Mad Men
A Little Kiss, Part I

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admin: B+ | 3 USERS: B-
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Hello! It has been a long time -- far longer in real time than in show time, which might possibly have helped erase the bitterness of Dr. Faye's unceremonious, capricious, ill-considered dumping... OH WAIT. In that massive stretch of time, though, I did re-watch the whole series and while listing all the wonderful little things I either caught anew or was reminded of would take a recap in itself, I will say this: When Betty found out her father had had a stroke, she confided to Don, "God, you know I've been dreaming about a suitcase?" You're welcome. And let's get to it!

We open on what we will learn is Madison Avenue, with a group of twenty or thirty protesters that are mostly, but not exclusively, African-American (although the only Caucasian I see marching with them is wearing priest's vestments), and whose chants demand equal employment opportunities for them. In an office a few floors up, a group of bored white dudes express their annoyance at what's going on below. One of them opens the window and yells down for the protesters to get a job and if that's his idea of clever irony, I'm guessing this firm's advertising copy isn't on Don Draper's level. One of the dudes then comes up with the idea to pour some water out the window on the protesters and soon they're filling paper bags with water and dropping them on the people below. Their indolence, of course, is irony that actually works, not that they're aware of that...

...and they're soon faced with bigger problems, as a bunch of angry African-American women, with at least one kid and one white reporter in tow, enter the firm's reception area and tell the woman on duty about the infantile bombardment. The receptionist, archly but I believe sincerely, denies any knowledge of it, adding that they're on the executive floor, but said "executives" immediately blow up their own spot by running in from the bathroom with a fresh batch of projectiles ready to be launched. They hang their heads in shame, appropriately looking like little boys as a result, and the whole tableau is just screaming to be rendered as a New Yorker cartoon.

Presumably the next day, a plastic alarm clock goes off and I realize time must march on even on this show, but as we move to the later sixties (and I don't think that much time has passed -- I'm guessing we're mid-1966) one of the things I'll miss most is the sleek set design of the previous era. The deco revival couldn't last forever, I guess. Sally's slow to arise, which at first seems to explain the continuation of the xylophone coming from my television, but the sound persists even though she makes no move toward the clock; instead, she wanders down a rather long, carpeted hallway full of the half-unpacked boxes that signal a recent move. When she reaches the cheap wooden double doors at the end, she attempts to open them but finds them locked. Presently, Don opens up, dressed only in his boxers. I could be wrong, but I thought he used to be more modest around his kids. Perhaps this is meant to be a signal of the more freewheeling attitude of the later sixties. Of course, analyzing why the show would have Jon Hamm in as few clothes as possible threatens to violate Occam's Razor, but Mad Men has earned our trust by now and the place's general disarray backs up the idea that people have generally become less uptight. Anyway, Sally tells Don she thought this was the bathroom, but he points her in the right direction, and given you practically have to squint to see where he's gesturing we can take the point that he spent a pretty penny on this place. Sally makes no move to leave, instead stealing a not-particularly-subtle glance inside, where a Megan-shaped woman is asleep, naked and facing away from them. Don asks Sally if she'd like breakfast...

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