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October 6, 2015

Mad Men: The New Girl

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 25th 2008 12:04AM
Mad Men
(S02E05) "This is America. Pick a job and become the person who does it." - Bobbie, to Don

Is there any other show on TV right now that packs so much stuff into one episode? So many revelations, so many character developments, so many nuances? People who only have the attention span for music videos have complained that "nothing ever happens" on Mad Men, but I say that more happens in an episode of this show than three or four of most other shows on the air right now.

This episode was amazing. Not only did we get the background story on one of the big mysteries of the first season (if this was Lost the message boards would be going crazy right now), we got to see a different side of a few characters and the very welcome (if quick) return of an old favorite. Though I wonder how her new situation will affect Don in the upcoming episodes.

Speaking of message boards, some of the Mad Men fan sites have surmised that Don knows what happened to Peggy. I really wasn't sure of that, because in a way it seemed like wishful thinking, that she wouldn't be alone (aside from her mom and sister). But tonight we find out that Don actually tracked her down in the hospital. I'm not sure if his advice about forgetting what happened will do her any good in the end (we'll have to see, though I think Don was thinking of his own life quite a bit there), but at least she has a connection in the office.

I like Jane (SEXY SEXY SEXY SEXY SEXY SEXY SEXY), and I wonder how she's going to affect the office, other than the sight of seeing male employees we've never seen before standing at a filing cabinet drooling. And Joan is engaged now? Sorry Roger. You had your chance (well, as much chance as a married man can have I guess). Remember in episode one when Joan told Peggy that with any luck, Peggy would meet a man and not have to work at Sterling Cooper at all? I'm going to predict that Joan isn't going to think that way anymore, especially about herself.

And Joan isn't the only one with a permanent other. I was truly happy to see Rachel, but kinda crushed that she's married now and her name is Rachel Katz (hmmm, you would think Don would have heard about that, since he used to handle the Mencken account and stuff like that would get around). I wonder if this means that they haven't kept touch with each other and Don mailed that Frank O'Hara book to Midge?

Some more observations about this episode:

- I loved all of the refreshingly blunt talk about Pete, Trudy, and their attempt to have a baby. When Doc Stone tells Pete that he should talk to his secretary about getting a semen sample and Pete says "When she's free," I actually laughed out loud. When Pete finds out he already has a child (and Trudy finds out!), that's going to be explosive.

- I didn't see Don calling Peggy at all. Sure, it made sense when we saw that Don visited her in the hospital in 1960, but I got all happy when I saw her walk into the police station. I think Don actually owes Peggy now.

- If there's ever a spinoff of Mad Men, can I suggest Peggy & Bobbie? Just two girls in the big city, one single and one now divorced, trying to make it. Picture Laverne & Shirley, with more smoking.

- Speaking of Bobbie, I liked her a lot more in this episode. Her talks with Don were a little deeper, she was actually trying to be helpful with Peggy, and she just seemed more...nice? Hell, even Jimmy seemed nicer in his cameo.

- Wait, so Peggy's sister was pregnant last year or so??

- Why is this episode called "The New Girl?" Sure, Don gets a new secretary, but the episode titles for this show usually mean a few different things. It can't be Bobbie, because she isn't new. Can't be Peggy's kid, because that's a boy. Maybe it refers to Jane and also to the new attitude Peggy has (calling Mr. Draper "Don") after her talk with Bobbie.

- Several episodes have had a scene where the Drapers are having dinner and Don comes home and joins them after work. These scenes always depress me, because I want that family unit to survive and I have the feeling they're setting us up for a break-up in some way.

- Weirdest scene: Fred Rumsen coming out of his office in the middle of Jane and Ken's conversation, playing Mozart on his zipper.

- Least favorite scene: That stupid "Viva Viagra!" commercial in the second half hour. Painful to see such a terrible bit of advertising in a brilliant show about advertising.

What do you think of Don's advice to Peggy?
He's right. It was a mistake and she has to go forward.157 (40.8%)
Not great, but he thought he was doing the right thing.210 (54.5%)
Lousy! What a messed up Mad Man.18 (4.7%)

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Genius, genius episode. For four episodes, we've all thought Anita was raising her sister Peggy's baby. Not so much. Seems the little boy is her own son. Now where is Pete Campbell, Jr.?

The hysterically funny Attention Deficit Theatre recap of the episode is here, should fans want to check it out:

August 28 2008 at 10:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My feeling was that the pregnant belly on Peggy's sister was a hallucination of Peggy's.

August 26 2008 at 10:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
NH Gary

Here's the answer for "mello one":


August 26 2008 at 3:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I watched the episode last night -- a day late. I have to echo others' comments that it might be the best episode so far. Utterly brilliant from start to finish.

It's interesting to note that even though Don didn't tell his wife the whole truth, he didn't lie to her either. It's a fine line we walk in relationships.

