Mad Men
Out Of Town

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Couch Baron: B+ | 2 USERS: C+
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Something Interruptus
er, pronounces a painting on the wall "remarkable." I'm sure the writer of a description I saw of the painting as "tentacle porn" would agree. (Judge for yourself.) Bertram tells the Brit ("Lane Pryce") that while he picked it for its sensuality (that's one word for it, Grandpa) it also reminds him of their business. Um...they both have sexual harassment that's marginally less disturbing if you keep your eyes closed? Bertram and Pryce go on to wonder whom the man that imagined her "ecstasy" is, but the line suddenly becomes worth it when Don enters and Bertram exclaims, "We were just talking about you!" Hee. Don's in no mood for levity, though, as he nervously tells them that "Burt" is on his way and asks where Roger is. Bertram replies that he's "probably taking another Grecian treasure out of its crate," and I'll be glad when I've gotten used to the move ahead in time, even if it's only to 1963. Which it is, although I don't believe they ever explicitly say it, but you surely didn't think Betty's been pregnant for two years, even if it seems that way to her. Referring to the imminent business trip, Pryce apologizes for sending Don to Baltimore, but says it has to be done - he's the face of their business, and London Fog needs some hand-holding. Pryce then disparages the name, as London never actually had fog, merely lots of coal dust in the air. I don't think it's true that London is completely devoid of fog, but his greater point that the name "London Smog" would be more accurate is taken. A voice on the scratchy intercom then announces Burt Peterson, and when the man enters, it takes him all of three seconds to size up what's going on, asking, in response to Don's offer of a cigarette, if he gets a blindfold too. Heh. Bertram and Don take a sympathetic tack as Burt starts to go to pieces, but Pryce is rather British about the whole thing, handing Burt a check and saying it's generous. Burt is bewildered as to why they waited so long, the implication being that layoffs happened quickly after the merger went through, but Pryce responds that they were aware his wife was undergoing radiation treatments. "We thought it decent to wait." Burt nods in agreement that that was decent, but just when you think this might all be settled quietly, Roger enters, apologizing for being late and cheerfully asking if he missed anything. When he sees the stygian tableau in front of him, though, his face falls: "Oh. It's that meeting." Hee. He does offer an apology, but when he repeats the party line that it "wasn't easy" (Don and Bertram had already said the same thing) Burt chooses to go on the offensive, saying that they won't do so hot without his Rolodex, and that Pryce represents "the dying empire" and makes him sick. He screeches that he's the Head of Accounts (Duck being on Skid Row, a proto-Betty Ford Clinic, or somewhere in between) and Roger replies that he's sure they'll regret their decision. Burt looks at him disbelievingly, and he's like, "What? I was serious!" How I missed John Slattery. Burt leaves, and Don asks if that's the last firing, because he doesn't like how he's getting used to them. Pryce sighs that he doesn't know anything Don doesn't know, and that's probably true or he'd be putting in earplugs right about now.

Harry's babbling to Paul about how taxes are a disincentive to hard work, but before I start to think of warm sandy beaches, Burt loudly announces to his "fellow companions in mediocrity" (i.e., everyone currently on the open floor) that they can all fuck off. He knocks some stuff off a few desks on his way toward his office while Harry repeats some misinformation about Burt's plans, Pete smirks, and Paul wonders if the firings aren't starting again. On cue, Hildy tells Pete that Pryce wants to see him, and Pete almost shits his pants right there as Harry and Paul walk away with "There but for the grace of Brits go I" written all over their faces. Pete stomps off to take his medicine, or so he thinks...

...while John Hooker gets snarled at by Burt: "Drop dead, you Limey vulture!" After Burt enters his office and continues to rail loudly and incoherently and Hooker's all "Well, I never!" for a moment, Joan approaches and snits that she's going to have to dispense psychotherapy to the girls in the typing pool, thanks to his mishandling of the Burt situation. Hooker condescendingly says that "you Americans" can't handle their emotions, but Joan, unbowed, reiterates that Peterson's wife is sick, and if Hooker had merely spoken to his girl, she would have informed him privately, "and if you had talked to me, I would have been waiting with his coat and his Rolodex." Hooker tenuously takes this mention of "decorum" to transition into asking that he be addressed formally by the girls on the switchboard: "I am not 'Jaahn.'" Joan faux-innocently replies that that's how they address the secretaries, and John steps up the condescension as he starts to say that as he's explained, in England...Joan: "A truck is a lorry, and an elevator is a lift. I've got it, Mr. Hooker. Despite your title, you are not a secretary." She just gets more awesome, although so does her dress size. What's with all the padding? Is she still shedding maternity weight? Or is she pregnant again? (For that matter, did she actually have the baby? Don't want to assume anything after that first scene, and I'm thinking if she actually had, she might not still be around, especially given her comment to Peggy later.) He acidly replies that he's "Mr. Pryce's right arm," not his typist. Joan sunnily agrees: "I assume you will let him know when Mr. Peterson has left the building." I appreciate the final slam on Hooker, but unless Pryce is very deaf I think he'll have a handle on that one all by himself.

Pete enters Pryce's office like he's about to open a door in The Lady Or The Tiger, but brightens when the first thing Pryce mentions is Burt's departure. Pryce adds that he likes Pete, although he "can't speak for everyone here," and Pete ignores the possible veiled insult in favor of saying he likes Pryce too. Pryce, bemused, says Pete doesn't know him (but...he knows Pete?) and Pete replies, "But I will make that effort, if given the opportunity!" Let your dreams of the Creative side die, dude. Pete then launches into a stilted and uncomfortable (to watch, anyway) explanation of why he hasn't been more welcoming socially, and Pryce, rather than explain the British social order or even reply "That's okay, really" merely offers Pete a chair. Pete won't be shot with his eyes closed, though, pointing out that he's being asked to sit on the heels of his department head being removed, and Pryce offers an apology for the miscommunication of intentions before coming out with it -- Pete's the new Head of Accounts, although the specifics and announcement are pending. Pete asks if this is truly certain, and Pryce says yes, but slyly puts a finger to his lips. Heh.

Downstairs, Pete asks Hildy to get Trudy on the phone. Once inside his office, he does a little dork-ass celebratory dance, and I (a) feel genuinely happy for his good fortune and (b) snicker at what I know is coming. He's the only character that simultaneously brings out the best and worst in me. Anyway, he pours himself a little drink and then gets on the phone with his wife, who says she's meeting with the Docent's Committee from the Met. When Pete asks how they are, she asks with genuine surprise, "Since when do you care?" Since never, Trudy. He's just in a very good mood. He tells her the happy news, and she's overjoyed even to the point where she gives his early drink a big thumbs-up. However, when Pete muses that he should give his mother a call, she replies, "Oh, Peter. Don't go to the well -- there's no water there." Well, I certainly am willing to believe his mother's life has been a constant uphill battle to rehydrate. Anyway, after Pete blurts that he forgot even to ask the new pay

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