Film and TV

Mad Men: Acting Out

The Internet world is all abuzz about last night's episode of Mad Men, but not so much for its twists and turns but for the cameo by...Rory Gilmore! Little Rory (Alexis Bledel) winds up in the sack (on the floor) with Pete Campbell. Wait, wait, that's not all. If you were paying attention, you may have caught Dennis Haskins, a.k.a. Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell, playing a disappointed Cool Whip man!

I digress. Last night's episode of Mad Men really caught me off guard. The big action of the evening was the revelation that Megan is still interested in acting and not so much into copywriting anymore. The news came out in a slightly underhanded way. Megan lied to Don about working late and lied to Peggy about going out with Don. Mommy and daddy eventually caught her in the fib, which forced her to spill the beans.

When Megan confesses to Peggy, she (Peggy) really lays it into her. How dare Megan, who has barely worked to get to the place that Peggy struggled to be a part of for years, be so blasé about giving up? Couple that with the fact that Peggy is jealous of Megan for a whole host of other reasons, one being that Megan may honestly be a good copywriter and she gets to sleep with Don.

Don is supportive of Megan's dream to be an actress, but there is something dark behind his encouragement. He's disappointed. What a different marriage they have from his former, somewhat due to the fact that Megan is entrenched in his world with him. She lives and breathes Don Draper, and as an actress she will be living her own life. Don tells Roger he wants her to follow her dreams, and Roger replies with the advice to go home regularly. Will this marriage soon crumble?

As Don puts Megan into the elevator to leave the SCDP offices, they kiss like there is no tomorrow. Or like it is their last kiss. In a very stylistic moment, Don presses the button to retrieve the other elevator and when the doors open, there is no elevator cart. Don peeks down an empty elevator shaft that seems to go on forever. It is Tony Soprano's backyard bear, a symbol of things to come. Matthew Weiner loves putting these random references in to make you think; sometimes though, he hits you on the head too hard.

In other news, did I mention that Pete Campbell totally made it with Rory Gilmore? Bledel plays the unsatisfied wife of Pete's train companion, the guy who has already given us the impression that he is a cheater and a bit of a douchebag. This is now time numero dos this season that Pete is unfaithful, but this time it is with a woman who his wife could potentially run into at the market. The brief affair turns Pete into a creepy crybaby, intent on turning the one-off into a full-blown relationship, which is not what this woman intends to do. Or maybe she does?

Pete has been going off the deep end all season, and it's very sad to watch. As much as I remember the obnoxious Pete Campbell who blackmailed Don and deserved a good smack, his unraveling is heartbreaking. He has everything he has ever wanted, so why the long face? Or maybe it is because he has everything he has thought he always wanted along with the realization that having it all doesn't make you a different person.

The episode had some great moments. Peggy must fill in for Megan as Don's significant other as they pitch Cool Whip. This, naturally, turns into a mess. Peggy is not Megan, nor has she ever been, and Peggy and Don's relationship has been strained since Megan's arrival. Peggy actually tells Don to shut up, and he doesn't even smack her!

The same themes Weiner has been showing us all season keep popping back up. The world is changing. Don doesn't know what the Beatles sound like because he's OLD. We get it. Now where are we going with this?

On a side note, I was completely shocked that the show plopped down what I assume was a good chunk of change to play a Beatles song at the end of the episode. So was Forbe's.

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Abby Koenig
Contact: Abby Koenig