Episode Summary: So, SCDP was having money problems at the end of Season 4. Did that storyline just go away? From what it looks like, SCDP is a thriving company with rivalries from Y&R, appointments with companies like Heinz, and the same glorious office place in Midtown. Did consistency disappear along with January Jones? That’s a trade I’ll take any day, but still.
Season 5 is amazing, consistent or not. Don and Peggy are going to pitches, Roger is acerbic, and the Francis clan is hidden away deep in the woods of Rye. Don may not care for his job, but everyone else does, so it’ll be back to the same pace as the start of Season 4. The show just needs to pare back on Jessica Pare. Betty was an unnecessary blight on every part of Mad Men and Jessica Pare’s just the French-Canadian version of her. More pitches, more business, and less of Don’s softer side.
11:04 PM: Occupy Wall Street is now Occupy SCDP! Roger responds inappropriately to the applicants’ lobby crowding. Y&R responds much more inappropriately, so it looks like SCDP is getting diversified!
11:02 PM: Don to Jessica Pare: “I don’t really care about work.” Jessica Pare to Don: “Yes, I’ve seen the first four seasons of this show.”
11:01 PM: Jessica Pare and Don have a mutually abusive relationship. Jessica Pare was upset about Don’s not liking the party she organized, so she ran home, he followed her, and then the rough love. Mutual, though. But oh man, Jessica Pare is becoming January Jones. Even Jessica Pare’s verbal cadence is similar to January Jones’. D-I-V-O-R-C-E! Let Don get back in the boardroom.
10:56 PM: Lane returns the wallet to its rightful owner, but not the photo. In the 1960s, it’s OK to give a tip
10:54 PM: Yes, Miller 64! It’s the beer for high achievers. I will drink it.
10:51 PM: So this show The Killing – did the detective get the politician killed for no reason? Does it rain nonstop in Seattle? For the 30 seconds I lived in Seattle, it was over 90 degrees every day. Maybe if that show had taken place in the summer, no one would have been killed.
10:49 PM: Pete is angry about getting Rich Sommer’s office. It’s a bigger office and a nicer office with windows and everything, so of course, he should be upset. Everyone should work around a circular desk.
10:48 PM: Lane about Jessica Pare’s karaoke routine at Don’s surprise party: “I saw his soul leave his body.” Oh well. It’s still better than January Jones.
10:46 PM: Lane about his employees: “The two of them together couldn’t operate a parking meter.” Joan: “My plotline is irrelevant until I get back in the office.” Joan is also angry about getting flowers. Oh well. It’s better than January Jones.
10:39 PM: Aww, now Jessica Pare is sad that Don didn’t like her surprise party. Peggy is faking contrition. I feel like this cycle will repeat often this season.
10:37 PM: Jessica Pare and Pete with two zingers about Joan’s little brat! And now Jessica Pare’s laying into Peggy for no reason! This is a cynical work environment, and it’s awesome!
10:36 PM: Roger to Joan: “There’s my baby!” Inside joke, completely hidden to anyone who can’t put two and two together in the 60s.
10:34 PM: Don to Joan: “We’re not hiring anyone, no matter how buxom his mother is.” This is another lawsuit we’ll add on to the Draper vs. Draper divorce (fingers crossed).
10:33 PM: Joan’s about to make a scene at SCDP. She’s already angry at the receptionist because Jessica Pare was a receptionist and got married to Don. Which is reasonable.
10:28 PM: It’s fun to watch Rich Sommer get tortured like he’s a junior camper. He’s been teased every year since Season 1, when he was more two people than one person. But yes, he will trade his office with Pete Campbell’s office for the equivalent of $8,000 (in 2012 dollars). Roger basically paid Rich Sommer $8,000 to prevent a slap fight with Pete.
10:21 PM: Lane Pryce is hitting on the 20-something concubine of the lost wallet’s owner. It’s a good thing he’s living in the 1960s and not in the Skype era.
10:15 PM: So we’re about two-thirds of the way home in Episode 1 dash 2, and there’s not been a single sign of January Jones. This is already the best season ever.
10:14 PM: Pete wants to use Roger’s office for a meeting. Roger threatens to beat Pete up. Roger’s a lot more fun when he’s punchy.
10:11 PM: Don to Roger: “We don’t make fun of each others’ wives here.” Roger to Don: “Have you seen the first four seasons of this show?”
10:10 PM: This whole storyline with Joan’s and Joan’s mom is boring. Joan’s mom wants Joan to be a stay-at-home mom. Blah.
10:04 PM: Lane Pryce doesn’t trust his cab driver with $100 in a lost wallet he found, and I bet his 2012 equivalent wouldn’t, either.
10:01 PM: Jessica Pare is sad. Can Don and Jessica Pare just divorce or cheat on each other or whatever? No one likes Jessica Pare in this show. Jessica Pare probably doesn’t like her own character. She does not fit and needs to be gone, right now.
9:58 PM: Shockingly, Don was embarassed by his surprise party. Actually shockingly, it appears that he’s told Jessica Pare about his real backstory as Dick Whitman.
