Mad Men Season 6 Finale

Jun 24, 2013 by

Mad Men season 6 Finale

In the Season 6 Mad Men Finale, Pete Campbell receives word that his mom has fallen overboard at sea and presumed lost.

In the Season 6 Mad Men Finale, Pete Campbell receives word that his mom has fallen overboard at sea and presumed lost.

I saw last night that one writer at the New York Daily News was talking about how Peggy Olson spent Thanksgiving working late at the office. What he missed was the fact that she wasn’t in her office, she was now working out of Don Draper‘s Office.

  • Peggy Olson, dressed practically as a present, is one that people like to unwrap, but no one wants to keep.
  • “I’m leaving my wife for you.”  How many times has that line been used and worked in the history of mankind? And how seldom it actually ever happens.
  • Don Draper has been kicked out of the firm that he saved. Kinda know that feeling, but alas, there’s a silver lining here. The Chevrolet car they’re bringing to market bombs and it’s a firm stocked with Duck Phillips talent that will help sink that rock to the bottom of the ocean with Mrs. Campbell.
  • Manolo allegedly married Mrs. Campbell, presumably for all her money. Then he helped her fall overboard, if you believe Pete Campbell’s suspicions.  What a surprise he will have to find she has nothing.
  • Bob set Pete Campbell up, in another form of transportation, mind you, to kill off Pete’s career at Sterling Cooper & Partners, by getting him to drive when we all knew that Pete, after trying to get it on with that high school girl, never really learned how to drive. So Campbells have died now in a plane, at sea and a career, in a car. (I almost expected A Day In The Life by The Beatles to start playing, but that’s not how the show works.)
  • Pete’s line, “This is 1968” saying that things like murder on the high seas can’t still be happening. Have we always thought that way about the time in which we live and that only by looking back in time we realize how primitive things were at any particular time compared to the present, of which we will do all over again in a matter of a few years?
  • Pete left SC&P, too, if you didn’t catch that. Bob thinks he’s won there, but like Manolo, is going to find this Chevy account is a downer. (At least for that model of car!!)
  • Trudy seemed happy that Pete was finally “free.”  Free of his mom, free of the agency he’d become miserable at. Free to go to California and start a new. And she was now free to move on without him, which she’d probably been hoping for.
  • It will be interesting to see if they completely write Pete Campbell off into the sunset since next year is the final season and we know where he went–even with a reference to the Beverly Hillbillies.
  • Megan will go to California and not look back. Never a good thing for a second wife to talk about your biological kids.
  • Don said it perfectly when he told her “I don’t want to be here anymore.” It spoke volumes, kinda like how in Mad Men through the years they’ve foleyed over audio that almost sounds like a gunshot when a door slams.
  • I’m not going to miss the oversized eyeballs of Ted.
  • And what of Don Draper? Time it will tell, but I found it ironic that last week Betty was encouraging Sally to go ahead and smoke in front of her on the way back home while they were talking and then seemed mortified and  upset that she’s also taken up drinking. Hello!?! Really?
  • I didn’t think the conversation between Don and Betty was going to go well with Megan. She has long felt like she was living out on an island in the ocean. Now she sees there’s still some underground cables running through the ocean’s waters and the connection is quite clear at the Francis house.

My assumption was that Sally was going to spill the beans to Megan about what she’d seen her dad up to. But with Megan walking out anyways on her own, well, Don skates again.

And then while we’re back on Don, someone had said it’d been funny for the African American kid sitting out in front of the old whore house to have been eating a Hershey’s bar instead of that bright red popsicle. Yeah, but that would have been too hard to see and way too predictable.

  • So it became clear, Don Draper is pretty much done at SC&P.  So is Pete Campbell. I’ve not read Dante’s Inferno, but it’d seem like both of those characters have gone through a series of nine hells–13 if you count episodes–this season and they’ve been given a chance at a new life, one away from the messes that they have helped create, and in turn, have become bigger than they were able to cope with.

