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Mad Men S3E4: The Arrangements

"Should you be lucky enough to strike gold, remember your children weren't there when you were swinging the pick."

The theme of last night's episode, parents and children and disappointment, wasn't exactly hard to figure out. If anything, it was a little heavy-handed as almost every scene dripped with it, right down to the closing shot of Don standing between his dead father-in-law's bed and his soon-to-be-born child's crib. It was all about generational discontent.

In fact, the generational theme was so prevalent that Sal's scenes stuck out quite a bit due to their lack of theme. Of course, the fact that we have a bit of an issue with Sal's scenes could have something to do with it as well. Sal apparently has not been fulfilling his husbandly duties ever since his handjob interruptus with the bellhop in the first episode. Poor Kitty (and we literally say "Poor Kitty" out loud every time she has a scene) puts on a peignoir from the Trudy Campbell collection and awkwardly tries to get her husband's motor running to no avail. He uses the "I'm nervous about work" excuse and to be fair, that was at least partially true. Sal has unexpectedly made the leap from advertising artist to commercial director due to the largesse of Don, who, much like he did with Peggy, rewards people with whom he shares a secret. He leaps out of bed and acts out the Bye-Bye Birdie-themed Patio commercial he's due to shoot the next day and queens out on a level we've never seen from him before. Hence, our problem with this scene.

One thing we always found commendable about how Sal's character was written and portrayed is that the writers and Bryan Batt walked a fine line between the past and the present and for the most part, pulled it off. What we mean by that is that Sal is clearly a gay man to modern audiences because we live in a time when the stereotypical signifiers for male homosexuality are well known to most people but would have been largely unknown to people in that time period. In 1963, to most of his co-workers, Sal just comes across as a suave, well-dressed, witty man with a heightened interest in celebrity and entertainment. WE all know he's gay, but THEY can't figure it out. It's of a piece with all of the other "look at how times have changed" tropes they play on (like smoking and driving without a seatbelt and casual misogyny).

Our problem with the bedroom scene is that suddenly Sal is over-the-top queeny in a way he never was before and believe us, we speak from experience that when you're having a discussion with your beard about why you're not interested in sex lately, the very LAST thing any closeted gay man would do at that moment is let the veil slip. It just didn't ring true to us at all and it came across like something that was written by someone who has no understanding of what it's like to be in the closet. Strange, because they've been so good at that particular theme every other time it came up. It seems to us that they wanted to get Kitty to a certain story point - the revelation that her husband is a homosexual - and the only way to do that with a character like Kitty, a young, unsophisticated and unworldly girl in 1963, was to go completely over the top with it. It was literally the only way she was going to figure it out.

Later, Sal's commercial is unveiled to the clients and it's exactly as it was described several times: a shot by shot recreation of the Bye-Bye Birdie opener. So much so, that we were taken out of the scene wondering how any company would have gotten away with such an overt ripoff. Maybe the laws were a little more lenient back then. The clients hate it and even the Sterling Cooper crowd is forced to admit that some unnameable thing is missing. At first, we bristled once again because we thought the point was being made that a gay man wouldn't have been able to pull off directing the sexiness of an Ann Margret but that doesn't appear to be what they were going for in that scene. Matt Weiner said in his Inside Mad Men video for this episode (and are you watching them? You should be) that's part of a larger theme in the show, that a thing either is or isn't. He offered Don and Betty's marriage as an example, it's got all the external trappings of a perfect marriage, but it isn't what it's supposed to be. Okay, but that was a little obtuse and our quick reading of other Mad Men posts and comments around the internet today reveals that a lot of people came away from that with the reading we originally had: that it was flawed because a gay man shot it. Still, that shot of Peggy triumphantly smiling at Don as she left the conference room (and his somewhat annoyed reaction to it) was a nice payback to her earlier insistence that the ad was a bad idea. She was right and she had no problem gloating over that to her boss.

We'll be honest: for us, the Sal scenes over rode any other scenes in the show (for obvious reasons) and we found the generational theme a little too heavy handed, and for that reason alone, less interesting. Everyone in those scenes, from Peggy's mother, to Gene, to Pete's classmate's father, stated outloud what the theme was. There was no subtext to it and because of that, it felt a little less like Mad Men to us. That doesn't mean there wasn't good stuff in there, though.

If it wasn't clear before, Betty is shaping up to be a really horrible person. She not only refused to talk to her father about his impending death, she criticized him for wanting to talk about it at all. "I'm your little girl," she pleaded with him, "Keep it to yourself." Awful. We're really starting to hate her this season. Even worse was when she wouldn't even turn around to look at her own daughter who was beside herself with grief and angrily told her to go watch television. To further the symbolism (again, in a less than subtle manner) she tears into the peach that Gene bought specifically for Sally, the juice flying everywhere. She's selfish and childish and she's a terrible mother to her children. Strangely, Don, who's always been so disconnected from his own feelings and the feelings of other people, seems to be realizing this.

Gene seems to have realized it as well. "You can really do something," he says to Sally, "Don't let your mother tell you otherwise." All we could think as we watched Betty literally close the door to her daughter''s grief and yell her out of the room because she was being "hysterical," was "Man, that's gonna come up when she's in therapy in 30 years." Kudos to Kiernan Shipka, who plays Sally, by the way. That little girl can act.

Let's see, what else...jai alai? It was a cute diversion. One of those "If they only knew" things the show does so well. We're old enough to remember when jai alai was still being pushed as the next big thing in sports. Obviously, that never happened. Peggy's search for a room mate was another cute diversion, from her co-workers cruelly (but hilariously) pranking her to Peggy's awkward attempts to pass herself off as a fun-loving single gal, it's all part of Peggy's journey this season. She got the career and it seems to be going fine. Now she's got to work on having an actual personality and a life to go with it.

No one understands this better than Joan. The biggest tragedy of this show is that there simply isn't enough Joan. She had one scene in this episode and Christina Hendricks, as she always does, made it sing. In 3 minutes of dialogue she reveals once again that she's way smarter than people think ("This reads like the stage directions to an Ibsen play.") and could be an incredible asset to the office if she and the people around her could only see her talents. She banged out a room mate ad off the top of her head that was full of life and rife with so much imagery ("loves to laugh and lives to love") that all we could think was how much better a copy writer she could be than even Peggy if given half the chance.

[Photos curtesy of]

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I was thinking last night about Joan's infrequent appearances in the show, and decided that the less we see of her, the better. She's probably the best character on the show, and even Matthew Weiner said she lights up the screen whenever she's on it, but her character can be misused by writers quite easily.

Rather than have her come off as cartoonish or just plain two dimensional, it's better to catch little glimpses of her, learning that she has probably read "A Doll's House" or "Hedda Gabler", that she can sing in French and play the accordion, and, of course, just hearing her utter one or two casually bitchy lines.

To me the Patio commercial didn't work was because it failed to appeal in any way to the product's target market: women (not that Roger saw this, but when did Roger ever see anything the way it is? The Pepsi people, having seen their insipid idea come to life, got it immediately, they just couldn't articulate it). That's why Peggy seemed to be gloating as she left the conference room, as in, "Told you so." I don't think it had anything to do with Sal being a gay man and not getting it. Don seemed to realize that Peggy was right, which was reaffirmed when he said to Sal not ruin the one good thing that came out of the fiasco, and that was that Sal is now a commercial director.

I don't know, I kind of liked this episode. That might be because I'm seventeen, and had never really gotten how growing up in the 50's and 60's led to the counterculture movement, even when we learned about it in class.

But the scene with Sally, demanding to know why they're laughing, and Betty's cruel "go watch T.V." comment really made it click for me.

I thought it was the best episode so far this season. And I think the way they handled Kitty's realization was well done. I think Sal let his guard down a bit because he's already been "outed" by Don. He forgot himself for a minute in his excitement about doing what he loves. The good news is that we get to see this storyline develop. Can't wait to see what happens next!

Don was the only person in a position to know that the director of the Patio commercial was gay, and he did not blame its failure on Sal. That is telling. No, I think the commercial failed for several reasons:

1. No, it was not Ann-Margret, whose screechy voice and cloying mannerisms are seen as "cute." The commercial actress was just as screeching and cloying, but because she's not A-M, instead of cute, it's intolerable. Rather than coming off as a homage, it came off as a parody, which is not what the Patio people wanted.

2. The message is all wrong. In the original, A-M is singing to someone she does not want to say goodbye to. In the commercial, the girl is supposed to be rejecting sugar, not mourning its departure. The focus is all wrong, so all the seductive imagery is misdirected in the commercial. It was just a bad idea.

3. Peggy was right-- a commercial like that does not appeal to women. True, women might idolized A-M and want to be like her, but they do no idolize some annoying girl in a commercial. Thus, I think they would be turned off by some cute girl shrieking about sugar.

I think it's safe to say that Sal is off the hook for this failure, and Don agrees. This could be a whole new career for Sal, which could open a lot of doors for him in the future... safe to say, his marriage is likely doomed either way. Poor Kitty.

I was totally perplexed by Sally driving the car. At first I thought it was a dream scene. How old is Sally? Could a girl that young actually reach the petal? Can someone fill me in? Was there some meaning to it that I am missing? (Other than the obvious bonding between her and her grandfather.)

I agree with you on the scene with Sal. I knew that would not sit well with you! Other than what is already mentioned, in reality would Kitty really have gotten it?

"...stage direction from an Ibsen play" was the quote of the night for me. Yay, Joan!

It felt like a moment of Mad Men parody when Don when to get out his Dick Whitman box (his Dick-in-a-box?) to gaze at his father's photo.

I liked the episode, of course, and I'm really blown away by Sally. Fantastic actress there. I'd watched the show without my customary cocktail and thought "Wow, it all seems so much clearer when I have a clear head" but it turns out it was just heavy-handed, eh?

I was more shocked by the scene of Gene blithely blithering away while Sally is driving the freakin' car. What the hell???

As for Sal, if he was a truck driver and he suddenly started reenacting screechy AM musical numbers, yeah, I'd be pissed. But Sal's in the art field. Poor Kitty never came across to me as someone who is particularly innocent, naive or stupid... which makes her realization the more sad because she seems like a genuinely nice character. But that's not enough to be to save this marriage.

I also liked the fact we didn't see Gene actually collapse in the line at A&P. I would imagine that most of us who have lost parents unexpectedly weren't around to see them actually die and showing that would have just been extraneous drama just for the sake of drama (and another expensive scene to shoot).

