Mad Men: Souvenir
by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 5th 2009 2:50AM
(S03E08) "You don't kiss boys, boys kiss you." - Betty, to Sally
I think my favorite episodes of Mad Men are the ones that have a nice balance of Draper household drama and Sterling Cooper advertising drama. It seemed that this episode was going to tilt a lot - too much - towards the former, but about 20 minutes in, both worlds came together in unexpected ways -- Betty going on the business trip to Rome with Don and Pete running into ... well, someone at the department store. We'll talk about that more after the jump.
Those first 20 minutes made me uncomfortable. Not because of how the story was going, but because I hate watching scenes of heat waves on television. We're in October now and things are cooler, and I hate being reminded of the stifling humidity of August. I keep hoping that the show will jump ahead a couple of months so we can have cooler weather. But I guess the show isn't here to please just me and others who are made uncomfortable by imaginary high temperatures on a TV show.
Beyond all that, this show had an international flavor tonight, with Pete helping the German neighbor with the dress and Don and Betty going to Italy. I'm trying to find the parallels between the Don/Betty plot and Pete's plot, though I'm not sure I found any. It is interesting how the show was 98% about them and we got very little (or zero) of Peggy, Harry, Roger, Ken, or Sal. But all and all, that's an interesting change of pace, since real life isn't always about the predictable structure of some work/some play. Especially in the dead end heat of August.
- Wasn't it just a little too contrived that Joan was the acting manager at the department store where Pete just happened to bring the stained dress? This is a show that is often unpredictable (I love that), but that seemed like just a way to get Joan back into the picture since she left the agency. It was weird, but if it means Joan is back and now knows a secret about Pete, I don't care if she showed up as a cleaning lady in Pete and Trudy's building.
- Why is the inside of Pete and Trudy's apartment rather nice and the hallway like some rundown apartment building?
- Betty really seemed to enjoy the attention of the two strangers in Italy. There's always been something Grace Kelly about January Jones, and no more so than in this episode. Betty seemed more confident and put together in this episode, from asking to go on Don's trip with him to the way she handled Conrad Hilton on the phone to her speaking Italian flawlessly. It was awesome how Don pretended to be a stranger to get the random guys out of the way, and the way Betty played along. I like when the Drapers click as s couple. Don even lit her cigarette in the kitchen. But at the end she seemed to be profoundly unhappy (again), complaining about the town, their friends, her gift from Don. Sort of like Revolutionary Road.
- Betty's talk to Sally at the end, about how the first kiss is really important. I'm not sure if she was talking about the kiss she got from Henry in the parking lot or if she was talking about kissing Don, their trip to Italy sort of rekindling their love. I think Henry is a lot like Don: suave, well-dressed, able to get things done.
- I froze the screen on the list that Betty was calling from but didn't see any interesting names. Except a "Bruce Campbell" but it had the initial "H" in front of it.
- Did anyone else think that Ed the neighbor was going to punch Pete? I kinda like Trudy, and I was rather surprised that Pete pretty much admitted his affair at the end. I thought it would be just another thing a guy gets away with on this show.
- Pete watching Davey & Goliath on the couch, eating cereal, and laughing like Beavis or Butthead. Guys have always been that way.
- Another good quote from this episode: "Why is it that a man on his own is an object of pity when she's really the one you should feel sorry for?" - Pete, to the guys, about his secretary