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October 24, 2014

Mad Men: Shoot

by Bob Sassone, posted Sep 14th 2007 12:41AM

Mad Men

(S01E09)

"I didn't think you had it in you. And I mean that." - Roger, trying to "compliment" Pete on an ad campaign

Last week I told you that I thought that one of the themes of this show is freedom, and I think in the opening scene of this week's episode solidifies that a little bit more. It's a shot of the neighbors prized birds flying off from the coop, though they return when he has food in his hand. I get that feeling that all the characters are looking for that freedom, or at least a change. Betty wants to go back to modeling, Don might want a new job, and Pete wants Peggy. Maybe. Kinda.

This week's episode was also directed by Freak and Greeks creator/producer/writer Paul Feig, and that makes me perk up a bit. I'm curious to see what he does with a show like Mad Men.

Jim Hobart from McCann Erickson wants Don to come work for them. They're bigger, getting more impressive accounts than Sterling Cooper (Coke, Pan Am, etc), and can promise him a great future. Hobart also offers Betty a modeling job on a Coke shoot, saying she looks like Grace Kelly. January Jones does look like Kelly, actually. He gives her his card, and she tells Don about it on the ride home. At first I thought he was going to be all 1960 manly with her, but he seems slightly supportive of the idea.

Betty goes to the shrink and he tells her that she's angry at her mom (her mom used to hate her modeling and called her a prostitute). She gets pissed at him for this but you can tell she kinda believes it too, even if she does miss her.

At the office, the gang watches a film clip of Jackie O speaking Spanish, and they panic. What does this mean for the Nixon campaign? Pete comes up with the idea (without Don's approval) of running a ton of Secor Laxative ads in Illinois. At first I had no idea how this would help Nixon, but later when Roger and Cooper actually congratulate Pete on the idea (it's all laxative and Nixon ads in Illinois, so Kennedy will be stuck doing radio spots) I get it. Don is ticked that Pete didn't run the idea past him first.

It's interesting to note that Don makes $30,000 a year. I believe that it was revealed in an earlier episode that Pete makes $3500. Pete says something in this ep about "Don isn't worth 10 times what I'm worth," and I tend to agree. Though I guess we haven't seen what Don has done for the company before the show started. After intercepting a gift of golf clubs from Hobart, Roger tells Don that he shouldn't leave. For one thing, he'll never be able to fire clients at McCann Erickson, because they have stockholders to answer to. Second, he might not be doing the type of ads he thinks he will be. And third, he thinks this is personal, not business for some reason.

I like how this show is using real names for companies and products: McCann Erickson, BBDO, Young & Rubicam, Pan Am, Coca-Cola. It brings a heavy does of realism and retro-coolness to the show.

There's a running joke in this episode about Peggy's figure. It does seem she's getting, um, chunkier as the show progresses (Joan: "You're hiding a very attractive girl with too much lunch"). Pete joins in (what is this, 5th grade?) until Ken goes a little overboard, calling Peggy a "lobster" (all the meat's in the tail). He punches Ken and causes a brawl in the office. They shake hands, but it's baffling that no one really presses Pete as to why he punched Ken in the first place.

Back to the birds: the neighbor is showing the Draper kids how the birds come back for food when the Draper dog leaps into the air and chomps on one of them. I don't know what the symbolism is here...come back home and get in trouble? Try to be free and you'll get bitten on the ass? The neighbor tells the kids that if the dog is ever in the yard again he'll shoot it.

It turns out that Hobart only hired Betty to help his strategy of trying to get Don to come to McCann. He even tells Don this. Betty is let go (though told it's for other reasons). At home, she tells Don that she just doesn't want to be a model again, running around Manhattan with her portfolio like a young girl. Don says he understands but she could have done it if she wanted to. Interesting dynamic between Don and Betty, almost as if they have a more balanced marriage than in earlier episodes.

Don decides to stay with Sterling Cooper but not for the money, though he does insist on $45,000 and no contract. He wants to be able to leave at any moment to follow "do something else" while he still can (freedom again?). If and when he does leave, it won't be for more advertising.

Betty has had enough of the neighbor and the birds and what the birds represent too, especially after a day of cooking, doing laundry, and just sitting around the house smoking. In one of the great images on any show in quite some time, she stands outside with a BB gun, cigarette hanging out of her mouth, shooting at the birds in the sky, as the neighbor freaks out.

Next week: Peggy wants to know where she stands with Pete, and Don shows up at Midge's Rachel's door.

Joan is...
Really trying to help Peggy87 (30.9%)
Scheming and bitchy195 (69.1%)

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Kristin

I think Don turned down the job at McCann specifically because he wanted to kill Betty's modeling career. Ass. And I agree that Peggy isn't pregnant. That's a relief, actually. That storyline just would have been too obvious. Loved the bitchfest between her and Joan in the breakroom. Still, the fight scene was beyond bizarre. How's Pete going to get out of that one?

http://www.unboundedition.com/content/view/2481/50/

September 18 2007 at 2:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eric Berlin

This show stays with me, and I find myself craving each new episode more than the one before.