Poor Sally. I didn't like her at first but now... that poor kid just aches to be held. And I'm universally known as being a cold-hearted damned woman and even I can figure that out.

I wonder if DickDon will recognize this and do something about it. Surely he must have experienced this when he was growing up and knows how terrible it is. Of course, he seems to be stuck in some kind of slow molasses as events are beginning to overtake his usual nimble ability to react to situations.

Funny I did not even think the problem with the comemrical was that Sal directed it. My feeling was that it was a bad idea to begin with. Yes telling women they can be like Ann Margaret if they drink Patio could work but they needed Ann Margaret in order for it to sell. The girl got the performance down exactly the way the client wanted it and mimicked the song perfectly. Except she is not Ann Margaret. She lacked that X-factor needed that only someone like the real deal has. With an imitation you suddenly see what a misfire the spoof is.

I think any derision about Sal can be countered with the fact Don was not unhappy with him and hold him blameless.

From a modern view it is sad and silly that the upper brass, not even Don, can see Joan's potential. Despite the fact they know she's an excellent officer manager, they are still too blinded by her sexual persona to see how perceptive she is. In reality she probably could do Pete or Ken's job better than them.

Speaking of sad, the more they unveil about Betty the more I feel sad for her. She is much sadder and screwed up than realized. It is small consolation that her father figured out how much he and his late wife contributed to that psych make-up and how that baggage is getting passed onto Sally


I totally agree on the scene with Sal and Kitty. In fact, I think it would have made a lot more sense if Kitty realized Sal's sexuality because he was trying too hard to act ultra-masculine.

Joan's "Ibsen" line even shocked me. I am so used to pretty girls being dumb and smart girls being ugly on t.v. (and in every other mass media) that it was quite a stunning moment for me. How sad is that?! (And btw, that's why I love this blog, because you show that an interest in fashion and intelligence are not mutually exclusive!)

The scene where Sally goes and lays down to watch t.v. after her mother treats her so cruelly felt even more like a terrible foreshadowing. I couldn't help imagining her as a teenager getting involved with one of those creepy "hippy" cults like the Manson Family....

Also, I think another subtle reason that the fake Bye Bye Birdie scene didn't work is because it was trying too hard to straddle two disparate cultural moments. The thing I noticed most was that the hair of the actress in Sal's commercial was just a little bit more loose and messy (kind of like how Peggy's hair gets a little more flippy and high each episode) and her teasing was more self-conscious in a Sexual Revolution kind of way.

Of course they didn't like the commercial; what they did is one of the cardinal sins of advertising. When the client tries to have a heavy hand in the creative process, you NEVER give them exactly what they ask for because once they see their idea actually brought to life they almost always HATE it. What you do is give them their idea AND show them something additional that is "just another direction that we were thinking about for this product." Had they listened to Peggy (the only one other than Joan that seems to have a clue about this sort of thing) and presented her idea as well, they probably would have been able to save the account, but this is about an Ad Agency that is on its way to the graveyard, so...

Making Sally watch that clip about the monk burning himself for his beliefs in her grief was such an understated piece of brilliance, I wanted to applaud. That little girl is totally going to be running away to Woodstock in a few years!

Poodles said: "I was totally perplexed by Sally driving the car. At first I thought it was a dream scene. How old is Sally? Could a girl that young actually reach the petal? Can someone fill me in?"

I was 10 years old (1974) when my (wonderful) grandfather sat me in the driver's seat of his 57' chevy pick-up. I could barely reach the clutch and he had to shift the (floor mount) gear for me.

We drove up and down country roads (no traffic) I LOVED it.

My name is Sally...and I know just what that *lil' Sally* was supposed to be feeling. Adventure and independence! Yea for (crazy) Grandpa Gene :)

Austin Sally

Best line of the night for me was from Peggy's Mom.

You'll get raped, ya know that?

Trying to guilt her out of moving "so far away" just to the next borough!

yes. poor kitty. i get that it seemed a little over the top for sal to be prancing around, but bear in mind that this was him at home, with his wife, talking about something he was excited about. ie - not around the boys at the office, rather an environment in which he felt safe enough to talk through his vision. the poor kitty part, aside from her husband being gay, is that sal never noticed the look of horror on her face. he is so caught up in himself that he has no clue how much he let slip in his little drag show. and as far as the ad - i totally didnt think it was a flop cause a gay man did it, but rather it was a shitty idea & the client & the guys had to see for themselves what a shitty idea it was and how right peggy was that it has no appeal to its target audience.

speaking of peggy - her roommate storyline just reaks of doom. her roomie seems like a nice girl, but anyone who says that they dont get along with women the way they do with men is no match for peggy. our girl desperately needs a best friend. im so wishing for a joan/peggy roomie situation. the two of them could help eachother so much. and yes - joan - the girl needs to be shown how much she has to offer & how far she could go. its a shame shes got her head up the rapist's ass so badly. the women's movement cant come fast enough.

and on the topic of social movements - the scene at the end w/ the burning monk & kennedy's political speech - i looked it up - june 11th, 1963. that was kennedy's civil rights speech (you can watch it on youtube). and we are just 2 months away from martin luther king's 'i have a dream speech'. the times they are a changin'.... i cant wait to see how it all plays out on the show. especially after last week's cringe-worthy blackface serenade.

and lastly - sally. im loving her right now for shouting truth to her horrible mother betty. she knows now how much her mother goes out of her way to put her down & how betty hates honesty & reality. i just wish we could fast forward to her teen years & watch her really tear into betty's self-imposed protective bubble.

About Sally driving - they showed that Gene was pressing the gas pedal after he told that car to go around...and Sally was just hanging on for dear life (with a grin, of course!)

I cringed during that whole scene.

If Kitty was still in the dark about Sal's preferences, she STILL wouldn't get it even after his Ann-Margaret routine. She'd just think he was acting funny to amuse her. She's a nice young girl with no experience and no gaydar.

I agree, the writers were just moving the plot along. And it will be interesting to see how Kitty responds to her new revelations. Divorce? Therapy? Sedatives? An affair with a Don Draper type?

Very interesting. Here I was thinking what a great scene Sal and Kitty had, and you go and analyze it from a very different perspective, and I totally see what you're saying. However, maybe it's important that he wasn't "queening out" for no reason - the scene was very pertinent to their conversation. Maybe a straight director could have also tried to describe it to his wife but not looked so gay doing it? It's the way Sal relished acting it out and how he performed it that was very telling. I don't know. By the way, do we think Kitty now knows what's up or she's knows something is off but can't quite figure it out?

I really enjoyed this episode, and I agree that the commercial was "off" because it wasn't Ann-Margaret. I actually cringed when watching it - I wasn't a fan of the original sequence, but their "remake" seemed to amplify the screechiness and crazy-eyes.

One small detail I did enjoy.. Sally made a point about how she loved peaches, and Peggy's mom called her "Peaches" affectionately during her visit. I think it was a subtle cue to tie the two characters (and their emerging independence) together.

Lastly, I still like Betty. I can't help it. I just attribute her uberbitchiness to the fact that she hates that she is pregnant.

Even now, I don't hate Betty. This episode just showed us, yet again, that Betty has never grown up--and part of that is no one has wanted her to. She spent last season sort of poking about and trying on ideas like an adolescent girl, but then she got pregnant. With Don back, she's kind of retreated back into an earlier childish stage.

She's self-absorbed, in part, because it's safer. But that does mean she's an awful mother to Sally and, also, tends to see Sally as a mini-rival. It's not pretty, but unfortunately, I've seen Betty's kind of behavior in real life. Betty's endlessly needy, so she doesn't really have anything to give to anyone else in a moment of loss.

I know you guys know far more than I ever will about being in a closet. I thought that the excuse behind Sal's performance is that he demonstrating what the actress would do and, therefore, it was acting and not really him--though, of course, it was and his wife knew something was up, even if he didn't. I've seen that sort of thing with young guys not yet out of the closet--but I think the telling thing is that they were very young. Sal is old enough to have learned to cover better.

I think the thing about Joan is not simply that no one's given her a chance, but that *she* won't take a chance. She's conservative about her role--she's said as much to Peggy. Joan has her own set of blinders.

As easy as it is at this point of the season to hate Betty, and I admit, I'm guilty — I keep telling myself that Weiner has something in store for the character. She is a product of her times, she is trapped in that house, and she is the victim of Don's indiscretions. And they are numerous.

This in no way excuses her parenting skills, or lack thereof. And I can only hope Weiner's idea of getting her on track is not, say, the Junior League.

Time, and the season, will tell.

Gale, the problem is, Matt Weiner flat-out stated in his "Inside Mad Men" video that Kitty caught on to Sal's gayness by watching him act out his commercial, so... yeah, that WAS her moment of realization. What she does it with it is anyone's guess.

I wonder whether Kitty would be able to immediately make the leap to knowing that Sal is gay just from that one kind scene? I thought the actress did a good job, but I wonder whether she'd really have been able to put it together.

Joan's character frustrates me so much--I think she ends up as the really difficult and impossible-to-please grandmother so many of us had because she never got the chance to really live her life. Not that I think the way they do it is inaccurate, just hard for me to handle.

Maya said: "-I think she ends up as the really difficult and impossible-to-please grandmother so many of us had because she never got the chance to really live her life."

Wow...was that insightful. I had one of those -- but she was more an Olive than a Joan. on.

Austin Sally

I wonder if Sally driving the car is somehow going to be an important factor in Betty delivering her baby. Almost every 'out of place' yet significant event on this show seems to be a foreshadowing of an even more significant later event.

As far as Kitty, she looked alarmed and sad, not really consciously understanding what Sal's performance meant, but now at some level aware that her marriage was never going to be the fairy tale 'Happily Ever After' she imagined it to would be.

Bells went off in my head when Peggy was interviewing her new roommate. I think the girl is a bit of a psycho slut and her comments about the 'last girl' didn't bode well for Peggy finding a stable living situation.

By the way, did it occur to anyone else that the reason the ad tripped off Joan's tongue so easily was that she was really describing herself in her early years in Manhattan (and maybe even a bit of who she still is, in her secret heart of hearts)?

