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mad men: the arrangements


Four weeks into the new season already!

Episode 4: The Arrangements
Gene and Don cross paths. Peggy is looking for a roommate. A wealthy new client has very high hopes.

Grab your martini and join the discussion.

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
gatsbyfan
Sep. 7th, 2009 04:45 am (UTC)
The characters in this episode were really aiming for Mother/Father of the year awards... Jeez.

Peggy's mother's comment when Peggy informs her that she want's to move to Manhattan: You’ll get raped, you know that. Nice. I think she doesn't like that Peggy has become successful and she possibly seems Peggy moving into Manhattan as thumbing her nose at her lifestyle. She doesn't want to stay in the neighborhood and hasn't gotten married and settled down, like what was expected of her.

I felt bad for Peggy when the guys played the joke on her, but she should have really thought twice before posting an ad in her office. I do however find your ad unfortunate. Reads like stage direction of Ibsen play. I loved Joan's advice. I like that every now and then Joan is sort of like a big sister to Peggy.

Though I am a bit worried about that roommate.

Also, loved the look on Peggy's face when the folks from Pepsi left after admitting the ad for Patio was a disaster.
gatsbyfan
Sep. 7th, 2009 04:52 am (UTC)
Kitty: Something's wrong.
Sal: Don’t say that. I'm not myself


Poor, poor Kitty. I think until that moment that Sal started acting out the ad, she had no idea that she was married to a gay man. It was like someone turned on the spotlight.

It looks right, smells right, but its not right.
Loved that line. Because that describes Kitty and Sal's marriage.

Don’t ruin the only good thing to come of this. You are now a commercial director.
I love Don. I'm happy that Sal was able to direct the commercial and get the experience. I'm glad that Don was able to give him the opportunity.
gatsbyfan
Sep. 7th, 2009 05:05 am (UTC)
I felt bad for Ho Ho who clearly has delusions of grandeur. It must be incredibly difficult to be his father's son. It appears that nothing he will ever do will ever make him as successful as his father. But sadly, it didn't appear that his father really was pushing him to take this actions.

Laughed out loud when he mentioned, Ogilvy and butchered his name. Ogilvy's book, Ogilvy on Advertising is still considered one of go to books on advertising.

Also laughed out loud when Pete said, I know my father’s dead but he’d be interested. This is his kind of investment.

Yes! This is his kind of investment and that is why your mother has no money.

I also felt horrible for Sally in this episode. She lost the one family member that really appeared to care of her and treat her well. Gene may have been a bit off (who lets a kid that young drive a car?) but he cared for her. (You can really do something. Don’t let your mother tell you otherwise. ) Or was at least trying to make up for the mistakes he made with Betty.

Gene: She afraid you going to be fat like she was.
She’d drive her into town to do errands and make her walk home.

That explains so much from earlier seasons.

tomfoolery815
Sep. 7th, 2009 06:23 pm (UTC)
You’ll get raped, you know that. Nice.
It takes some doing to be a worse mother than Betty, but Peggy's mom perseveres and finds a way. At least Peggy's an adult, and seems to realize her mother's response is a kind of affirmation of her decision to move to the city.

But in both mother-daughter storylines in this episode, the mothers act as if it is all about them. Peggy's mom reacts to Peggy's decision to finally leave the nest with "my broken heart" and "you'll get raped." Betty literally closes the door in her daughter's face upon the news that Gene has died. I get that Betty's in shock, and that this is her father who's died, but that's her daughter on the stoop, and she's grieving, too. Bets, try and be a mother for a second or two, won't you?

But then, I'm starting to realize that everything, in the time we've known her, has been all about Betty. (Not that I'm excusing Don's infidelity.) For example: Gene senses the end is not far away, so he feels it's important to have the pre-need (as they described it at Fischer and Sons) conversation.

Betty's response? " ... talking about this, when you can see that it upsets me! It’s selfish and morbid. I’m your little girl. I know it’s horrible to be looking at what you’re looking at, but can’t you keep it to yourself?"

