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mad men: "love among the ruins"


It's so nice to come to the end of the weekend and look forward to something on tv. I love this show.  This week's episode for those of us that don't have the iTunes season pass and didn't get the release last Monday:

Episode 2: Love Among the Ruins
Betty gets a visit from her father. Sterling Cooper grapples with a very specific client request. Roger makes arrangements for a wedding. Peggy becomes personally affected by a campaign.

Roger planning a wedding? The writers love us. Grab your martini and join in the discussion.

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
tomfoolery815
Aug. 24th, 2009 01:05 am (UTC)
Grab your martini and join in the discussion.
And please track this thread, for the benefit of those of us who can't watch at 10/9 Central but still want to discuss. :-)
amycurl
Aug. 24th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC)
There's a bunch of this episode I just didn't get, so I'm going to assume, because the show is so good, that's it's me and not them. I'm hoping lots of discussion here will enlighten me.

For one, I didn't get--at all--the scene of Peggy and her conquest at the table in the bar. And the interchange with him and those other three guys...wuh?

And was it just me, or did you all think that the last scene with the teacher and the maypole was about Don having a revelation about Patio? So then he's going to talk about Pampers with Peggy? Wuh?

Best part was the 180 on Madison Square Garden. Because while I am totally in the tearing down Penn Station was one of the worst decisions that NYC ever made camp, Don is TOTALLY AND ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. "Why did you buy us in the first place?" "I don't know..." How many of you think that this "marriage" is going to come apart before the end of the season?

Edited at 2009-08-24 03:12 am (UTC)
gatsbyfan
Aug. 24th, 2009 03:17 am (UTC)
So the wedding is November 23? Wonder if that is still going to happen considering what is going to happen on November 22nd?

Was it me or did Joan's chest look even bigger than normal in that green blouse? Wow.

More random trivia: We learn that Patio (what an awful name) was the first diet soft drink introduced.

“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”
That's worked well for Don in the past. It seems to be his approach to handling the situation with Betty and her father. Her brother is trying to play the martyr, so Don changes the conversation. Dad will live with them. The brother won't get his hand on the house or the Lincoln. But I don't think Betty and Don were prepared for the challenges that taking her father in.

gatsbyfan
Aug. 24th, 2009 03:21 am (UTC)
"Why did you buy us in the first place?" "I don't know..." How many of you think that this "marriage" is going to come apart before the end of the season?
Exactly. Every time Cooper appears on screen his presence pretty much says "I made a mistake". He walks out of the room while they start the conversation.

How awkward was that dinner? I actually felt sorry for Betty and Don.
gatsbyfan
Aug. 24th, 2009 03:32 am (UTC)
There's a bunch of this episode I just didn't get, so I'm going to assume, because the show is so good, that's it's me and not them.
I felt the same way. But I sort of feel like they are setting up future storylines.

The episode seemed to focus a lot on change. Peggy isn't happy with the way the men are trying to sell Patio to women. Roger isn't happy that people are less than welcoming of his new marriage.
Tearing down Penn Station. The Brits controlling Sterling Cooper.
tomfoolery815
Aug. 24th, 2009 07:11 am (UTC)
For one, I didn't get--at all--the scene of Peggy and her conquest at the table in the bar. And the interchange with him and those other three guys...wuh?
It took me a minute Amybabe, but I think it was his boys indicating, for Peggy's edification, that his swingin' bachelor pad is a short walk away.

did you all think that the last scene with the teacher and the maypole was about Don having a revelation about Patio? So then he's going to talk about Pampers with Peggy? Wuh?
My first impression is that Pampers is just the next item of business, and unrelated to the Maypole thing. During the Maypole dance, he seems to be gazing lustfully at the teacher who, you know, is pretty hot. He puts down his paper cup and touches the grass. The same grass she's dancing on. To connect with her, is my guess.

And yeah, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot on the Madison Square Garden deal. No wonder Don wants Peggy to wait a minute; he wants to process the mind-blowingly stupid thing that just happened.
tomfoolery815
Aug. 24th, 2009 07:22 am (UTC)
Every time Cooper appears on screen his presence pretty much says "I made a mistake". He walks out of the room while they start the conversation.
I noticed that too, Gatzy. He's permanently perturbed. Of course, he wasn't jumping for joy over the merger to being with. I loved his line about not being called into Price's office every time an account is lost: "This is an ad agency. I'll wear out the carpet."

