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Mad Men S3E2: Love Among the Ruins

"Change is neither good or bad. It simply is."


The Tao of Don. If you want a short primer about the underlying themes of any episode, you only have to pay attention to whatever Don's pitching. In an ironic twist on the realities of advertising, it's when Don is throwing a pitch to a client that the truest words get uttered.

But in this case, it's a little deeper than that. As much as we want to say this episode was all about change - and on the surface, that's exactly what it was about - we think it's more accurate to say it was all about conflict: Don vs. Peggy, Don vs. Betty, Betty vs. William, William vs.Don, Don vs. Roger, and Roger vs. his family. Of course, change and conflict are two concepts that are inevitably intertwined. You can't have the former without the latter. All the conflicts of this episode are merely setting the stage for what's to come, both on a personal level and on a larger, more societal one. Those changes (personal and societal) are deeply connected to each other and nothing sums that up more than the revelation that Roger's daughter's conflict-laden wedding is scheduled to take place the day after the Kennedy assassination.

That revelation contributed to the feeling that there was something of an apocalyptic and doom-laden tone to this episode. Don's family life just got much more complicated (which, in true Don fashion, makes him just want to run barefoot through the grass with the proto-hippie woman leading the Maypole dance), Roger's family is fractured and angry and his relationship with Don is tense (and with Joan is non-existent), and Sterling Cooper seems hopelessly lost and floundering and out of touch as they seem to be losing one opportunity after another and no one, not even the people in charge, seems to know why.

And in a far more general sense, the theme was old vs. new, which is exactly what Mad Men is all about. No one character sums up that conflict more than Peggy.

In an account meeting to discuss a campaign for Patio, the precursor to Diet Pepsi, Peggy sits through the opening minutes of Bye-Bye Birdie featuring a vamping and screeching Ann-Margret. The men in the meeting are enthralled but Peggy's just annoyed by the whole thing and points out that tailoring a campaign for diet soda around an Ann-Margret clone ignores the very people to whom they're supposed to be appealing: women.

There are certain characters, like Paul Kinsey and to a lesser extent, Pete Campbell, who are ahead of the curve and without realizing it, primed for the societal changes that are about to come. But Peggy is decades ahead of all of them. When she points out that advertising does a poor job of appealing to real women and understanding how they think, she's espousing ideas that won't become the conventional thinking for another 25 years. Demonstrating an aggressiveness that suits her well ("Can I talk to you?" "Can it wait?" "No.") she goes to the one man she holds in high esteem, her mentor Don, and tries to get him to see what she's seeing. To her annoyance and disappointment, he flatly denies what she's telling him. Yet another example that shows that Don, for all of his Master of the Universe swagger, doesn't see what's coming. He waves off her attempts to point out that women aren't always going to respond to the Ann-Margrets of the world and he insults her in the process.

"Leave some tools in the toolbox," he says to her, a somewhat obscure thing to say that nonetheless serves as a callback to Betty's acid "little lesbian" crack about her daughter's love of tools last week. To Peggy's disappointment and fury, Don shows that he's not all that different from the giggling frat boys that surround her. He cuts down her very womanhood with that statement.

When Peggy observed Joan doing that Joan thing she does so well around men, and then marched out to find herself a man to sleep with, we're embarrassed to admit that we read that situation all wrong at first. We thought that Peggy was simply trying to "feel like a woman," but upon a second viewing we realized that in a strange way, we were doing exactly what the men on the show do all the time: assuming that we know how women think by imposing a particularly male point of view on her.

While it's true that she was reacting to the way all the men around her treat her as if she's sexless, we also think it was all a bit of a put on. When she did her little Ann Margret tribute in front of her mirror, it really wasn't done in a wishful sort of way. Taking a closer look at the scene, she was really skewering it. She all but rolled her eyes at the end. She made it fairly clear that she thought Ann-Margret, as she appeared in Bye-Bye Birdie, was ridiculous ("Can't we at least make fun of it a little?"), a voluptuous woman acting like a hyperactive child. So she tried on a little of Ann-Margret and a little of Joan (by re-using Joan's "crowded subway" joke), picked up a stranger in a bar, blew off a little steam ("My boss is a jerk!") and apparently spent a handjob and oral-sex-filled night with the guy because he didn't have a condom and there was no way in hell she was going to find herself in THAT predicament again.

It may have been partially fueled by the simple desire to get laid, but it was also a sort of experiment; a way to see how the other half lives. We can't ever predict this show, but we doubt very much that this sort of thing is going to become a habit for her. Self-assured, yes. Sexually active, maybe. But modeling herself on the female archetypes of the day? Not likely. She did it to gain some understanding and to prove something to herself. She has no desire to be Joan or Ann-Margret and we suspect the whole experiment only re-affirmed that for her.

And speaking of newly aggressive women, let's talk Betty. She's still, in many ways, childish (expecting Don or her brother to come up with a solution to her father's dementia) but she's more clearly wearing the mantle of an adult in other ways. She's become quite aggressive with Don and more vehement when she talks about other people. To her lesbian line of last week, we can add her assessment of her brother's "neverending bullshit." The Betty of season one would have never talked that way. "I'm in a foul mood," she spits out to Don, right after she responds to his secretary's offer of a glass of water with, "Before you do that why don't you tell me how long I'm going to have to wait." She's becoming hard and we're sorry to say, a little bitter. She reminds us of (and we predicted this last season) Roger's ex-wife.

We said last week that the cultural references were going to be coming more often and more obviously, and we laughed out loud at Joan's Wilma Flintstone crack about Betty not showing her pregnancy. Of course, Betty's not showing much because she apparently doesn't eat and her poor baby is surviving on wine and cigarettes. Yeah, she's kicking, Betty. She's kicking because she's hungry, drunk, and having nic fits. This show does foreshadowing in very subtle ways so we're a little concerned about the health of the impending Draper baby. Especially with the new status quo in the Draper household.

After the kind of unproductive spats that only adult siblings can have (because of a lifetime of grievances and an unwillingness to put it all out on the table), Betty reverts to child mode and implores Don to do something about her brother's plan for dealing with their senile father. After a particularly shitty day in the office, Don does what Don does best: gets all alpha male on his brother-in-law's ass and, probably without thinking of the consequences, declares that his father-in-law will be living with them from now on. We doubt very much that this is what Don wants. But he's losing control on his job and he's nothing if he can't control things around him. Besides, he's in full on "Whatever you say, dear" mode with his difficult wife. If we thought things were bad in that house last season, they look to be magnitudes worse in the coming season.