Cripes! The sheer tonnage of selfish, thoughtless things in that paragraph would stun a team of World War I veterans in its tracks.

Gene says some of what Betty has become is his fault "for shielding you from all the dangers out there." Evidently Gene and his wife, like Horst Sr. and his wife, didn't know what kind of person they were making, either.
tomfoolery815
Sep. 7th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
Also laughed out loud when Pete said, I know my father’s dead but he’d be interested. This is his kind of investment.
Yes! This is his kind of investment and that is why your mother has no money.

Me too, Gatz! Unintentionally accurate and hilarious on Pete's part.

I was watching the first jai alai meeting with my 20/20 hindsight, thinking what a stupid idea this is. I was relieved when Horst Sr. called it what it is, and intrigued when he realized he felt HoHo needed to fail, and so gave his blessing to the deal. The luxuries of the wealthy.

Don, unlike Pete and HoHo -- what an apt nickname for such a superficial empty suit of a young man -- knows what it's like to fear losing what little you have. HoHo imagines only the glories of success; he hasn't time for actually working for it. Don tries to knock some sense into him, but HoHo thinks it's just part of the sales pitch.

HoHo: "Let’s get one thing straight: If jai alai fails, it’s your fault. I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is."
Pete: "Don’t apologize. Everybody thinks that. Nobody says it."

Pete, confusing blunt candor and self-absolution with strength of character. How apropos. And Don, bemused at being treated by the Ivy Leaguers like hired help who needs to be put in his place.


Edited at 2009-09-08 01:00 am (UTC)
marymary
Sep. 8th, 2009 04:59 am (UTC)
Also, loved the look on Peggy's face when the folks from Pepsi left after admitting the ad for Patio was a disaster.

Yeah, I loved that too, gatz. I was devastated for Sal, but happy for Peggy. I loved Joan's advice also. That roomate, Karen, I KNOW I know her from somewhere. (Likewise HoHo's dad.) I also liked Peggy's response to her mom; she knows her mom by now, so this is expected behavior, apparently.

And yes to the Sal/Kitty scene. Her gaydar is pretty abyssmal, by modern standards, but she has some kind of working model. The actress played that scene really well.

I agree, gatz, Don said exactly the right thing to Sal; considering how vulnerable Sal must feel around Don, that was something.

Edited at 2009-09-08 05:16 am (UTC)
marymary
Sep. 8th, 2009 05:07 am (UTC)
Yeah, it was painful to watch Betty's blindness to how Sally was feeling. I loved the Sally/Grandpa relationship and I was sad at the start of the ep, cause it was clear to me that he was going to die.

But I seem to be the Betty apologist around here. (Last season I think I was the only one who couldn't stand Peggy, so I'm used to it. *g*)

I was glad to hear her father say, "You were always too sensitive..." That was an unexpectedly perceptive thing from him, IMO. He didn't say, "You're insensitive." or
"Why are you so cold?"...I would imagine that's the reaction of most viewers. He says she acts prickly because she's sensitive, and I agree. She feels too much, so she's learned not to let things in, as a survival skill. And so when someone starts to break her heart, like her dad talking about dying, she gets angry and it comes out in their direction.

I'm certainly not excusing her, especially not as a parent. It's her job as a human to evolve, to get beyond her limitations when other people's feelings are at stake. I'm just saying I think I understand her a little.

I have been impressed that Don knew his wife well enough to figure out what she needed at these moments, like when he swatted William aside and had Grandpa move in. And here when he rushes home and just sits with her at the table. And reluctantly, kindly, sends Sally away. I like how Sally knows which parent to go to for which thing, as all kids do. :-)
marymary
Sep. 8th, 2009 05:14 am (UTC)
I LOVED the scene between Grandpa and Bobby, with Don watching. At first, I was like, "Don, leave them alone, that's sweet!" But then I realized what Don's reaction must be to glorifying war, even in such a light and harmless way. He probably feels strongly that he should teach Bobby that war is not a good thing, in any way.

