. I just don’t think she would be making enough money to revamp her whole wardrobe so she has to be prudent and shop wisely maybe?

          She certainly seems to have her fair share of white button downs.

      • Agreed. I imagined she was going to walk in wearing a fetching black dress. That totally threw me off….who was that woman???

  6. While I cringed at Katherine’s pot-shots at her daughter…I’ve heard them myself. Harsh, yes…permanently wounding, perhaps. When a bad relationship of mine ended years ago, my own mother carped “I told you so.” When I married my current spouse, my mother would not allow me to move home for three weeks prior to my marriage (I’d owned my own home and had sold it prior to moving into my fiance’s home) because I was already “more or less, living in sin – why pretend otherwise?”…and then, when I married, my mother (and my father) were nowhere to be found.

    Now, as the mom of an almost-23-year-old daughter, I have to bite my tongue when she goes ‘searching for love’, hoping to find the ‘right one’. I don’t want to be my mother…but…I’ve had the time and distance to look at my mother…as objectively as possible. She came from a broken home, with an abusive drunk for a father, who’d lost her twin at birth (and she didn’t know this until she herself was a teen), and who married at 20 to a good man (but she was in over her head). Her decision to bear 8 children to make her life complete was a mistake, as she’s only warm to children between the ages of birth and ‘the terrible twos’ –

    What’s this all about? I guess to say that Katherine Olson is afraid for her daughter, looking through the prism of her own life, but has neither the strength or the compassion to tell her the right way. Oh, and I’m two years ‘younger than Sally’…

    • Judy, The discription of your mother is very similar to mine.

    • Judy, that’s a brave bit of sharing. You should be proud of yourself for coming from that unsupportive background and becoming the awesome woman you are.

  7. Not all parents say loving things. And not only because they feel uncomfortable with saying those things. Some parents are not nice people at all. Everyone should remember that…

  8. Now I want cake and sin.

  9. While Peggy’s mom could have used her words better, I think it was totally in character and totally correct for the time. When my adult sister in the 1970s went on vacation with her long time boyfriend, she was disowned. My parents were raised in strict religious households just as Peggy was and they could not fathom then and probably even now, their children living in sin. The irony of this is that my parents were trailblazers. They entered into an interfaith marriage at a time that this was just not done back in the 50s

  10. Deborah, I loved your list of things that Katherine could have said to Peggy. Those would have been the perfect, loving things to say. Too bad Peggy doesn’t have a mom who is capable of saying thing like that. She deserves one.

  11. Great, endlessly discussable post, Deb!

    As badly as I reacted to the way Katherine said the things she said, she had a point. On a second watching, I paid attention to what Abe said, and when, where, and how he said it. I also paid attention to the things Peggy said about the relationship — to Abe and to her mom.

    Abe originally calls Peggy from a phone booth, looking anxious (or maybe that’s just his face? He’s Anxious Guy?). She wants to know what’s up, offers to come by. He turns that down flat (“I can’t say it there”), and rings off. She felt his anxiety, and that’s why she went to Joanie for advice.

    At dinner, Abe describes his affection for Peggy, but he never calls it love. He never uses that word, not once, and neither does she (“You make me so happy.” “Me too.”). He draws a picture of what sounds like an adult vision of playing house (“grocery shopping …”), and Peggy buys it. She should be disappointed in his presentation (I WOULD BE), but she buys it.

    Later, the couple tell Katherine that they are “very serious about each other.” “I’ll take very good care of her,” Abe promises. Katherine is disappointed in the presentation. She sees right through it.

    My guess, after the scene in the phone booth and the scene between Peggy and Abe in the restaurant, is that Abe has been evicted, or is losing his home for some other reason.

    I’ve taken heat for being anti-Abe on this blog before. I accept that. But I think Katherine has a point when she calls him “that boy,” and rants that he “is using her”. Is it the Katherine side of me, that sees Peggy’s inherent value, and wants something vastly better for her?

    Perhaps. I hope I’d say it better, though.

    • Katherine is disappointed in the presentation. She sees right through it.

      “My daughter is in the persuasion business and frankly I’m disappointed in your presentation.”

    • Abe was upset with the talk in the office. The guys ribbing Peggy about eating too much chinese might make her go up a cup size and discussing the Playtex account. Abe didn’t like it. Next we see, Abe is proposing the shack up. Is Abe a complete dolt as someone else asked? He didn’t once say a thing that would make even a nod in the direction that this was an unusual this to do – and he had to know it was unusual in 1966. He didn’t say anything about and I hope one day we’ll get married or anything. Just, gee how inconvenient it is to be at the same place at the same time. I am finding our hook ups to be hard to scheduled, so lets move in. I think your place would be best.

      And then to shove this abomination in Mrs. Olson’s face!

      Goodness.

      • Oh, oh, and I forgot this part, Abe says to mrs. Olson (referring to Peggy) “I’ll take good care of her.” My word! Talk about being disappointed in the presentation. Abe definitively demonstrates to Mrs. Olson that he does not have a clue (or, to Mrs. Olson at least any intention) of taking good care of Peggy by announcing the shack up. That part almost made me laugh. Seriously, you think verbalizing “I’ll take good care of her” while you are announcingto an Irish Catholic Mom that you will be living in sin with her daughter is going to go over well.

        • So agree with all this.While I do think Ma Olson was rather harsh in her words, I truly believe that she is much more concerned for Peggy’s happiness than “What will the neighborhood think”?. I think many viewers don’t get that, and are ready to just cast her off as the villain in the story because, hey, she’s old, she’s religious, its easier that way. I was happy watching the “Inside Mad Men” video and hearing that Weiner pretty much thought the same thing.
          If the relationship with my mother has taught me anything is that you can say the harshest, most angering things with the best of intentions.I still struggle with this obviously, but I have never stopped believing her main concern, always and above absolutely anything else was me and my happiness.Even when we’ve had very diferent visions of what my happiness would be.
          Abe being evicted?At first I laughed it off, but his conversation with Peggy on the phone did seem a bit too urgent, and he did make it a point to say they could stay at Peggy’s. I wouldn’t rule that out just yet.

          • I agree about Ma’s concern for Peggy’s happiness. There was one point where it looked very much like she was in tears, or choked up.

            I agree also with your comments about your mother. I also have always believed that my mom’s main and only priority was my happiness and that of my siblings. She sometimes said and did things that were hurtful in the moment — but I ALWAYS knew she loved me and wanted the best for me. And coming from that place, a lot can be forgiven. No one, no one else imo, can love you like your mom can. I will miss mine forever.

          • I’m just wondering if others thought that Katherine thought she was being invited over to hear they were engaged…after all she DID buy a cake!
            Would she really have been much happier to hear they were getting married?

            I wish she could have just said, “I thought you invited me to dinner to tell me you were getting married” and zipped it. Would have loved to have seen Abe squirm and hear him sputter.

            Poor Peggy. A world of pain is heading her way.

    • Ordinarily I like Abe, but I thought he was really tone deaf about the request. The way he framed it, the words he used, everything about it, would give any girlfriend in the 1960s (well, except for Peggy) the idea that he was going to propose. And how he couldn’t see Katherine’s reaction coming is weird too.

      • I think that initially, Peggy was so excited by what Abe might be about to say that this is what she actually heard. When he first brings up the subject of living together, she is still delighted, but coy: “How would we ever do that?”

        This is the Peggy who has not considered, until this moment, living with a man to whom she is not married. She is still in he’s-gonna-pop-the-question mode: even giving him the prompt to say it. “How would we ever do that?”

        I don’t think she really hears what he is saying until after she reaches for his hand. And yes: she is the one who reaches for HIS hand.

        I ached for her in that scene. I really did.

        • I’ve been pro-Abe, but you’re persuasive.

        • Her facial expression at the scene cut told everything — there was forced smiling and a crushed look in her eyes. She couldn’t muster up the heat she had for Mr. Heinz.

        • I thought that too! When Peggy asked, “How would we ever do that?” I thought, ‘yeah, are you proposing marriage or asking to just live together?’ I felt like Peggy was paving the way for Abe to answer “Well we’d get married, of course.”

    • “At dinner, Abe describes his affection for Peggy, but he never calls it love. He never uses that word, not once, and neither does she (“You make me so happy.” “Me too.”). He draws a picture of what sounds like an adult vision of playing house (“grocery shopping …”), and Peggy buys it. She should be disappointed in his presentation (I WOULD BE), but she buys it.

      Spot on. And Ma Olson saw it.

      • Considering he is a writer, the presentation really sucked. After the success that Peggy has had, you would think she would be more sure of herself and let it be known what she really wants or at least set ground rules such as we can live together for a while and if it goes well, I expect a marriage proposal, etc. This is a big deal with implications and none of that was even discussed or presented.

    • Peggy asked him at the restaurant “And how would we do that?” which to me seemed like a tell-all sign of “You seriously are not asking me to just shack up with you, this is where you propose dummy!” but he just completely did not catch it.

      Abe cares for Peggy in his own way, the problem is his own way is a bit on the douchey side and certainly oblivious to a lot of Peggy’s strengths. It seems like he only sees the parts of her he wants to or is that just me?