Meanwhile, back at Sterling Cooper, the disarray of a post-merger company continues. Paul manages to almost lose the Penn Station account singlehandedly by making the mistake of understanding what's coming ahead and rejecting the kind of destructive new-for-the-sake-of-new city planning that went out of style by the seventies. Don is brought in to work his magic - and he succeeds by intoning that New York is a city in decay and they should look to bright and shiny California for inspiration - but Lane Pryce informs him that the home office in England isn't keen on the idea of taking on this client. Don is frustrated, because he rightfully predicts that the account could be a huge money-maker for them and asks Pryce, "Why the hell did you buy us?" Pryce, whose bitchy, snotty wife perfectly embodies his own feelings about living in New York and working with these people, responds with a damning "I don't know."

At the end of all of this conflict and doom, the show closes in a typically obscure manner as Don comes into the office after dealing with his senile father in the middle of the night and stares at Peggy working at her desk. Why did Don stare at Peggy like that? We can't know for sure, but recall this: he was the only person last season who noticed that she'd changed her hairstyle. None of the other men could see her standing right in front of them. She and Don understand each other very well and in a strange way, we think there was some part of him that sensed that she was angry at him, sensed that he did something wrong, and sensed that she had done something radically different from what she would normally do. Peggy, for her part, seemed perfectly happy in her own skin. Not so much a new woman, but a woman with a newer understanding of herself.


[Photos courtesy of amctv.com]
102 comments:

Thank you but, heavens, you boys need to sleep!


This has been posted on other Mad Men blogs by now, I'm sure, but here's what they tore down when they tore down Penn Station:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Penn_Station_tracks.jpg

They truly destroyed a work of art. I'm a little annoyed by how often I agree with Paul, but there it is. (Just kidding about the annoyance -- as men at S-C go, Paul's probably one of the better ones.)


Thank you, TLo!
I love reading your insights into the show.
With a lot of other Mad Men reviews, I can predict what they will discuss. But your blog has such a clear focus on, and beautiful articulation of race, orientation, and gender subtexts. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!


Yes very good and insightful entry as usual. Poor Peggy. And that chat she had with Roger when he said she was the only girl in the office without that "look" in her eyes. Almost an acknowledgement how ahead of her time she is.

Isn't funny how in a few years Ann Margaeret's perception of sex kitten-ish fantasy to "serious" actress would change with the likes of Carnal Knowledge

And that wife! Someone needs to slap that bitch if she thinks moving to NY is such a cultural wasteland.

But I echo the above. I know there are a lot more dresses to judge and your Lifetime blog but get some damn rest.

Every fabulous queen needs their beauty sleep

Frank


Sadly, I think you have been more generous about Peggy's motivations than the show has. . . To me, their characterization of her tries so hard but fails at all the essentials in much the same way that you say the men at Sterling Cooper do.


Great writing! Thanks for the thorough recap, and for focusing the lens of what is happening in this show .

I hope you are getting the shows a little earlier than the rest of us. I hate to think of you up all night writing this.

I enjoyed this episode. The actor who plays Peg is amazing.


The Tao of Don.

Did someone say my name?!!?

LOL

Anyway, I haven't watched this show yet - I'm told I need to watch it all - that I'm not a true homo who loves homo things if I don't do it right. this. very. instance. and also.

Soon, bitches, soon.


Thank you so much for blogging this show during your "busy" season. Love the show and love your insights.

As Don stared at the proto-hippie chick, I thought he was interested for himself, but also maybe gaining some insights or images for the Patio account. By the time it was actually filmed and released, Bye Bye Birdie, based on Early Elvis, felt fun but dated.


Thanks, as always, for helping me better understand and appreciate this show!

While I completely agree with your assessment of Peggy and her motivations, I had a slightly different reading of the Peggy v. Don conversation. I think what Don was trying to say, whether or not it's true, is that women are taught to want what men want. That with the exception of Peggy, most of the women in the office probably would respond to that male-centric advertising. I saw his message to her as, "You may be ahead of your time, but you're the only one."


Wow... you guys sleeping in shifts or something? Just... wow.

I'm still a bit underwhelmed by this season and I can't quite figure out why.

The scene I actually really liked was Roger's meeting with his daughter and ex about the wedding. I thought it was great that he just doesn't quite understand (or care) why he can't have his much younger wife just slip seamlessly into some nice role amongst the group. His crack about him paying for the wedding just adding to the justification.

Maybe someone can help me out here but did his daughter announce her engagement *before* his bombshell marriage announcement (and actual marriage) last season?

I also noticed when the wedding announcement was tossed onto the table that the wedding date is the day after Kennedy's assassination. I sort of wish that hadn't happened. That short scene was unbelievably clunky and yelled 'foreshadowing!!'

Still. Loved to see Peggy's overall style getting stronger and less girl-ish and more pronounced - all this happening in just the few short months between season two and now, apparently. She's gathering steam and Don is beginning to look older (bags under the eyes and his hair needs a cut). Yup... her people are on the rise and Don's people are just the tingle that something isn't right in their world.


Thanks boys! I wonder if the May Pole scene was Don realizing Peggy is right?

According to wikipedia, the Patico slogan was "Dances with Flavor" and was marketed towards women's athleticism.


Oh... and I *love* Bye Bye Birdie & I always thought that scene was a great demonstration of the character's growth into a more independent woman - by the reprise at the end of the movie it's completely sarcastic and scorn-filled.

And I love that they're bringing in Penn Station, since this was the direct precursor to landmarking's rise in NYC.


For all that everyone is so enamored of Joan (and don't get me wrong, Joan is a great character), I find myself coming back again and again to Peggy - I identify much more with her struggles, her life, and it's telling how far ahead of the curve she is in her perceptions on advertising, yet also the mistakes she makes in her life.

That said, was I the only one who wondered what would have happened if there had been a shift in the time-space continuum and a reel from "Tommy" had been slipped in that movie projector? What would the Sterling Cooper boys have thought if they'd seen our Ann-Margret roll around in the baked beans?


Excellent commentary on a most vexing episode. I have noticed the more time spent in the Draper household, the more depressing the episode.


