Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mad Men 4.8: A Tale of Two Women

A relatively low key but provocative Mad Men 4.8 on AMC this past Sunday, focusing mostly of Joan's treatment in the office, and Peggy's response.

I was a student in the City College of New York in 1965 - a far cry from being an ad man, I'll admit - but I found the crude sexism exhibited by Joey (a freelance ad writer) in the office perhaps a little over the top (as in not fully believable) for that time in history.   He shows sheer contempt for Joan (and obvious attraction to her), at an early point asking her "what do you do around here besides walking around like you're trying to get raped" and continuing with a "pornographic" cartoon of Joan (as she puts it).   Men back then (and, for that matter, now) no doubt could and do think that, and maybe crack wise about it to their friends, but actually say that to the target's face?

Be that as it may, Peggy's response, compared to Joan's response, and then Joan's response to Peggy, make for an important Mad Men story.   Joan tells Joey that she hopes he goes to Vietnam and dies.  Peggy speaks to Don about Joey - Don tells Peggy to fire Joey, if she's upset by his behavior.  And Peggy does just that, after Joey takes a beat too long to agree to apologize to Joan.

Later, in the elevator, Joan is not only not appreciative of what Peggy did - Joan's annoyed.  Why?  The answer, I think, gets to the different kinds of women that Joan and Peggy now are.  Joan is still one of the girls, however powerful she may be in the office.   Peggy, in contrast, has become much more of an equal with the guys - her firing Joey seems as natural as if Don had done that himself.   The portrait of Joan and Peggy in this episode thus provides a good representation of the evolution, before and after, of women in the office.

Meanwhile, it was good to see Henry on the edge of getting involved in John Lindsay's first (Republican) campaign for NYC mayor.    Not that I like Henry.  But Lindsay was one of the most courageous and clear-thinking politicians in this period of time.  His early opposition to the Vietnam War, his standing up to transit and teacher's unions, made him a rarity in New York City and for that matter national politics.

See also Mad Men 4.1: Chicken Kiev, Lethal Interview, Ham Fight ... 4.2: "Good Time, Bad Time?" "Yes." ... 4.3: Both Coasts ... 4.4: "The following program contains brief nudity ..."  4.5: Fake Out and Neurosis ... 4.6: Emmys, Clio, Blackout, Flashback  ... 4.7: 'No Credits on Commercials'

And from Season 3: Mad Men Back for 3 and 3.2: Carvel, Penn Station, and Diet Soda and 3.3: Gibbon, Blackface, and Eliot and 3.4: Caned Seats and a Multiple Choice about Sal's Patio Furniture and 3.5: Admiral TV, MLK, and a Baby Boy and 3.6: A Saving John Deere and 3.7: Brutal Edges ... August Flights in 3.8 ... Unlucky Strikes and To the Moon Don in 3.9 ... 3.10: The Faintest Ink, The Strongest Television ... Don's Day of Reckoning in Mad Men 3.11 ... Mad Men 3.12: The End of the World in Mad Men ... Mad Men Season 3 Finale: The End of the World

And from Season Two: Mad Men Returns with a Xerox and a Call Girl ... 2.2: The Advertising Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ... 2.3 Double-Barreled Power ... 2.4: Betty and Don's Son ... 2.5: Best Montage Since Hitchcock ... 2.6: Jackie, Marilyn, and Liberty Valance ... 2.7: Double Dons ... 2.8: Did Don Get What He Deserved? ... 2.9: Don and Roger ... 2.10: Between Ray Bradbury and Telstar ... 2.11: Welcome to the Hotel California ... 2.12 The Day the Earth Stood Still on Mad Men ... 2.13 Saving the Best for Last on Mad Men

And from Season One: Mad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarette Companies and Nixon ... Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men ... Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ... Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 12: Admirable Don ... Mad 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes

20-minute interview with Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) at Light On Light Through

                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle

The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

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