      Him asking her to move in was a total gut reaction to being forced to see Peggy in an uncomfortable light (for him), joking and being equal to Stan and Ginsberg. I wish she kicks him out at some point.

      • The expression “he loves her in his own way” is a real red flag to me. I knew a beautiful young actress years ago who spent an hour crying in my living room about the way the man she was dating was treating her. After a litany of all the ways he ignored her requests and ran roughshod over her feelings, she mopped her eyes with a tissue and said, “Well, I mean, he does love me in his own way.” And I said, “What you need is someone who loves you in YOUR own way!”

        Over the years since, I have never had reason to change my mind about that. Each of us has a way in which we need to be loved. We may be terrible about communicating it (and for some perverse reason, I’m thinking about Pete in the brothel and the girl trying on different ways of relating to him until she finds the one that works), but we know it when we see it. Some women are very bad at making clear to a man when something isn’t right, because they’re afraid of losing him. (I don’t know if men have the same issue.) Peggy doesn’t want to lose Abe, so she doesn’t tell him what she needs. Joan didn’t tell Greg what she needed until she was ready to let him go, not afraid any longer.

        One of my good friends called off her wedding two hours before it was supposed to take place (I mean, the caterers were already setting up and the guests had come in from out of town), which was one of the gutsiest things I ever saw anyone do, because she woke up to the fact that the prospective groom wasn’t treating her the way she needed to be treated. And I was so happy for her, because I didn’t like the way he disregarded her wishes from the first moment I met him, and I risked our friendship by telling her what how I reacted to seeing her in that situation.

        It’s my personal belief that relationships succeed well when people’s ways of loving one another mesh. There isn’t a lot of meshing in evidence on Mad Men, and that’s where the story conflict grows. I keep thinking that we’re not likely to hear, as a closing song, “You’d Be So Easy To Love,” even though it was written 30 years earlier!

    • Abe telling Mrs. O he would take care of Peggy sounds disrespectful. He is practically saying she is a kept women even though it’s more likely he would be short with the rent. I think when Abe saw how Peggy was the guys at her work he thought he may be able to get away with it. He is acting like it is no big deal even though it was for almost everyone at the time not just Catholic Moms from Brooklyn.

      • LOL. So true. Peggy will probably shoulder more of the financial burden for that set up. Abe looks like he will be short on teh rent most of the time. Oh, Peggy, please come to your senses and kick this guy to curb! You are the prize. Wait for someone who recognizes that and treats you like the queen that you are. Proposes marriage and adores that you are smart and ambitious in addition to pretty and sweet!

        • The impromptu call for dinner, coupled with the substance of his “proposal,” made me wonder if he was getting evicted soon and didn’t want to admit it to her.

        • Not just the money. I wonder if Peggy will become responisble for all of the house work since she is the woman. Peggy is too busy to do double the laundry and cooking!

    • Anne B,

      Everything you say is wise, reinforced by evidence, textured, thoughtful, and compelling. Thank you!

      I will present the opposing viewpoint:

      Katherine Olson is not a “bad” person, but a wounded person. She’s lonely in her own right, and in her loneliness, she’s unable to rejoice when others find companionship, unless it’s exactly on her own terms.

      Katherine’s Catholicism is the reason for this.

      It’s worth noting that in 1966, the Second Vatican Council had ended. When Father Gill and the world of Catholicism were brought to Peggy in a direct way in season two, the Second Vatican Council had not yet run its course. This was a dramatic reforming of the Church and its larger ethos. The mass that the Olsons attended in 1962/’63 (I forget which year) was said in Latin, with only the homily being preached in English. In 1966, the mass was said in English (or the native language of the population, wherever it was in the world) thanks to Vatican II. If this episode (“At the Codfish Ball”) had been set in 1964, Katherine’s reaction would have been a lot more justifiable. In September 1966, it’s much easier to locate Katherine in a context of refusing to adjust to the modernizing forces sweeping through Catholicism around the globe, not just America. Katherine, through her loneliness, uses her brand of Catholicism as a crutch. There is a deeply wounded part of her (it would be nice if it were explored, given Peggy’s centrality as a character on the show) that is not allowing her to be tender to Peggy. Katherine, I think, wants the best for Peggy, but she sees that as existing only through the most rigid, doctrinally correct observance of Catholic teaching. Doctrinal infidelity is unacceptable in Katherine’s eyes, and if the degree of infidelity is that much greater, Katherine’s wrath will be that much greater. One recalls the time when Peggy bought the TV for her; Katherine was entirely ungracious, bitter in the depths of her own woundedness, something she has clearly not dealt with. The great spiritual teachers tell us that people lash out in violence, or nastiness, or negativity, or cruelty, or anything similar because they haven’t addressed the wound within.

      There is a part of Katherine, deep down, that wants to be able to give Peggy a word of affirmation and encouragement, but that part of Katherine is buried beneath layers of accumulated bitterness, resentment, broken dreams, and squelched longings from her younger self.

      The spiritually whole person – Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, any faith tradition – carries a warm heart to others even (especially!) when they make mistakes. Katherine Olson is an immensely and substantially broken person with a heart that needs so much healing. Nothing about her words is healing or supportive, nothing is meant for Peggy’s edification. The demand for the returning of the cake – such a petty and damning gesture – offers proof.

      Yes, there’s a strong and reasonable case to be made for Katherine and against Abe.

      I will stand on the other side of the debate table until I see dramatic countervailing evidence.

      • It will be interesting to watch Mrs Olson completely freak out when some Catholic priests become involved in the antiwar and civil rights movements, as some did in the mid/late 60s. (Fr. Groppi & the Berrigan Brothers come to mind)

        I knew older Catholics back then who were scandalized at the Mass being in English and the altar turned around so the priest would face the congregation. My own grandmother continued to carry her old Latin missal to Mass, even years after the liturgical changes has been implemented. Also, the “Folk Mass” completely freaked out many older folks.

        Maybe we’ll see Father Gill again, as a 1960s social activist priest — or maybe he’ll just leave the church altogether and get married, as some priests also did back then.

        If Mrs. Olson is frustrated and upset by changes in 1966, much of what’s ahead may well be the death of her.

      • Yes, this is exactly how I see it as well. As I’ve been reading these posts, I keep finding myself thinking, “But this is really her Catholicism talking!”

        I don’t think the impact of Katherine’s Catholicism on her responses to moral dilemmas, especially moral dilemmas surrounding sex, can possibly be overstated.

        Catholicism has always engendered such an intense fear of sex, especially feminine sexuality, and this is one area where pre-Vatican II-raised Catholic mothers are especially hard on their daughters. “You’re going to get raped!” she said when Peggy was going to move to the city. “You’re going to be one of those girls?”, her sister Anita asked. Then unmarried Peggy has a baby. Later she rejects a nice boy with marriage potential. Then she decides to “live in sin” and has the nerve to tell her mother about it, making her mother complicit in this egregious mortal sin.

        This type of behavior is especially frightening to Catholic mothers.

        • Your post, Stephanie, reminded me of a book I’ve read several times, one that’s very hard to read because of the idea/theories postulated by the Catholic Church going back to the very beginning, about the degradation of women and sexuality.

          “German Catholic theologian Ranke-Heinemann’s impassioned attack on the Catholic Church’s hostility toward sexual pleasure, women and the body is sure to spark controversy” begins one of the reviews. It certainy created heated conversation among my group 15 years ago when I read it. It’s really amazing to be able to trace back some of the taboos and habits that many women and men still hold today. Recommend this book highly.

          • Oops, forgot the books title :):
            Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Women, Sexuality and the Catholic Church

            Uta Ranke-Heineman (Author), Peter Heinegg (Translator

  12. Ma Olson is a battleaxe and Peggy knows it. I love Ma Olson.

    Peaches has had a baby out of wedlock and given it up for adoption. Everyone makes mistakes and Ma Olson handled that well. She stuck by Peggy and didn’t go anywhere. She made her go back to Church as a good Catholic mom would. That may seem horrible to non-Catholics but Peggy clearly found peace that year through that process. It was IMO a good thing. Doesn’t make her an active practicing Catholic but Peggy stopped running from her guilt. I don’t know who on the TV series has the “secret guide to Catholic guilt” on their bedside table but they are doing an excellent job with it IMO.

    Then we had Mark. The nice boy who Ma saw as someone Peggy could marry. He threw her a surprise party and invited her family. And Peggy dumped him for work. We didn’t hear recrimination for that but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was some.

    Ma’s seen Peggy’s past behavior and sees that marriage comes second to work (or at least it did when she was 26 in 1964). And Ma Olson thinks she’s still working directly for the guy that got her pregnant in the first place. Maybe in her head she thinks Peggy still loves Don (whom Ma Olson incorrectly blames).

    So now her modern baby is going to live in sin with a Jewish boy. In 1966 Ma Olson think she knows exactly what is going to happen to Peggy (based on the odds…. no one knows with 100% certainty). But Ma sees a future where Peggy spends the next 5 years living with a man who leaves her. At that stage she’ll be 33 years old and given the “best years” to someone who will likely leave her. Recalling Harry met Sally — it’s not that Abe doesn’t want to get married, it’s that he doesn’t want to marry Peggy.. At least I think this is Ma Olson’s perspective.

