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Mad Men: "The Other Woman" OAD 5/27/12 **SPOILERS**


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#1 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 01:32 AM

Have no idea what ep tonight was called (5/27) but am I the only one who got Don's visit to Joan TWICE?? I thought it was some clever Weiner mind trick but I guess it was just an AMC botch. A huge one.

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#2 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 07:12 AM

Actually, it was a way of showing you the same scene from two different points of view. I don't think it was completely successful, but here's what I got out of it: From Don's point of view, he's managed to intervene and try to protect Joan from the office predators, while from Joan's point of view, it's already too late. She may even think Don knows it's already happened and is trying to assuage his guilt.

Good episode, nice to have something completely character driven with no direct connection to current events (that I know of, maybe phrelin will come up with something) and, good for Peggy. I've been in the same situation; it's hard but there comes a point where you have to grow. Although she's a little too old to be a baby boomer (I think they said she was 19 in 1960, making her born in 1941), she'll certainly fare better than the rest of the SCDP crowd.

Good for Lane, too, for finding a way to be a friend to Joan in the only way he thought he could.

The rest of the review will have to wait a while...
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#3 OFFLINE   gpg

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 07:40 AM

While Lane's advice may have been in Joan's long term interest, I thought his primary motivation was to avoid having to pay her $50K. Remember the partners told Lane to get a $50K extension of their line of credit, which he had already done to get the money he embezzled from the firm.
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#4 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 12:01 PM

Ah, all good points, guys! But when they awkwardly repeated the Don visit out of the timeline, was their any substantive difference? Was the camera perspective changed or anything? I mean, they were both supposedly happening BEFORE she left to see the guy, right? Super confusing, usually Weiner is more logical than this.

No question, Lane was 100% concerned about his "bonus" getting found out. He's all about Lane, nobody else. But he has slowly emerged to become kind of a fascinating character on his own.

I guess this ep was metaphorically, "Love for Sale". We're all whores one way or another.

#5 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 12:09 PM

I'm actually hoping Peggy's gone for a while, her character's whining and routine had gotten a little old lately. And Ginsberg has now emerged as the new Peggy creative genius-wise. So she had no plot turf left to herself anymore. Plus Peggy is not exactly eye candy. Though neither is Joan with those huge rolls of blubber on her. I wonder if she as an actress gets a lot of pressure to lose some weight to gain more roles, post-MM.

Megan gone for 3 months?? Gee, I wonder what Don's going to do to fill in the lonely time...can't imagine.

#6 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 12:52 PM

Megan's not gone, though, afaik. In fact, my bet is that her audition turned out to be demeaning and she told them to stick it.

I had to hit Play again to make sure the doubled scene was new, that I hadn't somehow rewound to the first run through. I don't think it was different footage, but it truncated earlier.

"Good ole" Pete, while doing anything for a buck, at least seemed stable this ep. Recently he seemed to be heading over a cliff.

As to current events, no I didn't see anything. The closing song was the Kinks,

Girl, you really got me goin'
You got me so I don't know what I'm doin'
Yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I can't sleep at night

Yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I don't know what I'm doin', now
Oh yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I can't sleep at night

You Really Got Me
You Really Got Me
You Really Got Me

See, don't ever set me free
I always wanna be by your side
Girl, you really got me now
You got me so I can't sleep at night

Yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I don't know what I'm doin', now
Oh yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I can't sleep at night

You Really Got Me
You Really Got Me
You Really Got Me
Oh no...

(Solo)

See, don't ever set me free
I always wanna be by your side
Girl, you really got me now
You got me so I can't sleep at night

Yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I don't know what I'm doin', now
Oh yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I can't sleep at night

You Really Got Me
You Really Got Me
You Really Got Me


Now, is there significance to the very red thermos Peggy grabs and puts under her arm, then holds it like a bazooka as she hastily departs? Must be, but I don't grok it yet.
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#7 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 01:13 PM

Numbers do not seem like a way to begin a discussion of a "Mad Men" episode, particularly this one. So let me begin with quotes from this episode.

