Mad Men
The Summer Man

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B+ | 2 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
Half the Battle
k it might have been nice to give the blind old lady a heads up before she did her beast of burden impression. Miss Blankenship, however, changes the subject and tells Don that Betty called to remind him he can't have the kids on the upcoming weekend, as Bobby's birthday party is on Sunday. Don corrects her that it's Gene's birthday, prompting this response: "Did you want me to buy him or her a gift?" Hee. I think whoever writes for Miss Blankenship should have to pay the show and not the other way around. Don, out of energy for this conversation, tells her no, so she turns her attention back to the liquor bottles. Mustn't they have a cart around there somewhere? How do they lug around all that ham?

Joan arrives home and finds Greg just out of the shower, and after he smiles about the pleasant surprise, they make out for a bit, and then she asks if he minds that she's home early. I'd be surprised if there weren't some off-camera evidence that he's perfectly happy to see her, but regardless, he points out that she's the one who doesn't want to watch him pack or even to say goodbye, and she admits that's true. He takes her into the bedroom and tries to reassure her that things will be fine, but when she wonders whom she's going to talk to, he suggests that she try her friends at work. I don't know if it's "friends" or "work" that's the more ill-advised thing to mention at the moment, but either way, Joan bursts into tears, and I've already told you how green that Kryptonite is for me, so let's just say Greg finds an enterprising way to get her to stop crying and leave it at that.

Don dishes himself out a can of Dinty Moore beef stew, which reminds me of overnight camping trips when I was ten, and also helps himself to a can of Budweiser, which probably would have made said trips more enjoyable. After taking in a few seconds of a news broadcast about Vietnam, DVO says he hopes it doesn't turn into another Korea (ouch), and after complaining about the little-girlness of writing down the day's experiences, he confesses that he keeps thinking about Gene: "He was conceived in a moment of desperation, and born into a mess." Well, at least his dad knows how that goes. As we cut back to the pool, Don tells us some things he'd like to do, including "climb Mount Kilimanjaro," and that's a worthy goal but I think to pull that off he'd have to quit smoking, and I don't think Lee Garner Jr. will allow that. Don amends that first one to say that he'd be happy going anywhere in Africa, and then goes on that he'd like to "gain a modicum of control over the way I feel." Girlish or not, I think the journal is a step in the right direction. He lets himself sink to the bottom of the pool...

...and then he's got Peggy, Stan, and Ken in his office, and when Stan hands him a drink, he takes it but then stares at it like he's forgotten what to do with it, and it's a good thing rye doesn't have feelings, because if I were that one glass of Canadian Club that Don Draper refused to drink I think I'd throw myself down the drain in shame right then and there.

Ken snaps Don out of his reverie by telling the group that the whole Mountain Dew campaign has gone pear-shaped -- apparently some bottlers voiced opposition to an occult-themed design, and as a result even though it was Pepsi's own artists that drew it, in this situation, as Ken puts it, "Pepsi is the tail and the bottlers are the dog," and as such they need to change the design. Don sighs that the whole idea is tainted now before instructing Peggy to start over, and she exposits that she did that one with Joey before asking if he wants Stan to take over. Stan pipes up that he's being spread awfully thin, but even though that's the only way I can abide him, Don still sees that as a problem and barks for Miss Blankenship to get Joan in there. Peggy and Ken make light fun of Miss Blankenship, but Don is more concerned with staring at the drinks in their hands, and the voice-over is one thing but the slow-motion close-ups I think I could have done without, especially since they don't stop Don from eventually taking a sip from his own glass.

Some more overly cinematic shots are thankfully interrupted by Joan's arrival, and when Don tells her he'd like to make Joey full-time for a couple of weeks, and instead of laying waste to the entire room, Joan says she'll have to check on his availability before asking if he's really the right person for the job. After Ken and Don express some confusion as to why she would ask that, Joan closes the door and says she's been hearing a lot of complaints about him. "He's not a gentleman with the girls." Oh, dear. Joan is of course historically extremely protective of the women under her care, but I wonder if maybe she's making this up rather than come clean about the fact that Joey directly disrespected her, because if one of the girls had really complained to her, I think she would have brought it up earlier rather than wait until confronted with the prospect of full-time Joey.

Anyway, she says that the source of the incident was "an extremely blue joke," and Peggy wonders when, but it's unclear whether she doesn't believe Joan or if she's just wondering how she missed out on the office gossip. Don tells Joan, essentially, to get over it, and when she's gone, Stan grins that he knows the joke in question, but Peggy won't let him get more than a few words into it before asking if they're done. Don dismisses them, but as Peggy leaves, he asks her to "tell Ray Charles to come in here and clean this up." Inappropriate and insensitive, sure, but after Miss Blankenship's comment about "Negroes" last week I'm inclined to let it stand. Well, also because HA!

In his office, Harry is telling Joey some Peyton Place-related bullshit, the upshot of which is that Harry thinks Joey could be a TV actor, and he's got the connections to make it happen. Joey's like, don't know about that, and looks skeeved out when Harry tells him how handsome he is and that he already showed his people in California a picture of him from the Christmas party. At least he didn't ask Harry if he kept one for himself. Harry's girl then buzzes to let them know that Peggy is outside for Joey, and Joey takes the opportunity to thank Harry for thinking of him and hightail it out of there...

...and outside, he tells Peggy, "Everyplace I've worked, there's always some old fairy who comes on to me, but that was the weirdest by far." HA! I mean, to be honest, I'm surprised Joey hasn't heard the Casting Couch Call before, but the fact that Harry tried to do something relatively nice (if pretentious and self-important) and got labeled a lecherous old queen for it tickles me to no end. Peggy gets to her business, which is to ask what Joey did to Joan, and when he smugly tells her he told her off, Peggy informs him that he shouldn't have, as Joan's important around there. However, Joey dismissively tells her that there's a Joan in every company, and she's an overblown secretary who tells everyone what to do, adding that his mother was exactly the same. "She even wore a pen around her neck so everyone would stare at her tits." I never saw Joey's mother, obviously, but Joan has been doing that a lot lately, although frankly I'm surprised anyone would think they need the help. I mean, even Miss Blankenship couldn't miss those things. They've got their own gravitational force. Peggy doesn't give up, though, saying that Joan and Pryce basically run the place, and Joey tells her okay, he's got the message, before looking at his watch and wondering with a sigh if it's time to go yet. Exhausted, Peggy leaves him, and I hope for her sanity's sake she doesn't have to deal with Joey or Stan for the rest of the day.

After they enter the anteroom of a fancy restaurant, Henry introduces Betty to a political aide, "Ralph Stuben," who apolo

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