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September 1, 2015

Mad Men: Red in the Face

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 31st 2007 12:14AM
John Slattery, Jon Hamm


"By the way, Matherton? He has the clap." - Pete, to a pretty store clerk.

I have a relative who's an alcoholic, even if he doesn't admit it. But even he doesn't drink as much as Roger Sterling does. My God, did you see how much he sucked down tonight? Straight vodka, whiskey, Martinis with chocolate cake. He even brought in a bottle of vodka as a gift for Don and took a glass - not a cup or bottle, but a glass - of booze and drove home with it. When Don said to him the next day that it looks like he got home OK, I was thinking, you knew he was drinking a lot, so why did you let him drink and drive? Even if it is 1960, the fact that Don wondered if he got home in one piece is proof that drinking and driving was a concern back then too.

I've been going back and forth on whether Roger is a nice, misunderstood guy or a first class jerk. This episode made me tilt a little toward the latter.

Have you ever had a jerky boss over for dinner? I never have, come to think of it, but I can imagine it being a nightmare. Roger comes over, drinks a ton, eats a lot, then makes a pass at Betty while Don is out looking for more alcohol...and Don blames Betty? I'm glad he sort of acted sarcastic towards Roger the next day, and I'm also glad Roger apologized for it. His story of once being so drunk he "at some point we all park in the wrong garage" and comparing it to hitting on another's wife was kinda gross, but funny.

This guy is already cheating on his wife with Joan but also feels up a coworker's wife? Jeez. I did love his line to Pete though, after Pete said asked if they were talking. "Yeah, Don and I do that all the time when you're not around." Then saying "Goodnight Paul" was priceless (these are the moments when I like Roger).

The gang at Sterling Cooper is working on the Nixon campaign, and they're wondering how to approach. Most of the guys don't think that Kennedy will be the Democratic nominee (he's Catholic, doesn't wear a hat, etc), but Pete does, comparing JFK to Elvis. "That's what we're dealing with here." Have you noticed that even though Pete is kind of a jerk too that he's often right about these ad campaigns? But the look that Don gives Roger during the meeting, when he dismisses the ideas of the younger execs...you know he's beginning to think different about his boss.

Speaking of Pete, he uses his lunch hour to return a "chip and dip" bowl to the store. He can't get his $22 back, but he gets store credit (his flirting with the clerk didn't help at all), and he decides to buy a rifle. He points it at all the women in the office (nice camera work showing the rifle view of the women in the office). This is supposedly some macho move, though as Trudy says later, "what are you going to do with that?!" There's trouble in that marriage too.

Meanwhile, in creepy Glen land, Helen confronts Betty in the supermarket about the lock of hair she gave him. "He's 9 years old, what were you thinking?" When Betty slapped Helen I cringed a bit (but Helen's right).

I'm very impressed with this show. We can talk about the production design and period detail again and again and again, but I love the acting and the dialogue. The scenes tonight with Don and Roger talking and smoking and drinking and eating...the way the dialogue incorporated everything from the Russians launching dogs into space to Lucy and Desi getting divorced. It's scenes like this that separate the great shows from the good.

I also love how they drop a line about a previous plot thread, even if that plot thread isn't really explored in the episode. For example, Roger saying to Don,"The way you drop your "g's" I thought you grew up on a farm. Somewhere with a swimming hole." This keeps the "what is Don's secret?" plot alive, and even advances it in a quiet but effective manner (Roger is now wondering about his background in a subtle way). And did that last scene with Don and Roger and the elevator come out of nowhere or what? Great stuff.

Next week: Peggy wants to know if Pete still thinks of her, and our theory about Sal might be true after all...

What should Don have done to Roger?
Punched him in the face.24 (10.3%)
Nothing. Betty was flirting!11 (4.7%)
His revenge with the oysters and the stairs was enough199 (85.0%)

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The weirdest part of all was Peggy's complete hormonal flip-out when she got turned on by Pete's hunting fantasy. Possible theory...she's pregnant. It seems a little cliched, but it makes sense.

Love this funny synopsis:


September 04 2007 at 12:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

^ ^ ^ whaaaaaattt was thaaaaaat ??????? ^ ^ ^

You've got to be on the wrong board or something...

August 31 2007 at 6:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

For the Dadaists among us, a selection (a *small* selection, as this week the captioner seems to have become especially unmoored; I've cut the list down by more than half) of this week's What We Heard / What We Read:

(identifying the psychiatrist on the telephone) / physiatrist
jealousies, activities / jealousy's, activity's (lots of apostrophe-s'ing last night)
Montclair / Mount Claire
Last one to Chumley's / Last one to Chung Lee's

Holloway, Rumsen, Lyndon Johnson / Halloway, Rumsin, Lynden Johnson
Betty Draper's nickname sounds like Birdie, though the captioner is torn, once using Berty and later Burty

