Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What I’m Watching: Mad Men

Mad Men: Season 4, Episode 8 “The Summer Man” (B+)

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that having Don Draper narrate an episode makes it even more dramatic and powerful. We get a glimpse of Don’s relationship to the world around him every week, but rarely do we get a direct pipeline into what he’s thinking as he describes having never written more than 250 words at a time and deliberates over not having been invited to his own child’s birthday party. Interestingly enough, however, Don’s case of summer blues isn’t the most intriguing plotline of the episode. In an episode where Lane only briefly appears and Roger doesn’t even show up once, the spotlight is on the women. Outside of the office, Betty lashes out at Henry when he starts talking like Don following their run-in with him at the restaurant, and Henry’s jealous response and phone call to Don about buying a boat shows just how much Don’s fringe presence in their lives bothers him. At the office, the previously quiet and compliant Joey, played by Matt Long from “Jack & Bobby” and “The Deep End,” says much more in this episode as he reveals himself as a brutal chauvinist with no regard whatsoever for women. The dynamic between Joan and Peggy has always been an interesting one, and Peggy getting chewed out by Joan for sticking up for her doesn’t seem fair. I found Peggy’s talk with Don pretty fascinating, and his advice to her made sense even if it wasn’t delivered in the politest manner. The most lasting comment was the one made by Joan to Peggy in the elevator about how they are both perceived, in yet another instance of brilliant television and social commentary being delivered together by this show.

No comments: