Mad Men Live Blog: Season 5, Episode 7 – “At the Codfish Ball”

Final Score: Peggy’s mom wins the night! Roger made a last-minute campaign after hooking up with Mrs. Quebecois, but Peggy’s mom beat Roger in an area he usually dominates: one-liners. Granted, his are witty and hers are bitterly repressive, but she delivered them perfectly.

If Roger’s the night’s clear number two, Megan locked up the third slot. She’s now rounding into a strong MVP contender with a series of solid episodes. January Jones never had this kind of material. Is it because Megan’s part of Don’s evolution? Or part of the cultural revolution, even more so than Peggy? Or is it just because Matthew Weiner likes Jessica Pare’s acting more than anything JJ delivered? If that’s the case, then Matthew Weiner can keep rolling his creepy son out every few episodes, because Megan’s fast becoming a highlight of Mad Men.

Thanks for reading! Have a good night.

11:05 PM: Mad Men‘s episode previews reveal nothing except people smoking and asking questions. They’re still better than The Killing. Did you know that it rains in Seattle?

11:04 PM: Matthew Weiner’s creepy son is back on the line. Sally reflects on why Roger is happy. Nepotism helps make people happy.

11:03 PM: The lead ad exec tells Don that no one in the ad business will trust him again after he wrote the New York Times ad criticizing American Tobacco. So now, no one’s happy. Except Roger!

11:02 PM: Here it is. Sally is watching Roger (her date for the evening!) with Mrs. Quebecois. Kids grow up fast.

11:01 PM: Megan to Mr. Quebecois: “Why are you speaking English?” Mr. Quebecois to live bloggers everywhere: “I want you to be able to type without looking up.”

11:00 PM: Sally is going to the lady’s room, where she’s probably going to see Mrs. Quebecois and Roger together.

10:59 PM: Mrs. Quebecois to Roger: “Eyye have beeen watching youuu all night.” Roger to Mrs. Quebecois: “Um…what?”

10:58 PM: Hmm. Mrs. Quebecois and Roger appear to have both left the table at the same time.

10:57 PM: Peggy’s mom to Peggy: “If you’re lonely, get a cat. They live 13 years. Then, get another one.” Peggy’s mom is in the lead for tonight’s winner.

10:56 PM: Peggy’s mom to Peggy: “This boy will use you for practice until he decides to get married and have a family.”

10:54 PM: Peggy tells her mom that she’s moving in with the beatnik. Peggy’s mom responds by telling Peggy that she’s living in sin. If this were the modern era, Peggy’s mom would praise her for saving money and not living at home.

10:50 PM: It’s pretty clear that Mrs. Quebecois and Roger will hook up, leading Mr. Quebecois to fight Roger. We’ll see at least one heart attack, if not two.

10:49 PM: Mr. Quebecois to Pete Campbell: “What do you do all day?” Pete to Mr. Quebecois: “Well, what do you do? You’re a scholar.” There was a shoe thrown at the TV in our apartment.

10:48 PM: Roger is now on a “date” with Sally Draper at Don’s award ceremony. It was inevitable.

10:47 PM: The ballroom for Don’s award ceremony looks to be smoke-filled. Maybe that’s just my TV.

10:46 PM: Right before Don’s award ceremony, Mrs. Quebecois is tying Roger’s bow tie. This is not a euphemism.

10:44 PM: Peggy and the beatnik are playing house. This is the beatnik’s first hot meal in years.

10:43 PM: Mr. Quebecois to Mrs. Quebecois: “You won’t be happy until I’m dead!” En francais.

10:40 PM: To Mark Potter, the Google Chrome creeper: Your ex will be creeped out more by you relieving the past, and even more so by setting up a montage using Google Chrome. It is less creepy than using Firefox, though.

10:37 PM: Peggy to Megan: “I don’t know what the Canadian equivalent of baseball is, but this is a home run!” Megan to Peggy: “We have baseball.” Actually, Montreal did not have the Expos until 1969, per Wikipedia’s article on the Montreal Expos. So, it looks like Megan stretched the truth! She’s becoming more of an ad exec every day.

10:36 PM: Joan to Peggy on the news that the beatnik will freeload in her apartment: “Shacking up?” I think Joan came back to work to mock people.

10:35 PM: Don to Megan in the celebratory cab ride back: “I was just going to scream in his stupid face.” The new Don Draper is alright with me, too. He’s learning that he needs to get moving again. Everyone at SCDP is getting moving again.

10:33 PM: Don to the Heinz rep: “Heinz Beans: Some Things Never Change.” Ken Cosgrove is now being told to shut up by Don. This pitch became a menage-a-trois (intellectual, of course) between Don, Megan, and the Heinz rep. I am a big fan of the new Megan!

10:32 PM: OK, I like this new Megan. If the Drapers are all about business, then I’m OK with that.

