First of all, let me just say that last night’s episode of Mad Men was much better than the season premiere. I think this is mostly because last night’s episode felt like the show we have all come to know and love–with all of the quiet human dramas of our favorite characters and the fashions of the times and the drunken Roger Sterling zingers (see also the particularly good line about how Peggy is a woman so competitive that she races people to the bathroom. Emmy.) and also Betty AHHHH LOL–while last week’s episode felt like a stilted and underwhelming hack-faced piece of garbage. Hahhaha. That’s so much more intense than how I, or anyone really, feels or could possibly feel about last week’s episode, but the point is that I stand my ground and it was not good, but this week’s was good, and so the entire world can finally breathe easy knowing that Betty’s just fat and that I APPROVE the episode. Here’s a question, though: we’re three hours deep now and I’m still not clear how we’re supposed to feel about Megan. I think at the end of last season you were supposed to sort of wish he’d gotten together with that therapist lady, and the proposal was a “big shock,” but I actually totally respect and approve of the middle-aged-crisis-Don marrying a younger woman plotline. At least intellectually this seems pretty believable. Whether or not it’s kind of annoying to actually watch is another story. But more importantly, this show is NOT giving me the emotional cues I need to know how to feel about Don’s new wife. Are we supposed to like her or hate her? Is she trustworthy or suspicious? Is she fun or stupid? Is she good for Don or bad for Don? Seriously, what is it? HELP! I need to be told how to feel about things both in TV and in life, and Matthew Weiner needs to start coughing up those dramatic signposts pronto. Tell us what YOU think in the comments! Just kidding. I mean, you are welcome to comment. But I bet you can’t even help me. Unless you’re Matthew Weiner. Tell us what Matthew Weiner thinks in the comments!

Comments (106)
  1. Random thoughts from this week:
    *I was laughing at the audacity of asking the 1966 Rolling Stones to sell out to Heinz, but then as the show pointed out, The Rolling Stones DID really make a real British ad in 1964 for Rice Krispies?!? Very catchy.
    *I think my favorite moment was Don’s conversation with the young girl at the Rolling Stones concert. I was wondering whether he was going to try to pick her up or give her fatherly advice; fortunately it was more the latter. He’s genuinely curious about this phenomenon. His probing “How do they make you feel?” questions made Don seem old but self-aware; I liked that. I also liked this exchange:
    Teenager: “None of you want any of us to have a good time just because you never did.”
    Don: “No, we’re worried about you.”
    *Whoa, Fat Betty! (bam-ba-lam): I watched a production of King Lear (#culturebrag) last Saturday and was struck by this fact—there is something about a person who once had great power but has lost it that makes them profoundly sympathetic. (Side note: Roger is losing his kingdom at a rapid pace as well. Campbell has dwindled Sterling’s retinue to a mere five knights). In Betty’s case, all of her power is wrapped up in her attractiveness, and as her looks fade/enlargen, so does her clout.
    I was dreading a Betty-centered episode, but I thought it worked surprisingly well. The whole episode actually had some of Betty’s best moments on Mad Men: The breakdown with the tea leaves lady; the call to Don begging him to “say it”; tenderly kissing her baby’s head at the 4th of July event. (Although the less said about the dream sequence the better.) She was still her petulant, self-absorbed self, mind you, but there were some genuinely vulnerable moments.
    Which is why I hated, hated, hated the final shot so much. When she reaches for Sally’s dessert and finishes it off herself, it felt like a jarring sneer: “See?! She’s not fat because of cancer or middle-age. She’s fat because she’s a greedy slob. She’s gross!” Why spend the episode making her sympathetic, only to end with such contempt?
    *Did you guys catch the sly dig at Romney? George Romney—Mitt’s father—was governor of Michigan.
    *The restraint on the producers’ part to have an episode featuring both the Rolling Stones and a housewife wanting to pop diet pills and NOT include a reference to “Mother’s Little Helper”'s_Little_Helper must have been enormous.
    * “Having a Jew makes the agency more modern.” And with Dawn, Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Pyrce is now a place as richly diverse as, say, Congress!
    *Re: Megan. I’ve been surprised by her this season. I expected more of a resentful trophy wife like Roger’s wife. She seems…nice? Like really nice. And vaguely French.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only who was singing “Fat Betty” in my head to the tune “Black Betty”. I was wondering what the over/under would be on the number of comments before that came up, though I would have guess more than one. Well done, werttrew!

