Mad Men
A Tale Of Two Cities

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B- | 6 USERS: B+
YOU GRADE IT
Don's Ghosts, Coast To Coast

Joan introduces Peggy as "the dynamite in our Creative Department." With Ginzo's "lightning," it's got explosive potential, so it's probably good that Stan's the bong water of the place. After they sit, Joan extols Peggy's expertise some more, saying that she's worked on relevant accounts such as Clearasil, Pond's and Belle Jolie. After Andy mentions that he almost worked for the last of those, Peggy tells him that she grew up in an Avon home, and their Avon lady was so elegant that her mother would vacuum the drapes before she visited. Hee. Whether Peggy's going somewhere more targeted with this or not, though, we'll never know, since Joan interrupts that all women have a personal connection to Avon, but that doesn't necessarily translate into business. She goes on to ask Andy what his biggest challenge on that front is as Peggy gives her a surreptitious side-eye that it's just as well she doesn't see given that it would melt the gloss right off her lips. Andy confesses that sales are flat: "Women are working; they're not home. And hippies don't wear makeup at all. I'm not sure if we should try to be groovier or nostalgic." No offense to Andy, but if he and Ted are both using "groovy," I'm pretty sure the word is over. Joan's lack of experience then shows through as it's pretty clear she doesn't know how to steer this, so she's like, "Peggy?" Peggy gives her a dull glare like, "Oh NOW it's okay for me to talk," but she then dons a professorial air and asks how Andy would describe Avon's current work. He gropes for the right words, so she asks if he'd say it's unintentionally old-fashioned, and he brightens as he says he would, in fact. Peggy shows how pro she's become as, with deference that's obviously manufactured to us but still feels authentic to the client, tells him she's sure he's thought of this already, "but Joan and I were saying how convenient it would be to have the Avon lady come to the office." Andy does say that Avon is open to trying that, but not to advertising it, and Joan pipes up, "There's no doorbell in an office." Andy gives her a finger-gun of acknowledgment, while Peggy just looks befuddled as to whose side Joan is on. And you know I love her, but she is kind of being Larry Tate in this scene.

The [NAME] team is in a conference room having some breakfast drink, if the carnation in the middle of the table is any indication. Roger makes a disparaging comment about Humphrey accepting the nomination, to which the fairly oily Carnation guy laughs that the Democrats are dead -- maybe forever. Easy to chuckle now, but with only Jimmy Carter preventing a Republican sweep for the next 24 years, the man has a point. The bigger fish, "Jack," enters. Pleasant greetings are exchanged, but the sunny smiles fade quickly when Roger remarks that "George" was just crowing about how the riots gave Nixon the election, and Jack chastises George before saying that "those long-haired fools" shamed the U.S., and Nixon isn't going to fix that. He then asks them to explain how they can properly service both Carnation and their other brand Life Cereal. Don, given the already-spectacular failure of Roger's big-city approach, you might want to stick a stalk of hay in your mouth before answering. It's Roger who replies first, though, saying that their powdered dairy products have had a long and fruitful relationship with breakfast cereal, and they don't see a need to give it up; as far as Instant Breakfast goes, it has a different target -- adults, who don't eat cereal, as Don chimes in. Jack counters that they just might find the conflict unresolvable, whereupon Harry, sounding fairly annoyed, breaks in that they discussed this on the phone, and they're proposing a whole different level of exposure for their products -- game shows, Saturday morning, the works. The Carnation guys aren't impressed, though, and they lay out their real concern -- they feel like New York firms treat them like second-class citizens. Roger does a good job of not breaking out in a flop sweat as he offers, "We're sorry your last girlfriend hurt you." That at least gets a bit of an appreciative smile, and Jack asks what they have in mind. We don't hear the answer, but Roger looks awfully pleased for someone who's still catching up to where he was before he entered the room.

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