10:31 PM: I like how Megan subtlety tells Don that he’s about to get fired from the Heinz account. Megan and Don are going to tag-team the Heinz rep and his wife at an extended dessert. It’s business! They’re on a pitch now!

10:30 PM: The Heinz guy appears like he’s about to ditch SCDP.

10:29 PM: Peggy to the beatnik: “Yes.” Then, “I do.” Laying it on thick.

10:28 PM: The beatnik proposed to Peggy! That they move in together! Into Peggy’s apartment! Such a charmer, this beatnik!

10:27 PM: Beatnik to Peggy: “The steak’s supposed to be good here.” If this were modern-day, the beatnik would be vegan.

10:24 PM: Advertisers for Mad Men in this break: Chrysler; Apple; Shame. Maybe AMC’s making a statement about Chrysler’s “Welcome to Detroit” campaign. Or the New York Times’ critique on Apple’s tax avoidance. Or maybe it’s just because the audience for Mad Men overlaps with fans of Michael Fassbender. His acting.

10:22 PM: Don will receive an award for his anti-smoking newspaper ad from Season 4. This advertisement and Megan are the only parts of Season 4 that have migrated to Season 5. Remember when SCDP was in dire financial straits? That was a memorable episode and a half.

10:21 PM: Roger to Don/Megan, who were in a closed-door meeting: “Oh, you two were actually working?”

10:20 PM: Joan says the obvious to everyone except Peggy (and me) that the beatnik boyfriend will propose to her at their emergency dinner tonight. I should watch more rom-coms.

10:19 PM: Peggy is looking to confide in Joan. Joan proceeds to insult Peggy’s lack of a social life, but with charm.

10:18 PM: Peggy’s beatnik boyfriend wants to meet urgently for dinner. I am praying that it’s to break up.

10:17 PM: Megan is applying her memories of childhood spaghetti to the Heinz’s baked beans commercial. Don LOVES it. And guess what he’s about to do to the Heinz team? That’s right! Megan trumps MICHAEL GINSBERG!

10:15 PM: So what is the Codfish Ball? It’s apparently a Shirley Temple song! Here’s the YouTube link to 1939’s “At the Codfish Ball,” as sung by our future ambassador: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zpqt3zgdYUw.

10:13 PM: The Pitch is now being thrust upon Mad Men viewers. For background, The Pitch is a reality show involving modern-day ad agencies (Mad Men without the illegal activity…I hope). The first pitch is to Subway, and what Subway needs now more than ever is a codfish sandwich.

10:12 PM: Don complains to Megan that Mr. Quebecois will never like him. The real Don Draper wouldn’t give a crap if his wife’s father liked him or not. Don is getting emasculated this season, and it’s got to stop.

10:10 PM: MICHAEL GINSBERG! believes that Playtex should sell adult bras to young consumers. I doubt MICHAEL GINSBERG! has done any field research on the matter. MICHAEL GINSBERG!

10:09 PM: Heinz! Pittsburgh!

10:08 PM: Mrs. Quebecois: “I alwayyzzz made Megan spaghhh-ettt-tiii. Eeet was her favorite.” I took German in high school.

10:07 PM: The Quebecois are speaking French to each other while Don’s picking up the kids. As a live blogger who writes with his head down, I need an audio translation.

10:06 PM: Roger: “I lost everything when I lost Lucky Strike.” Is this the former Mrs. Sterling? Oh my goodness, it is, and she looks great! Or at least, a lot less orange than at the start of the scene.

10:04 PM: Roger is on a date (date?) with an orangish lady. She sounded like Dana Delany from a distance. If only she was her.

10:02 PM: Don Draper is carrying Megan’s dad’s luggage up to the apartment. It looks like the Quebecois are invading this week. And we’re going to have a French episode! As the life partner of a polyglot, I just LOVE it when people speak other languages in mixed company.

10:01 PM: Good: JJ and Henry Francis are out of town. Bad: Matthew Weiner’s creepy son has passed through puberty. I’ve had laryngitis for the past month, and now Matthew Weiner’s creepy son has a deeper voice than I do. Depressed.

10:00 PM: It’s Mad Men time! And it looks like Matt Weiner’s creepy son is back in the picture. As long as he keeps January Jones away, he can stay.

9:58 PM: And it’s a final on Chopped All-Stars! Marcus triumphs in all three rounds to beat Alex. He will advance to the final round next week. Meanwhile, on The Killing, something of no consequence happened to the grey-clad citizens of Seattle.

If a tree falls in a TV show that no one watches, does it earn a Nielsen point?

9:48 PM: Meanwhile, on The Killing, everyone is still wearing various shades of grey. All the people are wearing sweaters and drinking coffee. And something something murder. I don’t know. Chopped All-Stars has red chefs’ outfits.

Separately, Laura indicates that she (being Laura) is cute. Duly noted.