    And really, why wait? Why DIDN’T Abe ask Peggy to marry her? Further, why DIDN’T Peggy even talk about it with him? If this is really a modern relationship with equal partners, why is she dependent on him to bring up the topic?

    For my own self, I thinks Abe thinks he’s in love with Peggy and Abe himself doesn’t even know what he’s doing to her. Maybe he’s hesitant to ask for fear she’ll say ‘no’. Maybe he doesn’t believe in the institution of marriage — but then Peggy should have known that already. But clearly he doesn’t know her well enough to know how disappointed she was. We saw the look on her face. This was devastating and she IS settling.

    So Battleaxe Ma told it to her unvarnished. I’ve had to have that talk with one of mine. In a more loving fashion, of course. But when your child is in the lavender haze of romance (or in Peggy’s case desperation), it takes some hard talking to cut through the rationalization. And that’s what Peggy is doing. She’s rationalizing. She wouldn’t have believed platitudes from her mother because that’s not her mother. Her mother told her how it is and Peggy was upset because she knows her mother is right. It was done with nothing but love. And Peggy’s mother will be there for Peggy until her dying breath. She won’t ever show up to the “apartment of sin” again, she’ll invite Peggy only to family events. Peggy won’t come without Abe. But Ma Olson won’t cut off contact.

    She’ll live by her principles and not condone the relationship but still love her daughter. I think Peggy knows that.

    • Well said.

    • I’ve had to have that talk with one of mine. In a more loving fashion, of course. But when your child is in the lavender haze of romance (or in Peggy’s case desperation), it takes some hard talking to cut through the rationalization.

      I love that you did this.

      On behalf of whoever is lucky enough to deserve your child, thank you. 🙂

      • Thank you.

        It’s a fine line between making sure your child understands they will always have your unconditional love but not being able to support a decision if you know it will ultimately hurt them. Sometimes you let it go and know they will live and learn. Other times you have to provide unwanted counsel.

        I think Peggy knows her mother loves her and won’t abandon her, and that’s what matters most.

      • lavendar haze….she was looking for Don’s lavandar candies

    • “Her mother told her how it is and Peggy was upset because she knows her mother is right.”

      Yes!!

    • That’s a good point. Peggy’s family stood by her when she had the baby. then when she moved to teh city. Some families wouldn’t have done that. Peggy’s family would have happy if she turned it around and got married or a cat. Now her Mom didn’t need to think about it, she wrote Peggy off. Peggy was berating her this time, she must not have thought her Mom would actually go through with this . Inviting her to the apartnemtn and putting what they were doing right in her face was disrespeciful, it’s a big deal for an older lady to take the subway in from Brooklyn. Sure hope Abe gave her money for the taxi.

  13. Yes Mrs Olsen is harsh. She’s abrasive. She never misses a chance to throw a well-aimed barb.

    But I think she was spot-on in her comments. She went into that room expecting to hear that Peggy and Abe were getting married, and although I don’t think she’s particularly happy about her daughter being with “the Jew” I think she was willing to accept it.

    And as Deborah said, what did she say, and what did she not? It wasn’t about Peggy living “in sin.” It wasn’t about Abe not being good enough for her. It wasn’t even about Abe. It was about Peggy selling herself short. About not knowing her worth. About being able to stand up for herself in her personal life, the way she holds her own at the office.

    • Well said.

      I also found it upsetting that Peggy, in her anger, “went there” herself: “I’m not gonna marry The Jew.” I thought that was coarse, unnecessary, and so far beside the point that she sounded foolish even saying it.

      I think something did happen, or stop happening, when Peggy’s father died. I know Ma Olson was upset when she was saying that, but I know from my own extended family how hard it is to grieve and be an effective parent at the same time.

      Katherine clearly blames herself for something. I wish she’d found better words to say it.

      • So many times I’ve argued with my mother (digging my heels in because I KNOW she was right but damn if I’ll give in) and thrown in her face something that I think she’s thinking. And guess what? More times than not, it was SO NOT where she was going to go.

        Peggy thought that Mrs Olsen (didn’t she go on to hawk Folgers in the 70s?) was going to object to Abe, but it’s all about Peggy.

        As SueB said upstream, Peggy is not thinking about what her future is going to look like. And Mom won’t have to say “I told you so” cuz she already did.

    • Also, despite that a mixed religion marriage would have been uncomfortable at the least for someone like Mrs. Olson to see for her daughter, Mrs. Olson arrived at the apartment with a nice cake. A cake so delicate that she told Peggy, leave and I will take it out. I got the impression that Mrs. Olson was ready to accept this for Peggy and be supportive despite that it was proably quite different from the Irish Catholic boy that was envisioned for Peggy. Mrs. Olson was ready to accept a new way. Just as she supported and accepted when Peggy had an illegitimate child. Mrs. Olson was there. She didn’t disown Peggy. This was a catastrophic event in Mrs. Olson’s eyes (and a very serious thing at any rate), and she was there for Peggy. She kept the relationship even after Peggy continued working in the same office where Mrs. Olson thinks Peffy was impregnated and dumped. Sometimes it is scary for “blue collar” people to see their first generation college (or Mrs. Deever’s secretarial) graduates leave home, the neighborhood and can seem like a rejection of the family, the tradition. But also can be quite scary because Mrs. Olson knows all of the bad. Irish need not apply. Bad things happen. Women are not treated well and bare the brunt of things such as societal disapproval of the Peggy-Abe shack up. I think people are reading too much evil into Mrs. Olson. There is fear, there is concern, there is much love. And yes there is alot to be improved upon for the execution but again as said by many, Peggy’s Mom was right, was terrified for her daughter. And Peggy and Abe were extremely disrespectful to drop that on Mrs. Olson.

  14. Katherine’s people are Nordic…

  15. Deb, I think this is beautifully thought-provoking. A thought that keeps resonating for me, that came up again in a dinner with Frank Bullitt, Birdie, Anne B and me, is how blog comments reveal more about the poster than the episode; in the similar but more profound manner what we say to our children is often a manifestation of our own anger, hurt, struggle and disappointment.

    As a sport parent, I constantly am amazed at what happens to me when I watch my child play. At a very real level as I watch this little person who looks like me, whom I love, I become the player. When my daughter falls, I fall. When she makes a basket, I make a basket. And each experience echoes back into my playing experience, the game I played well in Kezar stadium in 1975, the horrible error in 1974. This goes a long way to explain (but not excuse) aberrant sport parent behavior.

    I mention this because it is surely the same as we watch our offspring toddle off into their first grown-up decisions of dating, coupling, and co-habitating. Their risks are my risks, redux. They get dumped, I get dumped.

    When we talk to our children from a place of anger and judgment I think it’s because we are re-living our own anguish. Katherine missed the opportunity to support and nurture Peggy and instead she reenacted her own failures to form a successful relationship in her life, or the failure of someone near to her. I think the first step to successful parenting is to fix our childhoods, to the extent that is possible.

    • I think the first step to successful parenting is to fix our childhoods, to the extent that is possible.

      I don’t think anything is more difficult. Or important.

      • Agreed. A saying I have always loved is, from Anthony de Mello: “I am surprised that people fear the future, because the past is so much more powerful.”

  16. Imho, the one single line that stands out above all others in the entire Mad Men series is the one uttered by Anna Draper to Don in Season 3 episode 12 The Mountain King:

    “The only thing keeping you from being happy is your belief you are alone.”

    In the case of Don Draper, being alone is a product of how he was raised and the secretive walls he has erected during adulthood and the years spent posing as not being Dick Whitman.

    But the focus of this post is on Peggy Olson. For her being alone is a product of her job, a woman succeeding in a man’s world, and her appearance, demeanor and personality who does not attract the right kind of man who can make her forget she is alone. The ideal man for Peggy would be a man who would put his own ambitions on hold or who had already fulfilled his and to subsume them to hers. But where do you find these kind of husbands? They are very rare.

    But unlike Don Draper, Peggy has the extra burden of Catholic guilt, as her mother put it, that insists she would be better served in her life to avoid the sin of living together by owning a cat that would help her to forget she was alone.

    So in the extreme Peggy Olson should live out her life unmarried going home to her cat at night. A few weeks ago I predicted Peggy would NOT marry ever.

    And one of the main reasons is that Peggy feels more at home at SCDP and her work environment than she does in her private life. And why does she feel that way: Because she does not feel alone here and has bonded with many of her colleagues as well and earned their respect.

    In Peggy’s own words from Season 4 episode 7 The Suitcase:

    I know what I’m supposed to want in my life but it never feels right or as important as anything in the office.”

    And in addition she has earned the respect of her boss Don Draper and in turn she has given him her loyalty. In Peggy’s own words from Season 4 Episode 1 Public Relations to Don:

    “We are all here because of you. All we want to do is please you.”

    Imho, these two lines represent Peggy’s belief in respect to being alone in that if she does well at work and remains in the good graces of Don Draper she will never feel alone and thus unhappy.

    But where does this leave Abe? Imho, out in the cold, unless Peggy comes to see Abe’s colleagues and friends in the counter-culture movement as able to make Peggy forget she is alone. Now some might now suggest that Abe himself could do that for Peggy and convince her to reject her belief that she is alone.

