This Week in Irresponsible (and Timely) Mad Men Recaps: Once Upon a Time, When We All Loved Doggy Chow

My goodness.  Has it really been nearly a week since this past week’s Mad Men?  Shitfire, y’all, it really has been!  And even though the interwebs have already had a week to give us thoroughly considered and Does that mean this week’s Mad Men won’t be recapped?  Absolutely not!  But does that mean this week’s recap is going to make like a Talking Heads’ concert film and stop making sense?  You’d best believe it!

First things first, serious talk and schadenfreude :

suzanne farrell hahaha

I mean, I hate to sound like an unsympathetic monster, but there was something waaay too satisfying having to watch her walk back home after spending half an evening hunched down in the passenger’s seat of Don’s car.  Seriously, I’d about had enough watching Don and Suzanne wreak havoc on my eyeballs plan their romantic getaway vacation this episode, but fortunately Betty and the kids came back early from their trip to Grandpa Eugene’s house, which brings us to the serious talk:

betty draper confronts don

All puns aside, what can you even say about this sequence other than the fact that it was across-the-board unmitigated genius?  I could go on and on about how watching this sequence unfold uninterruptedly from one commercial break to the next got me giddy by its brilliant way of throwing traditional hour-long TV drama episodic structures out the window in favor of dramatic effect, but I’ll spare you my nerd rant on the pleasures of experimentation with televisual narrative form (it’s Halloween weekend, after all).  But what about that acting?

Suffice it to say that Jon Hamm’s just earned himself a Golden Globe and an Emmy next year, and then there’s January Jones. I will fling my poop at the Foreign Press and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences like an angry howler monkey if they don’t finally nominate the work this woman is doing.  Honestly, people, Betty Draper is one seriously fierce (albeit often times selfish) bitch this season.  Recognize!

And speaking of fierce bitches:

joan holloway le sigh

I think it’s safe to say that it’s been a rough season of Mad Men for those of us that consider ourself a part of Team Joan (when, of course, we’re not splitting our time amongst Teams Peggy, Sal, Dancing Pete, Trudy’s Hats, and Betty’s Hair), what with marrying her rapey husband only to discover that he didn’t make surgeon right after she’d quit her job at Sterling Cooper and all.  Oh, and then she was forced to work retail while Dr. Awful Harris tried to figure out a back up plan (psychiatry), and then that backfired as well, so she had to call Roger to see if he had any leads on a real job.  So, in other words, it’s been bleak.

Fortunately, though, if there were ever a silver lining of fierce-bitchness to a cloud of absolute misery, it might be this GIFable moment from this past week’s Mad Men, which indubitably screams FIERCE BITCH:

I could watch this all day long, if only for her vicious bitchface.  But of course there’s the fact that this is pretty much what we’ve all been wanting to do to her husband this season, so that just makes this all pretty much the most gratifying GIF ever.  Frankly, the only thing that bothered me about this moment was that the vase broke, which means she didn’t kill him; still, he’s enlisted in Vietnam as a surgeon, so I suppose it’s all a matter of time at this point.  Patience, my pets.

While all of this was great, I think the secret highlight of this episode was the whole subplot about Roger Sterling’s ex, Annabel, coming in and trying to save her father’s dog food company because uses horses, and Clark Gable’s The Misfits has made that totally uncool.  Not because of the Casablanca reference and the way it was subtly hinted that Joan was the one for Roger, even though that was all great.  No, I loved it because of all the fuss over horse meat, which was kinda like when they made that fuss over jai alai, except this time I cared.

Sure, I personally don’t get the big deal over dogs (or anyone, for that matter) eating horses.  Perhaps I’m just not a foodie, but horse sounds delightful.  Then again, I am the person who was disappointed that I travelled to China and never sampled dog, so I might be disqualified from the right to pass judgment on acceptable edible meats, let alone meats that go into dog food.  Fortunately for us, there are two ladies who are thoroughly qualified for such judgment:

showgirls nomi and cristal love doggy chow

Sure, horse meat never came in a burrito (or fajita), and it certainly goes against dancer diet protocol of brown rice and vegetables, but something tells me that if Nomi and Cristal were the ones responsible for that Sterling Cooper focus group, things would be quite a bit different for Caldecott Farms.  Peggy may have observed that dogs don’t like uniforms, but she said nothing about pasties and g-strings.  Just sayin’.

And really, when you think about it, wasn’t everybody in this past week’s episode a little bit of Nomi and Cristal? Betty used to love Don, but now she doesn’t know who he is.  Don used to love Betty (and maybe he still does), but his secrets have torn them apart.  Joan was in love with the idea of being a surgeon’s wife, Sterling was in love with Annabel before she broke his heart, and Annabel was still in love with the Sterling that lived his life like a novel.  They all used to love their own personal doggy chows–the things that kept them going through the hard times–but times change, and people change, and sometimes we all have to embrace the realities of the present and eat our brown rice and vegetables.

Much love to Vulture for the GIF.

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2 Responses

  1. Only you could bring Nomi and Cristal into a Mad Men recap, Ben. And that’s why I love you–even though the thought of eating dog and horse utterly repulses me.

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  2. […] This Week in Irresponsible (and Timely) Mad Men Recaps: Once Upon a Time, When We All Loved Doggy C… (S. 3, Ep. 11: “The Gypsy and the Hobo”) […]

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