Mad Men Wish List Discussion Group Monday

 Posted by on June 22, 2015 at 9:34 am  Mad Men
Jun 222015

harry-hildyOkay, we’re going to be multi-faceted today–I think next week will be the last week that we’ll have fun material to discuss. But I have loved this list!

Pete sees Howard on the train

This could be redundant, of course, and cliched, but it offers the chance of real complexity. What might have happened between Howard and Pete that would elevate this material for you?

See Lee Garner, Jr. again (Roger sends him a Christmas gift every year until he dies)

This one sounds perversely sentimental. Here’s my question for you Basketcases: Why would Matthew Weiner imagine Roger doing this? What is Roger feeling that would legitimize this Christmas gift?

Peggy’s baby (Catherine could die and bring it back up on her deathbed); We don’t need to see the baby, but the emotional content of it could be revisited via Catherine

(Credits list her as Katherine, by the way.) Again, Basketcases, is there anything left here? Didn’t her incredible conversation with Stan complete this? Is an angrier, more judgmental conversation something we wanted to see?


Julie McNiven was often hilarious in the role. Remember The Inheritance, when she got drunk and threw her arms around Harry at his “baby shower”? What would you have liked to see? Where’s Hildy in 1970? What would it be like if she ran into Harry all these years later?


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

  1. Roger sends a Christmas present every year but they are veiled reminders of the many incidents Roger bailed Lee out of…

    Lee was a mean bad boy. Maybe a slip of paper from an arrest, or a picture of him and a guy in the park, stuff that would unnerve Lee but be innocuous to anybody else….

    Roger is getting a satisfaction from this because Lee did him dirt for not honoring the 30 day time period they agreed upon. Roger does not forget…maybe he blames “the business” for Margarets’ break from the family. He hates all the things he did for Lee Garner Jr.

    • Neat. Do you think Roger, who is always so laid back, really has the MMPH for a lifelong revenge campaign?

      • Christmas, humiliation, and Lee Garner Jr. go together for Roger.

        Remember the Santa uniform he was made to wear…the employees sitting on his lap with pictures being taken.

        All that bullshit from Lee could fuel MMPH!

  2. Harrys’ journey into the cheating game started with Hildy.
    If they run into each other she would not like the operator he has become. She had a wicked office crush on Harry. She probably fantasized about having a relationship with him.
    Maybe when they run into each other they go for a drink and she tells him after about an hour what a douche bag he has become…He takes it from Hildy because she is from his old life. He knows she’s right but says it’s the business world he lives in. He is drawn to her honesty and wants to see more of her because she is real and he has a quest for an authentic relationship instead of the phonies that fill his address book.

    • That’s lovely. Harry cheating with Hildy was perceived by the audience as an honest and decent guy making a mistake. He sure changed! Maybe Hildy perceived it that way too.

      • I’ve always found Harry’s transformation into grade A dickbag to be a real shame. He was so sweet at the beginning of the show!

        I have a theory of why it turned out that way. I do think that he and Jennifer were happy at the beginning of their marriage but when he slept with Hildy (which we know was on impulse due to being very drunk) and told Jennifer about it that was the beginning of the end. I’ve always thought that a couple can bounce back from cheating if they are both really committed to it, but if you say that you forgive someone for that, you need to actually forgive them. I think that Jennifer took him back but never really forgave Harry for cheating. She may have brought it up when they fought or even casually and treated him with a lot of distrust. You can only put up with that for so long before you figure, if I’m going to be treated like a cheater, I might as well cheat.

        That doesn’t excuse all of Harry’s behavior and his time in California clearly left a mark. And it certainly isn’t all Jennifer’s fault but I always thought, that might have been part of it. His unhappy marriage made him lose that sweetness and charm.

    • You bring up an interesting point. Hildy tried to give Harry an out. After the party, she told him, “It didn’t mean anything—okay?” She was trying to tell him to forget about it and not feel guilty. Yet his guilt led him to confess all to his wife. A lot of people would say that one shouldn’t tell their spouse about an affair (or in this case, a one-night stand) because it doesn’t help the person who is hearing the confession…it only makes the confessor feel a little better because they got it off their chest.

      So really, Harry could have just walked away and never said a thing to Jennifer. But apparently he wasn’t satisfied in that marriage, since he continued to cheat as the years went on.

      • I didn’t see it that way. I saw Hildy saying “it didn’t mean anything” after she saw the sort of shocked expression on Harry’s face. She said it so that he wouldn’t say it to her. She said it didn’t mean anything because she didn’t want to be rejected, or to reveal that it *did* mean something to her.

        • Yes, I’m sure you are right. I thought that too but just didn’t express it above – I felt she gave him an out but it was because she saw how upset he looked.

          Still, Harry could have taken it at face value and tried to walk away (IMO). I just don’t know that it was necessary for him to tell Jennifer. I’m sure it hurt her more than it did him.