    • I actually thought the final shot with the ice cream was really good. It seemed like they’d turned a corner with Betty and I was worried (haha, “worried.”) that it’d just be a “It’s a Wonderful Life” turnaround for her, but as usual, the characterization was multi-faceted. On the one hand, Betty’s power is slipping and that makes her a bit tragic in ways that her past harshness never allowed. But, on the other hand, her immediate reaction to finding out the tumor was benign was self-loathing for being fat. And, on the final hand, the wake up call was not enough to shake her out of her current unraveling life. All told, the episode ended with me having much more complex feelings about Betty than it did when I started, which brings her up to speed with the rest of the cast.

      (Except for Joan. Nothing but simple, unadulterated, undying love for Joan.)

      • I agree. I never have really sympathized with Betty because I always felt like, “Damn, woman! Why you gotta be such a ragin’ bitch!” That being said, this episode gave me conflicting emotions about her, and the nearest I have ever been to feeling sorry for her. Yes, the ice cream shot iis what kind of did me in with the whole “poor Betty” feeling.

        Oh, Betty. It get’s better.

        • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

        • I also kind of read that scene as Betty sort of growing up in a small way (finally). Like, for someone as concerned with beauty as she is, her just accepting and giving in to her “new self” is almost revolutionary. Am I reading too much into it?

    • I believe Megan said in the episode at dinner with Heinz & Wife that she’s french canadian, as is the actress herself.

    • I caught all of these things. LOVED the exchange w/Don and the teenager.

      I was actually secretly hoping Betty would have cancer and the docs missed it and it became a cancer cluster thing relative to where she grew up in suburban NY, because wasn’t that a thing that happened with women at that time? Especially women who were exposed to fucked up 50s and 60s chemicals in their pursuit to be perfect housewives? I know the cancer clusters were a HUGE motivation for the organic food movement and environmental movement and were often attached to the feminist movement… plus the whole irony of her being married to a Republican and what felt like foreshadowing for an anti-nuclear political plot.

      Though this being said, I have had fantasies about Betty getting all second-wave feminist since the second season… maybe even the end of the first. I would LOVE to watch her and her suburban lady groups do all the consciousness raising discover your lady parts womyn stuff that suburban housewives really did do all the time. And it would be an amazing contrast to how she started.

      Of course, the long-lost cancer friend could be her link into that world, especially after hearing the woman speak about being alone and off to sea and mentioning that NO ONE HAD EVER ASKED HER BEFORE. Matt Weiner wouldn’t have put that line in that episode if it wasn’t a hint at something to come. Honestly, Betty could become a bigger feminist icon than Joan or Peggy on that show. Plus it’s a fun way to deal with January Jones’ actual pregnancy.

      Plus feminist Betty is the only hope we have to keep Sally off Creepy Glenn’s ashram in a few years. LITERALLY THE ONLY CHANCE.

      • Not that cancer is fun. Cancer is the opposite of fun. I’d just like to see some character growth from Betty that coincides with actual historical and cultural movements of that era… and would fit with her whole fat on the show / IRL pregnancy.

        And because I really want Sally to have a normal life and an actual female role model that isn’t like 5-6 years older than she is.

      • And I don’t think that it is a coincidence (because Matthew Weiner doesn’t allow coincidences in his world) that he named the housewife on the show Betty, a la Betty Friedan.

      • Actually, I think Betty grew up in Pennsylvania. There was an episode where it was said she’s from Bryn Mawr, which is a suburb of Philadelphia. Don also calls her a “Main Line tramp” or something like that. The Main Line is the collective name of a bunch of affluent suburban towns that run along the main rail line west of Philly.

    • Werttrew 4 Mad Men Recapper!

    • Re: the Rolling Stones and Heinz, I think it’s at least partially a reference to the Who’s lampooning of “selling out” from a year later:

  2. I don’t know!

  3. I like Megan and like the fact that I’m not sure if I’m supposed to or not. And I like that the characters on the show seem to have the same dilemma.

    • Her dynamic with Don compared to when he was married to Betty is intriguing because you get the sense they’re kinda on equal footing. How many times would Don come down hard on Betty and forbid her to do something? I have a hard time seeing Don doing that in this relationship.

      But anyway I agree, I think you’re not really supposed to know exactly what to make of her at this point.

    • I feel like the characters on Mad Men are more like human beings than most TV characters are. People in real life do not act in a way for you to either like them or hate them. Like the characters on Mad Men, no one is really consistent. I think Megan is a special case where we don’t know much about her yet because neither did Don really before he purposed to her. It was supposed to feel like a spur of the moment thing that it was, so just like Don, we will slowly get to know the real her once the whole honeymoon phase is over. If it wasn’t like that, you would not get the same effect. It’s like Don is your midlife crisis friend who married a younger woman and you just met her and have no idea what to think of her yet.