9:43 PM: So let’s talk about that Jon Hamm segment on 30 Rock. Is it appropriate to use an offensive word for satire? If you say “yes” to that, is it then OK to use that same word for humor alone? That’s what happened in 30 Rock. The first scene with Jon Hamm and Tracy Morgan was arguably satire, but the other two scenes were solely for humor’s sake. I think it was over the line.

9:27 PM: We are watching Chopped All-Stars on Food Network until Mad Men starts. If Chopped existed in the Mad Men era, every round would feature steak.

9:17 PM: The Codfish Ball? Seriously? Is Mad Men going to have a Gorton’s pitch meeting this week? Jon Hamm’s role on 30 Rock this week violated one taboo, but I can’t see Don Draper violating another taboo by eating reheated cod.

Speaking of reheated meat, Roger has had a solid couple of episodes, and he’s looking to win the week after Megan won last week with her HoJo’s exodus. The Episode 507 preview on AMC’s website has Roger reflecting on his LSD trip with the line, “I had a life-changing experience.” I think every experience for Roger outside of his social caste is life-changing. With the end of the 1960s near, it’s clear that Roger’s recognized he needs to evolve. Maybe he dances with Miss Codfish Ball tonight? Let’s come back at 10pm to find out.

Run to Home Base training with the Worldwide WP 5K – donate today!

Mike's 5K at Planet Fitness
I spent today in training for the Run to Home Base. It’s a 9K race to benefit the Home Base Program, a charitable organization supporting our wounded military veterans. Please donate now and donate often!

Since a runner must run five kilometers on the way to a 9K, I also joined today’s Worldwide WP 5K. Here’s a photo of my proud moment on the treadmill at Planet Fitness, passing the 5K mark. I am excited to cross the threshold.

The Home Base Program is a great cause that needs your support. Please help our wounded veterans and donate today to the Run to Home Base. Thank you!

Mad Men Live Blog: Season 5, Episode 6 – “Far Away Places”

Final Score: Jessica Pare wins the night! She'll now be referred to by her rightful character name of Megan. Megan was believable at the office, on the ride upstate, and at the HoJo's. She's a heck of a lot better than JJ in the role of Don's better half. Now that I'm warming up to Don and Megan's relationship, of course, the next episode will challenge it more.

Don's now been warned by Bert Cooper that he's lost his focus at work. This is the turning point for Don Draper. This is what will get him back in the board room, back at pitches, caring about his job. It's been six episodes in this season. It's time for Don to go back to work.

Thanks for reading! See you next week.

11:03 PM: Roger is ecstatic that his relationship with Peyton List is over. Will Don join him soon?

11:02 PM: Bert Cooper to Don: "You've been on love leave." He finally calls out Don for ignoring his job. 

11:01 PM: I'll just point out that when Don was with Faye/Fay, he was swimming regularly and rallying against Big Tobacco. Jessica Pare is bad for him.

11:00 PM: Don chases Jessica Pare around the apartment. He is very out of shape. This was a confusing end to this week's episode.

10:58 PM: Jessica Pare made her own way back to New York and barred the door. Don broke it down. This is looking like a hate love moment.

10:57 PM: And Don's having his own flashback to his L.A. trip, after proposing to Jessica Pare. Insert perfunctory riot comment.

10:55 PM: And it's a final in Vancouver, where the L.A. Kings have knocked off the Canucks. Insert perfunctory riot comment.

10:52 PM: Don is still in the HoJo's restaurant. He told a police officer that his wife's been missing, and the officer said he'd keep an eye out for her. At no point did Don give the officer a description of his wife, so what exactly is the officer watching for? Every female in the town?

10:50 PM: If Jessica Pare's character was actually kidnapped, it might be more emotionally scarring if we cared about her character. It's not Jessica Pare's fault. She just takes us away from Don.

10:48 PM: Jessica Pare did run away! Or did she get kidnapped? Don the detective finds her sunglasses in the parking lot of the HoJo's.

10:47 PM: We're back to Don, driving fast and angrily in upstate New York. Oh wait, he drove back to the HoJo's. Maybe he wants more orange sherbet.

10:44 PM: I really, really hate this deceptive State Farm commercial about life insurance. It's the commercial where the wife talks about how the husband's life insurance is allowing her kid to go to college, and then the husband pops out of nowhere. Maybe it's a hallucination! 

10:42 PM: Jessica Pare to Don during their fight: "Maybe you call your mother." This was a low blow, even for Jessica Pare. Don drives away from the HoJo's without Jessica Pare. Is this the end of Jessica Pare?

10:41 PM: Don is trying to make an ad campaign for Howard Johnson's, but Jessica Pare is now upset that Don gets to work on his Howard Johnson's stuff while she couldn't finish the Heinz pitch. 

10:39 PM: On the ride up to Howard Johnson's, Don starts smoking, so Jessica Pare does a fake cough and gets him to open his window. I remember doing the same when I was riding with other parents in youth soccer.

