Mad Men

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A- | 3 USERS: C-
I Went To A Garden Party…
th," and I'm not sure whether that's a regionalism, a dated expression, or another example of the fact that Gene ain't quite right anymore. If he'd only added a reminder for her to brush her face, I'd know it was the last. Regardless, Sally hands him the book; referring to what's coming in the story, presumably, he tells her "all hell's gonna break loose." Well, it is a historical text. That's a pretty good bet.

The next day, at SC, Smith and Paul are playing some makeshift golf in, I think, Paul's office, while Peggy rests her head on a desk like she can't believe who she's stuck with here. And while it's true it would be a better party with some gays, closeted or not, in fairness things are going to pick up pretty soon. (I'm assuming Sal and, hopefully, Kurt, aren't around because they're not at the artwork stage yet.) Smith asks what Paul's secret to doing so well in the game is, and Paul grandly announces, "I use Harry Crane's paddle. And I pretend that's his fat head." Heh. The three of them sip some Bacardi, for inspiration on more than one level, but the best they can come up with is "Bacardi-licious" and "Bacardi-lightful," and no offense, but I don't think their clients are paying for plays on words quite that lame. On the other hand, if I'm wrong, maybe I can explore a new career path. Paul wistfully speculates that the partygoers are drinking mint juleps, but Smith dismissively says booze just puts him to sleep, and he'll "take grass any hour of the day." That gives him an idea, and Paul is with him, pompously saying when he wrote his senior thesis at Princeton, "Mary Jane was [his] muse." Peggy interjects another gem: "Paul helps me sleep." Funny, but true, and I wish you hadn't reminded me, because now I need more coffee. Holding up some fruit, his face suddenly looking inspired, Paul asks Peggy to get a blender so they can turn their drinks into frappés. It's true he's got an angle here, as he's trying to get in the beach spirit of the campaign, but Peggy still doesn't want to be ordered around: "You get it." He replies that he's eating, though, and rather than argue further, she gives in and leaves the room. I'd be disappointed in her backing down, but she does get to leave his presence for a while, so there's that.

In the break room, Peggy is surprised to find Olive, who says that if Peggy's working, she's working. Wow. Just on the basis of that statement alone, she's shown herself to be more valuable than Roger. Peggy tells her it's really all right, but as she gives the plants some water Olive says she already canceled her plans, so Peggy grabs the blender... Paul's asking Smith if he doesn't seem as important as Ken. Wisely not waiting for an answer, he goes on that he at least gets it with Pete being promoted, but Smith is not interested in hearing Paul's suspect worldview, instead asking him if he wants to get high. Okay, true, Paul's ruminations will probably double in frequency and length under the influence of "grass," but I think it's fair to guess that Smith will be much better able to deal with them if he's altered himself. Smith tells Paul that his contact got married, and asks, "Who's your friend?" Michael Gladis does some nice business there as he hesitates, no doubt thinking of the mixed feelings he has toward the guy, but snaps out of it and digs into his wallet for the number. Happy fun times, here we come, and I'm talking just as much about the viewing audience.

Betty calls for Sally to help her with her dress, and when Sally zips her up and tells her she looks pretty, Betty replies, "I look like an open umbrella." But a small one. I mean, not golf-sized. Sally goes on that Gene told her Betty and Don are going to a soirée, and Betty orders her not to bother him while they're away. Good advice, considering she could get conscripted into chopping up a thousand onions if she isn't careful. When Sally's gone, Betty obsesses some more about how her pregnancy is affecting her looks... she's not around to see Sally go into Gene's room. He calls to her from the bathroom that he's indisposed, and she wastes no time in grabbing the money clip lying on his desk and pocketing a fiver. In fairness, she doesn't get an allowance.

As Greg vacuums, Joan sets the table, as they're having a little get-together of their own. When he's finished, he yanks the plug out from the wall, prompting Joan to chide him that he could break it. Well, his rough manner can hardly be a surprise. And honestly, it's difficult to watch their interactions, for all the obvious reasons but also because the show hasn't given us any indication of how Joan now feels about what happened the last episode they were on screen together. I'm not necessarily complaining about the storyline; I just hope to know more about how the incident has affected Joan, if at all. Greg then takes issue with the way Joan has set the table, saying the Chief of Surgery (Dr. Ettinger) has to sit at the head, but Joan informs him that it's his home, so he needs to take that position, as Emily Post and everyone with good manners knows. Greg, however, says he and "Rick Stolich" will be expected to be Ettinger's "footstools." Joan, however, does not want to give the impression she doesn't know how to set a table, prompting Greg's voice to rise as he says he doesn't want to have a fight right now. Joan: "Then stop talking!" There's our girl. He gets himself under control, and in response she offers a compromise: A buffet, which will be a bit more casual and won't be governed by seating etiquette. Greg agrees, and heads off to take a bath, but she calls him back for a kiss. Ick.

Don's listening to a radio broadcast concerning an investigation into the State Liquor Authority, which I believe would interest him on general principles, when Betty enters, calling for Carla. Don compliments her appearance; pleased, she responds that while she looks good for her condition, "I'm still in my condition." Translation: This baby better not come late or I am never going to let her hear the end of it. Gene then enters angrily, Carla in tow, and reports his missing five bucks, but of course Betty thinks he's just being forgetful. She gets Don to offer him a replacement fiver, but Gene refuses, and seethes that "you people" think money's the answer to every problem. Don replies, "No, just this particular problem," and if January Jones didn't break character in at least one take off that line, she is an even better actress than I thought. Betty apologizes but says she doesn't know what Gene wants, and when he snits that what he wants is his five dollars, Jon Hamm brings the hilarity again with a look at the bill in his hand followed by a frustrated eye-roll. Hee. The parents leave, and then Carla takes the kids out to play in the yard, but not before Sally looks back and gives her grandfather an "I did it! Ask me how!" glance. You can't blame him for being slow on the uptake, kiddo, but he'll figure you out eventually.

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Mad Men




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