    • Yeah, I hated her on principle last season finale and a little bit of the season 5 premiere, but it’s not her fault Don is morphing into Roger Sterling. She’s no Jane Segel, that’s for sure, but she is definitely filling the child bride to Don role right now. A way different kind of child bride than Betty was for Don, but still. I’m actually a little uneasy with this seemingly season-long theme of the new generation sweeping in and messing with everyone’s comfort zone. It’s odd not to see Don and the gang be front and center of everything/the cool kids in the room. But I think I like it! I don’t know, though, guys. I trust Matt Weiner but I’m nervous!

      • Don’t worry. Don is still the coolest guy in the room. He just knows when to dial it back and play the square.

  4. I don’t like her. I think she’s a con artist… which could make her very very interesting in the long run.

    • Let me clarify: I think she’s using Don for his money and influence and will dump him the second she sees he is no longer in the position of power that he was in when they met. She’s trouble.

      She was EXACTLY what he wanted when they first met — the sweet, Van Trapp nanny / assistant / opposite of Betty with little-to-no depth. She was loyal and uncomplicated and young — demanded nothing and jumped at the idea of marriage after knowing him for no time at all. Now (6 months? 8 months? later) and she HAS Don, she’s filthy and hot (which, let’s be fair, is *exactly* what he wants)… and using this skill set to get what she wants from him — which now is a fancy title AND a fancy apartment with fancy furniture and white carpeting.

      And all of this would be FINE but watching her use her hot lady manipulation skill set around Peggy and Joan makes me really uncomfortable. The way Joan reacts to her makes me think we are not supposed to like her, but then again Joan is still married to Dr. Rapist… (But I think Sally is super wary of her too and I trust Sally.)

      Megan as a trophy wife is one thing, but Megan as a copywriter makes me think she’s pulling strings with a very long-term strategy, Sawyer-style.

      Also she seems just as much of an object of adoration to Don as Betty was, but at least Don was more honest about what he wanted in regards to his relationship Betty. That being said, I like that she pushes back in a way that is very much related to her age and generation.

      The woman is a hell of an actress. And I think she’s absolutely gorgeous. My teeth comments from last week were more because that’s what I have been calling her from day one as I am terrible with names and always assumed she’d be disposable. Plus didn’t Roger call her that? Love that Roger. His comments yesterday about Pete had me cheering.

      • too soapy badideajeans

        • I don’t trust Don’s taste in women because it’s always reflection on himself as a person filled with anger and self-loathing. That I have seen Megan do a 180 in a small period of time makes me think she has bigger plans than a sunken living room. Plus? Sally is Don’s id and I don’t think Sally like her.

          How’s that?

          • likes not like.

            Please excuse my grammar, I just realized that I have been typing much faster than I should because I really REALLY have been ruminating this episode for much of today and apparently have very strong grammatically-challenged feelings about it.

          • Sally is Don’s id? Please elaborate on that.

        • Yeah, gonna agree with H.I. here. But I agree with you, badideajeans, on your Betty assessment further down this page and catweazle’s comment about Megan epitomizing (somewhat) a generational divide. Sympathy for Betty doesn’t require demonizing Megan. (I speak as someone who totally preferred Fay last season. I also was equally horrified that Don chose the annoying, earnest brunette over her AND that the brunette had to have my name.) For better a better explanation of what I’m about to try to say, please see Film Crit Hulk, who despite a love for Caps Lock (he can’t help it – he’s an angry guy!) and an aversion to the first-person singular pronoun, is actually pretty insightful about these things: Film Crit Hulk nails it, basically, about the Megan vs Betty dynamic and how great a character Betty is.

          I don’t think Megan’s a con artist in the sense that she’s using him for purely selfish reasons. But as a more “modern” woman than Betty, she’s partnering herself with Don while it suits her interests, and she expects that that suits his interests as well (as long as the sex is good and they get along). That sounds crass, but it’s basically the foundation of our modern idea of marriage, right? They’re two trains running in parallel for awhile, as opposed to the Betty-Don marriage, where Betty simply had to hitch her train onto the back of Don’s and forget her own identity (Italy being the exception that proved the rule), trusting that Don was leading them in the direction of domestic bliss and decorum she was raised to expect (and of course he wasn’t leading them there at all, which was the problem). I’m gonna derail that metaphor if I ride it any longer (oof! puns.).

