Season 3 Finale of Mad Men this Sunday night, and here’s a sneak preview:
Whoops. Sorry about that. Oh well. At least there were no spoilers.
The best thing in this is the Milk Man’s Draperesque speech about milk being bottled innocence, although that one actresses’ Peggy-isms are hilariously dead-on too.
Are any of these actors old enough to remember real milk men? Once, when the sixteen year old was five, we were in the Dairy Pavilion at the New York State Fair and I tried to explain to him what a milk man was and what he did. “Your nana used to put a note out at night in the milk box and very early in the morning the milk man would come in his truck and leave whatever nana ordered.”
His response was, “You’re joking with me, Dad.”
Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny made more sense to him. Of course he had proof they existed.
When did the last milk men deliver their last quarts of buttermilk?
Back to the milk as bottled innocence speech. That was perfect, but it reminded me of that episode of Naked City I wrote about a few weeks back.
David Janssen’s character, the proto-Don Draper, delivers a speech to his mad men that could be written straight into an episode of Mad Men without the slightest edit:
Gentlemen, Sparrow Farm Products spent six and a half million dollars this year on an advertising campaign we designed for them. That campaign did not say tractors are great, it said Sparrow Tractors are great. The farmer buys a tractor and gets up in the seat. He doesn’t know whether that tractor’s going to be good or bad but he does know that Sparrow Tractors are good. He knows it because we sold him. We told told him. So let’s reassure him. Let’s make it very clear to him he’s sitting on a Sparrow Tractor.
I wonder if the writers of Mad Men have been cribbing.
Doesn’t make any more sense than the things Draper tells his staff, but David Janssen gives it an authoritative edginess that makes you believe his guys are going to snap to in a way Draper’s won’t because they’re going to waste time trying to figure out what the heck it all means. Janssen’s speech comes across as an instructive order. Hamm’s speeches have a opiate haze about them, as if they were zen koans delivered by a master who is completely but not necessarily blissfully stoned.
That’s not a criticism. It’s an illustration of the different ways the two shows see the time period. On Naked City, a product of the time, the early 1960s is a period of energy, dash, and forward momentum. Characters who can’t keep up or who get too far ahead or who are otherwise out of synch get into trouble, which is sometimes comic, more often tragic, but not inevitable or inescapable or irreparable. On Mad Men escaping the time is the desired end, but that escape is practically out of the questions and most of the characters don’t even know they need to. They’re trapped in their era as if in a giant bottle of mineral oil in which they swim in extreme slow motion with the object of simply not sinking.
The only way out is if someone breaks the bottle from outside.
Which is sort of what happened last week, isn’t it?
Big thanks to Greg Mitchell for the video.