Pete-the-Pimp asked Joan: "Do you consider Cleopatra a prostitute?"

Pimping Jaguar. a well-groomed pile of junk, to wealthy men, Michael Ginsberg said: "At last. Something beautiful you can truly own."

And yet, two numbers were very important in this episode - $19,000 and $50,000. Neither of them seem significant, so let's convert them into today's dollars using the All Urban Consumers Consumer Price Index rounding to the nearest $1,000 - $132,000 and $347,000.

Peggy sold herself for $132,000 a year. Joan allowed the men of SCDP to sell her, but she turned down a one time payment of $347,000, accepting a 5% voting partnership in SCDP.

And if you didn't notice, my better half did notice that Michael Ginsberg, has also sold himself - his talent - to SCDP, and just as much as Peggy needs recognition.

It has been asserted that security, recognition, and/or achievement are human needs that permit a complex economy to function. Most of us seek to gain a mix of these needs by selling ourselves to our employers or our clients.

And yet, most of us have limits. Don/Dick is troubled because for the partners of SCDP to maintain that mix of security, recognition, and achievement they want, getting Jaguar as an account seems critical. But there are limits, aren't there? Well, not for his partners, apparently, as they all agree in his absence to let Pete literally pimp Joan out to get Jaguar.

And so Weiner offers us what appears to be the same scene twice.

In the first showing of the scene, Don feels he is preventing Joan from going beyond the limits he has determined are appropriate for her. Joan tells him "You're a good one, aren't you?"

When we get to the repeat of the scene, we first see Joan removing the emerald pendant from around her neck. It changes the context of the scene meaningfully because we know where she got it.

Joan has not been able to get that mix of security, recognition, and achievement in her life despite her contributions at SCDP. But becoming a voting 5% partner is her selling price, a fair price for crossing a line she thinks she has already edged up to with Roger and with Dr. Greg.

So in the repeat, aware that Don gallantly decided what her limits must be, says "You're a good one, aren't you?"

And so the Jaguar contract is won. And Joan may end up owning 5% of a business that will be worth hundreds of millions, from which she may start earning annually far more than that $50,000 one time offer. In the end, she sold herself for security and recognition.

Peggy's choice offers a contrast. Her needs are recognition and achievement. Her former supervisor Freddy Rumsen tells her she has to decide whether it's about ambition or just complaining. He says "If this was about work and not about feeling, you’d make a move."

But Peggy doesn't have Lane helping her with her negotiations. And so she meets with Ted Chaough, of Cutler, Gleason and Chaough, one of those guys who really irritates Don. Chaough wants Peggy because he knows she can perform. But Chaough wants Peggy because he wants to stick it to Don and SCDP.

Peggy doesn't say to him "Make me an offer I can't refuse" followed up by a "Let me think about it and get back to you next week."

Instead at Chaough's urging, she gives him her number, $18,000 ($125,000). Chaough closes the deal by offering a surprising to her $19,000 ($132,000). Could she have gotten $25,000 ($174,000)? Maybe. We don't know.

But after being left out of the lobster banquet and having Don humiliating her by throwing money in her face, she takes it agreeing not to interview with anyone else. Because for Peggy, its about achievement and recognition, and $18,000 is more than enough for her security, much less $25,000.

Now comes the hard part - telling Don. Peggy "feels" that she has long been Don’s other woman, what many call his "office wife." Don "feels" this also, but he's a guy - he doesn't know it. And so, in a manner consistent with prior season, one of the more emotional scenes of the series is Peggy giving Don this news, with Don sharply reacting with a "How much do you want" and a "After all I've done for you" and then ironically having to shake her hand and hear her say "Don't be a stranger."

Nobody is feeling more like a "stranger", outside the groups that make up his surroundings, than Don. He's a partner with foreigners. He really can't be in the group of his subordinate creative types. And in every family he joins, he cannot find a place.