Good catch, Willow. When Don started watching the Maypole lady (which was a pagan fertility ritual...making the children's participation sorta creepy), my husband was sure he was contemplating an affair. But I was pretty sure he was coming up with a Patio pitch. For one thing, Don doesn't fantasize about innocence in that way. He married innocence and tends to be drawn to women like Midge, Rachel, and Bobbie, though Betty's new hard edges may eventually prompt him to look for what he thought he was getting with her.

And Roger just disgusts me. Maybe it's because my best friend is also going through a divorce after discovering her husband's lengthy affair, and he's also trying to blame her for the situation and "make sure the bitch gets nothing." I'll never understand why men like that want to continue to hurt the women they've left like this. Someone needs to set Roger on fire or something.


Frankly I was very depressed after last nights episode. It did not provide me with an escape. I was reminded of my own aging parent issues. I want to run away with the Maypole lady too. I was happy to see that english actress from In Treatment. Surely they could have given her a better role though. I am gratefull for this blog from distractiing me from my troubles. Really!


The hair! The outfits! That is pretty much all I can think about as I am watching MM. I like to come here the next day and find out what the show was really about ;).

Thanks dolls,
The Glamorous Housewife


TLo, I'm going to take this perceptive, in-depth analysis from you as an effort that just had to be written, time-of-day bedamned, after last night's episode.

I'm pleased that some of the small bits of business that I was noticing caught your eyes as signposts as well.

From the vantage point of decades later, it's hard not to call out to the screen and the characters "Do THIS..." when a strong cultural reference is introduced, and we know the outcome. Oh, if history could not merely be rewritten but also changed.

Thanks so much for your insights; I'll want to reread them as I ponder the many threads in this season's tapestry.

And yes, I can remember a fair bit of what was going on back then, even if I was only 12!

All the best,

NDC


Dear Tom and Lorenzo,

I look forward to Monday mornings now, thanks to you.


Good recap,
Another item I would like to mention is about Roger, It was the scene where he is in the elevator with Peggy, and he asked her to what wondered what her old man would have to do to get disinvited from her own wedding, and Peggy commented that her father passed away, and Roger sighed and with a tone that reaffirmed his thoughts, said "you see, you will do anything"

I liked that scene, for me, it showed Roger's sadness, being a ladies man, and proving he sometimes enjoys more than one, conquered Jane, but in the process lost three important women in his life, His ex, his daughter and Joan. And with that last comment, that smirk, there appeared to be a audible sigh of regret. Interesting to see Roger not liking the change that is happening for him, also I like the comparison of Shiny new California-Decaying New york to Jane-Mona and Margaret.

I also loved the bare foot hippie scene, and Don stroking the grass. I take that as a yearning to escape. To get rid of all the problems of work, constraints of family and just be free. I am starting to see a barefoot theme here. Barefoot in the kitchen warming up milk, barefoot escaping the hotel fire, and fantasizing about Sally's barefoot teacher.
anyone has thoughts?


I believe you need to dedicate an entire post to Maternity Clothing of the 60's.


Beautiful posting. I haven't even watched the show but will now, just because of this post. You guys are the best for keeping up with all this.

And can I just say this again because it can't be said enough:

ULI WAS ROBBED! POOR FRAULEIN!!! Your clothes are beautiful, Uli ♥♥♥


I read the maypole scene and the Peggy/Don back at the office scene the same way some others did. This wasn't Don fantasizing about a woman; this was Don fantasizing about innocence and realizing that perhaps Peggy was onto something. When they disagree about the Patio pitch and Don stresses the importance of the male fantasy, Peggy suggests using the female fantasy to sell to women. Also, I agree she was mocking the Bye Bye Birdie come hither strategy in the mirror, trying out something which felt false to her.


Going through the difficult task of dealing with aging parents... I am bewildered by Betty's treatment of her sister-in-law. What a bitch!! Here's a family member who is willing to nurse her father in his own home and all Betty can do is complain and convince herself that she's only after the house!! Beleive you me, they need to be on the same team!!
I had to chuckle at your observations of Betty's smoking and drinking and that trouble lies ahead... my own mother (in 1954) was told not to gain more that 15 pounds, but no problem with the smoking and martinis every night!!
I think I'm okay!!


Another item!
Since there is also a foreshadowing of doom theme, anyone think there is going to be a large problem with Betty's dad living with them? In season 2, he thought Betty was his late wife, and even pinched her rear thinking that. I see him believing Betty is late mom pregnant with Betty, and having confrontations with Don. Confusing?


Miranda
8/24/09 5:10 AM This has been posted on other Mad Men blogs by now, I'm sure, but here's what they tore down when they tore down Penn Station:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Penn_Station_tracks.jpg

They truly destroyed a work of art.

========
Absolutely. The Penn Station demolition riled Jane Jacobs to action and marked the downfall of Robert Moses as "the Power Broker" of NYC. Times were changing indeed. Even the "British Invasion" of SC foreshadowed the musical British invasion that was just about to occur.

Oh, and Peggy needs to start carrying a condom in her pocket book if she's going to go floozy.


I thought the opening and closing moments (Ann-Margret and the Maypole/hippie girl) were a great way to bookend this episode about change.

The final scene showed that there's a new girl in town - a new sexy, if you will. It struck me that the Maypole girl is a lot like Ann-Margret: she's beautiful, she's dancing, and she is, in many ways, acting like a child, but she takes on the childlike attributes of joy and exuberance.

Also, she's not trying to be sexy, in contrast to Ann-Margret's "look how cute and pouty I am" to the camera.

I think Don's looking to her as inspiration for the Patio campaign - and that he'd like to escape his home/work life and frolic in her world for a bit.


yet another laura

Wonderfull, fascinating review as always. Though I have to say, the womanist in me is very sceptical of the idea that 25 years later, we arrived at the point where advertising products for women is about what women want.

I'm afraid this is true only in so far as women want what our mainstream culture, which is still very much dominated by the white, male heterosexual, has told women they should want. There wouldn't be nearly as much naked female skin in advertising eauty products for women if we were not constantly tought to think of ourselves as willing objects of the heterosexual men's desires.

Advertising, after all, is about making people want things they would not neccessarly think of needing themselves. What "we" want influences the media, but the media also very much influences what we want. Just look at all the gender stereotyping when it comes to toys. Girls don't just want eeverything to be pink because they have two X chromosomes, they want everything to be pink because they are taught, from a very young age, that pink is what they are supposed to like.

