When I am running away from my life, I always like to leave a note.
I am enjoying this season of Mad Men very much, despite how unsettling the whole thing is. Obviously this has been the conceit of the show from the very beginning: present a way of life at the end of the 1950s and then show it collapse in the face of the altered landscape of the 1960s. In this episode, the landscape has been altered by the candy-coated technicolor dreamscape of Howard Johnson.
I especially applaud the show for playing with form, as they did this week by presenting a 24 hour period from three different points of view: Peggy, Roger and Don. The theme this time was about men and women and their expectations of life together (especially when kids are taken out of the equation and they are only dealing with each other). To illustrate the point, we got all three different flavors of childless woman this week: stay-at-home wife (Jane), work-and-play wife (Megan) and all business “wife” (Peggy).
I got really emotional during the Peggy section, even more than she did over that campfire scene, and I am not sure why. Perhaps it is because (as Bruce Vilanch so eloquently pointed out) at a certain age “you just start breaking down all the time for no reason, like an old Buick.” Mostly I think it is because I am rooting for Peggy, more than anyone else on the show, to find happiness. Side note: watching her hit the glass ceiling with a can of baked beans ended up reminding me of Ann-Margret rolling around in that all-white bedroom in Tommy. Bye Bye Sanity!
In the end, I don’t want to see any of their lives fall apart but I guess that is really what we all signed up for. I mean, come on: the opening credit sequence shows the lead character falling through a cascade of his life. So we can’t exactly call surprise five seasons in when it is all falling apart around his ears. In the meantime, I am still sexually attracted to Don Draper’s new apartment and seriously this classic Howard Johnson is a retro goldmine. Good job, production design team!
Don Draper has seen all of the 60s he can handle, and heads in the opposite direction. But the rest of us can only move one way: forward to the inevitable conclusion.
Mad Men airs Sunday nights on AMC.