What'd I say? / What I say?
Polka Dots looks like a lot of fun / Hope it does -- it looks like a lot of fun
simple, to the point, colloquial / simple, to the point
no chute, no body / no shoot, no body
Nights Inn off the Taconic / Knights Inn off the Deconic
bridesmaid's bridesmaid / bridesmaid bridesmaid
The nomination, as expected, is a lock / The nomination is expected as a lock
fan of the mollusk / fan of the mulusk
the stench of Brylcreem / the stench of Brill Cream
those long walks / those long locks
In what way? / The only way
eighth floor landing / eight floor landing

And over the end credits, Rosemary Clooney's memory is tarnished:
Botch-a-me, I'll botch-a-you / Bache me and bache you

August 31 2007 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When Pete first offered to look at Peggy's copy, I wondered if he would end up stealing it as well. But by the end of their scene together (SO disturbing that Peggy found his hunting fantasy attractive!), I'd changed my mind. I think that Rumsen is going to try to pass Peggy's work off as his own, and Pete will know what he's done, as he'll have seen it. The question is: will Pete stand up for her or won't he?

August 31 2007 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

People have to keep in mind that this is not modern day. If you hated your boss you couldn't just stand up and leave for a better job somewhere else. Roger could easily blackball Don so Don is, in effect, his bitch - as is just about everybody else. This guy has way too much money and power for Don to beat him with anything other than prolonged guerilla tactics.

August 31 2007 at 10:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Even if it is 1960, the fact that Don wondered if he got home in one piece is proof that drinking and driving was a concern back then too."

Are you kidding me? That concern was no more than if he had been walking home drunkg a few blocks. Even in 1970 drinking and driving was still not a concern. I grew up in the 70s with parents driving drunk all of the time. By 1980 it was, but it still took a while for people to adjust.

August 31 2007 at 10:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
a reader writes

What Don was really angry about was not Roger's pass at Betty or even Betty's behavior. The source of Don's anger was Roger's series of remarks about Don's past--dropping g's, swimming hole, etc. Remember, nobody has looked under that rock. That was what fueled Don's revenge plan--and watch out for Don Draper. He doesn't get "mad"--he gets even.

August 31 2007 at 9:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Weeks ago (go ahead, check the comments) I mentioned that part of what fascinates me about Betty's character is her childlike voice. Now what I think is interesting is that in this episode, at least in the scene in the kitchen with Roger and then Don, she was NOT acting childlike... she held her ground with Roger, and it was only after Don accused her of flirting and calling her a child that she became confused and started to revert to the little girl thing. She is so intensely trapped by the confines of her dutiful role; Be Pretty, Be Attentive, Maintain Humor, and Don't Question Anything. It will be interesting to watch her begin to wake up.
Those same mandates are what allowed her to behave so inappropriately with Glen. Yes, Helen was right. But what I liked is the slap. Right or wrong, Betty IS starting to awaken. As lame as these psychiatric sessions appear to be, I think they are having a positive affect. Her anger at her life, at all her repression, is starting to bubble to the surface (albeit misplaced in this instance, but it's only just starting).
Don is so frustrating to me! I want to just love him, but then he sucks when he does things like allowing Betty to continue believing that he blames her even though he clearly knows that Roger did wrong.
Please let's not forget that Pete is more than just a little creepy. He was angry at his wife for not prostituting herself fully. He's more like a monster. I do NOT understand Peggy's attraction to him. The sexual overtones of the scene where he describes to her his hunting fantasy was just bizarre; especially her reaction.
But yup; he's been right and smart and forward thinking about campaign idea that's been kicked around.
I think that what we love about Roger (putting down Pete) and what we hate about him (putting Betty in an awful position) is all the same thing. He's a King Baby; the world is his... is you will, oyster. He has a lot of power, he gets his way, and he always makes sure people know where they are in the hierarchy. He got rejected by Joan, then reminded by the girls in the bar that he is not so virile, so he wields his power to force Don to take him home for dinner, and wields some more with Betty. You GOTTA love that Don set him up the way he did. No, I don't think he planned a group-witnessed vomit; that was just icing on the cake. Good times.

August 31 2007 at 8:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And Don walks away smiling...

That last scene was really great. I kinda felt bad for Roger even though I hated him for what he did to Betty.
I was quite shocked that Don didn't punch Roger or something when he caught him and Betty or when he made his "At some point, we've all parked in the wrong garage" speech. But I guess that last scene was a sweet enough revenge. Well played, Don.
I couldn't believe either Don's reaction towards Betty. She was just being polite if you ask me...

I'm pretty sure Pete is gonna be a jerk about Peggy's work. But I'm not sure if he's gonna tell her it's crap or if he's gonna try to steal her work. Pete's hunting speech was a little weird. I don't think I fully understand what happened there.

I don't think I understand either where they're going with the whole Helen/Betty thing but I say that every week.

Was I the only who thought that Pete was going to shoot his wife? He seemed tempted. It was quite funny to see him bring a shotgun to work. It would create panic nowadays.

Another great and well-written episode, once again proving that thosse characters have a lot to offer.


August 31 2007 at 7:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show wasn't made in the past. It's not proof that it was a concern then. hehe. But I thought that too.

August 31 2007 at 2:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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