Tag Archive for Megan Draper

Mad Men Recap: “Time Zones” (Season 7, Episode 1)

This season of Mad Men is its last; in all senses of the word, time is running out. Time is running out for the Madison Avenue lifestyle, the clock is ticking on the 1960s, and time is running out for our characters to fix what they’ve broken. As Freddy Rumsen remarks in the opening scene of Season 7, “This is the beginning of something,” but in fact this episode is the beginning of the end.

Despite their leaps forward in seasons past, Peggy and Joan are both struggling. Don’s drowning again, and Kenny Cosgrove is totally flipping his shit. Everybody’s dozing off, waking up late, remaining stagnant when they should be moving forward, and checking their watches as they do it. Time is of the essence in this episode, and it sets a distinct (and distinctly depressing) tone for the season. Last season launched the latest fan theory: Megan Draper as a doomed Sharon Tate, the late wife of Roman Polanski and victim of the Manson Family in 1969. Matthew Weiner is rarely so transparent, and as such I doubted the veracity of the theories – but this episode seems to give them more ground.

Rumsen still blends into the background. Photo credit AMC.

Rumsen still blends into the background. Photo credit AMC.

In the first scene, we get a close-up of none other than Freddy Rumsen, briefly studying some notes then launching into an earnest, thoughtful pitch for Accutron watches. The protagonist of the commercial “looks like Steve McQueen,” but wears a suit and tie. “This is a business man,” Freddy tells us. It’s “you, late 20s, shaggy, the youthful colleague. Staring at his watch as muffled conversation swirls around him.” Weiner films the scene as we’re used to him filming Don Draper – close, intimate, addressing the camera and thus, the audience. We’re the targets of this pitch. The Accutron pitch pits the Youngs against the Olds, an adept reflection of the cultural shift in the late 1960s. It’s on point, which is far more than anybody expects from Freddy “I pissed my pants” Rumsen. “Accutron: It’s not a timepiece, it’s a conversation piece,” he finishes, his eyes narrowed, face glowing. Peggy, of course, wants what Peggy wants. She ditches Rumsen’s brilliant pitch in favor of her own work: “Accutron: It’s time for a conversation” sounds more elegant to her.

I would wear everything Peggy is wearing here. Photo credit Jordin Althaus/AMC.

I would wear everything Peggy is wearing here. Photo credit Jordin Althaus/AMC.

And here we leap into the fray with Roger Sterling. A telephone phone rings, the sound reverberating about a darkened apartment as various nude people pass the phone to a duly naked Sterling. It’s his daughter Margaret calling, of course; no one else would be in touch with Roger – and he’s not terribly thrilled to hear from Margaret, either. When you’ve severed all your ties, being summoned makes you suspicious. He agrees to a brunch, but only if there’s vodka. After he hangs up, a naked girl about Margaret’s age props herself on her elbow, smiling. “I feel like we really got somewhere last night,” she says. All the drugs.

Lou Avery, the new Creative guy who replaced Don, is pretty deplorable, as it turns out. I mean, Don is deplorable, but he’s our antihero. A gent who comments on the race of his secretary by asking derisively, “What do we have here, Gladys Knight and the Pips?” is not someone we are built to like in the 21st century. He nitpicks Dawn (a woman of color in a sea of white folks), ignores Peggy (a woman in a sea of penises), and is generally a dick to everybody else.

Ken Cosgrove, he of the science fiction novels and the ability to compartmentalize, to stay out of the Madison Avenue fray, is wearing an eye patch (I assume due to the car accident with the Chevy team last season) and screaming at his help while Clara looks on sheepishly. He sends Clara to get him a buttered roll (really? a buttered roll?) and invites Joan into his office. He’s popping a pill direct from his shirt pocket; wonder what it is? Joan brings him the Avon file and says they’ve got another one to attend to: Butler Shoes. Kenny, who’s totally bogged down and upset, tells Joan to “make it go away.” It’s notable that in the first scene she’s in, Joan is walking up the stairs, wearing her power color of regal purple. She’s always walking up the stairs in this episode. Read more

Mad Men Recap: “Dark Shadows” (Season 5, Episode 9) (5/14/12)

This week marks the return of Betty Francis, the wounded whale. Betty, struggling to lose weight, bookended last night’s episode with her strategic consumption. Weiner continued to poke at the plight of the Jews in 1966, and Don’s secret, shameful past is bubbling to the surface without any disturbing effects. There are only four episodes left to go in season five. Pete Campbell’s dissatisfaction is snowballing while Don burns Ginsberg with the flames of hell. Manipulation is the name of the game.

