Hilarious. This was sent to me from Joe Bua of I am a TV Junkie, who is my life partner (well, maybe in some other life). He keeps up with Mad Men and with us as well as anyone.

Just read it. It’s perfect as is. No need for me to chime in.

Well, okay. Except to say that I keep finding errors in all these articles. I left a comment on one of them. I can’t remember which ones say what, because there have been so many. One called Pete ‘Paul’ about sixteen times and, as funny as that is, especially for those that remember Sterling’s line in Red in the Face, this wasn’t meant to be funny; it was an article from a country who was just discovering the show and was only a review of the pilot. Another article said that the DVD release date was July 7th, when it’s the 1st. And that’s a big blunder.

I do remember Remember WENN, and most people don’t. It seems like AMC is starting a new chapter with Mad Men and Breaking Bad, so I never feel compelled to make that correction.

Point is, they clearly need the direction of the know-it-alls.

And that, my friends, concludes this week’s episode of No Need For Me to Chime In.

the end by rkl.


Roberta and I have been keeping a folder of potential anachronisms. It’s a very well-written show, of course, and therefore a very small folder. Here’s what we’ve got:

In 5G, Midge says to Don:

It must be so intense above 14th Street.

That strikes me as something we didn’t start saying until the 1980s. Calling things “intense” sounds kinda druggy/trippy; maybe mid-70s but I don’t believe earlier. I’m interested in any memories of the usage of this word in that way. Anyone?

In Red in the Face, there are two military phrases. First Betty says to Francine,

You’re my friend, are you here to do recon?

Later, after Roger throws up, Bert Cooper says to the Nixon guys,

Let’s let Roger regroup.

“Regroup” in particular sounds a little off for 1960, not something you’d say about one person. I’m guessing here, I’m not a linguist and I wasn’t alive at the time.


Roger Sterling is like a walking sense of entitlement. He was more or less born into his job. His name, as he says in Red in the Face, is on the building, and he even acknowledges that makes him feel entitled. He thinks he can and should have any woman just for the taking, so that he is disgusting with the twins in Long Weekend (suggesting incest is A Bad Thing) and angry at Don for being more attractive in the bar in Red in the Face. How dare anyone usurp his entitlement?

He’s also really insecure, maybe because he hasn’t actually earned anything. He wants to restrict Joan; keep her in a birdcage, and that feels like both: entitlement and insecurity. Right of ownership combined with fear of losing her.

The most telling thing of all is the dialogue with Don in Shoot; Don considers the McCann-Erickson offer, Roger says he’d be afraid of failure. Don is not afraid. Don says he might leave advertising, Roger says “What else is there?” Don runs away, true, but he also runs forward; he remakes himself. And Roger can’t do that, he can only hang back. And diddle women to persuade himself he isn’t full of fear. Roger is a guy who doesn’t know what else there is.

From Red in the Face:

One minute you’re drinking in a bar and they come and tell you your kid’s been born, the next thing you know they’re heading off to college.

I was watching Long Weekend tonight, and taking extensive notes. I’ll have more to say later on. But for now, I was noticing this. That Don is not a womanizer.

People all over the Internet are angry at Don for cheating on Betty. And yeah, Don’s a cheater. An adulterer. These are bad things and we can be mad at Don. But he’s not a skirt-chaser. He’s not, to put it plainly, Roger Sterling. (And I have some thoughts about Roger I’ll also be fleshing out—no pun intended—in the near future.)

In Long Weekend, Roger says he wants to use Don “as bait.” He knows the way to go is to pick up two young women and end up with one. This isn’t new; he’s after the same thing in Red In the Face, and only wrangles an invitation to dinner when his plan fails.

Roger is a womanizer. He wants warm, lovely flesh. He wants a young woman to remind him of youth. He wants beauty and soft skin and lips like strawberries in milk. Don wants something different.