After Sal's bedroom scene, my husband and I turned to each other. He said, "Gee, do you think she knows?" I said, You could see her thinking, "Ohmigod I'm married to a big ole queer!" Yes, it was over the top. But I think Sal was so overcome with needing approval that he couldn't help himself. As for why the clients didn't like it, I think it was Peggy's vindication, not Sal's humiliation.

The thing for me is, as heavy handed as that episode was (and it definitely was), I was devastated by the Sally/Betty/Gene storyline. It was one of those "not much happens until it happens" plots that makes Mad Men so painfully exquisite sometimes.

The gradual bonding of Gene and Sally over the last few episodes--from the tacit grace he bestowed on her over the stolen five dollar bill, to the driving lesson and the ice cream and even deferring to her choice of fruit at the market--those could have been just regular grandpa/grandkid moments, but in my opinion it showed that Gene had somehow realized that Sally and Bobby weren't being parented, and he was determined to nurture them as best he could, or at least to rectify the mistakes he made with Betty, who I think he finally acknowledged as painfully immature and self-centered during their funeral talk. Granted, the "parenting" he was doing was crazy and disorganized and a little gruff, just like Gene, but Sally at least was finally being paid actual attention and given some self-worth to hold onto for the future.

I cried through the entire ice cream scene as soon as Gene said "Aww, I can't fool you anymore". (Again, I completely agree with T.Lo about how thickly they laid on the theme, and in this case the foreshadowing) When he said he smelled oranges, I lost it, because the only thing uncertain about his fate was whether he was going to die this episode or the next.

Watching Sally lie on the afghan on the floor to take in news stories a young child should never see, all because her parents were too self-absorbed or too emotionally stunted to allow her to grieve and be comforted made the entire, uber-maudlin episode worth it for me. At the very least, that character got developed, because Sally's officially grown up. She's not a little girl anymore, because she realized the one person who was trying to protect and nurture her potential and innocence was gone. The days of fooling Sally are all over.

Don was impressed with Sal's directorial debut. Two points back that up:

He told the client that the commercial was a frame-by-frame reproduction of the opening to Bye Bye Birdie, as the client had insisted upon. (This was a compliment to Sal's ability.)

Secondly, when Sal came into the "woodshed" of Don's office later to apologize for the spot's failure, Don sarcastically but smoothly says something like, "Gee It must be horrible to provide exactly what the client asks for and then they don't like it. I hope it never happens to me."

It HAS happened to Don, and anyone else in the advertising business, many times over. He was letting Sal know that as the director, he had done exactly that was expected of him. It wasn't Sal's fault that the client was egotistical.

As Peggy said in last week's episode, sometimes clients don't know what's good for them.

So, Sal's being gay had nothing to do with the success or failure of the spot.

On the other hand, not being a gay man living in the '60s myself, I thought the scene where (poor) Kitty slowly realizes Sal's secret was believable. Tells you what I know. In any case, it did the job. Let's move on to what happens next with that situation.

My heart ached for Sally last night as she lost her beloved grandpa, with no one to acknowledge her grief or even give her a hug.

Finally, Minx's "Dick-in-a-Box," -- hysterical!!!


It is interesting to me that you, dear Tom and Lorenzo, say, "Poor Kitty" out loud, while I always find myself saying, "Poor Sal" every time he is onscreen. I agree with other comment-posters here that the failure of the Patio commercial had nothing to do with Sal's direction. If anything, his love of theatre and his ability to sense A-M's "It" factor when he first saw the film footage would have made him an even better director of this material than someone else!

But poor, poor Sal, so trapped in his life and times. I think he really does love Kitty in some way, and it breaks his heart that he can't be the husband they both want her to have. I felt his song and dance for Kitty was, on some level, done on purpose to help her understand what he can't bring himself to admit yet.

And Pete had the best line of the night, in my opinion, when he remarked that jai alai was just the type of investment his father would have liked. I snorted when I heard that one -- we all know how well Mr. Campbell's investments turned out!

I also disagree with the idea that the commercial failed because a gay man filmed it. The Patio presentation was a parallel to the bedroom seen. I don't think Kitty gets it, despite Sal letting his guard down. Like the Pepsi executives, Kitty just knows something is off but she can't quite put her finger on it. Really, the answer is simple in both instances- The commercial is off because it's not starring Ann Margaret; Kitty's marriage doesn't feel right because Sal is gay.

Spiral Jacobs said, Matt Weiner flat-out stated in his "Inside Mad Men" video that Kitty caught on to Sal's gayness by watching him act out his commercial

Actually, he says he (Matt)thinks Kitty catches on. Which is interesting, since he ought to know!

I'm a bit surprised at the comments I've seen (here and elsewhere) that because Sal is gay he therefore cannot direct a woman in such a way as to make her sexually attractive.

Tell that to Pedro Almodovar (among others)!

"'Poor Kitty' puts on a peignoir from the Trudy Campbell collection..."

You two....

I have no insight from Sal's perspective, but I can tell you that I've known several Kittys over the years. Almost to a Kitty, they are women afraid of their sexuality or on some sort of rebound. It takes a lot of projection to fall in love with someone who can't love you back.

From that standpoint, isn't Sal the greatest salesman ever? He managed to sell a woman on marrying him.

So what didn't ring true for me was that he had no idea whatsoever that this commercial wasn't working. Sorry to get a bit stereotypical here on everyone but...

- most gay men I know recognize bad singing and dancing when they see it.

- if you were going to make a spot this bad, you'd camp it up somehow. There was no camp whatsoever. No tongues in cheeks.

- most gays I know have a real insight into what appeals to women and particularly with something like weight loss, which involves insecurity and struggle, I'd expect some deeper insight.

Is Sal that out of touch?

Tiny nitpick time: How is Peggy Norwegian with a Swedish last name?

I don't understand why Don couldn't hug Sally at the moment of her grief. Instead of giving her the I-agree with-your-mother-eye, he could have said "Come here."

I thought it was one of the best episodes this season!

Two questions for you smarties out there:

1) Was Gene deliberately planning to blow out his arteries by salting his ice cream? (Salt raises blood pressure and thus risk of anyeurism...)

2) Is Peggy making significantly LESS than her colleagues? Obviously a woman at that time would, but, I'd be interested to know if she's making more than, say, Joan even. Many of the guys in creative are supporting families on their salaries, but Peggy must either live in Brooklyn or have a roommate?

I do agree with TLo on the Sal issue. I'm not a gay man and the over-the-top queeniness was even making ME uncomfortable.

i'm not dorothy gale

I've been having post-MM insomnia and when I finally fall asleep my dreams are disjointed and troubling, so it was wonderful to see you two had already written a brilliant synopsis. Thank you for your attention to the little details I missed and especially for getting into the mind of Sal. It WAS an over-the-top scene yet I attributed his flamboyant performance to his joy in being given the responsibility, and wanting to show Kitty how wonderful it was.

The actress who plays Sally is so talented and believable, and I loved how her face lit up when Gene let her do the forbidden things - drive, eat ice cream before dinner. I hope she'll age with the series rather than be replaced at some point by an older Sally (who will probably become "Sunshine Moonglow" around 1969).

Ingrid -

If you are basing your assumption that Peggy has a "Swedish last name" on the fact that her family spells it with "-on" rather than "-en", that's not necessarily an error.

See this reference.

Was "queeniness" a well-known gay stereotype back then? Were there any gay stereotypes back then, with every gay person deep in the closet?

My mother (born 1929) says she didn't even know there was any such thing as homosexuality until she was in her 20s. Maybe she was unusually sheltered.

But I have to I wonder if there were pop culture gay signals like that. Is anybody here old enough to remember what it was like?

I think that Peggy's and her new roommate are going to take a trip to Europe (she's a travel agent, no?) and they'll get into much wonderful trouble. The Sally storyline is amazingly sad but also very true to the times. I know lots of us little girls in the 1960s had miserable mothers who took out all their frustration and anger upon us. Help with a triva thing though, what kind of doll was Sally holding when on the front steps??

I have been following Sal and Kitty's scenes closely, and was fairly shocked to see last night's episode. I agree with Tom and Lorenzo. No one as deeply closeted as Sal would have turned into a flaming queen regardless of how far over the moon he was about the directing opportunity.

My husband's father was a closeted gay man who felt he needed to live a lie for many years. He was an early 1950s graduate of Colby, recruited into Citibank's executive training program, and had staunchly conservative parents.

As he put it to us when he came out a few short years before his death, he felt there was no place for "gay" in his life. When he finally did share his life and his partner with us, it was with the dread that we would cast him out of our lives.

He felt that the stunted relationship he had with his three sons and their wives was better than being shunned, and for many years felt the risk was too great.

My father in law would never have acted the way Sal did, not ever. He had divorced my mother in law years before on some pretense of wanting to travel and not being suited to domestic life, and she never knew the truth.

My Father in Law was always careful to present himself as just a quirky bachelor, (one who had fabulous taste and always sent Chanel or Gucci for every one of my birthdays-- wish her were still around to get me those tights that Rachel Bilson wore on PR last week) and never once did his secret slip.

Each episode with Sal just makes me appreciate more how hard that generation of gay men had it, and the extraordinary lengths they went to in an effort to appear to be "one of the guys".

Sorry this is so long, but it really touched a nerve. I am a regular poster from NH but since this is my husband's father's story I feel the need to post as anonymous.

Thanks Tlo for this thoughtful post. It is surprising that even a show this great can miss the mark on occasion.
Your blog never does.

I LOVED that Gene let Sally drive the car (albeit with his foot on the pedal). Was she ridiculously too young to do this? Of course! And that's exactly the point. You could see her become visably...visible when she is all but invisible to her parents, especially Betty. This maternal dismissal coupled with the sudden death of her only ally is years of therapy right there. Poor Sally - I am growing to love her.

Thank you for your perspective on the Sal/Kitty scene. I interpreted Sal's sudden flamboyance on his nerves about directing the commercial, the stress of his conversation with Kitty and his inherent love of theatre, sort of a perfect storm of events causing uncharacteristic behavior. And yes, for a young, unsophisticated woman in 1963 only an over the top moment could have propelled that storyline forward. Great job by the actress who plays Kitty with the subtle, slow realization playing across her face.

I never once interpreted (even in subtext) that Sal's homosexuality had anything to do with the failure of the Patio spot. The scene was clear in demonstrating that it did not succeed because the (correct) insight that Peggy had was not adhered to, and the client had an idea they couldn't be persuaded against. I've been in meetings like that and the only thing I can say is if the client was always right they wouldn't need ad agencies. Don made it very clear that he didn't blame Sal, and no one could argue that the client got exactly what they wanted - they were just wrong.