Still, I was a little sad for Grandpa. And I laughed out loud as soon as he brought out the fan, because before he said a word, I knew pretty much what he was going to say. He opens it slowly. "There was this girl..." Perfect punch line to the scene!

Lines I loved:

Ken, approaching Don's office: "What kind of mood is he in?"
Allison: "I'm never right."

THAT IS A GREAT LINE. It's funny, it's economical, and it tells you a TON about Allison, Don, and their relationship. Bravo.

Kitty: "I don't need that much, but I do need tending."
That's so pretty, for what she's saying! :-)

Grandpa wants to bring the kids peaches after school.
Bobby: "Peaches give me a rash."
Grandpa: "Your sista likes them!"
Ha! The kid's allergic to peaches! But Sally's the apple of Grandpa's eye, so if Bobby gets hives, Bobby gets hives.
gatsbyfan
Sep. 8th, 2009 01:47 pm (UTC)
I have been impressed that Don knew his wife well enough to figure out what she needed at these moments... And reluctantly, kindly, sends Sally away.
That scene felt very true to me. Because as sad as Sally feels, it was Betty's father. So it made sense to send her away. And Don isn't the type of warm-fuzzy Dad who would attempt to comfort his daughter.
tomfoolery815
Sep. 8th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
"I do however find your ad unfortunate. Reads like stage direction of Ibsen play."
That's such a great line! Because it made me think about what I remembered of Ibsen, and "depressing" came to mind. Peggy was so clueless, too: "I proofed it! It's perfect!"

I loved Joan's advice also.
Joan writes great want-ad copy, it turns out. And is incredibly hot presenting it.

It was enlightening, in this scene and the one with the new roommate, to see the areas where Peggy is still naive.

I also loved this moment at the door between Peggy and her sister.
Sister: That wasn't so bad.
Peggy: Really?
(Me: Are you f--king kidding? Oh my God, you're not!)
Sister: The Holy Father dying? That was very hard on her.

I wonder if a picture of Peggy's sister accompanied the first psychology-journal paper on enabling ... I also like the parallel: Both the underperforming mothers in this episode are struggling with a holy father dying.

Edited at 2009-09-08 03:56 pm (UTC)
tomfoolery815
Sep. 8th, 2009 03:53 pm (UTC)
Mary, I think your characterization of Betty as sensitive-and- therefore-prickly is accurate. I think I responded so negatively to what we saw of her in this episode because of how little regard Betty had for Sally here.

Little wonder Sally has been acting out (and apparently will continue to do so next week, according to the previews): She's not getting nearly enough attention. And then, as Gatz pointed out, the one adult in her life who has been paying attention to her has died. She's devastated, and not only does Betty have nothing for her, she sends Sally away. As with her dad, Betty lashes out to halt being confronted by emotion, as Mary pointed out.

Because as sad as Sally feels, it was Betty's father.
It was, Gatzy. It's a cruel calculus, but we all do it. And no, Don isn't warm and fuzzy; the nod and the closing of the eyes is as much as Sally was going to get in that moment. At least she got something from one of her parents when she needed it.

I'll bet that Don -- who did, I agree, do a really good job of tending to Betty -- was relieved when he went to check on her and found her asleep. Clutching Gene's copy of "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."
edgeriffic
Sep. 8th, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
That roommate, Karen, I KNOW I know her from somewhere. (Likewise HoHo's dad.)

HoHo's Dad played Richard on Falcon Crest, way back when. And was in daytime soaps before that; and has been HITG in many a minor guest- starring role since then. Also, played Olivia's painting teacher in a memorable episode of The Waltons in which she has a little crush on him and he tries to get her to run away with him or perhaps just have a dalliance? You know those artist types....
marymary
Sep. 8th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
edgy ftw! I didn't watch Falcon Crest, but it was pretty ubiquitous back then, so maybe. And I always had one eye on ABC soaps, so maybe that's it. And of course I watched the Waltons as a kid. :-)
edgeriffic
Sep. 8th, 2009 10:19 pm (UTC)
quick IMBD check--name is David Selby, and he's guested on a ton of things, so you've probably seen him multiple times....
edgeriffic
Sep. 8th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
I've been ruminating a lot on Betty--Sally--child-rearing issues since reading the discussion last week and am looking forward to joining forces with Mary as a Betty sympathizer...but right now I have to go be a good parent and cook dinner! ;-)
amycurl
Sep. 13th, 2009 02:39 am (UTC)
Two things before I catch up:

Finally figured out why Lizzy Romano looks so familiar--she was on Everwood!

