9:45pm: Tonight’s episode of Mad Men is entitled “The Crash,” which is hopefully referring to Don Draper’s untimely demise. Well, given Don’s rampant alcoholism, perhaps his demise is overdue. After last week’s episode, all I want in life is for Mad Men to focus exclusively on the adventures of Ted Chaough. I want the Jon Hamm of The Town, someone with energy and passion. Could Matthew Weiner make a series-changing move tonight? Probably not, but there’s always hope.
In other news, Bobby Kennedy’s untimely demise just happened in the Mad Men timeline, and Megan was a special breed of Quebecois sad about it. How did Megan even reside in the US before marrying Don? Did she have a work visa to temp at an ad agency? Anyway, RFK’s passing will set tonight’s tone and could lead to a summer of discontent at SCDP/CG&C/ETC. Let’s await society’s inevitable decline together in the Mad Men live blog.
We’re starting up in few minutes! Let’s get ready.
9:50pm: Until Mad Men starts at 10:00pm, we have decided to watch Parks and Recreation on Netflix instead of the movie that’s on AMC. I see no need to justify our choice. Perhaps we can throw in a Parks and Recreation live blog in the next ten minutes.
9:54pm: A word about 1968, as reported in my Facebook promo for this live blog: “This live blog is literally the greatest thing to happen to 1968 since…well, since anything, because 1968 was basically a disaster all around.”
9:57pm: The Parks and Recreation episode we’re watching is the party at Andy’s/April’s/Ben’s house. Please do not spoil how it ends.
10:00pm: Time for Mad Men! In the episode preview, we learn that Megan is a BIG TV STAR, per Don.
10:01pm: The guy in the Mad Men opening fell onto the couch again.
10:02pm: Ken Cosgrove is getting tortured by some people that appear to be his Chevy buyers. Detroit’s leisure activity in 1968, as it is today, appears to be shooting guns out of car windows.
10:03pm: Ken is getting chewed out by Don for not convincing the Chevy guys about any of Don’s/Ted’s creative. Ken is emaciated right now.
10:05pm: Sylvia calls Don at work and yells at him for sitting outside her apartment. Don is a pathetic creep (“The Crash,” perhaps?). Sylvia’s voice appears to have dropped an octave, and she now has a Southern twang.
10:06pm: Sylvia is begging Don to stop pestering her, and Don respects her wishes and stops immediately. No, just kidding.
10:07pm: Don angry! Don smash phone!
10:08pm: Don is now having a cough-cry. I’ve been there. My wedding was during allergy season.
10:09pm: Very briefly, we return to the brothel where Dick Whitman grew up. Not much happening.
10:10pm: Back to the Francis estate. Betty (newly blonde, again) implies that Sally bought a skirt with money she earned on the street. It’s oddly cheery to see Betty again.
10:11pm: Back to the office. The G in CG&C has just died. To cope, the SCDP boys are getting shot up with “energy shots” right in the tuckus by a quack doctor. Steroids? Testosterone? Saline?
10:12pm: To the quack doctor’s credit, he asks Don the pressing question: what will Don and Ted called the merged agency?
10:13pm: Can someone explain why Don and the office place are getting shot up with mystery drugs? This makes no sense. On Wall Street, maybe. On Madison Avenue, no.
10:14pm: Back to the brothel for some reason.
10:15pm: Why would the entire office take a drug injection? What is it? “The Crash” must be when they all come down from whatever shot they just received. I just want to know why they’re all choosing to do what appears to be a hard drug, all at once.
10:17pm: Commercial break! Ford’s Lincoln bran is a big sponsor of this season’s Mad Men, which is amusing in a season that features Chevrolet, a GM brand.
10:18pm: Did Will Arnett just voice over a Bank of America ad?
10:19pm: Back to the show.
10:20pm: The combined creative teams are trying to create a new Chevy commercial. MICHAEL GINSBERG’s contribution, paraphrased: “Dad, I need a car before I die in Vietnam.” MICHAEL GINSBERG could replace RFK on the 1968 presidential ticket.
10:21pm: Don and Ken meet to discuss Chevy. They are both still high on whatever horrible drug they just had injected into their behinds. Ken tap-dances.
10:22pm: This episode is a bit too surreal. It’s 1968, not 1969.
10:23pm: Back to Dick Whitman! Really! You can tell when it’s a flashback because everything is tinted sepia, even the soup that Dick’s eating to get better.
10:24pm: Don’s Chevy commerical idea is inspired by his Dick Whitman flashback from the brothel. And that’s why Lincoln’s paying to sponsor a Chevrolet-themed show.
10:25pm: Don is hallucinating and talking with a (perhaps real?) flower child.
10:27pm: This whole Don/flower child thing is odd and doesn’t advance the plot, so I am tuning it out.
10:28pm: Don calls home and tells Megan that he’s late. Megan is dressed up to go see a theater director. Theatre? Canada. Anyway, the important thing to take away is that Sally’s going to babysit the Draper kids.
