tgir
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Joined: March 16th, 2008, 3:36 am

April 23rd, 2014, 3:10 am #51

I think that even today, a strong woman is quite often considered to be a bitch for being assertive, for having authority. Women still quite often utilize less direct and more nurturing or pseudo nurturing ways to couch issues in order to get done what needs to be done. Men are bastards and everybody simply accepts that they are. Of course not all men are bastards or even most. But no one thinks a man is unsexing himself or out of line or pushing boundaries for being assertive.

Don/Pete: I know we've had this discussion before. Both are extremely flawed individuals, and flawed men and flawed fathers. Both had lousy upbringings, with Pete having a great deal of wealth but no emotional warmth from either parent. Don had no money, no parents, an abusive step mother who hated him and who felt obligated to him and was raised, partially, and imo, unbelievably in a whore house.

One big difference between the two is that Don has always sought to transcend his circumstance--often through escape,yes. He left to join the army, and when fate/circumstance presented an opening, he left his old, despised (bastard son of a whore) identity behind and took the identity of a dead man, which was as close to a clean slate as he could get. He received probably the first genuine nurturing in his life from Anna who did not judge him and encouraged him to make the most of himself. Understandably, if not necessarily admirably, Don believed that the way to better himself was through financial success. He was blessed (and cursed, in a way) with good looks and charm to go with his not inconsiderable intelligence. He understands what people (in the abstract, and as a group) want and how to give it to them, or make them think they're getting what they want and need, and to want what he has to offer. He understands the mechanics, he understands the formula, even the poetry of the human heart. But he doesn't quite understand actual relationships, and love. He is caught in the idea that beauty is the most important thing (Betty, and also Megan) and providing luxuries is the most important thing, is the way you demonstrate love. He understands sex, he understands form but real emotion? Not really. He saw absolutely no examples of healthy human interactions on any level when he was growing up so he has little basis on which to build real relationships himself. We've seen him gradually, painfully, realize that he is missing some very key elements, some important understanding. He wants to be a good husband to Megan, and I think he wanted to be a good husband to Betty as well. He just didn't really understand how he hasn't been a good husband. With Betty, it was largely about sex and control: remember his conversations with the psychiatrist? I felt so bad for Betty--and in fact, that was largely what made me not hate her. With Megan, he's faced with a woman who is younger, more modern and more in tune with the changing culture and who isn't interested in being controlled. The extreme example of attempting to control a woman was with Sylvia and of course, failed miserably because she realized he did not realize it was all play acting. In Don, I see genuine strength of character (however deeply flawed--and he is deeply, deeply flawed) but he is strong, effective and is genuinely trying to be a better person, even if he has little clue how to do it. He is making some attempts to forge a real, genuine relationship: he revealed more to Megan (learning that his secrets destroyed his marriage to Betty) and to Sally because he actually does love his kids, even if he doesn't know how to relate to them very well and certainly not on an emotional level. In many ways, he relates to them as most men of that era related to their kids.

Pete also came from a family which emotionally neglected and perhaps abused him. He had lots of privilege but instead of being stronger for it, he is weaker and pretty ineffectual. Like Don, he really sees only surface: he married the rich wife with plenty of the right connections, he sees having mistresses or at least sex on the side as simply a perk of being a man of certain means. He is, imo, mostly petty and mean spirited and dishonest to the core. He is dishonest with himself and his idea of bettering himself is to be in charge. However, he lacks the talents to do so. He doesn't care about becoming a better man: he cares about winning. I think he was genuinely sorry when his marriage fell apart. I think he cares about his daughter but not enough that he would give up the chance to be on the west coast so he could spend more time with his daughter. He didn't even want to have to commute to the suburbs to spend time with his daughter, instead preferring his pied a terre where he could take his sexual conquests. I see him as a small, petty, bitter little man who has reached the peak of his human development and probably did so by age 9.
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KMInfinity
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Joined: March 17th, 2008, 1:09 am

April 23rd, 2014, 10:18 am #52

Great post tgir. I agree with some of it. :P I do think somehow I hold Don to a higher standard which isn't really fair.

>>>>I don't think these characters would be true to themselves if they... discussed their feelings more. Oh, when they TRY to, it's fascinating (Don/Sally here... memorably, Don and Joan drinking and chatting a little), but they're too... you know, 'them' - to navigate healthy communication (which is fun, since they're all about communicating 'their message' to their clients and their clients' audiences...).

Good point about the irony of the 'communicating the message' on Madison Ave. I agree that the 50's-60's time period includes a constraint that limits more honest, deeper 'sharing' - and one of the hallmarks of the counterculture is to 'let it all hang out' and react to that paradigm. But regarding Peggy, I just wish there was some way to give us a stronger sense of her POV, to show what Krystal was talking about, that she's just in a really really tough spot, to validate her experiences. I think there is a point where the show is in danger of (unintentionally?) sending the wrong message about Peggy and her experiences. Upon further reflection, I think some of it might be due to the poor plot decisions. Having the conflict center round the roses comes at Peggy's expense, and includes that whole mess with Ted Chaough. I do think a closer parallel with Lou's 'bitchiness' could have been better developed - maybe by highlighting Peggy's justifiable reasons for feeling bitchy with Shirley - say Shirley dropped the ball with a client and Peggy overreacts? Contrasted with Lou overreacting to a much less justifiable situation with Sally. The whole focus of the valentines day subtext just seems to drive home that Peggy's hormones are the problem, not the pressures of her business responsibilities and the unfair treatments and burdens she faces as a women.
Last edited by KMInfinity on April 23rd, 2014, 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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tgir
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Joined: March 16th, 2008, 3:36 am

April 23rd, 2014, 11:20 am #53

Well, KMI, I don't think that MM is particularly woman-friendly. I think the show sees them as much more victims than the men do and much more powerless. The two black secretaries seem to have more agency and more actual friendships than any of the white female characters. Even the maid that Betty fired was far more together than her employers. Yes, she got fired for no reason and yes, it made Betty look bad--but she had a better, more genuine relationship with the children than did Betty, and I would argue that she's as close to an actual friend that Betty has ever had.