Mad Men has had a way of getting us to like/tolerate two characters who in real life, we should not. Both have committed countless atrocities in the lives of those around them. But don’t we all to one degree or another?

Season 7, the final, will certainly be an interesting 12 weeks of TV. I don’t see us all watching a helicopter take off and Don flying off into the sunset. In fact, I’ve had suspicions that he winds up literally being the person to fall out of the SC&P windows like the opening bumper has been teasing us with all this time.  The other trick coming back is how with each season, we’ve pretty much never really picked up from exactly where we left off, so one has to assume we’re going to be in the heart of 1969, well after Christmas, and getting ready for a moon landing. Ah, the conspiracy theorists can run with this storyline–Don Draper meets a NASA executive in a bar and they say they need some help convincing the American public that we actually landed on the moon….

In all seriousness, many have described Season 6 as “boring.” It’s had it’s slow points, but we all have to remember, so does life. There are good days, bad days and those can be followed by either more good ones or bad ones. And that is what shall happen in Season 7.

 

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Pete Campbell Gets His Ass Whooped on #MadMen–Finally

Apr 15, 2012 by

After five years of seeing Mad Men‘s Pete Campbell slink around like a car wreck waiting to happen, Don Draper‘s MadMen pilot prediction of a Pete Campbell that no one will like is coming to be and tonight’s episode–Season 5’s “Signal 30”–was where it all came to be with Pete looking like he’d been in a car wreck after a mad-capped fist fight with Lane Pryce. It’s clear, with the dripping faucet, that Pete has become bored in the suburbs. A point driven home by Draper who tells Megan that “Saturday night in the suburbs? That’s when you really want to blow your brains out.”

Pete Campbell preparing to get his ass-whooped--AMC MadMen

Observations about Signal 30:

  • Peggy, who had Pete’s baby after Season One trists clearly wasn’t phased nor upset in the least about Pete getting the shit kicked out of him. (Have you noticed someone says “shit” in every MadMen episode? Do said Bullshit at the dinner table, and Megan talked about Pete had scared it out of her by talking about all the car wreck statistics.)
  • What will the story be to Trudy explaining it all? Quoting Joan from season one, “He’ll have his own excuse.”
  • For those who recently have been hoping on Twitter that there’ll be a Lane/Joan thing, I think it was made pretty clear that’s not going to happen.
  • Pete thinks the people he works with are his friends. Do you regard people you work with as your friend? What about clients?
  • After Lane kisses a comforting Joan, she tells him “a lot of people around here have wanted to …” (I thought she was going to say, “kiss me,”) but she went on to talk about Pete getting his clock cleaned
  • Pete’s now hitting on Jenny Gunther, a high school girl. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, comes to mind. Have you noticed Pete’s strays all have been with blondes? Regardless, he’s become Don Draper of old. Last week we saw Peggy has become Roger Sterling.
  • In episode 2 of this year, Roger threatened to take Pete out and whoop his ass. Pete backed down but was more than ready to take on Lane. Either way it would have come down to a much-needed ass-whooping.
  • Don told Megan driving home that he wanted to “make a baby.” Megan hasn’t said anything about wanting one of her own.
  • For a firm where new business isn’t happening, you’d think they’d be a little bit more excited about bringing in Jaguar.
  • Ken Cosgrove’s ending where he’s clearly going ahead with his writing is poetic.
  • It’s funny that Don can handle most women, but between Trudy and Megan, he’s powerless.
  • The girl from the driver’s course talks about how her parents don’t want her going off to college elsewhere because of crazy men and yet she’s standing in their home town talking to Pete who’s circling around her like a pedophile.
  • Didn’t you just hope that Lane would have stood up while eating steak with the man from Jaguar and put that hunk of beef over his crotch like he did last year when he and Don went out on a lark?!?
  • Have you noticed that even in a tight, someone got Lane to spring loose the funds to put name plates on all the office doors? There are three names on Peggy, Ginsberg and that other clown’s office.  (How is it that guy gets away with the things he says?)