    Here is why I reject that. Abe is a young man who is driven by his belief that the world is immoral and unjust and that is what compels him to get up every morning, and not to be a constant reminder to Peggy that she is not alone. In addition Abe personally and ideologically does not like the work Peggy does (writes a letter excoriating SCDP for being in bed with the capitalist system etc. which Peggy tears up and tells Abe she could have gotten fired if this had been published). And when you sum it up, like many young men of the counter-culture, Abe is self-absorbed and extremely focused on changing the world and either does not understand Peggy’s belief that she is alone or does not have the time, energy or inclination to address it or to convince her that it is false belief.

    So Peggy is left to exist between the capitalist world of SCDP and the counter-culture world of Abe. And unless Peggy converts to being a full-time, hard-bitten radical in amongst Abe’s comrades on a daily basis, I just don’t see how these folks will be able to nurture her enough so she feels comfortable enough to ditch the appreciation, respect and love she receives at SCDP and from Don. The world of the 1960’s and 1970’s was all about the collective struggle and not finding solutions for folks like Peggy who believed they were all alone.

    Ironically I could see Peggy ending up unmarried living with a cat. And I see her in the end one of the female pioneers who paved the way for the hiring of more female copywriters and universally recognized in the industry. And in that environment Peggy will often forget that she is alone and will have many more good days than bad.

    • An interesting observation about Peggy’s happiness coming from work.

      When she was “pitching” the plan to her Mom she was nervous but she was also faux-happy and trying to put the best face on things. She was giving the rationalization she had come up with. Carefully worded.

      When she was congratulating Megan she was genuinely happy. She didn’t need the ‘right words”, the words poured forth naturally.

      • I like this observation.

      • SueB, yes.

        Those words from Peggy to Megan included, “It’s a good day for me.” She was literally taking pleasure in another woman’s success: more to the point, delighting in the work of another junior copywriter. She even used Freddie’s term: a home run.

        I loved that little scene. It said so much about Peggy, so much that is good.

        • I loved that she used Freddy’s term. That was so special. That showed how connected she felt. She was remembering her own beginning and it excited her.

          • She’s feeling a mentor’s satisfaction at seeing their mentee be successful, and the first time that happens it feels great, to know you have helped another person’s talent contribute to the company. She is basking in the reflected glow of Megan’s success and is genuinely happy for her.

      • Excellent point. I hadn’t thought of that.

        • That’s why I love Peggy at this point, because for all she has had to go through, she genuinely feels positive and excited for other women who succeed. That wasn’t the norm in the 60s, when pioneering women didn’t have networks and were competing for limited positions at the top. So Peggy is very special in this way.

          It’s possible that Peggy will pioneer in another way – in the discussion about Abe most see him as a freeloader of some kind or another, and it’s entirely possible that he’ll leave Peggy. I don’t know what to make of him. But at this point, the fight in Peggy’s bedroom in the last episode not withstanding, he has put up with Peggy’s intense work life, which takes her away from him for many hours of the day and night. And she has dealt with his absences as well. He doesn’t seem, yet, intimidated by her obviously higher income, and we don’t know what financial arrangements they have made. Their relationship may be edging on a model many of us have known and some of us have lived. Of course, if he suddenly expects dinner every night, now that he’s living there, it could mean he’s no more than the self-centered guy many believe him to be. But we’re not there yet and what unfolds could be very unexpected.

          • I don’t know, Tammi. There was something about that scene where they met Ma at the door and Peggy took off her apron. My first thought was, “Peggy has an APRON?” Followed by: she cooked a big dinner, was serving it, etc. I wondered, and the writers didn’t show, who did the dishes???

            If Abe starts expecting dinner on the table at 6, and if Peggy starts delivering it, I think those of us here who have ever been feminists will have to picket the studio! 🙂

    • Thoughts:

      Being coupled doesn’t mean that each person never feels loneliness.

      Being single and/or living by oneself doesn’t mean loneliness.

      Alone-ness is often enjoyable.

      Alone-ness is not always something to forget or strive against.

  17. Yes, great points, Deborah. We’ve all heard of “tough love”–Katherine is all “tough” without the “love.”

    I think she does love her daughter. But, she’s not an encouraging, positive person by any means.

    I know I posted about this a little on one of the other threads, but when Katherine came into the apartment, I immediately thought, “Where’s Peggy’s sister Anita? She has to be the buffer!” Anita has come such a long way since her resentment of Peggy in Season 2 (I guess Father Gil’s counsel helped). I loved how supportive she was of Peggy in Season 3.

  18. Does anyone else giggle at the pun of Peggy’s mother Katherine telling her to get a cat to keep from getting lonely? Katherine = Kat = Cat…

    Cats can be as finicky as parents as far as whimsical expectations…

    *wanders out of the serious conversation for now*

    • Plus, Peggy is allergic to cats.

      • Ha! Human and feline.

        I secretly think she wanted her mother to talk sense into her but just like she couldn’t come straight out and say, “Joan, I need advice,” she couldn’t say, “Mom, does this moving in thing look like bullshit to you?”

        • “Mom, does this moving in thing look like bullshit to you?”

          One of those things you wish you’d hear (or say) in real life, but never do.

          Excellent!

  19. Katherine Olson is an angel next to Marie and Emile. I found those two even more monstrous than step-grandma Pauline. (Who is monstrous in a way I find kind of delightful, actually. But then again, I grew up with a couple of head-cases like Pauline.)

    • I think this whole episode was about parent-child relationships, how toxicity can mix with love and yes, Marie and Emile were monstrous in their own right.

      How good can Megan feel about herself with a seductive mother and such a critical, high-handed father? And I wondered what Emile was referring to in mentioning Megan’s ‘dream’? I can’t imagine he’d be pleased that she was an actress unless she was another Jeanne Moreau, and how many actresses get that far?

      These two made Don and Betty look absolutely angelic in their behavior towards the kids. MW always said that Betty wasn’t the worst mother for that time – Katy O, Marie and Pauline may be what he meant in comparison!

  20. I think Megan’s parents would have been upset if she had lived with Don without marriage. people like them are more conventional than they pretend to be. Them both having affairs is different because they still fit in socially.

  21. My point was not about their reaction if they were in Katherine Olson’s shoes, but that just in general they take the prize for worst parents on MM. YMMV, of course.

  22. I’m not at all certain that Peggy is happy for Megan. Peggy is professional she know the right thing to do. Peggy is probably nervous about Megan taking her job because of sleeping with Don even though Peggy got the job without sleeping with Don.

    • Her delight was genuine. She’s been Megan’s copywriting mentor and her girl hit it out of the park. There has been much more of a “sister” feeling this season. “Sisterhood is Powerful” wasn’t published until 1970 but Peggy’s happiness for Megan’s success and her advice to savor it are a hint of the impending 60s women’s movement, not so much as a political movement but as a feeling of women coming into their own.

  23. My focus on Katherine Olson calling out Peggy on her decision to live with Abe was NOT on the content like many viewers but on the spirit that the words were uttered.

    I had a grandmother who exhibited the same personality traits and personality. These are folks who are chronic dogs in a manger, always mean-spirited, who always see the glass half empty, and who never see anything positive in any decision one makes unless it conforms 100% to what they believe or how they live their own lives.

    My own mother was just the opposite.

    But for Peggy, she had the misfortune to be born to Katherine, who I predict will as long as she lives never come to accept Peggy’s lifestyle and/or the choices she will have made in her life and furthermore wants Peggy to make her loneliness a virtue out of necessity. How evil is that?

    I eventually see Peggy being permanently estranged from her mother. It is only hopeful naivete that is keeping the relationship intact; eventually as Peggy moves into her 30’s she will become less hopeful and less naive and reach the point I believe that she will want nothing more to do with her mother, assuming her mother doesn’t initiate the estrangement first.

  24. I agree Mrs. Olson was pretty harsh and not speaking with a clear message of love. I am not a cat person so I would have spewed at such a suggestion. But, Mrs. O did tell Peggy she was “selling herself short” indicating a sense of respect for Peggy as a woman–that Peggy should demand for herself. She was calling on Peggy to respect herself and either ask for or hold out for what she really wants and to recognize her own worth. Mrs. O might have not liked Peggy marrying a Jewish man, but I gather she would have liked it better than living together. I could be wrong… Peggy is a pioneer, as is Abe. They don’t know yet how society navigates these arrangements and what sort of expectations to have. This is uncharted territory.

  25. I think youse are right about what Momma Olson was trying to convey. However, Momma Olson’s line about the succession of cats to relieve loneliness just stung. What I heard her saying was: “You as a woman have no emotional needs. Or sexual needs. You just need something to take care of.”

    I don’t know. Maybe it hits too close to home, but having been raised to believe that as a woman you should put your emotional needs last so that you’re not imposing on a man, or so you won’t even need one to begin with, well, that was just like getting kicked in the metaphorical nuts. Because, here’s the thing. I may not need a man to take care of me. I don’t need a man to bring home the bacon. But there is a certain type of emotional support that a good partner can give that’s markedly different from what a good friend can provide. And nothing against the owner of The Pink Pussy Cat, as a friend of mine once said, Sometimes you just need a man’s embrace. (Actual comment redacted to tone down the vulgarity.)

