'Mad Men' recap: Sex, lies, and Heinz

Dear Marisa,

Well this episode seemed to be all about sex — and where it will get you.

Fake sex on a soap opera will get you a recurring role, an invitation to swing and an irate husband — I think Megan is about to have a breakthrough about Don.

Sex with a neighbor will get you kisses in an elevator, pennies under the welcome mat and prayers. Can Don find peace? Are you kidding me? Did that woman really say she prays that he finds peace?

Sex with a client will get you a partnership but no respect. Joan is paving the way for future women executives and it certainly isn't easy. It's not what you think, she tells her friend, they still treat me like a secretary.

And a one-night stand will get you a massive hangover and a dose of regret the next day. Loved the Mary Kay character going for an interview at Avon.




I cheered when Megan called Don on his hogwash, regarding her TV character's latest development. THIS guy! He's regularly in another woman's bed, and chastises his wife — indeed, thinks he's in a position to give her PERMISSION? — because her CHARACTER is in a steamy affair with the boss? I mean, is Don really that old fashioned? That's what struck me. How can someone as seemingly savvy as Don Draper not see the inherent hypocrisy of his beef with Megan? Perhaps that storyline is just too close to home, and apparently Don is still on vacation — in La-La Land.

Now, I was super surprised Joan ultimately agreed to cut loose and go out on the town with her MK pal. She's typically so controlled and aloof; I guess her night out at that groovy bar serves to remind us that she's still fairly young, likes to have fun, and isn't an iceberg.

And seriously, Harry is so not partner material. Period. I think he's made a total fool of himself. That jacket he was wearing alone should disqualify him from a partnership...

So, tell, me, whose Heinz pitch did you like better? Don's or Peggy's?





I liked Peggy's pitch better. Straight-forward and can't you see a giant bottle of ketchup on a billboard — that's the way people will remember what to buy when they're in the grocery store.

I think Don is losing it. He's not such a hot-shot at work; he can't control his wife; and the doctor's wife is praying for him ... It's all going downhill for dear old Don and I must say, I'm not disliking it. He's so unbearable. I loved when the actress out to dinner said he must play many roles — did he blink?

I love Harry and I love his wardrobe. He's a dufus, but he doesn't seem to have the mean streak that everyone else does. I think he might be the only decent one on the show — but we'll see.




Now I'm worried: I liked Don's pitch better. I liked Peggy's too, but I kinda liked the cheekiness of the "Pass the Heinz" concept. Also, I still get the goofiest smile when Don does his thing; when he lines up the shot and sinks the swish, I just love it. There's still something in it, but I fear you're right about him losing his edge. Is that a forgone conclusion on Madison Avenue?

And yeah, really, let's talk about the Mother Theresa of Mistresses for a sec. Does Sylvia fancy she's some sort of conduit toward redemption for Don? I mean, talk about patrons of lost causes, if I may mix metaphors a bit here. What's HER problem that she's so compelled to be bad with someone like Don? Her husband seems undeserving and lovely (like Megan). Seems too thorny to be basic sex addiction. It must be the intrigue. The illusion of getting away with something?

Touching back on Joan, here's the thing: Harry was out of line to bring up how Joan came by her partnership. She can do the job beautifully; cares about the firm; and is loyal, loyal, loyal. Sometimes you have to strike while the iron is hot. They had the gall to approach her with Jaguar guy's indecent proposal, and she made lemonade. And really, how did Roger come by his position? Wasn't it inherited? And Don's? He's been living a lie at Sterling Cooper since day one. No one on that board is an angel (maybe Cooper, but who knows...)



Dear M,

We'll have to disagree about the Heinz ad ... and agree on Mrs. Doctor. She wears a cross and prays for Don while she is clearly sinning with him.

I did like that Don in bed with the doctor's wife was the same scene that Megan acted out with the doctor on the soap opera set. Very soap operatic, especially with Megan in the maid get-up.

And what about secretary storyline ... where is that going?



My Dear K,

This is exactly why I love you: I didn't even make the connection between Megan's scene and Don's "scene." You are why we English majors are such an asset to our professional organizations! Seriously, great call, and points to the writers for layering in such subtle, non-verbal detail.

Re: Dawn the secretary: I LOVE that the only person's respect she wants is Joan's. Kindred spirits. Even Peggy got rattled by Joan; not Dawn. Dawn isn't even shaken when Joan dismisses her with a "we'll see" as to whether she thinks Dawn will prove a good employee in Joan's rigid estimation. Dawn knows she will, and knows that Joan knows she will. And Joan knows that Dawn knows that she knows! Brilliant interplay!

And here's the thing: I completely salute Joan's work ethic; that's why Harry's little snit was so bogus. Joan has put in more hours doing actual WORK than Harry and Sterling combined.




Joan's work ethic? She got to the office at 12:30 p.m.! But I guess she's a hard worker — in the boudoir. She was Roger's girl at first, remember.

But as Heidi Klum would say, let's move on to the things we did like:

The Dial-tone-esque restaurant — there was one in Waterford waaaay back.

The '60s bar, which seemed to be moving toward a Disco vibe

The reference to Don as actor James Garner, the original Maverick.

Broadway Joe Namath doing a variety show with Broadway stars is soooo whatever year in 1960s this is supposed to be. Joey Heatherton — now there's a name from the '60s. And all brought to you by Dow Chemical.

And for film buffs:

The scene where Miss Mary Kay is applying makeup to Joan's mother was just like the Mom in "Edward Scissorhands" who tries to cover Edward's facial scars.

The Heinz guy in the beginning in Pete's Manhattan apartment? Anyone? The one and only Kip Pardue, who played Ronnie "Sunshine" Bass in "Remember the Titans."




Come on! That was one of the few times she arrived late to work. We can't say the same for any of her colleagues. And her attitude was begat by the MCP-infested world in which she lives. It's far too easy in that office to be treated like a pushover. As we've seen, she has to fight for every shred of well-deserved respect she acquires, so it's no wonder she has to stay so focused. I miss Laine and Joan's oddly affectionate dynamic with him. Sigh…

But yes, very fun details in this one. I meant to look up some of that stuff about Joe Namath, as I was entirely confused. I sort of got the James Garner bit, but we'll have to chat about him more. And that bar where Joan and her pal end up was faaaaaaar out! But a note on the stranger who comes up to Joan and plants himself next to her on that bar-couch: Um, some people get punched in the face for less. Just sayin'. Different times indeed!

My favorite part? Peggy's team walking into the Heinz meeting while Don and co. are still hunkered in the waiting area. I mean, how fabulous was that? And Stan flipping her off as he walks by? And she just keeps that smile pasted on her face? Hilarious.




That scene outside the hotel room was good.

James Garner was surprisingly a little like Don. He had a tough childhood, fought in Korea, and scrapped his way to a successful acting career. And he was handsome and quite the ladies man, at least on the big and small screens.




THIS is why I love this show. I'll meet you here next week.


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