A New Car
Mad Men Season 6 Episode 6
I have been living with unintentional renos for the past four months. That is to say, we had a big fat water leak, it did immeasurable damage, and the very nice people at the insurance company have been taking care of it for us, but it’s a long process that takes a lot of time and most of my stuff has been in boxes since 2013 began.
It is perhaps for this reason that every scene with Peggy at her apartment (did I miss where they bought?) makes my skin crawl and my instinct to scream every time it comes on camera. “I can’t walk on my own floor.” Ugh. The endless renovation and the nails on the floor and why is this man in my apartment and I just felt for Peggy so much. It’s her own fault, of course, as she’s been shoving down the instincts that tell her to get out of this relationship and live where she likes/how she likes for a while now.
Which got me thinking about the concept of self-denial. Was it totally unheard of for men, back then? Was it considered to be solely the province of women? Peggy holds herself back half the time she wants to say something. Half the time that she’d like to act on an instinct, either for self-progression or self-preservation, she just… “thinks better of it”. The results are, of course, predictably non-events. What would have happened if she had told Ted Chaough the truth – that she was appreciative of him, and his kiss, too? She was still a woman and still worked under him, but she might have had a different insight into the Chevrolet deal, which by all accounts has thrown her for a loop.
It doesn’t matter, of course, whether or not she’s feeling comfortable with the situation. She’s significant, but a pawn in the newest, great move in this Mad Men season. It felt like a lot of fun, with the jetting off on multiple flights (and the clever, clever way Roger found out who was on which ones), agencies faking each other out, and the enduring creepiness of Bob that got us there. I did feel like the “going public” story kind of came out of nowhere, and it seemed nothing short of preposterous that the other two partners knew absolutely nothing about this massive venture – but then again, maybe this is how a company with so many partners would eventually divide. Secrets and others informed later – divisions and bitterness. Maybe Lane Price could have told me this.
But it’s all (temporarily) undone when Don has one of his fits of pique I love so much and tells his Jaguar account to go f-ck himself when he’s insulted. I mean, this is the province of the ultra, ultra privileged. How is it possible that he can just throw away accounts with impunity? I know this is part of what makes Don Draper the special man who still commands that level of respect and awe he still gets from the other agencies – but more of me thought it actually wasn’t the case. That this was the Don who was losing his touch and still had enough bravado not to care. If I have a complaint overall, it’s that Joan’s outburst – screaming at Don for both endangering the million dollars she shouldn’t have been counting on, and for making her sacrifice with the horrible Jaguar guy all for naught – wound up being “an outburst”. Had there been more time before the Chevrolet thing – let alone before Don got to have a brilliant idea with Ted Chaough - there might have been time for Joan and Pete’s outrage to take root, at least a little. The fact that they were getting ahead of themselves, and a little too comfortable for any of our liking, it seems like any other instance of just punishment for Pete, who can’t be a good guy two weeks in a row.
But Joan…I worried. I sense a growing dissatisfaction in Joan that may not be able to be satisfied at SDCP at all – and this is worrisome, because we need her. Who would we look at – or look to – if Joan wasn’t the last bastion of how things should go, of what was right, of a certain level of modern-day practical propriety?
As for Campbell – what should I say? I guess the humor of the situation was that he never once considered the idea that him having seen his father-in-law at a “party house” would reflect badly on him. Because of course he didn’t, because he’s Pete Campbell. He’s arguably the most fascinating guy on the show – because he really would like to believe he’s a good guy but he just cannot manage to be. You only have to look at his face when he told Trudy about the prostitute. If he was going to not do the right thing, he was by-God going to not do it and enjoy it. His spite and vindictiveness is so based in feeling like he’s been wronged – which he so often does – it’s an endless loop of never quite being the guy he thinks he is.
Don, on the other hand, knows that he’s not a stand-up guy. He has only one thing going for him – the ability to strike client’s imaginations exactly the right way. It makes up for being a lackadaisical husband, an inscrutable father, and the kind of man who professes to be friends with another while banging that other’s wife. But the torture seems slightly less when he’s swinging his dick around an ad agency. He was exceedingly smug when telling Peggy to “give it to Ted”. Is he Ted’s boss now, too? Don fits in this world only by virtue of having one redeemable quality, one that is increasingly less and less tangible for him. Of course, in an episode where money was debated often – maybe he’s simply too rich to care. It sounds like the kind of affliction he would have condemned just a short time ago.
Incidentally, the shot of Roger lightening his load by taking out three copies of his book was the most delightful. The least delightful – of the whole episode – was Marie. Why was she necessary at all? Megan feels underappreciated; Megan fulfills her worth sexually. We couldn’t have learned this without some bad French clichés?
(Lainey -- here’s Jon Hamm walking around NYC yesterday wearing those pants pretty well, because I can’t see the OUTLINE OF HIS DICK.)