Two Households

 Posted by on April 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm  Season 6
Apr 102013

“Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene…”
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

For some time now, we’ve been getting a divided view of Mad Men. We see Don’s personal life at his apartment in Manhattan, which includes Megan and sometimes his three children (Sally, Bobby, and Gene), when they are with him. At other times we see Betty and Henry at their house in Rye with the three children, they are always talking about the texas home warranty that they got for their house and how they feel safe with it. The show goes back and forth, sometimes showing Don’s personal & family life, sometimes showing Betty’s.

Now we have yet another separation: Don vs. Peggy. When Peggy left SCDP to work for Ted Chaough at Cutler, Gleason and Chaough (CGC), many fans wondered what would happen to Peggy. Would she still be on the show? Would she work for Ted for a little while and then go back to SCDP? What would happen?

The Season 6 premiere provided a glimpse into yet another possibility: Peggy works for SCDP and continues to see her star rise. Peggy in The Doorway definitely seems to be a star at CGC. Ted is impressed with her work and her ability to do well in a crisis. The copywriters currently working under her don’t seem to have much to show for themselves (at least, not yet) and she is the one who came up with a good idea to save their most recent ad campaign.

Judging from The Doorway, there is a good possibility that future episodes will show Peggy in parallel to Don. Don works with the copywriters on ad ideas at SCDP; Peggy works with the copywriters on ad ideas at CGC. Don is one of the bosses at SCDP; Peggy is copy chief at CGC and has the approval of her boss, Ted.

Don and Peggy work in separate offices but Peggy remains connected to SCDP’s gossip and goings-on through Stan.

The season just started so there is still a lot left to see. Maybe Peggy won’t shine at every campaign. Maybe Ted won’t always be so thrilled with her. But last night’s episode showed that Peggy could very well start taking on more and more responsibility. Maybe she will even become a worthy adversary and threat for Don and we will see the two of them competing with each other for new accounts.

Whatever happens, it should be very interesting to see.




  24 Responses to “Two Households”

  1. Henry and Betty Francis live in “The Addams Family Mansion” in Rye, New York. That is on the east side of Westchester County,near the Connecticut border. Taking the train from Manhattan, the station serving Rye is a few stops before the one Pete would take going home.

    • Thanks, CCA. When I was first writing the draft of this post I couldn’t remember where they had moved to, so I put a note there (town?) so I’d remember to check it. Online research reminded me that they had moved to Rye, but then I forgot to put that into the post before it was published. Just edited it to include the info.

  2. I think in Season 5, Peggy was drawing on how she knew Don would behave and almost imitating him. I think about the scene at the movie theatre. Before she saw Don, she was even sitting like him with her arm outstretched on the other chairs. This season, she seems like she is figuring out more what works for her. Imitating Don’s behavior didn’t always work for her like when she talked to the Heinz guy about the campfire ad. So it is interesting to see how she navigates in this new position. A parallel between Don and Peg is that they are both tough on their employees

    • That’s true, SR. She has learned a lot from him and I also think when you work for someone you admire, you think of them at other times–if you’re working on a problem you might perioidically think to yourself, “What would __ do in this situation?”

      The way Don works, the way he takes breaks, even his mannerisms, probably all creep into Peggy from time to time.

      I was pleasantly surprised to see how calm Ted was when he came back to the office (of course, it was a holiday) and also how much he seems to trust Peggy’s judgment. It’s very telling that he didn’t call her back after receiving all the messages–shows that he was pretty confident she (and maybe her team) could come up with a solution.

      Even him telling her, “You’re good in a crisis” was surprising. But if I remember the version of Ted that he presented to Pete Campbell when he was wooing him to work there, it makes sense. He offered Pete a partnership and told him he’d have a lot of breathing room to work and succeed: “I’m not Don. This isn’t the Wild West.”

      Maybe Ted is the real deal after all. Of course, we’ve only seen a little of him so far. I’m definitely interested to see what else he says and does.

      On that note: kudos to Kevin Rahm for getting “bumped up” in the credits!!! I saw him listed in the beginning credits for Mad Men, alongside Christopher Stanley. (Stanley who plays Henry was always listed in the beginning of the show. But the inclusion of Rahm is new, and same with the actors who play Stan and Ginsberg.)

      • When speaking to my youngsters I often noticed my parents speaking to them using my voice – it was almost automatic (I presume this is not uncommon). Perhaps not so automatic – but Peggy sure seems to use those Draper methods on her writers.

        No doubt, Ted IS the real deal – he even loosened Peggy’s grip when he told her to sned the boys home, now that she had come up with a resolution to the “ear problem”.

        His arc has been interesting – at first he was using Draper to cast light on his firm. Then he actively poached SCDP’s best – and succeeded (unlike Duck).

        Now, his firm is (apparently) thriving – along with Don’s. His promotion in the opening credits means that the writers will continue to peel away the layers.

