Our hosts are Lon Harris, Jacob Burch, Jaime Fox and Jason McIntyre. This week we discuss the return of Glen and Freddy, enjoy some more of Jaime Fox’s Sterling Cooper memories and demonstrate how to make a Don Draper-style Old Fashioned.
Special thanks to Mahalo’s “Mad Men Season 4 Recap and Spoilers” page, an invaluable resource in putting together these episodes.
Episode #2 Discussion
THE RETURN OF “CREEPY” GLEN BISHOP AND FREDDY RUMSEN
Lon argued that Glen was one of the few men on “Mad Men” who had demonstrated any sort of concern or compassion towards a woman in his life, even though he expresses it in odd and misguided ways. Lon also floated the theory that his wooing of Sally may be part of a devious, long-term plan of revenge against Betty Draper, the woman on whom Glen once had a crush but who betrayed him when he tried to run away from home. Everyone else argued that he was too young for such treachery, and that he’s just creepy.
The hosts also discussed Freddy’s “old-fashioned” pitches for the Ponds Cold Cream account, the nature of his relationship with Peggy (whose career he helped to guide along during his previous tenure at Sterling Cooper), and whether or not Peggy picked up on the hints that he was involved in AA.
DON AND PHOEBE AND ALLISON
Don apparently likes women who not only dominate him (as with the prostitute the previous week), but who will mother him. He hit on Phoebe, the kindly nurse from across the hall who helped him into his apartment and said Don brought back memories of her alcoholic father. After she rebuffed his advances, he turned his attention to his colleague, Allison, falling in to the classic stereotype of the boorish ad man who drinks too much and sleeps with his secretary. The hosts recoiled in horror at Don’s cold treatment of Allison the day after their dalliance, giving her a $100 bonus in cash and thanking her for bringing him his keys, without any mention at all of their intimate night together. They also wondered aloud how much further Don will sink before rebounding (or if he will rebound at all.) Is this season about new beginnings or about the once-mighty Don Draper hitting rock bottom?
Lon noted that once highly regarded (at least by themselves) male characters were all being publicly humiliated and shamed this week.
Don, who’s “pathetic” and a drunk now, unable to move past the loss of his family and, perhaps even more pointedly, the way he once saw himself.
Roger, forced by a boorish client to wear the Santa outfit and have his underlings sit on his lap. (And this is AFTER he instructed Joan to wear the red dress with the bow on it to impress Lee…Then HE must become the one who has to dress up to please him.)
Freddy, back at Sterling Cooper, with tail between his legs, and forced to fess up to everyone about getting sober. He’s probably the person whose narrative has the most uplift. He’s sober, more responsible, and apparently sort of immune to the harsh judgments of others (save requesting Pete Campbell have nothing to do with his account, an almost certain bit of foreshadowing to negative things to come.)
The world of “Mad Men” is definitely a “shame” society, where stigmas are applied readily and judgment is passed at the drop of a hat. (As the consumer research expert, Faye, pointed out to him, it’s all about the conflict between personal desires and what’s expected of us.)
But what happens when you’ve failed to meet the expectations of those around you? After you’ve been declared a loser or an outcast? That seems the dilemma facing most of the main characters in this episode…
MEDICARE AND SOCIALISM
In the episode, we heard Burt Cooper and his friend discussing Medicare and Socialism. Obviously, this is meant to demonstrate how we’re still fighting these same battles today between public entitlements and the rich’s desire to keep all the money. (Also, it gives Faye the opportunity to get out that great line about “Jeff and Burt Cooper figuring out how to take food from children.”)
Is it best for “Mad Men” to keep the social commentary clearly as subtext? Or in this case, can we make an exception, seeing as the politics of December 1964 and Summer 2010 line up so exactly?
Jaime Fox’s Sterling Cooper Memories
Making a Don Draper Old Fashioned
Jacob Burch shared Don Draper’s recipe for an Old Fashioned, interpreted from the Season 3 Episode “My Old Kentucky Home,” in which Don prepares the cocktail for himself and Conrad Hilton at Roger Sterling’s wedding. (Recipe partially adapted from teh blog post on A Dash of Bitters).
Start with a sugar cube and 4 dashes of angostura bitters. Add a cherry. Don then muddles this together (though Jacob sees no need to muddle the cherry).
Then you’ll need 2 ounces of a good rye whiskey. (Don uses Old Overholt, although in “Mad Men” days, this was a 100-proof whiskey and today it comes in at only 80 proof). Mix these together with ice.
Then Don adds a copious amount of club soda. Jacob felt it was over-the-top, and probably designed to look better on camera than to produce the tastiest-possible cocktail. (Lon agreed that the finished product contained too much club soda). But no matter. Finally, finish it off with a chunk of orange and serve.