Don lost his first wife, the only person who seemed to support him because she knew he needed emotional support, to cancer.

He lost his second wife because it was a relationship built on lies.

He clearly is getting the message that being with him will not make Megan happy. He's, at best, just going to be a piece of her life.

His office wife, Peggy, just left him.

Despite his advice based on his own experience that "it's not worth it", his only real peer at work, Joan, has just sold out. And because she did, he doesn't know if his talent was of value to SCDP in getting Jaguar.

And so Don/Dick tells Megan: "I was going to watch Carson and cry myself to sleep."

Edited by phrelin, 28 May 2012 - 01:23 PM.

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#8 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 01:32 PM

So which of the the two Don/Joan visits (before and after) was supposed to be real? Is Weiner really telling us they BOTH happened or "it doesn't matter" which really happened? That would be crossing a huge David Lynch line into surreal abstraction and fantasy which has never been the show's style.

#9 OFFLINE   lucky13

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 01:51 PM

So which of the the two Don/Joan visits (before and after) was supposed to be real? Is Weiner really telling us they BOTH happened or "it doesn't matter" which really happened? That would be crossing a huge David Lynch line into surreal abstraction and fantasy which has never been the show's style.


It was the same scene. The first time we were led to believe that Don intercepted Joan before her rendezvous. Then we are shown, through the emerald, that Don was too late.

#10 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 02:03 PM

Ah, more good stuff from our Pro's.

I revisited (in my mind; later on tape. Oops: On HDD; bits n bytes!) the Peggy goodbye scene. Is she the Madonna and the other women whores? When he grasps her hand for a mighty long kiss, it seems to suggest that to me.

And who's going to "get" the red thermos? Has it appeared in any previous shows?
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#11 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 02:59 PM

O, I get it, thanks Lucky! Right, they played a game about "I was just about to get into the shower..." which has double meanings, either before or after the whoring. And they never really told us when Don came by. They implied right after work before she'd have a chance to go out. But they left it vague.

Apparently she did the deed immediately after work and was home by 7 or so. Thus Don might have thought he stopped her.

You know, this calls to mind Don's willing whoring out of the art director. He basically told Sal to go ahead and do Lee Garner Jr. "Don't you people do that stuff all the time anyways?" Don't you, Don?

Edited by Maruuk, 28 May 2012 - 03:10 PM.


#12 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 03:01 PM

The discussion here forced me to watch again the two scenes of Don coming to Joan's apartment.

In the first, it begins with Mom answering the door, letting Don in and trying to take Don's hat and coat, then disappearing into the bedroom, leaving Don and us in the living room. Joan and Mom come out of the bedroom, Mom leaves the living room, Don and Joan have a full exchange, Joan sees Don out, (and Don-the-unaware tells her to say something to her "friend").

In the second, the scene begins in the bedroom with Joan taking off the emerald pendant, Mom comes in to tell Joan her boss is here, Joan protests, they both go out to the living room, Mom leaves the room, we see only the initial part of Don and Joan's exchange, and then we switch to a new scene in the office.

The first gives us Don's full point of view about what occurred. The second gives us the true context, of which Don is unaware. There was a relatively short bit repeated to assure us that it was the same event.

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#13 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 03:22 PM

The lyric's of the Kink's song "You Got Me" used as the music behind the end credits were difficult for me to understand relative to the episode. In a straightforward way it's about the key women in the the show having some power over the men. But why that song, as it isn't an unusual story for songs.

Given the research they do in "Mad Men", when one goes to Wikipedia it seems it might have been chosen because of the "if we don't get this client, we're dead" background in the show: "Ray Davies ... tells the story of how the Kinks needed to have a hit within their first three singles in order to maintain their record contract."

