Arts & Culture

Jews Watching Mad Men: Sally Goes Portnoy

  When kids misbehave they get scolded by their parents, when adults misbehave, they do their best to clean up the mess and internalize their guilt, thus spoke the major theme of this week’s Mad Men. This week’s naughty little … Read More

By / August 23, 2010

 

When kids misbehave they get scolded by their parents, when adults misbehave, they do their best to clean up the mess and internalize their guilt, thus spoke the major theme of this week’s Mad Men.

This week’s naughty little episode opened with a reminder of how naughty our hero Don Draper has been, by honing in on his punishment: his insufferable old-lady secretary incarnate, Ms. Blakenship.  Her antics throughout the episode include, wrestling with Pete over a box of sake because it has Don’s name on it, and yelling, "Mr. Draper your daughter’s psychiatrist is on the phone."  This is the 1960′s equivalent saying, "Sir, your son’s counselor from the Methadone clinic is on the phone." The point of it all is that Don Seriously shit the bed last episode.  It was the culmination of his bad behavior since the season’s beginning and quite honestly, people aren’t loving it.  People don’t like to see Don as a failure, as a man who can’t handle life’s challenges.  Draper is the ubermensch and Mad Men audiences have been wincing at his failures for the past few episodes.  This week however there is hope.

Don gets a call from a Times reporter right away who wants a quote about his competitor who apparently nabbed the Clearasil account, and proceeded to call out Draper, essentially dubbing himself as Draper’s major competition. It seems our prediction from last week may be starting to come true.  The spotlight will soon drag Don back into his old identity.

For the firm, the major conflict this week revolves around Honda, a little motorcycle company whose business is starting to pick up in the US.  The SCDP crew decides that in order to get in the running for their business, they need to familiarize themselves with Japanese culture, by reading some book about flowers.  Burt Cooper, already obsessed with Asian culture, is totally psyched about the deal.  Then Roger chimes in.  However Roger, having served in WWII, vowed never to do business with the Japanese.

"If Berbauch can do business with Volksvagen(sic), then we can do business with anybody," Pete replies.  He’s referring to BBD, a major ad company known for their legendary, "tiny car campaign for Volkswagon, as well as their, "You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy Levy’s rye" bread campaigns.    Interestingly, this scene opens with a reference to the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches.  The idea being that the US wronged a portion of its population and tried to sweep it under the rug, much like the characters in this episode.  For instance…

Roger: When he finds out that Honda has been scheduled behind his back, he barges into the meeting and insults the Honda execs, drunkenly.  Pete charges that Roger is simply afraid of new business rendering him and his whale of an account Lucky Strike, irrelevant.  We the viewer know that he is right.  Cigarette advertising, Lucky’s in particular, will die.  Honda on the other hand, are going to start making cars. 

Roger realizes he misbehaved after a heart to heart with Joan.  He says to her, "Since when is forgiveness a better quality than loyalty."  Clearly Joanie and Roger are still in love.  Meanwhile, Joanie has turned into some kind of super hot Yoda.

The Honda Execs:  Walking around the offices with a translator in tow, they are introduced to Joan.  One of them says in Japanese, "How does she not fall over."  The rest of them laugh and Joanie says, "Not exactly subtle are they."

Sally:  First Sally tells the babysitter–Don’s neighbor and potential Draper girlfriend material– that she knows about sex.  She knows that the man pee’s inside the woman.

Sally then goes into the bathroom and gives herself a Joan Jett style haircut in order to look more like the sitter.  Why?  Because she knows that Don wants to bone the babysitter and much like her mom, Sally has serious Daddy issues.

Finally while watching a movie, where a blonde haired hot dude is bound to a chair by a lady in a mask, Sally in the words of Green Day, "bites her lip and closes her eyes," while her friend is sleeping on the couch beside her.  This super racy scene was done tastefully mind you.   The friend’s mom catches her and brings her home claiming that she caught Sally playing with herself in front of her daughter.

Betty:  The ice queen that she is, Betty, upon hearing about the autoeroticism, smacks Sally square across the face.  Then, we learn she’s more worried about what the town is going to think then anything else. Come on.  Betty probably touched herself as a kid too, everyone does.  What are you supposed to do?  Ignore the thing?  It’s this complicated machine on your body for christsake!  By the way, when Betty gets the call about the masturbating, she is in the middle of waiting for her new elderly husband to pee inside of her.  How’s that for hypocrisy?

Don:  Though he’s improving, Don does his share of naughty this week.  Firstly, he rarely sees his kids, but on the night that he has them, he goes to Benihanna with boring Bethany? 

Don, in dealing with Honda, finds out that they respect adherence to the rules.  So he tricks his competitor into breaking them thereby wining the hearts of Honda.  In a sense, this is classic Draper, outwitting the competition, but it’s a bit more deceitful than we are used to.  Throughout the show, even with Don falling apart, he manages to keep it together on the business front.  The fact that he is resorting to trickery, is a bit alarming.  However, he keeps his cool about his daughter’s masturbating, and he makes headway on his courtship of the office shrink lady, so Don we probably be partaking in the kind of naughtiness we like to see quite soon, no peeing involved.