August 31, 2010

Mad Women: Staring At Pictures Of Women Who Can’t Stare Back

Filed under: Gender,Mad Women,Media,Recaps — Tags: — Rachel @ 10:17 pm

While most recaps focus on the entire aspect of a show, this one’s going to be a little bit different.  As this is a feminist blog deconstructing images and portrayals of women in pop culture, why spend an entire post rambling on about the men of Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price.  Instead, these recaps will focus on the women of Mad Men – the main ladies: Peggy, Joan, and Betty, and any new additions or guest stars – hence the title “Mad Women.”

Despite my frustrations with Betty so far this season – her anger at Don this episode was totally legit.  He’s completely hit rock bottom, and she has no patience for putting up with his shit.  Who can blame her?

Peggy was AMAZING this week.  She showed she has no fear and takes no bullshit from the men at Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price.  We also saw a total role reversal of Peggy and Don’s relationship – while she has come to his rescue and “fixed things for him in the past, this week, she told him what to do, how to fix it, and how it was his responsibility to clean up the mess he made.  She proved to the new art director that she is far from “repressed” and in fact, one-upped him completely.  She not only challenged him and proved him wrong, but completely shut him down in the process.  I’m pretty sure she won’t have any problems with him going forward.  Peggy’s response to Stan looking at Playboy “Are you going to work or just stare at pictures who can’t stare back” was interestingly profound.

The flashbacks of a younger Joan and Roger together was great.  I was shocked that Don kissed Joan on the lips when they announced his win at the Cleo’s, but I think there’s a certain part of Joan that feels like these guys are her extended family in some weird kind of way – from seeing her hanging out with Pete, drinking with Roger at the bar, and holding Don and Roger’s hand during the awards under the table.

Dr. Faye Miller, Doris, And The Woman From The Bar
These three women this week showed us Don hitting rock bottom. The Clio’s were on Friday, when he went to a hotel with the woman from the bar, and he woke up the “next morning” (it was actually) Sunday, next to a mysterious woman who called him “Dick.”  He was so drunk from Friday night to Sunday morning, he couldn’t even remember when the woman from the bar left, or who the hell Doris was, much less that he had slept with her.  (I’m guessing from her uniform it looked like she was a diner waitress?)  Which of course leaves the questions of what ended up happening with the woman from the bar, and how he met Doris, and why she knows him as Dick?

Leave your thoughts on Peggy’s liberation, who Doris is, and anything else from this week’s episode in the comments.


  1. Aside from an episode earlier this season (too early in the morning here to remember which one), this was by far the best episode of MM to date. So much going on. Peggy was for me too the highlight of the episode and I think we’re going to see her going from strength to strength both in this season and later seasons. She is finally becoming confident enough to do what she knows she’s had to do all along.

    Oh Don. Watching him pitching the ad idea, drunk, was torturous. I think that he has further to fall. I assumed that he became so impossibly drunk he introduced himself as Dick, or was being morose enough to forget himself. But we’ll see if there’s a back-story with Doris.

    Great post!

    Comment by tenderhooligan — August 31, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

  2. I completely agree that this was the greatest episode of Mad Men to date! It was truly exhilarating watching Peggy take hold of the situation with the new art director. The look of shock on his face while she stood up to and challenged him was a great representation of women’s “place” in this era through the eyes of a man. I also have such admiration for Joan–while she has as much sexual interaction with men as any of the other female employees at Sterling Cooper, she has such a cool and collected air about her and seems to be the only woman on the show whose happiness is not dependent on her relationships with men. Refreshing!

    Great Post!

    Comment by Jennifer Edgerton — September 1, 2010 @ 9:50 pm

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