Basic '60s Bitches Throw Mad Shade: Mad Men Ep. 3

Apr 28 at 9am

By Jules Suzdaltsev

Mad Men Ep. 3: Field Trip

Just sayin': spoilers in here. Is it just me, or has Mad Men started to feel like Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Everything is still roughly familiar, and yet out of nowhere, Joan's on my shit list, Don is literally twiddling his thumbs, and Roger's suffering from cardiomegaly – an extremely enlarged heart. Unpacking last night's highlights with the big talking points:

Model Shop

We meet up with Don as he’s watching the 1969 French New Wave film, Model Shop. The film is about a directionless architect, fired for being too ambitious, who has an affair with a French model living in Los Angeles, only to realize that his problems are all self-created, and with renewed resolve, he goes on to fix them. The parallels are obvious – until both you and Don realize that the architect in the movie is half his age, and what that says about Don's predicament at this stage in his life. On screen, the architect is stalking his model through the streets of LA, which is funny ‘cuz didn’t someone else do exactly that?

Megan Dumps the D

As an LA native, I cannot sympathize enough with probably-soon-to-be-dead Megan Draper; that city is a sweltering, sycophantic, smoggy hellhole full of rejected actresses with empty dreams, except in 1969 nobody was tweeting about it, #groovyboss. But if my estranged husband flew 3,000 miles to check on me because my Liberace-banging agent told him I was stalking casting directors, I’d drop the both of them too. Especially after finding out that for the last few months Don's been…

Funemployed

So far, Don’s unemployed lifestyle has been nearly identical to my own; rife with midday movie screenings, frustrated phone calls to friends with jobs too busy to commiserate, and a very irregular sex schedule that usually begins with a gay man calling about a crazy actress he knows. The only real difference between us is about 40 pounds and a serious marijuana addiction, although I’m sure I can think of somebody who’s holding.

Bro-ger Sterling

Even though we’ve loved watching Roger abandon everybody to go drop acid and have polyamorous sex, the Silver Fox’s silver tongue is on fire again in defense of DD. Honestly, Roger’s “I miss you” this week hit way harder than Sally’s “I love you” last week. Dude shows up at the office drunk, halfway through the workday, late for Don’s re-hiring meeting, and then proceeds to verbally emasculate (and defeminate) the other partners while keeping Don on the bus. Although this Roger-Don reconciliation comes with some pretty strict stipulations.

Heil Lou Avery

The new Creative Director, Lou Avery, looks like a shitty ninth grade math teacher, and Don just agreed to be treated like a sex offender on parole under Lou’s watchful eye. I’m often surprised that Don doesn’t burst into flames, smoldering the way he does, but now with the added weight of Bert, Joan, and Jim’s resentful glares, it’s only a matter of time ‘till he’s cooked alive. Something unnatural has happened this episode, like a snake re-inhabiting its shed skin. Don’s simple “Okay” to his re-entry deal feels massive, and I’ll bet he’s got something up his sleeve to counter Lou's blitheness. I would say his plan is Peggy related, but it's clear they haven’t made up yet.

Betty: Queen Basic Bitch Throwing Mad Shade

Who’s that school bus smokin’, unpasteurized milk drinkin’, shade throwin’ on a titty-swingin’ farmer’s daughter, bad bitch? There is no more basic a bitch than Betty Francis, and her snide comment about Bobby's teacher on his class field trip – "That blouse says she likes everyone” – is the late '60s version of “ratchet-ass hoe." Later, Bobby trades his mother’s sandwich to a classmate without a lunch, which “ruins” Betty's day, and subsequently Bobby’s. She watches her kids slip away one at a time, mostly to keep the victim mentality alive it seems.  

Keep in mind, despite Betty’s renewed doldrums, the parallel in this episode is between Bobby and Don. Suffering under his mother's insecurities and pining for affection, Bobby drops one of the best lines of dialogue in the entire series. 

“I wish it was yesterday…”

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