Sunday’s Mad Men was a bit of a doozie, and I’m late to the ball due to a crazy weekend. So here we go.
The women of Mad Men are what make the show worthwhile for me – and this was a very lady-centered episode. Particularly, the focus was on mothers and daughters, on seeking mama’s approval while struggling against the parameters your parents set for you. Sally, Megan, and Peggy are having mommy issues – which, knowing their respective mothers, is not a surprise.
The episode opens on a grungy dorm hallway, in which two kids play some semblance of lacrosse as a toweled boy sidles past. Who should come to pick up the hall phone, but Glen, Betty’s former nemesis and Sally’s “former” friend? He asks Sally if she’s bought the new “Spoonful album,” and she says, “It’s all over the radio,” which tells us this song has hit the top 40 (the airwaves are now firmly entrenched in that scary rock’n’roll of the 60s). Sally has stretched the phone cord across the hallway, and Pauline immediately trips over it. As “Bluto” rolls around on the floor moaning about her ankle, Sally bosses Bobby into getting her water and keeping her calm. She later tells everyone Pauline tripped over one of Gene’s toys – a lie designed, even years later, to keep Betty from knowing what was really happening with Glen. Of course, since Pauline broke her ankle, Bobby and Sally yet again migrate to Manhattan to Don and Megan’s apartment.
(Speaking of Betty, her obvious absence in this episode could be considered either a major flaw, or a very purposeful move from the writers – she’s no mother to Sally.)
Megan’s parents Emile (Ronald Guttman) and Marie (Julia Ormond, in a gorgeous casting move) are in for a visit, bringing with them their myriad problems. One of the first things we hear from Emile is a tossed slur: “Have a drink,” he tells his wife, “become nice again.” Since Sally doesn’t like fish, Megan, ever the dutiful wife and nanny (though I wouldn’t go so far as to say “mother”) produces spaghetti for dinner. Marie remarks with a sad smile, “I used to make spaghetti for Megan.” Then the pretty, sexy, sad Frenchwoman imbibes enough to stagger away from the table and pass out with a lit cigarette. Removing the butt tenderly from her mother’s fingers, Megan finds herself blessed with a brilliant idea. Read more