          Megan seems more optimistic than all of the other main characters on this show, trusting that humans behaving decently to each other is good for everyone. (But that includes treating yourself well, which requires self-confidence. You don’t feel so compelled to undercut other people if you like yourself.) This kind of makes her a foil for them, right? That’s why she explains to Peggy that she’s disappointed in most of the SCDP employees’ behavior and Don’s. In that sense she’s naive (partly because she’s young) – “Why can’t we all just be generous and get along and have fun singing and dancing to sexy, groovy, ’60s French songs? It’d be better for everyone!” She’s also willing to use (don’t say sexuality) HER SEXUALITY (sorry, had to squeeze in that 30Rock ref) as a tool in arguing with Don in the naked cleaning scene. But what’s amazing is that that scene is in a way the opposite of her scene at the party. She’s not *acting* sexy like she was at the party, she’s just being herself, angry, and naked (in more ways than one!). She’s not putting up a front. Her sexuality is an integral part of who she is in the naked cleaning scene, as opposed to a trounced up performance in the party scene. Somehow this relates to feminism and is a contrast to Betty, but at this point I feel like I’m talking out of my ass and am losing what I’m trying to say so I’ll stop.

          1. Read Hulk’s assessment of Megan and Betty. It’s so great.

          2. I love your defense of Betty’s character further down in the comments.

          3. Loving Betty as a character doesn’t require hating Megan. Megan’s role seems to be something about modernism, the optimism of 1968, and a vast generational divide in how women saw themselves and how they expected to be treated. Megan’s role might be to provide an opportunity for Don to grow up/heal into our modern idea of an adult, not as some constrictive, fetishized ideal of a 1950s husband. The drama will come in seeing what he does with that opportunity.

      • I thought of that too, very briefly, when one of Megan’s friends at the party tells Don that Megan is a really good actress. Like, why would they put that line in THIS show if it didn’t MEAN something, right? But no, I don’t think that she is a literal con artist. I think she is genuinely optimistic and naive but also ambitious and wily. What is also interesting is not just how she handles Don, but how Don responds to her. He doesn’t seem to try manipulating or charming HER into anything, where that used to constitute so much of his MO with women before. For now, he seems to be genuinely honest with Megan about his insecurities and fears, which is… crazy. What about this girl inspires such openness and trust in our Don? Even their angry sex felt more like a game than a legitimate power struggle. Is he purely lying to himself about Megan, or was that crazy proposal last season not as crazy as it seemed?

  5. I’m kind of wondering why there’s a dichotomy between “fun” and “stupid”. Can’t stupid people be fun, and vice/versa?

  6. I keep catching myself liking her, although this makes me suspicious, since I was so against her at the end of last season. Whether we’re supposed to like her or not, she does seem to keep calling Don out on his shit, which is kind of great

  7. I heard Terry Gross interview Matthew Weiner about the season premiere (and the season in general, really) and he really seems to like Megan. He said something to the effect of the therapist being one valid choice that would have made sense, but Megan being another valid choice that made more sense, for who Don is right now and who he dreams of being. That staying with therapist-lady would have meant “owning up to who you are and working through it,” whereas Megan is more, “I know who you are and who you want to be, and you can be whoever that is, and life is fun, and we can have lots of great sex, too.” (I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what he said, word for word.)

    Also, fat Betty! That whole thing made me feel so weird!!

  8. Woah – Major Disagreezz!
    I thought last night’s episode was the worst of the entire series. A heavy handed caricature. And Betty – way way too much Betty – in every way.

  9. When Betty was (nearly) diagnosed with cancer, I thought for sure she was going to make a character turn, try to raise money for her family and start a Meth Lab in New Mexico. Betty Francis is… BREAKING SAD.

  10. Do you guys think it’s the same Fat Suit that Peggy used? #budget

  11. What’s important is whether or not Don likes her. He does immensely, evidenced by his honesty, trust and fidelity to her. That’s all we need to know right now.

    • God, I hope not! I really hope this season will reveal Megan as a character separate from Don. It’s clear to me she’s in no way a villain here, but I also don’t see her as a good long-term match for Don. I think it would be great if she were given as much character development as the old Mrs. Draper.

      • We will definitely come to understand Megan for sure, and the first 2.5 hours of season 5 have offered us glimpses for which we can assess whether we like her or not. But besides her scene with Peggy from the first episode (right before she went home), all her scenes have had her interacting with Don, and through her actions we are given glimpses of who she is and how she makes Don feel.