10:38 PM: We're on to Don and Jessica Pare's timeline. Jessica Pare clearly wants to stay and help with Peggy's Heinz presentation. Don just does not care and wants to drive up to Howard Johnson's instead, which is starting to seem more and more off-putting as the season progresses.

10:37 PM: Roger didn't imagine the discussion! His tolerance to LSD is stronger than Peyton List's. All those years of alcohol abuse have paid off.

10:33 PM: Back to Roger in post-LSD land. Roger remembers their break-up discussion. Peyton List does not. Uh-oh. Did he imagine the whole discussion?

10:32 PM: Does the University of Farmers award MBAs?

10:31 PM: Peyton List to Roger: "You don't like me." Roger to Peyton List: "I did. I really did." Of course, they both just took LSD, so who knows if this is real or not?

10:30 PM: Peyton List: "All I think about is having an affair." Roger seems disappointed in her that she hasn't. She's not up to his standards.

10:28 PM: Roger Sterling is now imagining that he's at the 1919 World Series. His wife's mother may not have been alive then.

10:26 PM: Don Draper is now telling Roger to end it with Peyton List? Or get back with her? I dunno, because I was hallucinating a better plot device.

10:24 PM: Roger's now hallucinating that the bottle of alcohol and the cigarette are talking to him. This is going to lead him to a great new ad campaign! 

10:23 PM: Roger is about to drop LSD with the college prof. The prof and his wife are waxing romantic about taking drugs. Roger's one-liner: "You always say I never take you anywhere."

10:22 PM: Peyton List is at a college professor's dinner party with Roger.

10:21 PM: A full episode of The Pitch is available now on iTunes! Alternately, jobs in advertising are wildly available.

10:17 PM: This entire season of Mad Men is sponsored by Chrysler. And therefore, by the taxpayers who lost $1.3 billion in the Chrysler bailout. So, the taxpayers indirectly sponsored Peggy's obscene day at the movies. America.

10:15 PM: Ah, I get it! This episode is a flashback of the same day, told from different characters' perspectives. Roger is begging Don to join in on a boys' trip to upstate New York. Don insists on taking Jessica Pare. Surprise.

10:14 PM: And nothing happens with MICHAEL GINSBERG and Peggy, so Peggy calls the beatnik and says "I always need you." This is a little Peggy day, huh?

10:13 PM: There's some back story discussion going on about MICHAEL GINSBERG, and blah blah blah. The point is that MICHAEL GINSBERG and Peggy are working a late night in the office, alone.

10:11 PM: Dawn, Don's secretary, just awoke Peggy by calling her "Ms. Olson." Their sleepover was a little too racist for Dawn's taste.

10:10 PM: Peggy is now washing up after the movies. Because of the warning at the beginning of the episode. I remember when she was President Bartlet's daughter. So innocent.

10:09 PM: The strange man just made a move on Peggy, to which she responds inappropriately. This must be what the warning was about at the beginning of the episode.

10:07 PM: Peggy just was kicked off the Heinz account for telling the Heinz rep that she was right and he was wrong. She's taking out her anger by going to the movies alone. And then smoking marijuana with a strange man. This is not an advisable way of dealing with setbacks at work.

10:06 PM: Peggy to Heinz: "You just like fighting." People from Pittsburgh love to fight!

10:05 PM: Peggy to Heinz: "It's the beans that brought them together." Beans have seldom brought people together for long. Unless it's windy.

10:04 PM: Don and Jessica Pare ditch Peggy on her Heinz presentation, leaving her to run the show. On one hand, Peggy is uplifted by Don's confidence in her. On the other, Peggy still hates Jessica Pare. As do we all.

10:02 PM: Beatnik to Peggy: "I'm your boyfriend, not a focus group!" This show is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz.

10:01 PM: Peggy's beatnik boyfriend is a loser, plain and simple. Peggy looks kind of cute in the morning, though! And she knows how pretty she looks, which is why she immediately threatens to dump the beatnik.

10:00 PM: We're going to get "adult content" tonight on Mad Men. Every other night involving drinking and visiting ladies of the night is just PG-13.

9:58 PM: Choosing between The Dark Knight on TNT and The Killing on AMC is easy. Choosing anything over The Killing is easy. It's the bleakest painting in the entire store.

9:01 PM: "I take full responsibility." This is Peggy's one line in the preview for Episode 506. For what could she take responsibility, especially so late at night in the office? The likely answer is that she's breaking up with the beatnik reporter and going out instead with MICHAEL GINSBERG, the loudest ad man ever. Peggy feels empowered in the office, which is why she'll have her difficult phone call with the beatnik there and not talk with him in person. Why would she need to talk with him in person? Don Draper would never stoop so low in his prime.

Pete's storyline will also be interesting tonight. Will there be any development from last week's fight between Pete and Lane? Mad Men developed these siloed episodes in Season 4 where one character would grow while everything else stood still. I hope Pete's storyline develops tonight, because he's at his best when his life is at its worst.

See you at 10pm Eastern!

