Jun 152015


Original post here.

I feel like “Pete’s knowledge of who Don is” has retired–they no longer work for the same company. However, this storyline could have been brought back earlier. How might that have played out? Let your imaginations run wild!

Pete could finally climb up to his name. I feel like this already happened, in that Learjet hired “a real knickerbocker”. What do you think?

I’m intrigued by Smitty being on the list. Just “Smitty” and nothing else. What about Kurt Smith? What about Smitty?


  22 Responses to “Mad Men Wish List Discussion Group Monday”

  1. I think the big one for a lot of people, including myself, is what happened to Sal?

  2. For a long time Pete expressed his disgust for having Don’s problem hanging over him. He even said it to Don when told to get rid of the North American Aviation account (Season 4, ep 10). I felt for the guy. At some point Pete could have strategized a way to deliver Don to the authorities and gained an account that would have guaranteed a big pay day. Greed and revenge would have to have motivated Pete. Maybe this could have happened after he was banished from Connecticut, and living in LA. He could have justified cashing in on all he knew about Don because the company was done with him. Pete’s knowledge could have solved Sterling Coo, et al problem with ‘what to do with Don.” Imagine how Joan would have loved that piece of dirt!

    • Don paid a $50,000 debt that Pete owed in recompense for the NAA account fiasco. I think they ended up on better terms.

      • Pete ended up being Don’s best advocate when Don was “on leave.” Pete insisted that Don pitch Burger Chef that Don began to come back as well as repair his relationship with Peggy. Back in season 1 when Pete outed Don and Burt Cooper famously said “who cares?” He then told Don that he could fire Pete but he might not want to because “you never know where loyalty is born.” Pete ended up being loyal to Don when almost everyone turned their backs on him.

        • It just occurred to me that, if Don had fired him, he could have gone to the feds in revenge.

    • After having discovered it in Season 1, that one Season 4 episode was the only time I felt any resentment from Pete about having to cover for Don’s past. He brought it up obliquely to Peggy when Don disappeared with The Jet Set, but after that nothing. I was glad that that part of the plot was never revisited. Don’s fear of the government, or of someone like Pete blackmailing him, didn’t fit the tone of the show: too melodramatic.

      By Season 4 Pete certainly understood that turning Don in to the feds would reflect terribly on the whole company, bringing them all down with him. And even if he’d tried, he would have known that Bert Cooper would have stopped him.


      Hmmm, Smitty? I wonder what MW considered. The only thing I can think of was his connection to the authors of the Port Huron statement might allow some reference to the later campus unrest. But we saw that he was long removed from campus radicalism, still working in advertising even after leaving S-C. Who knows.

      I wish they’d kept Kurt Smith around, if only for his friendship with Peggy. Peggy needed more friends.

      • By the time Don told Pete to “fix it” and that “(they) could get along along without me (without Don)” Pete’s die was cast as a partner. He coudn’t “beat him” so he “joined him”.

        Pete could brag about Don’s professional brilliance with no duplicity whatever. This commingled with his blueblood distaste for Don’s shadowy origins (“I don’t have to live with your (Don’s) $#!T !”) – pretty much like Gene Hofstadt Sr.’s objection – he has No Family!

        As Deborah pointed out above, Don papered Pete’s problem with 50-large and an acknowledging nod. Don’s the strong silent type when it suits him – I’d bet neither ever mentioned it again.


        Smitty, several years younger and less malleable than Abe, was only a limousine radical.

        At all times better paid than Abe and working for “The Establishment”, he understood (as Abe will when he wakes up) the source of not only his own prosperity, but that for everyone that he knows.

        He probably had as much distaste for Abe’s uptopian fantasys as the cop who interviewed Abe after he was mugged.

        • Of course, that should read”

          “Smitty, several years older and less malleable than Abe

          • How do you figure Smitty was several years older than Abe? Smitty told Don he was 25 at the start of Season 2. That was 1962. Peggy was 22 then, almost 23 probably. Joyce was probably Peggy’s age (maybe a little older) and I think Abe was their age at the youngest but could have been older.

            Anyway, I guess it doesn’t matter much but I don’t think Smitty was much older than Abe (and may not have been older than him at all)

            • I have to agree with you.

            • Glad someone else is doing the math for a change.

              Mine was a gut call – based more on demeanor than dialog. Probably the longest bits Smitty did were Don’s interview and subsequent Martensen’s coffee pitch – filtered for Establishment Don and “Joe’s” boys.

              Abe’s bits were always with Peggy – including his own “statement” that Peggy tore up. Peggy, by virtue of her youth and beauty, was not obviously Establishment – so Abe used different filters.

              Perhaps the biggest clues (regarding radicalism) were working hours and associations. Abe, as free lancer, would keep later hours mostly by himself. Smith – as ad minion – would keep longer hours mostly with the same folks every day. Which would be the more fertile grounds?