        To me it feels like we are trying to figure out where Don is at as well as who Megan is, but Don comes first on our list of concerns. Megan obviously makes him happy, he is way more into her than he is his work now (“I don’t care about work. I care about you.”), and so we’re all very protective and sensitive towards Don, he being the main character and all.

        I’m glad you responded to my comment, because after writing it I felt I was being a little too absolute, which was not what I meant to do. The point I was trying to make is that Gabe is right in asking “How We Feel About Megan,” because at this point in the narrative she is still a character where opinions may fall on one side or the other based off of conjecture assumptions. The only thing we do know for certain is that Don likes her, and until we’re shown that she is actually a detriment or a negative force on her own accord with scenes dedicated to illustrating that in one way or another (like all of Betty’s suburbia scenes), we have to take our cues from Don on where Megan is positioned in objective favorability.

  12. I think the only reason she’s unlikable right now is that she stands up to Don, and we’re not used to it. He clearly likes her – he caves to her! She demands respect.

  13. I had a friend in high school whose parents’ names were Don & Dawn. They were ridiculous.

    • My theory is that they made her sad, just because it is the only expression she has in her acting handbook (besides dead-eyed stare — she’s great at that).

  14. Megan is the opposite of Betty. That’s what I think we are supposed to take away IMHO. She is young, fresh and stylish. Betty is cold, middle-aged (her fac when he said that! lol) and old-fashioned. Megan wears her heart on her sleeve, Betty ties hers up in a box hides it away somewhere and then puts a scowl on her face.

    • I totally disagree with this. Except that I LOOOOVED her scowl when she was told she was middle aged. I doubt she’s even 30.

      Because of the class and era Betty was raised in, she never had the chance to be like Megan. When she did stand up to Don, it had to be through insane manipulation and passive aggressive means. If not, Don would freak the fuck out. Don is terrifying and Betty’s actions were a result of her shit parents and her shit husband.

      She went to a seven sisters’ college and graduated with a decent degree and was still only defined by her looks. Within seconds she became Mrs. Don Draper and then mom to Don Draper’s kids in no time at all. When she tried to control stuff in her life, she was slapped HARD for it.

      Even when she went to the doctor, it was under the motivation to look good not to see if she was secretly pregnant or something was wrong. And even then so she could get back into her wardrobe!! OMG, no shit she’s going to be mean.

      There is a whole generation of women that were stuck raising kids they never wanted and treated like objects on a shelf — all while their husbands were fucking everything around them. They resented their kids because they were, indeed, trapped and they resented women younger than them because those born 10 or even 5 years later were given wayyy more options in life. (Younger people… like, say, Peggy or Megan or maybe even Joan — though I’m quite sure all three of those women worked because they had to not because they wanted to.) And these angry, ANGRY women were the ones who championed the second wave feminist movement and (like I said earlier) I have been crossing my fingers that Betty becomes one of them for so SO long as she is the prototype — leisure class, angry, suffocated by her environment, unhappy marriages, educated, etc.

      I love Betty. I really do. She is one of the most complex characters on the show, even if she usually just comes off as cold. Remember when the only person she could relate to was Creepy Glenn? There’s something to that.

      I really love this show, you guys. Even what would be a villain can be read as complex and fascinating based on really strange and simple things. I know I am projecting my wants for her, but goddamn if we don’t all do that with any great character or series.

      • I love you. You summed up most of my thoughts on Betty. I find it difficult to hate her, I am more dissapointed with Betty’s inability to smarten up than dislike her for her bitchyness which like you said is an offshoot of having an awful husband and being born into a suffocating environment. Obviously her bad parenting skills cannot be justified (HOW COULD YOU FIRE CARLAAA), but that aside, I think Betty should abandon her bitchy housewife shtick and use her anger to climb back up and do something significant.

        She is a fantastic character, I often feel conflicted about her much like the way I do towards Pete

      • Badideajeans, you are one of my favourite Monsters and this insanely insightful portrait of Betty sums it up so well.

        I agree, +1 to everything, A+++++ feedback would do business with this comment again.

        • Back at you!! I was actually waiting for you on this one… This is *so* our jam.

          I also want to add that Betty’s anger reminds me of my own anger when strangers (ahem, male strangers) approach me in public and say stuff like “you’d be so much prettier if you smiled more” — especially when I was a kid/teen and didn’t have the language or self-confidence to put someone in their place for a comment that demoralizes and diminishes me because women are objects and men should dictate what kind of objects surround them and I’m bad at being an object and thus should be told what to do.

