Becoming Peggy - Mad Men Season 5 Preview #1
With Mad Men finally, finally at a reachable distance and with such a long time since we checked in with our crew at SCDP, I wanted to remind myself where we are with all our characters. As always, I find Peggy the most compelling.
Though she’s grown up over the past few years (we have no idea where season 5 would start, but I believe that birthday dinner in “The Suitcase” made her 26) she’s still an utter babe in the woods where navigating her career is concerned. She’s successful but struggling every day. She’s never happy with where she is. I love this about her. It makes her who she is.
It also reminds me that, while she and Elisabeth Moss are not the same person, art kind of imitates life, eventually. Did you see what she said about ex-husband Fred Armisen? She says someone else told her that “He’s so great at doing impersonations. But the greatest impersonation he does is that of a normal person.” (Source)
Okay, so maybe not the most sophisticated thing she could have said in the press, although undoubtedly really honest. This is, arguably, why she makes Peggy so great. She understands, maybe instinctively, that while it would be better and more prudent and probably simpler if she said nothing, she just can’t help herself. It’s one of my favourite things about Peggy. She’s kind of a tattletale. She’s gotten a little better about the way she tells Don her coworkers are idiots, but nobody would call her an expert at navigating social minefields. She might never get better at it.
This is why I’m so excited for Peggy’s continuing career. Peggy is never not going to have her issues. Just like Don, she’s going to battle her demons – or hide them, to varying degrees of success. One thing I love is that we haven’t yet seen Peggy’s line – what she won’t do for her job. True, she didn’t ditch SCDP to go with Duck, but I think that was more self-preservation than morality.
She’s similar to Pete Campbell that way. I’ve always maintained that what these two see in each other is a kind of determined work ethic. Maybe neither of them would have been described as the most likely of their peers to succeed – they’re not lauded with praise, now or in the past. But they push forward to be the best by sheer force of stick-to-it-iveness, by not relaxing into roles that are pre-made for them. That makes them bump up against each other from time to time but it also means they know what they’re there for.
He, of course, has a wife at home to be both his domestic comfort and totally biased cheerleader. Peggy doesn’t have a wife, and doesn’t look likely to get one. I’m not making some smirky comment about her sexuality here – just observing what she already knows: staying super-late at the office and having all-nighters with her boss isn’t likely to fly with a guy who wonders why she’s not making dinner and having children. Is there any wonder she’s staying away as hard as she can? Of course, the other option is that she hasn’t really fallen in love yet.
I wonder what would happen if she did?
Mad Men returns March 25th.
Click here to see more images of Elisabeth Moss in the New York Post.