Mad Men Midweek fix: At the Codfish Ball

Mad Men Midweek FixHere we go with this week’s take on the latest Mad Men from the Feministing crew. Let’s jump in and get discussing.

As always, tons of spoilers follow.

Megan’s good idea

Is Megan legit boning her way to the top? It’s like Peggy is our boring, unsexy kind of feminist and Megan is the kind that Republicans love–hot, savvy, knows her man comes first but sometimes can assert herself. Maybe I’m throwing her under the bus–Megan’s idea was really good and Megan has shown that she is truly trying to navigate this relationship with her own ambitions–but I wanted to barf when she made it look like Don’s idea. The reason they rejected Peggy’s was because she acted like a man, the reason they loved Megan’s was because it was palatable coming from a pretty lady that supports her husband. -Samhita

Yeah, but it seemed like Megan was also uncomfortable with it? I mean, she basically looks like she’s uncomfortable about it all–stuck in this awkward place where she wants to play the “good wife” for Don but also be good at her job without being the boss’s wife. And she senses that it isn’t really possible. And, of course, Don doesn’t help that he doesn’t respect that she wants a career independent of him AT ALL, even as he gets all turned on when she has good ideas. Like, in that scene in the car afterwards, we really see why Megan really is Don’s wet dream–she’s smart but knows when to pass the credit to him. I just can’t wait to see what happens when she stops doing that. -Maya

Oh snap–good point Maya! -Samhita

Peggy’s reaction: “It’s almost like it’s my first time again!”

Megan knows that this win is different from Peggy’s–she had to pretend it was partially Don’s idea to get it to be considered. But, Peggy is so awesome, she consistently sees connections between women instead of women as competition. That is a good model for Megan, I am nervous she’s gonna somehow screw Peggy over and I’ll have to hate her. -Samhita

So so awesome. It seems like especially during that time, when there were so few opportunities for professional women to succeed, it would have been really easy to fall into that jealousy-in-the-face-of-scarcity trap. And it’s great to see Peggy do the opposite. -Maya

Agreed, I so loved this. Though it sucked Megan reacted in such a crappy way because of her own angst over it all. -Vanessa

Megan’s struggle with her and Don’s working relationship

This relationship continues to bug me out–they have such a toxic love for each other, but it is a really authentic connection. At first I thought Megan was using Don to get ahead, but it seems like she does also love him and want to do things that make him feel secure and good, along with getting ahead. Or, she’s just really good at acting–there is a big surprise coming for us here I think. -Samhita

The #realtalk Megan’s father dishes to her

This episode was all about the hypocritical ways our parents tell us to do shit their own lives may not match up to. There was Don telling Sally to not wear make-up, even though he is married to a 26 year old bombshell (who’s style is ALWAYS spot-on, can we just say?), there was Megan being talked to by her dad about her future life and goals and there was Peggy getting it from her mom about Abe. Whether we agree with any of the reprimands or not, it does paint a nice picture of the different forms of judgment, criticism and monitoring women receive from their elders.

Megan’s father seems like he might have suffered from retrograde ideas of masculinity himself, because he wasn’t rich and didn’t provide the way a Roger or Don can, so his frustration with Megan is partially his insecurity that he couldn’t provide for her in that way (Megan even tells Don “he won’t even buy a pretzel”) but because he is a socialist he knows it’s mostly bullshit (yay intellectual socialists!!). But, frankly–HE’S GOT A POINT MEGAN. Interesting to see that Megan wasn’t brought up to marry rich, so it really adds to her character’s motivation in this relationship. -Samhita

Yeah, I found the most interesting piece about this episode’s intro to Megan’s parents was thinking about how both of their identities have played into the person she is. I really hated her at first, but am growing a fascination of her character. -Vanessa

Sally is getting all grown up! Talking on the phone with boys, mini skirts, walking in on Roger (ew!)

The big city is dirty and that’s pretty much all I have to say about that. -Samhita

Word. Poor Sally. So scarring. Also, up until that unfortunate walking in on Roger moment, how great was their dynamic at the party? That’s Roger at his very best. -Maya

Peggy and Abe are shacking up! Mom’s not happy.

I’ll shack up with Abe, all day, everyday. Also, my mom would react in the same way, today. Also, the Joan/Peggy love was pretty awesome. Their relationship has really evolved. -Samhita

So true. Abe is such a babe. It was interesting to see how Peggy’s face fell when she realized a marriage proposal wasn’t coming. I wanted to be like, “Girl. Wait. This is good! Because you actually don’t even know if you want to be with Abe forever. Living together is actually exactly what you want–you just feel unsure because you’ve been fed this cultural narrative that goes a different way and you don’t yet have many alternative models and it will be several decades before Samhita writes her book. But you, my friend, are on the right track.” And yes, so great to see Joan supportive. -Maya

The scene with Peggy’s mom really broke my heart, because as progressive and independent-minded as Peggy is, parents often have such a ridiculous level of control over your feelings and can play on your insecurities in such a deep way. I think Peggy knows deep down that mama is just behind the times, but despite Joan’s warm congratulations, the opposition — especially from your family — can cut so much deeper. -Vanessa

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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