That last scene said it all, though, didn't it?

August 26 2008 at 10:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This was my favorite episode of the season. The writing is just amazing.

Last week, I wanted to smack Bobbie off the planet. I could not stand her character. Now I am rooting for her. Her scenes with Peggy were extraordinary. She's just a normal girl, fighting to be one of the guys, but in a completely different way than Peggy.

I was kind of hoping some of her advice would rub off on Peggy and she would at least change her hairstyle. I mean, come on, she wants to be an ad exec with bangs and a ponytail? Ludicrous.

I am completely open to whatever twist they throw at us in the coming episodes about Peggy's baby. I really have no idea what happened.

I do think Don knows. The reason I believe this is because if a man comes to a hospital to ask about his secretary, a doctor in those days would have told him. The boss/secretary relationship was very important at that time, and they had rights almost like a husband. Did anyone ever see that game show where a man was on with his wife and his secretary to see who knew him better? Don had that with Peggy, and I think it's why he's out of sorts at the office. He can't find it again.

Joan is engaged! I don't even recall her dating. Should be an interesting ride.

I really don't like Pete. I don't like him at work or at home. Its obvious he is in an unhappy marriage as Trudy says "then why did we do all of this" if they are not going to have children. Wow.

August 25 2008 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A fake tummy?!?!?!?

Think about the show thematically. Having Peggy denying having given birth works with Don's background. The headfake of convincing the viewer that Peggy's sister was raising the kid was to show how one lives another life and makes it believable. All the scenes surrounding the kids ("Say goodnight") was Peggy's sisters way off trying to get through to Peggy what she gave up when she abandoned her child. And, as Peggy was released by "complying" with the doctors, she has yet to believe she gave anything away. It was a brilliant set up from the start of the season.

They did a similar thing with you not sure Don and Betty were still married in the first episode, by having them not appear together and have very guarded converstations about each other.

She had the kid and gave it up for adoption. They are a Catholic family and it's not unreasonable to think her sister has a large family because of that. (I come from a Cathlolic family of 6 born in the same time as the show takes place.)

August 25 2008 at 2:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Frank M.

Does anyone know the name of the actress that plays Don's new receptionist?

August 25 2008 at 2:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Frank M.'s comment

I'm pretty sure that is Peyton List. She played the daughter of Dylan McDermott's character on last years series Big Shots.

August 25 2008 at 10:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Peggy's sister - on that flash back - was wearing a fake tummy of some sorts so when Peggy gave birth "so did her sister". Peggy was probably committed for denying she had a kid among other things. We don't know Peggy all that well. I think she is nuts - was nuts before we met her on the first day at Sterling-Cooper.

I have never heard the word decolletage spoken aloud. Only read it in print in gossip and fashion mags. Joan said it so well and I can't remember how to pronounce it now. I can say I totally massacred the word compared to Joan.

The zipper deal was hilarious! With all the things done then that could never happen now because of sexual harassment, it was perfect. I think from the show of the actors and writers favorite moments on Mad Men, the head scribe (I believe) said the writers pull real life events from then (60's) and incorporate them into the show. The zipper deal, that probably actually happened. Too bad that zipper music can't happen now, considering how short zipper are now compared to then. ;-)

August 25 2008 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jessica's comment
Brent McKee

"I think Peggy's sister - on that flash back - was wearing a fake tummy of some sorts so when Peggy gave birth "so did her sister"."

But here's the thing, why would the sister were an "empathy belly" (though they didn't have a name for such things back then) some time after Peggy had given birth? Particularly in a place where people knew that Peggy had given birth. Remember Peggy's been in St. Mary's for some time, long enough for Don to notice.

No, I think that the resentment that Peggy's sister is feeling has a lot to do with her dead end life with a husband who barely gets off the sofa (because of his back problems) and being the one who has to spend the most time with their domineering mother. I suspect that when Peggy's sister "got into trouble" it was resolved with a quick trip to the local parish church that led to the dead end life.

August 25 2008 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

actually I think everyone has it wrong it was Peggy's sister who delivered a stillborn or miscarriaged and SHE is raising Peggy's baby - that is why there is deep seated resentment. This was revealed in the confession on last week episode.

The sister isn't bitter because Peggy gets away with everything it is because the sister lost her baby and Peggy didn't and to add insult to injury now the sister has to raise Peggy's baby.

August 25 2008 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great episode! I love how Peggy's becoming more of a "player" in the series, and yes, Draper surely owes her BIG TIME for getting him out of the jam with the accident with Bobbie.

Don's new secretary is GORGEOUS - hope they work her into the plots 'cause I want to see a lot more of her - looking like she does (and wearing her buttons undone) will surely shake things up at Sterling Cooper!

I have to say, Mad Men is the best show on television; one of the few I follow religiously.

August 25 2008 at 12:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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