But Roger gets the biggest laugh (from me, anyway) once again: Price is troubled by the loss of Campbell's Soup Great Britain, but Roger just looks at the suit of armor and says "You ever get three sheets to the wind and try that thing on?"

So the wedding is November 23? Wonder if that is still going to happen considering what is going to happen on November 22nd?
And Roger's daughter thinks his presence is what's going to ruin her wedding day. ;-)

“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” That's worked well for Don in the past. It seems to be his approach to handling the situation with Betty and her father.
Great observation, Gatz. He did change the conversation in a big hurry there.

But yes, Betty's Dad acting like a bootlegger during Prohibition sets an ominous tone for having him live there.

All right, that's enough for me before sunrise. Looking forward to hearing what everybody else has to say. :-)
amycurl
Aug. 24th, 2009 02:13 pm (UTC)
Here's my take on Betty's dad's situation. First of all, I love how Don responds so quickly to Betty being miserable. She's clearly in a lot of pain, and, I think, feels that she *can't* or *won't* ask Don to have her father move in with them. He immediately, after having that conversation on the stairs, when it's clear that the idea of having a woman who is not her care for her dad is unacceptable to her, corners the brother and tells him how it's going to go down. Because he's the Alpha Male, and everybody in that house knows it.

Also, the brother is kind of skeezy, but the sister-in-law actually does seem to have her heart in the right place.

I don't know if anyone else noticed this, but she reaches out to Don and touches him during the scene when they talk to her father about it at the table. I think she's genuinely touched by what Don has done. But, yes, I don't think they've really processed what they're in for....

Thanks for the enlightenment on the scene at the bar, Tommy. The sound mixing was pretty poor--I just couldn't hear what they said...

Gatz, yes, Joan looked yuuuuge! There was the whole conversation between her and Betty about carrying--I wonder if Joan is already pregnant?

I also hadn't caught the significance of the daughter's wedding date, but I loved Sterling's "I could have cared less about that wedding...now, I just want to win!" Terrible, yes, but it's what has made him successful, isn't it? That kind of competitive spirit...

This whole episode makes me wish I've seen some kind of version of Bye, Bye Birdie. I wonder if they had to pay someone to show that much of the movie?
tomfoolery815
Aug. 24th, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
She's clearly in a lot of pain, and, I think, feels that she *can't* or *won't* ask Don to have her father move in with them.
A, I was thrown by Betty's distress at her sister-in-law "getting" to be her dad's nurse. As if it were a prize to be won.

But I agree with you; it's about her own inability to ask for what she wants, combined with the physical pain of her pregnancy. To his credit, Don sizes up the situation immediately -- or, maybe he'd formulated the plan hours/days before, and was just waiting for the moment -- and makes it happen.
tomfoolery815
Aug. 24th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the enlightenment on the scene at the bar, Tommy. The sound mixing was pretty poor--I just couldn't hear what they said...
I had the volume pretty far up. ;-) Maybe the distortion was deliberate: Peggy was looking to hook up, but she just wasn't getting through to Mr. Brooklyn College until she grabbed his burger and took a bite.

This episode seemed to be about Peggy taking another step in her Sterling Cooper assimilation: She uses Joan's line about it being crowded like the subway, since she'd watched Joan get a laugh from men with it. Then, she walks into the bar to find somebody with whom to hook up, since that's what the other account execs do.

I like the portrayal of her inner conflict over "Bye-Bye Birdie." She's right: Ann-Margret does sing shrilly. But Ken and Harry only see "hot woman acting sexy." Peggy notices that, too, so there she is singing -- better than Ann-Margret, by the way -- to her mirror.
elinorigbe
Aug. 24th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
But Ken and Harry only see "hot woman acting sexy." Peggy notices that, too, so there she is singing -- better than Ann-Margret, by the way -- to her mirror.

In her dowdy bathrobe, no less. I keep being surprised at her little switches between dumpy Peggy the secretary in little school girl dresses, and the smooth seductress in the bar.

And she was sooo polished in the meeting about Patio. Smart comments and wonderful facial expressions, I thought.
tomfoolery815
Aug. 24th, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC)
I think we're supposed to be surprised, Elinor. She doesn't want to be dowdy and dumpy, spending her nights hanging wet laundry on a drying rack. She seems to want more of the trappings of a Sterling Cooper copywriter: Going out, meeting attractive people, going home with them.
gatsbyfan
Aug. 25th, 2009 02:58 am (UTC)
The Mad Men Power Rankings are out.

The are an amusing read.

