Powered by i.TV
November 29, 2014

Mad Men: Souvenir

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 5th 2009 2:50AM
Mad Men
(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.

Some thoughts:

- 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

Mad Men' Photos

    Actors John Slattery, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Jon Hamm, Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss and cast of "Mad Men" on stage at the TNT/TBS broadcast of the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on January 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. 17498_MC_0473.JPG

    Michael Caulfield/WireImage.com

    The cast of Mad Men January Jones, Alison Brie, Kiernan Shipka, Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks poses in the press room at the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

    Steve Granitz/WireImage.com

    The cast of Mad Men poses in the press room at the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

    Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.com

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: (L-R) Actresses January Jones, Alison Brie, Kiernan Shipka, Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks of "Mad Men" pose with their award for Outstanding Performance by an ensemble in a Drama Series in the press room at the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** January Jones;Alison Brie;Kiernan Shipka;Elisabeth Moss;Christina Hendricks

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: (L-R) Actresses January Jones, Alison Brie, Kiernan Shipka, Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks of "Mad Men" pose with their award for Outstanding Performance by an ensemble in a Drama Series in the press room at the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** January Jones;Alison Brie;Kiernan Shipka;Elisabeth Moss;Christina Hendricks

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: Actress Emily Blunt (R) presents the cast of "Mad Men" with the Ensemble in a Drama Series award during the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Emily Blunt

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: Actress Emily Blunt (L) presents actor Jon Hamm the Ensemble in a Drama Series award for "Mad Men" during the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Emily Blunt;Jon Hamm

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: Actor Jon Hamm (C) and the cast of "Mad Men" accept the award for Ensemble in a Drama Series during the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jon Hamm

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: Actor Jon Hamm (C) and the cast of "Mad Men" accept the award for Ensemble in a Drama Series during the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jon Hamm

    Getty Images

    WASHINGTON - JANUARY 18: 'Mad Men' actor Bryan Batt attends the Obama Pajama Party at the Ronald Reagan Building on January 18, 2009 in Washington, DC. The inaguration charity ball will benefit children in need. (Photo by Abby Brack/Getty Image) *** Local Caption *** Bryan Batt

    Getty Images

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

15 Comments

Filter by:
paulcito

I think the parallels between the Don/Betty and Pete plots can be summed up by the recurrent theme of "this never happened." August on Mad Men is some ephemeral world where time slows down and everyone is taking a vacation from their real lives. For better or worse.

October 08 2009 at 6:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DougB

Maybe I missed something earlier during the episode, but it sure appeared to me was Betty disdainful of the charm gift that Don brought back from Rome gave to her in the bedroom at the end of the episode. Can someone help me with this?!

October 08 2009 at 11:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lisa

Couldn't help but notice Betty's pink travel suit and Don's mention of Dallas, foreshadowing methinks.

October 05 2009 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Lisa's comment
scott

yep. definitely not a coincidence... pretty cool.

October 05 2009 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Floretta

Lauara - Gudrun (the au pair) was played by German actress Nina Rausch.

October 05 2009 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Floretta's comment
laura

well I couldnt find anything on her saying she was german, so i assumed the accent was just bad because she was faking it....now that she is supposedly german? its even worse.

October 05 2009 at 4:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rodney

Clearly your knowledge of German accents is based on too many episodes of Hogan's Heroes. There is not just one, as there is not just one "British" accent.

October 17 2009 at 5:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris Illuminati

I think the Joan thing was explained a couple episodes back when she was hosting the dinner party and she told the other woman to go down to the department store and ask for her friend. Then the other doc's wife said "you just know everyone".

Probably the same department store. That's how she got the job.

October 05 2009 at 11:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marilyn Singer

Was that Pete and Trudy singing "There's a Small Hotel" at the end? It sure sounded like them.

October 05 2009 at 10:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The1337

I had a thought about Betty while I was writing my review. If only we could just take a scalpel and dig around in her brain, we'd probably like her a lot more. There may be a tipping point to liking Betty and I'm still not there yet, but after the scenes not in Rome, I'm certainly getting close. Her constant coldness is getting a tad creepy and her talk about kissing once again proved her inability as a mother. Full review of the episode.

http://th3tvobsessed.blogspot.com/2009/10/review-mad-men-season-3-episode-8.html

October 05 2009 at 10:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nosidam

Wasn't that hallway that Pete meet the nanny in the back door which leads to the garbage chute and probably the freight elevator? That's where they would store boxes, bikes, and stuff they don't want to throw out but don't really have room for in their apartment.

The doors were black, but when the neighbor came to confront Pete about his activity while they were away, I thought his door was wood.

October 05 2009 at 8:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to nosidam's comment
Steve

yes, it looks like in that apt. building the apartments have a back door to the garbage chute. the look of that room is pretty typical in nyc, even in Park Avenue buildings.

October 05 2009 at 8:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
laura

The german Nanny Gertrude? Worst german accent ever.

Betty didnt rekindle anything with Don, she was doing what she usually does which is to "pretend" and then pout when her reality is worlds apart from her playland. She was the worldy, beautiful, seductress in rome and when she gets home its "my life sucks". Its why she is seducing that other guy, to forget what is at home.

October 05 2009 at 7:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to laura's comment
Gwin

I was wondering about that but couldn't tell... however, whenever they need a French person for a show, they often use Americans with horrible French accents, so I'm not surprised to hear this.

October 05 2009 at 10:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rhomboid

Betty was like a whole different person in Rome -- the language, the clothing, the hair, the confidence. If they were trying to highlight the contrast between her boring suburban external persona and her internal longing for something exciting, they surely succeeded. It was almost painful seeing her back in her ordinary 60s housewife hairstyle after that outrageously gorgeous Euro-updo.

October 05 2009 at 6:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Follow Us

From Our Partners