And, then, who should show up as the potential roomie than Lizzie from Undeclared!

It was like obscure, but good, show week on Mad Men...

*runs off to read*

Edited at 2009-09-13 02:39 am (UTC)
amycurl
Sep. 13th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
Okay, here's one thing that hasn't been brought up yet: the smell of oranges that Betty's dad has while eating the chocolate ice cream. Is that indicative of any specific condition?

I really loved the way that Betty bit into that over-ripe peach at the table. Something so life-affirming in it. But, yes...it was all about Betty. Betty, who seems to have forgotten how distraught she was over her mother's death and the lack of sympathy she got for her grieving process then. That's what makes me sad: she's been in the same place that Sally is in now, and simply doesn't recognize it.

Part of me was wondering if Sally was going to try and light herself on fire in protest before the end of the episode. I'm really interested to see her in season 5, the late sixties and full of rebellion....

(Loving MadMenEdgy, btw!)
tomfoolery815
Sep. 13th, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
the smell of oranges that Betty's dad has while eating the chocolate ice cream.
I'm going to come in here with half a thing (tm Toby): I have heard of people near death have odd scent experiences. Yeah, that's all I've got.

I really loved the way that Betty bit into that over-ripe peach at the table. Something so life-affirming in it.
Don's reaction was funny, too: "Bets, don't eat that. It was in his car all day." I took it to mean Don didn't want her eating a dead man's peach. ;-)

Part of me was wondering if Sally was going to try and light herself on fire in protest before the end of the episode.
I know, right? That's some kind of TV-as-parental-substitute commentary, I think. Not only is there almost zero tenderness for Sally, Don sends her to watch TV. And she sees a photo of the Buddhist monk self-immolating in Vietnam in protest of the corrupt, U.S.-backed Ngo Dinh Diem's regime.

Edited at 2009-09-13 06:54 pm (UTC)
amycurl
Sep. 13th, 2009 07:09 pm (UTC)
I think the other thing about Betty and the peach is that we see her actually putting real food into her mouth...I don't remember her really eating before. We've seen her in places where food would normally be consumed--dinners and what-not--but mostly I remember her drinking and smoking. And since she is hyper-sensitive about her weight, I think I just found it refreshing to see her eating anything with such gusto.
tomfoolery815
Sep. 13th, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
we see her actually putting real food into her mouth...I don't remember her really eating before.
The only other time I can remember was after she hooked up with Handsome Man in Bar: She went home, sat on the counter, and tore into a drumstick. So it's the extreme occasions that make her disregard her diet, apparently.
amycurl
Sep. 13th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
Ooh, good call back about the drumstick, Tommy! And both times, it's not really a meal--there's something in there about her relationship to food, and her emotional state, and when she allows herself to eat with gusto and when she doesn't.

The orange thing is now just nibbling at me. Eventually, I might even get around to googling or something...
marymary
Sep. 13th, 2009 07:21 pm (UTC)
You're so right to bring up the oranges, amy! I noticed that too and forgot to mention.

I swear I saw this exact thing on another show, can anybody remember? Someone was smelling lemons before they died. Anyone? It's driving me crazy.

And I agree about the peach, I liked that too.
gatsbyfan
Sep. 13th, 2009 07:43 pm (UTC)
I've heard of people who are about to go into a seizure smelling things that aren't there. I think it related to some issues with the brain.
flippet
Sep. 27th, 2009 04:52 am (UTC)
Finally got around to this episode.

I immediately thought of something neurologic. The officer only said that Gene collapsed, right? No other details? Perhaps he had a stroke or an aneurism or something.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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