What new Co-Head of Accounts Ken Cosgrove lacked in screen time, he made up for in not being Weasly Pete Campbell.

tomfoolery815
Aug. 25th, 2009 03:36 am (UTC)
That's funny stuff, Gatz! Thanks for the link.

I miss the old Movieline. It became some kind of fashion and lifestyle magazine. I let the subscription expire.
flippet
Aug. 25th, 2009 01:09 pm (UTC)
There's a bunch of this episode I just didn't get,

Oh thank god, it's not just me!

How awkward was that dinner? I actually felt sorry for Betty and Don.

Yeah. But Embeth Davidtz! And wow, Betty looked classy. When I was pregnant, I just looked fat. :-(

During the Maypole dance, he seems to be gazing lustfully at the teacher who, you know, is pretty hot. He puts down his paper cup and touches the grass. The same grass she's dancing on. To connect with her, is my guess.

That's kind of what I was getting from it, too. That there she was, fresh, beautiful, barefoot....and appearing very, very free. In a way that Don hasn't been for a long time. So, both a simple connection with her - touch what she's touching - and perhaps a bit of connection with nature and freedom itself. Also, from Wikipedia, that bastion of knoweledge, or at least trivia, LOL: "The first kind of maypole dancing is probably extremely ancient and is thought by some to have Germanic pagan fertility symbolism, although there is a lack of evidence to support this conjecture." There were a lot of references to fertility this ep, both direct (how Betty was carrying, for instance) and indirect (Peggy stopping her activities, then proposing different activities).

but Roger just looks at the suit of armor and says "You ever get three sheets to the wind and try that thing on?"

Hah. That was *so* Roger. He's canny, but not as much so as Don - and sometimes he's just a child in a man-suit. Because that's *exactly* what he'd do.


She's clearly in a lot of pain, and, I think, feels that she *can't* or *won't* ask Don to have her father move in with them.


What struck me this episode (not that it hasn't before) is just how much of a brat Betty is. I got the impression that she wanted her father not because she *actually* wanted to do the work of caring for him--and I think that's why she didn't ask--but because she's got a *mine, mine, all mine* problem. She didn't want her brother or his-wife-who-though-perfectly-nice-is-unrelated to "get their paws on" the car, the house, etc. She totally read the situation as them trying to gain a tactical advantage from the situation. And, while the brother may have had those thoughts, the wife seemed incredibly genuine, offering to have Dad move in with them, and she'd take care of him. Caring for someone with dementia is such a thankless job, and she offered out of the goodness of her heart.

Well. Betty's going to come to a deeper understanding of 'be careful what you wish for', it seems.

yes, Joan looked yuuuuge! There was the whole conversation between her and Betty about carrying--I wonder if Joan is already pregnant?

I was not only wondering that, but--the contrast between Joan and Betty was enormous at that point, no pun intended. Here Betty is, pregnant, yet looking so composed and put-together, and downright lithe...and when she walks away, you can see that Joan actually looks a bit dumpy in that skirt and blouse. It didn't fit as well as her dresses, plus there's the visual line cutting her at the waist - I'm sure that particular wardrobe choice was quite deliberate.

She's right: Ann-Margret does sing shrilly. But Ken and Harry only see "hot woman acting sexy."

I loved Peggy's take on it - a 25-year-old acting like a 14-year-old. I've never seen Bye Bye Birdie, but I wasn't overly impressed with that clip, for much the same reason. There was something about AM's demeanor that was borderline offensive....but yeah, the men were just lapping it up. Ugh.
tomfoolery815
Aug. 25th, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
Oh thank god, it's not just me!
Goodman says this is an "episode best seen again when roughly half the season is over."

Great catch on the Maypole-fertility connection, Flipcy!

I got the impression that she wanted her father not because she *actually* wanted to do the work of caring for him--and I think that's why she didn't ask--but because she's got a *mine, mine, all mine* problem.
Absolutely. Betty might not have a child's naivete anymore, but her behavior is still very much that of a child. She's got a bit of Pete Campbell in her, now that I think about it.

In contrast, William's wife genuinely cares for her father-in-law; she feels their connection being severed as the announcement of William's "decision" sets in.
flippet
Aug. 25th, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC)
Oh hey, I hope people are tracking. My friend Y (who always says she's coming over, but I can't seem to actually get her here) posted this site to her FB.

MadMenFootnotes

It's pretty awesome, for students of history, or just wannabes. ;-)
gatsbyfan
Aug. 26th, 2009 12:10 am (UTC)
I saw that site last week. It's very cool.