At the beginning of the show I was wondering why the whole visit to the Campbell house. It was awkward. Don and Megan couldn’t even remember the name of Ken Cosgrove’s wife, Cynthia.

The ultimate irony of this episode is to show how confused Pete Campbell really is, especially in his regard for Don.  He was clearly excited about having risen enough in stature that Don Draper would come to his house.  They even remark about how Don has “the big stick” when it comes to conversations, etc.  But when it comes down to Don giving Pete real-world advice, Pete’s very put out about it.  Pete can clearly see he’s in the wrong spot, but also clearly doesn’t want Don to be the one to ‘splain it to him.

As the show ended, when Pete was boo hooing to Don Draper, almost in tears that he has “nothing,” it became clear, as Don said to Pete as he was getting out of the cab from the Jaguar dinner/whorehouse run, that Pete has a lot and that he’s throwing it away.

What started as a slow and “where is this going episode” arrived at home in short order.  It was really one of the best Mad Men in the five-year series.  It’ll also be interested to see if there’s an uptick of ass-whoopings in corporate America this week with people finally singling out the ends of their patience with the Pete Campbells of the world.

And now, as a bonus, the Signal 30 Driver’s Ed Video:

 

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Think About This: Be comfortable and dead, or risky and possibly rich

Dec 30, 2010 by

Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm in Mad Men) of ...
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I’m a Mad Men Fan.  Often it is I regret that I didn’t just sell off what I had when I finished my days at Auburn and head to NYC to make it or break it.  But alas, with that mental fool’s errand I come to the reality that I’d not have my three biological girls and my lovely 6-year-old daughter who thinks of me as her dad.  I would not have had the rich, rewarding experiences, nor would I have endured 2010 as it has been going.  Maybe the lessons I’ve learned this year would have manifested themselves earlier, but each day I thank God more and more for the way things are  and the delicious air I deeply breathe.

One of the best lines I got from season IV of Mad Men, (and as I’ve so noted, there was a lot in Season IV that I related to) was the message Don Draper (John Hamm) gave to the swimsuit company fearful in 1965 of showing the girl in the bikini top with the slogan–“Built so well, we can’t show you the second floor!” As the men were balking, Draper gave them this solid words of advice:  “You have two choices: Be comfortable and dead, or risky and possibly rich.”

So today’s thing to thing about is simple.  I’m in the midst of wrapping up my seven-day Treatise on Life in 2010.  How will it end?  Well, I need you to read three more days of material to answer that.  But here’s what to ponder:

In your present day life, are you being too comfortable?  Are you taking ANY risks?  Is your idea of life still all about working in a job and hoping some day for a gold watch?  What bold actions have you taken today?  Yesterday?  The past week?  Okay, the past month?

Go ahead.  Take a few seconds to answer.

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The Chrysanthemum and the Sword; Mad Men

Aug 29, 2010 by

I’ve tried to let the meanings of last week’s Mad Men, the Chrysanthemum and the Sword, sink in before writing anything about it.  And gosh there are volumes of comments already that have been made online about the show already.  So many have built the show around shame and how people do or do not deal with it.  Yes, there was a lot of it.

But here are some things that really stuck with me about the show:

It’s obvious Sally Draper is seeking an audience.  The problem Don and Betty and Henry are going to find is that where they have not been able to, or have not tried to provide such, Sally Draper is going to find attention and they’re not going to like what it looks like.

I’m struggling with the disasters formed because of my divorce in 2003 in my own three girls.  I’ve never been one to claim I’m perfect, though that sentiment has constantly been projected at me.  It’s clear from watching the episode that Betty Draper is truly a nut case that she is and that because of his own haste and blindness to rush into a marriage with her, Henry Francis, is sleeping with a walking-time bomb and doesn’t have a clue.