          Anyway, I feel like Betty is in the same place because the language hasn’t been invented and/or legitimized yet. So every time she frowns in the way that she frowns, I feel like *I’m* frowning too. (But also because I am actually frowning because ugh… And we literally make the same frown, so that as well.)

          Of course once Betty learns what I have learned and hopefully uses it, she’ll get told by some drunk asshole that she’s an angry feminazi that she’s a pretty girl that needs to learn how to take a compliment.

          • Though to be fair, I think the whole speaking out against catcalling and other forms of back-handed compliments movement (which I have heard called a movement many MANY times) is closer to our generation than Betty’s… But we wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing it if it wasn’t for the women who spoke up so that we could vote, work, wear pants, choose if we wanted to get married or have kids, etc.

            In summary, Free To Be You And Me, feminism, freedom.

          • Betty as an study of objectification is exactly why I don’t hate her presence on the show. She is such a necessary dialogue to have if you are discussing women’s rights and a feminist narrative. I love that you brought up the, “smile, sweetheart” idea because that is her whole life.

            I do wonder where the whole “I’m just fat” depression angle of her character is going to lead. I hope it leads to an ownership over herself rather than just a period of self-hatred. Even though the dream sequence was cheesy, I like that she actually felt some ownership toward how she affects Sally for the first time on the show. I want her to realise she is shaping that girl’s life with how she acts so your vision of her as a second waver comes true.

            And you forgot to end your last comment with, “feminism, fuck yeah!” *freeze frame high-five*

          • Actually, I’d like to imply it with THIS…

      • I think you’re right – she’s stuck and she is a bit bitter about it. And I love her character – it’s very complicated and interesting. However, I think Don is drawn to Megan because she is the opposite of Betty. Yes Betty probably resents younger women for the reasons you said, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t turned her sour and effected her. It’s completely fascinating to watch this contrast between Joan/Betty and Peggy and Megan but I still believe that Don did not want to go back to another Betty. At least he’s telling himself that. Obviously there’s something deeper going on there, but maybe that’s also why he wanted the opposite of Betty. He can’t replace her for a lot of reasons.

  15. Harry and Kumar Go To White Castle? Is this something?

  16. Can we raise the larger topic of WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH HARRY CRANE?

    • Yeah, I feel like they made some major changes to his character this season which is disappointing to me because I always liked him. He seemed like the nerdy guy who lucked into a big career advancement and couldn’t really keep up with the other boys in the office because he cared more about his family life. Now he’s just a sleazy asshole who Don hates.

      • Harry Crane has become the Jerry Gurgich of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. YOU RUIN EVERYTHING HARRY!

      • I don’t know. Harry’s always been a little off. Last season he was way creepy with that graphic artist guy, who later referred to him as an ‘old queen.’ (before Peggy fired him)

        Harry seems bored. He initially made that jump to working with television people, but he has since plateaued. He’s a young guy. Life at home is boring. Kids ‘eat first.’ He’s supposed to be on a diet. ALL THESE RULES!

        Also, let’s not forget Harry flirted with secretaries endlessly in season 1 AND slept with Pete’s secretary. His wife kicked him out over that until they patched things up. Rich Sommer also lost weight between seasons 3 and 4, which is around the time his attitude shifted.

        • There was something fishy about how his wife wasn’t at Megan’s party. Maybe his wife left him.

          • That’s what I’m leaning toward. At the very least, his home life is clearly hell for him. I dig his whole gradual shift in douchebaggery. As Badideajeans points out, he’s got alot of clout under his belt now AND a young kid and a wife. Power changes people, look at Don Draper when he was selling suits compared to now.

          • Yeah! And the way he kept MENTIONING her way too much! He is definitely secretly separated.

        • Yes. Also he went from being an office punchline to someone who saw an opening in a new ad field and went for it… and lo and behold, the gamble paid off and now he’s hobnobbing with movie stars and rock stars and has the overly inflated ego of someone who was just a sometimes creep to a full-time creep with power and influence and the ability to drop names (even if they fall on deaf teenage ears).

          Also: that the teenagers didn’t know or didn’t care who Charlton Heston was WAS FUCKING BRILLIANT. (My parents have told me a number of times that Heston was a rather divisive figure in the generational divide — even up to the 80s when Heston was doing NRA stuff to appeal to Reagan fans and WWII vets and my Boomer parents were like “just furthering the case to hate it, you withered prune.”)

