Mad Men: It's Go Time!
A sad sad Pete Campbell
Mixing business and pleasure is on the menu for Mad Men's advertising team. Some of that pleasure is clean and wholesome and some not so much. Pete and Trudy talk Poppa Don into making his way into the 'burbs for a dinner party, complete with tacky checkered sports jackets. Pete aims to please Don with his grown-up life, but falls short as usual. He can't seem to do anything that Don can do; he can't even fix a leaky faucet.
Ken and his wife round out the group, where it is revealed that Ken has been dabbling in some sci-fi writing. We already knew about Ken's creative side from previous seasons, as well as an admission to Peggy early on in the episode. Ken tells Peggy that he's been writing under a pseudonym with some success. Ken and Peggy are better friends than we have ever known. It's a good duo. They have apparently had a secret pact that if one of them ever leaves SCDP, they will take the other one along. Hmm...does this alliance come with some foreshadowing?
Lane scores an in with the Jaguar company, whose business exec happens to be a fellow Brit. He takes the first crack at landing the deal, but, despite Roger's worldly advice, comes up short. So Pete, Don and Roger have at it, taking the Limey to have some good old American fun at a whorehouse. They are just doing their job, and it is the Brit's idea, after all.
Pete allows himself the pleasure of a frolic with a pretty blond call girl. Only Don abstains from the ladies, which annoys Pete to no end. We've seen that Pete has not been living in the Yuppiefied paradise he would like his colleagues to think, but sleeping with a prostitute? That's worse than impregnating Peggy or shacking up with his neighbor; at least they were free.
To Lance's dismay, the romp winds up costing the boys the Jaguar account. And then Pete confirms what we have all been thinking this season: He's turned from snivelly baby-man to a veritable a-hole. So Lane beats the crap out of him. Someone needed to put him in his place; I was hoping for it to be Roger.
This episode really highlights all of Pete Campbell's awful and depressing attributes and the list has been mounting. He is a bad husband; not only does he cheat on his wife, but he makes some creepy older-man advances on a young schoolgirl with whom he is taking a defensive driving course. She's in high school, for God's sake.
Pete has some serious psychological problems, which we have seen escalate over the years. Whatever childhood trauma Pete went through really screwed him up for life, and in the process of trying to become the man he thinks he should be, he will wind up burning every bridge he crosses. Even Cosgrove wants to kick his ass! I wish I could go up to him and shake him around and tell him, "Pete, Don will never give you the approval you are looking for!" Get over your daddy issues before it's too late!
"Signal 30," this week's episode, didn't give us much in the way of new knowledge. We already knew that Pete was turning into a miserable person, and his move to Connecticut was a bad one. We already knew that Ken Cosgrove was a dude we'd like to be friends with, and we already knew that Lane was going to try to put the moves on Joan (maybe not in that direct a manner). If we learned anything this episode, it's that Don has found some morals, for the time being, and is becoming the lamest character on the show.
The episode ends with an unnecessary inner monologue of Ken's latest story, seemingly about Pete's depressed state. Sadly, Doogie Howser, MD and Sex in the City have ruined inner-monologue TV endings forever. I half expected him to say, "And life will never be the same," which for the Mad Men might just be true.
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