When Don says he wants to go home he means it. He doesn’t want to be with Roger, with twenty year-olds on their laps. He’s a bad husband, but he believes in the salvation of being a husband and having a family. And it’s when that salvation doesn’t pan out that he goes for Midge, and then for Rachel. He tells Rachel in Smoke Gets in Your Eyes that he doesn’t believe in love, but he’s deeply romantic; he believes each of these women might save him.


This has been driving me crazy. I will state right now that I haven’t researched this… I suppose the trick would be to find a book cover from 1960 of Exodus, or even some other best seller from the period that was re-issued while the movie based on it was in production. For my purposes, to find several books. Or print ads for those books.Because in Babylon, when Lily Meyer slides Exodus across the conference room table and over to Don, she tells him that it is “soon to be a major motion picture”. And she says it with the quotation marks as part of her inflection; she is lifting a popular phrase.

My gut, and my gut alone, tells me that turning this kind of phrase was not commonplace. That even if the industry was using it, people were not. People just didn’t lift catch-phrases the way they do today. Especially people to whom English is a second language. I really don’t think that started until the 70’s; I believe it to be a post-modern phenomenon, and in 1960 we were just broaching modern.

Now, Deborah suggests that perhaps she was directly quoting, and not being ironic. Maybe that’s it. But I don’t see why she would be inclined to directly quote rather than rephrase.  (more…)

I just figured something out: Betty has a clear vision of who she is. The thing is, she very rarely expresses that vision; she very rarely even allows herself to know she has that vision.

In Shoot, she has perhaps her most revealing therapy session. She talks about how important it was to her mother that Betty be beautiful, how she pushed her in that direction. But then, when Betty became a model, her mother disapproved strongly; called her “a prostitute” (which is holy shit, pretty nasty).

Now we see her anger at her mother, and also her anger at Don (although they don’t discuss that). Just as mother tried to stop her from modeling, Don succeeded at stopping her (by getting her pregnant and marrying her and moving her to the suburbs, away from the Manhattan modeling world). As she tells the story of the end of her modeling career, her voice gets flatter, less animated, sadder word-by-word (great acting, that).



Elevator in the Chrysler Building. I pass by these every day. Pretty!

Funny story.

I work in mid-town Manhattan, on the east side. My building is attached to the Chrylser Building; there is a tunnel connecting the two.

I work on the 18th floor. A couple weeks ago, we expanded into some of the offices on the 17th floor. I only need to go down there a few times a week, and I always take the elevator. I’ve heard there are stairs, but haven’t paid a lot of attention.

So the other day, (Wednesday), I’m walking toward the elevator, and I see, tucked down a little hall-let, a door marked Staircase. So I go for it. (more…)

Here’s a quick bit of parallel in the show that I hadn’t thought of before. Don grabs Betty. Betty reacts with a little fire in her eyes, but basically with passivity. Later, Betty slaps Helen.

So can we conclude that Betty was “really” slapping Don when she slapped Helen? A bit of deflected anger?

And then later the conversation with Francine, in which Francine lets off a litany of absolutely deranged reasons to hate Helen Bishop. De. Ranged. Add these two incidents together and it seems like this is who Helen is; a place for the married women to project all their fears, anxieties, and rage.

I re-watched Red in the Face last night, and I kept getting a feeling like the beat is off. Episode director Tim Hunter has done some of MM’s best episodes, and some other great television as well. I can’t put my finger on it.

Take the slap: Betty and Helen talk. Betty does not appear to understand what Helen is upset about. Then Betty slaps Helen. Just like that. There’s no pause, there’s no sudden recognition or understanding or indeed anger on Betty’s face. There’s no moment of warm-up. Just talk slap. Like that.

Or Pete sitting in the dark with the gun while Trudy yells off-camera. It’s a great scene, a great shot. But it feels like it’s in a different show. There’s no other scene in any Mad Men episode remotely like that. It’s like it’s playing to a different music.

Or the hunting fantasy scene, which is brilliant, but let’s face it, the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen on television (and I’m counting the dancing dwarf on Twin Peaks).

The overall impression, for me, is an episode that only feels like Mad Men about half the time.