Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What I’m Watching: Mad Men

Mad Men: Season 5, Episode 7 “At the Codfish Ball” (A-)

There’s nothing like coming together for a big festive event to draw out everyone’s emotions. The belated award for Don’s about-face letter on tobacco proved extremely revealing, as, by event’s end, all the people at the Draper extended family table were sitting silently, all looking miserable. There was plenty of parental disapproval in this hour, starting with the visit by Megan’s parents. It’s not much of a surprise that her unhappy mother was drawn to Roger (“You seem like you were born in a bowtie”), a union which was unfortunately witnessed by Sally. Don is just the kind of smooth talker that might rub a Canadian author the wrong way, and it was hardly nice to have her father telling her she shouldn’t be held back by him and his money after she managed to swoop in and stop the Heinz client from walking. It was impressive work, and it’s a shame that it has to be so identified by everyone, including Peggy, as a feminine achievement. Peggy’s relationship drama was a real rollercoaster, and it was nice that Joan acted as an actual friend throughout the whole process. Peggy’s mother was harsh and rude during their dinner upon learning that she and Abe were moving in together, and it’s not something that Peggy deserves. At the party, I enjoyed seeing Roger have fun with Sally before setting his eyes on a grown woman, and Pete expertly demonstrated to Emile what he did on a daily basis. Ray Wise’s Ed sure skewered Don well by saying that no one will work with him because of the letter he wrote, and it takes a lot to wound Don’s ego. After watching “Desperate Housewives” shortly before this, I suspected and confirmed that Bobby Draper is in fact played by Mason Vale Cotton, the same actor who portrays M.J. Delfino. The more relevant child, however, is Sally, and what a spotlight this was for her. Calling Glen and then the police after Henry’s mother tripped over the cord demonstrated her maturity and resilience, and her attendance at the event proves that she’s grown from quite the curious child into quite the curious and perceptive teenager.

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