Too many users here are complaining that this episode didn't advance enough plot points or that not enough took place at the agency. To complain about these things is to entirely miss the point of this episode. At this point in the series any real fan should be very familiar with all the important characters. This episode just lets them exist within the context of the show and puts them in unique situations a bit outside of our comfort zone with them. While much of what happens will not impact the series down the road it is one of the most enjoyable episodes. I found myself laughing with (and at) creative getting high in their office, sympathizing with both Don and Sterling during their tiff, and wishing I was out there on the dance floor with Trudy and Peter. The moments between the moments are just as important here and everything is paced with much tact. I will agree that the episode isn't plot oriented, but deeming it irrelevant because of this is foolish. Too often producers have the notion that the only way to maintain an audience's interest is to constantly increase suspense. This is rarely the case and often ruins shows. Viewers should be grateful that the writers for Mad Men are confident enough in their characters to make an episode so shamelessly about just that.
I'm surprised that people still complain three seasons into Mad Men that it's a slow show, but I suppose it'll always be a complaint people have. However, after reading dozens upon dozens of reviews of the show, as well as watching the show myself, I think it's safe to say I've learned one thing: this isn't a plot driven show. It's character-based, meaning the show isn't going to exactly going to push the plot forward every second.
This is a perfect example of the show making subtle steps forward in terms of plot but giant ones in terms of character development. Everybody had a little bit to do, including Paul, who hasn't had much to do since Season1. The scene where Paul, Peggy and the rest of the creative cast get high and come up with slogans and ideas for Bacardi Rum was priceless, and it not only gave us a chance to give Paul some screen-time but also showed that Peggy is making leaps and bounds in her quest for independence. It's odd to think she started this show as Draper's secretary and is now sitting in on meetings as (arguably) the best creative mind on the staff.
Most of the "action" in the episode takes place at Roger's house as he celebrates his impending marriage to Jane. There was plenty going on here, whether it was Pete and Trudy doing a killer dance that gained the attention of everyone in attendance (even Don seemed amused), or Don meeting up with a stranger in Roger's house and sharing a childhood story. Any time we learn something about Don, it seems like a big moment, mostly because Don is so secretive. That's probably why this scene was my favorite of the episode... a small, quiet moment that speaks so much about the character.
Speaking of quiet moments, this was an episode full of them (which is weird to think in an episode that takes place at a "soiree," in the words of Gene, Betty's father). First, there was the plot where Sally steals five dollars from her grandfather, which sends Gene into a frenzy. It may not have been overly important in the grand scheme of things but I've had a good time watching Sally Draper grow as a character, and this was a great way of advancing that arc. That quiet moment near the end of the episode where Sally gives the money back and they all sit down to dinner was beautifully done. Just as beautiful was the scene at the end, where Don and Betty walk away from Roger's party to share a moment alone, kissing passionately. I wouldn't think of Don and Betty as having a passionate relationship, but this definitely felt like a step forward for them.
The show may be slow, but it definitely isn't because of a lack of events. Things are happening, and just because they're not happening at a rapid-fire pace doesn't mean that the quality isn't good.
Firstly, to the reviewer above who spoke of the drug culture of the 1970's--you must review your history, my dear. Kerouac and his lot were doing drugs and writing about it in the 40's, and I'm sure there were people doing it before Kerouac.
Firstly, to the reviewer above who spoke of the drug culture of the 1970's--you must review your history, my dear. Kerouac and his lot were doing drugs and writing about it in the 40's, and I'm sure there were people doing it before Kerouac. On the Road, a book full of his drug-culture tales, was published around 1958 and started the beatnik culture before hippies even know what was going on; Kinsey is a beatnik, not a hippie, and beatniks are very apropos of 1960.
This episode is slow-moving if you have a short attention span; if you prefer not to have to think about your television, you won't like this episode. This episode isn't about events; it's about relationships, social class, and the impenetrable masks of happiness and success that everyone is wearing. Everyone, that is, but Peggy; Peggy is the standout character this season, who is finally coming into her own without a man to lead her there or anything but her own talent and hard work. She is genuinely happy where she is and her honest feelings reveal the falsity of others'.
