Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Footnotes of Mad Men: A Century of Roger Sterling

THE MAID AND THE MASTURBATORI went to bed angry and I woke up angry over 1. what a horrible, nasty, vicious monster Betty Draper is and 2. that little contrivance in last night's "Mad Men" episode. Roger Sterling dropped a name, which was then echoed by Pete Campbell, all seemingly intended as a psychological experiment to see what would happen on the Internet as a result. I thought it was an irritating meta-joke about advertising and I, for one, am not having it. You can Google the name of the doctor referenced if you're curious. SPOILER: IT'S NOT ANYONE. I don't want to play their little viral reindeer games! (Someone please make me an animated gif of a viral foaming reindeer? Thanks!) Let's look instead at the passage of time.

• Our racist Roger Sterling was born circa 1912. The year Woodrow Wilson beat Taft and Theodore Roosevelt. The year New Mexico became a state… THE 47TH STATE. The year the Titanic sunk. You know how they say social change comes from waiting from older people to die? Well.

• And Sally Draper was born in, what, 1954? At least, this piece of slash fiction places her as five years older than "30 Rock"'s Jack Donaghy.

• But what about 1965? And the cultural scene? Somewhere off-camera, lots of stuff is happening. By now, Ken Cosgrove was already reading Everything That Rises Must Converge, which had by now been in print for a couple months. (And our show's homosexual pal Sal may be long missing, but over in England, Francis Bacon and George Dyer were setting up home together and preparing for a trip to New York.) Here's what's to come as 1965 rolls along.

Natasha Vargas-Cooper is on vacation this week.

Still, you can always find more footnotes right here, or, you know, you can get a whole book of 'em.

67 Comments / Post A Comment

mathnet (#27)


It was a super fun episode and now I'm mad at YOU!

sunnyciegos (#551)

I loved the fake commercial ruse! So fun. And reflected the zany caper tv show that Sally was enjoying.

mathnet (#27)


"Not very subtle, are they?"
"No, they are not."


mathnet (#27)

I mean, I could have watched Peggy ride that motorcycle around and around in that white studio FOR DAYS.

sunnyciegos (#551)

And Smitty!! And his pants!!!!!!!

mathnet (#27)

"Enjoy yourself. Which one is it? (I mean, which restaurant. . .?)"

"Consider it severence."

sunnyciegos (#551)

Dr. Edna seemed like a lovely children's therapist. I would send Betty to her.

mathnet (#27)

I agree, and I hope Dr. Edna doesn't disappoint us.

And now. . . PEGGY!

mathnet (#27)

What was Sally watching on TV at the sleepover?

Baroness (#273)

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. , I think.

mathnet (#27)

OMG, that's Dr. Mallard? Ducky??

(Yes, I have watched NCIS before. Forget you!)

They made a joke about it on NCIS. Paulie Perret asked what Mallard looked like when he was young. And Mark Harmon answered "like Ilya Kuriakin".

belltolls (#184)

It seemed more like an Outer Limits.

La Cieca (#1,110)

That was the moment I realized I am Sally Draper. I (and every girl in my 5th grade class) had that same crush on David McCallum from 1965 until September 12, 1966, when The Monkees debuted and I lost my heart to Peter Tork.

barnhouse (#1,326)

Ilya Kuryakin. I have no idea how you youngs cannot know this.

Flashman (#418)

Was it "Doctor Zhivago"?

mathnet (#27)

(Don said last night that his daughter's age is 10, and it's March of 1965, and her birthday's in the late spring or summer, so 1954 sounds right.)

Rod T (#33)

Through the magic of dog-sitting, I am now on equal terms with "the world" regarding Mad Men watching. No, wait, I am not. Oh, shit. After a quick Internet search, I now realize I fell asleep during last night's episode, after spending the evening catching up. Ugh.

mathnet (#27)

Oh! And a friend of mine thinks that Sally was molested by Grandpa Gene. Anyone else get that feeling? (I didn't.)

LondonLee (#922)

I didn't either and I so hope they don't go there.

Blackcapricorn (#4,791)

No but I think Lisanti will have to resurrect the Patricide Watcht the way things are progressing.

jrb (#3,020)

I kind of get that sense, but I think they're putting all the bells and whistles on 'Look at what TV is doing to Sally Draper.'

Her childhood is a foil to Betty's repressed one. She ties her daughter's actions to Gene's death, to the divorce, when really all they are are two more bumps in the fat Star Streamer rocket she's riding into Sixties culture.

jrb (#3,020)

And furthermore, Betty is always the one who brings up her father now. She's the one making the association when she's not believing her daughter's actions are directly about her. For Christ's sake, she's staring longingly at a dollhouse, with an immature, perhaps traumatized understanding of not just psychology but EVERYTHING.

So if anybody got abused by Gene, I imagine it's her.

mathnet (#27)

I just need that not to be the case, and I still don't think it is.

During the sleepover scene, my mind UNFORTUNATELY went straight to that weird lanyard from Glen.

Bostonismyhome (#1,207)

I definitely did get that vibe and I hope it doesn't go there… My guess is that it will — and we may find out something about Betty in the process.

mrschem (#1,757)

Mine too. Also, I just don't think I have the heart to go through watching what happens to Sally.

sigerson (#179)

Gene — Glen. There was a little pervy sexual tension between Gene and his granddaughter, that's for sure. And with Joan/Jane and others, we have seen the writers' penchant for alliterative connections between names. I think Sally was crying about no one caring about Gene's death because she was actually saying that no one cared what he was doing to her.

oprah (#6,203)

First, I actually liked the Gene / Sally relationship — he supported her and gave her confidence in the face of the BETTY which deserves some positive recognition.
AND, can't a girl just masturbate? Without some secret molestation in her past? Sally, liberate yourself.

bb (#295)

Oprah you are so wise.

jrb (#3,020)

I'm starting to cringe at the 'Hey, here's what's in the news this week. *WINK*' at the start of every episode this season. Viral reindeer indeed.

