Stop Acting

 Posted by on May 27, 2015 at 10:51 am  Mad Men, Season 7
May 272015


Severance, Peggy Olson says to Mathis: You want a raise, stop acting like a secretary.

Maidenform, Joan Holloway (at the time) says to Peggy: You want to be treated with respect, stop acting like a little girl.

Joan taught Peggy how to “act”, and for years, Peggy has taken in the lesson that success in business is about acting the way people want and need you to act. This lays the groundwork for Peggy’s conversation with Roger in Lost Horizon–Roger lets her know that she doesn’t have to “act” not-female. Meanwhile, in Lost Horizon, Joan tries to solve her problem by acting very female–and it backfires.

Of course, Joan’s thing about being a little girl isn’t confined to Peggy:

Roger Sterling: What happened to the Jewish doctor?
Joan Holloway: He’s not Jewish.
Roger: Not anymore, but he was, trust me. Is he still a doctor?
Joan: You sound like a little girl. What do you care?

For Those Who Think Young (episode 2.01)


  8 Responses to “Stop Acting”

  1. This reminds me that the final scene with Roger and Joan she has lost her “kitten” voice.
    She speaks like a solid adult.
    Do you think this was intentional?

    • Definitely. Something I always noticed is that, in all her scenes with Greg, Joan spoke in a different voice, the “little girl” voice. Christina Hendricks was very scrupulous about it.

      Next time I see it I’ll have to pay closer attention to the scene where she finally throws him out. I would bet she uses her “normal” voice then.

      • What’s interesting is that Christina has said in interviews that she’s not aware of it. When she’s in character, it’s just something that happens.

        Whereas Alison Brie does it on purpose. There’s an incredible scene in Season 2 when Trudy says to Pete that she really wants a baby–her voice drops a full octave.

      • As I recall her voice is rather low in that scene,as she says “you were never a good man”.

      • She totally does, I remember that well. In fact, during the marathon leading up to the finale, I was a little shocked at how much higher and distinctly lighter Joan’s, Peggy’s and even Don’s voices were. Did all of them intentionally do that or was it a natural progression?

    • I noticed while listening to her commentaries that Christina Hendricks’ own voice is more like the little girl voice that she used with Greg.

  2. Joan actually said to Peggy: Stop DRESSING like a little girl. Peggy was wearing a blue and black checked dress with a dropped waist and a full skirt below the waistline, like a child’s dress.

  3. Joan plays it several ways during her final days in the ad game – not all strictly female/male.

    As an “account man” she “defends” Peggy’s accounts. Then she reprimands that lazy a$$hole over his Butler f#!kup (and it’s not so clear how a “junior” male account man would handle that).

    (actually, a junior account man wouldn’t have a half-million-dollar, 4-year contract – he’d be at-will as hell)

    When “Ferg” shows up, Joan, as always, is very tactful when she
    signals, and Ferg disregards, that he has no chance to bed her (such an “optomist”). Actually, he’s a prick – given that his “persuasion” was to threaten her job.

    Hobart proves to be a prick, too (unlike Ogilive when Jane Maas made a similar plea in her “Mad Women”) since he knows full well what Ferg is up to. When she refuses to negotiate a separation, she’s “male”, when she threatens a class-action lawsuit – female (?), her initial, still tactful, plea regarding Ferg – female.

    Finally when Roger recommends the quick separation Joan relents – that could be male, female, powerful, and/or powerless – and definitely the right call, even if hard to swallow – “a bad settlement beats a good lawsuit”.

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