Monday, August 30, 2010

Mad Men “Waldorf Stories” Recap & Review

All Photos from AMC

First and foremost, congratulations to Mad Men for winning the Emmy last night for the best drama. It is well deserved.

In “Waldorf Stories”, Don continues to drink too much and as a result, he seems to be forgetting lots of things and his judgment is getting more clouded. He forgets how much he hated a tag line used by a job applicant and steals it, using it as his own. He flirts with a colleague, who has to tell him he’s confusing a lot of things all at once. He takes one woman to bed and wakes up with another, having no recollection of how he got to that point. And he misses an appointment to pick up his kids from Betty, and instead drinks and sleeps the day away. One can only wonder how long Don can keep up the drinking without his whole career falling apart.

Peggy, meanwhile, is clearly feeling ignored and under-appreciated, and, in typical Peggy fashion, finds away to take control of the situation with a condescending co-worker.

Roger, who is working on his memoirs, recalls when he hired Don. The big question in my mind is did Roger really hire Don, or was Don savvy enough to realize that if he got a few drinks into Roger, Roger wouldn’t remember if he hired Don or not? It may be sooner rather than later that Don will be in the same spot, not recalling what he did because he’s had a few too many belts of booze.

Here’s the recap:

As the episode opens, Don (Jon Hamm) and Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) are interviewing Danny Siegel (Danny Strong), who wants to start a career as a copyrighter. The problem is, he has nothing original in his portfolio, only several proposed ads all based on the tag line "the cure for the common cold" plus ads created by other people which he liked. He’s also Roger Sterling’s (John Slattery) wife's cousin. Roger – who is also working on his memoirs - tells Don that his wife will make him pay if Don doesn’t hire Danny.

Peggy also gripes about having to work with the new art director, Stan Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson), who we later see is a real jerk and condescends to Peggy. Peggy is also fuming that she hasn’t been asked to attend the Clio Awards, where Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is up for an award for the Glo-Coat Commercial that Don created – with Peggy’s help.

Roger also reflects on the time where he first met Don, who was working in retail, and who sold Don a mink coat that Roger gave to Joan (Christina Hendricks). Don also included a suggested ad for Play-Doh in with the mink, likely to catch Roger’s eye and give Don a chance at a real job – and Roger thinks this is out of line.

The “Life” cereal people are late for a meeting, so Don, Roger, Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) and Joan head off to the Clio awards at the Waldorf Astoria. Pete and Joan run into Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton) and Ken's colleague, the colleague implies that there is a merger in progress for SCDP. The SCDP gang also sees former colleague Duck (Mark Moses ) making a drunken scene. The team is thrilled when the Glo-Coat commercial wins the Clio for their category, and when they hear the “Life” people are back at the office, they head back to make the presentation, still glowing from winning the award and also from having a few drinks under their belt. When the “Life” people don’t like the first slogan pitched, Don improvises and ends up stealing Danny’s “cure for the common (fill in the blank)” theme, much to Peggy’s shock and dismay. When Peggy tried to bring it to Roger’s attention, he ignores her.

Peggy is also faced with being forced to work with Rizzo, locked in a hotel room, on the Vicks campaign. Rizzo is being his typical slacker self until Peggy calls his bluff about his fixation on nudity and she strips bare, forcing him to do the same. He’s showing his arousal and Peggy uses that to her advantage to get him to concentrate on the campaign and they finally come up with something.

Pete, meanwhile, is upset to find that Ken’s colleague wasn’t talking about a merger, he was refereeing to Ken getting a job with SCDP. Pete is apoplectic with Lane, but later settles down and when Ken is called in for a lunch meeting with Lane, Pete talks to Ken separately and makes it clear that Pete is in charge.

Don has had a night of partying, which causes him to flirt with Faye Miller (Cara Buono) who rebuffs him, saying "I think you're confusing a lot of things at once." He later ends up with one brunette in his apartment, and wakes up with a blonde waitress. He’s also late for picking up the kids, and Betty calls him to berate him. After he gets the waitress Doris out of his apartment, he has another drink and then slips back to sleep, wasting away the whole day.

The next day, Peggy tells Don that he stole Danny’s idea, and Don solves the problem by hiring the very diminutive Danny.

Roger also flashed back again to when he hired Don, seemingly after Don ambushed him at the office and asked him to have a drink before lunch. When Don arrives at the office the next day, he tells Roger that Roger hired him, and clearly Roger doesn’t remember. Who knows, maybe Roger was too drink to remember that he hired him – or too drunk to remember that he didn’t. Either way, Don got his foot in the door and it started his stellar career - a career that seems to be teetering on the edge of a liquor bottle.

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1 comment:

Athanasios Tsiouras said...

Excellent commentary, as always! Although I feel that, if there is a tragedy in the making, that is Roger Sterling's.