Mad Men Live Blog: Season 5, Episode 5 – “Signal 30”

Final Score: Lane wins, even though Joan turned him down. Why? Because Lane punched Pete right in the face! In the face!

Pete loses his dignity at home, at work, and even at driver's ed, where he loses the affections of someone who get drunk on vanilla extract. What's notable is that John Slattery directed tonight's episode, which means that Roger beat up Pete, too. 

This episode doesn't advance Mad Men's overall plot. It's a one-off that destroys Pete as a man, but Pete's been destroyed before and comes back strong. The Mad Men team just wanted to have a night at the fights. In seven days, everything will be reset.

Thanks for reading! See you next week.

11:04 PM: Peggy says "I take full responsibility" in the next episode preview. It's clear she will have a fling with MICHAEL GINSBERG!

11:03 PM: Mad Men's getting into the habit of this voice-over package at the end of its episodes. Not a fan. I'd rather have a cold close.

11:02 PM: Ken's still writing!

11:01 PM: Sad Pete to Don: "Why are we having a fight? At work? We're supposed to be friends." Pete has evidently never worked.

11:00 PM: Ken to Peggy: "Ben Hargrove is dead." Evidently, Ken would rather be a rich salesman than a poor artist.

10:59 PM: After winning his fight, Lane goes for the big prize – Joan! He swoops in for a kiss, and Joan…opens the door! To his office, not her heart.

10:58 PM: Lane is on his couch, recovering from the fight. He's hurt, but that good hurt which comes from winning!

10:56 PM: We're getting a Mohegan Sun ad in New England. It's the incredible story of how five attractive singles check in alone, and within a day, become fast friends, going to concerts and dinner and gambling! This has not been my casino experience.

10:54 PM: Jon Hamm follows up the awesome fight by telling us about the patents of Mercedes-Benz. Buzz kill.

10:52 PM: Lane beats up Pete! He hit him right in the face! Roger: "I had Lane." Bert Cooper: "Reschedule the meeting."

10:51 PM: Pete and Lane are about to fight. Roger: "I know cooler heads should prevail, but am I the only one who wants to see this?" Pete is awful at the fighting thing and Lane is much faster.

10:50 PM: Bert Cooper is rubbing Roger's shoulders at the partners' meeting while talking about Nixon entering the 1968 presidential race. No comment.

10:48 PM: Roger admonishes Ken for writing at night, mainly because Roger's book didn't succeed. Remember that? Back when Peyton List was on the show?

10:46 PM: AT&T's ad for Genco Services (an energy services firm? in Texas?) seems like what would have happened if Vito Corleone had emigrated to Houston.

10:43 PM: Pete sneaks back into his villa in Cos Cob, upon which he immediately gets in the shower. Finally! The women of this era have the sense of smell, but only in this episode has that been acknowledged.

10:42 PM: The SCDP men get the Jaguar man's business by showing him a "fun" time. This method will not appear on The Pitch.

10:41 PM: Don calls the matron's place a "whorehouse." The matron likes Don's honesty and buys him drinks. Honesty is the best policy.

10:39 PM: Of the four men at the fancy brothel (Jaguar man, Pete, Roger, and Don), only Don hasn't made a purchase.  Pete required several different come-on lines before accepting the phrase "You're my king."

10:37 PM: The Jaguar man wants to commit adultery, and the men of SCDP are more than happy to help.

10:33 PM: A high school jock joins driver's ed and swoops in on Pete's high school crush. Quote the jock: "My name is Hanson, but everyone calls me handsome." He's going to Holy Cross.

10:31 PM: Lane is kindly reprimanded by Roger and Pete for not closing the Jaguar deal. The scene shifts to driver's ed, where Pete's going to close the deal with the high school student. 

10:30 PM: Why is Jessica Pare so cheery? Is it because she's a Quebecois? She really, really loved watching Don fixed that sink.

10:29 PM: Don is now fixing Pete Campbell's broken kitchen drain. With his (dress) shirt off. Don is a handyman, Pete is emasculated. This post is sponsored by Mercedes and its excellent flow meters.

10:27 PM: Don to the dinner party: "No one grows up wanting to be in advertising." This post is sponsored by Mercedes and its thousands of patents.

10:25 PM: Jessica Pare to Ken's wife upon finding out her name: "(SMILE!)" Now, Ken's wife is going on and on about Ken's story, and like the rest of the party, I am falling asleep.

10:24 PM: We're back at the dinner party. Ken is from Vermont. Like all good writers. 

10:23 PM: Jon Hamm tells us to buy a Mercedes because of its many patents. I'm going to take a guess that every car company has thousands of patents. My Ford Escape has a patent – on awesome!

10:20 PM: Lane admits to his fellow Englishman that he was a supply agent in the war. He's Chester A. Arthur, the 21st U.S. President! Did you know that Chester Arthur opted out of joining the Civil War as a combat leader when given the chance? Courage is key in our leaders.