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#14 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 03:28 PM

Yes, the extended kiss on Peggy's hand was clearly meant to be religious in overtone. Exact same thing they they did on the Sopranos with the onion rings/communion wafers right before Tony ascended into heaven. Each diner placed the whole onion ring fully onto their tongue, exactly as you would a communion wafer. In real life, you bite into an onion ring, or pop a small one into your mouth.

In real life, no Don Draper is going to plant an extended kiss to the back of any woman's hand in that circumstance. It was a symbolic/metaphorical act, not a realistic one. In fact, they even awkwardly cut away from it to Peggy's reaction as it was not in character for Don at all.

I love how in the Jaguar celebration someone points out how from the presentation "it wasn't even close!" In other words, Joan tramped it up for nothing, except financial security for her kid. And for a single woman in 1967, achieving a life of security for her kid was HUGE. You know Joan never would have done it for herself. And by his very act of pimping her out, she had now lost all faith in Roger supporting their child. And all faith in Roger as a person.

Are we getting slowly steered towards a Don/Joan finale?? Megan is already gone for all practical purposes. Eventually she will land one of these road jobs and be off for months, and Don won't stand for that as we've already seen. Besides, they have nothing in common culturally, the huge age difference. And now the theater that will take Megan directly into the sway of handsome, horny 20-something guys with mega time on their hands for Megan.

Don wasn't just upset by Megan rejecting advertising. Don was also upset because he could no longer keep his eye on her for 10 hours a day. He's no fool. He knows exactly what's coming. He's rapidly becoming an old-and-in-the-way man like Roger.

BTW, a bit odd that in the discussion between Megan and Don about her running off for months at a time nothing was said about her duties with the children. I mean, that should have been the #1 issue! Except I guess they both know that Don is the #1 child in the family.

Edited by Maruuk, 28 May 2012 - 03:46 PM.


#15 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 05:03 PM

The more I read here, the more I am losing (not loosing) interest in the program.

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#16 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 05:27 PM

The more I read here, the more I am losing (not loosing) interest in the program.


How many episodes have you watched? Loosely (not losely) speaking, that is.
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#17 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 06:16 PM

You either get MM or you don't. Like I'm not a Breaking Bad or Walking Dead kind of guy. I don't get what's interesting about them. But MM is as addictive as Lucky Strikes! (and they are mild)

#18 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 06:45 PM

How many episodes have you watched? Loosely (not losely) speaking, that is.

You either get MM or you don't. Like I'm not a Breaking Bad or Walking Dead kind of guy. I don't get what's interesting about them. But MM is as addictive as Lucky Strikes! (and they are mild)

Before this season's premiere, I watched the first four seasons over several days running and I really got into the show. This year, not so much...it seems like the silly season where the writers were hopped-up on dark chocolate or draino.

Or mebbe it's that the theories and analyses offered here tend to everwhelm, or as Chuck Lorre put it in his Vanity Card #369, "paralysis by analysis".

Well said, Charles!

Edited by Nick, 28 May 2012 - 08:05 PM.

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#19 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 06:51 PM

The more I read here, the more I am losing (not loosing) interest in the program.

There have been other shows that attempt through scripted television to take on the moral issues of the time. Most have been entertaining. "All in the Family" took on issues head on, sometimes with a sledge hammer, but mostly with comedy. Others, like "Star Trek" created clearly imaginary settings.

The strength and weakness of "Mad Men" is that it uses our past - far enough back to have sets using items that could be antiques - but it's a time that many viewers lived. And then it explores one element of our culture that requires participants to engage in a significant effort to avoid outright fraud and participates in the many questionable to harmful economic exchanges - advertising.

About this episode having no direct connection to current events.

Let's begin with the fact that "prostitute" has three meanings according to Dictionary.com:

Posted Image


Consider the third and fifth definitions carefully. The characters in this show are confronted with choices. Many times their choices involve those definitions.

People haven't changed for the better since 1966.