After Don takes away the "dead man's hat" that Gene gave his son and leaves the room, Gene pulls out a red fan and says, "there was this girl...". I laughed out loud! Way to replace one wildly inappropriate story with another. I can only imagine what he told that little boy. I'm gonna miss Gene. :)

Amy Sez..
As always, you're 100% right about the Sal/Kitty scene. What seems obvious today wasn't then. Remember Paul Lynde..nobody suspected him of being the 70s he starred in a TV show as a Dad with a couple kids. Or Liberace for that matter. She would have had to stumble in on Sal acutally having sex with a man to figure it out.

I'm so impressed that you guys were able to see Don's "look" for what it was - Peggy's look was "I told you so" and Don's look was "you're getting a little big for your britches". Don's either going to make her put up or shut up, or he's going to give her a dressing down.

As for Kitty and Sal - I really think that the "over the top" performance was because of his total trust of Kitty and his absorption in the new project. I don't think he realized how flamboyant he got. What did surprise me is his utter lack of reading her face. I would think he would have picked up on that.

Bobby and Sally are going to be heroin addicts by 1974, I predict.

I'm curious to see what the grotesque but very different failures of the competing Pete and Ken's first big accounts -- Ken screwing up Patio, and Pete's inevitable jai alai disaster. The difference is, Ken's side are at least trying to operate with dignity and ethics, helping the client; Pete's group is just out to fleece the poor idiot. In the twisted world of Mad Ave, I expect Pete will come out ahead even though his account is indefensible.

Robin-- it's not that easy to "bring on" an aneurism or whatever it was that he had before he died. Although someone else posted earlier that when he smelled oranges while eating the ice cream, that was a sign that his brain wasn't working right.

essaybee-- there were many gays in popular culture. I think those who were more cosmopolitan and well read knew of them. Gershwin, Cary Grant, Randolph Scott... But one of the most popular of all, Rock Hudson, was operating right during the Mad Men time span. I remember when he admitted he had AIDS and came out. It was a HUGE SHOCK to me! I went back and looked at all the films...the signs were there all along.

Hudson was a very good example of the sort of man who had to stay in the closet for his career. Never overtly flamboyant, always subtle, leaving clues if you were clever enough to take note.

I'm not keen on "outing" people, but I always suspected another star of the era, Merv Griffin, to have been in the closet as well. Again, always subtle, never overt.

Lilithcat, despite the fact that Matt Weiner says, "I think..." the implication, both in his words and on Kitty's face, is that she knows he's gay. What she's going to do with that knowledge is in question, but I think it's clear that she knows, on some very important level, why her husband won't have sex with her. She very well might do nothing and just hope it all works out somehow. But she does know, people's awareness of Paul Lynde notwithstanding.

I paused the show during Sal and Kitty's scene so I could turn to my partner and say *that's* why heterosexuals should support gay relationships and even same-sex marriage. So they don't wake up one day to find themselves married to a big ol' 'mo! "Don't let this happen to your children!" with a close-up of Kitty's bewildered expression.

It was wonderful how Peggy, the budding ad writer, failed so badly at selling herself as a roommate (and later in dealing with her mother), while Joan, who's "just" a secretary, knew all about how to sell yourself.

I think Betty's done some good parenting in the past. Right now she's too caught up in her own grief to recognize how close her father and her daughter were.


I'm watching a rerun of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" about the murder of a male model, and that kid that won "Make Me a Supermodel" played the model. He even had a few lines. He looked great and his acting wasn't bad.

The episode is called "Alpha Dog."

One thing I noticed was that Peggy was trying to upgrade to Margaret (and failing) in the same episode that Gene called Betty "Elizabeth." Peggy *can't* be a complete grown woman, and Betty just refuses to be.

I think Sally is going to be a staunch feminist when she get older. She'll burn her bra and stop shaving her arm pits and just generally freak out her mother. I love it!

another laura

God, I just hate Betty this season. I wondered whether Sally was going to set a fire in the house after watching the news with that Buddhist monk. Betty is just all about Betty. I'm just agonizing over poor Sally and Bobby. The next time she dismisses either of those kids with another "go watch TV" again I may break my TV screen with a handy vase. Just freaking heartless. I feel no pity for her. And there is just no excuse for Don's going along to get along behavior, either. Gah!

Moving on. I was frankly surprised by Gene's sudden death. I thought they would have to go through a "let's put Grandpa in a home" "we can't, he's my FATHER, I'm his LITTLE GIRL (but really, it's that I don't want him to leave the house to my brother)" series of episodes.

Poor Kitty, indeed. You could tell from her face that she realized something and that the something explains the lack of sex. You could see some faint awakening on her part in that scene where they had Ken over for dinner last season, and she now knows. With divorce carrying as much of a stigma as it 45 years ago, what is she to do? Stay with Sal but give up on him, have an affair so she have a baby, maybe, and hope that will flip a switch in Sal's brain? Poor Kitty. Doomed.

Okay, that's all for tonight.

I see Joan as the female Roger Sterling - a person so wrapped up in the "old" ways that when society changes, she'll be left behind. Unlike Roger, Joan is likable, but massive social upheaval doesn't reward the "good" and well liked, it rewards the adaptable. I dislike Roger and I love Joan, but they're both doomed.

I don't particularly like Don or Peggy - they're both functional sociopaths - but I'm sure they'll do fine as society begins to upend itself in the coming years. They may be empty shells of human beings, but they're adaptable.

On another note, Sally can mix drinks, drive, dance ballet and steal money successfully. She may as well sue for emancipation and apply for a job working for one of James Bond's many enemies. She's clearly qualified and it will get her out of that house.

I think most people were well aware that Paul Lynde was "different."

I hope Peggy gets the Patio account and does a cool, hippie commercial and triumphs. And I'd love to see her cut loose in Europe.

The citrus smell could indicate a stroke. A friend of mine had a stroke that was a very slow bleeder in his brain. It would stop when he had IV drugs for his blood pressure, but it took them a long time to get his blood pressure under control without the IV. Anyway, an aneurysm could also be a slow bleed rather than explosive, I believe.

I don't think Sal's wife understands his gayness after his dance--I think subconsciously, she is processing this this information, as she does when they throw his clients a dinner, but on the surface, she is aroused. She literally doesn't know how to read the signs she's seeing.

This is similar to the death of Betty's father. As a friend pointed out during the episode, when Gene smells oranges while eating ice cream, that's a signal for a seizure or a stroke. His family isn't reading the signs, the either.

The scenes with him and the kids were moving--and I cried for the first time while watching this show when seeing Sally's reaction. Her grandfather--albeit losing his mind--was the only one to actually spend time with the children.

It is of course ironic that Don won't let Sally's brother wear the dead man's hat, as he is living a dead man's life and using his identity.

It will be interesting to see how this death will impact the Draper family, which is already teetering on the edge.

Sally will probably be an engineer, much to her mother's dismay and/or enter into the hippie culture when older. I feel for Bobby. It seems that everyone is yelling at him. You sort of see some enlightenment come over Kitty's face while Sal was demostrating the commercial, but she may not even realize that same sexes can have an attraction for each other. In that time, women especially were shielded from certain things. I grew up in the 60's a little older than Sally. I was never told anything. I went to college in the 60s and was discouraged by some of my family from going into a "man's" field.

I have to say, as much as your perspective on Sal's little song-and-dance routine is probably completely accurate, I still loved it, because I just loved watching Brian Batt pull that off. It was a beautiful job, whatever one thinks of it as a story element. And that aspect of it didn't bother me at all. I'm not a gay man, so I guess my perspective on it isn't really much, but it didn't seem too far off to me that he might let the veil slip a little in the privacy of his own home, with a wife who doesn't know the first thing about it.

It's just mindblowing to me that there was ever a time when people didn't think Liberace was gay! Wow. I mean, I know that, but it doesn't compute. Am I remembering correctly that he was on the Muppet Show when I was little? I just loved him instinctively. He was so shiny!

To Anonymous who posted about her father-in-law, thank you. That was very moving to read. My heart goes out to him. What a terrible burden to carry. I'm very glad he eventually came out to you, and I hope his last years were happier because of it.

Sal's is becoming one of my favorite storylines in this show, as is Sally's - whoever said that she became more visible whenever Gene bestowed his attention/permission on her, that was very astute. And that last moment, where she's lying there miserably having that utterly modern experience of taking in wildly disparate bits of news, out of context - the shocking story of the self-immolating monk, then the stock report, thank you and goodnight - amazing.

Hmm, visibility may become a theme for both of them. Interesting.

Sorry, I just can't stop...Peggy's mom, oy! What a guilt machine. In that moment where she dismissively turns her head away and lights her cigarette, she looked just like a Lynda Barry drawing. So interesting to see the attitudes people used to have - did Brooklynites distrust Manhattan so much? Meanwhile my relatives can't believe I live in Brooklyn, as if it's some sort of arid, uninhabitable planet.

another laura

Leela - Lynda Barry! Ha! She is brilliant.

another laura - Yes indeed, she is. And she draws a dismissive, angry, chainsmoking 60's-era mom with a beehive better than anyone!

Wow, was I wrong about that episode of "Criminal Intent." The model was played by a long-established and famous model, Ryan Locke. (I don't know much about male models.) I really do think that kid on MMASM looks like him (was his name Branden?)

In the immortal words of Emily Litella, "Never mind."

personal note: i learn so much here. i used to have wicked migraines that i was convinced were 'triggered' by the smell of oranges. i had a seizure when i was 14 following one of these headaches and then, poof, they miraculously went away (so far). i've told many people about the orange scent and my migraines but no one ever told me that there was a relationship. i had to wait 26 years to learn this from strangers discussing a TV show on a fashion blog. A time and a place for everything I guess.

I love this blog. Not only are your observations spot on, but the comments are enlightening as well.

first: I think you guys are right about the Sal/Kitty scene. It was awkward, and didn't "fit" the rest of their oh-so-subtle story lines. I do feel it was a flub. I don't believe for a second that Kitty would pick up on Sal's gayness just from that little act. She might think it odd, but women who married gay men in those days were in big time denial and the men (like the father-in-law story) tried like hell to hide it.

second: Count me also among those who initially thought the "something's wrong" about the Patio ad was the fact that a gay man directed it. But when Roger said "it's not Ann Margret" that rang true for me as well~ but I was still confused about the scene.

third: love the 'dick-in-a-box' and also love the 'bobby & sally are going to be junkies' lines. Laughed my ass off.