The fact that she lied to him about how recent it’d been since she’d seen a psychiatrist, “It was years ago,” and even his reaction to her telling him it’d even happened, shows there are still many things to left for Henry to unravel about his wife.

I thought it was classic when Sally’s counselor  suggested that Betty needs to see a counselor of her own.  And her denial; frankly I’m surprised she didn’t almost get up and walk out.   No, from Betty was the presentation that all in life is good. She’s the perfect mom.  It’s her kid that’s messed up. It’s because of Don that Sally cut her hair or is playing with herself.  The world according to Betty is that she’s perfect and the only problems in the world are shared by everyone but her.

And with how Betty reacts to Sally’s cutting her hair, with the slumber party mom who clearly was wanting to see Sally doing more than she actually was, visiting her once at the bottom of the stairs, it suggests that that scene has been previously played out in Betty’s life, with her being the operative Sally.

Betty says wants Don dead.  She now has a dad/crutch of a husband there to help calm her down.  Thank God Henry doesn’t act out in response to what Betty’s doing by calling Don at work and delivering his projected-produced anger at him, or calling friends of Don’s telling them they don’t need to be his friend, either.  But I can’t decide at what level Henry is really her puppet.  I guess we’ll see as we move forward.

And the irony continues about the Francis’ continuing to live in Don Draper’s home, basically being financed by him as though they’re obviously dependent on him.  Betty tells the counselor she had to go through with the divorce so she could offer her kids stability.  Yet with Henry and the whimsical ups and downs of political life, I can assure you, there’s nothing stable of living in four-year political cycles.  And so the irony is there.  At one point last season Henry is boasting that he doesn’t want Betty to be dependent on Don for anything, but they keep mooching off of him and living off his money and his house as though it’s some sort of an entitlement.

And then there’s the hypocritical nature of Betty’s accusations.  She is so wound up about Don’s activities, she is blind to the fact that she was having  multiple affairs–the guy in the bar, Henry, even the tempting of the horse jockey–and yet she’s so quick project Don as the slut.

She says she doesn’t want to know what’s going on in Don’s life. Maybe so, maybe not.  But you have to wonder, if she’s such a super mom to her kids, why are they coming out so bassackwards?  She tells Sally if she plays anymore solo tunes on herself in public that she’ll cut her fingers off.

It’s clear that so much that is Betty Draper is a lie.  She’s so dressed up in double-looped pearls when she goes to the counselor’s office, and even at first meeting, the counselor can see right through the phony.  And if Betty were so focused on what was right for her kids, wouldn’t she have been the one to take Sally to the counselors instead of the maid?  Wouldn’t Betty have been all about what was really going on in Sally’s life?

But no.  It’s better to perpetuate the lie.  She doesn’t work.  The kids are in school.  We’ve not been going to the stables in two seasons.  You’ve got to wonder what it is Betty Draper does during the day but sit around and bask in the surroundings provided by her former husband and think about how she needs to get more out of him. And then when it comes to dealing with Don in a proper way, say like deciding Sally needs to see a counselor, he properly points out, “It sounds like you’ve already made a decision, why are you calling me?”  Why did she call Don?  Simply so later on she could twist the truth again to say, well, I did call him.  Oh yeah, she did twist the truth in telling the counselor that “I don’t think you’ll ever see him,” dismissing him as not interested in the well-being of his kids.

I’ll let all the others explain to you about all the shaming that went on in this episode.  I got a lot more about how Betty Draper is just a nutty bitch who needs to get back to a shrink, one that might actually cut through the shit of her life and try to find if there really is a person in there after all.  What I really wish is that Don had his stuff together a little better and wasn’t living in an apartment and could spend more time with his kids.   But if he didn’t work all the time, what with the mooches Henry and Betty do?

