Mad Men
Christmas Comes But Once a Year

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A- | 1 USERS: C
A Turkey Lurkey Christmas To You, Jerky
ally cold outside, but if I were Adorable Joey I'd keep a wary eye on him at all times. Anyway, Lee Jr. is his typical blowhardy self as he tells "Red" that he's been drinking all day, and as she leads him away, all the male principals exchange a "What a surprise" look.

Glen and some cohort of his break into the Francis residence and start vandalizing the place with eggs and other random food. I'd prefer they targeted Francis himself, but it's a start.

Back at the party, Joan's leading a conga line, and once they take a break, Lee Jr. asks where Santa is. Roger replies that he didn't show, but Lee Jr. says he's sure he congaed by a Santa costume, and suggests Roger put it on. Roger declines, and Pete's actually up for doing it himself, but Lee Jr.'s got a bee in his bonnet about Santa having white hair, and soon he's dropped any pretense of this being a request and is telling Roger to get in the damn suit already. Roger, after a pause, heads off to get it, and while this is not a little creepy, it's probably no weirder than some of the stuff in which he participated while in the Navy. Also, it seems like appropriate karmic retribution for his blackface performance.

The Francis family arrives home to find the place trashed, and Henry correctly guesses kids are responsible. Of course -- adults would know this place is way too boring to be worth breaking into these days.

Jane asks Pryce where his lovely wife is, and Pryce says she and his son are back in London, where he'll join them shortly. In honor of Pryce's British heritage, I'll give that one a hearty "Pshaw!" Roger then emerges from one of the offices in the suit, rather unsteadily if I do say so myself, and gives a present to Lee Jr. -- a Polaroid. Lee Jr. seems genuinely touched in his gruff, closeted way, while elsewhere, Don wishes Peggy, or "sweetheart," as he calls her, a sincere Merry Christmas.

Back at the Francis residence, we hear Bobby freak out off-screen at the eggs in his bed, but Sally discovers that not only is her room fine, Glen has left his lanyard on her pillow. She smiles, as you do when you discover you have your first juvenile delinquent stalker.

Don's packing up when Dr. Miller knocks and enters, complaining she's not allowed to leave until her boss ("Jeff") and Bertram "figure out how to take food from children." After learning she has four Christmas parties to go to and offering appropriate condolences, he invites her to have a seat, but she declines in favor of saying she wanted to make sure they have no problems, as he's the "creative shaman" at SCDP, yet he didn't take the test and walked out on her presentation, and she's disappointed, particularly since she went to the trouble of investigating him thoroughly. He admits that he doesn't think her method of research is particularly productive, but she tells him they're in the same business -- they both help people to sort out the conflict between what they want and what's expected of them. She said almost exactly the same thing when discussing the questionnaire earlier, but Don's mind was focused on thoughts of escape long before that, so I suppose it's logical that he's taken aback by the profundity of her point of view.

But while this has nothing to do with market research directly, there are numerous instances this episode of people doing what other people expect of them by keeping up appearances -- Pryce, for one, I'm sure is not telling the truth about the state of his marriage, and as I mentioned earlier, it's an easy bet that something has happened with Joan's husband Greg as well. And of course, the way Don treats Allison at the end is a prime example as well.

Anyway, Don invites her to dinner, but it's not hard to see even two episodes in that one of the themes of this season is that the Don Draper charm ain't what it used to be, so it's no surprise that she respectfully declines. On her way out, though, she tells him not to worry -- the holidays are tough for someone in his situation, but he'll be remarried within a year. I think he didn't realize her research extended into his personal life, which is why he seems taken aback, but she interprets his sharp "What?" as disagreement, so she sighs, "I'm sorry. I always forget -- nobody wants to think they're a type." HA HA HA! The writing staff is going to have to work hard to come up with a line I enjoy more.

Oh, dear. Turns out that Polaroid worked out better than anyone could have imagined, because Lee Jr. is using it to snap photos as all the employees take a turn on Roger's knee. Harry, sotto voce, apologizes profusely when it's his turn, but I think Roger's drunk enough that's he's past the point of caring. For his part, Don emerges from his office in the background, takes a disbelieving look at the goings-on, and heads for the hills. Call him a Grinch, but I think I would have done the same.

Unfortunately, and not just for him, when he arrives at his door, Don realizes he is not in possession of his keys. He knocks on Phoebe's door, but, you know, suicides, so...

...he calls Allison from a pay phone, who finds the keys on the floor by his desk. Joey then opens the door and, hearing what happened, says they can meet at Joan's in half an hour, but Allison amends that to an hour, as she may need to get some food in him. Joey proclaims Don "pathetic," which, again, is not talk you would have heard from an underling in the first three seasons. Don always drank a lot, but it's not just that he's drinking more -- he's standing out, which is making him the object of ridicule. Of course, Don is going to pay Joey back for his insult by shtupping his crush [SPOILER!].

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