Mad Men

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A- | 1 USERS: A
"Do You Take These Teeth…"

In an apparent nod to the massive staff cutbacks, Joan is wheeling the mail cart around, and when she asks Pryce if he's got anything, the answer is yes -- not outgoing mail, but a promotion for her to Director of Agency Operations. Joan seems genuinely pleased at first, but Pryce continues that, due to their failure to sign any new business for the last ten weeks, the title change will not be accompanied by any pay increase, at least for now. Joan: "Well, it's almost an honor." I thought at first that might be a bit overly snarky, but they probably could afford at least a token pay raise. Plus, you know, hormones.

It's time for the ACS meeting, and after a somewhat matronly woman asks Don what possessed him to suddenly write the ad, he appears a bit intimidated by the room full of bigwigs, but after a pause and a glance at Pete, who's supportively sitting next to him, he says that while he hopes most of his reasons were apparent from the letter, it was really an impulse, "because I knew what I needed to do to move forward." And I suppose we can remember that explanation for any other impulsive behavior we may come across this episode. The woman says they hope the gesture will be useful, because while they believe lung cancer is avoidable and can be thwarted with the right campaign, they haven't found it yet. An older gentleman adds that quoting frightening medical statistics is useless -- half of them are smokers. Wow. I mean, I'm not saying that's not believable given the time period, but I hope they made Don and Pete sign a confidentiality agreement, because that information leaking out to the general public would make them look about as hypocritical as a toe-tapping anti-gay.

Anyway, Don admits that he, too, is a smoker, and he can tell them from personal and business experience that tobacco's agenda is all about getting new smokers -- they make teenagers associate both adulthood and rebellion with their product. "But, teenagers are sentimental as well. Have you heard their music?" This gets appreciative laughter despite the fact that looking around the room, the answer is clearly "no," and Don continues that his idea for a series of commercials is to show mothers and daughters, or fathers and sons, with the idea that basically, depicting the parents as not long for this world will tap into the teenagers' fear of death, especially...if they can emphasize to the teenagers how they've lost their childhood? I think this is straight out of Don's "tap into nostalgia" playbook, but getting people to fear death by telling them the good part of their lives is already over seems weird to me. No wonder he was nervous. He adds that Lucky Strike will hate the campaign, getting more appreciative laughter that still seems unearned to me...

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Mad Men




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