Mad Men

Mad Men Round Table: Season 2, Episode 8 – “A Night to Remember”


I just want to say that I wish Joan had stayed in Harry’s department. Teaming up my two favorite characters on a regular basis… that would be the greatest spinoff ever.  As for the joke of the week, it’s a tough heat.

I was right, there is only one book about Moby Dick


If there’s Maytag in there, they’re very sensitive to communism.

-Harry Crane

This is a stressful week for the women. Glad to see Father Gill make a return appearance – he puts Peggy through so many mood swings. Before he appeared, I thought Peggy was actually taking an interest in her son (“Is he all right?”), but she was actually talking about Bad-Back Joe. (“They think he’s a malingerer.”)

When Gill stops by, Peggy seems ashamed – not just because he knows about her son, but she’s embarrassed by her upbringing. These are her people, and she wants to leave them behind. She can’t stand the idea of being lumped in with them in anybody’s mind. But in the office, she can be professional and take a dominant position. She’s actually curt with the priest. Without evidence of her origins, she can be the person who does the job she wants, as Bobbie Barrett advised.

(Sidebar: Peggy pretending to have a secretary on the phone was funny and kind of sad, and reminded me more than a little of my own life. At an old job, they somehow set me up with two phones with different extensions. I decided that one of the extensions was mine, and the other belonged to my assistant, Barry. When that phone rang, I spoke in a deeper voice, introduced myself as Barry, and took messages for myself.)

And at the end, we get Peggy’s fine performance in the denial triathalon. In a way, it’s what she’s always wanted – Father Gill is treating her as an adult and as her own person. He’s treating her feelings as important, and it’s a chance for her to simply be honest. Sadly, Peggy’s not there yet. If only he’d run a few more copies. (The New Copy Machine: Starring in More Scenes than Pete since 2008.)

I can’t help but feel that Harry and Joan founded spunkybean this week. (Dear Harry: It turns out, you can watch everything.) Poor Joan. It’s rare to feel sympathy for Joan, because she’s usually busy destroying other people, but it was so sad when Harry replaced her. (On Roger’s order – he’s gradually tearing her apart.) After so recently assuring us that she didn’t want anything more than what she has, Joan really took to her additional responsibilities. I can’t decide if her passion was driven by her desire to stretch herself or if she was actually just really into the As the World Turns scripts. Could she possibly be building up a form of plausible deniability so that when her husband-to-be pressures her to leave her job, she can try and convince herself that the “staying home and watching her stories” life is what she wants? Or it could be both. Her week in Broadcast Operations was Schroedinger’s Cat. It could have taken her in two directions, and it wasn’t until Harry got his new employee that they metaphorically opened the box and found the cat had died. The new guy didn’t just represent the loss of an opportunity – he represented the loss of all opportunity.

And poor, poor Betty. You know what makes this whole thing even more awful? She’s right to be mad at Don, but the thing that kicked off the fight is a non-issue. Don did not laugh at his wife – he did his best to diffuse the situation with a joke when she seemed uncomfortable. All Don did was accurately predict the shopping habits of a demographic to which his wife belongs. Stupid Duck turned it into a whole thing. (Although, you have to feel a little sorry for poor Duck, who started off by “accidentally” getting the directions wrong and heading towards New Rochelle, where he “used to live”. Wow, a desperately lonely man whose wife is getting remarried just happens to drive toward his old house – what a coincidence. And yes, it’s pretty awful to be the one single guy at the party. Odd numbers are a killer, man. Um. Not that I would know. Anyway, to wrap up my digression, I felt sorry for Duck until I thought about Chauncey, and that was that.)

Everything else Betty had to say was largely correct, but it was kicked off by a non-incident. Of course, it doesn’t take much when she’s already smashed a chair in preparation for the party. (That was the old pigeon shooting Betty making a return appearance!) Yes, Don is having an affair. Even if it’s over with Bobbie Barrett (Can you sleep with a woman who has the same name as your son?), she’s still one of at least three. And this is something that Betty has known on some level for a very long time. Don’s a genius at covering his tracks, but I think she’s long been suspicions. Jimmy voicing his opinion forced her to deal with it as a real thing. I almost think Betty would have handled it better if she’d actually found one piece of evidence. She would have a starting point – as it is, Don can lie to her, and she knows that either he’s lying or she’s crazy, and neither one is an appealing scenario.

Remember some weeks back when I said that Harry was the opposite of Don Draper? Well, now Harry’s rushing home after work to see his wife and Don’s spending the night in the office. Harry would appreciate the irony, if Don only weren’t so damn good at hiding the evidence.

By the way: Heineken supports responsible drinking.


Well, in the immortal words of Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox “Sisters are Doin’ It for Themselves” in this episode of Mad Men! I chuckled at Harry’s dilemma, as I have been in similar scenarios with clients’ ads either being juxtaposed with an unfortunate storyline (like the dental insurance company we used to handle, whose spot inadvertently aired in a Lifetime movie about a dentist who rapes his patients while they’re sedated) or, in today’s vastly more cluttered media landscape, when a client simply wants to monitor program content to insure it meets a minimum standard regarding either sex, violence (or both) and doesn’t damage the product by association.  It’s an important thing, and Harry was lucky to have Joan helping him out.  Naturally, she was great at the job and impressed the clients, and naturally, the responsibilities were snatched from her by a man.  I actually don’t think Roger did this maliciously; I tend to think it was all just par for the course back then.  It would never occur to him to promote her into that position full time…she’s the office manager because that’s what women do/did.

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