A Review of Mad Men Season 6, Episode 7 - Man with a Plan
By Larisa Yugorski
This is Don.
Don made a merger.
This is Ted. Ted helped make the merger, too.
Ted is not cool.
Ted is not Don.
See Don strut.
See Don drink.
See Don dominate.
See Don dominate.
See Don dominate.
This is Sylvia. She is not Ted’s friend. She is Don’s friend.
Sometimes, Sylvia likes to play with Don.
Sylvia does not like to play with Don anymore.
Don doesn’t understand.
This is Peggy.
Peggy is Don’s friend.
Peggy is Ted’s friend.
Peggy might like Ted more than Don.
Don doesn’t understand. Do you understand?
A Review of Mad Men Season 6, Episode 6 - For Immediate Release
By Larisa Yugorski
Episode 6 greets us with several tricks up its sleeve. Some predictable — Megan Draper continues her one woman show as the dutiful wife, losing by the second all the punch she had in season 51. And some shocking — SCDP is set to merge with it’s main rival CGC, meaning the return of Peggy to the SCDP family.
|What’s better than one boss, Peggy? Try two!|
I imagine Matthew Weiner doing veritable pirouettes in the writing room when they came up with that twist. But as usual, with Mad Men it’s about the journey not the destination. And this episode was all about the refraction & reflection of doppelgängers — or Bizzaro character foils if you prefer. Which is to continue the interesting play on the Superman myth that Megan Draper introduced before performing a sexy BJ on ol’ Don:
Joan, Pete and Bert attempt an IPO behind everyone’s back but the coup de grâce comes when Don and his new best friend Ted strike a deal. Isn’t it interesting that Don can only feel good this season when everyone else is failing?2 Let’s not forget everyone’s favorite doppelgänger: Pete Campbell. Mad Men made use of Pete & Trudy as foils for Don & Betty right from the very beginning. We knew their faux happiness couldn’t last (and not just because Pete oozed smarm from every pore) because Don & Betty were so miserable.
|Look at me, I’m a creep!|
But when we look closer at Pete, we find something a bit more intriguing than the obvious Draper parody: Pete is Don’s foil because he’s also playing the part of a sexy Mad Man About Town. Neither a poor kid nor a former victim of domestic abuse, one imagines that Pete Campbell’s issues stem from never being cool enough.
Pete was a loser who became a schmoozer. He can’t do class like Don because the raw stuff of which he’s made isn’t strong or noble. And make no mistake, Don Draper’s inner personality guts are the stuff of decency. It’s part of why he’s so tortured and such an effective liar; he parlays his descent traits into the marauder’s game.
Pete has all the component parts of a smart, albeit bewildered, man. Pete’s a natural Jerry Gergich.
Don’t believe me? Imagine Jerry Gergich trying to act slick, cool and sexy. Revolting, isn’t it? Almost as revolting as Pete Campbell acting the big man in a whore house:
Mad Men has historically been quite coy about revealing who the real Pete Campbell is behind all that smarm. One imagines this is partially due to the fact that the real Pete Campbell is such a mystery to Pete himself. But we got a real honest glimpse of him in episode 5, “The Flood”.
|Will the real Pete Campbell please stand up?|
Rather than interpret this scene with the slap dashed sass of Vanity Fair’s resident blogger, I’d argue that this scene when viewed in the context of Pete’s late night call to Trudy shows us a different sort of Campbell. Trudy doesn’t need the comfort of family in that phone call, but Pete does. And unlike boot licker Harry Crane3 he feels an actual connection to the late great Dr. King because they were both family men.
Which begs the question, when was Pete Campbell ever a family man?
He wasn’t. Or at least, Pete Campbell the schmoozer that he’s been play-acting for so long he can’t even remember who he was without the persona wasn’t. The real Pete Campbell, the one who never made it to Park Avenue, never looked up to Don, never fucked his way from ad campaign to ad campaign — why, he might just be the sort of man who takes his family to church on Sundays, reports dutifully for work at the corner grocery store M-F, plays poker once a week on Thursdays with the boys and laughs when his wife jokes that she’s got him twisted around her little finger because he knows that she does and he’s happiest that way.
I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. We have definitely adopted the position at the Peace Conference of arguing in favour of the retention of gas as a permanent method of warfare. It is sheer affectation to lacerate a man with the poisonous fragment of a bursting shell and to boggle at making his eyes water by means of lachrymatory gas.
I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gasses: gasses can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet would leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected.
Winston S. Churchill, 12 May 1919
If your knowledge of men’s and women’s roles in society came just from reading last week’s New York Times, you would think that men play sports and run the government. Women do feminine and domestic things.
After analyzing the gendered pronouns of The New York Times’ reporting during the first week of March 2013, assistant professor Neal Caren found gender stereotypes borne out in force. Male sentences were most likely to include sports or political words, whereas female sentences were disproportionately about fashion, entertainment, or female reproductive abilities.
An overarching stat: of all the gendered sentences analyzed, 19,681 sentences were about men, and 6,242 sentences were about women.
That is, 3.2 sentences about men for each sentence about women.
Wow, men must be really interesting to warrant all that extra coverage!