Recap: Mad Men: Episode 2.06

Tuesday, September 2 by

Episode: “Maidenform.” Glorious summer has come to Sterling Cooper, and what better time to focus on women’s underwear? Playtex want a new campaign to compete with the racy imaginations of their rival Maidenform (virgins with racy imaginations, oh my!). Don pouts (like his many mistresses) when he, yet again, finds it objectionable to be compromised professionally, directing his displeasure predictably at Duck. They’ve just never looked at each other the same way since American Airlines.

After being the target of Don’s withering quips, Duck exits the meeting to undergo yet more humiliating emasculation as he is greeted by a clucking secretary who informs him that is ex wife is here, to drop off his ex kids, and his gorgeous ex dog, an Irish setter that gives Joan a run for her money this week, as Sterling Cooper’s "red-head you’d most like to pet".

Meanwhile Peggy and Pete are still negotiating the tensions that come with getting a co-worker pregnant, her having the baby in secret and going temporarily Bell Jar, then coming back to work and trying to assert herself as an equal in a workplace that half expects her to drop to her knees gratefully at the smallest look from any man there (don’t hurt your head as you try to put a crack in that smoke glass conference table now).

Frustrated at being left out of the loop she complains to Joan that she is not getting the memos on meetings and castings for the new jugs of Playtex, but Joan (wit taut as her Playtex bra straining against some of Sterling Coopers best assets) glibly informs Peggy “You’re in their country, learn to speak the language”, which includes not dressing like a little girl if she wants to be taken seriously.

It’s Memorial Day at the Country Club, and the weather is hot enough to fry the Rosenberg’s, according to Betty’s waspish friend, as Don makes small talk with the man that ran PR for the CIA in the run up to the Bay of Pigs… (“Mamma don’t let your babies grow up to be PR Men…”).

Betty has a brief encounter with Arthur, her suitor from the stables, but with Don looking on and the kids all up in her skirts it’s hard to maintain those sparks. Later there’s a swimsuit fashion auction, and a moment to honor all veterans where Don has to stand and endure the proud gaze of his daughter clapping for her hero daddy, as he looks like he’s on the verge of suicide or infanticide. To cheer himself up he makes his excuses to Betty and calls Bobbie from the club payphone but she’s spending the day with her 18-year-old son. A middle age man cock blocked by an 18 year old, get used to it.

Back to the inglorious indignity of a man called Duck. Roger tells Don he must take a lunch with Duck, to call a truce over American Airlines. At about the same time Duck is learning from his kids that his ex wife is remarrying and getting rid of the last traces of Duck in the family history by offloading the dog onto him because her new meal ticket is allergic.

Duck turns up for lunch with Don shortly after, but instead Don asks if they could just get it over with there as Don wasn’t planning on finishing the day at work (which by now we should all know this means he’s planning on consuming a large bowl of the flavor of the month). Duck asks for clemency and a little solidarity, lik brothers in arms would show each other, Don cuts no slack and we see Duck eat another slice of humble pie.

Bobbie, Bobbie, Bobbie, just doesn’t know when to shut up. I mean how else is a man supposed to react when you tell him that his man slut status is known and talked of from Brooklyn to Long Island? Not so sexy when you realize the secret DNA trail you’ve left across Manhattan isn’t so secret.

Anyway, let’s wrap all this up. So Peggy gets a clue, and a nice new dress, and invites herself to the celebration for the Playtex campaign that started it all, and we leave her sitting in the lap of Zeus, or in this case, the Playtex exec at burlesque girls wave their nipple tassels enthusiastically for both of them. Aah, female empowerment. And Pete, after being shot down on his brilliant idea to get a dog for the office, picks up a mannish model with an under bite in the elevator and has his first affair.

It’s either Duck not being able to break his sobriety with his dog looking at him, so he throws the animal out on the streets of Manhattan. OR Don telling Betty the sunshine yellow bikini she is wearing to serve breakfast because she’s about to take the kids to the pool is “desperate” so that the next time we see her in the morning she’s back to those dowdy full length frou-frou house gowns.

Did I mention that January Jones is SERVING BREAKFAST IN A BIKINI!!!!!

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