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"Mad Men" update: Love is blue

By Kathleen Edgecomb and Marisa Nadolny

Publication: theday.com

Published April 29. 2013 12:00PM   Updated April 29. 2013 12:40PM

Dahling K,

What an emotional roller-coaster last night on "Mad Men"! Weren't we JUST talking about MLK and Bobby Kennedy in the MM context?

I'll confess something: I'm pleasantly surprised by how shaken our heroes (except stupid Harry) were by the news of MLK's assassination. It goes to show you that despite how dreadfully they conduct their personal lives, the real things, at least, still matter. I most certainly yelled "Go Pete!" when he told off Harry and called him a pig. How beautiful was that? Pete showed that underneath it all, he's a smart, sensitive basic good sport. Harry just sounded like an a-hole. BUT, how do you feel about Pete calling Harry a racist?

And I just loved how Cooper shuffled out of his office and tried to make the peace by making them shake hands—he's great; if he's a granddad, he's probably a great one.

Lovies,

M.

***

Dear Marisa,

I think Harry Crane is more of a capitalist than a racist. Maybe Pete was getting his "-ists" mixed up in the heat of the moment.

For me, this episode was about family and how a crisis, MLK's murder, brings out the best, or the worst, in people. As the young Ginsberg's father said "Now's the time when men and women need to get together the most."

But Harry Crane was only thinking about money.

Pete Campbell was thinking about family and maybe he doesn't really want to be Don Draper.

Peggy realized her man wants to have children with her.

Megan is sick of her father's Marxist BS and says he hides behind his intellect.

And Don, the man who hides his feelings, as well as his past, admits very eloquently that he only pretended to love his children: You fake that feeling (of love) and then they get older and you see them do something and that feeling you were pretending to have ... it feels like your heart is going to explode. Wow.

-KE

***

KE,

OK, yeah, Don's version of "Chicken Soup for the Parent's Soul" there was remarkable. No one ever SAYS that! And yet, Don being Don, renders eloquently such a heartbreakingly bittersweet notion. He puts words to something most people wouldn't ever dare say.

We LOVED Ginsberg's father last night. (He reminded me of my grandmother a bit, although her English wasn't quite so colorful.) Such an interesting detail to add, and I think everything he said was spot on, truth be told. And YET, even someone as plainspoken and fixed in his matchmaking mission as Mr. G is derailed by the news of MLK's death. The tragedy stops the world in its tracks. When he pulled the blanket up over his head? Chilling.

I would agree with you that Harry is MORE capitalist than racist. Jury's out on racist, I think, but he's starting to sound like an old person. He sounded like someone's father railing about the value of a dollar for a second there. He's establishment. When did that happen? Harry remains on notice for this gal.

Now, because we are such deep, literarily prescient beings, were we not just discussing the Pete Campbell we both used to enjoy? Wasn't it just great to see that Pete show up again last night? I'm trying to work out what it is that's so endearing about Pete, and here's what I've got: he's smart, witty, uses Country Club rules of engagement masterfully...you get the idea. He can schmooze a client without seeming falsely schmooze-y (sometimes); he argues well and knows which fork to use; and he's no dope (unlike Harry). Most important though, is we know Pete has a heart. It's a small, shriveled, grinch-y kind of thing, but it's there. I think you're exactly right about him noting the spiritual crossroads before him.

-MN

***

Dear M,

I've always thought Pete was more self-aware than all the other men, and some women, on the show. He always thought he wanted Don's life. But I think he sees that it's a lonely existence, despite all of Don's successes. We'll see where he goes next. Don't think Trudy's taking him back — boy is she strong, yes?

Is Don sinking ever and ever deeper into booze and depression? Geez. The guy is such a mess — which Megan can clearly see. I think she's going to leave him. He doesn't listen to anyone, he hasn't had a good idea at work in ages… But a little of the old Don was back when Randall proposed an insurance ad with a bomb on it and Don said it's not going to happen.