Sorry, that turned into a little bit of a rant. But really, it's your great posts that are thought provoking, so thanks again for putting so much time and effort into this wonderfull blog.

And, do try to get some sleep. You very much deserve it.


"I am starting to see a barefoot theme here. Barefoot in the kitchen warming up milk, barefoot escaping the hotel fire, and fantasizing about Sally's barefoot teacher."

Yes1 wow, great insight.


Very insightful, as usual, TLo, especially when I feeling lost throughout the episode. A LOT happened!


"yet another laura said...

Wonderfull, fascinating review as always. Though I have to say, the womanist in me is very sceptical of the idea that 25 years later, we arrived at the point where advertising products for women is about what women want."

That isn't what they said.

"When she points out that advertising does a poor job of appealing to real women and understanding how they think, she's espousing ideas that won't become the conventional thinking for another 25 years."

They said that she's ahead of the curve by pointing it out.


Thanks TLo for turning me on to Mad Men. I have very little time for TV anymore, so I try to find one quality not-to-be-missed weekly indulgence and Mad Men is now it. As a new viewer, your blog helps me pick up subtlies in character growth that I would have otherwise missed. I hope AMC takes notice of you just as Bravo did with your PR blog. Keepo it up TLo!


The first thing I noticed with the last scene was that Peggy was in before Don and Peggy's secretary's desk appeared to be empty. She was there before each of them, hard at work.


I believe don looked at peggy at the end of the episode because she was doing her own typing. Like that guy she hooked up with said ' I don't know how you girls type so fast'. Peggy is in the unfortunate position where neither male or females respect her much and she's perfectly fine doing things on her own.

And was it just me that felt that peggy impression was a bit psychotic. Like she was trying out a new persona.


"Of course, Betty's not showing much because she apparently doesn't eat and her poor baby is surviving on wine and cigarettes...This show does foreshadowing in very subtle ways so we're a little concerned about the health of the impending Draper baby."

I wouldn't be worried about the baby's health. As my 55-year-old mother confirms, most women smoked and drank while pregnant in the '60s. I've even seen pictures of Jackie Kennedy clearly pregnant and smoking a cigarette.


"Melanie McIntyre said...

I wouldn't be worried about the baby's health. As my 55-year-old mother confirms, most women smoked and drank while pregnant in the '60s. I've even seen pictures of Jackie Kennedy clearly pregnant and smoking a cigarette."

I think they're aware of that. But the show makes a subtle point that Betty drinks constantly and never eats. Even Don expressed concern that the baby was only going to weigh a pound.


Great recap! So many juicy morsels this week. My faves:

Will Roger get the last laugh when his daughter has to deal with a presidential assassination the day before her wedding?

Peggy learned that while Don treats her with more respect than the secretaries, he still treats her pretty much like "a girl."

Naturally, I had to smirk when Pegs woke up and removed Burger Boy's arm like a piece of garbage. Not everyone likes being slept on like a pillow or a mattress, but they rarely say much because we've seen it so often (novels, movies and TV) that we think it's supposed to be romantic.

I hope that made sense. The last time I saw the same reaction from a woman was the line uttered by Carrie Fisher in her autobiography, "Get off my leg." It's not just a sexist phenomenon, but Peggy recognized it as one.

One last thing: Peggy is still "trying on" female personae like new perfumes. While she's frustrated with who she is and feels like she fails more than she succeeds, she knows she's oblivious to the fact that she's at least perceived as smart and valuable in 1963.


I only started watching this show because your posts about it were so fascinating. And now as soon as an episode is over I find myself jonesing for your take on it. Thank you!

I completely agree with your take on Peggy's night of promiscuity. It was the most interesting moment for me last night. Of course the hottest moment was the "Don going all alpha dog on William's ass" - I love it when he does that!


It's interesting to read your take on the Peggy singing scene vs. the Slate.com writers' take on it. I initially saw it as straight-forward play-acting silliness (like the Slate writers), but your interpretation really makes a lot more sense.

And like so many other people here have written, thank you for the many superb posts in such a short amount of time!


Totally obtuse question...am I the only one annoyed by what seem to be even longer and MORE commercial breaks? It drove ME mad....I shall now Tivo and watch with the fast forward option....no more breaks in the mood!


Ummm, I know I'm late to the Mad Men game but dammmnummmmm. Do Joan's breast get their own screen credit? Do they have their own SAG card? Joan's breasts in that green blouse last night is quickly approaching cartoon character status and that cartoon character is Southpark's version of Dog the Bounty Hunter's wife, Beth.


NotaMondayGirl

This has to go in the pantheon of great TLO quotes:

"...her poor baby is surviving on wine and cigarettes. Yeah, she's kicking, Betty. She's kicking because she's hungry, drunk, and having nic fits."

BWAH!


yet another laura

Marie Louise, you're obviousely right. That's what happens when I read TLO and feminist blogs, none of them written in my first language, back to back. I misread things when I really should know better.

TLO, please ignore the rant. Once more, thanks for the great post.


TLo, that was beautifully written.

Here's my take on the Don/Betty situation:

Betty was whining about every scenario her brother could come up with to care for their father, even though she apparently has been doing nothing to help with this difficult situation. Don was sick of the whining, and knew that Betty didn't want William to move into their dad's house, nor did she want him to be in an old folks' home.

He got fed up with everyone sitting around in his house and their inability to resolve anything, so he just went postal on William and made a decision. He knows that this isn't going to work out, but it's the only way Betty is going to realize that William is right and that their dad needs more help that either she or her brother can provide.

About Betty - it's fascinating to me how incredibly beautiful January Jones appears on screen, yet very few photographs ever do her justice. When Roger said "look, Grace Kelly swallowed a basketball," I was thinking the same thing. She looked as lovely as Grace Kelly.

Thank you for the insightful recap.


What a treat to come to work on Monday morning with ALL of these new posts to read (while I pretend to be catching up on my email)! TLo, the two of you are amazing... thanks so much for all of this. I'm looking forward to your insights.


The more I think about it, the more I see Peggy's use of the markers of Ann-Margaret's and Joan's sexualization (and her insistence that she couldn't wait to talk to Don about something) as another method through which to gain power. If you remember the scene with her and Pete Campbell, she seemed to be just giving in, whereas with this more recent boy, she has the upper hand in so many ways (age, career, confidence) and she knows it. Seeing her leave in the middle of the night in spite of his attempts to convince her to stay, I immediately thought of Helen Gurley Brown...


