'Mad Men' Recap: Public Relations

Jul 26, 2010 | 7:09am EDT

  'Mad Men' Recap: Public Relations

S4:E1 Last season on Mad Men: TOO MUCH! As in, more arguments and surprises than a summer at an all girls sleep-away camp. But if you committed the atrocity of watching the World Cup instead of catching up on your Mad Men, I’ll re-brief you on the essentials. Betty was looking to divorce Don so she could fully commit to Henry, some loser whose best feature is only as good looking as Don’s hangnail. Don, Rodger, Harry, Cooper, Lane, Peggy, Pete and Joan severed their ties with Sterling Cooper and went balls to the wall and started their own agency in a suite at the Pierre hotel. The new agency is called “Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.” Are you sweating in that familiar ecstasy over tie clip resurgence right now? Oh, and Don moved into an apartment in Greenwich Village. By his lonesome.

Last night’s episode opened with Don being interviewed by a veteran of the Korean War who’s also a writer for Advertising Age. He had a fake leg but very cool glasses by today’s standards. The reporter kept trying to get Don to talk about himself, but since Don is from the Midwest, he explained he was taught it was rude for a person to talk about himself. It’s true for most Midwesterners, but not the ones who’ve found work outside of sculpting butter for state fairs. Don gave very little information about the kinds of ads he creates, and as the reporter wobbled off out of the restaurant, Rodger cracked the newspaper was so cheap it “couldn’t afford a whole reporter.” That’s the kind of joke Donald Trump makes in his dreams!

Don and his minions met with a family-owned bathing suit company. They made a “two piece bathing suit,” which is totally different from a bikini because your bits are covered and it shows everyone at the beach that you are classy and are only willing get dirty in a game of badminton. They and their wholesome values were having trouble competing with the companies that made more suggestive swim attire, and were looking for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce to come up with something that can keep them afloat.

Back at the new SDCP agency, which is so much whiter and so much less green than Sterling Cooper it’s like we jumped into the 80’s, Bert Cooper (Rodger’s papa) told Don someone had stopped by the agency to meet with him but Don wasn’t there and he was greatly upset. There was no conference table for him to sit at, which is an issue that continues to drive Don insane, but the visitor thought it was very feng shui or awesome or something. Don felt like he couldn’t help the two-piece swimsuit people because they were prude, and Y&R would probably get their business.

Pete told Peggy and some new cute guy, Joey, the Sugarberry Ham account was going south and they needed to do something to save it. He asked them to hire two women and pay them to make it look like they were fighting over ham in a can at a supermarket to pique consumer interest.

In Don’s office, he met with his lawyer who told him to make Betty and Henry move out of his house in Ossining. Betty was supposed to be out of the house on October 1st, and Don’s paying for the mortgage, insurance and taxes on a house he’s not even living in anymore. We may have felt sorry for Betty in season 2, but now she’s just a mooch who only says she wants a little bit of popcorn and then ends up eating the whole tub in a theater that won’t even give you a free refill if you order a large bucket of it.

Roger set up Don with one of Jane’s (his “if this was the 90s she’d be a cheerleader” wife) friends because he feels sorry for him and the way Betty’s already shtupping someone new. Don went home to his bachelor pad to find Celia, his housekeeper, making pork chops. He watched TV while he shined his shoes and smoked cigarettes. Then he went out on his date, which went very nicely because she was a gymnast and was totally prepared to handle the acrobatics that Don’s life consists of.

The next day at the agency, Pete and Peggy were pleased with the way the Sugarberry Ham stunt went. The two women they hired, however, were still fuming after they left the supermarket. Don’s interview with the one-legged reporter was published, and it was tremendously negative and made Don seem like a prick. Rodger, in the best line of the show, said he “turned all the sizzle from Glo-Coat into a wet fart.” Don was angry because he felt his work should speak for himself, and it’s classier that way, but Bert disagreed and said, “turning creative success into business is your work, and you’ve failed.” Can we get a Liz Lemon comeback on aisle five, please?

Next we saw how Betty spent her Thanksgiving: with Henry’s family. Sally was being a difficult little slut because the cranberry sauce had seeds in it, which yes, is super annoying, but at least the brownies didn’t have nuts in them. Betty tried to shove some sweet potatoes into her mouth but Sally wasn’t having it and she barfed them out onto the table. Betty whisked her away just in time before Henry’s mother realized she was fat and went over the edge with anger.

Don’s Thanksgiving consisted of a hooker in red underwear who hit him a few times and he liked it. His games were interrupted, however, when Peggy called him and said she needed $280 to pay for her Sugarberry Ham stunt. One woman hit the other woman, who had the first woman arrested, so Peggy needed to bail one of them out and pay them both for their time. Don didn’t seem to mind as much as I would that someone had interrupted my time with a hooker.

Back at Betty’s, Henry wouldn’t kiss her when they’re lying in bed. He said he was too full from dinner, but he might as well have said, “I don’t want to because this is some other dude’s bed and it’s totally weird just grow a pair Betty and move out of this house!” Out in the hallway, Sally tried calling her dad to tell her she hated staying with her mom and she wanted to live with him. But Betty interrupted her quicker than a villain who sometimes randomly redeems himself by feeding some pigeons. The next day the kids went to the city to hang out with Don. He was quite nice to them and had bunk beds for them. When Don brought them back to their mother’s, she wasn’t there because she was out with Henry doing whatever women do when they treat their husbands like crap, only until they need money from them. When Betty and Henry got back to the house, Don demanded Betty move out. She gave no indication she will.

One final meeting with the two-piece people: Don presented to them a suggestive ad, where a woman’s on a beach wearing a bathing suit bottom. But instead of wearing a bathing suit top too, there’s a bar across her chest that says something witty and fantastic and smart and great. But those shlubs hate it! They didn’t think it was wholesome at all. Don went insane when he realized they didn’t like it and he threw them out of his office. In a fit of rage, he told his secretary to call someone from the Wall Street Journal and to set up a time to give the badass and cocky interview the Sterling family seems to want from him.

You go kick some ass, Draper. But your daughter might also have an eating disorder because after she tried calling you, she stuffed her face with Cheetos. You should consider squeezing that splinter out first.

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