    • Does anyone have a real life example comparing a callow, newly-married, cheated-once, guy to his ten-years older cheated-often self?

      No doubt much of Harry’s business relations rubbed off on him – making him cynical and willing to show douchebag features to relative strangers. Couldn’t he stick to his “A-Lines” for an hour with Hildy? Did none of Don Draper rub off on him? I suspect he learned to keep his damned mouth shut after his gutless “confession”. I have always thought that sort of “honesty” borders on the indecent – it offers relief but does so much damage.

      With Hildy, a heavily edited sexual history might bring him a quality affair but likely more strings than Don’s Rachel or Midge (because Hildy would surely have married by 1971).

  3. From what we saw of Katherine, I don’t think I would want to visit her on her deathbed. She seemed to think that her relationships with the parish priests made her a very godly woman and gave her the right to judge the actions of everyone else. In reality she was a self righteous, angry woman and I don’t see her changing, even on her deathbed. She would have reminded Peggy what a sinner she was right up until she took her last breath. And that would have been a horrid memory for Peggy to have to live with.

    • I absolutely agree! After all, this is the woman who said “You’re going to get raped”, when Peggy told her she was moving to Manhattan.

  4. “Julie McNiven was often hilarious in the role. Remember The Inheritance, when she got drunk and threw her arms around Harry at his “baby shower”? What would you have liked to see? Where’s Hildy in 1970? What would it be like if she ran into Harry all these years later?”

    I kept hoping they’d bring Hildy to the new agency in Season 4. They certainly had a lot of secretarial mishaps. Don slept with Allison and then Miss Blankenship died. Pete wasn’t always so happy with Clara, so maybe he could have gotten Hildy back as his secretary. And then in later seasons there were problems with other secretaries, such as Scarlett.

    Of course, “in real life” people move on and get new jobs. Hildy probably stayed with McCann after Season 3, or found a new company to work for if her position got eliminated.

    I’d imagine that 1970 Hildy is married and maybe still works or maybe has a child. Of course, I think this because we never saw any glimpses that she had any real career desires beyond her secretarial job. Which doesn’t mean that she didn’t have them—we just didn’t see it onscreen because she wasn’t a main character.

    I think of Hildy staying friends with Allison over the years. I remember people speculated that Allison went to work for Cosmopolitan because she mentioned working in publishing and having a woman boss. (So it could have been Helen Gurley Brown) I think it would have been interesting if Don ran into Allison & Hildy on the street. They’d all make small talk, and it would be awkward for Don given his history with Allison. (And then we’d get to find out what Hildy and Allison have been up to over the years.)

  5. “Pete sees Howard on the train”

    Howard was such a truly monstrous person, I can only wish for a scene that shows him getting what he deserves. How about:
    Pete sees Howard on the train. Before he can do anything, Howard lunges at him, the conductor grabbing him before he can reach Pete. As the conductor tries to pull him away, Howard roars his rage at Pete. It turns out that not only has Beth has left him, she’s gotten a lawyer, She’s not only suing him for every cent he has what he did to her, but a criminal complaint has been sworn out against him as well. He’s just been fired from his job, and blames Pete for it all. “I know you got her the lawyer! Where are you hiding her??!!” As the conductor tosses Howard off the train, Pete settles back into his seat and smiles with blissful contentment.

    Of course, we know that in Real Life, Pete won a complete victory:


    • Although justified, that might be a hard case to prove; he could just say that he got his sick wife, suffering from clinical depression, much needed treatment (electroconvulsive therapy). The doctor who administered it, and other defense witnesses, would probably testify that the treatment was appropriate and beneficial. They could also say that it was voluntary. She might have better chances with a divorce suit charging infidelity, with the aid of a detective. I’m not a lawyer, however.

  6. Harry and Jennifer I think were both virgins until their wedding night. Harry Crane felt such guilt and shame that he was both attracted to Hildy and acted on those feelings that he would have confessed to Jennifer regardless. Harry also found out that he liked fooling around with Hildy. Harry Crane saw Pete cheat on his wife without guilt or shame. Harry would feel less guilt and shame after Hildy, and sadly become much more of a creep in the process. Hildy I think, realizes that Harry might become an emotional basket case if Harry thinks Hildy feels something for him. She knew exactly what to say to Harry. Hildy could walk away that morning guilt free, Harry couldn’t. He had to be punished for fooling around with Hildy in his mind. That is why he told Jennifer.

  7. It is perhaps relevant that the list may have been drawn up before it was decided that Lucky Strike would fire the firm. That would cast a different light on Roger’s Christmas gifts.

    • I’m pretty sure the list was written between seasons 5 and 6, since one of the items on the list is “Pete sees Howard on the train,” among other items involving things from season 5. Lucky Strike fired the firm in season 4.

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