          I’d like to see them bring back the dude with the mohair sweater that went to Princeton because he always seemed like the only one who could bring Harry back to any level of humility. And also that guy was rad. And also, I’d like Sal back too.

    • Exactly. We go on and on about Betty finishing 2 ice cream sundaes but no mention of the 20 burgers Harry wolves down.

  17. You’re so square, you’ve got corners.

  18. Do you remember when in Maidenform, the ad guys compared every woman to a Jackie or a Marilyn? Well, Don tried Jackie (Betty) and that didn’t work. Now, he’s with Marilyn (Megan) and that’s probably not going to work either.


    There was one girl in the office who defied categorization:

    Mark my words…

  19. Here’s what I think: the name Weiner should be pronounced Wee-ner like a hot dog weiner, not Whiner like a whiner crybaby type. Na’mean?

    • Yeah! Everybody forget how words are pronounced according to the rules of words and pronunciation! Steve’s right! DUH!

      Heinz is now ‘Heentz.’
      Calvin Klein is now ‘Calvin Kleen.’
      Einstein is now ‘Eensteen.’

      Spread the word, dig?

      • Also, the correct spelling of the hot dog variety is ‘wiener,’ not ‘weiner.’

      • Well, it’s likely that Weiner is a German derivation Jewish name. In German it’d be pronounced “Viner” so anglicizing it to “Whiner” makes sense.

        ei in German is a long i. Plus people can say their names anyway they want.

        “Welcom to the program Mr. Raymond Luxury Yacht”

        “No, no, no! It’s spelled Raymond Luxury Yacht but it’s pronounced Throat Wobbler Mangrove!!!”

    • You should always call whiners weiners.

  20. I feel like the Don/Megan relationship is really getting to the heart of the generation gap that seems to be playing a big part this season. You started seeing the same dynamic with Pete and Peggy in that scene last season where she Pete was standing around with the stodgy old office guys while Peggy went off to have fun with her young friends.

    Don and Megan obviously love each other, but every time you see them hanging out with Don’s friends or Megan’s friends, they both end up being somewhat embarrassing to each other. For example, at Don’s birthday party, Megan was hanging out with the young crowd and Don thought they were laughing at him. Then, on this week’s episode, Don takes Megan to a dinner with a client and it’s painfully awkward because Megan doesn’t know how to talk to them and keeps correcting them (“I’m not French, I’m Canadian!” and “No, that Rolling Stones song is actually called this!”). I found that scene uncomfortable to watch because she just had no clue.

    I think it’s an interesting direction to take the show in, because obviously the Peggy and Megan types are the future, but the Dons and Petes and Rogers are still trying to hold on to their own era. There could be some interesting shakeups as time passes.

    • This may be a minor quibble, but as a Canadian I was slightly taken aback by the “I’m not French, I’m Canadian!” line. Since this is probably taking place during the Quiet Revolution/’Maitre Chez Nous’ movement, you would think that a character with a mother that only speaks french would say “I’m not French, I’m Quebecois”. Yes, I realize that not all Quebecois are die-hard nationalists, but could have added some interesting texture in contrast to the civil rights struggles of the period. A rare miss on the details Mad Men.

      I also find it interesting that a character who seems unequivocally nice/kind/not a shrew needs to be seen as having an ulterior motive by the audience.

      • I had the same thought. “I’m not French, I’m Canadian,” sounded really strange to me. At least say “French Canadian.” But I guess only Canadians would be so sensitive to Quebec nationalism. Even writing this comment is hard! So touchy!

    • Roger had that great, exasperated, telling line “When are things going to get back to normal?”

      HAH! They’re not, you dumb-dumb!

    • TOTALLY. We’re totally getting into the “don’t trust anyone over 30″ mentality. It’s coming. It’s like winter. I can feel it.

      I think at some point, if Sally doesn’t hate her, it will become super apparent and super creepy to Don that Megan is closer in age to his daughter and that teen girl he was trying to mine for information/keep from getting date raped at a Stones concert. I could easily see him shift into that misogynistic / paternalistic version of himself that can no longer see his wife as a sex object because his wife reminds him of his daughter.

      Also, I thought it was quite telling that Pete and Trudy were dressed like stodgy old people at Megan’s fun young person party Don’s surprise party last week… and looked even more dated than Roger and Lane.

      Listening to that teenager tell Don how old and stodgy and unrelaxed he was is suuuuch foreshadowing OMGGGGG. Love it. Love this season. Love this show. Best show ever. Ahhhhhh.

