Like I said last week, Mad Men is just moving way too fast for me. How did we get to this point? Already recapping episode 5? This is beginning to feel like a wedding proposal on a first date. Wine and dine me first, AMC.
I’m assuming it would be in bad manners not to start with Pete’s bad romance. What better way for an insecure little guy with Napoleon syndrome to feel more like a man than to flirt with a teenage girl? The line “we’ve all wanted to punch Pete Campbell” has never been more true. Before I go on, I just want to start off by saying I really do like Pete. I’ve had a soft spot for him since season 1. If you recall, Pete is a product of an overly critical, and successful father. It’s been a common theme since we were introduced to Pete that he constantly feels inferior. Nothing is ever good enough, and its seldom that he gets the respect that he feels he deserves. His office is too small, so he demands a bigger one. When he is finally granted a better office, the reason for getting it isn’t good enough. Where is the drug dealing step grandmother with the chill pills when you need her? This episode follows Pete as he takes driving classes in a suburban, Connecticut high school. He indulges in a flirtation with a teenage girl who apparently makes him feel like more of a man. I don’t see Pete as a creeper, or a pedophile. I also don’t think Pete sees this girl as a teenager. In his mind, she’s a woman who has genuine interest in him. She’s somebody who looks up to him, and respects him. She doesn’t see him the way his co-workers, or wife does. He’s obviously reminded of her age when he has to sit through watching her high-school crush diddle her under a school desk. This is an obvious low point for Peter. It’s as if he’s so used to needing to be validated through praise, that he’ll do anything to get it. If he doesn’t earn it, he’ll try to achieve it through expensive objects, like his stereo.
Speaking of the stereo, I don’t think ill be able to get through this review without talking about that ridiculous dinner party. Don’s blinding blazer, and Pete’s show boating are a tossup for most nauseating. My favorite moment would have to have been Megan forgetting Cynthia’s name, and inappropriately screaming it over the table. Let us not forget how rude it was of Don to actually know what he was doing when he went to fix the pipe. How dare he be more of a man than Peter?!
This season, has been like most when it comes to Lane. He’s generally unlucky, and when things go wrong for him, they go wrong big time. His wife is stale, naggy,and uptight. He also isn’t genuinely respected at work. He doesn’t have a ton of sales experience, so the group is typically uncomfortable with letting him handle any deals on his own. I was as excited as lane when he landed a dinner date with a Jaguar executive. The dinner didn’t go as planned, and it was awkward, as we should have guessed. Jaguar should have been his big crowning moment with the company, but it wasn’t. Roger, Peter, and Don take it upon themselves to drag the man representing Jaguar to a whore house, because he seems like he wants to have “fun”. His wife finds out, and the deal is off. On top of all this, he mistakes Joan’s friendly affection for a pass. He tries to make a move on her, and is sadly shut down immediately. This poor guys can’t catch a break.
The combination of these two battered egos proved to be too much. As we all saw, they ended up fighting. It was all very “boys will be boys”. Two grown men with their sleeves rolled, throwing awkward punches, and giving each other nose bleeds. The fun thing about watching these two fight is that their both underdogs. You don’t really know immediately who will come out on top. After Peter’s 3rd or 4th time falling to the ground, it became apparent who was going to look like more of a fool. The highlight of this episode, for me was the ending. It’s not often that we see Pete with his guard down, so to see him cry was pretty touching. I also admired the fact that Don didn’t judge him. If anyone knows what it’s like to need a good cry, its Don. Stolen identity can be super stressful.
I need to see more fat Betty next week. I know that she wont be making a ton of appearances in the season, but I need more and I need it now. I need it like Betty needs Sally’s leftovers from her ice cream sunday. It’s not even an option.