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'Mad Men' update UPDATE: Little red ... Vega?

By Kathleen Edgecomb and Marisa Nadolny

Publication:

Published May 06. 2013 3:00PM   Updated May 07. 2013 1:06PM

Bloggers' note: After spending far too much time trying to determine which model of Chevy SCDP is going to help launch, yesterday we made a guess that it was the Corvette. We were stuck between that and the Camaro, actually.

As it turns out, we were wrong. It's the Vega; or bad news, maybe, for SCDP.

We now return you to Monday's blog.

-K and M

*****

Dear Marisa,

So Don had an epiphany in an elevator.

He doesn't believe in fate he tells Dr. Arnold, the blubbering heart surgeon who quit his job because either he couldn't be the first doctor to transplant a heart, or because his young heart recipient died before he could give him a heart. You have to make opportunities, seize them, create your life.

And so the old Don is back. Ordering people around. Working late into the night. Giving everyone those sidelong glances.

It was classic Don in the restaurant when he writes the name of Rennet's guy who wants to see Don's copy on a card and says this is the name of the guy who's going to be handling Jaguar's accounts from now on. Zing.

Even the bags under Don's eyes are gone. He's grabbing at his woman caveman style and making decisions that affect the lives of everyone around him.

But times have changed and not everyone is as smitten with Don as they used to be.

Campbell falls down the stairs yelling at him.

Joan snaps at him when she hears he fired Rennet. He should have tried to get along with Rennet, she says. If she could handle him why couldn't he? He lets Joan do the deed last year with pigman Rennet so they can get the account and NOW Don gets all self-righteous and says they don't need his money. We're all routing for you and waiting for you to figure out what to do, Joan says, so we can go on with our own lives.

And Peggy's fantasy is her boss Ted in a maroon smoking jacket lying in bed reading Emerson? That was pretty funny. I like Abe, her journalist boyfriend, who's willing to get zapped trying to replace an electrical socket in their new apartment where, apparently, the stairs double as a bathroom.

And I like that Peggy, while working in a man's world, is maintaining her dignity. She's only fantasized about Ted — so far.

And then just when you think Peggy has some power, along come the men. First her boss, who is supposed to be Mr. Nice Guy, kisses her. Then he and Don concoct a merger of the two companies and, I hope I'm wrong, Peggy is back where she started. There's a saying "You can never go home again." I think this latest man-centered plan can set Peggy back.

-Kathleen

***

K-to-the-E,

I am 100 percent hoping Peggy drops Abe — even for Ted, with whom, IMHO, she shares similar values — first and foremost being work ethic. I actually think he respect her talents. Abe, in his hillbilly overalls, just lives in another world — not that there's anything wrong with political activism and a sense of social responsibility. It's just that Peggy is SO not there and I think she relates better to a Ted type.

Prediction: Abe's going to get super carried away with the politics to come in 1968: Chicago; Nixon; RFK's assassination. He'll be outta his mind trying to cover it all, and his full schedule of sanctimonious-ness will surely occupy too much of his time for our girl Peg.

PS. When she walked in the new apartment and said, "There's poop on the stairs again" it took me back to my New Haven apartment days — mostly in a good way. We used to have to dodge similar hazards on our front step after the weekend revelers had enjoyed their fill of NH nightlife. We loved the city, hated the neighborhood. Which, like Peggy's, is (still) changing. That doesn't mean you have to stay in a place where loud music, excrement, and junkie neighbors assault you at every turn. Peggy has to get the fudge outta there. She comes from humble beginnings, and she's paid her dues. She has nothing to prove and has earned a little luxury, dammit!

That said, I didn't like the men-folk delegating press release duty to her. That seems beneath someone in her position. I predict Peggy will bargain her way to a partner-level position in this brave new agency — with Joan's full support. (Joan rules. Period.)