I had a mad crazy busy year and had gotten away from both Mad Men and TLO during the PR drought. Mad Men is so subtle yet content heavy that I was wary of diving back in without getting up to speed. THANK YOU TLo for your recaps!

How you managed to make such keen obervations on this often subtle show after such an exhausting weekend is beyond me. You two are my heroes.

Humbly

Meadow


Insightful must-reading as always. I was intrigued that the producers cast Embeth Davitz as Lane Pryce's wife. Aside from being a terrific actress, I have to assume that in casting a well-known name that the character will have some serious face time as the season unfolds. Perhaps this year's Rachel Menken or Bobbie Barrett, i.e. Don's "significant" other woman? Time will tell...


Did anyone else think that the guy Peggy went home with looked an awful lot like Pete?


Betty 9:57 says: I also loved the bare foot hippie scene, and Don stroking the grass. I take that as a yearning to escape. To get rid of all the problems of work, constraints of family and just be free. I am starting to see a barefoot theme here. Barefoot in the kitchen warming up milk, barefoot escaping the hotel fire, and fantasizing about Sally's barefoot teacher.
anyone has thoughts?



I thought that, too. The maypole dancers are weaving the ribbons, binding them. I thought Don was feeling tied down and wanting to run free. I loved the image of the bare feet of the "proto hippie woman" (what a great description!) segueing into Don's fingers touching the grass.

One question: TLo, you say that the characters primed for the upcoming changes include Pete. How so? I fully get it with Sal and Peggy, but Pete - not so much. And look, I wouldn't blame you if you all didn't want to write another word. Anybody have thought on this?

Also, I just have to say that I love how Mad Men tells the story of this seminal time period in such a graceful, quiet way. Watching this show gives me the same sensation I get when I travel - like my senses are all ultra sensitive. And everything I see is a new discovery. I can't take my eyes off the clothes, and lamps and cars and restaurant interiors.


Did anyone else think that Burger Boy looked strikingly similar to Pete? For that matter, I thought Peggy was more or less having sex like a man. She's also smartened up a lot since sleeping with Pete in the first season, and not just the condom. This time she picked someone that wouldn't complicate her life. It's still so frustrating to see how little people, especially men, "get" her. That conversation with Roger in the elevator just further showed how clueless he is. I wonder how his being out of touch with young women will play out with Jane.

Matt Weiner says this season is all about Don's bare feet, the first shot of the season, and it looks like he wasn't kidding. I saw his looking at the may pole lady as yearning for escape, and maybe some foreshadowing of the flower child hippies to come. Boy, his home life has gotten depressing. Can't say I was glad to see the return of Grandpa Crazy. And does anyone know if they've recast Bobby? He looks very different to me.

Tanyadiva, I thought of Tommy too! Oh how far she would go in a decade...

And as always: MORE JOAN!


Also, this makes Monday soooooo much better. Thanks guys.


EEK/STL: I was wondering that as well. Love Embeth D., especially in Junebug. Would love to see more of her.


Miss Heather: Yes, LOVE Embeth D., what a great actress! Not sure if you watch HBO's "In Treatment" but she was in Season 1 and absolutely sensational in a tricky role.


"SusanID said...

One question: TLo, you say that the characters primed for the upcoming changes include Pete. How so?"

A lot of Pete's ideas about business and advertising are more in line with the way things will be done in the near future. Sterling Cooper is rapidly becoming a dinosaur in the industry and Pete's one of the few people who senses that. Duck Phillips was another one who saw that and look where it got him.


My strongest reaction to this episode was how much I now dislike Betty altogether. She is childish with and about her brother and father and mean to her kids. Never thought I would feel sorry for Don but she shoved him into that alpha-male scene with her brother. Season 1, "why can't he make my family his family" or something like that? Ah, Betty, dreams do come true. Can't wait until Daddy burns down the house. I guess that's good TV; I care.

As for Peggy, I always try to picture her 30 years in the future, when she would have been one of the few women who really had to battle their way to the top notwithstanding their obvious talent. She's fascinating.


I also thought of the pagan associations of the Maypole dance and the free-spirited teacher, and Don touching the grass seemed to me like he was yearning for something natural and free and wild, instead of the clamped-down trap of his everyday life. I also thought of the image of the earth-touching Buddha -- when tempted by seductive dancing women, the Buddha touched the earth with his right hand, calling the earth to witness his ability to defy the demons of temptation.

Along with now-forbidden cigarettes and alcohol, did anyone else notice that Betty's eating shellfish? The coquilles have arrived!


TLo said: A lot of Pete's ideas about business and advertising are more in line with the way things will be done in the near future. Sterling Cooper is rapidly becoming a dinosaur in the industry and Pete's one of the few people who senses that. Duck Phillips was another one who saw that and look where it got him.

Thanks. That's interesting.

I find Pete actually painful to watch. Gratiingly ambitious, macho (ordering his wife to sit down during their argument as though she was a child), brown nosing to superiors, officious to underlings. At the same time he is the character with the most pathetic (well, that is a pretty tight race) childhood. Just thinking about scenes with his mother and father make my stomach hurt.


AWESOME!! Thank you so much for this very insightful take on the episode.


Guys, it's the hormones, not to mention the producers trying to make me look like a bitch this season.


Someone's doing a great job on the sets. They're getting the details of the era (which I experienced). Everything from the avocado-colored appliances to that god-awful orange-patterned wallpaper to the Bernard Buffet print of a bridge (hugely popular then). I usually watch the series twice to look at the background.


"I believe don looked at peggy at the end of the episode because she was doing her own typing."

Exactly what I thought. And she's doing it because her own secretary is a nonentity, who is off flirting with the boys instead of working. They gave her the crap secretary on purpose; she's far from an equal, even if she is the only one Don listens to.

False note: in the real world Paul would have been fired immediately after his outburst. You can't sit in a meeting with a client and call them assholes and fascists, not in 1963 and not now. Yes, change is coming, but it's not going to come from a pipe-smoking tweed-coated beardie in an otherwise old-fashioned office. Penn Station's destruction started the national preservation movement, but it was a long time before that movement had any traction in the ad business (or any business).

Re: Hamburger Boy -- isn't Peggy on the Pill? They made a big deal out of it earlier. I think she didn't want to have intercourse for some other reason. It's pretty clear she's not going to be romancing the poor fellow. I wonder what it is she really wants. If it turns out she really is a lesbian I think I'll be annoyed, not because I don't like 'em but because it's a bit hackneyed a plot point.