I guess Mr. Weiner clearly had something on his mind before creating this 45 minute drama. For one, we know for sure it didn't connect to past, and nor did it look like building a groundwork for future installments. Probably, he wanted us to put our thinking hats and draw our own analysis of the plot and characters. We had 4 distinct plots here. One, the creatives - Peggy, Kinsey, and Smitty are stuck in office trying to come up with a pitch for Bacardi rum. Kinsey brings his drug dealer friend from Princeton into his office to buy some pot for inspiration. The two sans Peggy get high, and in comes Peggy after a while from her drunken sleep. What might be the most powerful line in Peggy Olson's career is uttered here- which goes like- "I am Peggy Olson, and I wanna smoke some marijuana". Though the time line is clearly well before the hippie culture that struck America in the 70's, I suppose the writers couldn't wait any longer to link drugs and creative thought. Story#2, Joan Holloway hosts a party for her husband's friends. Over a few conversations between the group, we realize her perfect surgeon husband and her perfectly happy marriage may not be perfect after all.
Story#3 deal with Roger's wedding party, where a rich and powerful man hits on a pregnant Betty. And she is attracted to him. A drunk Jane blurts out to Betty and admits knowledge of her strained marriage to Don. In the meanwhile, she starts to grope Don in her stupor and Roger witnesses it all. I am not sure if Roger suspects anything, but he sure is affected when Don remarks he should be foolish to marry Jane. This story in many ways reflects Roger's vanity when it comes to women, and probably the fact that he realizes it finally.
Story#4 is probably the integration of existential theory and television drama. Sally Draper steals 5 dollars from Grandpa Gene, and goes through the trials and tribulations of holding on to her loot, while at the same time witnessing Gene going crazy over the lost money. The story was simple, devoid of any drama and it exactly reflects the way life is. It also in many ways goes on to show Gene may still be in his senses despite his old age and his son's mistreatment.
Fine episode, if you are ready to read between the lines. I can turn to literature for intellectual stimulation, not a primetime TV show. So this one will figure out as one of my least favorites.
TV.com has an article on its homepage asking if anything actually happens on Mad Men. The answer: no.
Mad Men is a slow piece of art, its storylines are prolonged, often for multiple seasons, but you are guaranteed to get a resolution, something not every show can offer.
That being said, sometimes you just strike out and your "artistic product" is just boring. These first three episodes are an example of that. I am not getting the idea that the writers know where they are going, but more importantly do they even have an idea of how to hook in viewers? Yes, the season premiere got strong numbers but it's been downhill for two weeks and will continue that way if things do not turn around.
And one final thing, was that whole deal with the $5 necessary? Complete waste of about 8 minutes of film.
a let your hair down, how the characters react socially episode. Both Joan and Roger hosts parties, where class is highlighted. The cracks in Don's marriage come through at a party. Peggy and the creatives get high.
I almost gave this a worse number review than 5.5 but they seem to be setting something up ith Peggy, so I did not want to break the streak of non-positive reviews, although this one made it just barely.
This episode was a surprising one as it showed the mad men work force "off hours" even if technically at work. Roger hosts a party where the main office workers feel compelled to come, where he is showing off the new wife. Joan hosts a party for her husband doctor friends, obviously much less down the food chain from Roger's. Peggy and the creative team have to work, and spend the day instead smoking weed..lol. Did the dealer look like Tom Cruise's kid or was I dreaming.
The things I didn't like was the talent portions of the show. its great that one of the creative team can sing, Pete and his wife does a mean charleston and Joan plays the accordion (?!) Its amost a throwback to the 70's TV with Laverne and Shirley..Look what the cast can do! I still remember an episode where Carmine danced because..well I don't know other than them shouting look how talented he is!
Also, the Don's daughter stealing from gramps is lost on me. How this advanced the story is a mystery. She reads to him the decline and fall of the roman empire..the significance of this too is beyond me.
Don and Roger used to be friends, and their friendship is strained with his new wife where the truth about what Don thought surfaces. Betty gets hit on while pregnant (eww!) Seems to like it. The episode finally sort of addresses last year, as we can see obvious window dressing to their marriage, as Roger's wife knows of their problems and blurts it out while drunk. You can see they are trying, but the love they once had is strained. We get some more background on Don's life with a party goer from a wedding at the place where they both swap stories about lower class guys that made good.
Peggy seems to be on a private revolt as she gets high with the guys, but shoots down their advances. She seems to be the repressed type that may get really into the 60's when they hit. This ties into last episode where she seems to want to push her boundaries.
The product is Barcardi's rum, and the episode seems to tie into the drugs and alcohol flowing in the episode. Class is also highlighted as Roger's wife is clearly ahead of Joan on the rich scale, and Joan catches a glimpse of what she could have had if she was as mercenary as the young wife of Roger. The young wife is living the life she felt she could have had as Roger obviously wanted her, but shot him down. The meager party Joan has is clearly meant to contrast with the glamor Roger throws with his wife.
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