And I'm compelled to mention once again that, while we hated what Joan "had" to do to get Jaguar, Roger was working a similar strategy to get Chevy with the help of his flight attendant friend, Daisy. None of these guys are angels. Is her tryst any worse than anyone else's?

Luv,

M.

***

Dear Miss M,

It seems all the women wanted to please this week. Well, most of them.

Megan wanted Don to notice her sexually.

Her mother agreed to dinner so Roger would fawn over her.

Peggy wanted Ted, her boss, to notice her as a woman.

Trudy is toying with Pete, but she wants him.

And then there's Joan. I think Joan is the strongest woman on the show. She makes mistakes, but she's learning as she goes and I don't see her repeating her mistakes.

And then there's Pete. Pete, Pete, Pete. What are we going to do with Pete? He seems to become human at times — it was hilarious when he slipped down the steps. He's so tightly wound and aware of his image but he was so angry at Don, he got up without missing a beat.

But then, he sinks back into the mire.

He sees his father-in-law Tom Vogel, at a brothel, frets about it, seeks advice from Cosgrove (who is more and more a dope every time he opens his mouth) and decides he and Tom have something on the other and neither will tell. Oops. Called that one wrong.

His father-in-law, the chemical guru who makes Vicks, pulls his business. He emasculates Pete. Pete tells Trudy about the tryst. Trudy, of course, does not believe him. Marriage over. Move on Pete.

But what was that business with Pete describing the call-girl as the biggest Negro woman he's ever seen? Is he offended Big Daddy is with a black woman? Or was he offended that Daddy-O is a bigot but is with a black woman when no one is looking?

-KE

***

Fabulous Ms. K,

Pete was just all over the place this week. He had some great lines — some of which were true (to Don he says, "Don't act like you've always had a plan" regarding the Jaguar/Chevy switcheroo — and some awful blunders (read: his description of his father-in-law's hooker; no idea where that comes from. Fingers crossed that it was Pete's way of calling Papa Trudy on hypocrisy, but still, no points for style. That's why Pete's not in Creative I suppose.)

I don't know if his marriage is over, though. Trudy, ideally, wants to stay together for the kids, and she might reflect some more her father's shenanigans and realize he's not the infallible padre she believed him to be. That might dash her world apart enough to make her revisit the notion of breaking up the family.

Speaking of all over the place-ness, let's talk about Megan's fabulous French mama, Marie. I don't know what show creator Matt Weiner did to wrangle the wonderful Julia Ormond into the show, but what a smart move. While Marie was hideously rude at the business dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Jaguar, it was so elegantly executed I loved every last drop of her commentary. And really, I think it's fair to ask that no one use the word "nipple" at the dinner table, don't you?

Luv,

M.

***

Well Luv,

I agree, all the French dropping at the dinner table was tres fabulous!

What about the Chevy account. Is it the Corvette? Very futuristic with its fiberglass body? With Don's penchant for the "feelings" that products evoke and Ted's practical "wow" approach, I'm actually looking forward to the pitch.

I think the show has gotten better weaving in historical facts around the whole ambiance of the times. New cars. Gentrification in NYC. And Peggy loves Bobby Kennedy. Poor Peggy.

Love,

The Edge

***

L'Edge,

I really hope it's the Corvette. Then we can serenade our coworkers with Prince's classic jam about Corvettes of the red variety. And don't forget! It was designed with a computer, per last night's episode--to the future!

I absoutely loved Don's early pitch for Chevy, focusing on Chevy passengers' expressions of wonder and freedom. Maybe the sentiment of the '60s has gotten under his skin just a bit...

Of course, both Chevys I drove were style-less, electrical-cancer-prone plastic beasts. I have no romance for that brand, but I'm eager to let Don and Ted dazzle me, too. The scene in that dreadful wood-paneled bar was, like you said, classic Don, and I still love to watch him work. The mundane becomes exciting in Don-o-Vision, n'est-ce pas?

L'M

PS. Quote of the episode? Don to Mrs. Jaguar: "I love puppies."

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

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