    • I think the final song choice, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” really emphasized this. When it first started playing, I was a bit shocked and couldn’t figure out why Weiner would choose a show tune from a Julie Andrews musical to close out an episode with a Rolling Stones concert. But I think the song was designed to point to both the generation gap (by juxtaposing it with the Stones) and the process of aging (“You are sixteen going on seventeen”) as distinct but interrelated themes.

  21. wow. I thought the complete opposite. I thought this episode was odd and uneven (mostly just the Betty stuff vs. everything else) and that the premiere was excellent.

    • I’m with you. I thought the Betty stuff was a little too on the nose. Ooooh the beautiful one is fat now but she might be sick! Oh wait, she’s not sick, she’s just fat and she has to deal with that cold, hard truth! And also, the episode just took like 3 random subplots and smooshed them all together randomly; the best episodes IMO are the ones that revolve around a common thread.

  22. “Stop me at three ice creams. This is one.”

  23. It’s weird that people lost sympathy for Betty when she finished off Sally’s ice cream. I lost sympathy for her when (after trying to make her feel better) she told Henry he just couldn’t see how fat she was because his mother is obese. Ugh.

  24. Betty’s gonna off herself this season.

  25. I think the unpredictability we feel as the audience with Megan is meant to reflect the unpredictability that Don feels with her – and I think that quality in a woman/wife is the key to keeping Don’s attention, and keeping him satisfied. In the past, he’s become increasingly disinterested in any woman he feels he’s “figured out.”

  26. I disagree with Gabe. I liked the season premiere better. This whole episode was about Betty, and I had mixed feelings about that. As much as I dislike her, this episode forced me to pity her. I know January Jones was pregnant at the time of filming, but she must be wearing some extra padding, no?
    During Betty’s dream, when dream-Sally puts her chair upside-down, I thought dream-Betty was gonna get all upset and be all “Damn, girl, I’ve been only dead 1 day! What is wrong with you?” I thought the sundae scene was like when Scrooge gets all nicey in The Christmas Carol. Betty’s got to keep on an eye on that Sally.
    And did they really tell Dawn that they expected her to not tell white people apart?! These crackers’ be crazy!
    Was there a Dateline: To Catch a Predator in 1966? Because Harry Crane would be on it. ‘Nuff said.
    Wow, Megan messed up the dinner party real good. Why did she insist on Don hanging out with her friends? That’s a way to lose a ton of friends…or a husband. His only friends are the bottles in the liquor cabinet and memories of Dick Whitman.
    It was interesting to see Peggy hire a new person. Doesn’t he look like Scott Baio? Peggy loves Chachi lol.

    And why was there no Joan?!

  27. Hat tip to Ezra Klein on this one, but Betty totally has cancer. You don’t hear the diagnosis on the phone and her buddy told her to pretend to be healthy if the doctors gave her bad news. She will be weirdly, strangely nice to everyone and then die. Mark my (Ezra Klein’s?) words.

    • Nah, I don’t think this is that kind of show. Besides, she seemed genuinely distressed by the news that she was HEALTHY and the implications that came with it.

  28. i hate her like a lot

  29. Holy crap – both a Sawyer AND a Free To Be You & Me reference, AND a stunning diatribe to boot? @badideajeans FTW – commentary of the week! Bravo!

  30. Megan had one line that made me go all the way to Hate Town: something like, “she [Betty] just wanted an excuse to call you.” Or, you know, the mother of Don’s children might have cancer. That too.
    I thought that statement really illustrated how young Megan really is… but then again, she still strikes me as manipulative and much smarter than she lets on. Dammit. Megan is confusing. She’s like, the Littlefinger of Mad Men, I want to love her but she might just be a mega bitch.

  31. I am a big fan of this site and its episode recaps, especially the ones for Mad Men.

    Are you guys not doing those anymore? If so, that’s cool. I just want to know so I don’t keep hoping they will pop up like some sort of lovesick puppy.

  32. Ok guys. I don’t know if Weiner has actually been to legit francophone canada, but I have family there and as much as I love them, the accent is so, so far from the sexy Parisian one the Meagan is rocking. Also, the region is super rural (except montreal and quebec city) and pretty provincial and most people (especially around 1966) are farmers and 99.9% of quebecois (event today) cannot speak anything close to Meagan’s perfect, accent-less english. I’m not a TV show nitpicker, but Jesus it seems so weird to pretend that her character is from Quebec.

    Quebecois french sounds exactly like this:

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