Mad Men: The Arrangements
by Bob Sassone, posted Sep 7th 2009 12:48AM
(S01E04) "He has no idea how confused America is going to be about that J. - Don, about jai alai
In the late 80s, when I was doing sales and marketing for a national music magazine, the staff played a joke on one of the new salespeople. We had to get a certain number of sales per day and she wasn't having any luck, so I called her phone and pretended to be a customer. I think I told her I was going to buy thousands of dollars worth of magazines. Looking back now it was an immature, cruel thing to do, but I thought of that during tonight's scene with the Sterling Cooper gang calling "Margaret" and pretending to be a potential roommate. People are such jerks.
But this episode was mostly about what happened to Gene...
It's odd, but even though Gene has been confused and confrontational and acting inappropriately, it seems to me that he has also been some sort of sane voice of reason in the Draper household (other than putting salt on ice cream). He's paying attention to Sally, telling her she can be whatever she wants to be (I don't think letting her drive was a sign of his mind going, I think it was a sign that he was dying and he wanted to teach Sally something he didn't teach Betty), and being responsible enough to draw up the papers for what happens after he dies.
Betty is being her immature, selfish self, so she's certainly not going to be "bothered" with any of that. When the police show up to break the news that Gene has died (I think his death sort of symbolizes the end of his generation), Betty isn't really protective of Sally's feelings.
When Sally is upset and watching the TV news report about the monk setting fire on himself (if Gene dying symbolized the end of one generation, this was a hint of the next), for a split second (just a split second) I had this terrible image of Sally doing the same thing. Hey, she's tried smoking, drinking, and stealing money, so arson shouldn't be too far behind. But she just went to sleep (though next week's preview shows some trouble at school...)
At Sterling Cooper, the ad guys (and gal) have a meeting about the sport of jai alai ("it's going to be bigger than baseball!"). They have a way of getting behind winners, eh? First Nixon and now jai alai, big in Florida but something most Americans don't have any association with. I don't know where this plot is going. I'm more interested in what's up with Sal and his wife. The OH MY GOD MY HUSBAND LIKES MEN look on her face as he was acting out his ill-fated commercial was priceless.
I like how Don doesn't give a crap about Sal's personal life (much like Cooper doesn't care about Don's secret). He's not homophobic or evil towards Sal, he still treats him the same, which is probably not what a lot of SC folks would do if (when) they find out. Some will be nasty, I bet.
But no one is as nasty as Peggy's mom. Wow, how cruel can you get? I did like how the sister was pretty supportive of Peggy moving to Manhattan (that's going to be a great subplot, I bet), but the mom is all about guilt and pretty much calling her daughter a whore/bitch. I think that Betty and Don will ultimately be better off with Betty's dad out of the picture, and I think Peggy is going to be better off with her mom out of the picture. (Side note: loved Joan's roommate ad advice to Peggy. Maybe she does have a future at Sterling Cooper.)
"He's still dead, Ma!" - Peggy, to her mom, about the Pope
"I am one of those girls." - Peggy, to her sister, about Manhattan girls
"As they say at the freshman mixer: you get a yes, you go home." - Pete
"Victory medal. France. I should have another one for beating the clap!" - Gene