  3. I wonder if the series will end with Don and Peggy forming their own agency together, but I’m influenced by knowing that’s what the people Don and Peggy are based on did. (Unless I’m misremembering.)

    • Matt Weiner has always stated that none of the characters on Mad Men is based on a single individual. But then MW did say Betty’s father Gene was largely based on MW’s own beloved grandfather.

      History tells us in the late 1950’s in Chicago one of the best known advertising person was Draper Daniels. It is possible the name is a coincidence. Draper Daniels did marry a female executive of another agency. Eventually they did form their own small agency. But during the 1960’s several married couples formed ad shops. When I was a child radio actor in the late 1930s my best friend was the son of a couple who moved their ad shop from Boston. His mother created much of the advertising for Coco Chanel’s products, especially the perfume. But by the time I met them in 1938 the mother was head of accounts for their agency and her husband had always also been an account executive.

      • C. Carroll, I love your stories/rememberances/experiences. Please tell more, whenever you can.

      • I’ve heard of Draper Daniels. My guess is that Matt Weiner could have very loosely based Don on him. Emphasis on “very loosely.”

        But, the idea of Don and Peggy someday opening their own shop is interesting and not totally out of left of field. It could happen. I could also see Peggy someday branching out and starting an agency with another woman.

      • What kturk said: thanks C Carroll for sharing your stories. Fabulous.

  4. Honestly, I really like the notion of Don VERSUS Peggy!

    Can you imagine the shennanigans? They each know each other as well as they’ll allow. Very interesting.

    • That’s partly why I used the Romeo and Juliet quote. I’ve always liked that “Two households” quote, and it doesn’t necessarily “fit” Mad Men, since the Capulets and the Montagues are warring families.

      But when you think about it, Don and Peggy are rivals now. Sure, they can run into each other at the movies and feel warmth and affection. Peggy can maintain a fun friendship with Stan. But technically speaking, the two agencies are rivals. They have different accounts. They might covet each other’s accounts. They will compete for new accounts, just as Don and Ted competed for Honda a couple of years ago.

      Peggy might have respect for Don, but she also knows that she has to do what’s right for herself. Possibly that will mean fighting him for the same business! It should mean that, if she’s serious about what she does, and she certainly seems to be.

    • Don seriously dislikes “cattle calls” (to Pete: “get me in a room where I have a chance”).

      I wonder, though, if he knew CGC was going to show up for a sufficiently attractive “call’ – how would he greet the prospect of passing by Peggy on the way?

    • Don vs. Peggy has the potential to be epic, which is why I want to see the two of them competing for the same account sometime this season.

  5. Thanks Mad Chick — I like the Shakepearean reference, and the possible battles, heartaches and tragedies, that may fall upon our ‘two’ households of SCDP and CGC over the coming season

  6. Oh golly, I am going to call it here first: Roger will die and leave his shares to Joan’s child, with Joan as executor (and de facto principal shareholder), Don will die and leave his shares to his wife, who we have already seen has the chops for the biz, and the two of them will somehow get Peggy back– maybe Bert will leave his shares to her? At any rate, I am thinking it will be an all female team, and Pete will be the one who launches out a window…

  7. So, Don is back. It wasn’t Horrible Betty’s fault he was cheating after all.
    When will Megan find out about Mrs Rosen?

    • Your kidding, right? Horrible Betty’s fault? Elizabeth Hofstadt Draper Francis is immature, selfish, spoiled, has major self esteem and, who knows how many other, personality disorders.

      However, as someone who has represented both men and women in divorces for more than thirty years; people cheat because they are CHEATERS, not because of finances, lack of communication, growing apart, sexual incompatibilty, the existence or non existence of children, or any of the other excuses that are commonly used.

      My guess is that if Don would have been in a real marriage with Anna; he would have cheated on her.

  8. I think Peggy values her career too much to take a risk like having an affair with Chaogh. She knows how far she has come and we have seen that she learns from mistakes, like Pete. Duck wasn’t working at SCDP when she had the affair with him, he also wasn’t married.

  9. MC — I suspect we will see more connections between the Draper and Francis households this season, as in Romeo and Juliet, two characters may come together from each household–and why do I suspect that Don and Betty will get back together (at least for a night?)

    • If the Draper and Francis households are parallel to the Capulets and Montagues, then Sally will be the likely focus of the division between them. Sally has all the sass and savvy of a Juliet and she has already experimented with romance and being more grown up. But she is certainly not ready for the grown up world that her parents, unwittingly or not, could thrust upon her. The adults in R&J (like MadMen?) are self-serving and blind to love, leaving the children-teens to figure out ways through and around the adults’ edicts and society’s norms.

    • The thought of Don and Betty together again is interesting. I wonder what he would think of her concern for Sandy and her somewhat out-of-character traipse into that tenement in the Village.

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