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:

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.

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