'Mad Men' Recap: The Rejects
S4:E4 Last night’s Mad Men opened with Allison (Don’s secretary) trying desperately to do her job by transcribing a phone meeting without letting her resentment for Don get in the way. After all, it was only a few days ago that he ravaged her on his couch and didn’t even offer to pay for her to get her dress dry-leaned (either he didn’t offer or he forgot to…which is worse or more Don Draper?).
Peggy and Faye put together a focus group of young women to get their opinions on Pond’s Cold Cream. They used a bunch of women from around the office, who probably welcomed the distraction from typing memos and coming up with new ways for the executives to apologize to their wives for committing the same missteps over and over again.
Roger and Lane told Pete they’d have to give up the Clearasil account, which he was spearheading in an attempt to become one of the firm’s partners. His father in-law gave the account to him when Pete condescendingly muscled it out of his hands by making him feel old and out of the loop. So, Pete met with Trudy’s father again to try and make him feel so old he didn’t know what his feet were doing below him and swipe more advertising accounts from him. But instead, Trudy's dad blurted out Trudy was pregnant.
Back at the office, Don and Peggy watched as the women poured their hearts out about why they weren’t married yet and how the only thing they wanted more than a face without wrinkles was a man who’d give them a break and understand that women age more harshly than men do. They binged on danishes and talked about their nighttime rituals that included sitting at their vanities and playing “house” with their boyfriends to prevent them from leaving. Allison, Don’s wronged secretary, left the focus group in tears and when Peggy went to go talk to her, she said she was so angry with the way Don could “turn on the charm” one minute and then act like you didn’t exist the next. Allison felt comfortable talking to Peggy about this because she thought Peggy went through everything she was going through too, but Peggy never slept with Don. The nicest thing she’s done for him was come up with some Pond’s Cold Cream ideas and have a baby without him having to notice.
Back in Don’s office, Allison completely lost her mind and told Don she was embarrassed that an incidence of lost keys turned into one of coitus. She qualified things by saying it was a mistake and orated her plans to take a job working for a woman at a magazine, but that she needed a letter of recommendation before she left. Don told her to write up whatever she wanted and he’d sign it, and then she threw one of his desk chotchkis at him and left.
Peggy became friends with a lesbian named Joyce who worked as an assistant photo editor of Life Magazine. She invited Peggy to a party at the Washington Market, where once there, Peggy smoked a joint and told Joyce that while her boyfriend didn’t “own” her vagina, he was renting it. Then she made out with a guy in a closet. Peggy is quickly becoming even more fun to watch than Rodger Sterling, whose one line this episode was that he had to use the little boy's room. Whatever happened to joking about Korean War veterans with one leg?
The next morning, Peggy was asked to sign a “congratulations” card for Pete’s impending baby. She opted for a verbal “congratulations,” which was totally awkward, especially since she already had his baby. She then went back to her office and banged her head on her table the appropriate amount of times. She did not smoke a joint, even though it would have been the perfect opportunity to get blazed and drink so much scotch that she'd feel compelled to sew a dress out of the carpet in her office.
Faye presented Don with the final results of the Pond’s Cold Cream focus group. It was clear the women equated their senses of beauty with whether or not they were married, so Faye suggested their ads focus around how the cold cream would result in matrimony. Don, who didn’t really speak much the entire episode (maybe because he was saving it for this rant, about how ineffective focus groups are) said he didn’t like her angle and went off on her loyalty to putting her fingers in people's heads and letting them talk about their feelings in groups. He said, “you can’t tell how people are going to behave based on how they’ve behaved.” True dat, son. Put that on the Mad Men philosophies calendar, please.
The episode closed on Don going back to his bachelor pad, where the sight of an old woman walking towards her apartment with groceries and her husband asking her repeatedly if she got pears stopped him from turning his keys in the door. Don is in such a slump that I do not even know how he has the sense to change his clothes in the morning, or go over to Allison's house and make her feel worse about advertising executives in general.