August 23rd, 2010
03:31 PM ET
Editor’s Note:This post contains spoilers for the Sunday, August 22 episode of AMC’s “Mad Men."
Is it just me, or were there some capital “A” for "Awkward" moments on last night’s ”Mad Men”?
SCDP found itself vying for a lucrative Honda contract with competing firm Cutler Gleason Chaough. CGC poached the Clearasil and Jai Alai accounts from SCDP and agency partner Ted Chaough was a particular thorn in Don’s side, so it was important that our boys at SCDP won the account.
Roger, harboring lingering resentment toward the Japanese over WWII, weighed in with a couple of classic Rogerisms and objected to the account. The remaining partners decided to move forward without Roger’s involvement. To prepare for the arrival of the Japanese delegation, everyone was instructed to read the 1946 study on Japanese culture, “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword.”
Some took extra measures to ensure a warm welcome: Don took Bethany to Benihana and learned how to use chopsticks, and Pete went about purging the office of offensive floral arrangements.
The day came for the Honda representatives to visit and it started out very well. There were a couple of cute lost-in-translation moments between the SCDP folks and the Japanese translator, and a joke was made about Joan’s knockout figure. Then Roger showed up, a Pearl Harbor wisecrack was made and…yeah, it was generally awful. To say the scene was cringe-worthy is putting it mildly.
Roger vehemently objected to Honda’s stringent audition process for the account and, after a series of horribly offensive zingers, told the Japanese to go whistle up a rope. It was ugly. He later apologized, but the damage had been done.
The agency soldiered on despite the assumption that the account was all but lost. Don concocted an elaborate plot to trick CGC into thinking SCDP was going to shoot a Honda commercial to present to the Japanese. How charming was the montage of employees working together to execute the scheme? Peggy circling an empty set on the scooter was sheer perfection. Now I want a vintage motorbike. How’s that for advertising?
In the end, Don called Honda’s bluff. He returned the $3000 stipend SCDP had been given to put together a presentation, telling the delegation that their contest between firms did not honor their own rules. The Japanese were impressed by Don’s actions and later communicated to the firm that while they never had any intention of signing away the motorbike account, SCDP was the favorite to win the contract for a model in their automobile line.
Now, let’s all grab our blankies, go to our respective happy places and talk about Sally Draper for a minute. What else can you really say about last night other than, “poor Sally”? Ten-years-old and shuttled between an absent parent and a terrible one, Sally began acting out in earnest.
Left under the care of the Nurse Neighbor while Don went on a date, Sally took a pair of scissors to her hair. Don of course blamed the nurse for failing to keep an eye on her and seemed more concerned with the grief he would catch from Betty rather than why Sally behaved as she did.
Betty was infuriated with Don and slapped Sally upon seeing her butchered locks. Henry acted as the voice of reason and told Betty that grounding Sally would only make her act out further. Then at a sleepover later in the episode, Sally indulged in a little self-exploration and was caught by her friend’s mother. Oh, Sally, I’m mortified on your behalf!
Horrified, the girl’s mother brought Sally home in the middle of the night and told Betty what had transpired. Betty, the clear frontrunner for 1965’s Mother of the Year, shamed and threatened Sally and decided that she needed to see a therapist. Ugh. She really is just awful.
Upon meeting with the therapist, Betty was taken aback when it was suggested that she look into seeking help as well. (Ha! Chew on that, you wretched woman! )
Now, grab a tissue, because here’s where it gets heartbreaking. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Ready? Okay: Sally was taken to her first appointment with Dr. Edna not by Betty but by Carla. You know, because Betty was likely very busy thinking of additional ways to be horrible. As they sat in the doctor’s waiting room, Carla’s expression of heartbreak and disappointment on Sally’s behalf was likely shared by many of us watching at home. While Carla has been a better parent to the Draper children than Betty or Don could ever hope to be, there’s just something about having you mother there to hold your hand.
Here’s hoping for a more uplifting episode next week. What did you think of last night’s show?
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