    So, I’m a proud feminist and all, but, yeah, sometimes only a good man will do. The irony is that Peggy settling practically guarantees that she will never find that man.

  26. Great article and comment thread! I actually interpreted Peggy’s storyline a little differently: Essentially, I thought the writers were trying question what constitutes a “good” maternal figure. Specifically, Joan telling Peggy to expect a marriage proposal got her hopes up, and that’s the reason she was disappointed with Abe’s question. Had she not sought Joan’s advice, Peggy would have gone to dinner thinking she was about to get dumped, so Abe’s question would have been a pleasant surprise rather than a disappointment (obviously, my theory here interprets Joan as a maternal figure). Katherine may be the obvious villain here, but what Joan said – even though it was loving and supportive – also had a detrimental effect on Peggy. This blurs the line between “good” mom and “bad” mom, and shows that positive maternal figures can sometimes be just as damaging as negative ones. (I know I suffer from high self-esteem because of my parents, and that sense of self-importance has done little to help me in the real world.) I think Peggy’s thread – in addition to all the great interpretations above – shows that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    • In Inside Mad Men, Elisabeth Moss claims her character was disappointed with Abe’s offer to live with each other rather than to get married.

      • Exactly! And if we interpret Joan as Peggy’s “other mom,” then we see that in a maternal framework. Katherine might be the go-get-me-a-switch mom, but Joan is the everyone-gets-a-trophy mom, and I think the episode is purposefully ambiguous about one being worse than the other. As a millennial, the idea that an overly optimistic, friendly advice-giving parent could be as damaging as an overly critical one is really salient for me.

        Like you, techno, I can totally see Peggy living alone with a cat. I don’t see her and Abe going the distance: She’s too capitalist for his counter-culture views, and he doesn’t take her struggle at work seriously, as evidenced by that time he scoffed at “civil rights for women” (in The Beautiful Girls?). Peggy can’t be with a man who doesn’t understand misogyny!

        • It is puzzling that when considering a mate, in the 21st century compatability has to be near perfect. Is this the speed dating phenomena? What happened to those great old couples that had widely disparate personalities, yet loved the crap out of each other till death? Why are we so intelorant of quirks in the ‘other’ personality? We that in love with our shallow selves? Seinfeld ep when he met the distaff version of himself, fell head over heels. Then the realization, ‘I can’t stand being with someone like me, because I just realized that I hate myself’.

          Abe and Peg make a funky couple. Why is it an absolute that he be like her? Don is what Peggy would want. Is that a ‘smart’ choice. Cause he’s got the bucks, acumen, looks, and drive? Don is a sociopath.
          I think Joanie set the seed of expectation in Peggy. Don’t recall her pining for marriage. Now Abe is a loser cause he didn’t fulfill an expectation that Peggy rarely thinks about? Peggy is modern in the fact that marriage to her is not a NEED, its a want. Makes her different than every other character. Far different. Modern.

          I hope she never gets married by choice. TAKE THAT, Ma. It is a mystery to me that hoping for marriage for a woman is not viewed as constricting, or misogynistic, or reducing them to a stereotype. I would only get married at gunpoint. Yet, I don’t disparage the institution. Why is it still seen as a goal to aspire to? Its a landing spot on the board, that’s all. Imho.

          • Oooh, I’ll bite. For some, marriage and child-bearing are seen as goals because no other goals were ever seriously considered. FOR SOME. Not all.

          • All excellent points, tk.

            Still, there was something in the scene-that-wasn’t-a-proposal that you might have to come from a certain perspective to see. I know he was anxious, I know she was excited. I know that he and she both felt something different at the end of the scene from what they felt at the beginning.

            But here’s the thing. Compare how Peggy feels about a proposal to how someone like Abe would feel about a job offer. Whether it’s what you know you ultimately want or not, sometimes you just want to be asked.

            It really is that simple.

  27. Peggy is a rockstar in her own way (she’s had more business sucess than some men could ever get in a lifetime) and there’s no reason for her to settle for someone who doesn’t love her enough to marry her (Abe) yet wants to move in together.

    I think that was what Ma was trying to say (but it came out a bit strong). Hopefully we’ll see Ma Olsen again soon. 🙂

  28. Elisabeth Moss as an actress makes me feel heartbreak like no other actor. Re-watching the scene at Minetta Tavern with Abe, when her smile stays plastered to her face, is more gutting each time I watch it. And when her voice breaks a little when she says, “I think Daddy would want me to be happy”…ugh, you are just too good Miss Moss.

    • I love Peggy’s scenes when she gets personal about how she really feels such as when she tells Abe in the far after they first met how she equates the inequality of women to civil rights and in the The Suitcase when she tells Don about how she feels about dating and her personal challenges.

      Elisabeth Moss has the ability to reveal how deep-seated these issues are to Peggy.

      In contrast I never get the sense from Peggy that she is really committed to saving the world as for example her friend Joyce is. And that you can discern from the tone of her voice and lesser conviction as opposed when she is focused on her own problems.

  29. Deb, this is spot-on. Thank you.

    Katherine Olson may “want what’s best” for Peggy, but frankly, she has no idea what that is. She can’t fathom how Peggy could love her career and not want to jeopardize it even for a “good” man. She thinks everything Peggy values and cares about is stupid, a mere booby prize for a woman who’s not pretty and nice enough to “catch” herself a good provider. Never mind that, for the life of her, she can’t imagine that her daughter might actually (gasp) like sex and not just for procreation. She has given birth to a creature she can’t begin to understand, and she doesn’t even much want to.

    Maybe Peggy wanted to be asked to get married, because it would salve her ego. But honestly, is it “best” for her to marry Abe, right now? I don’t look at these two and see a matched set for life; he doesn’t approve of her values, either, he puts up with them to get a little nookie. I’m not seeing true love there; there’s more of that with Stan or Ginzo than with Abe, and I suspect Abe knows it. If she married him now, chances are that by age 35, she’d be divorced, and no better off than if she’d just lived with him and then split up. In fact, in some ways she’d be worse off; if her mother doesn’t approve of Peggy and Abe living together, she’s going to positively hate Peggy for getting divorced. If she doesn’t hate Peggy already, that is, and that’s a big if.

    • I think you’ve caught what’s going on there the best of all.

    • I don’t look at these two and see a matched set for life; he doesn’t approve of her values, either, he puts up with them to get a little nookie.

      In all fairness, I never got the sense that Abe was with Peggy solely for the sex. They do have an emotional bond, regardless of Abe’s recent mistake. Peggy calls him when she’s disturbed by Ginzo’s story, and Abe does listen and provides her comfort or she wouldn’t have called him to begin with. When a woman feels that a guy wants her just for sex or doesn’t care about her as much, she doesn’t call him in the middle of the night and ask him to come over because she’s upset. This was not a booty call, after all. Abe, for his part, doesn’t just get off the phone when Peggy is feeling vulnerable and disturbed, as many a man who uses a woman only for sex would. He is responding to her need for emotional support. Earlier in the day, they fought because he wanted to go on a date with her and she was too busy. He was the one who was complaining that their relationship was becoming purely sex-based.

      Has Peggy felt safe enough with any man that she can be vulnerable enough to tell him that she needs him? I can’t remember if she has. Either way, although Peggy can do better, as Abe’s proposal shows, I do think that Abe is attached emotionally to her and does want to deepen the relationship.

  30. As cruel as Katharine’s words to Peggy are (especially the cat part), Katherine is clearly from an era when standards mattered more than feelings, even more than the feelings of one’s own child. The standard (both religious and societal) of marriage-before- playing- house was uber alles. “Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?” was the reasoning, and it has some merit, given that sex changes and often complicates relationships. Of course, there are always exceptions to any rule, but Katharine is not wrong for holding to those standards. Peggy is also not wrong for living with Abe, if that’s what she truly wants. They will have to come to a compromise, if that’s possible. I hope Peggy doesn’t reject her family or vice versa. The parent-child relationship, as we all know, is complex; sometimes, both sides have to compromise a little or it destroys the relationship. It’s hard for most parents to see their adult child in purely adult terms, in any era.

    • Gah, can I say how much I hate that “why buy the cow” crap? Yeah, like cows are such scintillating company, you can go interesting places with them, and talk to them about anything and they’ll say witty, insightful things back to you, and they’ll take you in their arms and comfort you when you’re sad…sure, sounds like every cow I’ve ever met. And like I’m just a milk provider and don’t “drink” any myself. The whole thing is predicated on the idea, as Amanda Marcotte once put it, that women all hate sex other than for making babiezzz, and men all can’t get enough of it, plus men are lovable and women aren’t, so women have to withhold sex in order to get men to pretend they love them by going through this whole silly “ceremony” thing that only women actually want, in order to “prove” that they really are lovable. The sooner that shit dies bouncing, the better, far as I’m concerned.

      • The “ceremony thing” is a mutual contract, predicated on a long-term commitment, as difficult an ideal as that is (sh*t happens, ie. death, divorce, adultery, life changes, etc.) I, for one, wish for society to uphold an institution that is thousands of years old and one indicator of “civilization”. However, I do agree about the limitations of the cow-free-milk adage…but there is no such thing as “free” anything–everything has a cost, and someone always has to pay it. People should enter into alternative relationships with their eyes wide open, just as one has to work hard on maintaining a good marriage. I think Peggy has a definite advantage over Betty or Joan in that department. It’s very hard to live up to ideals.