10:19 PM: Pete is such a transparent brown-noser. Is this what people do? Do people ask co-workers over just to flatter them?

10:17 PM: Ken's wife looks about a decade older than Ken. Pete lives in Cos Cob, apparently.

10:16 PM: Pete just invited the high school student on a date to his family's botanical gardens. I'd bet that Trudy's OK with that.

10:15 PM: Pete to high school student: "Aren't you going to Ohio State?" Who from Greenwich is going to college at Ohio State?

10:13 PM: Trudy to Don about the party: "Do you want to go down your list of excuses?" Trudy is a better salesperson than Pete.  Meanwhile, Pete is hitting on a high school student.

10:12 PM: Roger gives Lane actual good advice about Jaguar's RFP. His quote about Dr. Scholl's hits home: "I once got a guy from Dr. Scholl's to write the thing." It sounds like dating advice, but isn't all business just dating? 

10:10 PM: Ken Cosgrove tells Peggy he's getting published under the pen name Ben Hargrove. Per a Google search, "Ben Hargrove" works at a behavioral center in Orlando. Perhaps the writing didn't work out.

10:08 PM: Don to Jessica Pare about Pete and Trudy's dinner invite: "She got this far by subterfuge. She'll understand when you pull the plug." Don sees a spy in Alison Brie.

10:07 PM: Lane is happy about bringing in Jaguar, or bringing Jaguar for an intro. He's going to handle it because he's English and the other guy is English, and since England just won the World Cup, every Englishman likes another.

10:04 PM: Friend of Lane: "We beat the bloody Jerrys for the World Cup! It's the end of football!" Oh, if only he knew…

10:03 PM: Lane and Wife of Lane are arguing over going to watch a football match. This is the year England wins the World Cup! 

10:02 PM: Correction: Pete's going to hit on a teenager he met in driver's ed.

10:01 PM: Prediction: Pete Campbell's going to crash into something while getting his driver's license.

10:00 PM: "On the next episode of AMC's The Killing: Gray skies!"

9:59 PM: Chef Not Marcela won Chopped. On to Mad Men!

9:55 PM: Chopped is concluding its B-team Food Network hosts battle. How awkward is it for the judges to be more famous than the competitors? I guess I'll root for Chef Marcela since she's the only one whose show I've actually seen. 

9:53 PM: Don Draper is back from his illness and Madchen Amick is still alive. How is she still in her 40s? It feels like she's been acting for decades. She's young enough to replace Jessica Pare. Hmm.

It's not Jessica Pare's fault that her character's landed Don. I just want Don to be single, because he's more entertaining when he's single. He's not the type to want to get married to anyone. 

Anyway, "Signal 30" is tonight's title, and per the wisdom of Google, "Signal 30" was the name of a highway accident shock video shown to drivers in training. Maybe this is for Pete, if he's decided to get his license? Maybe he'll collide with JJ as he practices driving in suburbia. 

Here we go!

Mad Men Live Blog: Season 5, Episode 4 – “Mystery Date”

Final Score: Joan wins the week and possibly forever for finally dumping Dr. R-Word. She is awarded +1 billion points. Mad Men could end on a high note now, with Joan removing the worst character ever from the show. Don also did well tonight, wiping out his adulterous demons with one squeeze (and one late-night body dump by Jessica Pare). All in all, it was a good day at SCDP. 

Let's get Joan back to the office and back with Roger next week! Or Don. I'm now open to Joan replacing Jessica Pare, and I think Joan would help with the imaginary body dump, too.

See you next week!

11:01 PM: Joan tells Dr. R-Word that's he an R-word. Dr. R-Word: "If I walk out that door, that's it." Joan: "That's it." Three seasons too late.

11:00 PM: Don to Jessica Pare re: his indiscretions: "You don't have to worry about me." Jessica Pare to Don: "I know…I spent last night burying the lady in yellow's body."

10:58 PM: Ohhhh, soooo close to avoiding JJ in this episode. Sally's drugged out under the bed, while Don's drugged out in his bed. The Drapers love drugs!

10:57 PM: I'm going to assume that Don's imagining the lady in yellow, because he's probably not going hide a dead body under his bed. Cold medicine makes people do strange things.

10:55 PM: There's a Smirnoff commercial about dancers with one goal in life: backing up Madonna. This is an excellent ad to run during Mad Men.

10:52 PM: Laura on the J.C. Penney commercial with the bunny rabbits: "Bunnies!" We like bunnies here.

10:50 PM: Dr. R-Word to Joan: "Open this door or I'll kick it down!" There's the Dr. R-Word we all know and hate.

10:49 PM: Grandma Francis gives Sally the background info on why the nurses were murdered. Sally is really scared, so Grandma Francis shows Sally the large knife she's storing under the couch cushion. Grandma Francis then gives Sally some drugs. All in all, it's another normal interaction in the Francis household.