      • I wonder if Abe’s radical beliefs included homophobia along with his unconscious misogny (when he evalated Blacks’ civil rights struggles over women’s in his second meeting with Peggy (which Joyce set up in a bar)?

        Smitty, by virtue of knowing his openly gay friend, had shed a great deal of the homophobia the culture would have bathed him with. Their meeting, professional association, and friendship is grist for a prequel of sorts.

        • Smitty had an audacity about him that I loved. I think it (my affection for him) started with that scene in “The Jet Set,” when he defends Kurt after Ken and Harry make disparaging comments. “What, you’ve never met a homo in advertising before?” and he just looks at them as if to say, “You guys are being ridiculous, get OVER yourselves.” (Sal of course is wishing he could fall through the floor.)

        • but joyce was openly gay… and I doubt she would have been friends with abe if he was a homophobe. also, I think the womens rights movement is something that just hadn’t occurred to abe at the time. but I bet he became more sensitive to all that after being in a long term relationship with peggy.

          • It’s not reasonable but lesbians were (are) far less “threatening” than gay men. I suspect that Joyce could afford to be more open than most gay men.

            Abe did not have the benefit of getting to know gay men (as Smitty did). He was so busy trying to catch the Man (and protest the War) with his free-lancer’s pen, and Peggy was so busy working her usual hours, that Women’s Lib did not make a dent between his ears.

            Later, with the War resolved, he would have more energy for other causes (or maybe he would marry, settle down, and raise hs own young radicals).

  3. I think MW kind of dropped the ball with Smitty. I don’t fault him for it because he had so many characters and storylines to deal with in a limited amount of time. But still, I wish there had been more. Smitty was working for Ted Chaough at CGC. Did he later leave? Did he get fired? Ted indicated to Peggy (when she interviewed for him) that he wasn’t satisfied with the copywriters he had working for him. Was Smitty still there at that point? Had he already been fired or gone to another position? Smitty made the mistake of praising Don in Season 4 and that hurt Ted’s ego

    Ted: “You ever say those things about me?”
    Smitty: stares back innocently (not insolently) but his silence says it all – ‘No, I don’t.’
    Ted: “You know what, go work for your boyfriend. (meaning Don)” (It seems like a firing but then he orders Smitty to go write a bunch of stuff about pimples) “Out!!”

    So yeah, based on that exchange, Ted may have later fired him, or Smitty, sensing that he had fallen out of favor, may have done some job-hunting and moved to another agency.

    (And judging from Mathis and the other guy he always worked with – Ed- it’s not hard to see why Ted would feel displeased and hire someone smarter and more inspired like Peggy)

    I would have liked to have seen where Smitty landed. He struck me as someone who might have stayed in advertising but might have gotten into something else entirely. For some reason I could see him getting into music production.

    I also always wished that he and Peggy had gotten together. I loved their scenes together in My Old Kentucky Home. I don’t think she even knew he liked her – she was high when he talked about going up on the roof! (Of course, he was too)

    Would have liked to have seen Kurt again too. Did he stay in New York? Move back to Europe?

    • I’d have liked to see where he landed too. Advertising is a small world. I think they put a bunch of characters into play and sort of see where they end up. Like, maybe they get used, maybe they don’t, but they’re there if a story is needed to be told.

      • When Don & the other partners started the new agency at the end of Season 3, they took such a small group (and just one copywriter – Peggy) so I hoped that next season they’d add on more and maybe some of the “old” group. Ken did get recruited by Lane in Season 4 and came onboard. Even though Kurt and Smitty weren’t major characters, I did hope they’d be asked to join the fray of SCDP. I figured when they had more revenue maybe they would. They showed Joey, a new employee, but he was working freelance/part-time. When they later got Stan as Art Director I started to lose hope that Sal Romano would come back to work with them…and Kurt and Smitty as well.

        As mentioned they had the one copywriter (Peggy) – and then later hired Michael Ginsberg for a specific account and he ended up taking on more accounts. I guess it’s possible that Smitty was considered for SCDP at some point (off-screen) and he was unavailable…already happy working for another agency, etc.

        Since we got to see a little of Paul (poor Paul, wonder how he did in Los Angeles?) and Danny Siegel, (and non-ad people like Midge), I feel it’s possible we might have seen a later glimpse of Smitty (and Kurt) if there had been more time. Mad Men movie, anyone?

  4. Kurt Smith wound up with Sal in the ultimate May – December story of all time.

    • LOL. I don’t see Sal with anyone who he knew from his Sterling Cooper past. (Though I did like the idea of him with Belle Jolie’s Eliot.) I think he finds loves years after he leaves SC, but with someone new.

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