Mad Men

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Couch Baron: B- | 2 USERS: A-
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It's a Gi…Boy!
it may take a while to get out. Hollis is clearly getting more and more uncomfortable with the demographic research Pete insists on pursuing, and when Pete stops the elevator, the smile Hollis has kept plastered on his face to this point gives up the ghost. He clearly thinks any kind of direct conversation with one of the building's white, white-collar employees could get him in trouble, but when Pete straightforwardly says he just wants to know why Hollis bought that particular TV, Hollis gets a bit heated as he says he doesn't even watch the thing, as "we've got plenty bigger problems to worry about than TV." I do not understand such a concept. Pete opines that owning a TV is part of the American Dream, and Hollis gives him a look like "Your honky ass will obviously never understand" before pushing the button for the elevator to resume. Pete at least is chastened, somewhat meekly apologizing that he was just asking for his job, and Hollis intones, "Every job has its ups and downs." Recognizing the Yogi Berra-ness of this comment, Pete brightens: "You don't watch baseball? I don't believe you." Hollis gives him a serious side-eye and then breaks out into a grin, and Pete chuckles as well. It's not "Ebony and Ivory," but it's a start.

At night, Don's in his robe frying up some corned beef hash when Sally wanders out and says she didn't know he could cook. Don self-deprecatingly says Betty's much better at it, and then Sally babbles about eggs for a while before asking if the baby's going to have Gene's room. Don takes a moment before blithely pointing out that it's not Gene's room, but the baby's, and Sally seems to accept that, moving on to say that she thought the child was going to be a girl. Don: "Well, I thought you were going to be a boy." He adds that not all surprises are bad, and when Sally smiles, he sits with her and tells her everything will be all right. Sally then mentions her teacher for the second time in the conversation, so you can imagine we haven't seen the last of her. But since Sally seems on the road to some emotional healing, I certainly pray she doesn't witness Don dancing around her maypole. (I have no idea what that means.)

The next day, Don and an entire tube of Brylcreem are walking down the hall in the hospital, flowers in hand, when he sees Hobart wheeling his wife down the hall, sans baby. Don smiles at him, and Hobart is smiling too before he catches Don's eye, but then drops his gaze like...well, like Don's a prison guard, really. I'm used to having to parse stuff with this show, but for real: Huh? If something happened to his baby, as seems possible from its absence, that still doesn't explain the huge smile followed by the "Oh shit" reaction. Is he regretting all that stuff he said about being a better man after only one day? I don't understand it, because the director has done some of the best episodes of the series, but this one is not getting it done for me. Anyway...

...let's cut to Pete, who's meeting with Admiral, apparently for the first time as their account exec given that he's saying how Burt Peterson's firing was "undignified." But hilarious, he adds non-verbally, and everyone in the room agrees. Pete introduces Harry, and then brightly brings up the fact that Admiral's sales are growing among "Negroes." One of the guys soberly says he knows, which almost stops Pete in his tracks. Next time listen to those instincts, kid. However, he pushes on through the new chill in the air to pitch an "interesting strategy" -- buying space in Ebony, Jet, and other publications marketed to that demographic would be cheap and, apparently, would provide a terrific return. The other guy skeptically asks if he's proposing a Negro ad and a white ad, partially wondering if Pete means to increase SC's fee, but Pete says no -- there will be one "integrated" ad. The other guy snarks that he doesn't think that's legal, and Pete, suddenly wising up and getting disgusted as a result, dismisses the joke in saying that it of course is. Not that Pete's idea is definitely such a cash cow, as the lead guy plays devil's advocate: "Who's to say these Negroes aren't buying these because they think white people want them?" Not to mention the even less PC question of whether white people would continue to buy them if it were perceived as an African-American brand. But this is what market research is for, and the fact that the clients aren't even willing to entertain this potential moneymaker suggests, in keeping with the season's theme, these guys are stuck in the past while Pete's ready for change. Of course, given how this meeting went, he might need to be ready for the change of going to work for Jews.

Don's asleep on his couch when his girl buzzes that Peggy is there, and he groggily sits up as she enters, gift in hand. After some small talk about how she was the youngest in her family, she picks up on his lack of sleep and nervously wonders if this might not be the best time, but he merely bids her to sit down. She starts to give him a speech about how grateful she is to him that honestly makes it sounds like she's resigning right here, but she only goes on to tell him how little she makes, adding that she only pulls in seventy-one dollars a week more than her secretary. Don: "Maybe we need to get you a cheaper secretary." Although it's probably true Olive makes plenty more than your average typist, Peggy looks like this is one time she'd prefer a less witty boss. She plows on, however, saying that Paul does the same work as she, "and not as well sometimes." That last word was awfully generous of her. Also, she says, there was a law recently passed about women getting equal pay for equal work. Don, however, unceremoniously shoots her down, saying, referring to Pryce's nickel-and-diming, that he's "fighting for paper clips." Honestly, this is another development I don't completely buy. This episode went out of its way to prove that the place couldn't even function without Don, yet he's not going to go to bat for his best employee because Pryce has been nattering at him? Plot-wise, you can probably swing it, but I don't buy it from a character standpoint, really. Peggy sits for a long moment, and then looks at the present she just gave him: "Third time. Must be old hat." I'm thinking Duck's mention of her not being tied to a family now is echoing in her mind. Don pours them both a drink and sits with her much as he sat with Sally: "You're gonna be fine, Peggy." Peggy, however, doesn't have a young girl's emotional resilience, and she confesses that she looks at Don and thinks, "I want what he has." I hear you, Peggy, but seriously: Who doesn't? Don's a bit flippant at first, but when she goes on that he has everything, "and so much of it," he gets pensive and admits that's probably true. Interesting parallel to Betty's dream, no? Don, not happy at having lost some control over the conversation, asks what she wants him to say, and Peggy's never looked quite so hurt and disappointed as she points out she could hardly have been clearer. Don, trying to get her back on his side, asks if she doesn't see what's been going on in the last six months, but Peggy has an answer for that: "What if this is my time?" She leaves, and it just so happens that Pete sees her exiting Don's office. He accosts her and asks where she's going, and she snaps, "To the ladies' room. You want to join me?" There was a time when it would have been about a fifty-fifty shot, I'd say. Pete, in return, half-snarls that Peggy can use the offer from Duck as leverage, but he's sharing his job with Ken, so he hasn't got a leg to stand on. Peggy counters that he at least has relationships with his clients, and by the way, didn't the meeting with Duck teach him anything about jumping to conclusions? Some of that may not have been verbalized. Pete asks if she said anything, and when she points out that's not his decision to make, he

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