PS -- "Bye Bye Birdie" was inspired. You couldn't pick a squarer, more out of touch movie with greater hipster pretensions. I mean, I love it (and Ann-Margret) but that whole scene is deader than a doornail; they just don't know it yet. Something is happening back where the Brits came from, and it's about to burst onto American TV screens in just a few months, with a little clip on "Beatlemania" on the CBS Evening News, December 10, 1963.


I'm still trying to suss out what that finale scene was about, but I'm sure Don wasn't staring at Peggy because she was doing her own typing. Don was seen typing in last week's episode, so it wouldn't strike him as odd.


another laura

I seem to be having trouble posting so forgive me if this is a near-repeat.

Another very interesting scene from this, for me, was when Don was dismissing Peggy on the Patio campaign, re Ann Margaret: "Men want her; women want to be her." This is the flip of the popular line about James Bond's seeming universal popularity. The thing is, I don't think this was true. Maybe it's just me, but the "sex kitten" thing may have been the straw that broke the camel's back and sent more brave women to "women's lib" - I hope we get to see some of that during the run of this show.


another laura

Oh, and Don watching Peggy? I think Don came in late that day because of the school party. I think it's just that he's comparing and contrasting the look of Peggy and the proto-hippie teacher. Maybe how he's attracted to Proto-hippie and not attracted to Peggy, despite their apparently being the same age and presumably single because why else would they be working? Wondering if really Peggy would want to be like Proto-hippie? Whether Peggy is really female?


Regarding Peggy doing her own typing -- I was a copywriter in the late 70's and we all did our own typing as we wrote. This was WAY before anyone had PC's, word processors, or even computer terminals to the huge company mainframe. I remembered how thrilled I was to get a new IBM selectric typewriter with an erase key!

Peggy doing her own typing is just part of the job - same as Don types as he works on ad copy. The secretary would have handled correspondence, and perhaps typing presentation material. Some of the older men in the office might have still written ad material out longhand or dictated it into a recorder for their secretaries to type for them. But since Peggy had secretarial skills, it's natural for her to continue that way.


I get more interested in Betty & Peggy as each episode ends. Forgive me for saying, because Don's the protagonist and an interesting character to boot, but can Matt Weiner put him on the shelf and focus on the girls a little more? Maybe it's supposed to be some symbolic androcentric way of writing, but still.


This is the first season that I'm watching the show when it first airs and I'm so thrilled to be able to participate in the discussion! MM is the most layered, thought-provoking work being done today for either television or film. But I do confess to some concerns regarding the future. The rapid societal changes that are coming and the ways that characters will (or won't) be able to adapt are of course the major themes of the show. But I confess that as they get closer to that change I feel a little trepidation. That era is so over-exposed - the music, the styles, the peace and love hippies, the self-righteous lefty political types as personified by Paul. He's obviously right on so many things but he's also such an obnoxious, pretentious twit. He's one of my least favorite characters on the show and I love to watch him get punished. His views will carry the day (rightly) but that doesn't mean I have to find him likeable.

I'll miss not only the clothes and the late 50's-early 60's esthetic but watching how people of that era managed their lives with all sorts of social constraints. I'm just a lot less interested in seeing the umpteenth portrayal of 60's abandon. But I'm hoping that Matthew Wiener and company will surprise me with new insights into that much-examined era.

As for Pete, I agree that he's one of the few men who seems poised to make a successful transition. For all its craziness, his relationship with Peggy is perhaps the only one where the man opens up emotionally to the woman. He is also able to treat her as an equal, at least much more so than most of the other men, even Don. And he seems to really grasp where the business is headed in a way that almost nobody else does.

I'll join in the chorus of praise and thanks to TLo for all the good reading you've given us lately. I certainly hope you're getting something out of all this!


Couple of things:

I know they don't kill major characters off, but is Peggy doing an early "Looking for Mr Goodbar"?

Roger is hilarious, re:
1) the Wallenda crack
2) "I'll have his" after the fiance refuse's his drink offer.
3) "Anyone ever get three sheets to the wind & try and put this on"

I believe the maypole scene will give rise to a clever marketing idea for Patio, nothing more.

What is Betty's due date; around the assassination??


I think we'll see a Joan ep soon~ she did make a comment to Betty about how her husband would be expecting her to start producing children as soon as he reached some milestone in his career.

Re: Don fantasizing about escape / coming up with the Patio campaign. It strikes me that it could be both. He uses his real life experiences to shape his ad campaign ideas.


RobertB 8/24/09 4:41 PM: "What is Betty's due date; around the assassination??"

Betty will deliver long before that. Season 3 picks up 6 months after Season 2 so Betty must already be at least 7 months pregnant. If Episode 2 was May, looks like a summer baby for the Drapers.


Wow, I must be the only person who think that Don and Peggy will have an affair at some point. I agree that the proto-hippy woman is going to segue into the Patico ad campaign, however, the segue into Peggy at her typewriter was Don putting one and one together the way Don does--change is in the air and Don is trying to sniff out what's afoot. Peggy and proto-hippy aren't Jackie and Marilyns--so what are they?

Remember, Don is a philaderer, but he likes women. He's the only one of the MM who is shown to be repeatedly attracted to intelligent, independent women. He married Betty because she fit the bill of what Dick Whitman thought a Don Draper should marry. But he's bored with Betty--always has been, probably always will be, so doing the right thing is an ongoing struggle--a denial of his real self.

In the last scene, he's reseeing Peggy--thinking about her and what he doesn't understand about her. He's also kind of atoning for dismissing her earlier, by welcoming her in to discuss Pampers.

Peggy and Don trust each other in a particular way. He knows her big secret and accepts her. She doesn't know all of his, but she knows more than most.

They're the two outsiders in the series, coming from blue-collar backgrounds and working and faking their way up the ladder.


I can't believe no one mentioned the look on Sal's face as they watched the Ann-Margret clip... he was sort of bopping his head back and forth, clearly loving it as only a gay man can.

His follow-up comment- "I saw so-and-so on Broadway and she was fabulous" or whatever he said- I just smiled and thought "How can these people NOt realize he's gay?"


"Melanie McIntyre said...

I wouldn't be worried about the baby's health. As my 55-year-old mother confirms, most women smoked and drank while pregnant in the '60s. I've even seen pictures of Jackie Kennedy clearly pregnant and smoking a cigarette."

