The Wheel: Don runs home and says, ‘Get in the car, we can be to your father’s by midnight,’ and it’s all happy and familial but it’s all a fantasy. In real life, Don gets home too late, they’ve already taken a cab to the train, and Don knows he has left himself empty and isolated from everything and anything he loves.

But don’t forget this: Don can still get to his father-in-law’s. The Drapers live in Ossining (about 20 minutes from where I’m sitting now). We don’t know where on the Jersey Shore Betty’s dad lives, but the furthest point is a mere three hours away. He could meet them there, have his happy scene, and they’d all drive home together after the holiday.

What stops Don, ultimately, is Don.

This post, via its title, is dedicated to the memory of Heath Ledger.

Let me say this. It was this episode that solidified my love for this show. I’d been watching the previews, all the behind-the-scenes stuff, for quite awhile, and was excited about the prospect of this show. And I definitely liked the first two episodes, but the jury was out. The whole thing could rely on clichés and stereotypes and time travel references like Don’t remark about ‘some kind of magical machine that just makes copies’ in the pilot. Marriage of Figaro showed me that I didn’t have a clue as to what to expect. That this show felt like nothing I’d ever experienced before, that it wasn’t fucking around, that it was on its own ride, and yeah, I was along for it.

1. I love Rachel’s reaction to the chicken. While she herself resembles some kind of bizarre Gertrude McFuzz in that hat.

2. I love Rachel’s response to finding out Don is married. There are some who take issue with the fact that she jumped from one kiss to committed relationship, but I think she had it right; there was nothing casual about their connection. (more…)

Upon rewatching Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (DVR, Roberta, it’s awesome here in the 21st Century), I have the following observations:

  • Don’s fear; his panic that he might get caught, his sense of improv in every crucial moment of life, is present in every scene. You cannot look at Don and not know he’s afraid. And that “Larry Tate” scene? It’s not the bad writing, the cheesy depiction of advertising, it has been so roundly criticized for; it’s a metaphor for who Don is. The tobacco “It’s Toasted” scene is Don Draper.
  • Pete says to Peggy “I had to see you.” Then he says it again. But he never looks at her. He had to “see” her, but he looks past her.
  • Don worships the idea of the family he has. He tells Rachel that love is a crock, then he holds his kids; holds his whole family in his hands, and he’s stunned and awestruck.
  • When Don gets off the train, the sign says “Ossining.” It took me like ten episodes to figure out where Don lives, and it was there in the pilot!
  • The signs in the train station; the red M and the text, look very modern to me. Somebody check me on this but I think it’s an anachronism.
  • And, just for fun, Pete says to his bride-to-be that his friends will probably be taking him to see My Fair Lady for his bachelor party. The episode ends with a song from My Fair Lady.

Boy, were we ever right to start a blog about this show!