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Mad Men Season IV; Some not being wowed, but it is very real

Aug 16, 2010 by

I had a good chat with one of my good friends today.  We were talking business and once finished with that she said, “Mad Men.  I’m not feeling wowed.”

Honestly, I will admit that Season IV of Mad Men hasn’t been like any of the other seasons.  Don has lost his charm for seduction.  He’s, as Alison put it last night, “a drunk.”  He has no stability in his life, and when he turns to women who are able to help him, e.g. Pheobe, his nurse neighbor, and Alison, his now ex-secretary, he can’t close the deal, or he does and then it gets all awkward and blows up in his face.

Henry and Betty obviously are on the rocks.  The dog sounds like it’s on the way to the pound or about to be given away to a nice home out in the country where he can run and play.  (There’s a step-family issue and a half there.  Pets come with step-families and that’s just how it is.  Deal with it.)

Henry’s mom thinks Betty is what she is, “a silly woman.”   I think in the previews for next week she’s even now wanting Don dead.

Sally Draper, she probably will be burning her bra somewhere, is not bothered by weird Glenn and his vandalism of their house.  And she’s still innocent enough to not know what it meant when Glen says Betty and Henry are “doing it.”

Peggy growing outward, Pete growing up

We see Peggy Olson coming out of a shell and trying risks; well, she’s always been a risk taker, but now it’s a little freer.  Are we going to see her at some point hurling a bra somewhere in a ’60s protest?  I doubt it, but it seems to me like she’d at least think about it.  She knows now that at least Alison thought she’d done it with Don, and probably everyone else assumed that, too.  And yet in light of her adventure, and daring will to stand on her desk and peer into Don’s office, she still had the dignity to go up to Pete and offer congratulations about the new Campbell baby.

Pete, the guy who once visibly detested the thought of having a little kid around, now is enthusiastic at the idea that it’s finally happened.  (I remember Gov. Fob James getting up to congratulate me in 1996 when we found out DD Chandler was coming.  It’s one of those great, great moments.)

Roger seems happy with Jane.  Bert Cooper seems to be biding his time sitting on a couch in the reception area.

Joan

Joan is desperately trying to make something of her marriage to her doctor husband.  Last week’s message with him sewing up her hand and him saying, “I may not be able to fix everything else, but I can fix this,” really spelled out the whole meaning of at least that episode: There are just a lot of things in life we cannot control.  Take joy in what you can fix and quit sweating the rest.

Season IV

No, the only episode to me in Season IV that’s ended like any of the others was the first one, when Don had had enough of being beaten down by the first advertising magazine that he went and sat down with the Wall Street Journal.   Last night’s ending of the old man asking about pears and his wife ignoring his questioning with a final, “we’ll discuss it inside,” still has me shaking my head a little. Was that to help remind him of what he’s not missing being back at the red-doored home with Betty?

In the Same Boat

But aside from having become an alcoholic or chasing women like Don, I can relate to how he is feeling.   Apartment life isn’t life in your own home.  Changes in work and cutting your teeth on new projects to get money coming in and the lights on is daunting.  There’s no other way to say it.  It can really drag you down.  Not being around your kids, having your ex keep you from seeing a kid, them being taken far away so you’re not with them on a regular basis, that’s all real shit that happens, and it is painful. 

Yes, many of you can say Don deserves it.  And you’d be right, many of us wished Alison’s aim had been a little better with that paper weight last night.

But life without the things you have grown accustomed to is miserable.  Don drinks.  I eat too much.  Don feels like he’s falling off that building and in many ways, there have been times when I wished that with all that’s been thrown at me, I’d just hit the ground and it’d be over with.

But you have to remember, Don Draper is a survivor.  He’s overcome hard situations all his life and my guess is he’ll get back some of who he wants to be in the end, whether we have a season V or VI or beyond.  Yes, this show is cast in the 60s, but the real, raw emotions and situations that happen are just as real today.   And if you can’t relate to them, bless you.  Because being able to relate to them just really, really sucks.

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