  31. Tasha- I like your take, hadn’t looked at Joan as being a setter-upper, albeit unwittingly.

    I agree with ya’ll about Elizabeth’s acting chops: when Peggy answers “I do” to Abe’s question, the resignation in her voice is heartbreaking.

    And Nordic, how about her total change of voice/demeanor, when, after arguing with Ma, she suddenly switches to “Do you want me to be lonely?” in a guttural, almost primal tone. The voice and fear of single women, neatly captured by one phrase.

    This ep was fantastic. I can see why the cast thinks season 5 is the best so far. Wow, what a whirlwind we’ve been on already!

  32. Some people measure out their lives with coffee spoons, some with cats. (Just felt that needed to be said.)

  33. I just watched Inside Mad Men for the last episode where Matthew Weiner claims that parents like Katherine who come across as battleaxes or consistently dump on their children really do love their children and have their best interests at heart. Weiner leads you to feel that Katherine may not be that far off the mark after all when characterizing how ill-fated Peggy’s decision to live with Abe is.

    In the past two weeks, this is the third time I have disagreed with Weiner’s takes. The first was in episode 6 Far Away Places where Weiner claimed the last scene where Don hugs Megan tightly around the waist showed how much he loved Megan, the second was in the last episode where he claimed the main theme was disappointment and third was his take on Katherine.

    I believe Matthew Weiner is a genius and that he knows what he is doing or attempting to portray on screen but I just don’t see it the way he sees it. Perhaps that is why he is a genius. Mad Men can be digested on so many different levels.

    In the first case I believe Don’s hugging of Megan’s waist was NOT a sign of love but a sign of desperation on his part that he had blown his marriage and thrown it away which he told Pete in episode five that he would never do. At the time I called this episode a huge, huge wake-up call for Don, if he did not heed it, he would pay the ultimate price. For me, Don’s love for Megan is a given.

    In the second case the last ten minutes of episode 7 was full of disappointing moments as was Abe’s offer to Peggy to live together and not get married but overall I did NOT take away that the main theme of the episode was disappointment. Instead I saw the potential for hope. Don finally has come to realize Megan is worth her salt at work, Don has regained his presentation mojo, Peggy’s private life has the potential to becoming more stable, Roger is again talking to Mona, Don is adjusting positively to the fact his daughter is now approaching her teen years and Don and Megan’s marriage has the potential to be solid after some rough patches. And not even the presence of Emile and Marie Calvet could take the edge off that even though both characters made their best efforts to try?

    And finally in the third case with Katherine going off on Peggy, Weiner tries to make the point that she is correct in her assessment that Abe is only using Peggy for practice and that he will eventually leave her and marry someone else. That is not my take at all. I really believe a character like Abe will either never get married or he will marry someone else not out of sexual compatibility but out of political compatibility.

    Katherine’s criticism of Abe is based on the premise that Abe is a normal red-blooded American and simply I do not believe he is. He is a counter-culture adherent, an iconoclast if you will, who does not wish to or will not live by the same rules, standards or code of ethics that the majority of Americans do. On reflection Peggy is fortunate that Abe did not ask her to marry him, because as I have said before the success of their relationship hinges on whether Peggy will become as radicalized as Abe eventually or whether she will remain a cog in the capitalist machine by continuing to work at SCDP. And I believe Peggy will eventually opt for the latter course of action and in turn this will lead to the break-up of their relationship. In other words, I don’t see Abe breaking up with Peggy unless he finds his political soulmate in the many meetings he will be attending or the protest marches he will engage in or because Peggy becomes too devoted to work. If you just want to live temporarily with a gent, Peggy could not do much better than Abe. Katherine will never understand that. I don’t believe Peggy sees Abe as a long-term solution.

    • Techno,

      I find myself not viewing things the same way that Matt Weiner does on many fronts. I see a lot of hopefulness in this episode as well.

      I will point out two things that do support the idea that this episode was marked by disappointment, though I personally think that the better answer is that hopeful people are trying to figure out exactly who they are and precisely what they want out of life:

      1) The shot of Emile, Marie, Megan, Don, and Sally sitting at the table – physically proximate, but clearly five people who are alone in their respective and profound disappointments, all of which were pointed to at earlier points in the episode.

      2) This is not particular to Sunday’s episode, but it’s the core idea of the series: The human person strives for a goal or object, attains it, and then realizes that the attainment of said goal/object did not fulfill all hopes or make longing/restlessness/dissatisfaction disappear.

      I agree with you that the episode wasn’t centrally rooted in or connected to disappointment, and that Weiner’s emphasis on disappointment seems excessive. That said, very few joys experienced by characters on this show are free of disappointment. There’s almost always a gnawing sense that any achievement or satisfaction does not make life as fulfilling as first thought or hoped.

      • mzemek, I find it interesting that Mad Men itself would pursue this course of action by producing a video of Matt Weiner and the prominent cast members after each episode to offer up possible motivations of each character. Talk about instant feedback or keeping the ball rolling over the course of the week until the next episode airs.

        In using the word DISAPPOINTMENT to describe the main theme of the episode I think my problem with Weiner’s characterization of episode 7 may be due to how Weiner views the concept of DISAPPOINTMENT.

        I take a macro approach to DISAPPOINTMENT. In other words I look at what happened overall in the episode and weigh the good with the bad.

        But Matt Weiner may be taking a micro-approach to DISAPPOINTMENT and isolating the cause of the DISAPPOINTMENT irrespective of what has happened in the past.

        • I am surprised that Weiner and cast are saying so much in the interviews. He is so strict about spoilers before the series starts but by giving these interpretations of the characters motives they take some of the suspense away. There should be some mystery. It doesn’t affect my enjoyment but it seems odd

      • Kudos, mzemek. As to point 2. “We ‘re flawed, because we want so much more. We ‘re ruined— because we get these things, and wish for what we had “.

  34. Just to add a little more…stuff…to my prior post…I know my own mother loves me…She’s come around, came to my daughter’s bat mitzvah (you think I’d raise my kid Catholic after mom stiffed my wedding to my Jewish fiance???)..when my daughter went to Israel at age 15 my mother was thrilled to have postcards from her trip to the ‘Holy Land’..and when my daughter went to Israel at age 21-3/4 as a counselor on the same trip she took as a teen, my mother hugged her and wished her safe, happy travels…oh, and she told her this past Christmas that she prays that the right and LOVING Jewish man finds her. So…I know it’s in there…maybe not towards me, but I’ll accept it for my kid… 🙂

    So, yeah, I know my mom loves me, in her way.

  35. Considerations for Katherine’s outburst against Peggy after she finds out Peggy is going to live with Abe:

    a) Katherine feels she can say anything to Peggy because she knows about the baby Peggy gave up for adoption. You have to assume Abe does not know about the baby and Peggy did NOT tell him about it because it might affect their relationship. The phrase hold something over someone’s head comes to mind.

    b) Katherine is at least over 50 years old and that would make her born around 1916. One of the hardest things for humans of any generation is to figure out the motivations of your contemporaries but when you are faced with trying to interpret the motivations of those born in the early 1900’s, the problem is at least five times as hard. But I do know one thing. You cannot even to begin to comprehend where Katherine is coming from unless you know where she came from historically and probably went through in her life.

    I am old enough to remember what folks who were born in this period or even before were like. Katherine is not all that atypical of women of her generation.

    c) I’d be interested to know if Katherine knows or not whether Peggy is on birth control pills. She never mentioned it in her outburst but is she concerned Peggy might have another illegitimate child and compound her previous “sin”? Or flip around: Was Katherine concerned she would not be a grandmother any time soon because Peggy decided to enter a relationship which at the time was not primarily entertained to bear children?

    d) Katherine never hedged her bets like a lot of parents do by including with the outburst “your an adult now, you can do what you want.” What was upsetting on a gut level was that Peggy took a very adult approach in telling her mother she was living with Abe–sounded happy and confident–and her mother didn’t treat it as an adult decision, but instead reacted to it as a child would and then proceeded to scold Peggy as if she was ten years old.

    Mentally Katherine will never accept that Peggy is an adult. How do I know this syndrome? My mother was treated in the same fashion by her mother even when she was in her 40’s and 50’s.

    e) Katherine made a big point of claiming Abe would use Peggy for practice and then move on and marry someone else. In a previous post I dispute that assertion. But what if Peggy’s intentions in entering this kind of relationship with Abe is to practice herself living under the same roof with a man over a lengthy period to see how she would deal with it and how she would feel about it over time.

    For Katherine, that idea never enters her head. And as for Matt Weiner I’m surprised he never ventured into that territory either on Inside Mad Men.

    First as Elisabeth Moss suggested on Inside Mad Men, on some level Peggy is unhappy with Abe not asking her to marry him. So what makes me think that this may be Peggy’s motivation in entering this living arrangement with Abe? Generally here is how the thinking process works: You find yourself in a specific location or situation or agree to being there and once you are there, you then mentally get accustomed to the idea, then decide how you will reside and live within the boundaries of that location or situation, and finally understand the ramifications of living in that location or situation. I believe once Peggy told Abe that she would live with him, that she went through this process, even though she was disappointed that Abe had not asked her to get married, And in going through this process she weighed the pros and cons of it and then reconciled herself with her new living arrangement.