Unfortunately, marketing has become a much larger element in our lives. For example, selling politicians most certainly has become more like selling Jaguars, particularly that "E Jag" SCDP is seeking to make men lust after, a far-less-than-perfect product made desirable through illusion and image.

I can't help thinking about the underlying marketing effort that led to our most recent economic crash. In truth the cause had as much to do with banker and broker types selling their souls for large annual bonuses by knowingly taking money from people, particularly people lusting after the ultimate symbol of the American dream - home ownership, which could only be facilitated by stealing money from other people - investors who thought they were investing in notes secured by the safe bastion of investment, home mortgages.

And then there's the recent Facebook IPO fiasco. The original discussions had the IPO price significantly lower and the number of shares to be offered significantly fewer.

Through illusion and image building, the value of the company was projected to be much higher than the norms used for determining value would justify. Some things happened the last two weeks before the IPO that were making that fact clear. The involved investment bankers gave some last minute key info to institutional investors in an effort to protect these primary clients on whom they depend for income.

In the process of creating this illusion, then favoring institutional investors, the investment bankers hurt individual investors and likely most of the 3,200 employees of Facebook. They knew this.

But they prostitute themselves for money all the time.

Which leads to Joan's choice. There is as much symbolism here as elsewhere in this episode.

Though Joan was given a good salary - she was told she was badly needed - Joan was not offered a partnership in SCDP.

Joan has business management acumen. Joan is considered a very desirable, sexually attractive woman. The former will get her a modest salary. The latter could get her more. The combination could maker her wealthy and powerful.

In other times and places outside the sexually uptight culture of puritan United States, a courtesan played an extremely important role in upper-class society. At times individual courtesans wielded considerable power and controlled considerable wealth.

Joan had a mistress relationship with Roger, perhaps even loved Roger, and did, does, pretty much understand Roger. But she was bitterly disappointed when their relationship, she as his courtesan, failed to gain her the power and wealth she hoped. Now she was additionally disappointed by Roger, the SCDP partner.

Joan initially thought she could love Doctor Greg, but she really misjudged him as a person and as a potential source of position and money.

So what about Herb Rennet, head of the Jaguar dealer group, and the emerald.

Leave it to Weiner to name this character after plants we use to make other things flavorful - Herb - plus the distasteful but important enzymes produced in mammals stomach which is used to make cheese - Rennet. Herb finds himself in a position of minor power. The source of his power is this car, which we all know from the episode is a symbol of the mistress, or even perhaps the courtesan.

Herb doesn't want SCDP to hire him another common call girl. He is captivated by Joan in the same way he wants men captivated by his car. He gives her an emerald pendant. The emerald is the sacred stone of the goddess Venus. He doesn't pay Joan, that would be demeaning. He trades the Jaguar account to SCDP for her time. He imagines she is SCDP's courtesan, and they will, must, properly compensate her with wealth and power.

And indeed they must, beyond the salary she receives for her business management acumen. Dimwit Pete asks her to become an in-house prostitute paid on a per transaction basis. That turns out to be insulting to Joan, even at $50,000. The clueless partners of SCDP don't know what a courtesan is, except Lane, who explains to Joan how to become a courtesan, only in American business language.

And so Joan gains a 5% interest in the partnership with full voting rights, becoming a courtesan sharing in the money and power.

It's hard to find a character in this show who we can point to as an example of exemplary behavior. Whether the behavior is "base and unworthy" may be a matter of judgement, but when a choice is made "for money" one had better examine it carefully.

When "greed is good" is a mantra for many, it is not surprising that a show that challenges us to question that mantra succeeds.

"In a hundred years there'll be a whole new set of people."
"Always poke the bears. They sleep too much for their own good."

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#20 OFFLINE   TBlazer07

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 07:11 PM

Like "2001 A Space Odyssey" it's amazing (and interesting) how much can be read into and taken from a TV show. I'd love to hear from the writer and see what he REALLY meant (if anything at all) about specific sequences. He'd probably say "HUH, WTF is everyone talking about?" :)




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