9:57 PM: Roger to Peyton List: “Why don’t you sing like that?” Peyton List to Roger: “Why don’t you look like him?” What Peyton List should have said: “Because I love you, Roger. That’s why I don’t sing in a foreign language in front of all our friends.”
9:56 PM: Jessica Pare’s birthday gift to Don is a song en francais. Sirius has a channel for that! Latitude Franco, Sirius 155! Unfortunately, I missed most of it after I ran out of the room, screaming. It looks like Don wanted to do the same.
9:50 PM: Google+, I want to embrace you, but the circles/dating commercial is off-putting. The guy looks like a creeper and the girl looks like a serial dater.
9:48 PM: For the record, Miller 64 would have helped Don’s party to succeed. Miller 64 is the right decision in low calorie beers.
9:47 PM: Don’s 40th birthday party is tepid. I agree with the sailor’s reaction: “I thought there were going to be girls here.” Jessica Pare is apparently speaking French to the rented-out bandleader, which will help with AMC’s ratings in Quebec.
9:42 PM: “Dissatisfaction is a symptom of ambition,” sayeth Trudy to hubby Pete. Trudy’s ambition is to wear a disco gown in rural Connecticut, and she has succeeded.
9:38 PM: The Nissan commercial shows a woman deciding to buy a car while still in workout gear. Nissans are THAT POWERFUL! I bought, like, five while jogging today.
9:33 PM: I am unsurprised that Pete was a coxswain instead of actually rowing the boat.
9:32 PM: “You think he’s looking at your breasts? He’s looking at my CALENDAR!” Thus summarizes Pete’s opinion of his assistant, combined with his insecurity.
9:29 PM: Peggy presents a “bean ballet” to Heinz for their baked bean campaign. The beans in the comps look like the third posterior of the night. It is, as Peggy says, “an unforgettable image,” as the beans look like a “bunch of bloody organs.”
9:26 PM: So AMC will now show “CSI: Miami” for three hours a night. The “M” in AMC is going the way of the “M” in MTV.
9:23 PM: Car commercial time. Option 1: Chrysler, with Detroit. Option 2: Lincoln, with John Slattery. Option 3: Mercedes, with Jon Hamm. Hmm. Detroit or Jon Hamm?
9:21 PM: Back to Joan’s apartment. The city noise is louder this season, which seems like a stretch for only a couple years from Season 4.
9:16 PM: Don and Jessica Pare are behind closed doors. I smell a lawsuit of Draper vs. Draper. But then I remember that this is the 1960s. This is why offices now have glass doors.
9:11 PM: There’s a lot of posterior action on Mad Men this season. Hello, Baby Joan.
9:09 PM: Pete Campbell has moved to Old Greenwich and become an Old Man. I remember taking Metro North, but certainly don’t remember playing cards on my lap. Except a laptop.
9:06 PM: Jessica Pare appears to be the maid everyone feared she’d turn out to be. Little Boy Draper can barely do math.
9:04 PM: Sally Draper’s voice dropped quite a bit. Puberty is rough. Little Boy Draper is still the same.
9:03 PM: Oh no! Is Don at Y&R?
9:02 PM: Mad Men starts with Occupy Wall Street, circa 1960s. Classy.
9:00 PM: And we’re off! Mad Men is back for another season of spin! For the next two hours, we’re back in a world without cell phones or Starbucks.
8:56 PM: Ray is leading into Mad Men? How about a Season 4 marathon? Ray had the most abrupt ending, but it’s welcome today.
3:59 PM: The best part about watching Mad Men on demand is fast-forwarding through the Sally Draper and Betty Draper scenes. In review, that’s the best outcome from Season 4. The start of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce gave the hope that we’d get to see Don in the boardroom, pitching new campaigns, getting back to the roots of the Carousel and what everyone loved. Instead, we get mass layoffs and Don’s (intentionally?) cliched proposal to Jessica Pare. I still haven’t bothered to learn her character’s name because I refuse to acknowledge her storyline.
So beyond acquiring a full-time nanny, what’s left for Don to do? He appears to have enough money to live comfortably with Jessica Pare forever (or at least until the kids are at college), his firm leads the league in pro bono work, and whatever happens, he’ll be better off than poor Henry Francis with those four children (Betty, Sally, Boy Draper, and Anonymous Baby). Dr. Fay/Faye said at the end of Season 4 that Don “only likes the beginning of things,” which hopefully means that Jessica Pare will head back to Montreal along with Sally, the newly-crowned heroin addict Midge Daniels, David Mamet’s daughter, and the parts of Roger Sterling that don’t involve one-liners.
Anyway, there are two hours of Mad Men fun tonight in which anything can happen, up to and including Don cheating on the whole of Quebec. Grantland’s Molly Lambert wrote a detailed Mad Men character summary here. It’s a great read – I had forgotten about Allison and Dr. R-word, the most mediocre doctor in all of Vietnam. Only five hours and one minute to go!
Here’s my heartbreak hotel of a live blog for Season 4’s finale: Mad Men Live Blog: Season 4, Episode 13 – “Tomorrowland”.
And for comparison’s sake, here’s the episode where I questioned the plausibility of Don’s and Roger’s various women missing the scent of foreign perfume: Mad Men Live Blog: Season 4, Episode 11 – “Chinese Wall”.