10:29pm: Next season on The Killing: Stan Rizzo gets a dart thrown into his arm and bleeds out. MICHAEL GINSBERG is the prime suspect.
10:30pm: Commercial break! Jon Hamm is voicing every commercial.
10:32pm: Local commercial break! If you live in the greater Cambridge/Watertown area, visit Parrelli Optical for all your vision needs. That’s Massachusetts, by the way.
10:33pm: Morgan Freeman commercial break! Morgan Freedom is the authoritative voice of reason in another movie. I’ll probably see it once I figure out what it’s called.
10:34pm: Back to the show. Don is again loitering outside of Sylvia’s apartment, and he appears to have fallen asleep outside her door.
10:35pm: Peggy to Rizzo: “You’re lucky I don’t like beards.” Peggy then makes out with Rizzo for a bit. And I just shaved!
10:36pm: Stan Rizzo has an excellent beard. Full. Colorful. Strong.
10:37pm: Peggy is somewhat impressed by Rizzo’s beard, but not enough. She advises him to deal with life’s difficulties without the use of drugs and alcohol. Peggy has not paid attention to the show in the last few years.
10:38pm: Interesting scene here. Sally Draper catches an older woman who appears to have broken into the Draper apartment. The older woman claims to be Sally’s grandmother or something, but observation would indicate otherwise. (I don’t intend to go into it.) The older woman beckons Sally Draper over to her, but Sally knows better, right?
10:39pm: Of course Sally doesn’t know better. She hugs the older woman, who clearly knows nothing about her family except for her father’s name, which is listed everywhere in the aparment. And wouldn’t the older woman call Don “Dick Whitman” if she knew him back in the day?
10:43pm: Commercial break! AMC has been promoting its rebroadcasts of “classic” Mad Men episodes on Sunday mornings. Mad Men is in its sixth season. Let’s not get all “classic” up in here.
10:45pm: Back to the show. Don Draper is in the SCDP archive, looking over some Sterling Cooper artwork about an oatmeal ad. This inevitably leads Don back to the brothel.
10:46pm: I seriously doubt that any brothel employee would give away for free the attention that Dick Whitman is receiving now.
10:47pm: Back to the older woman at Don’s apartment. Sally finally calls the police, who for some reason believe the older woman’s claim that the call was a fraud. Wouldn’t the police just automatically come to the house away? Wouldn’t the doorman have called someone? Maybe the doorman’s in on it.
10:49pm: Don is in a panic in his office. Don is grasping for straws on this Chevy proposal.
10:50pm: MICHAEL GINSBERG: “What’s the answer to all of life’s problems? A Chevy!” MICHAEL GINSBERG already wins the night. Did he not take the quack doctor’s shot? Is this him sober?
10:52pm: Peggy is now aware that her colleagues are all drug addicts, so she bails and heads home.
10:53pm: Commercial break! Audi blends a crash test with a photo of a young child.
10:56pm: Still in the commercial break.
10:58pm: Back to the show! The Draper and Francis families are all at Don’s apartment, dealing with the aftermath of the older woman’s robbery. Don arrives home, hears Betty refer to Megan’s time on the “casting couch,” and passes out.
10:59pm: Well, it looks like lil’ Dick Whitman didn’t get that gift for free, after all! Everyone’s got to pay.
11:00pm: It’s the next morning. Don is in the elevator with Sylvia. Sylvia appears to have some sort of skin affliction. Anyway, they now hate and ignore each other.
11:01pm: Don calls Sally and tells her it’s OK. Sally said that the older woman knew all the answers to her questions. This is completely inaccurate.
11:02pm: Ted’s jacket is a bright olive green! It’s the best part of this scene.
11:03pm: Don to Ted, re: Chevrolet: “Everytime we get a car, this place turns into a whorehouse.” Fade to black.
Final score: As stated above, MICHAEL GINSBERG wins the night because he was the funniest and smartest, as usual. Ted finishes second for cleaning up after his drug-addled colleagues. We need a Mad Men spinoff featuring Ted, MICHAEL GINSBERG, Peggy, and maybe Roger Sterling as the deus ex machina source of unlimited wealth.
Tonight’s episode appears to be the one Mad Men episode of each season that goes off the beaten path, like the Don/Peggy/Duck Phillips episode in Season 4. If this episode focused entirely on the employees who took the quack doctor’s shot, this could have been the best episode of the season. Instead, it went in all sorts of directions. The audience is as confused as Don was after that quack doctor’s shot.
One good thing about tonight’s episode: Don’s possible exit path is clearer. Ted has realized that he’s now the only adult in the SCDP/CG&C merged company, so in a perfect world, he’ll soon either be able to fire Don or place him in a Roger Sterling-esque emeritus role. In our real Mad Men world, however, Ted will leave soon in a Duck Phillips/Maxwell Sheffield style, leaving Don to take the merged company down with him.
Thanks for joining me on tonight’s Mad Men live blog. See you next week!