Mad Men
Christmas Comes But Once a Year

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Couch Baron: A- | 1 USERS: C
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A Turkey Lurkey Christmas To You, Jerky
, if Freddy's going to be pissing on the office carpet on a regular basis, but Roger cuts him off, asking instead if Freddy will be Santa at the Christmas party. Freddy jokes that it's the role he was born to play, and everyone giggles like that scene wasn't at least as awkward as all the previous ones so far.

Carla (yay!) answers the phone with "Francis residence (boo)," and it's Glen, who lies that his name is "Stanley" and he has a question about homework. Sally takes the phone, and after hearing that Glen intends the call to be private, walks into the living room, at which point Glen tells her he's down the street at his mom's old place. He goes on to ask her why she hasn't moved, and Sally says she doesn't know, but she really hates it there now, as every time she goes around a corner, she hopes to see her dad and is disappointed. Glen, with that special kind of sympathy only a sociopath could muster, says he's sorry, but while her parents aren't going to get back together, he promises her that one day, Betty and Henry will wake up and want to move. "You'll see." After they disconnect, Carla asks who Stanley is, but Sally merely replies, "A boy." Carla's knowing smile suggests she believes "Stanley" is a simple, normal crush, and I used to think she was almost omniscient, but girl, please.

In the SCDP conference room, the principals are entertaining a pitch from a consumer-research company, one of whose representatives is apparently an old friend of Bertram's. Said rep babbles a bit about the quality of their consumer evaluations before turning it over to a blonde woman, "Dr. Faye Miller," whom he credits with helping to develop the standard for feminine hygiene ads -- "the carefree gal in white pants." If you want your day brightened, indulge me and go back and check out the reaction shots from Joan and Peggy. Dr. Miller, however, offers some welcome self-deprecating humor before handing out a questionnaire she explains is their tool for assessing what subjects will provide the best market research. She also encourages everyone to take a cookie from a jar on the table, but Harry, whose sunburn at least has turned to tan, asks what it means if they refuse. Dr. Miller: "That you're a psychopath." I'm starting to like her. Moving on from such pointless things as Harry Crane, she further explains that the questions are designed to get at what subjects actually want, rather than what they say they do, and gives an example -- "How would you describe your father?" She goes on to add that no matter what the response, the question creates a level of intimacy for the next one, but Don's way too immersed in thoughts of how to sum up Archibald Whitman ("belt-wielding" comes to mind) to notice. Everyone gets started (Harry dorkily covering his answers with his hand; I guess he's the only joke character now that Paul's gone), but Don, after sharing a knowing look with Peggy, gets up and takes his leave by way of explaining that he has an appointment. Dr. Miller watches him go, but what she's thinking is anyone's guess. For now.

Outside his office, Don finds adorable Joey giving Allison a drawing of her, and I should mention that while Joe R is way too young/non-Berlanti-obsessed to have mentioned this, Joey is played by Matt Long, who was the doomed (in more ways than one) Jack on Jack and Bobby, a show I was one of three people to watch all the way to the end. And I even know one of the other two. As Joey takes his leave, Don declares his intention to hide in his office until the meeting's over, and Allison, not batting an eye, is like, "Do you want ice?" Girl knows her customer, which makes what happens later seem all the more avoidable.

Cut to Don waking up the next morning to a pounding that, for once, is not in his head. Out in the hallway, he finds a woman in a nurse's uniform hammering some Christmas decorations into the wall, and I'd be peeved too, except the woman in question is another Berlanti alum, my old friend Nora Zehetner! This show really goes out of its way to make me happy. Anyway, Nora, with what might be her native Texan accent, explains that she's hosting the "St. Vincent's Junior Staff Christmas Party," and they have to cram it in before the seasonal suicides start. Hey, I'll drink to that! Lord. Anyway, Nora introduces herself as "Phoebe," and informs him they've already met, and he can drink all he wants, but if he doesn't remember meeting this cute girl who lives down the hall from him, I'm surprised that he wouldn't think it's time to reassess his priorities. And speaking of drinking too much, Don definitely is looking the worse for wear, given that he's clutching his robe like a malaria victim here. Anyway, despite his obvious, desperate need for coffee, water, and aspirin, Phoebe keeps him in the hallway long enough to invite him to the party, and he doesn't give an answer, claiming he's late for work. Phoebe: "So you should thank me for waking you." Heh. Apparently, having a Don Draper-esque line thrown in his face by this perky nurse is the last straw, and he heads back into his apartment with nary another word.

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