5.01 “A Little Kiss”
What is the Time: Memorial Day weekend into early June, 1966
What has happened since the last episode since Columbus Day, 1965 (historically and fictionally):
Fictionally: Don and Megan have gotten married. She knows about the Dick Whitman deal and accepts it. Their relationship is pretty carnal. There seems to be a certain kinkiness that Don only previously tapped into getting slapped by a prostitute in Season 4. That said, I think he kind of ruined the Mary Poppins/Maria von Trapp facade of Megan to his kids because that woman is a sexpot.
New York Worlds Fair closes to major loses.
Henry and Betty moved the kids into the home of Gomez and Morticia Addams. Don and Megan’s apartment, though a little too modern for Sally, at least feels 1960s.
John Lindsay is elected the Mayor of New York.
Joan had a boy named Kevin who did not come out of the womb with white hair. Joan keeps on saying she is not at ‘fighting weight’ but with those curves? Please. Husband is still alive in Vietnam. Boo!
The soap opera Days of Our Lives premieres on NBC.
Joan wants to get back in the work force while her “babysitting” mother thinks she needs to stay at home. Joan misses SDCP and fears her role can soon be filled. Lane assures her that is not the case.
A Charlie Brown Christmas debuts.
Peggy and Abe are going strong while Peggy now has to work with Megan as a copywriter. Rizzo is still employed but they have more of a brother-sister bond. Peggy is highly concerned that Don has lost his mean streak and persuasiveness in the boardroom. But has Don become ‘too nice’ or has Peggy become ‘too cynical’?
Indira Gandhi is elected Prime Minister of India.
Pete still hates Roger and Roger especially loves to troll Pete and really anybody in the office for more boozing with clients. Pete wants Roger’s office, not just any office. But he ends up being completely fine with taking Harry’s office in the end.
The 1966 Uniform Time Act is signed to “promote the adoption and observance of uniform time within the standard time zones”.
Harry Crane has officially been corrupted by Hollywood. He makes lewd comments about Megan that she hears. Harry has fear she will tell Don or Roger but little has changed in dealing with harassment in the workplace. He is safe, for now.
Legendary albums Blonde On Blonde and Pet Sounds debut.
SCDP’s competitor has a PR disaster when their copywriters throw water balloons on black protesters. SCDP put out an ad that says they are an ‘Equal Opportunity Employer’ as a way to point the middle finger at their competitor who gave them unexpected extra business. Little did they know how many applicants would fill the waiting room.
Megan’s party ended up being Mad Men All-Stars with a cross-section of characters (central, auxiliary, and first appearances) representing the 1960s. Megan getting tips from Peggy on who to invite made for good Easter Eggs for longtime viewers.
Pete is at his vainest at the office but seems incredibly human in his Greenwich home. Roger is in a more inverse situation. He also seems to keep a front up at work but enjoys it as he is completely miserable with Jane.
The scene where everybody gets a look at little Kevin had a lot of subtext. Peggy in general looks the least uncomfortable but then you throw in the fact Pete enters the frame and the looks they give each other make for great TV. Megan, while good with children, does not seem interested in having one. And of course Kevin has gas when Lane holds him. But then there is Roger holding the baby with a cigarette at the end of his mouth. Adorable and irreverent.
I am completely surprised and unsurprised Weiner had the Whitman reveal off-screen for Megan. I am not surprised she was understanding of his life story and that takes a lot of regurgitation of a plot-point done before for the show to explore. Well done, Matthew Weiner.
Lane’s only normal relationship seems to be with Joan at this point. His relationship with Rebecca is up and down. She is great company for him at parties but the phone calls and talks revolving around their son going to prep school do not interest him so he gets a little escape from having day dreams about a wallet he finds in a cab that contains a picture of a pretty girl. He calls the number and has a flirtatious pillow talk session that only has the own of that wallet and photo (that Lane keeps) to come in and even give Lane a reward made for a ‘gentleman’. Given that Lane wants to have an escape and he has had a past with ‘jungle fever’, I am starting to think a female black secretary could be a future plot-line involving Lane. Actually Lane trying to pull off that ‘toodle-loo’ with any secretary can make for some uncomfortable but funny television.
I thought Peggy’s Heinz ad was kind of brilliant and the Heinz guy while does seem to be on track with demographic probably does need to trust the younger copy-writers about ‘getting’ younger people. Peggy has Abe and Joyce (unless Zosia Mamet has left the show for good to do Girls on HBO), Megan has a lot of friends, and I am going to assume Stan also has a lot of friends in the age group Heinz is targeting.
No Betty in this episode but it looks to be different next episode. This episode really did not need her. It was Megan-heavy to properly introduce a character and her dynamics to the main character as well as being as Joan-heavy in a long while.
Don and Megan still do not ‘understand’ each other yet but their sexual chemistry is off the charts to the point it will not surprise me that their work hours suddenly ending is not unusual. Megan was described more than once as ‘impulsive’ and Don indulges. It is too perfect to have Roger and Jane ruin Megan’s surprise party. Could that become that? Then again, Jane and Roger each seemed pretty envious.
I read beforehand that the Civil Rights protests were too pronounced. I disagree. It was the beginning and end to an episode that was the reality at the time to serve as a reminder that this is a life struggle than a public relations power play. It also shows how unromantic Weiner gets by taking off the Baby Boomer rose-colored glasses of the era by showing how civil rights was not taking seriously and how hard it was for people to be taken seriously for even showing up in the waiting room of a Madison Avenue office that was not ‘the help’.
Alan Sepinwall is right, Megan performing that “Zou Bisou Bisou” song was the unequivocal “This is the Sixties” moment of the show. Hot, hot, hot.
Overall, this was a fun two-hour (really 90 minute episode) full of humor, irony, sex, and interesting women issues all in one episode. Definitely worth the time off and the show gave enough of a reminder for why people love the show even though a lot of people have changed since the first episode aired. Cannot wait for 5.02 and I will definitely do more of these reaction posts.