Where did that guy come from? He was like some kind of poet prophet coming to tell everyone what it all means: "People say they care, I REALLY care ... In that tear are all the tears of the world. All the animal are crying ... The heavens are telling us to change." He's writing lyrics to a Cat Stevens song. But then Roger, of course, reels it all back in: "What? He talked me off a roof once. I owed him"

-KE

***

KE,

Right? There's a great gif version of that bizarre scene here. Anyway, Roger handled that weirdo brilliantly. That was Roger doing what Roger does best, which is still useful in an ad agency where times are a-changin'. Roger can hang, but he knows when to get off, too (most of the time). (And, BTW, are we ever going to get more closure on the Baby Silver Fox has produced with Joan?)

But yeah, who WAS that Randy guy? Have we met him before? If we did, why did we have to meet him again? He just set my teeth on edge—which is probably why I'm not in advertising.

You mentioned Trudy last email, and I have to put my Trudy-love on record. She's fabulous. She's so much savvier than we ever could've hoped she'd be and, like Pete, is an adept social animal, so we know she's a survivor. I can't make a call as to whether she'll let Pete back in the house just yet. I think he's actually repentant at this point. Didn't think so until I saw him take delivery of his Chinese food. So lonely; so small-talk-y; so unintentionally condescending.

Speaking of smart gals, let's take a moment to enjoy the fact that Megan and Peggy were the ones up for advertising awards at that gala, and they take it all in such elegant stride and support each other through it. Kudos for good sisterhood! Loved Megan's award on the couch with her purse and coat!

You are probably so right about Megan leaving Don—it would be most justifiably Thoroughly Modern of her (read: no turning a blind eye like the other wives), and he'd have a hard time computing that one. And would that ultimately change him, or set him further down the booze-y path of Jaded Old Personhood?

Like sands through the hourglass…

-MN

***

Miss M,

All very good points but I want to shift to the more superficial—loved the dresses Peggy and Megan wore to the awards dinner.

Loved that the men are looking a little more disheveled and the women seem to be blossoming into their looks.

Love that when Bobby wasn't supposed to be watching TV it was "McHale's Navy" and Don and Bobby saw "Planet of the Apes" twice. And when Bobby said "Jesus" when Don explained that the apes blew up New York and Charlton Hesston went back in the future. I think Bobby is the only pure and descent person on the show. We'll see where his character goes.

Love that despite no Twitter, Facebook or texts, everyone at the awards dinner knew about MLK because someone stood up and shouted it out!

And one last thing, the closing song "Love is Blue" ... brought me right back to my family's kitchen in late '60s. All of us kids would be tumbling down the stairs for breakfast before school and my mother would be making lunches and humming, or singing, to the radio --- "Blue, blue my world is blue, Blue is my world now I'm without you ... Gray, gray, my life is gray … Red, red, my eyes are red … Green, green my jealous heart." You get the picture.

***

K!

I was going to ask you about that song! According to wikipedia, Paul Mauriat's arrangement of "Love is Blue" hit number 1 for five weeks in the U.S. in February and March 1968. Helpful place-marker for the show. Seems to me the music supervisor for Mad men is a master at punctuating each episode with a closing epilogue of sorts. I so want that job! Next time we're in the newsroom together, we'll have to sing "Love is Blue" and scare Koster again.

Your observations are spectacular. Excellent point re: the clothes making the woman. (Technically, I hated Peggy's dress, but I loved the color and the bold statement it made. Megan looked like a Vegas lounge act, but whatevs, gold lame always means business.)

Bobby and Don at the movies was much more entertaining than I thought it would be. Heh, "Jesus!" Bobby's been such of a bore thus far, maybe he'll prove useful to Don in recapturing some sense of wonder about the world. Wouldn't that be nice? Indeed, Don seemed moved by his son's observation that everybody goes to the movies when they're sad. Maybe there's hope? (I'm a sap, I know...)

Oh, and do we give a flying fig about Henry and Betty? I'll bet she dies her hair back to blonde as she becomes a more serious politician's wife--and she'll finally drop the weight.

-MN.

***

M,

Spot on about Betty. The hair's going back to blond!

-KE

We're on Twitter: @TheMDesk and @edgecombday.

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