OH, let me just add: I'm with you on Betty. Hate her, big time. She's a selfish bitch who can't seem to crawl out of her own self-induced fog. It will be interesting to see what happens to her as time passes and the women's movement kicks in.

Would love to see more Joan as well~ and I have a feeling we will, as the story with her doctor husband could be a good plot line, if even to contrast how she sees the emerging women's movement vs. how Betty sees it.

I predict that someone will give Betty a copy of The Feminine Mystique, (published in 1963), and all hell will break loose. I hope.

I found the Sal scene jarring, too, like just the thought of musical comedy flipped his gay switch. Stereotyping, much?

And I bet even James Bond couldn't get in the mood around that gawd awful negligee.

It seems to me that the reason the Patio commercial didn't work was because an imitation actress was trying to sell what is essentially the first imitation drink. Both the drink and the ad are exactly the same but without the substance of the original. I see this paralleled nicely in Sal's storyline. Kitty is realizing that her marriage is an imitation of the real thing because Sal is essentially an imitation of the perfect husband.

I also have a question about Peggy's failed attempt to find a roommate. Maybe I'm misremembering, but I thought that she had a roommate in Brooklyn during the first season. It bothered me that she suddenly didn't know how to find a roommate when she clearly already had in the past. I know the plot line allowed us further insight into Joan, but that bugged me.

To Ingrid - My grandfather was born and raised in Norway, and he was an Olsen...

This episode reminded me of what my father in law referred to as explanitory fictions, the fictions we create for ourselves to explain our lives.

The thread that interested me in last night’s Mad Men was watching the way the characters were either deceitful or truthful about themselves. Every scene has its characters trying on new identities and sometimes hiding, sometimes revealing the truth about themselves. The touchstone scene for me was the Patio ad - the underlying lie of which was self evident. It was fake.

So, Peggy is completely unsuccessful at attracting a roommate when she writes an ad in her own voice. Joan offers help in the form of a suggested script for an ad. Peggy then makes the exact mistake that the Patio ad makes - she doesn’t take the concept and translate it into her own voice, she copies Joan’s script verbatim. She successfully attracts a roommate using her fake voice - probably the perfect roommate for Joan.

Then there is Sal. The truth about Sal is that he is a gay man faking straight. He plays a part on a full time basis. Momentarily, he drops the act and finally plays his real (albeit his inner queen) self. Poor Sal and poor Kitty. If they acknowledge the truth their lives are upended.

In the Gene/Sally storyline we see Gene giving Sally a chance to act out a role (being grown up and driving). Gene tells Sally she can “be somebody” and in telling her, he gives her gives her the outlines of a new role for her to play. The view that Gene has of Sally may or may not be “truer” to Sally’s core, but it’s certainly preferable to the view of Sally that Betty offers. When Gene dies, Sally is the only one who experiences searing pain at Gene’s death. When she angrily gives voice to her feelings she blurts out the truth: she’s the only one who really cares that he is gone. Which unhinges Betty who is mired in fakeness.

I could go on - I know I am veering off into get your own blog territory. But, the deceitful/truthful theme is also interesting to watch in the Pete Campbell storyline with his Jai Alai chum and chum’s father. Poor Don. He gets no credit for telling the truth. And then, of course Betty - obstinately lost in fantasy.

Leela wrote:

"It's just mindblowing to me that there was ever a time when people didn't think Liberace was gay!"

Darling, it wasn't that they didn't THINK he was gay, it was that they didn't WANT to think about the fact he WAS gay! Ditto Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly and Rip Taylor..they were all just "colorful, flamboyant, etc."


Winkleperi says: "I don't think Sal's wife understands his gayness after his dance--I think subconsciously, she is processing this this information, as she does when they throw his clients a dinner, but on the surface, she is aroused. She literally doesn't know how to read the signs she's seeing. "

Exactly what I thought. She's not thinking "gay" -- flamboyant show tunes didn't mean gay then. She's thinking "what is happening, why is he so bright and glowing and ALIVE while he's doing that stupid song, when me bending over in a nightie that would stun a waterbuffalo just gets a grimace? I don't think "gay" is on her radar.

I think she's totally perplexed. Totally perplexed people blame themselves. "I'm not attractive".

Same with Sally -- when Sally stole that money, she didn't want money, she wanted to fill the hole in her heart. Of course it didn't work, but she sees grownups fill their holes with $, so she's got to try it. Grandpa tried to help her out (and grow her up FAST) but he died. She's got nothing now, but a burning monk to think about.

If I think that the crickets outside my window are chirping the Mad Men theme song, does that mean I'm addicted? Also, chill on the Betty hate. Those were repressive times for women. Don's cruelty is more subtle and smooth; why aren't you hating him?

Betty effin rocks, the worse she behaves, the more I love her, eat that peach girl!

Of course Betty is flawed and we have seen her at her worse this season, but as a parent goes, she and Don are both equally awful and good parents - actually Don may be worse in my book. I think in an ironic way, the Draper children benefit from the yin and yang of Don and Betty's parenting styles. Betty being cold would be more of a problem if Don weren't so affectionate and tactile, and Don penchance for going AWOL is offset by Betty's captaining the Draper ship and her presence (or making sure that Carla is present).

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I need help with my homosexual history here, what did the general population in the 1960s make of Liberace's, Tennesee Williams' and Truman Capote's overt "queenly" behavior? Wouldn't someone like Kitty see parallels between Sal and those guys? Mad Men was before my time, but there were always "sissies" in the neighborhood, I may not have known the specifics of what a sissy was, but they were there.

The lack of subtext and the hit-you-over-the-head theme really annoyed me this week too. Not that I didn't enjoy the episode. But it seems a lot less subtle this season. I'm wondering if they're trying to make it more accessible to a larger audience. But that's why the show is so great: It doesn't necessarily have mass appeal.
The episodes that left you thinking the last two seasons were always the best ones.
I feel like Betty's character is becoming too one-dimensional as well. Are we supposed to hate her this much, even when she's grieving for her father?
Not to nitpick, though, since it's still an amazing show.

I may be misremembering this, but did Peggy tell her mom that her roommate is Norwegian just like her roommate was going to tell her parents that Peggy's Swedish?

Meadow: re Liberace et al, thanks for clarifying. I grew up in the 80's, when it was all very much on the table. I have read, though, that there were female fans who thought Liberace was oh-so-handsome and crushworthy, and that it was news to them.

There's a recording of a Monty Python performance that I listened to a lot as a kid, "Live At Drury Lane". There's a moment where Graham Chapman asserts, "...and I play the straight man." And no one hears it. Not one member of the audience laughs, because they just don't understand the pun there. Some of the little moments in Mad Men make me think of that.

great episode.. I always thought Betty was a horrible mother, but damn, what a heartless, self absorbed bitch of epic proportions! Peggy's mother too, ultra catholic but beyond cold and unforgiving to her own child.
Not so sure Sal's wife got that he was gay, but it got her wheels turning. I think back then, they were so repressed and would deny that they were even pondering the notion. I agree with alot of posts, he was just excited about the ad and got caught up in telling her about it. The ad flopped because it was a horrible idea, and the girl's voice made me want to put a piece of tape over it, not because of Sal.
Don knows what it's like to carry the burden of a secret and keeps himself sooo closed off. He didn't even tell his secretary why he went home after his father in laws death. I think that's why he gives Sal the promotion, he knows what it's like to live two personas and how grueling it is. It's not just the secret he recognizes, but the pain and torment of trying to keep it all together that he identifies with in Sal and Peggy.
I thought the same of Sally, she is going to be ALOT of therapy. The new baby will make it all even worse. Glad the grandpa is off the show though, he gave me the creeps.
I wonder if they'll ever make Don realize how awful Betty is, and if he'll ever find someone who he tells the truth to....I guess there would be no show with a happy Don.

I'm sure someone has noticed this already but when Peggy answered her phone "this is Margaret", it jumped into my head, holy crap, Peggy and Ann-Margret (nee Ann-Margret Olsson have almost the same name. Layers on layers this show. I love it!

Poor Sally...imagine Don being your most emotionally available parent.

Ladies, I thought this was one of the best episode this season. I thought the scene with Sal and his wife was very believable as Sal is only barely award of his sexuality, but that little crack in the door and the pressure he's feeling about the commercial both allowed a little light to shine on his queenie-ness. He wasn't aware of how queenie he was being just as he is only just aware of himself.

And I find Don to be one of the most emotional characters on the show and one who tries to run from his own awareness and hide in his creation of Draper. ALl those scenes of him up late at night are so sad and full of emotion. Often, he can be most compassionate and insightful--his treatment of Peggy or Sal or even the loser son-of a millionaire. And he sizes people up quickly and often accurately.

I love this blog. Kudos to TLo and all the intelligent, thoughtful commenters whose stimulating dialogue represents the best of the internet. (Usually I avoid comments on other sites because of the inevitable toxicity.)

You guys deepen the experience of the best show on television and I thank you for your wonderful insights.

"I'm so impressed that you guys were able to see Don's "look" for what it was - Peggy's look was "I told you so" and Don's look was "you're getting a little big for your britches". Don's either going to make her put up or shut up, or he's going to give her a dressing down."

You know, I didn't read his look like this at all. To me, Don's face had a very considering look, like "Hm. Maybe I underestimated you or maybe you just got lucky on this one, but it bears thinking about." Like maybe getting an inkling that there are other POVs that matter, not just the opinions of rich, white men.

I've been a psychotherapist for twenty years and naturally love Mad Men for its rich character development. And I enjoy your blog just as much because you get so much right from a clinical perspective.

Kudos on your Sal/Kitty comments. I grew up with a gay uncle and lesbian aunt of the pre-Stonewall era. Perhaps it's a sign of how far tolerance has come that few remember how closeted gay and lesbian people were, even to themselves. I can't imagine my uncle (confirmed batchelor/Libby Foods company man) ever doing anything like Sal's sudden sashay.

Keep up the fine work!

