Mad Men
For Immediate Release

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A- | 6 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
Strange Bedfellows

Don's lying in bed with airplane noise audible, and given that he's alone I don't think it's meant to be as hilarious as before. He checks his watch...

...and then he's dressed and in the bar. Heh. I mean, it's a major metropolis, but I still wonder how late hotel bars stayed open, especially when there was only one customer, even one as good as Don. But the population doubles when Chaough enters, and when he sees Don, he proves how nice he is yet again because he settles for "Damn it!" when the rest of the world would opt for "Motherfucker!" Don, of course, isn't fazed, since he knew CGC was coming, but Chaough, after ordering a drink, complains that he "spent six weeks on this pipe dream, and now it's going to be over in two seconds." Don's like, hey now, but Chaough informs him that they're both dead -- one small agency has a chance, but two simply means the client is going to take their Creative and give it to one of the big dogs. Don argues the point for a bit, but when Chaough tells him it's the size of the team that matters to GM, he comes to concede that Chaough's probably right, and I do like the subtle message that Don has never really concerned himself with the business side of things in many situations. It's also right about here that the word "merger" started buzzing insistently in my head, and it's not something I ever had considered before now but it does make sense on a lot of levels, which is a compliment.

But let's let them get there on their own, as Don, looking more despondent than I've seen him in a while, sighs that their business is rigged. "I should just let Chevy buy my brain and put it in a jar." Well, as long as the rest of you continues to stay functional. They both imagine their company's headstones ("SCDP: The little company with big ideas," CGC: "Giving away Creative, one car at a time." Gotta give Chaough the nod on that one), and then they agree to pitch each other right there, which really is an unexpectedly delightful moment. Don't get me wrong, I always liked Chaough and Kevin Rahm -- the prank phone call that led to Don's "My mistake; that was Eunice Kennedy" is one of my enduring favorite lines -- but this is a new side to him. He talks about how the car is for both the young and the young at heart, and goes on about how the future is now and you have to "hit the road, Jack -- and then I sing the song." Hee. Don compliments the work before giving his pitch -- music accompanying all range of people's faces with different expressions of wonder on them. "What could this possibly be? It's so new, this combination of power, technology, comfort and price that it's impossible to imagine -- but not at Chevy." He wraps up that the future is something you haven't even thought of yet, and you run that ad for a week before introducing the car. So Don's finally figured out how to make his negative-space preference truly marketable. Whether it's his or not, it's the best idea I've seen from him in ages, not that that's saying much.

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Mad Men

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