10:48 PM: Dawn is VERY uncomfortable in Peggy's apartment.

10:47 PM: Peggy to Dawn: "Do you think I act like a man?" Dawn to Peggy: "Stop bothering me! I was fine sleeping at the office."

10:45 PM: Yes, my sole reason for hoping that the lady in yellow isn't real is because Don can do better. Jessica Pare can do better, too.

10:43 PM: Don sees the lady in yellow again in his bedroom. Do hallucinations happen with the common cold? It better be a hallucination, because Don could do better than her.

10:39 PM: Peggy's taking Dawn home for the evening! How I wish that referred to the other Don.

10:36 PM: Turns out that Dr. R-Word volunteered to go back to Vietnam. This certainly means he'll be shot on this tour of duty. Score one for Roger! 

10:34 PM: Grandma Francis turned off Sally's TV, then regaled her with a story of child abuse. All in all, it's the most civil discourse the Francis home has seen in years. 

10:32 PM: Did Don just hallucinate the lady in yellow invading his apartment?

10:28 PM: Miller 64 is performance beer for performers. Have you earned a Miller 64 today?

10:25 PM: Peggy was blowing up her weekend for Roger's pocket change, but then extorts him for all the money in his pockets. Roger is the kid who gets beaten up for his lunch money. Fortunately for him, he has a lot of money to lose.

10:24 PM: Pete to Roger: "LBJ et cetera." Roger to Pete: "What?" 

10:23 PM: Don's master bedroom looks like a canary prison cell.

10:22 PM: Don to MICHAEL GINSBERG: "Everything I say has 'or else' after it."

10:20 PM: MICHAEL GINSBERG sells the account at the pitch meeting! Then, MICHAEL GINSBERG messes it up by mentioning his own idea about Cinderella! MICHAEL GINSBERG is in it for MICHAEL GINSBERG. Don will devour him as a lozenge.

10:16 PM: Dr. R-Word to Joan: "I need to store up as much of you as possible." In addition to being an R-word, he's now a cannibal.

10:15 PM: Dr. R-Word is rested from his re-acquaintance with Joan. But now, Dr. R-Word needs to tell Joan something. He'll be gone for another year.

10:14 PM: Grandma Francis just smacked Sally Draper's hand. Somehow, this is JJ's fault, even if she's not in this episode.

10:13 PM: Don to Jessica Pare: "I'm going to be with you until I die." Even Jessica Pare doesn't believe that.

10:12 PM: Jessica Pare is still upset that Don met someone at work decades ago. Jessica Pare should remember how Jessica Pare got a starring role in Season 5.

10:09 PM: Dr. R-Word is back home! And Joan's mom just wants Joan and Dr. R-Word to get reacquianted. What skills has Dr. R-Word learned in the service?

10:08 PM: Don is self-medicating his cold with a cigarette.

10:07 PM: Sally to father Don about watching TV: "I'm on vacation!" Don to Sally: "I've been on vacation since I started my professional career."

10:06 PM: Meanwhile, back at Joan's apartment, the war still goes on. Armament. Etc. Joan's mom is convinced that Dr. R-Word got a little strange on the side. Joan's mom, meet Joan.

10:04 PM: MICHAEL GINSBERG still likes Don, cough and all!  MICHAEL GINSBERG is a generous man.

10:01 PM: Hey, Don has an endless cough…and an endless supply of ex-girlfriends. Why is Jessica Pare surprised?

10:00 PM: I am very excited that MICHAEL GINSBERG is on this week's episode! MICHAEL GINSBERG and Peggy will definitely hook up soon.

9:58 PM: And Seattle cheers collectively! The Killing is over! Onto Mad Men, right now!

9:56 PM: Is The Killing so depressing that the mayor's ending it all with a campaign pin? I could understand it.

9:46 PM: Is it dark and raining? It must be The Killing!

9:33 PM: It's finally time for Don to get back in the boardroom this week. Mohawk awaits his brilliance.  It's finally time for Joan to get back in the office this week. Roger (and Don?) need her leadership. It's finally, finally time for Roger and Pete to fight each other, and given Roger's age and Pete's prissiness, I think it'll be a fair fight.

Let's hope for lots of Don, no January Jones, and just enough Jessica Pare to keep the marriage charade going another week.

Mad Men Live Blog: Season 5, Episode 3 – “Tea Leaves”

Final Score: JJ wins, two sundaes to zero. She will now celebrate by abstaining from any future episodes. Henry Francis and Sally Draper are both good to stay, but only if they hang out with Don in New York. Beyond JJ, we saw a preview of the upcoming Pete-Roger battle royale. That's about it for this episode – let's hope for more Joan and more boardroom presentations next episode!

63': We're actually concluding with JJ eating Sally's sundae. MORE FOR JJ. NONE FOR YOU.

62': We're concluding the episode at MICHAEL GINSBERG's apartment, which definitely means that he'll hook up with Betty later this season.