And I doubt Matt Weiner can work in the invasion of the Dominican Republic, but then again….

keisertroll (#1,117)

I wish "I AM THE SAME PEOPLE" becomes a mosquers' warcry, just so they could sound that much more stupid.

mathnet (#27)

Did Lassie actually stay at the Waldorf at some point, or was Pete just referring to the fact that pets were allowed there but not African-Americans, or what?

mjfrombuffalo (#2,561)

Lassie had a suite there, I believe.

Art Yucko (#1,321)


(haven't seen it yet.)

MattP (#475)

But she's so pretty! and crazy!

Baroness (#273)

Henry's not a bitch! Just a wimp living rent-free in another man's house.

iantenna (#5,160)

also, this and this and i've heard this was kind of a big deal.

LondonLee (#922)

Reading around the ol' blogs this morning everyone seems to have loved this episode but while there was much to enjoy (Peggy riding around on the Honda) some things just struck me as a little off and wrong like Roger's tirade at the Japanese and Don's secretary. Sure, she's funny but she's incompetent, the old Don would have fired her long ago.

rj77 (#210)

I think the point is Don is being punished for fucking a perfectly good secretary. Joan might get him someone decent once she feels Don has learned his lesson.

mathnet (#27)

Until Don bangs Blankenship JUST TO TEACH JOAN A LESSON.

mathnet (#27)

Come to think of it, he's never had an old woman in his life before on a routine basis, right? (No contact with Abigail since he enlisted; Betty's mom died either before they were married or very soon thereafter. . .)

joshc (#442)

She's Cooper's old house secretary, right? Possibly unfireable for maximum lesson learning?

mathnet (#27)

Somehow I had the idea that she used to be Roger's dad's secretary?

Mihai Naghi (#5,255)

According to my favourite website ( breast augmentation had been around since the late 19th century.

So then, does anybody care to place any wagers on Russ Meyer's spellbinding little masterpiece?

mathnet (#27)

Hey, did I understand correctly that Betty told Dr. Edna she'd masturbated as a child "and mostly grew out of it"? Even though she copped to it in an embarrassed way, I'm still not sure I buy that Betty would have done anything but to get (or fake being) outraged at such a question.

Baroness (#273)

"That's a private matter between me and my washing machine, Doctor."

*storms out*

HelloTitty (#830)

"also my fainting couch."


mathnet (#27)

Anybody found any good writing/comments on Mad Men from people who were adults in the '60s?

mrschem (#1,757)

None. Zip. Zero.

bb (#295)

sometimes people comment on things on Project Rungay's recaps, but that takes a lot to wade through all the shrieking.

I made my Dad watch it (NY businessman, though not ad man, a few years younger than Don) and he said much of it seemed true but (I quote) "if all those people had all those secrets going on I'm glad I didn't know about them." My mom's reaction – "they should have just moved into the city, that would have solved all their problems." So yeah, not really.

Boomer (#7,066)

When we first met Sally, I figured that she was born in 1953, with Bobby a 1956-er, but they seem to have pushed them both back a year or two. I think we're supposed to be dating Sally from Spring 1955 now, and Bobby from late 1957.

I also find it very odd that they tapped into my two favorite TV shows from that night, with MAN FROM UNCLE and TOP CAT. Scary.

mathnet (#27)

You know what I would seriously delight at being surprised by? If the cast and crew somehow found a way to make Henry Francis interesting. As of now, both that character and the man who plays him are the opposite of fascinating.

sunnyciegos (#551)

ooh I disagree. I love his steely gray hair and form-fitting sweater. And totally reasonable daughter-raising advice. Ever since Duck has been out of the picture Henry is my favorite midlife-crisis man!

(although it doesn't make sense that a man who appears to have been successful and of comfortable means would be at all happy to live in Don's house. Although I did see they got a new bed.)

barnhouse (#1,326)

They are really emasculating Henry with that, especially according to the mores of those days. I guess it's a testament to Betty's control-freakness.

mathnet (#27)

Have we met a single teenaged character yet? Duck's son and daughter were pretty much it, right?

oprah (#6,203)

Sure, Sterling's brat daughter, 1st season. And how about those kids that left a drugged Don on the motel floor?

mathnet (#27)

Oh, totally the hitchhikers. I'd thought Margaret had started college once or twice by the time we met her? But even then, she could have been 18 or 19, you're right.

bb (#295)

Anna's daughter.. ?

mathnet (#27)

What's Joan's SCDP job title anyway? Is she Office Manager, like she was at SC? She does way more now than she did there, right?

GoGoGojira (#2,871)

Head Bitch In Charge

barnhouse (#1,326)

There are a lot of ways to spell the mystery doctor's name, I was thinking.

mathnet (#27)

You know what? In terms of when they were born? Sally's basically Greg, Bobby's basically Peter, and Baby Eugene is basically Cousin Oliver!

mathnet (#27)

And Don's kind of Alice!

mathnet (#27)

Oooh and Bobby is Peggy and Pete's baby.

HelloTitty (#830)

I loved the dunking bird. I was fascinated by my cousin's dunking bird in 1971.

scrooge (#2,697)

You and Homer Simpson

J. Scott (#6,542)

Dr. Lyle Evans (Mahan) was a real dude:

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