I watch "Mad Men" with my 25 year old son. He commented on the emergence of TV as babysitter in this episode when Betty told Sally to "go watch TV". TV was also used by Peggy to soften the blow when she told her mom she was moving to Manhattan. Sal being promoted to Director of Commercials also plays up TV as a force to be reckoned with. And those of us who are old enough to remember can tell you how we were glued to our TV sets for days when JFK was assinated. Television revolutionized the world back in the 1960's the way personal computers revolutionized the 1990's. It will be interesting to see how Sterling Cooper handles the revolution. I can't help but think of a line from Bob Dylan, "Something's happening here and you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?"

Thank you for your comments about Sal's scene. It was the first time I ever felt like anything on the show was not handled expertly. It made me angry. However, you thought that it was really about Kitty makes sense (though that still bothers me to some extent). Also, maybe they just wanted to have as many characters as possible perform that number. :-)

did anyone else find the scene when the cop closes the front door on sally and she just walks up and lays her forehead on the door and cries, absolutely heartbreaking? i think that made me more sad than the scene when she walks in on the four and yells that she's the only one that cares. ay.

i don't find peggy's mother's behavior that shocking/surprising. i related way too much, actually. i experienced that exact kind of behavior many a time (and yes, my mother is catholic) and was often told how i was breaking her heart and how i would be sorry one day and so on. ah, the catholic guilt...

I know my mom (born in 1924) never thought Liberace or Paul Lynde was gay. I've talked to her about it. Her generation compartmentalized sex in such a way that she just didn't see people in a sexual way.

I am a nurse and have been amazed how my elderly patients were absolutely mortified if they had to answer questions about or had a medical issue with their "girl parts." You can't get someone over 60 to say the word vagina. (The closest they come is "my Virginia." which always cracked me up). Honestly most said "down there" They just avoided anything sexual in such a way that it was easy not to see gay or consider Liberace as anything other than a great entertainer.

Loved the visual of Sal in his buttoned-up pajamas, juxtaposed with Kitty in her flirty peignoir (Trudi Campbell Collection - ha!).

I too disagree with your take on the Sal/Kitty scene.

He loves Kitty dearly and probably looks at her like his best friend in the world. Despite the fact that it had nothing to do with their marital relations, Sal actually was extremely distracted by this potentially huge change in his life. And because he was so distracted, and because he is probably used to letting 90% of his guard down with his best friend Kitty anyway, he did not realize how his acting out the commercial would look.

And though the scene WAS incongruous thematically with the rest of the show, it didn't stick out to me as ruining the flow of it at all.

You have to consider that since we're all so used to Mad Men's extreme subtlety, when you can define the theme clearly in an episode like this, it SEEMS as though you're being hit over the head with it. But even an episode like this one is handled more artfully and subtly than 99% of other TV shows. IE, just because it compares unfavorably to other episodes of Mad Men doesn't make it bad! It's still grade A numba one top quality, as my dry cleaner used to say.

I didn't feel like I was being hit over the head at all, with anything. The actors are just too good for that.

"...due to the largesse of Don"

Ha! Nice reference to Season 1 where Roger tells Campbell that he's not being fired also due to the largesse of Don.

Joan's little scene was definitely the best part of this episode.

Count me with those who thought the theme a bit too heavy-handed, and Sal's scene too obvious. I prefer subtle scenes like when he was crushing on Ken.
I've been wondering if part of our problems with Betty have to do with JJ perhaps too well carrying out MW's idea of Betty. I read a Jon Hamm interview where he said Matt thought of Don as pitch black, Jon wanted to lighten him up, and they met in the middle with the director moderating. Perhaps JJ just plays her as written, and we would prefer if she added some nuance, although that may not be the intention of the series' creator.

And I hope I never have to hear that awful Bye Bye Birdie song ever again.

I think that those earlier scenes with Sal, more subtle though they may be, represent the character in a more deeply closeted state. I think he's coming further out, and that his little musical number might be a sign of it. Maybe he'll make it all the way out, maybe not. I kept yelling "Mattachine Society, goddammit!" at my screen the other night.

There's always a play between denial and truth in this show, and Betty represents denial of a very specific sort. She denies her adulthood, she denies anything she might perceive as "ugly" or "uncomfortable". I know people like this. I cannot stand them. I have no respect for them. Her character is becoming more rigid and pathetic in this season, and yes, of course, this was an aspect of life for women at the time. But we are also simply seeing this individual's true nature. One can be both a rigid, shallow, childish bitch *and* a victim of one's times.

In a very small way, I'm reminded of Madame Bovary, in that neither Emma Bovary nor Betty Draper are smart enough to dig themselves out of their circumstances; instead, they dig their own graves, and those of their children.

Anonymous 7:52 ..."I don't understand why Don couldn't hug...instead of giving her the I-agree with-your-mother-eye"

I think he was giving her a "Leave your mother alone right now, she's crazy" look. Don knows the situation is effed up, but he'd rather let it be than deal with a bat shit crazy Betty if he takes Sally's side.

Also, Poodle, my dad would let me drive when I was 9. He would handle the break like Gene did, but by the time I was 12 I would be parking the car for him. Not too unusual, but then again it was 1981.

i'm with you, eric3000. that bye bye birdie song is horrendous. it was horrible the first time around and by this last episode, i was wanting to stab my ears with toothpicks.

I wonder whether Sal didn't subconsciously want Kitty to know he's gay.

Alex said: I think he was giving her a "Leave your mother alone right now, she's crazy" look. Don knows the situation is effed up, but he'd rather let it be than deal with a bat shit crazy Betty if he takes Sally's side.

You know, that's the way I saw that look, too. But I guess if I was the recipient of that look from my dad in that situation it would still really suck.

Also, I was allowed to drive the car up and down the driveway (and sometimes on country roads) Iwhen I was as young as 11. Made me feel like superwoman. My dad grew up on a farm and was driving machinery when he was 8 so I guess it didn't seem off the wall to let his 11 year old practice driving.

Thank you Paul 9/8/09 1:14 pm, my thoughts exactly. It's not like after his bb birdie dance Sal was all "oh shit, I just totally queened out in front of Kitty didn't I." He was more relaxed, relieved, and cuddling on the bed with his bestest friend. He TOTALLY loves her, just not in a boinking way.

(And sometimes a couple can stay together after a gay realization ... not thinking that's the story line whatsoever, just saying.)

I can see where Kitty's lightbulb moment could be far fetched BUT they are in New York City for crying out loud. Gay would not be a foreign concept to her even in 1963. Even if she were very very sheltered she still would have at least heard gossip about such things.

Anyway, my question is how out is Sal to himself? Because people can have gay inklings and gay sexual experiences for a loooong long time and still not be able to admit it to themselves. His explanation to Kitty regarding their marital boinklessness could have been just as much for reinforcement of his own blinders as it was to assuage Kitty's fears.

Finally the children are no longer living furniture! this episode signalled the beginning of the end for Don and Betty.. the beginning of the end of living life sort of free of any kind of responsibility. They never appeared as parents to me, just people burdened with these two perfectly sweet kids. Thank God for Gene finally being a parent to Sally and Bobby!

Great review, guys! I learn so much by reading these posts. I also enjoy reading the comments here a lot.

Christina, not that you said this at all, but do you wonder if we're giving Peggy's mom a pass (because she's Catholic) and we're not giving Betty a pass?

After all, both mothers are more concerned about their feelings than those of their children.

Saman said...
this episode signalled the beginning of the end for Don and Betty.. the beginning of the end of living life sort of free of any kind of responsibility. They never appeared as parents to me, just people burdened with these two perfectly sweet kids.

Wow. That comment really hit me. My first kid had horrible colic and later was diagnosed with ADD. He's older now and rather delightful company, but for years he was a pain. All my friends think I'm some sort of supermom, but in reality, my son trained me.

Don and Betty's kids didn't train them. Will the third child train them?

suzq, i don't want to speak for anyone else, but i didn't necessarily give peggy's mom a pass. i just wasn't shocked by her behavior, having experienced much of that myself growing up. i still find it terrible, to be honest.

while i find betty's attitude to be awful (and her parenting is sorely lacking), i do understand in a way and can't really hate her. i know there were many things about the way i was brought up (born in '75) that are just as distasteful now, but that's coming from a 'knowing what we know now' perspective. others who grew up in that time period i'm sure can attest to the fact that this was not an uncommon style of parenting, crappy as it may be.

Betty, concerned with her feelings? Betty doesn't HAVE feelings, or rather, she desperately doesn't WANT to have them. This is how these suburban Protestant families work; I know, I grew up in a household just like this one (I'm a year younger than Bobby).

When bad stuff happens, you don't talk about it. The worse it is, the more you clam up, or change the subject. By the terms under which Betty was raised, that silent little grownup drinking session around the kitchen table is an almost unseemly smorgasbord of open emotion. Sally's just going to have to learn.

When my grandparents were murdered in their beds by an intruder in 1962, no one said ANYTHING; I was told nothing, just watched a parade of white-faced weepy people shuffling in and out of the house for what seemed like weeks, months. I was shuttled off to the other grandparents without so much as a word. All I knew was that something VERY VERY BAD had happened, and I wasn't to know any more. My father never spoke a word about the incident right up until the day he died more than forty years later.

Keep in mind that in this time period people just didn't talk about stuff like this. I still remember the screaming fight my parents had over the use of the word "cancer", which my (Catholic) mother used out loud because she had just found out she didn't have it. In my (Protestant) father's world, that word was far, far worse than that other well-known "c-word", or indeed almost any other.

I know these people. They're my people.

It wasn't just the gays who were closeted in 1963. It was everybody.

On how aware the general public was of homosexuality in 1963--a lot depends on the sophistication of someone.

I knew, for example, that Liberace and Rock Hudson were gay in the early 70s. My mother told me and she was matter-of-fact about it. Hudson's orientation came out in Confidential magazine and while it was hushed up, those who had some inklings about show business knew that he (and Tab Hunter and Nelson Eddy) were gay.

I think Mary McCarthy's The Group published in the early 60s gives kind of a look about how the more sophisticated public looked at homosexuality--one of the characters disappears to Europe for several years and then comes back at the end of the book. The other characters are shocked, but ultimately accepting if not totally understanding. (It's still an aberration.)

James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room with its closeted gay narrator was published in 1956.

Certainly, there were professions--i.e. ballet dancing--that were suspect.