Have you noticed the startling rise in cancer rates among the boomer generation? I don't think we got off scot free.


Love, love, love your Mad Men recaps. As soon as the credits roll, I wonder what Tom will say . . .

My only disagreement is with your take on the Peggy storyline. I think Peggy is deeply lonely, and also deeply horny. As a 1950's/1960's female, she doesn't have a "rule book" for these conditions -- her counterparts are mostly married, at home, spewing out infants (see Betty Draper).

Peggy is forging ahead -- a pilgrim in the truest sense. I am very interested to see where this next year takes her. Her actions this week imply to me that she is ready to kiss most of the 50's sensibilities goodbye.

All through this episode, I kept thinking "When did The Pill become widely available?" The answer: About 1965. Eventually, Peggy might be the Mad Men character who first makes use of one of history's most freeing pharmaceuticals: Enovid.


"Remember, Don is a philaderer, but he likes women. He's the only one of the MM who is shown to be repeatedly attracted to intelligent, independent women. He married Betty because she fit the bill of what Dick Whitman thought a Don Draper should marry. But he's bored with Betty--always has been, probably always will be, so doing the right thing is an ongoing struggle--a denial of his real self."

Betty used to be one of those independent women, and is intelligent; she was a model (remember her attempt to book a job in, I believe, Season 2?) and went to college (Barnard, maybe? I don't remember). Unfortunately, the dull reality of being a 1950s/60s mother and housewife, plus some character flaws that have been inflated by her growing old, have made her boring, annoying, and prone to bad decisions that belie her intelligence.


The change at SC is exactly what's happening with Penn Station. Razing the old to make way for the new without appreciating the foundation it provides, the potential.

Peggy, she does surprise, doesn't she? I can understand her trying on a new persona and I also understand her very business-like attitude after her encounter with college boy. She gleaned what she could from the situation (her research) and she promptly took her conclusions back to work with her. And Don.

Part of me thinks Don's toolbox comment alludes to Betty's comment to her daughter, and part of me thinks Don's trying to get Peggy to slow down just a bit, to pace herself because he knows what happens when you peak too quickly. And in the new SC climate, she runs the risk of coming across as "radical" as Paul Kinsey. If she learns to temper her reactions (stifling some of her instincts, no matter how on target she is), she'll have more longevity in the business.


Being a model's not a particularly intellectual job--it was Betty posing and being looked at, which Betty does well.

It's not so much that Betty is unintelligent as she's pretty rigid and continues to be childish, though not quite so much as she was. I don't like her, per se, but I find her an interesting character--for all her rigidity, she smokes like a chimney and marries a mysterious guy because she's got the serious hots for him. I think she lusts for him, but also resents his power over her as a result.

I do wonder how well Don will morph with the sixties. He survives by intuiting what people want--he might adapt weirdly well.

Roger, on the other hand, poor Roger's a dinosaur.


Robin m said "I think Peggy is deeply lonely, and also deeply horny."

Yes! Remember this is the girl who had enjoyed the "relaxiciser". She's not a virgin. Her comment as she was going out the door after being with burger boy "well, that was fun"...


There's an interesting take on Salon about Peggy today:

http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/feature/2009/08/24/peggy_gets_laid/index.html

On the subject of the family drama last night, I don't understand the dynamic between Betty and her brother and sister-in-law. Why does she hate and distrust them so? What am I missing? I think it was all very well-done, I just don't get it, so I think the fault lies with me. Maybe I'm forgetting something essential from earlier seasons, but the brother and his family don't seem to warrant her suspicion. Is she just projecting onto him all of her own covetousness and jealousies? Can someone please enlighten me?

Overall, it looks like positions are hardening in the Draper household. This is a marriage that will never be happy, and probably won't end. Just speculating, of course, about the last part especially. Their life is so depressing. I feel so awful for those kids.

However, I can totally see Don freaking out in a few years, discovering LSD, and going off on his own barefoot journey of free love.

Peggy: I want her to do something about that GAP in her bangs! Argh!

Sal: I want him to come bounding out of the closet. Please!

I LOVE reading your critiques of Mad Men (and everything else, of course), Tom & Lorenzo. Thanks so much for continuing the great work. And all the commenters here have such interesting stuff to say, too.


I think Peggy is operating, the same way all women in that time where, (Betty with the jadedness, Joan with the rape and the cattiness) within the constructs of their gender roles. Although Peggy is ahead of the game, what else can she do but hate the game and not the player. She dabbles from time to time, but she's leagues above the rest of the girls.

I appreciate the way you guys and this show make me re identify with my own new wave feminism. How I relate what women are and what kind of woman I want to be for myself and for my own daughter.

Thanks guys. And BTW, I'm a queer, political femme fashonista woman and I love your blog.


Robin-m, Peggy was prescribed Enovid for birth control in the very first episode of the series. It was first authorized in 1960, not 1965.

That's why I'm unconvinced that lack of a condom is what prevented intercourse. I think she's protecting herself from too much intimacy, which equals heartbreak and destroyed lives in her world.


January Jones is lovely, but I have to say something about the comparisons to Grace Kelly. She is NO Grace Kelly. Watch "Rear Window" (her first scene is stunning) and you will take back any comparison of January being beautiful in the same way as Grace. (Not that January isn't pretty, but . . .)

(Kind of in response to ItsJustMe saying, "About Betty - it's fascinating to me how incredibly beautiful January Jones appears on screen, yet very few photographs ever do her justice. When Roger said "look, Grace Kelly swallowed a basketball," I was thinking the same thing. She looked as lovely as Grace Kelly.")


Oh, Lord, the places Mad Men leads you . . .

I did not remember episode one showed Peggy being prescribed The Pill! I will rewatch it . . .

My Pill info came from the PBS website. American Experience produced a special on The Pill in 2003.

According to this site, the Pill was not approved by the FDA as a contraceptive method until May 11, 1960. (Although some doctors prescribed it for this purpose, "off label," before then.)

