Of Pepsi Ads, Peggy, and Pregnancy Dresses: Small Pleasures from Last Night’s Mad Men

Excellent news!  It seems that the good folks over at AMC are crafting handy dandy video recaps for each episode of Mad Men, which means I officially don’t have to worry about plot summary!  I can just prattle on about the small pleasures of Mad Men and leave the serious recapping to those who are less ridiculous than me.  So should you only vaguely remember last night’s episode on account of that cocktail-induced fog, let’s get a quick refresher:

Sterling Cooper lost the Madison Square Garden account on account of their resident bohemian bear (thank goodness, because tearing down Penn Station was the worst), Sterling’s daughter doesn’t want his twentysomething wife at her wedding (even though he’s a total silverfox, you can’t really blame her), Betty’s father is moving into the Draper household (a noble move on Don’s part, but this does not bode well), and Peggy totally pulled a fuck-and-run (no further commentary; that speaks for itself)!   But as is always the case with Mad Men, the deliciousness is in the details.

Details, for example, like the fact that the opening shot of this episode gave me a whole new reason to fall in love with Mad Men:

While I’m quite used to Mad Men referencing and incorporating pop culture into the show, I’m not prepared to kick off an episode with Ann-Margret making crazy faces and lurching towards the camera (or is the camera lurching towards her?).  Whatever it is, the beginning of Bye Bye Birdie is a bold way to start off an episode.  Because it’s completely batshit insane.  And apparently that’s how Pepsi wants to sell Patio Diet Cola.  With crazy faces and weird camera movements.

Then, not to be outdone in the “Making ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ the Theme Song of Your Nightmares” department, Peggy later does her own rendition in front of her mirror that is as sad as it is amazing as it is terrifying (meaning we need a GIF of this as well, internet!).  I had to rewatch that scene three times to convince myself it wasn’t some strangely camp hallucination.  For Peggy, the “Bye Bye Birdie”-inspired soda campaign is merely a garish instance of women’s desires being articulated for them instead of by them; it’s only natural that she reinterpret it as something truly grotesque.  So, as insane a moment as it was, it’s really just another gold-star moment for Mad Men.  In other words: brilliant and totally awesome.

And speaking of awesome, I simply don’t know what to do with the words that come out of Peggy’s mouth in this scene:

Buh-whaaaa?  Did we just get implication that–should the situation come down to it–Peggy is willing to let boys do a little back seat driving?  A part of me hasn’t been this scandalized since the infamous Fingerbang Heard ‘Round the World of season two, but that’s mostly because it’s Peggy.  She may be a lapsed Catholic, but you might as well be putting that line in the mouth of a nun.  Still, this is third-season Peggy, who is like first-season Peggy but from Bizarro World, so that line is also incredible.

In non-Peggy things about this week that I loved about this week’s episode:


For making pregnancy look so effortlessly elegant, Betty’s dinner dress wins the award for Most Fabulous Outfit of the episode.  Along with its matching jacket, this number joins such other luminaries as Pete’s Sunday Tennis Shorts, Paul Kinsey’s Bohemian Party Attire with Ascot Accessory, and Trudy Campbell’s Hat.  It reminded me of this fantastic maternity dress that Catherine Deneuve wears in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, the one that matched her bedroom wallpaper.  Except Betty’s dress was in pink.  And adorned with pearls.  So it’s impossible not to love.  Sure, this picture doesn’t really do that dress justice, but even the hint of it just sends sartorial shivers down my spine.

So needless to say, it’s only two episodes in and I’m already jonesing for another episode.  What wild thing will Peggy do next?  Will the World’s Second Greatest Joan finally get a substantial subplot?  And when will Betty’s baby drop?  So many questions, and the only thing I know for certain is that this whole one-MadMen-episode-a-week thing is not working for me.

Seriously, y’all, it’s the worst.

2 Responses

  1. My two comments while watching this week’s Mad Men:

    -“Bye Bye Birdie” scene

    “Is it just me, or is this really terrible?”

    (Thank you for pointing this out in public! Sexy? Seriously? I don’t want to be her at all, thankyouverymuch Sal. Peggy is so obviously my hero at this moment.)

    -Betty at the office

    “That’s the nicest maternity dress I’ve ever seen.”

    GMTA, Ben. Clearly. 😀


  2. […] Of Pepsi Ads, Peggy, and Pregnancy Dresses (S. 3, Ep. 2: “Love Among the Ruins”) […]


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