I would say that Valentine's day just highlighted that Peggy's problem is that she is a woman without a man. She's in a difficult position as a female with a lot of responsibility and struggling mightily with getting respect from the men. Joan as well, but she's had no problem getting married, having--and raising her child. And we know she has friends outside of work. Betty? She has work and she has her home which is really just another job as she's landlord in a place she doesn't feel entirely safe. Peggy is more able, more allowed to show emotions than Don is, yes: she's a woman and it's expected.
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Krystal
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Joined: June 26th, 2009, 4:32 am

April 23rd, 2014, 6:19 pm #54

I think men who made money were considered more powerful and to them it was enough to make the money, you didn't have to show love or affection. To be a "good provider' was the most important thing, and in fact was to many women (that is to marry one) as well. Especially in that culture. I really agree with TGIR in her analysis of both Don and Pete. Very few guys of that era had 'nurturing" parents, in fact many went through the depression and were just glad not to have to eat a squirrel for dinner, so I don't cut Pete a lot of slack.

I didn't like the sl about the flowers either. I would have preferred she get bitchy about a work issue and maybe just have it come in that it is VD and having no one makes the day worse. I also do not think MM is terribly female friendly.

Yes, women today still catch shit if they choose men's professions. Many MD's are now women but they are mostly in Pediatrics, general, geriatric and such areas. They are very rare in orthopedic surgery and most surgical areas.

And how about if Hillary does decide to run, how many times will she be called a bitch?
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Krystal
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Joined: June 26th, 2009, 4:32 am

April 29th, 2014, 7:54 pm #55

I think Don ahould have told them to go screw themselves when they said he should answer to Lou. Lou is a total asshole.

I was annoyed at the Betty SL holding up the office SL (as well as the Megan sl). But wow, Betty outdid herself didn't she? She really is so insenstive. She should never be anyone's mother. Cracked me up in the beginning, like she is too busy mothering to work, in the meantime the Nanny does it all. She can't handle one day out with the kids in her pink Jackie suit. What a worthless bitch.
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Dax
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Joined: March 16th, 2008, 3:48 pm

April 29th, 2014, 9:52 pm #56

I didn't think the Betty/Bobby story took too much time. I liked it. Poor kid.

Oh, of course, 'old Don' would have told them to fuck off. But can Don change?...

Super-awkward, Don's day of waiting around...

Loved it (the big fight with Megan, too... and Don not accepting that as 'the end', either... normally, he would, but... trying to change).

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KMInfinity
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Joined: March 17th, 2008, 1:09 am

April 30th, 2014, 12:41 am #57

It was really interesting how people had different interpretations of what Don's absence meant. Really sorry to see both Peggy and Joan having zero support for him. Good for Roger.

For some reason I thought it had only been a couple week, but it's now past Valentine's Day, so when was the hershey meeting last year?
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Dax
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Joined: March 16th, 2008, 3:48 pm

April 30th, 2014, 1:16 am #58

Around Thanksgiving.

Peggy's bitter about Ted, but Lou doesn't seem to value her work much, so there's got to be a PART of her that misses Don...

Joan didn't like Don 'firing' Jaguar.

Yeah, good to see Roger step up so well for Don... and of course, he's right from both a financial standpoint and a do-we-want-him-as-the-competition point of view...

http://www.theparisreview.org/interview ... hew-weiner
Short summary points - http://flavorwire.com/454206/12-things- ... -interview

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/27/books ... -book.html

http://www.vulture.com/2014/04/ben-feld ... rview.html

http://time.com/81554/mad-men-what-have ... ggy-olson/
Last edited by Dax on April 30th, 2014, 1:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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tgir
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Joined: March 16th, 2008, 3:36 am

April 30th, 2014, 1:27 am #59

Actually, it is amazing that Roger is still tolerated while Don was thrown out. Hubby and I had the same reaction when Megan told Don it was over: every time he tells a woman a new truth about himself, reveals a new vulnerability, he gets rejected.

I think Don accepted the deal because work is all he has left. He doesn't have much of a relationship with his kids and isn't likely to get to change that: it was too against the norm for the time. The non-compete clause makes it more difficult but I am sure it could be done. But the agency was Don's baby all along. I frankly think the rest of them are being ungrateful turds.
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Dax
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Joined: March 16th, 2008, 3:48 pm

April 30th, 2014, 1:43 am #60

Don was way off his creative game throughout 1968, though... lost out on a lot of pitches... the merger (and getting Chevy) was smart, but then his 'competition' with now-partner Ted was crazy... the drinking was way out of control... and then losing Hershey, BIG.

I don't really think they've been wrong, or that their stipulations are THAT unfair, even if they're designed to make him want to quit or be so impossible to adhere to that it'll be easier for them to fire him (and strip him of his partnership without having to buy him out)... 'can't go off-script in a meeting'... but that's WHY you want Don Draper working for you...
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