The 1965 date I threw out was the date that that the pill became the "most popular form of birth control in the U.S." If Peggy was taking The Pill in 1960, she was -- once again -- a pilgrim.


you boys are dead on about peggy. she really was just trying on the other ladies' clothes, so to speak, to see if it was the right fit. she tried it once before & ended up pregnant. this time she was a lot less naive & more commanding, not just about her reproductive rights, but also her sexuality, in that she wasnt afraid to ask for 'other things' in the bedroom. so fitting that it happened the same episode as her questioning the dated and misguided ad campaign. i predict a lot more nudging from her to push the SC boys to accept what we all know is coming.

as for don's encounter with the barefoot hippie chick teacher - the way it was shot and the way they showed the free and joyful teacher, while don in his gray suit, inched down to touch the grass... i think he's got an acid trip in his future. this season or another - it, much like the hippie movement, is coming. lord knows that when the shit hits the fan w/ his senile father-in-law, frigid wife & newborn baby, he's going to need an escape.


I watch this show 3 times and this blog still enlightens me to so many subtle connections. I was also trying to figure out the scene when Don looked at Peggy in her office. I may be reading this too literally but I thought Don's strange look was Peggy doing her own typing (what male in the office would do this?) and related this back to burger boy assuming she was a secretary when she said she worked on Madison Ave. He commented about how he didn't know how they do all that typing (just a coincidence she was typing when Don looked in?). When she made the comment about her boss being a jerk, I didn't think she was actually referring to Don but saying what she thought a secretary might say. She is usually discrete in her relationships (kidding with Pete when she got her own office that sleeping with Don was really working out for her). In light of TLOs comments I can see that this was her opportunity to blow off steam about Don but under the guise of a secretary and not a colleague.


Has anyone ever seen BYE-BYE BIRDIE? If they had, they would have known that Ann-Margaret was singing in that shrill manner . . . deliberately. She was portraying a 16 year-old girl infatuated with a rock star. The movie was a satire. Peggy has brains. She didn't realize this? Or was she too busy being her usual snobbish self?


My thought on the toolbox comment was that Don was telling Peggy that just because she CAN do something doesn't mean she HAS to do it. That her job now isn't going to use all her talents, and that there will be other jobs down the line that do. I can see Peggy going into TV and then into films -- her comment about "if we were making a movie..."


I think Peggy's reaction to Ann Margret's song wasn't so much about the actual performance, but more about the men's leering during the performance.

They weren't seeing the satire, they were salivating over "a 25-year-old acting like a 14-year-old . . ." It's part of Peggy's angst to be a Woman in an era that worshiped girls.


Pryce's snotty wife was the super sweet schoolteacher in the movie _Matilda_. Funny.


i'm not dorothy gale

My post Man Men dreams were positively tornadic; so much conflict and unhappiness. While I haven't read all the comments (wonderful, by the way) I am taken with the recurrent barefoot theme. I don't know if anyone has mentioned it but "pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen" was a perfect phrase to describe the subordination of women. Have we seen Betty in her kitchen yet?

And boys..you are absolutely extraordinary. I would be drooling with exhaustion if I had to satisfy so many readers, particularly this past week or so. BRAVO TLO!


Yes, I felt like Peggy was doing research.

And oh, that poor Draper baby! After it's born, I'm sure they'll just throw it in the back seat of the car.


I'm not sure if anyone posted this yet, but if you love MM, you will love this site:

http://madmenfootnotes.com/

It's not better than THIS site, of course, but I think all the MM fans will love it.


Lane Pryce always keeps his glasses as a place on his nose where you cannot see his eyes. I'd be willing to be my left leg this is done on purpose...actor's choice or costumer's, it's brilliant.

If someone already mentioned it, forgive me.

Love to you Lorenzo & Tom (I had to switch it up from the regular TLo)

-Lauren


"Yes, I felt like Peggy was doing research."


I think that Peggy is insecure about herself. Her reaction to Ann-Margret's performance in the opening scene of "BYE-BYE BIRDIE" was a little too emotional.


Although Peggy is ahead of the game, what else can she do but hate the game and not the player. She dabbles from time to time, but she's leagues above the rest of the girls.


Why do fans love to put Peggy Olson on a pedestal?


Matt Weiner isn't one to hit people over the heads with a message, but when they showed the clip of Ann Margaret singing Bye Bye Birdie not once but twice, I had to wonder if he was trying to tell the audience something. Don often calls Betty "Birdie." Is Betty/Birdie going to leave the nest?


I hope I'm not too late to join in this discussion, with a new episode airing tomorrow, but ever since last Sunday, I can't get the Maypole dance scene out of my head. When it first came on, I thought my dog had sat on the remote and changed the channel! The lighting, the camera angle, EVERYTHING was so drastically different from the whole look and feel of the show up until that point -- especially the scene right before it (Peggy leaving Burger Boy's apartment in the middle of the night). The sunlit teacher looked almost contemporary, even with the wreath of flowers on her head. Her hair was naturally curly and un-coiffed, her makeup was minimal, and her dress was almost unstructured, compared to the outfits we have seen on all the other women over the course of the series.

When I realized I was indeed still watching "Mad Men," I was struck, like so many others posting here, by her hippie-precursor-ishness. But there is (as always!) SO much more there . . . for one thing, the look of that scene reminded me forcefully of Coke's early 1970's campaign, "I'd like to teach the world to sing" with its sun-drenched flower children dancing all over the world. LIGHT-YEARS away from Ann-Margret/Patio!

Then I watched the episode again. Clunk! The second half of the "Tao of Don" speech (Tom and Lorenzo, you are treasures!) was:
"[Change] can be greeted with terror or joy; a tantrum that says, "I want the way it was," or a dance that says, "Look! Something new!" And there was Don, literally watching a dance that heralded change and newness. Beautiful.

One more thing: I love the casting of Embeth Davidtz as the nasty London ex-pat. Not only was she amazing on "In Treatment" and as Miss Honey in "Matilda," but she was BRILLIANT as Hannah Hirsch in "Schindler's List."

THANK YOU Lorenzo and Tom for your fabulous site, your PR commentary, and ESPECIALLY your analysis of Mad Men.
xooxoxoxxo


My husband is one of seven all born between 1946-59. With each baby, my father-in-law who was called at home after the delivery would come to the hospital to see the baby and bring my mother-in-law a carton of cigarettes for the week she stayed in the hospital; a period of time which was the norm back then. !!


I don't know how much i can thank you for the insights! For me, being an non-native speaker, you help me getting all those subtle elements i would otherwise miss. So thanks guys and keep up those great reviews i'm enjoying for over a year now!


Roland, even us native speakers need TLo's help catching the clues. And the other commenters help a lot, too. I felt sooo smart when I read the big reviewers, most of whom clearly missed the boat!





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