Friday, 10 September 2010

Mad Men - ' Waldorf Stories' - The Exhibitionist In The Room

A pleasing return to form with this episode, although it perhaps felt like one of those very good but not great episodes of Mad Men that there seem to be so many of.

- Jonathan! Seeing someone from the Buffy universe in a different context always feels kind of weird, but seeing Buffy's own Danny Strong in the context of Mad Men felt oddly right, but he's a good actor and good actors from Joss Whedon shows always seem to end up on Mad Men. Christina Hendricks and Vincent Kartheiser to name a couple. Playing a new hire at the agency, who got the job because of his connections rather then his talent, he's involved in a great scene with Don and Peggy, in which his pitch for the job basically comes all from one idea, placing any suffix on ' the cure for the common...'

- A couple of great touches in this episode, The seamlessness of the Don Goes on a Bender sequence was as cinematic as anything I've seen in a long while, transitioning from night to day, from conquest to conquest with nothing in between. AMC sure puts some stock in its shows looking good. Of course, Don goes on this little bent of controlled self-destruction because someone rewarded him for doing something good. Receiving a Cleo for the Glo-Coat ad, celebratory drinks evolve into losing four days of his life.

- Its hard not to note that there maybe a little meta-commentary on the worthlessness of awards, particularly because this episode went out at the same ime as the Emmy's, and that being told he is great at what he does doesn't necessarily make Don's life suck any less then it does. Being a genius is more a side-product of being broken then anything else, and this certainly seems to be relevant to Don right now, who never seems not to be at the bottom of a glass, and even though that's traditionally Roger's thing.

- Things work out quite well for Jonathan in the end, given that Don accidentally spews out his ' cure for the common' idea at a clients meeting and rather then face lawsuit has to hire the guy, who turns down the offer of freelance work and in a way proves himself to be smarter then he is talented. May not be the best Ad man, but he could scheme with the best of them.

- The sequence of Drunk Don riffing out various Ad ideas off the top of his head at the cereal company meeting, was both funny and kind of telling. It was either arrogance in that he thought himself good enough to come up with a killer ad campaign off the top of his head whilst intoxicated, or it was an indication that a man who used to be all about the work, and resentful of everything that came with. Now he doesn't even to put too much value in even that anymore. Talent is fickle, Use it or lose it Don.

- I'm not sure how I felt about the flashbacks being fitted in though. I get it tonally, because perhaps with a bit more talent Don was basically in the same position as Jonathan, under-qualified, only relying on his passion to get the job and his persistence in repeatedly ambushing Roger, who even then was a fairly respectable alcoholic. But it just seemed that there were too few, as if the device was used heavily in the first half but laxed on in the second, and in terms of scripting consistency there are smoother ways to do things.

- As for Peggy's subplot, that was bizarre. But kind of awesome. The jist of it seemed to being the putting a smug, supposedly liberated freelancer Stan in his place. Dude went all on about how he was a nudist and worked best au natural, and almost tried to intimidate Peggy with his freeness. She called his bluff though, and as the both stripped naked to work on the account, turns out Stan is much more insecure about himself then Peggy is. Score one for females.

- A perfectly fine episode, perhaps a little uneven but strong nonetheless.

Rating: 7/10

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