I wish I could find the other site that was really cool that I was reading while at work. I couldn't post and now I can't find the darn thing. :(
gatsbyfan
Aug. 26th, 2009 12:17 am (UTC)
skywaterblue had a great take on the Maypole as well:

Robert Browning was a Victorian poet. During the Victorian era, the Romantic movement spawned several artistic offshoots including the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. All of these movements shared an interest in an idyllic pastoral past of English countryside, closely connected with the mystic early days of Pagan Brittania and the legend of King Arthur. This mytho-historic past was a lens through which people could experience a wide range of emotional depth. This was in part a reaction to the Victorian trend towards piety and extreme emotional closed-offness.

One result of this trend was an interest in reviving old Pagan traditions including the May Pole. Circling around the May Pole is connected with early-spring, midsummer pagan fertility rituals and represents the courtship of the young Lord (the pole) with the Goddess of the Earth (the young women or children encircling the phallic pole with ribbons.)

So in the scene we're given in Mad Men, we're connecting the ancient rite of dancing around the May Pole to the figurative image of the young woman barefoot in the grass. Don brushing the grass is symbolic of lust for/yearing for possession of the young woman in his mind. It's the youthful, sexual counterpoint to his original 'carousel' metaphor for nostalgia and family in season one. This further connects it to the episode in which Peggy decries the men lusting for false-youth in women and then goes out to experience her own sexual power as a now mature adult.

In an episode full of decay (Betty's father, the city of New York, the firm itself) we end the episode on a classic symbol of rebirth.


I thought it was pretty laden with obvious sexual imagery, but I guess there are people really confused by the whole scene.
marymary
Aug. 29th, 2009 02:25 am (UTC)
Hi, guys! I find I have very little to say about this one.

I did really like Peggy in the Patio meeting. And on her hookup...I just saw it as Peggy doing something she wanted to do. She's already defied two major social norms -- she's had a baby out of wedlock and she's a female ad-man. I saw this as an extension of that --- she's making her own rules.

On the other hand...Tom, you characterized it Peggy's desire to be like the guys. You might be right about that; maybe I'm a) putting more of a modern mind-set on Peggy and b) giving her more credit for really taking charge of her own life than she deserves. She is sort of feeling her way through things, after all.

Oh, and Maypole Teacher is...someone. I can't remember where I know her from. So I think there might well be something between her and Don, cause I don't think she's just a one-scene girl.
tomfoolery815
Aug. 29th, 2009 04:42 am (UTC)
She's already defied two major social norms -- she's had a baby out of wedlock and she's a female ad-man. I saw this as an extension of that --- she's making her own rules.
That could very well be the case, Mary. Because picking a guy with whom to hook up is certainly not in line with the social norm for a "proper" woman in '63. But she is refusing to let societal norms define her or dictate her behavior.

I don't mean that she wants to be a guy. I think she's thinking "I'm a Madison Avenue copywriter; Madison Avenue copywriters go out and hook up with people if they want; I'm going to hook up with someone."

You might be right about that; maybe I'm a) putting more of a modern mind-set on Peggy
You are. But so is she. :-)

and b) giving her more credit for really taking charge of her own life than she deserves.
I don't think you are. She is taking charge of her own life. That includes doing what she wants to do.
marymary
Aug. 30th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
I don't mean that she wants to be a guy. I think she's thinking "I'm a Madison Avenue copywriter; Madison Avenue copywriters go out and hook up with people if they want

Yeah, I knew exactly what you meant. :-) I still don't know whether I think it's that or whether she's being truly revolutionary. I'll have to mull for a few more episodes. :-)
tomfoolery815
Aug. 30th, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
We do seem to be harmonizing, yes. :-)

I still don't know whether I think it's that or whether she's being truly revolutionary.
Too early to tell, probably. As a woman having casual sex (OK, only once so far), she's not without precedent; she had to know Bobbie and Don were having sex when she bailed Don out.

It occurs to me that Peggy has been/is taking guidance from several sources, and to varying degrees: Joan, then Don, then Bobbie, even Roger a little bit. And when trying to break the ice with men, she could certainly do worse than to steal one of Joan's lines.

I'll have to mull for a few more episodes. :-)
Me, too. Clearly, more study is required. :-)
marymary
Aug. 30th, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC)
We've seen this, right? I honestly don't know. Interview with Jon Hamm.

http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/entertainment_tv/2009/08/mad-men-season-3-jon-hamm-amc.html
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