During the fourth season of Mad Men Feministing writers will offer some of our thoughts on feminist moments, scenes, and themes in the new episodes in order to start a discussion about these topics in our community. This year we’ll help you get through the middle of the week wait for the next episode (or post on Friday when we have technical difficulties). *WARNING: Lots of spoilers follow.
Don journals, cuts back on his drinking.
I’m going to credit my bestie Amina for the observation that Don is pulling a Carrie Bradshaw in this episode. Does this show really need a voiceover? The good thing about Mad Men was always that we didn’t need to hear Don’s inner monologue to understand what he was going through. Jon Hamm communicated that through his acting. And as much as I enjoyed some of Don’s Deep Thoughts™ (“I looked up at the Barbazon and I thought of all the women in there, one in everyone room, touching themselves to sleep.”), I found the overall effect pretty distracting and annoying. -Ann
I actually really liked the voiceover. Not something I’d want to see in every episode, but I thought it was fitting here. Not really to give us more insight into Don’s internal life – I don’t think we really learned anything new. But to show us Don remaking himself again – not the old Dick, but not the Don he’s been either. I think Mad Men’s often at its best when the characters represent something larger about the moment they’re in. In this episode we had Joan and Peggy representing the shifting role and experiences of women in the workplace, Joey as a new sort of sexist man. I think Don’s narration demonstrated a shift in the white male subject. It reminded me a little of the beats, by which I mean self centered, sexist naval gazing. Don’s always been deliberate about who he is as a person, but now he’s trying to be a better person, not just a more successful one. -Jos
The Rolling Stones “Satisfaction.”
But of course it’s the desire to get laid that really pushes Don to change his life, as the music cue and voiceover made very very clear. Also interesting to see the creepy way Don noticed a black couple walking down the street – he’s seeing that the world is shifting around him and he needs to change too. -Jos
Joey and Joan. “What do you do around here besides walking around like you\’re trying to get raped?” Joey’s pornographic sketch, Joan’s Vietnam speech.
It’s sad how that comment and sketch really could apply today, particularly in male-dominated workplaces. -Vanessa
Joan and Greg. Greg pressures Joan into sex.
Still. Hate. Him. So. Much. -Ann
Fucking hate him. This scene was sadly familiar too from a previous relationship. -Vanessa
Betty and Henry run into Don and Bethany on a date.
It’s interesting to watch Henry and Betty start to have some of the same tensions that Don and Betty had. -Ann
I really feel for Bethany, trying to navigate the space between “good girl” and “slut” with this older man who has quite the relationship history. Not to mention the historical moment she’s doing this in. -Jos
Peggy fires Joey. Don: “You want some respect? Go out there and get it for yourself.”
Real talk. Thanks, Don. -Ann
The only good thing about that comment was that Peggy was the one who ended up firing him. Asshole. -Vanessa
Joan and Peggy in the elevator. “No matter how powerful we get around here, they can still just draw a cartoon. So all you’ve done is prove to them that I\’m a meaningless secretary, and you’re another humorless bitch.”
What Joan said. Been waiting to hear this line for a while – for me this was probably the most thrilling feminist dialogue on the show so far. -Jos
I loved this whole dynamic because it’s still SO relevant today. Women don’t only have to figure out how to navigate workplace sexism vis-a-vis their male coworkers — they also must muddle through the best way to be allies to other women. As this entire exchange illustrated so well, it is incredibly complicated. -Ann
Faye and Don’s date.
Damn that was hot. And I’m not just talking about the taxi, I thought the back and forth was electric. Don on something much closer to an equal plain with a woman he’s dating is pretty exciting to see. -Jos