Also, the Kinsey report's out at this point with its "shocking" statistics on homosexuality of 10 percent. Someone like Don would be aware of it.

I think it's quite deliberate that Kitty's not from NYC and much younger than Sal--so the wool can be pulled over her eyes.

I also think it's worth noting that Don, the most sexually sophisticated character on the show, isn't really shocked by Sal's being gay. As always, he's pragmatic.

fnarf - That's just amazing. You paint such a picture! My family couldn't have been more different (mostly), which is one reason I find the Draper family dynamic so fascinating (and the one you're describing): I was born in '72 to a father who was the child of Depression-raised lefty atheist Jews, and a mom who was the child of Holocaust survivors. While traumatized people like my grandparents and great-aunts and -uncles often do not discuss what happened to them very easily or often, Jews in general are very physically demonstrative, warm, and, yeah, loud people. Lots of hugs and kisses, lots of love, the occasional catatonic state in an armchair (grandfather), or freakout during the shooting scene in an action TV show (grandmother - it turned out she'd witnessed the liquidation of her entire ghetto, though I didn't know that at the time and just wondered why "V" was freaking her out so badly).

Add to that the parenting style of two mostly nice, urban ex-hippies with psych degrees and a few years of hippie kindergarten, and "Don't talk about it" is just anathema. I was totally unprepared for people like Betty et al, whom I would meet in college in New England. And they are still bizarre to me. Why on earth would you NOT talk about things? This still gets me into trouble all the time.

So, Mad Men is a fascinating work of anthropology as much as anything else - Betty and Don are almost like animals observed in the wild sometimes: See the Drapers in their home habitat...we must be very quiet as they pour their scotch and ignore their children, lest we disturb the fragile balance of nature...

suzq said "Is Sal really that out of touch?"

My thinking is that you're associating what you know of gay men with men of the now. Much has already been touched on regarding this in the comments, but living in 1963, he was just doing his best at his job as he was told to do, regardless of how hip or "with it" he is as a suave gay man. Perhaps now that he has directorial control, he might be able to blossom more and be in touch with what the target audience wants and what will sell. I'm excited to see where this goes.

Glammy wrote : "I think the thing about Joan is not simply that no one's given her a chance, but that *she* won't take a chance. She's conservative about her role--she's said as much to Peggy. Joan has her own set of blinders."
Spot on. It's going to be interesting to see if Joan ever asserts herself into a position that she's worth and capable of. She clearly has her hand on the pulse of the company and somehow knows almost everything that goes on behind closed doors. She manages this while staying stylish, beautiful, intelligent and [sometimes] diplomatic. Peggy just has the slightly younger attitude and gusto that propelled her into the position she has. Also anxious to see how Peggy blossoms. Could be a VERY exciting plot line in the coming episodes.

Lastly, I'm torn about Betty. I'm glad a few people finally said that she has done some good parenting. Yes, she could be more affectionate when her children need it, but she has shown that at times. (the riding boots?) And her style of discipline was VERY common in the early 60s. Children didn't have much of a say-so in most things, and many of us whose parents were Sally and Bobby's age turned out just fine. I fear that (and sorry to digress) too many parents now give their children too much freedom and praise resulting in two things: selfishness and laziness. When a child always has a say, they tend to act spoiled and disrespectful if they don't get what they want. When they get too much praise, they can do no wrong and won't strive to become better. There's a delicate balance of praise and freedom coupled with discipline and criticism that makes for good parenting. Obviously, in this season, Betty has mostly bordered on being too selfish and loveless herself, but we've seen a better Betty before.

Sally could go many directions, but they're clearly building up her character much more than Bobby's at the moment, and I'm intrigued. She's an amazing little actress, and I agree that I hope they keep her rather than casting and older girl. Let's just hope the show not only goes on that long, but stays as brilliant!


I read a lot of people hating Betty, but that's not fair. She's a product of her time and her upbringing. She didn't see any other path for herself than marrying a successful man and having his children and keeping up appearances, and she has no idea how to live or feel.
Betty has to use all of her resources repressing her own feelings. She can't even pretend to nurture, even though appearances are so important to her, because her self-repression would be compromised by contact with emotion. If she let go that death-grip on her self-control, she'd never be able to put herself back together. There's too much rage inside. You might think someone like that should open up, but it's better they don't. They haven't got the capacity grow and gain insight through realizing they're in pain. They just crash.

And let's remember, she's illustrating the life of many perfect housewives trapped in perfect Hells during this time.

Let's look at Joan, who is the whole package and is in a perfect place to make a life for herself, but she's selling out, settling, hiding her light behind her sex appeal, and acts out by being bitchy and superior with other women. How sorry is that? She actually has some depth, for now; she'll have to dispatch that inconvenient trait to survive the life she's choosing for herself.

Some of these posts make me feel OLD.

I'm a WASP born in the early 60s married to another WASP born in the '50s. And I'm an ad agency brat.

That said, while some things are quite recognizable, I don't really see a portrait of my childhood here. I do better seeing the show as a series of short stories a la John Cheever rather than "reality". Reality at that time was just as complex as it is now. Even among WASPs.

I can, though, explain a bit about the non-talking thing. Certain kinds of denial are functional. When you look at what people went through in the Depression and the hardship that the pioneers lived through, not talking and just shouldering through becomes a way of getting through the unthinkable. Being able to talk things through is A)kind of a luxury if you're worried about keeping a roof over your head and food on the table and B)implies you have options to change things.

And then it's a sort of habit--it becomes frightening to talk.

So by the early 60s you get this kind of sea change--where there's unprecedented prosperity and peace of a sort--and people do pay more attention to actual feelings and desires and--wow--it's kind of a mess.

Love to see Don with love beads, though.

I watched it again and I think Kitty believes, not that Sal is gay, rather that he is having an affair with the Patio actress doing the commercial. The truth is just not something she could ever allow herself to believe

Poor Kitty, indeed. I think she knows something is very, very "off" about her husband but doesn't really know what it is. Sal is in the closet from himself, too. He hasn’t let himself consciously know he’s gay.

He‘s comfortable with Kitty, and does not see himself clearly at all. He's completely obtuse, totally taking for granted that she’s there to support him, talking about something on his mind as though she were merely a sounding board, with no idea that she's seeing things he didn't mean to show, and isn't even aware of, let alone that he's stabbing her through the heart and ripping the floor out from under her feet.

Kitty now knows more about him than he knows about himself; but I’m not sure she has the background to hang a name on why her husband is not meeting her expectations. She just knows there’s Something Horribly Wrong.

Glammy said:

I can, though, explain a bit about the non-talking thing. Certain kinds of denial are functional. When you look at what people went through in the Depression and the hardship that the pioneers lived through, not talking and just shouldering through becomes a way of getting through the unthinkable. Being able to talk things through is A)kind of a luxury if you're worried about keeping a roof over your head and food on the table and B)implies you have options to change things.

So true, all of it. I'd like to add, also, that in my experience, people who have been through traumatic or even simply very large and complex experiences really can't talk about those experiences very easily with people who didn't share them. It takes a certain kind of wiring to be a storyteller. In my family, stories about the war slipped out almost accidentally most of the time, and I will never know most of what happened to my relatives; every once in a while something surfaces in old family papers that is just devastating, but was never mentioned when the people concerned were alive. I think that for someone who has been through something traumatizing/gigantic/whatever, it's probably just too exhausting to try to explain it to an "outsider", even if that outsider is your child.

I believe this is an aspect of Don Draper's character (along with the sociopath stuff, which just adds another fascinating layer). It isn't just living with secrets, in his case; it's living with a whole other life of hardship and terror that he can't and won't share with his family. And I suppose the latter could be more the norm for a lot of people than I'd ever realized.

Betty, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be hiding anything in particular. She's just not smart enough to understand her life, or think beyond the miserable moment. I see her as someone who will probably not "break out" of this dynamic when the women's movement becomes a factor. But Joan might! I live in hope for poor gorgeous Joan. I feel like the writers are setting up something for her and that creepo she married.

If anyone really wants to know what Kitty thinks, you can watch this video interview with Matt Weiner.

If you don't want to know, don't.

Essaybee asked: Were there any gay stereotypes back then, with every gay person deep in the closet?

First off, not every gay person was deep in the closet. And, yes, there were stereotypes. More than today, I think, simply because people didn't think outside the stereotypes. You were either a bulldyke or a lipstick lesbian. (And if a bar was raided, heaven help the woman who wore trousers that zipped in front, rather than on the side.) Gay men were effeminate, had limp wrists and wore sweaters.

But I have to I wonder if there were pop culture gay signals like that.

Oh, indeed. In the sixties, men were beginning to wear single earrings to signal their homosexuality, and women to wear labrys jewelry.

I well recall a law school colleague who, in the mid-'70s wore a ring with interlocking male symbols. When he came out to me, he was startled to discover that, having understood the significance of the ring, it was old news to me.

One thing about Betty though that's very sixties is a pretty demanding libido. I guarantee that she will cheat again and if Dick Whitman comes out, she'll cheat, divorce and create hell in court.

That Sally and Bobby will suffer will not be her big concern.

Joan could go either way--she's smarter than Betty, but very tied to traditional roles.

I don't think of Don as a sociopath. He's a liar, but he has a conscience. He has qualms about taking advantage of people and gets squeamish about doing harm--thus, his support for the original Mrs. Draper (and divorcing her so that his marriage to Betty is legal), not hitting Bobby, protecting HoHo from his stupidity (which was a thankless and risky attempt--$1 million's a big account)and not sleeping or harassing the secretaries. Don's the only guy who seems to have some sort of weird respect for his lovers.

I think there's some intentional irony on the show that lyin' and cheatin' Don seems more capable of genuine remorse and empathy that Roger, Pete and Betty. The to-the-manor-born types really get it from the script.

I also wonder whether Don's moments of goodness are going to come back and bite him in the ass. I'm hoping Matt Weiner's not that cynical.

TLo thanks for a great forum to discuss this.

Glammy, you're right, I stand corrected - I'm not using "sociopath" correctly.


You just made me think of a story of my mother's where a fellow student gave her a copy of Radclyffe Hall's *The Well of Loneliness* and she definitely got the hint. This would have been the late forties.

There really all sorts of codes and nuances that were reasonably understood.


