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I think you can make the case that Megan's character is the biggest development of the season and the finale fully changed her from idealistic young woman coming into her own in the liberating 60's, to just another scheming product of post-ww2 American marterialism. Her seeming noble and enlightened quest to realize her ambitions and use her talents in acting has decended into backstabbing her friend and manipulating her husband for a TV commercial. Don makes this clear when he castigates her for trying to use him and not be "discovered" for what she has to offer, and for even wanting a role in a TV commercial and not a play or movie. He points out her hypocracy when he says she hates advertising and is now wanting a part in it (and Don doesn't even know she backstabbed her friend for it too). Don is clearly setting Megan in this new light of just another ambitious schemer willing to do anything to get ahead. She is brought "down" in that regard to Don's level (and Roger, Pete, Bert, Joan, etc). I think this stripping her of idealism, and nobility is a sign of where Season 6 might be going. Perhaps this also a comment on the 60's and it's aftermath. That ultimately all the 60's hype of changing the world fell flat, that the activists and demonstrators mostly sold-out and joined only a slightly changed establishment. show more Read more:
Toggle Commented Jun 11, 2012 on "Mad Men," Episode 13, "The Phantom" at On The Air
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Can you tell me what is the title of the song played at the end and over the closing credits? I think the lyrics might be telling, but I need to listen to them again.
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I found this episode hard to watch because by 21st century standards of conduct it's sickening. But Mad Men isn't in the 21st century. I think Joan has represented for a while the "traditional" woman of the time. I think in her self-image and ways of thinking ofherself she's actually much like the now rarely seen Betty. She had few formal job qualifications so she's not got a career track beyond office manager and overseeing the secretaries and clerks. She knows that. She has used her sexuality to get what she wants whether with Roger, Lane or to catch what she thinks is a meal ticket husband. I think the last few episodes set up that Joan knows this has failed. Her husband is a louse and is gone, she aging, has a kid (all bigger deals in 1966 than now), and she sees the new generation of women in Peggy and Megan making it on their own (not as husband catchers) with their talent not their sexuality. She feels trapped and likely a stong maternal obligation to provide well for her son in the future. Here comes a way (disgusting as it is) to use what she perceives as her greatest asset to get what she wants most (respect, status, financial security). I think she sees sex with the Jaugar dealer as not all that terribly much more or different than what she's done before in having an affair with Roger, flirting with Lane and trying to make a marraige with a louse. By 21st standards what Joan did is a big jump so we struggle to understand her willingness to have sex with the Jaguar dealer, and fit this to the overall character of Joan we know and root for (and set in our 21st century mindset). I think the message in this episode is to remind us not to watch Mad Men from the 21st century but from 1966. And Mad Med does so by exposing this dissonace (of Joan as we want to know her and the Joan of her world). As to Don, I don't see him here as the hero trying to stop Joan. I don't totally buy Don as victim as he's interpreted by some this season. I think he is still a power at SCDP. i think if he REALLY wanted to stop Joan he could have. Don likes to have the best of all worlds, so here he can claim the moral high-ground of walking out of the discussion about Joan with the partners and going to Joan's apartment, and still get the benefit of the Jaguar account. I agree he'd prefer to get the account based on his excellent work, but I suggest he'd rather have the acocunt on any terms than not have it at all. I didn't see his opposition as the least bit empassioned, strident or powerful. Where was the threat to resign or to expose this dealer to Jaguar's corporate executives? Why didn't Don go to him and threaten to expose what he proposed to his wife and give him a black eye nad bloody nose in the process? Also, in closing a note on Roger. In or 21st centrury prism we would expect Roger to support Joan as they've been intimate and is the mother of his child. But again I'd say go to 1966. To Roger, Joan is a good time, nothing more. He likes her, but doesn't care for her in a relationship way. After all, with at least two opportunities (divorces) Roger hasn't pursued Joan. i think it never occurs to him to be upset at Joan's sexual activities as he doesn't feel any connection with her beyond being one of them.
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Do you think this episode was purposely scheduled on a holiday weekend to delay reviews and blogs to give reviewers and commentators more time for reflection and consideration given it's story?
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I think a theme of the episode is: what constitutes fulfillment. As the converesation between Don and Roger shows, for their generation it was material. Roger says he never had a chance to choose his way, his father told him what he would so. Don wanted "indoor plumbing". At the same time Megan is the next gereration. She's willing pass on the security and money of the agency abnd a steady jod and try acting. Ginsberg is constantly putting-down what he does. And there is the speech by Harry about how pointless what they do is. Also, the whole Cool Whip storyline I think goes to this. In the scne with Megan and Don in the kitchen, Megan is listening to news about Vietnam, while Don has spent his day trying out slogans for non-dairy whipped topping. I think Don's agnst with Megan is that she is following her dream and he has made his choices and can't undo it. His fate is to obsess on baked beans and whipped topping. It's how the Greatest Generation defined fulfillment ad how the generation of the 60's did. And Pegg's caught in the middle between the two definitions. I have more confusion about the Pete storyline. I think Roger is setting him up on the ski account, but that pay-off must be in a later episode. Roger is not the giving kind, so there must be an ulterior motive somewhere. As for Pete's affair, I think it goes to again point out as in other episodes that he is Don-light. This is something Don would do, but we would never expect Don to be stood-up in the hotel room. Where Don was a consumate seriel adulteror, Pete is the bumbling version.
Toggle Commented May 7, 2012 on "Mad Men," Episode 8, "Lady Lazarus" at On The Air
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May 7, 2012