    And part of that evaluation would have included Abe not wanting to have children during their time together in this relationship (Abe is a committed counterculture warrior–I think that can be easily assumed) which Peggy clearly prefers not to have now during her burgeoning career and that she is NOT certain herself whether she wants to spend the rest of her life with Abe. Remember marriage is a lifetime contract. And she may not be sure that Abe’s world and her world are compatible. Remember the fight at the beginning of episode 6 over Peggy bringing her work home with her and Abe making the cheap comment that he was not a focus group. And then we see Abe in episode 7 not being comfortable around the ideas offered up by Peggy’s fellow copywriters.

  36. In analyzing what Katherine told Peggy after she told her mother she was living with Abe, one should distinguish between what Katherine personally believes from her life experiences and Katherine as a defender of her church’s teachings.

    Imho, the lines arising out of Katherine’s life experiences that claimed Abe would use Peggy as practice and marry someone else and that Peggy was selling herself short were not nearly as devastating to Peggy as opposed to the lines uttered by Katherine defending the teachings of the RC church.

    The line “I’m not giving you a cake for celebrating living in sin” as a defense of church teachings was absolutely a shot across Peggy’s bow and formed the basis for her tirade against Peggy. And when you can throw in at the end of her tirade the line that it would be better for Peggy to be alone all her life with a cat for a companion than to live together with a man and not be married to him you are simply invoking a casus belli that could precipitate a long-term estrangement between mother and daughter.

    Finally I thought it was brilliant of the writers to mix in both viewpoints into Katherine’s arguments to Peggy showing Katherine attacking the issue from a parental point of view (church teachings) and a child point of view (her personal views on the subject) while Peggy was staying in the adult mode consistently throughout Katherine’s tirade. For those who are NOT familiar I am talking about the concept of transactional analysis in which it is claimed that communication between two people is virtually impossible if both parties are not on the same wavelength or accepting of the other’s position. For example if Peggy had been receptive to Mama Olson from a “child” viewpoint to her “parental” injunction (church-teachings), they would have communicated. But Peggy was determined to stay in the adult viewpoint and that alone meant that Katherine and Peggy would be at odds on the subject.

  37. I find the concept suggested by Matt Weiner that parents want the best for their kids fascinating and healthy but at the same time I view it as also a bit too idealistic, unrealistic and perhaps even counterproductive.

    Here are some considerations which make me believe that:

    a) A greater majority of parents view life through a lens that is highly dependent on the influence of their own background, environment, Zeitgeist, and the technology they grew up with. What parents may believe is best for their children or expect from their children when they grow up may have little or nothing to do with the present reality. It’s like folks who grew up in the horse-and-buggy era recommending not to invest in GM or IBM during the early 1900’s or warning their daughters of the dangers of getting pregnant after 1960 when Enovid became readily available.

    b) Parents or those closest to you are often the last people to know where your talents lie. For example why did Don not realize before Megan saved the Heinz account that she had these types of abilities or talent? After all Don had been married to her for several months and had the opportunity to view her in SCDP on a daily basis. Do most parents really know what is best for their children or where their talents really lie?

    c) And you cannot discount the idea of dog-in-the-manger parents. In the USA, the accepted paradigm is that parents want their children to have a better life than they have had, which translated usually means a higher income, bigger house, more cars, better vacations, their children given more advantages and a more affluent lifestyle. But in reality there are a number of parents who do not want to see their children advance light-years ahead economically or in status and leave them in the dust.

    Emile Calvet is one version of this type of parent who attempts to demean Megan’s pursuit of a career in advertising by causing her internal pain. Does he really have Megan’s best interests at heart or is he mainly interested in justifying his own personal socialist philosophy?

    And Mama Olson is consistently railing against Peggy’s attempts to live a more independent lifestyle while remaining oblivious that times, they are a changing and more and more women are becoming more successful into breaking into “a man’s world.”

    d) And what if parents think the best for their children is to be married and to have children of their own and to push that idea at every opportunity while the (grown-up) child himself or herself sees his or her life playing out in a different direction and either never marrying or having kids. And in a more extreme form, if a parent has a child who is gay or lesbian, does that parent really have his or her interests at heart coming at lifestyle issues from a heterosexual perspective?

    e) And from the point of view of Mad Men did most adults associated with Don feel it was in his best interests to marry Megan Calvet? Yes, these folks were not Don’s parents but the disapproving looks on their faces could easily have been borne by parents who did not approve of their son’s choice for a bride or vice versa. Are the parents of the groom and bride the best judges of who will make someone happy? If they are why are so many of these parents divorced themselves?

  38. Upon rewatching this episode, one thing has to be said. Perhaps other commenters have mentioned it in various recap threads, but I don’t recall (from looking at hundreds of comments) it being articulated with the plainness and directness it deserves:

    Peggy’s disappointment with Abe’s lack of a marriage proposal was brief, fleeting, and filtered through her expectations of what Joan would think.

    I forgot about Peggy and Joan’s SECOND conversation in “At the Codfish Ball.” I remembered the first one, but I lost track of the second one. In seeing that conversation again, it’s rather clear: Peggy straightforwardly tells Joan, “I thought you would be disappointed.” Joan tells Peggy that’s anything but the case. Peggy’s face brightens up as Joan not only approves of the situation, but tells Peggy that she’s brave.

    I think Peggy was and is totally invested (for now) in the move. Her disappointment was evident at the restaurant, but it was temporary. Joan, who planted the idea in Peggy’s head that Abe was not breaking up with her and had something very different in mind, now refocuses Peggy’s mindset once again from disappointment to self-trust and optimism.

    So, Matt Weiner can narrowly say that Peggy was disappointed with Abe’s inability/unwillingness to make a full-on marriage proposal, but said disappointment did not last very long.

    The postscript, of course, is that when Katherine rips Peggy at the end, Peggy probably does not secretly think that her mom is anywhere close to accurate in her sense of the situation. She’s lamenting that her mom still can’t see/accept her as she really is or support what she really wants. This adds to the “Katherine is locked in her Catholicism” argument, as opposed to the “Katherine is telling Peggy the tough truths she needs to hear” argument.

    • There is nothing inherently wrong with being Catholic or having Catholic values. Have you seen the “Shiksas are for practice” tee shirt? I saw the scene as Peggy trying to convince herself that it was okay while knowning inside it is not okay to treat herself with such disrespect or to allow Abe to do so. Whatever Abe’s motives. From the episode, it was pretty clear that Abe’s motives were discomfort with Peggy’s relationship with the guys at work, Abe’s desire for convenience, to have Peggy more available to him. Otherwise, he was pretty clueless. This is 1966 after all. The biggest problem is Peggy’s disrespect of herself, her culture, her family, when thatis clearly not what Peggy really wants. There could be minor fallout, or even none, but in that time period particularly this could hurt Peggy’s long term chances for finding a nice husband, could hurt her professionally as many powers that be would certainly disrespect Peggy for this and possibly refuse to work with her. It is not a good thing for Peggy. Mrs. Olson is not a bad person for being “locked in her Catholicism.”

      • I fully agree. I grew up with a liberal family in the 70s and 80s and when I was a kid there was still the idea that people lived together before getting married. Most parents would have been displeased by this. Peggy not being Jewish would be a big problem for Abe’s family and by living with her he is almost guaranteeing they won’t get married. Guys didn’t marry women they lived with back then. Peggy’s Mom can be harsh but she wants her daughter to be happy and this decision could turn out badly for Peggy.

        • The point of using the phrase “locked in her Catholicism” is that Katherine uses her Catholicism as a weapon, a cudgel, and not as a teaching tool. She uses it to bash, disrespect and dehumanize Abe, assuming lots of ugly things about him without being warm or empathic to either Abe or Peggy.

          I might as well engage in self-disclosure here since I’ve raised these issues.

          I’m a deep believer in Catholicism — the faith and its essence. I very much believe in abstaining from sex before/outside marriage. I’m 36 and am a virgin, and my Catholic beliefs are very much a part of that.

          What I have failed to properly emphasize — I take responsibility for this failure, so I’ll be more precise now — is that Katherine is legalistic in her Catholicism, not seeming to care for the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and its increased emphasis on the role of the laity and the conscience of the individual in making moral judgments.

          It is true that my emotions and part of my judgments are informed by what we now know of the institutional Catholic Church, and that I can’t project my views onto Katherine Olson in September of 1966. I realize I have done that to a degree.

          HOWEVER………..

          It is rather indisputable that Katherine, given the abruptness of her (re)actions and their contained dismissals of Peggy and Abe as autonomous individuals, has a very closed heart, the product of a deeply wounded individual who does want the best for Peggy, but only within a narrow doctrinal and behavioral framework. That is very much a reflection of being “locked” or “imprisoned” by Catholicism.

          In other words, it’s not bad that Katherine holds certain values or that she sincerely maintains her Catholic faith. What’s self-evidently bad – and this is something that should be visible in a 1966 context, not just a 2012 context – is HOW she uses her faith.

          Religious belief is supposed to UNLOCK fruits of the spirit and warmly encourage people to want to make proper moral decisions.