I thought a lot about Don's motivation for not taking the new gig. I'm tempted to believe that it's partially out of fear -- a new international corporation may look far more deeply into his background (he's changed his name, may be Jewish, and who knows what else is in his mysterious past?).

That said, I can buy the freedom theme, and he feels well poised now to fly the coup on his terms.

Don Draper is a fabulous character, by the way, I'm not bored by his life and times for a second.

September 17 2007 at 5:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rodney

Lou:

How do you figure 28%? He's making 30, was offered 40, and he upped it to 45. 30 to 45 is a 50% raise.

September 16 2007 at 10:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
marilyn

I believe when Don saw Betty's pictures he felt supportive of her. He knows how cruelly models/women in the workplace are treated and wants to protect her. Models are generally much younger-note the gorgeous blond assistant that takes away Betty's jewelry at the end of the shoot. Pete is in love with Peggy even if his brain hasn't acknowledged it yet- his attempt to tease his secretary was crude , a show for the boys. Peggy is not pregnant. Her butt is bigger, not her stomach.

September 16 2007 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chet

This was a "theme" episode, all about protecting territories...

*Pete's attack on Ken was protecting Peggy's reputation (and indirectly, his own..). Query: Betty pregnant?
* Don knew that Betty's modeling gig was Hobart's way of taking hostages. He also knew that confronting her with the truth of the matter would crush her ego (Don's being informed by the Shrink {And btw, give Armin more screen time, s'il vous plais, powers-that-be..}). Don did not want the job with McCann Erickson, realizing how rough they played. He also realized that being unconditionally supportive of Betty in this instance would cost him nothing, as she would lose the job as soon as he refused.
*Betty was crushed by losing the gig, and understood finally why she received the attention in the first place. She is chafing at her importance being secondary to her husband's in the wide World, but represses it. The volume of implicit, but unstated exchange between Don and Betty during their last conversation was remarkable, and indicates a stronger bond between them than his cheating implied.
* Betty's shooting the rifle at the pigeons was symbolic. Pigeon keeping is largely associated with urban areas. We usually associate it with rooftops of apartments (Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront). We also usually associate the Golden Retriever with Suburbia. The neighbor menacing the daughter by threatening to shoot the dog is meant to imply the urban side of the Drapers life threatening the suburban home ("stay out of my way"). Betty's reaction was directly implying to the neighbor that she will not tolerate her family being intimidated, and indirectly showing that she chooses to make her home and family the instrument of her self-expression (shades of The Sopranos!)...

September 16 2007 at 2:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris

There drunks, I guess it just comes with the territory MadDeb.

September 15 2007 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brownie

When Don saw Betty posed as the perfect Mom in the Coca-Cola ads, he knew that's exactly what he wanted her to be, and she couldn't be that if she was working. He also knew that the kids were not being watched properly because the babysitter should have known about the dog/pigeon incident. (Did she hear the screams over her snoring?) Based on his own childhood, he wanted the best for his own children--he even told Betty so at the "not thrown together" dinner. I think he did a magnanimous thing when he turned Hobart down. Still waters run deep. Even though he is a skirt-chaser (yep, that's what we used to call them), he does the best he can to be a good Dad.

September 15 2007 at 2:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
reverenddebby

I think Betty shooting the birds was her way of letting out her anger at losing her modeling job and then feeling compeled to lie about the reason to Don. She cannot admit what really happened, her unhappiness about it and the frustration she feels with her life as a suburban housewife. She said she wanted to spend more time at home with the kids, but then sits around all day in her nightgown, staring into space, smoking. And Don never discussed his decision to not go with M-E because of their deception with Betty. If their marriage is on a more equal footing it is because they are both lying to each other and to themselves.

I think Pete really likes Peggy but is embaressed to admit it to the other guys. Hence the explosion and fight, which no one asked about. Very surreal!

September 15 2007 at 1:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nancy

I don't know, I don't think Peggy is pregnant. Why didn't they show the "telltale" nauseous/vomiting scene and get it over with already?

Josh - I don't think it was because he didn't want his wife to work that Don didn't take the job. As SethDavis said, I think it was because he didn't approve of Hobart's negotiation tactics. He won't be manipulated - he has to be the one in control all the time - and that's why he turned down the offer.

September 14 2007 at 5:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tricia

My favorite scene was where Don and Roger meet up and Roger asks if he needs a ride to the station, while that fist fight between Pete and Ken is going on in the background. Don and Roger didn't even acknowledge it. That was pretty funny. And yes, I think Peggy is going to be pregnant, but I loved that she told Joan that she (Joan) was not a stick! Of course, seeing Betty outside in her peignoir, cigarette dangling, shooting at the birds, with "You Are My Special Angel" playing, well, that was a pretty great scene.

September 14 2007 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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