Mad Men

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Coming To A Boil

Freddy opens up a case containing some pink contraption with wiring attached, and Pete tells us that it "got kicked over" from another agency named "Compton," apparently in return for Sterling Cooper recently sending them a Firestone campaign they couldn't touch because they were already working for Goodyear. Anyway, the thing is some sort of belt that apparently helps you lose weight, and while the inventor calls the idea behind it the "P.E.R.," for "Passive Exercise Regime," the product itself doesn't have a name. Don suggests "'The Electrosizer' -- for a slimmer, better you." I suppose that works even given the true nature of the product. The users will certainly be happier, making them "better," and they'll also be "slimmer" in the sense that they won't need their husbands around anymore. Speaking of which, Freddy mentions that some of the guys brought the product home to their wives to get their opinions, and Harry says that his wife told him to wear it instead, which is an "ouch" in more ways that one. Freddy, for his part, says his wife has been using it, and while she hasn't lost weight, "she hasn't given up on it like she does with diets after a week." I think it's safe to say that if it doesn't give up on her, she won't give up on it. Freddy goes on to say that they have eight wives in total trying the belt, and none of them have shown any weight loss. Ken doesn't care, as the deal the company is offering them is sweet, but Pete is worried that "fake weight-loss claims" could get them in trouble. Peggy then finally arrives with the water, and somewhere Gunga Din is rolling over in his grave. She turns and leaves, and Freddy's eyes follow her with a "We're gonna need a bigger belt" expression on his face. He suggests Peggy as another test candidate, and Salvatore and Ken make nasty comments about her weight. Boy, Pete's punch must have been even girlier than it looked if Ken's insulting Peggy's weight again. But actually, Pete's amusement suggests that, as I thought at the time, he doesn't care a bit about her and was just drunkenly reacting to Ken's unwitting disparaging of his taste. Don remarks that maybe Ken should put Peggy on his "regimen of sprinting out the door every day at five to five." Heh, nice one. Freddy also sort of sticks up for Peggy, reminding us what a great job she did with Belle Jolie, but Pete isn't impressed, saying he promised the client they'd go with their "big guns." No one makes a comment about Peggy's big guns, which makes me think that's one sense of that bit of slang that emerged after 1960. Anyway, Don overrules Pete and calls Peggy back in, explaining that the weight-loss belt imitates calisthenics by stimulating the muscles, and they'd like her thoughts on it. Peggy's a little wary, given the weight-loss subject matter, and only gets more so when Freddy tells her she'd be perfect for it, even asking why. Don says it's because she's a woman, and Freddy adds that they like her point of view. No one else in the room says anything, which is collectively the smartest they've ever come across. Peggy's reticence gives way to happiness that she's getting another assignment, and she takes the case, but not before asking if she's allowed to change the name. Don takes a moment to consider exactly how much of a monster he's creating before answering in the affirmative. She leaves, and everyone sits there like, "Who's gonna say it first?"

Peggy's sitting on her bed, with her hair down and in a nightgown, when her roommate comes in (without knocking, for shame) and demands three fifty-nine for the phone bill. Peggy protests that she never uses the phone, but the roommate counters that Peggy ate all the "saltines, and the Velveeta, and the liverwurst -- I never even got any." You know, despite all the show's hints in that direction, I don't believe Peggy's pregnant -- she got that birth control for a reason. On the other hand, I'm starting to hope she is for the sake of my opinion of her, because if she isn't there's no excuse for such nasty eating habits. Peggy snits back that she had some people over "while you were out drinking on Tuesday." Heh, but...do we believe her? The roommate reiterates her demand for the money and soon leaves, and Peggy locks the door behind her and gets the belt out, which, despite all the wiring, resembles nothing more than a big fake ass. Isn't it going to be tough for Elisabeth Moss to wear two of those? She puts the thing on, lies down, and flips the switch in the case; without much delay, she gasps, and removes the thing with a "Well, I never!" air. That may be, but I bet you will again.

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