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Mad Men: “The Arrangements”

September 13, 2009
Bobby Draper (Jared S. Gilmore) and Gene Hofstadt (Ryan Cutrona) in Episode 4.  Photo by Carin Baer.

Bobby Draper (Jared S. Gilmore) and Gene Hofstadt (Ryan Cutrona) in Episode 4. Photo by Carin Baer.

Sorry that I didn’t get around to posting a recap/ review earlier.  Here are my thoughts on Mad Men 3×04, albeit a bit late:

The central storyline of the episode revolved around Gene’s death.  I could smell it coming from a mile away, but due to his sweet relationship with Sally, Grandpa Gene’s death hit me hard.  Poor Sally.  An adult finally paid attention to her and supported her, and then he died.  I LOVED what he said to his grand-daughter: “You could really do something. Don’t let your mother tell you different.”  That is just so representative of the change that starts to come–little girls start getting told that they can be more and do more than the limited imaginations of their mothers.  That whole kitchen scene was great.  Then, when Sally finds out that her grandpa died, and her mother shut the door on her, I was just torn.  The poor child in her ballet outfit.  Later, the little actress really showed her range: “Why are you laughing … He’s gone forever and nobody even knows that.”  She’s fabulous.  Betty’s complete ignorance of what Sally was feeling was so selfish—she didn’t even try to comfort her little girl.  They tell her to go watch TV and she watches more terrible news about death: an elderly Buddhist monk sets fire to himself in protest against the South Vietnamese government.  Little Sally just lost her childhood.

I also loved the Sal storyline, per usual.  I was so proud that he got the directing job.  Then the scene with Kitty was just such genius.  Kitty is definitely realizing that something is wrong in her marriage, yet Sal is so sweet to her that I can’t hate him for not loving her.  Kitty: “Well I do have one horrible flaw. I love you.” Sarah Drew was amazingly subtle in her reaction to Sal’s Bye Bye Birdie role-play.  Also, the obliviousness of Sal really sold it.  Then, when poor Sal finally presents the final version of his directorial debut, the clients hated it.  Peggy was right … again.  The faux Ann Margaret voice was so shrill I can barely handle it: “Bye-bye sugar. It’s great to see you go. So, bye bye sugar. Hello Patio.”  The client’s complaint: “This is not what I thought it was going to be.” Don calls them out, reminding them that this was exactly what they had asked for: “It’s an exact copy, frame for frame.”  Nevertheless, the client remained unsatisfied.  Don hit the nail on the head: “It’s not Ann Margaret.”  I loved that Don was supportive of Sal: “Must be horrible having a client insist on something and then change their mind once they’ve seen it.  I hope it never happens to me.” Then, later he comforts Sal: “Don’t ruin the only good thing to come out of this. You are now a commercial film director.” Sometimes, Don really reminds me of why I love him.

Then, of course, there was the Peggy storyline.  Peggy finally decided to move to Manhattan, and created a very grown-up ad for a room-mate.  Unfortunately, the boys at Sterling Cooper decided to prank her with a hilarious potential room-mate.  It’s hard to be Peggy.  I loved when Joan stepped in to save the day. Peggy: “Did everyone in Manhattan decide I’m not allowed to live here?” Joan: “No. Actually, I think the right kind of girl could have a good effect on you.” Hee. Peggy was a bit fearful that Joan might be tricking her, but Joan assures her: “No. I thought I’d tell you how to get a room-mate.  This is not the way.” Interesting fact here: Peggy is short for Margaret.  I didn’t know that.  I love how Joan includes dress size in the ad-pitch she offers Peggy.  So typical.  Later, we get to meet the prospective room-mate whom the revamped ad attracted: it’s Daisy from Bones (Carla Gallo).  She was hilarious: “Everyone on the first floor loved your humorous ad. […] I think you should only keep your door shut for one reason.”  Peggy’s responses to the “fun girl” also cracked me up: “No sailors, I agree.”  Ha!  Peggy trying to be fun is somewhat painful.  Also, Peggy says that she’s Norwegian.  Is she lying?  I always assumed she was Irish.  Help me out: am I an idiot or was she lying?

Then there was the whole “poor little rich boy” storyline.  A trust fund kid was convinced of the entrepreneurial genius of Jai alai, which actually exists.  I loved Don’s disapproval of Pete and the others taking advantage of the rich boy’s naivety.  Don to the kid: “I think you should re-evaluate this particular obsession.  You can do better.” Then Pete had this hilarious sales pitch: “My father’s dead, but I know he’d be interested. This is his kind of investment.”  Oh, you mean the kind that runs his family’s finances into the ground?  Wow.  Later, Don delivered another great zinger: “He has no idea how confused America is going to be about that J.” Ha!  Pete: “I spent 2 years at Dartmouth hiding him from  Shylocks. Let me enjoy my payday.” Ha!  Such great lines in this episode.

There were some other things that happened in the episode, including Peggy’s mom’s cruel treatment of her daughter.  However, I want to keep this short.  What about you?  What did you think of the episode?

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