          What Katherine Olson – again, not a bad person, but a deeply wounded person – is doing is just the opposite: She uses her faith as an instrument of fear and coercion, of oppression and negativity, of evisceration instead of affirmation, of emphasizing how wrong people are instead of how beneficial a different set of choices can be.

          My stern rebuke of Katherine Olson and what she represents is hardly a rebuke of Catholic values. It is actually the precise opposite: a call for Catholic values to become life-affirming, to defend the sanctity of marriage not through disparagement of two young people in a culturally turbulent time such as 1966, but by warm and generous encouragement.

          This all goes back to Deborah Lipp’s astute and emotionally intelligent crafting of her post: There were so many things Katherine could have said to Peggy and so many ways in which she could have said them, so many gestures Katherine could have made to her and Abe and so many ways in which she could have made them.

          That she chose the forms of expression used in “At the Codfish Ball” shows that, yes, she is locked into her Catholicism. Her faith is a prison for her heart and for the ways in which she treats Peggy (and, indirectly, Abe). Her faith, soaked in legalism – that of the Pharisees, not Jesus – does not lead to warmth, to the flourishing of the human person, to the liberation of body, mind and soul in the truest and most validating moral ways.

          I apologize for not providing this clarity and specificity in the beginning, and thereby offending good people who rightly note that honoring marriage and upholding religious values are very good things. (They are.)

          • it is so interesting to talk abou these things. What a great show Mad Men is.

            I take Mrs. Olson as being realistic. Peggy says in an ugly way “I thought you would be relieved I am not marrying a Jew.” And Mrs. Olson says “No, it is not that. He’ll use you for practice.” and then marry someone else. Mrs. Olson is terrified and upset for Peggy. And uncomfortable as it makes us, this is exactly a scenario that has played out time and again. Get your experience with the “other” and then settle down to marry a nice girl of your own kind. Abe is not necessarily thinking that himself at this time. That is what Mrs. Olson knows is the scenario that plays out. With Peggy being the big loser. Abe, when he gets a bit older, will see that his cultural background if not his religious background will matter to him when thinking of a wife and children. Disappointing his mother by not marrying a nice Jewish girl. Etc. You may of course be right, but I see the scene as strong maternal protective instincts on Mrs. Olson’s part. Trying to tell her daugher, it is not because I am prejudiced or a bad person, it is because I care about what happens to you. Wake up Peggy!

          • We don’t know if Abe will want to marry only a Jewish girl, though. We’re making a lot of assumptions about this. This was the usual thing before the 60s, yes, but if this taboo had held true, intermarriage rates would not currently be at 52%. Intermarriage rates before 1965 were still at 10%, which is very low, but still shows that SOME Jews clearly were willing to buck the trend.

            So, yes, Abe acted thoughtlessly, and selfishly and Peggy didn’t even so much as ask herself if this is what she really wanted. But Abe has also been established as enough of an iconoclast that he just might be one of those 10% of Jews who chose to marry outside of the faith of their forefathers.

  39. Marylou, Anne B:

    I don’t know about either of you, but I’d love to see another Olson family Mass, either with Father Gill or a more reform-minded (Pope John XXIII-loving) homilist. 🙂

  40. One thing that Peggy has yet to do is to ask herself what it is that SHE, Peggy, wants and needs. When she thinks that Abe is going to marry her, she just sees herself saying Yes, without taking into consideration that if she keeps putting work first, to the point where Abe fights with her about never going on a date, then maybe, just maybe, he’s not doing it for her enough to marry him. Actions speak louder than words. Peggy keeps choosing work over men for a lot of reasons, but one of them is clearly that she has not met the guy who matters enough for her to find more balance. Please note that I say balance. It’s not either/or. Yes, it is difficult. But nevertheless when you like someone, you like someone and you want to spend time with them. This goes for love AND for friendships. Face time is the currency with which we show that we value human relationships.

    Peggy hasn’t even asked herself if marriage is what she wants at all! It’s par for the course in the handbook of “being a grown-up”, 1960s edition. But she has been enough of a maverick regarding work that it would not be completely out of character to have her rethink whether or not she wants marriage.

    When Abe proposes moving in together, not once does she stop to say, “Hey, is this what I want? What would this be like for me?” She just goes with it, although she’s disappointed. She never says to Abe, “You know, that’s a lot for me to take in for now, and it’s going to pose a lot of problems for me.” She never speaks up for herself.

    Whatever we say about Ma Olson or Abe, this is Peggy’s fault, okay? This is the one area of her life where she is simply not taking responsibility. It’s one thing not to know or have a clue what you don’t want or need. It’s quite another not to even ponder it seriously, question it, and actually push back when people keep foisting off their ideas about a good relationship unto you. It’s okay to be clueless. It’s not very mature to not own that cluelessness and work on getting clued in.

    • Oh, would I like to see Peggy stop and think! Remember her awkward come on to Don? Why did she do that? Because she thought that was what was exepcted of a City Girl? Why? Then go off and sleep with Pete. Pete??!! Good grief again. She did speak up for herself a bit when Abe insulted her life’s work and wrote that letter denigrating her business. But then she goes and gets romantically involved when Abe clearly said he doesn’t think much of women’s rights issues as compared to civil rights. And then the movie theater business. What the heck was that anyway.

      Yes. Peggy stop and think. Get a clue about what you want. Do you really want Abe there at the apartment 24/7, insisting you come home when you would rather be at work, demanding you play house when you would rather be off with your friend Joyce. Or whatever it is.

      Peggy is a fantastic person in so many aspects, smart, especially when it comes to work, pretty, kind. Yet she does the most foolish things to herself.

      • The movie theater business. I still don’t get it. That was totally baffling. Have a one-night stand, for God’s sake, but you can’t even get off with a hand-job!

        I do have to say, though, that Peggy’s complete cluelessness about her emotional needs and how she goes about fulfilling them rings very true to life. Ya know?

      • Peggy has gotten to have confidence at work but not in her love life. Maybe the boys at work will talk her out of it, just their reaction should make her see sense. I am hoping now for her and Stan to hook up

  41. Katherine Olson’s advice to “get a cat” was actually good advice, though she clearly didn’t mean it that way. Cats are amazing creatures to be with. If you don’t believe me, go ask a cat. No spelling questions though. Cats can’t spell worth a damn.

    • You can have a cat and a live-in boyfriend. It’s perfectly legal. 😛

      What kills me is the part about, “and then another and another, and then you’re done.” Basically, she’s telling her daughter, “You aren’t lovable, but better you should never have sex again than embarrass me in front of my friends.”

      • Right, it’s the “and then you’re done.” She’s predicting Peggy’s death for her. She’s saying “You’ll be alone until you die. Get over it.” It’s horribly cruel. (I have 2 cats.)

        • I know — I loved how she was using the cats’ lifespan as Peggy lifespan math. “Let’s see, you are 26; each cat lives 13 years, so three cats times 13 years each, that’s 39 years, added to 26 — yup, that should take you right up to death!”

          • Gosh, no. Mrs. Olson said to Peggy, “you know what your aunt used to say.” You get a cat, and then another cat. Mrs. Olson was clearly telling Peggy that Peggy DID NOT deserve to be treated as target practice, that Peggy deserved so much more. She wasnt’ telling Peggy I think you will live alone and deserve so or anything of the sort. Mrs. Olson was warning Peggy, live with this guy, he’ll never marry you. Guys don’t marry girls they live with.

          • I heard it along the same lines, except what I heard was: Your only need is for companionship, which you can alleviate by getting a series of cats.

            It was a very grim and dreary fate for a young single woman with a healthy sex drive and a need for love and support.

          • Marylou, I heard it that way also. Not in a “this is what I WANT should happen to you” but in a “you deserve better than ending up like this” way.

  42. I often wonder what would happen if Peggy mentioned marriage to Abe, and he said something like, “So propose to me, then…you’re a liberated woman, aren’t you?” Again, this comes back to clearing away the ego crap that says “he has to ask or it means I’m not desirable enough,” and really ask, “Do I want to be married for life to this man, and have his babies, right now?” Because if the answer is not a definitive “yes, absolutely,” then maybe a “practice” marriage without the legal baggage really is just the thing for her. On the other hand, if he’s not asking because he loves her, but because he wants to have the license to call her and complain that she’s still at the office and the pizza is getting cold — i.e. if this is about marking territory rather than real love — then that’s trouble. But it would be just as much trouble if she was married to him and he did the same thing.

    • Joan advised Peggy to have her answer ready for Abe if he asked her to marry him. I wonder what she would said. And if he asks her to get married in 6 months would her answer be exactly the same?

      • It would be surprising if Abe asked peggy to marry him in six months as Matthew Weiner saidin the AMC video that guys regardless of religion don’t marry the women that they shack up with. That this was a hard truth of 1966 that Mrs. Olson knew and was telling her daughter out of love and concern. Hopefully in six months this fiasco will be over so it doesn’t waste too much of Peggy’s youth.

  43. Just a quick note to aknowledge that Mad Men’s “old” ladies are always fabulous and scene-stealers: Peggy’s mother Katherine, Henry’s mother Pauline, Pete’s mother (name?), Trudy’s mother… and of course the great Miss Blankenship. All great!

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