Mad Men Henry Betty S05E09

Bits of happiness, divvied at strict intervals. Photo credit Jordin Althaus

Pete Campbell boards the elevator with the partners and smugly claims to have been the subject of an hour-long interview with his “new best friend Victor, of the New York Times.” Oh, don’t bother calling, they only seem interested in me, he says, with smarminess radiating from his pores. In retaliation, Cooper, always playing the peacemaker, sends Roger on a discreet mission: pitch Manischewitz to “normal people,” as opposed to the Jews. Naturally, Roger turns to the only two Jews he knows to arrange such a thing: he bribes Ginsberg and Jane.

During a portfolio update, Don notes shrewdly to Joan that most of the good work at SCDP recently has been Ginsberg’s. When Don Draper identifies a threat, you’re gonna want to back out of his way. Peggy and Stan know this, but Ginsberg hasn’t a clue – yet. Don snoops through Ginsberg’s folder (amusingly labeled “Shit I Gotta Do”), chuckling at the work he’s done thus far for Snowball soda. Then Don gets to work; these scenes are brilliant – Hamm consistently makes it look like the ideas are just floating up from the abyss. He pitches his idea – the devil, forked tail and horns, backed by the very flames of hell, sips a Snowball soda – to Creative. But the company wants to appeal to children, so a snowball striking an authority figure in the face is going to get the laughs, says Ginsberg. Peggy and Stan like Ginsberg’s take and Don tells them to go ahead with it. Ginsberg makes a few cocky comments: “It’s impressive you could not write for so long and then come back with that!” he says. “I’m glad I could impress you,” Don says, unamused. Peggy and Stan monitor the proceedings warily, waiting for Don to lay the smackdown.

Showdown. Photo credit Jordin Althaus

Read more

Mad Men Recap: “At the Codfish Ball” (Season 5, Episode 7) (5/2/12)

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.

Remember what phones used to look like? Photo credit Michael Yarish/AMC.

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.)

Mad Men S05E07 Marie Calvet

Marie Calvet: Unhappiness personified. Photo credit Michael Yarish/AMC.

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

Mad Men Recap: “A Little Kiss” (Season 5, Episode 1) (3/27/12)

Mad Men Season 5 Episode 1 Don Draper

He’s back. Photo credit Michael Yarish/AMC

It’s been almost a year and a half since the last episode of AMC’s critically beloved drama Mad Men aired its last episode. Amid whispers of the show’s cancellation and creator Matthew Weiner’s firing, AMC and Weiner conducted backroom talks that eventually (rumor has it) led to slashing the budget of The Walking Dead instead.

Where we left off, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) had ended his marriage with frigid, hateable ex-beauty queen Betty (January Jones); she then married boring, stable old Henry Francis creating what’s sure to be a horribly unsatisfying relationship for both of them. After turning down strident, smart New Yorker Faye Miller (Cara Buono, who was pitch perfect in the role), Don proposed to his secretary Megan (Jessica Pare), a naive, pretty young thing with big dreams and an easygoing sensibility. Don (or Dick Whitman, as those who know him best – and hate him most, it seems – call him) has been struggling with an identity crisis the last few seasons.

Mad Men Season 5 Episode 1 Lane Pryce

Beware advertising as an equal opportunity employer if you don’t mean it, boys. Photo credit Michael Yarish/AMC

It’s been a year and a half in the show’s world as well, putting us squarely in 1966. The civil rights movement is getting off the ground, and the good old boys in the Young and Rubicam offices decide to toss makeshift water balloons at the protesters outside their window. Not a smart move, guys. So begins a feud with Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, with SCDP placing an ad in the Times stating they’re an Equal Opportunity Employer. This, of course, backfires in their faces when a whole crowd of African Americans shows up with resumes, prompting Roger Sterling (the wonderful John Slattery) to mutter, “We can’t have one of them in the lobby!” The times, they are a’changin.

And with changes come power struggles. Everyone in this episode is fighting for footing in the midst of a sea change.

Mad Men Season 5 Episode 1 Megan Zou Bisou Bisou

Sex kitten! Photo credit Ron Jaffe/AMC

Read more