Funny, because earlier in the day The Other Woman aired, I watched episode 2.01 For Those Who Think Young, which is the other Mad Men episode to make such overt references to Valentine’s Day (1962, as opposed to 1967).
FTWTY has many instances of gift-giving (Duck referencing his chocolates to the secretaries, Don and Betty’s date at the Savoy, Harry leading the witness Peggy to admit all women really want chocolates, and of course Ken revealing he gives nothing “to keep them guessing”.) It’s all very prescribed, like a societal courtship. Of course the promise of sex hangs about, but it ends up contorted … Don cannot have sex; Juanita Carson, Betty’s old roommate is now a call-girl – “Be mine for $100,” Betty imagines.
After re-watching the “Previously On Mad Men” clips for The Other Woman, I half-expected to see a distant call-back from FTWTY, where Pete sneakily points to one of Trudy’s Valentine’s chocolates for her to pass to him, but she pops it in her mouth. They share a laugh.
Or, as that great sage Lois Sadler remarked about the behemoth new Xerox machine: “I think it looks good now, but I think it will become messy.”
SCDP Conference Room
Weak taglines. Weak creative. Don’s fed up.
On the word mistress – “The salesmen can use it, but the campaign can’t.” Don, you don’t know how right you are.
Peggy’s working on everything but the sexy account. If weren’t sure about that, she’s running around with Secor Laxative copy. Ouch. Oh, and take a look at that lobster through the glass, Pegster ….
“It’ll come to you. It always does.”
“Unless it comes to you.”
“Do you really want help, or do you want to yell at me?”
“I don’t know yet.” (smirks)
This seems a tied to the sexual games from the beginning of the season, no? Don never yelled at Megan at work, or about work, at least that we saw. We can surmise Don’s resentment at Megan’s leaving advertising (“No one’s made a stronger stand against advertising than you.”), but we have not seen him be overtly cruel or abusive to her. Also, he does not seem to be angry at her being in acting (her potential absence notwithstanding), but for leaving advertising.
There was something flirtatious in the question.
He then proceeds to be a prick and she, being the child of an alcoholic, deftly maneuvers out of his way and moves along.
This line has gotten no attention that I’ve seen … any other interpretations?
Passive-aggressive Rule #1: NEVER start out talking about what you are really about to talk about.
Herb Rennett’s the handsome guy … remember? You’re a smooth one, Pete.
“I hope I haven’t insulted you. That’s all that matters to me.”
Pete walks out of there fully aware that a) she did not throw him out, and b) there’s a price. It was clear from this scene on that the incident would most definitely come to pass.
We all know that by today’s standards, even bringing the proposal to Joan is beyond all semblance of decency. And by 1967 standards, it’s not much better. However we know Joan to be a pragmatist. There is a part of her, this character, that is interested to know what the highest price might be.
And while we’re on the subject, it’s interesting to note that Salvatore Romano was fired for not making this exact sacrifice. It’s further interesting that Don was the one to pull the trigger in that instance.
So, by logic, a gay man is expected to “take one for the team”, but a woman’s honor is to be protected, despite the fact that once she’s informed of the request, she has free will to make her own decisions. Sal was expected to instinctively submit without a moment’s thought.
This is a FASCINATING scene, for a number of reasons …
1) I love Pete here. Or, put more accurately, I love how the character is written in this scene. His naked ambition is on display. He’s no longer trying to figure out what kind of businessperson (or for that matter, what kind of person) he’s trying to be … he is. He dismisses Don as a lightweight. He drives forward ruthlessly, attacking the situation, removing barriers, developing solutions. Like it or not (okay, not), this is Pete Campbell, and I can’t take my eyes off him in this scene.
2) The men in the room, all of them, see it as a proposal to make to Joan. As we will see later, she resents their talking about it, their what-will-she-take approach as more repugnant than the proposition itself. Pete describes the $50,000 as a flattering offer. Is that what he thinks this is about … flattery?
3) As Lane leaves, a slight smile registers on his face. I see it as a touch of admiration, despite having shut his lights a few months ago. Misguided though the entire situation may be, he is thinking about the firm above all. Lane, of all people, can appreciate that.
SCDP Conference Room
Don rips them – the mistress angle is vulgar. Don always carries over the last scene into the next. Plus, he calls them out for goofing. He used to defend it (“We’re unproductive, until we are productive,” he once told Lane)
Love this scene. Peggy’s a big girl – she belittles Ken, who’s genuinely hurt.
“Alright, get out.” Is she upset at the proposition, or at having to discuss it? One of the overriding themes of the show is secrets and discretion, both of which Joan values highly. She’s a tough broad, and is not easily offended by the crudeness she encounters in the world. But she knows how delicate the line between self-respect and self-preservation can be, and knows the dangers of walking it too closely.
Lane’s actions are fascinating here too – he’s self-serving by steering her toward an equity stake, because that will reduce the likelihood of his theft being discovered. But it also increases the likelihood of her doing it.
Lane needs to wipe his mouth after the discussion – dirty business indeed.
Joan and her mother argue.
“Have you been drinking?”
That she understands.
Like her or not, Megan knows how to communicate. She catches a ton of shit for being boring or whatever, but I don’t see it. She’s actually able to share what she’s feeling in a way Don never experienced with Betty. Don could bully Betty, but Megan will not be pushed around.
There’s a huge difference between “what will she take,” and “what is it worth?” When you focus on the former, you devalue yourself, when you focus on the latter, you are working from a position of strength.
The fact that Pete asks Joan how to arrange it is hilariously tragic.
If Mad Men does one thing insanely well, it’s demonstrate the creative process. From the Western Union idea session with Paul and Peggy, to the toke-fest for Bacardi Rum, it shows how ideas work in an organic environment – and how the characters react and respond in the face of pressure to develop winning ideas. That moment when Don smiles and Ginsberg claps – it’s a universal feeling, beautifully portrayed.
Raise your hand if you don’t love, LOVE, LOVE this scene between Freddie and Peggy. Okay, you are dismissed from the show.
Don puts his hat on as he leaves. He’s a good one, and old fashioned.
LOVE seeing the two teams pass one another …
“You must have heard some pretty terrible things about me from Don Draper’s mouth.”
“Look, I need a writer. They don’t have to be like me, but …”
The old, enough about me – what do you think about me?
We know Ted’s a charming asshole. He and Don are different flavors, but both are still ice cream. However Peggy may miss the affection she knows her boss has for her. Ted is absolutely respecting her, and treating her like the asset she is. But once inside, how will they get along? Food for thought.
Peggy – like Joan – takes care of it in writing.
When Duck made his pitch to Peggy to join him at Grey, he could not offer her anything but a job – no status attached. She can command a real position now, with a real title conveying her value.
“I think I need a chocolate shake.” Pegs, you’re beautiful.
More good communication from Megan.
Joan walks in to looks from Don, and probably the others. This is why she didn’t want it to be a topic of discussion. Like firing Joey, there are ways to make things happen. If the right way is not taken, you’re just another [gold-digger/whore/humorless bitch]. But Joan made her choice and keeps her head high, no matter who knows. I don’t think Don – or the others, for that matter – has caught up to that.
“You really have no idea when things are good, do you?” Possibly my favorite line from Peggy to Don ever.
I don’t know if I have anything to add. This is the soul of the show. These two. Alone. Talking.
The obvious parallel is that he offers her more money, and she turns it down, the opposite of the Joan scenario. It does not make Peggy more virtuous, or Joan any less magnificent. They did what they did, they can only judge themselves.
I keep thinking of Nixon vs. Kennedy, as Peggy leaves another party.