Striving for success on 'Mad Men'
August 31st, 2010
07:50 PM ET

Striving for success on 'Mad Men'

Editor’s Note: This post contains spoilers for the Sunday, August 29 episode of AMC’s "Mad Men."

Sunday was a big night for the gang at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.  Don won an award, Peggy got empowered, Ms. Blankenship got a new wig and Ken Cosgrove returned to the agency.

The driving theme of the night focused on the lengths people are willing to go in order to succeed.  While some work hard and persevere, others are driven by their sense of entitlement.  As a testament to the latter, we opened with Jane’s Lilliputian cousin Danny.  Danny came to his interview with Don and Peggy armed with a book full of hackneyed ad slogans, other people’s work and Roger Sterling’s name.  Although he failed miserably in his attempt to impress, he was inevitably hired because of his connection to Roger.  Verdict: Danny sucks.

Conversely, through a series of flashbacks, we saw that Don came to be employed at Sterling Cooper [no Draper Pryce here, this was the former incarnation of the agency] through sheer persistence and determination.  Don met Roger at his former employer – Heller’s – where Roger stopped in to buy a “getting to know you” fur for Joan, with whom he’d begun an affair.  A salesman who also handled the shop’s advertising, Don promoted himself and his abilities in a manner that was straightforward without being ham-handed.  Take a lesson from old Don Draper, kids.  Persistence is everything.  However, you might want to skip the three martini breakfasts.

In the present, the gang took advantage of a delayed delegation from Life Cereal by pre-gaming for the Clio Awards.  Don accepted an award for the Glo-Coat campaign at the ceremony and we were treated to a teeny-tiny glimpse into the affection and respect he has for Joan.  I loved the shot of her holding Don and Roger’s hands as the nominees were announced.  And that little kiss Don gave her when he won? Swoon.  The men may make the deals and win the awards, but Joan is the heart of that agency.

We also saw several familiar faces at the ceremony.  An off the wagon Duck Phillips heckled Jennifer Aniston’s dad, last week’s pest Ted Chaough took to parading about with an actor-for-hire playing the role of decorated military general and Pete had an awkward run-in with Ken that sent him spiraling into panic over a possible SCDP merger.  Layne later told him that Ken would be returning to SCDP and that his drive to succeed contributed to his rehiring.  Not hurting matters was the armload of high dollar clients he’d bring with him.

Fueled by victory and copious amounts of alcohol, Don & Co. returned to the office to meet with the Life Cereal representatives.  It was only slightly less-awkward than last week’s anti-Japan tirade from Roger.  Don drunkenly rattled off a number of tired slogans after the group rejected his initial pitch.  One of those slogans – “Life…The Cure for the Common Breakfast” – was lifted straight from Danny’s book.  Predictably, Life loved the concept.  When Peggy took him to task, he went after her for failing to make any progress on the Vicks campaign and sentenced her to a hotel room to brainstorm ideas for Vicks with loathsome new art director Stan Rizzo.

Let’s talk about Stan for a second.  While watching the episode I scribbled down a number of colorful words to describe Stan but the only one I can use here is ‘Jerk’.  Wait.  Make that ‘JERK.’  After hurling a string of unspeakably cruel insults at Peggy during their exile, she called him out on his beliefs about sexual liberation and stripped nude, prompting him to do the same.  After all, according to Stan, nudity was the path to enlightenment.  In the end, he faltered and was unable to concentrate, leaving Peggy victorious.  Peggy – 1, Stan – 0.  Ha!

Meanwhile, at the Clio after party, Don continued to strike out with my hero, Dr. Faye Miller.  It never gets old, does it?  Faye’s got a story and I can’t wait to find out what it is.  My husband spoke too soon when he lamented that Don was losing his touch as he quickly rebounded by hooking up with a fellow Clio award winner (cake mixes and toppings!)

This conquest kicked off a lost weekend for Don, who woke up to an angry phone call from Betty on Sunday.  In bed next to him was Doris the diner waitress, who referred to Don as ‘Dick’ and WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?  Is Don losing his touch?  Is he counting on having better luck with blue collar women by masquerading as Dick Whitman?  Will Don continue to spiral out of control or will he be reined in by one of the ladies in his life – Bethany, perhaps?  I’m really looking forward to seeing where this goes.  What do you think will happen?

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Filed under: Mad Men • television

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soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Floria Sigmundi

    Love this show especially January Jones

    Check out this video on YouTube:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUJ4bL6O3uw&w=640&h=390]

    September 16, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Not Likely

    Love the show. To work there would be the third circle of hell. Dr. Faye Miller replicates that era's Martha Hyer. Confident, cool, calm, collected and ever so blonde, she is the most interesting and mysterious character on the show. When she finally heats up the screen it's going to make GA asphalt seem like ice cream.

    September 7, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tjbf

    I think Don (Dick) did an opposite Costanza and told Roger he'd been hired. Roger didn't argue because that would mean he would have to admit he had a blackout and didn't remember telling Don to come aboard. I think Don just walked in the office and pretended he belonged there.

    September 3, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SaintPetersburg

    yeah, I think Don was so that drunk that he told the truth and used his real name..Dick Whitman. I really want to see him get with the Doc. I guess them making us and Don wait, means itll be a worthwhile affair.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  5. Holly Golightly

    Hey "Cnn...chump"–this is a TV recap! There are recaps of other shows–True Blood, the Bachelor–that aren't even fit to shine "Mad Men" 's shoes!!! The world is finally waking up to the fact that Mad Men is the best show on television! And people want to read about it–including you! Matt and Dort–very true. Don usually handles his drink much better. Maybe he is headed for an epiphany. Bethany is just a young companion for appearances, much like Betty. The nurse neighbor or Faye would be much more compatible. And WHY was Peggy not allowed to attend the Clios?!! Along with Joan, she is the heart of the company! And Stan was an utter jerk–maybe he's secretly attracted to Peggy! Bravo for calling his bluff! Can't wait for next week!

    September 1, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dort

    Gotta luv Miss. Blankenship – "I don't work for you!!" She's is just priceless. Didn't like the hotel scene but Peggy is getting tougher (good girl). How far are they willing to let Don sink? It's getting sad watching him fall apart.

    September 1, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. Matt

    Um, Danny may suck, but he was hired because Don stole his idea and didn't want to be liable, not because of Roger. And Don wasn't masquerading as Dick Whitman; he was clearly drunk out of his mind having late night eats with conquest #1 – who he referred to as his 'sister' after she took off – and slipped (either accidentally or drunkely-on-purpose) whe he gave Doris his name. Either way, drunken stupidity, not a new hook-up strategy...

    September 1, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. CNN is a chump

    Why does CNN keep sucking up to this show? Is AMC in the CNN 'family' of companies? The show is alright, but there's a story on CNN about it every week, c'mon.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |

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