Blogging Mad Men: Season 4, Ep. 6, “Waldorf Stories.”

Mad Men episode with Don and company at the CLIO awards airing the same night the Emmys?  Thanks for the synchronicity, AMC!

We open with Don and Peggy interviewing Danny Siegel, who can barely get through a sentence without mentioning Roger’s name. Most of the pitches are variations on the same idea: “_____: the cure for the common chair” or “______: the cure for the common bank.” After all but laughing Danny out of the office, Peggy complains to Don about the new art director Stan Rizzo.  Don doesn’t want to hear it. “He’s talented and more experienced.  Learn to work with him.”  Don goes to Roger, thinking the interview with Danny was a joke, and learns that Danny is Jane’s cousin, and essentially hiring him is cheaper than Roger’s “personal gift expenditures” to Jane.  (As an aside, what happened to Jane?  Her interactions with Joan, both before and after she married Roger, were priceless.  And I think she’s actually a worse person than Betty.) Don and Roger’s meeting also starts a series of flashbacks, where we learn how Don was hired — Don sold a mink stole (for Joan) to Roger, and when Roger remarked on the fur salon’s ads, Don mentioned he did them.  He included his portfolio in with the stole and more or less hounded Roger until Roger got drunk at lunch one day and hired him.  This same situation plays out with Don and Danny over the course of the episode.

Meanwhile, Peggy is sulking around the office, irritated at having to work with Stan, and upset that Don accepted congratulations on the Clio nomination from everyone but her, on a campaign she worked on no less.  At the awards show, while the nominees are announced, and with Joan tightly clasping Roger and Don’s hands under the table, SCDP’s Glo-Coat ad wins.  The celebration is interrupted by news that a potential client, Life Cereal, is at the office.  Don drunkenly offers his pitch, and when the cereal men don’t like it, begin spouting taglines, until he eventually lands at “the cure for the common breakfast,” which the Life people love.  Peggy tries to intervene, since Don stole the idea from Danny, but Don orders his secretary to book Peggy and Stan a room for the weekend, so they can work on the Vick’s campaign.  Don heads out to a bar to celebrate his win, and works his way through every woman he encounters until he finds someone to take home.

While in the hotel room Stan goes on and on about how he’d be a nudist and stares at a copy of Playboy, making fun of Peggy and telling her she is ashamed of her body, or “ought to be”.   Fed up, Peggy calls him out, saying he is lazy and has no ideas.  She stands up, starts stripping, and says “I can get liberated.”  Stan strips as well, and Peggy begins tossing out ideas for the Vicks campaign.  Distracted, Stan eventually puts his clothes back on, calling Peggy ” the smuggest bitch in the world.”  Smiling, Peggy puts her bra back on and keeps working.

Don wakes up Sunday to a call from irate Betty, who has missed a brunch with Henry since Don wasn’t there to watch the kids.  Later, Peggy finds him to tell him he sold Danny’s stolen tagline to the cereal people.  Back in the office on Monday, he offers Danny money for the tagline.  Danny refuses, saying he doesn’t need money — he needs a job.  Don reluctantly hires Danny, instructing an incredulous Peggy to take him to Joan to get settled.  The episode closes with another flashback, to Don standing next to Roger in front of the elevator.

“Would you leave me alone?” Roger says.

“You hired me,” replies a surprised Don.

“I did?”

“You said ‘welcome aboard.'”


Fur coating and shit.

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  • I’m beginning to wonder if Roger actually did hire Don. It would fit with his character if he tricked Roger into thinking he hired him when he was drunk.

    • Scipio Africanus

      Alot of folks on in innerwebs have concluded Don basically hired himself, which more likely explains the placing of that scene, with Roger’s sense of surprise.

    • brent

      My sense was that its meant to be somewhat ambiguous but its absolutely a legitimate reading of that scene to think Don was just counting on Sterling being enough of a lush to go along with some crap he basically just made up.

  • Nicole

    Given how the hiring of Danny played out, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if that’s what happened.

  • Lexa

    Roger didn’t hire Don. I am sure of it.

  • Also, I was a little taken aback by Don’s holding hands of and kissing Joan at the CLIOs.

    • Right. No one commented on that on the sites that I read, but that was a def “whoa, wtf?” moment.

    • I still don’t know what to think about that kiss. Don was sober at that point, right?

      • Scipio Africanus

        I think he was on the road to Sloshville already. But then again, he’s essentially a full-on drunk. at this point, so the effects of the alcohol linger even when he hasn’t had a sip for many hours.

  • Scipio Africanus

    Also, “Don” = “Dan(ny)”

    Same thing with Betty and Bethany.

  • Scipio Africanus

    Sorry for the double post, but I could have sworn Don kissed Joan square on the lips when they announced his win.

  • xtian

    I started writing Don/Joan fan-fiction almost immediately.

  • The Specimen

    Danny is Don’s past, Duck Phillips is Don’s future. Roger never hired Don.

    • Actually, I always figured that Roger was Don’s future – considering that his drunkenness is responsible for Don’s presence in the ad world (who, though he had already committed identity fraud, I thought of as too naive…too hickish…to trick someone into hiring him) and Don, in turn, was responsible for Danny.

      Further, I assumed that Duck is like…a reject Don. He does the same things that Don does, with immensely less success.

  • Russ

    I held my breath when they were announcing the award for glow coat, maybe I’m too invested in this show…

  • quadmoniker

    Are we supposed to be worried about Don’s alcoholism now? I just finished watching the show and I was wondering if that’s what the takeaway was supposed to be.

    • Scipio Africanus

      Definitely, I think. Up until now they’ve portrayed him as someone who demonstrates many of the consequences of alcoholism short of sloppiness and lack of control of his own motor skills. They seem to be taking him down that road, now. He got lucky that the Life cereal people bit this time, but next time it’s going to be a bathetic fiasco. I forsee Freddie Rumsen’s presence being directly relevant.

  • nittany4

    @quad: I watched the bonus feature from iTunes, and in Jon Hamm’s own words, yes we are supposed to be concerned about Don’s drinking.

  • ed

    As noted elsewhere:

    Meh, the last two episodes came across as pretty hacky.

    Last week it was The Wacky Caper Episode. Will the plucky team pull off the caper and dupe the rival maddies? Watch this montage and find out!

    This week it was Don gettin’ all drunky and hiring an eager newbie much like a drunky Roger Sterling did (allegedly) some indefinite number of years back. And the crazy, kooky, madcap circle of Mad Life continues!

    On the other hand: TV’s Jonathan!

    Also, too, the Miss Blankenship schtick has become tiresome. By the by, she’s portrayed by Daniel-san’s mother, Ms. Larusso. Makes a fella feel old(er).

    I would add that since we don’t know the real story (yet) as to whether or not Roger really hired Don while he was too boozed up to remember or Don merely gambled on Roger’s faulty memory and won, IT DOESN’T MATTER. That’s the point of not telling the audience.

    • Scipio Africanus

      The only episode this season that’s been weak, to me, was the one where they set us up to eliminate the real Mrs. Draper character. I fell asleep on that one, literally. But the rest? Great, in my opinion.

      Not that you said this, but thank sweet Jeebus Matt Weiner woke up and stopped subjecting us to the Guiding Light: Ossining that was last season.

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