Mad Men

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A | 5 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
A Lucky Strike

Joan swaggers around the office with Peggy, laden down with the gifts Joan instructed her to buy, in tow, telling her that she's not saying she's seen the doc's place in Southampton, "but it's beautiful." So, Joan, how many guys per month would you not say you're sleeping with at the moment? Joan leads Peggy to a closed door and tells her that they're about to enter the nerve center of the office, and that Peggy and her boss are dependent on "the willing and cheerful cooperation of a few skilled employees." As such, Joan says, Peggy is never to snap or be sarcastic with them, and instead should always be a supplicant. Joan opens the door...

...and inside, we see three switchboard operators working at breakneck pace. Joan shouts over the din and introduces Peggy to "Marge, Nannette, and Ivy," although I believe Marge is the only one we'll see again. When Peggy pipes up that she brought them some "getting-to-know-you gifts," however, they all fall silent and turn toward her. Heh. They accept the tokens eagerly and tell Peggy she can come back any time, and then we get some exposition about how "Eleanor," Don's previous secretary, moved on, as "Draper wasn't interested." Nanette gloats that it's probably because she couldn't get a call through. "Rude little thing!" Hee. Joan starts to lead Peggy out, but Nanette calls that Peggy has great legs. "I betcha Mr. Draper would like them if he could see them." Peggy looks floored, and then nods faster than a bobblehead. Honey, if it's between shorter skirts and whiplash, I know which one I'd choose.

It's time for the big meeting, and Lee Sr. (who shows up again in "Indian Summer") is bitching that they made a healthier cigarette just like the "guvment intahlopahs" wanted, and now that's not good enough. There's a hilarious little bit where Lee Sr. starts hacking up a lung and everyone else coughs in solidarity before Lee Sr. tells them that their competitors at Brown and Williamson are getting sued by the Federal government over the health claims they made. All this quickly leads to Don being called up to the plate, and while it's not quite Cindy Brady staring at the red light on the television camera, when you consider that the best he offers is that he smokes Lucky Strikes himself, it's not a significant improvement. Pete cuts in and says he may have a solution, and stands up as he pitches Greta's research, the report of which he apparently fished out of Don's trashcan. He goes on that cars, while dangerous and sometimes deadly, are necessary, and cigarettes are the same, so they should basically tell the public to man up and get with the dying already. "Smoke your cigarette. You still have to get where you're going." Interesting that the sneaky theft of the report led to what's one of the more honest ad pitches I've ever heard. Lee Jr. calls the pitch "interesting" and seems to mean it, but then shakes himself out of it and says that if cigarettes were in fact dangerous, it would be interesting. Just another example of how Pete sometimes seems to be ahead of his time in this business.

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Mad Men

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