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Andrew

I can appreciate "Mad Men" as long as the short stories stay consistent within the realistic actions and expectations one has of the characters. If this show goes off the cliff the way "Desperate Housewives" has, and introduces dozens of new actors and plots every week, and then drops them, without explanation, MM will quickly degrade its wondrous qualities.

Elizabeth Moss is a wonderful actress, and part of what makes her compelling is her mystery. Like the people (both on-screen and off) who lived back then, privacy and discretion was commonplace. The "shame" of having a baby out of wedlock would not be advertised, it would be hidden. Peggy Olsen, 25 years old, would have been born in the late 1930s and lived through the end of the Depression, WWII and the Cold War. She would not be "liberated" and ready to embrace the Beatles, pre-marital sex and agnosticism.

Weiner should let this program unfurl gradually, so that it can be savored, like slow food; and appreciated for its complex and beautifully rendered stories.

Howard Chaykin

You've hit on something I've believed since the series inception--that Peggy is the same sort of transformative character that Don is. I also feel that one of the results of Weiner's decision to put two years between the seasons--and perhaps a conscious or unconscious choice on his part--is that it gives us the opportunity to accelerate the professional ascendancy and of course descendancy(a real word?) of the characters, and that ultimately Peggy will supersede and replace Don in the advertising business. She is the future, for better or worse--along with all those Jews Don and his cohorts have such condescension if not contempt for. Think Mary Wells--and of all the guys who ended up running the business from the late sixties on.

Deschanel

Fantastic post. Peggy has become one of the most centrally interesting characters to me.
You're right to wonder whether her opaqueness is an actress's choice or part of the character. I can't figure it out either.

"It will SHOCK you how much this never happened".
Piercing delivery of that. Don is indeed helping Peggy to destroy the past, to forget, to move on- become the person she ought to be. Don't look back, don't even think twice.

The Catholic ladies' being so honored that the young priest came to dinner rang true to me. In a NYC parish then, a handsome young priest might seem to be akin to a movie star, yet far more accessible. Women really did keep the Church going in the Bronx when I was a kid, and an altar boy in a vast an beautiful church. Loved it.

Was interested in your impressions of young priests leaving the Church then, Lance.
When I look back at the young priests I served under in the late 70's.. as an adult I can see, they were clearly, well, gay men. And they were wonderful to me. No bad business, they were absolutely positive figures for me, kind and humorous and great role models. They were decent and kind, and my time as an altar boy , serving the community, is one of the best memories of my life.

But in retrospect, boy their sense of humor was campy, and at each others' expense!
Funny to think of.

Rob

A friend and I have been getting drunk, etc. and watching the MASH box set over the past couple of weeks. It's the most fun I've had watching TV in a long, long time...

DaveMB

[spoilers for Mad Men episode 6, "Maidenform"]

I thought Weiner was really playing with time-period expectations in this one, starting with the modern music (the Decembrists, maybe?) over the opening montage. Then we had both Don and Pete thinking with their balls more than modern men would, taking unwise opportunities to fool around, I think, mostly because they were exposed to women in their underwear in surprising contexts. Finally the bit with Duck and the dog -- I was expecting him to have this nice little victory over alcohol in part through remembering that he was responsible for the dog. But Americans have gotten way more sentimental about animals since that era, as we've already seen a bit with the Draper dog. Duck grew up in an era where most Americans were closer to farm life, hunting, etc. than most are now -- how callous in period context was what Duck did?

The AMC web site described the very last scene as "Don sees something in the mirror he doesn't like". Is it his (step-)father? I don't remember the flashback scenes from last season that well, but I recall that the stepfather kept calling Don's mom a whore. Did he also have a thing about women not talking?

travy

peggy = bristol palin ?

i thought of this blog immediately... :^)

Laurissa

I've not been watching Mad Men (or much television at all, really), but this post makes me want to watch it.

The musings on Peggy remind me strongly of my maternal grandmother who had a breakdown when she had to throw her abusive, alcoholic husband out, leaving her with my 8-year old mother to support. The grandmother I knew was the ultimate matriarch, and it shocked me to learn that when she was younger, she wasn't such a pillar of strength.

Reading about Peggy makes me wonder if it watching the show will make me think of my grandmother and what she might have been like as a young woman, trying to stitch her life back together into a picture she'd never dreamed of and never imagined.

Formerly Apostate

I just watched this episode where the priest hands her the easter egg, and the funny thing is, I had a very different interpretation of that interaction, and of Peggy in general.

For one thing, I don't think of her as a seductress at all. She is a little clumsy with men - almost an innocent, but wisening up. The move she made on Don was motivated by the fact that she thought that was what she was expected to do - that her value in the workplace was that of eye-candy, and she better give her protector - her immediate boss - what everyone seemed to be telling her was all men wanted. And he didn't turn her down because he fears intimacy, but because she isn't his type and because secretaries aren't his style.

If anything, Father Gill is seducing *her* - he was the one who came up with the idea of her helping him with his sermon, and she was the one who made that conversation as short as possible, without being rude. Yes, she likes him too, but he is also entirely in control of what is going on.

I saw the final interaction where he hands her the egg and lets her know he knows about her kid to be a gesture of acceptance - a sensitive way of letting her know that he knows and will not shun her for it. And I thought she was surprised, but not unhappy - living a lie is no fun, and Father Gill has now opened the way for her to be more open about what her life is like. It isn't like she's likely to go confiding about her out-of-wedlock child to a visiting priest, so I don't know why you think he'd be disillusioned because she didn't tell him.

I think Peggy likes the person she is growing into and her biggest problem is the people who surround her. I do think she is growing, unlike Don - she is also shedding an identity, that of her sister and mother, but she is doing it in the process of growth, not rebirth. Her process of growing is very similar to how most of us grow and not as dramatic and schizophrenic as Don's.

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