It wasn't really directed at anyone. Other people have called Don a sociopath because of the total fraud aspect--and maybe that was Weiner's original intent, but the character as portrayed seems more nuanced at this point. (He was worse during Season 1) It's interesting.

"Lilithcat said...
If anyone really wants to know what Kitty thinks, you can watch this video interview with Matt Weiner."

I'm just curious, did you see this in the post?:

"Matt Weiner said in his Inside Mad Men video for this episode (and are you watching them? You should be) that's part of a larger theme in the show, "

It's just that sometimes I wonder if people bother to read things before they post them here. The repetitiveness and lack of attention get a little annoying.

I don't think people are giving Peggy's mother a pass and not Betty. Let's remember that Peggy is an adult, and if not immune to her mother's histrionics, at least inured to them and still able to do what she needs to in spite of them. Maybe if we were seeing Mrs. Olson 15 years ago, we would dislike her as much as we dislike Betty. Sally is a little girl, and watching her mother hurt her is harder to take. We don't know that Sally is going to come out of it strong, like Peggy, if a bit the worse for wear. We are seeing a child in pain, and thus, we dislike the source of that pain. It's not hard to understand.

Anonymous 10:52-- Maybe Lilithcat posted a link to Matt Weiner's video because SO MANY PEOPLE are speculating about what Kitty does or does not know, and Weiner pretty much spells it out in this video. It's contents have already been mentioned (Spiral Jacobs, 9/7/09 4:20 PM), but either no one believes it, they aren't actually reading the other comments and are thus unaware, or they think they're right about what Kitty knows and Weiner is wrong. It's kind of annoying. But it's not Lilithcat who is being annoying. She's trying to be helpful.

On Betty's not talking about anything "ugly", morbid, and so on...while it's true that people who went through the Depression or similar trials might view talking (or acknowledging truths, which is what I think we're really talking about here) to be something of a luxury, in Betty's case, she's pampered and always has been. So it's not about material survival for her. It's about keeping the surface smooth and undisturbed. And in that, she is a perfect mate for Don Draper (though not Dick Whitman), a man who desperately craves the smooth undisturbed surface. This is what I have trouble understanding in the real world - hiding from the truth at all costs only makes people insane eventually. But, in a work of fiction, it makes fantastic characters.

What I can't figure out about Don is, does he love anyone?

Great question, Leela.

I hope we get to see that answered.

I have wondered if a person like Don could actually exist outside of fiction.

To Ingrid and Calicoangelina -- the spelling could have been changed. My mom came to Canada from Norway and her name was "Kristofferssen." But in Canada it was changed to "Christopherson." Immigrants often anglicize their names. But what I found really impossible to believe was that Peggy is a Norwegian *Catholic*. As if! Catholics make up about 1% of Norway's population. It's like having a character be a Sicilian Lutheran -- possible, but really hard to believe. It was either a goof from ignorant writers, or they are going to follow up later on.

Cary Grant was NOT gay.


In total agreement. Don't get Peggy being Scandanavian and catholic. Her family acts Irish--and Brooklyn has an Irish population.

So Peggy's dad would have been Norwegian, but they're sure not playing her mother as such. And Peggy's usually an Irish take on "Margaret".

Wish they'd explain, frankly.

You have already covered so much in this discussion. One small thing keeps bothering me. How did the peaches get in the car if Gene collapsed in line at the A&P?

Two items.
1) Has it occurred to anyone that Betty's baby is not Don's and that explains her hostility to everyone and her abuse of cigarettes, alcohol, and other things to her fetus? I know having been born in 1950 that moms of that era didn't abstain from things that were unhealthy for their babies but Betty seems to be hell bent on abusing hers.

2)What was the comment exchange between Peggy's mom and her when mom said "oh and are you one of those girls?" and then follows up by saying "yes you ARE one of those girls". Is Peggy's mom sensing Peggy might be les?

Dr. Benjamin Spock published "The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care" in 1948. Certainly, Betty and Don have a copy lying around somewhere.

I also fear that Sally will start a fire to their house. yikes.

debra, maybe Betty is abusing herself and the baby because it *IS* Don's. She was ready to get out of that marriage when she found out she was pregnant, so she probably resents the baby for keeping her trapped in that crap marriage.

debra, response to both of your points.

yes, it IS don's. there was never any indication whatsoever of her cheaing on don until AFTER she knew she was pregnant. and it was pretty plain to me (and on all the other blogs i read regarding mm) that she got pregnant when they went to stay at her father's house after she found out he had a (second) stroke.

secondly, that conversation was between peggy and her sister. her sister said something along the lines of "you're gonna be one of those girls" and peggy said "i am one of those girls". i don't think there was any insinuation of suspected lesbianism. i think it was more of a "are you gonna be one of those single, career driven, city women types?"

I love this show and I love this blog. Now, with that out of the way....I am torn about the Sal's queeny breakout number. Was it really out of character? Sure, I doubt he would bust out and shimmy in the halls of Sterling Cooper, but behind closed doors with his wife and best friend? The same one was was begging him to come clean with what's bothering him? I think I buy it. I would imagine he'd want to share his excitement of the new project with Kitty and, caught up in the moment, could have forgotten to keep his guard up. What I am not sure I buy, is that Kitty would catch on. I could easily see this couple keep on with this charade until Sal finally comes out in the late 70's, even early 80's. They might divorce somewhere along the way, but I just don't know that Kitty would figure it out. Those who pointed out about Liberace or Paul Lynne were reading my mind. (by the way, there was a hilarous Match Game SNL skit about Match Game that has a great Charles Nelson Reilly/Paul Lynne character on it....check it out.
But hey, Wiener wants to move this little storyline along, so fine. She gets it.
As for Betty....I understand that she's not really the hero of this story, but there seems to be a lot of haters out there. Let's not forget she was a product of her time. Her mother made her feel like a loser and her father admitted in this episode that he was overprotective. She was horrible to him with talking about death, but there she is, the spoiled brat he created. And as to her reaction to her daughter's grief. Typical. But I don't think she wasn't grieving herself. She didn't have it in her to explain that to her daughter. Laughing and remembering funny stories about your loved one is normal and healthy. It's a shame that she was too self involved to want to help her daughter understand.
I also love the way television was a theme in this episode. So that we see it's growing importance. It's a status symbol (Peggy can afford to buy it), it's a babysitter (for Sally), it's a window to the world (the burning monk), it's the future (for Sal's career).
Lastly, the wrong note I felt the most keenly in this episode was Peggy's mom being such a bitch. It was a little off putting, since she had been so supportive of Peggy up until now.

Just for those who wonder, Brooklyn had a LARGE Norwegian population in Bay Ridge. Even to this day they celebrate Norwegian independence day (I think it's in May...Bronx Irish here). But the Norwegian/Catholic connection is hard to get. And Mom is hard core Catholic, she has a crucifix in the living room.

I am thinking maybe mom is Irish and sort of grasped the Norwegian/Swedish animosity from her interaction with the in-laws.

Anonymous -- yes, Bay Ridge's Norwegian population is well known. But the idea of a Norwegian-Catholic community is improbable. Catholics make up less than 1% of the world's Norwegian population. So I'd like to see the connection explained. I think it was just a goof on Weiner's part, frankly.

I have a couple things on my mind about this episode:

1. Was the Matthew Gray Gubler (Spencer Reed on NBC's Criminal Minds) as the younger PesiCo exec - looked like he'd had a severe hair-cut, but his voice sounded the same.

2. Not sure that figuring out that Sal is gay will make Kitty file for divorce - I think that the lifestyle she and Sal have will keep Kitty from leaving. She might be outraged at first, but she worships Sal, and she'll figure a way through it.

I just have to say...I am 49 years old and just started watching Mad Men. I have been thrown head first into the rabbit hole of my childhood. It is scary how dead-on the sixties are portrayed. The smoking, the complete disregard for children, the bad decor....I remember it well.

I've been thinking about the significance of Bye Bye Birdie to the show. We've seen four different performances of the song, and even before the first of these the original musical was mentioned.

Don calls Betty Birdie, and I don't think this is a coincidence. Betty's becoming ever less sympathetic a character, and I believe I see some kind of definitive break from Don looming.

Peggy was right-- a commercial like that does not appeal to women. True, women might idolized A-M and want to be like her, but they do no idolize some annoying girl in a commercial. Thus, I think they would be turned off by some cute girl shrieking about sugar.

Exactly how was Peggy right? How? She is the only female who saw the commercial. The others who saw it were men - the Sterling Cooper employees and the client.. And as Roger Sterling had pointed out, the commercial lacked one thing that would have appealed to him . . . Ann-Margret.

Instead of realizing this, fans are crowing about how Peggy was "right". Sometimes, this idealization of her character can be a joke.

Just wanted to clear something about the whole swedish/norwegian conversation.
I am swedish (yes, we're a little behind and are currently watching season 3).
Sweden and Norway were one country until 1905 when Norway gained independency. After that there has always been some kind of (humoristic) animosity between the two populations. Even today funny jokes are made here in sweden about how silly the norwegians are, and it's the other way around in Norway. My guess is that this was even stronger in the 60s and that's why the two girls feel like they have to lie about their nationality to their parents.
That's my guess anyhow.

Btw, great episode analysis here!

Sound sort of accurate, such were hungry, and, of course, they ate potato chips all the before, and none will ever come again, so we ask the driver to wait. Wise Men, who 2,000 years ago followed a star, week after our friends Gene and Arlene, and their two children, Molly down, so we told the Tupperware Lady we had this song we wanted to perform. Write about the giant vampire process sound as easy as getting insurance offers 95, because they do so little damage to our nation?s crumbling infrastructure. About your consumer been feeling very patriotic them complex ways to get even more money and orders them to tune in next week. System has increasingly hand signals we direct way I can think of to make it go away is to buy whatever they?re selling. Announced that it was the most the way I did in high together and pushing up a brand-new wall. Bobby, a fascinating look at the jillions of tiny life forms that inhabit sure yet whether gather each New Year?s Eve for a joyous and festive night of public urination, it also serves as an important cultural center where patrons may view films such as Sex Aliens, Wet Adulteress, and, of course, Sperm Busters in comfortable refrigerated theaters where everybody sits about 15 feet apart. And move on to another, but the truth is, Cooper and I really clerks sitting on the floor, rocking back and out in the living.
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А быстро по оголовью всякий патрульный skachat muziku cherez opera определит, который меч в них не очень неприглядный.

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