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12 Responses to “Mindless Mad Men #6 – At the Codfish Ball”

  1. Marc Says:

    “Sally and Greg vs Bluto”

    Glen, right? Not Greg (Harris)… now there’s an ominous Freudian slip.

    More on this one later, but for now I just wanted to say that the last scene, last word play like a high school prequel to Taxi Driver.

  2. Bruce Martin Payne Says:

    Now I’m picturing Sally Draper with her head shaved, blowing away Harvey Keitel.

    I laughed out loud at Pete’s smooth operator business with Emile, but I do wonder about all that darkness bubbling under him. Both times we’ve seen him since Signal 30 have been brief and ultra-professional, and I don’t know if I’m glad to be comforted that the man just had one really terrible week and recovered, or if he’s shoving it all away into a black little box somewhere, pressure building.

    Generally, between Sean T. Collins, Molly Lambert, and y’all, I find I don’t have anything of value to add – just wonderful commentary here and from those two, artful reviewing that unpacks and enhances the enjoyment I get out of the show, so I’m glad you’re continuing these – thanks you Mindless folk.

    Though, in standard Mad Men internet commenter foolishly anticipating plot developments mode, I wonder if Megan’s father is actually talking about acting when he’s coolly accusing Megan of selling out. It had me wondering if he could be referring to something else, though (outside of MEGHAN IS COMMUNIST RADICAL OMG) I can’t imagine what.

  3. Illogical Volume Says:

    Marc – Good catch! I’ve swapped Greg out for Glen now, but you’re right about both the ominous connotations of that little error and about the Junior Taxi driver overtones of that closing phonecall!

    Bruce – We’re definitely not done with that “ruin of a man” Pete Campbell, and I’m sure we’ll get a better idea of where he’s at next time he stops in front of the camera for more than a hot minute.

    Glad you’re enjoying our Mad Men posts, they’re fun to write even if sometimes I wish we had more time to write them. There’s so much to say about these episodes that I sometimes feel like I haven’t even started, you know?

  4. amypoodle Says:

    I think my contributions are a bit sucky this time around, sorry. I have no internet and nothing can be added or edited at the moment.

    Boo! Rubbish!

  5. Marc Says:

    Bruce: No, Sally grows up to be Cybill Shepherd. Glen is our young Bobby D.

    Ad: “To take us all the way back to our first post and our discussion about whether or not Megan is taking advantage of her status as the boss’s wife, it becomes pretty apparent in this episode that she’s not above exploiting her position. Her pitch to Don in his office, her pitch to Heinz, neither of these would have been possible without her privileged access to both Don and the client.”

    True, but it would be a mistake to conclude that Megan is “privileged” and leave it at that. Look at how her pitch to the Heinz exec works–pretending it arises spontaneously (both in its initial conception and its presentation at the dinner table) from her duties as wife and stepmother. The office, her job at SCDP, the fact that this pitch began as a pitch and not as a kitchen epiphany, is neatly excised from her story. She’s playing up to the Heinz exec’s picture of what a wife should be–dutiful and subordinate–and doing everything she can to conceal the fact that she’s doing her job even as she plays the part. Given how the exec responded to Peggy’s assertion of professional authority, that was probably the smart approach to take, but it’s one that works by stoking his sense of entitlement.

    Or look at how she learns he’s planning to fire SCDP–because she participates in one of the more pointless rituals of a society that routinely segregates the sexes, the ladies’ group excursion to the john. But can we call that “privileged access” to the client? Perhaps, but only if we acknowledge that the privilege, in this case, boils down to a shared anatomy that does not otherwise confer much privilege in 1966.

    One of the reasons I think it’s meaningless to use “privilege” as a cudgel against the characters in this show is that it turns out nearly every character enjoys some form of privilege and is denied others. Some exploit their own privileges, some manipulate other people’s–Megan does both expertly in this episode, although last week’s HoJos trip should remind us that sometimes those “privileges” carry terrible costs–and even those who try to buck the system or absent themselves from it entirely often end up revealing other, previously unsuspected forms of privilege and authority (like Peggy and Dawn).

    To say Megan’s taking advantage of her status as Don’s wife–well, yes, but also her socially subordinated status as a woman. Neither of those come without costs, but in her best moments (and this episode does have some of her best moments) she’s playing both for all they’re worth.

  6. Ad Mindless Says:

    Uh-huh, yeah, pretty much agree with all of that., although I’m certainly not trying to beat her with any sort of cudgel. It’s okay to feel conflicted about Megan’s behaviour, Marc!

    There’s a lot of things about Megan’s role in this episode that I didn’t have time to get to, but I wish I had

  7. Judy Says:

    Megan wasn’t taking advantage of her position. Rather she was brilliant. Coming up with the campaign was one thing but saving the day, or night, by prompting Don to reveal it was masterful, to say the least and their teamwork once Don caught on to what she was doing was a true pas de deux. Peggy’s bean ballet flopped but Megan and Don’s soared.

  8. Marc Says:

    “It’s okay to feel conflicted about Megan’s behaviour, Marc!”

    No one has said it’s not.

  9. Ad Mindless Says:

    How about this? She was taking advantage and being brilliant.

    The problem with these posts is that we always have more to say than we have time to write. I wanted to get much more in about Megan’s brilliantness (I really like Megan, and I love the potential in her relationship with Don) but unfortunately real life got in the way.

  10. amypoodle Says:

    Oh yeah, I seriously wanted to clap when she and Don got going around that table. Wow. I think my g/f said something like ‘I didn’t like her much at all, but in this episode it took exactly three minutes for Megan to win me over!’

    Which is pleasing, because I’m fed up with her being nasty about Megan. Yeah, we’ve always liked Megan here.

  11. Peter Tupper Says:

    I couldn’t get a read on Megan’s parents. Were they:

    A. a Marxist intellectual who is, despite himself, financially successful, enough to keep his wife in finery, while he wears the same suit for twenty years out of his own self-loathing,


    B. a Marxist intellectual who isn’t financially successful, wearing the same suits for decades, but improbably has a wealthy, clothes-horse wife?

    Either seems unlikely.

    To me, the big theme of this episode is hypocrisy. Peggy’s mom would rather she lied than told the truth, Don gets hoist on his own petard of lies by even bigger liars, etc.

    I can imagine, years later, Sally on a therapist’s couch, finally realizing that her big memory of being allowed to eat at the adult table was really about her two-packs-a-day dad getting a bull$hit award for his bull$hit.

  12. Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » Mindless Mad Men #11 – Commissions and Fees Says:

    [...] of Sally Draper in the City was a perfect continuation of her awkward contact with adulthood in At the Codfish Ball. At the end of that episode Sally described New York as being “dirty” after she caught a [...]

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