'Mad Men': One-Liners, Sex Talk, and Nude Photography

More
editors_aug13_madmen_post.jpg

AMC


The fourth season of Mad Men premiered last month, revealing the aftermath of the creation of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and the dissolution of the Draper marriage.


MORE ON Mad Men:
Sady Doyle: Mad Men's Very Modern Sexism Problem
Alyssa Rosenberg: On Not Watching Mad Men
The Atlantic Mad Men Panel: 'Mad Men': A Not-So-Happy New Year

Richard Drew (TV producer and creator of the blog Remote Patrolled): After last week's somewhat depressing episode (Anna's terminal cancer, Don and Lane's sleazy night out) this week's Mad Men was a surprisingly light show with tossed off one-liners, rampant misunderstandings, and visual comedy. Tellingly, it was directed by Roger Sterling himself, John Slattery, probably the most comical character in the cast. Sterling's touch was everywhere...

We had Peggy, bonding with her bohemian friend Joyce, who sneeringly asked if her boyfriend "owned her vagina." "No, but he rents it," came the whip-sharp reply! Is this the same Peggy who just three seasons ago dressed like a prude and shied away from sex talk?

Meanwhile Don's one-night stand with his secretary Allison finally imploded, ending with the lovesick worker destroying her boss's wall display. The scene played comical, especially when Peggy's head appeared above Don's divider to survey the damage. Later in the episode came the punchline: Don's new assistant, a senile old lady brought in to keep his libido in check.

Then there was Pete, who discovered he was to be a father, but even this revelation arose from a comic misunderstanding. It was good to see Pete stand up to his overbearing father-in-law, and also the return of Ken, Pete's nemesis who also had his wires crossed due to Harry's gossiping.

Doubtless next week the doom, gloom, and excessive drinking of Mad Men will be back but last night was definitely a welcome ray of light in a somewhat sad season to date...

Catie Cambria (fashion publicist at Donna Karan New York): I am much more interested in Peggy's brush with the mid-60s, and her small breakaway from the roles she feels like she is assigned to—career woman and the young girl who wants to get married. Released from the dowdy blouses and pencil skirts she has been confined to this season, Peggy dons a form-fitting striped turtleneck and heads to a party downtown for a photographer who does (gasp) nudes. She seems like such a square compared to these new bohemian friends, but it's quite an improvement from the stiff, joyless existence she has been living lately. She looks liberated, even sexy, as she escapes from the cops with Joyce.

Peggy is also finally freed from Pete in this episode. Pete learns that he will be a father (this time, by his wife), and we see him gradually shifting from a young upstart to one of the major players at SDCP. The kinship between them seems to have reached its final breaking point—when Peggy goes to out to greet her new friends, she sees Pete and the rest of SDCP hierarchy through the glass. Pete meets her gaze, and then they both go on to their respective lunches.

Will Peggy stick around and continue to be "one of the boys" but not? She ferociously tells Allison that "your problem is not [her] problem," but maybe the same sort of fears and wants are beneath her tough exterior. After all, when Faye hands Peggy her diamond ring, she slips it on and daydreams exactly like the rest of the 20-something girls through the glass.

Leigh Davenport (digital content producer at Footsteps Group): Last week's episode of Mad Men left us wondering how the show would tackle the tumultuous year that is 1965. Last night we learned that most of the show's cultural lifting would be done by Peggy.

In a chance elevator meeting up, Peggy garners the attention of Joyce, who invites her to a Village party where she smokes some weed, gets kissed by a girl and almost gets arrested. Peggy gives us a small peek into the changing American landscape. Her defiant attitude and carefree behavior is in sharp contrast to Allison who suffers an emotional breakdown about her affair with Don in the midst of a focus group about Ponds. Brilliantly, the show uses Peggy and Allison as foil characters; Allison the victimized secretary and Peggy the confident copywriter. The tension in their conversation post Allison's breakdown speaks volumes to the women's movement and the shifting attitudes of young women in the workplace. Assuming that Peggy has slept her way in to her current position, Allison looks to her for a shoulder to cry on and is quite surprised when Peggy quickly assures her otherwise and then tells her to "get over it."

Despite her understandable despair after learning that Pete and Trudy expecting, we begin to see that Peggy is going to be our female heroine. Heck, she even realized that someone shot Malcolm X! Though the rest of the office seems to be completely oblivious to the changes going on the world, it appears that Peggy will experience a major transformation and I'm looking forward to watching it happen.

Past Mad Men panels:

'Mad Men': A Not-So-Happy New Year>

'Mad Men': The Beginning of the End for Don Draper?

'Mad Men': 4 Takes on the Season Premiere

To help make sense of it all, we have a panel of insiders from the worlds of television, advertising, and fashion—Richard Drew, Danielle Robinson, Leigh Davenport, and Catie Cambria—to provide their takes on all the sex, the clothes, and of course, the drama.

They weigh in on this week's show, in which Roger and Lane puts Pete in an uncomfortable position. John Slattery, who plays Roger Sterling, helms the episode, marking his directorial debut.

Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Sad Desk Lunch: Is This How You Want to Die?

How to avoid working through lunch, and diseases related to social isolation.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

Just In