61': Jessica Pare finds out that JJ's illness is a non-illness. Jessica Pare is displeased, apparently, but Don's buying her something shiny to distract her.

60': Henry finds out that JJ called Don to talk about her non-illness illness. Henry is displeased.

59': Don and Roger talk about JJ's non-illness illness. The Red Sox just lost in extra innings. 

57': Pete just disrespected Roger in front of the whole firm about Mohawk. Roger commiserates just as he celebrates, by drinking!

56': Hey, Joan hasn't been in this episode! Roger, hire her back to work!

51': JJ's throat nodule is benign, except for the whole fat-suit thing.  Let's hope this concludes her work in Season 5.

50': Henry Francis: "Romney's a clown." I wonder if this dialogue will impact the votes of AMC's viewership in New York, California, and Massachusetts.

49': Prediction: MICHAEL GINSBERG and Peggy will become a romantic item sometime this season.

47': MICHAEL GINSBERG is turning on the brownie points with Don on his interview. He even brought up The Letter, which offers some hope that Season 4 wasn't just a dream.

44': Don and Jessica Pare are late for Fire Island because JJ is sick. Jessica Pare is not happy, right? Anyway, Don just can't go to Fire Island because JJ might be sick. Jessica Pare's rebuttal is a bikini, which appears to persuade Don. 

42': BlackBerry commercial: "We need tools, not toys." World: "We want toys." BlackBerry wants an MBA.

39': And another commercial break! Why not have another break after six minutes of programming?

38': Harry messed up at the Rolling Stones concert by…what, trying to get a Stones sound-alike band instead of the real thing? Harry is now waxing romantic about the high school girls. Oh, it appears that the Trade Winds or something have actually been signed to the Heinz deal. OK, sure.

35': The teenage girl is putting the moves on Don. Don is asking her questions about her reactions to the Rolling Stones, then asking her if she's visiting a psychiatrist. Don has not flirted with high school girls in some time. Jessica Pare does not count.

34': JJ is putting the moves on Henry. Henry is not energetic.

33': This has been a five-minute commercial break. On the plus side, Red Dawn is on AMC this Tuesday night.

28': Don and Harry are hanging out with high school girls outside the Rolling Stones' dressing room. The high school girls made a Bewitched reference. It's as good as a time as any for a commercial.

25': JJ just gave a psychic her tea leaves to read. And now JJ's going to reuse the mug that the psychic touched! Wash the mug!

24': JJ and the other lady are having tea or something. I dunno, I'm checking the Red Sox-Tigers score.

22': MICHAEL GINSBERG: "I have no hobbies, no friends. I will live here." I think that was my pitch when I interviewed fr my last job.

20': "HI! MICHAEL GINSBERG!" The person Peggy's interviewing for the writer position. His resume is rolled up in his jacket sleeve. He needs to take a shower.

17': It looks like AMC is getting into competition shows with The Pitch, which appears to be Chopped for ad agencies. Or Dancing with the Stars for ad agencies. Anyway. Every cable channel wants to be a sports network, because that's where the money is.

14': Rizzo (is that his name? the artist who works with Peggy?) tells Peggy to hire a mediocre writer for Mohawk so that she looks better by comparison. Rizzo does not have an MBA.

13': JJ to Don about her neck lump that's making her fat-suited: "Say what you always say." Don to JJ: "Um…we divorced, you got fat-suited, and I got Jessica Pare…I win?" 

12': Doctor Penn says that JJ is probably depressed and therefore fat-suited. She also has trouble swallowing. If she had trouble swallowing, why is she fat-suited?

10': Peggy is OK with being passed over for Mohawk because she's a woman. Dawn understands. 

9': Henry's mother to JJ about her fat suit: "You get comfortable, and you give up a little bit, and it just gets out of control." JJ: "I WANT BUGLES." Henry's mother: "I'm older than Henry."

7': Don's secretary is named Dawn. No adjectives.

6': Pete secured the Mohawk business for Roger Sterling. Roger celebrates by drinking.

3': PITTSBURGH! The Heinz client! He's from Pittsburgh! Jessica Pare then goes and embarasses Don at dinner by mentioning the "divorced" word, since divorce is forbidden in Pittsburgh.

1': JJ's fat suit isn't nearly as fat as I hoped. I say this while eating a whole pie. 

0': This is the zeroth minute. Jon Hamm is directing!

April 8, 2012 at 4:57PM: This episode's "live" blog is about six days and 17 hours away from "live." I had an illness and a work obligation which kept me from watching Episode 503 until right now. But wow, am I excited to see January Jones in a fat suit! As long as JJ is only in this episode, she could wear a tutu for all I care. In my dreams, I imagined JJ and Jessica Pare both retiring, with different flavors of Peggy replacing them both.

Anyway, time for "Tea Leaves!"  My throat is still sore, so maybe I will have some tea before I start watching.

The time stamps will be in terms of the actual show.